Time Out for Friendship
No time for fun with your girlfriends? Blue Ridge is the remedy!
In the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia, there’s time. Time for long walks and long talks. Time to watch a play or watch the sunset. Time to kayak a river or soak in a hot tub. Time to explore the crystal clear waters of Lake Blue Ridge. Just 90 minutes north of Atlanta, Blue Ridge is an accessible getaway where girlfriends can gather to reconnect and recharge. Shop ’til you drop downtown, then revive yourself with lunch and a trip to the spa. Or, put your feet up and let your hair down at a grownup pajama party in an upscale mountain cabin. With room for fireside chats and quiet naps, movies, meals and memories, a Blue Ridge cabin will recharge you for your busy life back home.
Pack your pajamas and your little black dress, but leave your “to do” list behind. Make time for yourself. Make time for Blue Ridge.
Blue Ridge: Great Escapes in the Great Outdoors
Fannin County with 500+ miles of water and 106,000 acres of forest, Blue Ridge is a natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
When’s the last time you felt the exhilaration of a mountain biking trail? Or soared with the hawks while zip lining through a forest canopy? Have your kids picked apples or studied the constellations? Did you ever hike a wilderness trail so quiet you could hear your heartbeat?
Rediscover the wonder of nature and your own true nature in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
In Blue Ridge, outdoor adventure is a way of life. You can challenge yourself with world-class whitewater or tube down a lazy river. Here in the Trout Capital of Georgia, folks fly fish for trophy trout in 500-plus miles of mountain water. Many of those streams and rivers travel through national forest - with 106,000 acres, there’s no shortage of places to play. Athletes can raise their personal best in the “Escape to Blue Ridge Tri the Mountains Triathlon” that takes full advantage of our hills and 3,290-acre Lake Blue Ridge. Hikers and equestrians can explore the 40,000-acre Cohutta Wilderness. Inspiring in any season, a forest excursion is magical in May, when thousands of mountain laurel blossoms grace the hills.
From athletes to active adults, couples to families, Blue Ridge outdoor adventures satisfy all ages and stages of life. Or just sit back, relax and enjoy another popular Blue Ridge activity: a rocking chair porch with a view.
The Artful Side of Blue Ridge
North Georgia town a cultural destination
Ninety minutes north of Atlanta, the mountain town of Blue Ridge is becoming a mecca for artists and art lovers. The epicenter of cultural activity is located on a hill overlooking downtown. The Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association and Art Center is a magnet in this rural community where mountains and miles often separate neighbors. “Many of my artist friends live in surrounding towns, but everybody converges on Blue Ridge. The Art Center is our focal point,” said Tom Chambers, an artist who moved to North Georgia from Orlando. With 1,000 members (50 percent are artists), the Association’s diverse membership includes traditional and contemporary artists and people who just enjoy the arts.
The Art Center houses five guilds, six galleries, three classrooms, a pottery studio and an artist residency program. It offers year-round exhibits and classes and summer camps for kids. In spring and fall, the Association hosts Arts in the Park festivals which attract 20,000 visitors annually. It also hosts the Southern Appalachian Artist Guild Juried Show, drawing artists from 30 states. In the near future, its partnership with Savannah College of Art and Design will create a show for emerging artists.
The Art Center is a natural spot to explore the artful side of Blue Ridge, but it’s just the beginning. “Blue Ridge is a small town with the amenities and culture of an urban area,” said the Association’s Executive Director Nichole Potzauf, referring to downtown galleries, fine dining and upscale boutiques. Traditional mountain crafts are well represented here, but according to Potzauf, “There’s a depth within the folk art scene, as well as a concentration of artists working in contemporary and nontraditional styles.”
The depth and breadth of the Blue Ridge arts scene is advancing the Association’s goal of landing in The 100 Best Art Towns in America by John Villani. “His books are like a Zagat guide for people seeking to visit or live in vibrant arts communities,” said Potzauf. From the Association’s discussions with Villani, it appears that Blue Ridge will appear in his next book. Having already achieved recognition from Georgia Trend as a top “Arts and Leisure Community” in 2013, Blue Ridge appears to be well on its way.
Angling for Adventure in Georgia’s Trout Capital
Blue Ridge an ideal base for fly fishing enthusiasts
It’s a crisp morning and Carl Riggs has hiked three miles into the Appalachian Mountains to fly fish a spring-fed stream. He wades into the rushing water, scans the surface, selects a fly and delivers the first cast of the day. It’s not yet 8 a.m. Why is he knee deep in 50 degree water? water when most folks are sleeping?
Vice Chairman for the Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited, Riggs is recapturing a rare commodity in our techno-charged society. It’s something he finds while fly fishing the rivers and streams of rural Fannin County. “I focus on the beauty and sounds of nature. I’ve seen wild turkeys, coyote and once, a bear. Deer sometimes drink from the streams when I’m fishing. Being involved with nature teaches me the importance of solitude and patience. Of all the types of fishing I’ve tried, fly fishing is the most relaxing,” Riggs said.
There are few places finer than Fannin County for the sport. Designated the Trout Capital of Georgia, Fannin has 535 miles of designated trout waters (more than any other Georgia county) as well as the Toccoa River, recognized in Trout Unlimited’s Guide to America’s 100 Best Trout Streams. In Fannin, anglers can fish technical wilderness streams or stocked public rivers with trophy trout measuring 20 inches and up. Sports fisherman may catch and release rainbows and browns in the Toccoa tailwaters, where consistent temperatures allow year-round access. Kids can learn the sport in stocked ponds before progressing to open water. Even non-fishermen will appreciate the connection between conservation and fly fishing on the Trout Adventure Trail in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The educational trail was the first of its kind.
Anglers eager to fly fish Fannin County will find no better place to begin than the county seat of Blue Ridge. Blue Ridge is home to Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods and Bill Oyster, world-renowned for his fly rod artistry and rod making workshops. Local companies offer experienced guides, including Sharper Bites, run by Natalie Sharp. Sharp’s guide services are sought after by women, couples and anglers who appreciate her knack for teaching and cooking - outings include gourmet riverside lunches. In downtown Blue Ridge, visitors experience small town friendliness and big city amenities in high-end outfitters, good restaurants, microbreweries and wine bars. Tucked into the surrounding mountains are plenty of comfortable rental cabins, many near trout streams. That’s a good thing. As Carl Riggs said, “I’ve fished all over the country. The number and quality of fish here are as good as anywhere.”
Fast Fact: The Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery raises over one million rainbow trout per year for distribution in North Georgia streams and rivers.