It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for only 9 months. It feels like this community of North Georgia lovers and doers just sort of bubbled up out of nowhere and I guess thanks to Instagram it sort of did. When we moved up here to Rabun County in December, we really just wanted to create a website to compliment our day jobs and give our family a creative outlet to chronicle our adventures around North Georgia. Turns out Instagram is a beast these days and can take something rather modest and make it not so modest. So now we have an online shop, ambassadors, regular web content, a couple social media channels, our day jobs that we juggle with our hobby job, and big plans about how we can pivot and make this sustainable long term . . . not just for us . . . but for all the North Georgia communities that we are trying to represent.

To that end, we thought it might be helpful to give you a very quick update on what we’re working on and what’s coming.

First off though . . . who is “we”? Well the original “we” was a young 30s couple with two kids who sold half of everything they owned for a 900 square foot cabin in the woods. A few months in, we met another amazing couple with 3 kids of their own who had also recently moved here for a quieter life. We became quick friends and partners in Wander North Georgia. So now Wander North Georgia is Jake and Courtney and Elliot and Emma Jean and Gracie and Mason and Dylan and Josh and Alex. Our families swim together. Our families eat together. And now we’re getting creative together.

As we have experienced rapid and organic growth (we have never paid for an ad or a follower outside of a $10 Facebook campaign for a giveaway), we have tried to keep our head above water and make smart decisions about what we want this “thing” to be. The further along we got, the more we decided our main goal was and always should be telling the stories of what makes North Georgia so special, namely the people and places that call this place home.

For better or worse, North Georgia carries with it certain stigmas. Our rather honest intent has been to show that this region is much more than a stereotype, but rather a vibrant and evolving community. We have no grandiose ideas about fixing the bigger systemic problems. But we hope that our little platform shows people that North Georgia is a good place. It’s worth visiting. It’s worth staying a while. And it’s worth supporting by visiting the local businesses that give it life. We won’t be the first to encourage people to do this. And we certainly won’t be the last.

hike2Here are the two main things we are working on as we grow.

THE NORTH GEORGIA SOCIAL CLUB: We are proud of what we have done in a few short months with The North Georgia Social Club.  We have hosted 4 events around the area and have been averaging 40+ attendees. From overnight camping trips with people who had never been camping before to collaborations with small businesses, our audience has proven they want to do more than just sit behind their screens mindlessly liking Instagram photos. They want to get out and experience North Georgia the way locals do.

We believe we have found a great way to reward “getting outside” with our new North Georgia Social Club membership. You do not have to be a member to attend one of our many events. But what the MEMBERSHIP does is reward you for exploring North Georgia and visiting and shopping at some of our hand-picked and favorite small businesses. You also receive FOUNDERS and MEMBERS only perks like an exclusive t-shirt, exclusive founders sticker, early sign-ups and discounts for all events, an annual members only camping trip, and discounts in our online shop.

socialclub

We believe strongly in this model because the one thing we consistently hear is “Where should we eat? Where should we stay? Where should we shop?” You are trusting us with recommendations on the best places to hike and the best waterfalls to see. It only makes sense that you would want our thoughtful recommendations on the best places to visit before and after your hikes. So the North Georgia Social Club is one of the ways we can better connect you with our friends, all while rewarding you with great discounts for your loyalty. You can read our FAQ for more details.

With great businesses like Habersham Winery, U-Joint, Cage Free Boutique, Outside World Outfitters, Blue Ridge Fly Fishing, Rib Country, Terra Outfitters, and White Birch Provisions, to name a few (and with more being added weekly), we believe we have the best partners in North Georgia.

hikeAMBASSADORS: We have also begun to slowly roll out our Ambassador or Wanderers program. This isn’t the final version we will end up with but its our first step towards getting more people involved in sharing their experiences. We are lucky (and humbled) that y’all have asked to write for us and want to share your stories and photos. Until now, we haven’t had an easy way to do that or one that compensates you for it. We now have that option and look forward to seeing it grow and evolve along with us.

So that’s us. 9 months in and making the turn from hobby to full fledged resource for the visitors, locals, and small businesses of North Georgia. We are really thankful that you have found us and that you continue to send us nice emails and comments and share what we have going on with your friends and family. At the end of the day, we want to help in a tiny way to make your experience in North Georgia a little bit better than it was before you found us. That’s our goal. That’s our mission. And we’re honored to have the opportunity.

If you would like to become a member of The North Georgia Social Club, you can JOIN here.

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