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Monday February 6th, 2023 9:04PM

Businesses repurpose former visitors center in Tallulah Falls

By Rob Moore Reporter

Tallulah Falls is seeing a bustling business revitalization in recent months, thanks in part to the town’s downtown development authority.

One area where recent business growth is concentrated is on U.S. 441 on the town’s north end at the former Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts beside the bridge over the dam.

Tallulah Adventures hopes to capitalize on the more than 600,000 visitors to Tallulah Gorge State Park each year and the more than 60,000 residents of Habersham and Rabun counties.

Constructed by Georgia Power Co. as Terrora Visitors Center around 1980, the long-vacant building on the hill overlooking the lake has found a vibrant new life as a tourist attraction, thanks to Bill Turk and his family.

Tallulah Adventures is celebrating its grand opening this weekend, and Turk said it has been a long time coming, moving from dream to reality.

“From thinking about it and dreaming about it for six years, and being able to put it all together, make the plans and then build it out with Wander upstairs and the partners and with the community in mind being able to give back for family and friends,” Turk said. “I think there's something here for everybody. That's what's exciting to do something for the community and give back.”

Tallulah Adventures and Wander North Georgia share the adventure hub that now includes a full restaurant, bar, and event pavilion, as well as large lawn with cornhole boards, a stage, and climbing wall.

Turk said public response already has been good.

 “It's really been positive,” Turk said. “It's been great. Great reviews on the food. We've got an excellent chef. And it's just a fun environment. It's outside. So, if you're here, you can go do something in the park. Get a good exercise, ride your bike, get on the lake, and come up here. Have a nice meal. Play some games with the kids. Get on the climbing wall. Just relax and it's a place not to rush. Just take it easy. Play some games. Enjoy yourself.”

Mary Beth Hughes serves as chairperson of the Tallulah Falls Downtown Development Authority, on which she has served since its inception in 2018, and as a businessperson said she is thrilled to have more quality businesses in town.

“It’s phenomenal,” Hughes said. “It's wonderful that this building that has been here for years has seen new life now. It has sat empty for way too long and how wonderful that Bill Turk had this vision and had the means to bring it to fruition and it's the perfect use of this building. It ties in perfectly with everything that the town has to offer the state park. It couldn't be a better use of this building in this location than then what he's doing, and he has done a superb job at bringing his vision to life.”

Tallulah Adventures aims to become a hub for adventure in the Tallulah Falls area, providing information, gear, and guidance on how to responsibly recreate in the Tallulah Falls area.

Tallulah Adventures and Wander North Georgia Tallulah Falls are located at 11785 Highway 441.

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