Tallulah Adventures, a new outdoor recreational site, is open and ready for families and area visitors alike. It’s designed with a one-of-a-kind climbing wall, a large, green lawn, a pavilion, and a cafe/bar. Tallulah Adventures is the dream child of entrepreneur Bill Turk and his daughter Spencer Turk. Bill has eleven other businesses that he has begun and oversees. Possibly, Tallulah Adventures is the one closest to his heart.
Dreaming of creating something new in something old
Spencer Turk says that her father Bill is quite an adventurer and an entrepreneur. And he has always loved the Habersham/Rabun area in Northeast Georgia. It was after he had a stroke in 2017 that Bill began to imagine doing something that would take him in a totally different direction. An avid adventurer who is passionate about technical rock climbing and mountaineering, Bill began to dream about creating a place that could combine his love for the outdoors with art, music, and play.
That dream began to take shape when he noticed that the old Georgia Power Welcome Center was still vacant. The old building sat on a piece of land that is literally surrounded by Tallulah Gorge State Park land and just across the highway from the main entrance to the state park.
The Georgia Power Welcome Center had stood vacant for about eight years when Bill noticed it. The building was also in huge disrepair. Georgia Power had offered to give the building first to the state park, then to Rabun County, and then Tallulah Falls School. All three declined because of the amount of work that would have to be done to the building. The building was finally given to the town of Tallulah Falls.
And then the building sat for a while longer. Spencer explains, “My dad’s interest was peaked about six years ago. But initially, the town didn’t want to get rid of the building. As my dad says, ‘Three mayors later,’ someone was finally ready to consider selling it.” Mayor Mike Early led the town to put the building up for bids in 2020. Bill’s bid was the second largest bid, and he lost the contract to the highest bidder who wanted to build a boutique hotel on the site. However, one month later, the hotel idea had been scrapped, and Bill’s bid was accepted.
As Bill moved through the process of developing the business plan and writing the proposal, he drew upon the talents of Spencer, who was then living in Boulder, Colorado. Spencer graduated with a degree in business, operation management, and strategy and entrepreneurship. She now has returned to Georgia and serves in business development.
The renovation of the old Georgia Power Welcome Center building was huge. The old building itself was gutted and has been refitted to house Wander North Georgia, an outdoor sports store. Wander North Georgia expanded the building by adding a second floor to the building. The partnership with Wander North Georgia came out of the desire to provide retail space in the Tallulah Falls area. According to Spencer, they started talking with Wander North Georgia back in September last year.
A place for families and people to gather
Tallulah Falls was once a premiere destination for vacationers back in the 19th century. Spencer says they hope to reestablish the area as a true destination place. Several other new businesses have also opened in Tallulah Falls recently, adding to the draw for visitors to come and spend time there.
From the beginning, Bill saw two needs in the Tallulah Falls area. Tallulah Gorge State Park receives 600,000 visitors each year, the second most visited state park in Georgia. Further, GDOT has documented 14,000 cars driving by the site each day. Tallulah Adventures provides an opportunity for visitors to spend additional time in the area.
One of the needs Bill identified was giving visitors something to do while in the area. The Adventure Zone offers a specially designed, one-of-a-kind climbing wall that runs 120 feet across one end of the outdoor area. Climbers can learn to climb up the wall, as well as to traverse across the wall. It’s been designed for both beginning and experienced climbers.
The lawn area is open for families to play on. Large rocks allow places for children to climb. Tallulah Adventures also provides yard games and hammocks. A large stage has been built for live music, and classes and workshops will be offered.
The second need Bill identified was a place for people to sit, eat, rest, and just be together. The cafe and bar will bring food services for those who come to spend the day, or those who are just passing through. The cafe serves sandwiches, soups, salads, and flatbread pizzas. All are made on site. The bar offers both beer and wine. And Nitro coffee is provided using coffee from Phoenix Roasters, another local business. Spencer says, “It’s been important to us to use as many local businesses and local workers as possible. We want to make a difference to this community.”
The facility has also been designed with a large covered pavilion that can house parties and semi-private events. For more information on having an event there, contact Tallulah Adventures at (706)250-2085.
Plan your trip
Tallulah Adventures is already open Thursday-Monday each weekend from 11 am to 8 pm. Wander North Georgia is open the same days of each week, but they open at 10 am each day and close at 5 pm on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday, and at 6 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Spencer encourages people to sign in to the Social Media accounts and their website to keep up with any schedule changes over the next months. Their website is tallulahadventures.com.
Passes can be purchased on-site or online for the rock climbing wall. Day passes are only $12 for those five years old and above. Monthly passes can also be purchased as a single for $45/month, as a couple for $80/month, and as a family for $130/month. All participants must have a signed waiver before going into the climbing wall area. Waivers are available online or can be completed on-site.
Tallulah Adventures and Wander North Georgia are located at 11785 Highway 441, just north of the bridge across Tallulah Gorge.