Exploring rural Georgia: Hartwell

By Charley Lollis


Photo by Ralph Daniel

As the weather is warming up and a hot Georgia summer is soon upon us, we will all be looking for ways to cool off. If you are not aware, rural Georgia is home to many outdoor paradises. So, as the summer months are just around the corner, we've got some awesome places to soak up the sun.


Located only an hour and a half northeast of Atlanta, this small town of 4,000, Hartwell, Georgia, is the definition of an outdoor paradise. The city of Hartwell is located in Hart County bordering South Carolina, with 962 miles of shoreline.


"The air is clear, the lake is clean, and the woods are full of birds and nature to make any day in Hart County a great day!" as Hart County's Chamber of Commerce likes to say. Hartwell is home to a 55,900-acre lake, Lake Hartwell, that draws close to 9.6 million visitors to this rural town annually.


The Hartwell Dam has helped the city coin the term "The Best City by a Dam Site." Located near Highway 85, the dam at Lake Hartwell holds the lake's visitor center, walking trails, and just recently, a fishing pier. The new fishing pier will bring any experienced or inexperienced fisherman a great time, with 21 different fish species.


The lake may be what gets them to Hartwell, but the friendly people, historic downtown, and gorgeous golf courses keep them coming year after year. Hartwell has many festivals throughout the year including Dancin' on Depot, ARTS in hARTwell Festival, Antique Boat Festival, and the Annual Lake Hartwell Dam Run. If one of these festivals isn't going on, you can find most locals attending the Bluegrass Express on a Saturday night. This family-friendly music hall brings in regional bands for live music every weekend.


Hartwell Development Authority states, "We directly support local small businesses with start-up, expansion, and/or retention assistance!" The city of Hartwell is proud to have received past recognition as an Entrepreneur Friendly Community.


Whether you are looking to cool off this summer at the lake, attend one of their many festivals in the historic downtown, or bring your small business idea to life, rural Georgia's own, Hartwell, is the place to be.