Shining the Spotlight on Mercier Orchards



Farmers in the state of Georgia produce more than 26 million pounds of apples annually with nearly all the orchards concentrated in the North Georgia Mountains. Distinguishing oneself from the other apple orchards might be a large task for some. But Adele Mercier was never easily daunted by the business challenges of competition presented to her and her husband Bill and their 27-acre family orchard they started together in 1943. She had big plans for this little orchard in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Little did she know that it would take her to the dawn of the next century to execute her plan.

In 1999, Adele presented her vision for the Mercier Orchards to the regional tourism association. She shared with them her dream that Mercier’s was going to become an international tourist attraction, right along with her friends from the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway who had just started running scenic excursions to McCaysville and back. That afternoon, the tourism professionals chuckled at the naiveté of this eighty-year-old with such outlandish pipe dreams. Over the past two decades since, many of those in attendance that day have eaten their fair share of humble pie (or maybe apple fried pies?).

Mercier Orchards has grown ten times its original size, with 300 acres of apples, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. The farm market that once boasted just bins of apples from July till December is now open seven days a week from 7 am till 6 pm, 361 days a year.  The Market Store has enlarged to several thousand square feet with outstanding food products, fresh, frozen and canned, with the majority locally sourced. If you are planning on preparing meals during your cabin stay with us, you must visit Merciers. Don’t bother with a shopping list. Every item will take you on a new culinary journey.

The Market has also grown to include a bakery boasting several varieties of fried pies, as well as apple cider donuts, and a large variety of bread, cookies and many other delectable baked goods.  The bakery also supplies the recently enlarged Market Café (open 7am-6pm daily) with award-winning biscuits, bread and rolls served at breakfast each day till 11 am. Breakfast buffet on Saturdays and Sundays is a great place to gather with family and friends, with buffet hours extended to noon.  After a morning in the orchards, picking your own fruit, lunch at the Market is the best place to hydrate, chill and nourish.

Yes, part of Adele’s dream was to bring multi-generational families in to enjoy the seasonal harvests of the orchards. Adults of all ages will enjoy the memories of their childhood days while picking apples, and the children will enjoy every moment, from the wagon ride out to the u-pick them area to delighting as they fill their buckets with berries, peaches or over 30 varieties of apples. U-Pick is subject to availability and the weather. For current picking dates, click here.

Maybe choosing your fruit at the Market is more to your liking than picking your own in the field. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the Orchard experience. From 10 am till 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, indulge yourself with a $5 tractor ride and tour of the 300-acre orchard. The Mercier family loves to share all there is to see and know about their orchard with their guests.

The fruits of the orchard are best enjoyed fresh, but for some, pressed and fermented fruit has as much allure. Mercier’s knows this first hand and would like to invite you to their Tasting Room at the Market. A variety of delicious hard ciders and wines, made with all “Georgia Grown” fruits can be sampled and purchased. “We are currently the only apple orchard in Georgia that can say they grow, press, ferment, and bottle their own product.” avowals their website.

As for Adele’s vision? Late last November, this writer visited the orchard with a friend to purchase a couple of bags of apples. It was late on a Sunday afternoon, three weeks past the high volume tourist season and we expected to be able to run in and out with our fruit purchase. We found the enormous parking lot to be nearly full. Walking into the Market, we discovered every cash register manned and customers were five plus deep waiting in those lines. My friend and I counted six different languages being spoken around us while we patiently waited our turn to pay for our purchases.

Adele Mercier passed away in 2013, leaving her internationally known Market in the very capable hands of second, third and fourth generations of the Mercier Family. They strive to bring to every visitor an experience that they will soon not forget. To learn more about Mercier Orchards and to see their event calendar, visit them at www.mercier-orchards.com.

Hello June!



There is nothing like sweet summertime in the mountains! Lounging on the lake by day and sitting around the fire pit in the evening. Hiking up to waterfalls or splashing down a river. Exploring downtown or exploring nature. However you vacation, you’ll be happy to Escape to Blue Ridge for your summer getaway!

Upcoming Events & Activities

Downtown Market Blue Ridge
June 1 – August 31
LOCATION: Downtown Blue Ridge

Local produce, handmade arts and crafts, baked goods and more! What better way to usher in June, the summer and the growing season! Every Saturday throughout the summer, vendors will set up in front of the Courthouse from 8am until “Noon-ish”. 

Union County Farmers Market
June 1 – October 26
LOCATION: Old Smokey Road, Blairsville

Artisans, beekeepers, bakers, potters, painters, and more gather every Saturday morning starting at 7am to display and sell their wares. Home grown and handmade is their promise, which comes with freshness, quality, flavor and variety!

Namaste and Cabernet
June 1 – October 26
LOCATION: Old Smokey Road, Blairsville

The perfect combination – yoga, followed by wine tasting at a vineyard with a view. Ashlee Lofton leads the yoga class, beginning at 10:45 and then there’s a moment of reflection before moving on to Bear Claw’s Grizzly Tasting. OMMM & AHHH.  Nothing better!  

LUNGevity Move to the Groove Concert
June 1
LOCATION: Mercier Orchards

Help raise funds and awareness for lung cancer at LUNGevity. The concert starts at 6pm with music by Kharisma Jazzmatic Funk, a 10-piece jazz/funk band covering a variety of genres, including Motown, smooth jazz, classic rock and country. Admission is $20. 

Blue Ridge Brewery
June 1 – 15
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Brewery

One of downtown Blue Ridge’s finest restaurants and night spots! With an operating brewery at its core, for optimal fresh beer, this place has a fun-with-your-friends vibe and a reputation for bringing great music to the stage!

June 1 – The Highbeams
June 7 – Shannon York and Rob Harper
June 15 – Gopher Broke

Live Music at The Blue Coyote
June 1 – 29
LOCATION: The Blue Coyote

The Blue Coyote is known for their live music and entertainment. While you’re there you can enjoy their tasty bar food and a whole bunch of beer! They even have a dog-friendly patio! Stop by, check it out, and enjoy the music!

June 1 – Bottoms Up Band
June 7 – Topper
June 8 – Southern Vantage
June 14 – Steven Phillips & The Midnight Express 
June 15 – The Bone Daddy’s
June 22 – Breaking Point
June 28 – Azus!
June 29 – BEATS Workin’ 

Cartecay Vineyards
June 1 – 30 
LOCATION: Cartecay Vineyards

Looking for a serene setting on the hillsides near Ellijay with twisty grapevines, a fireplace with outdoor seating (including a statuesque still-standing chimney, which is the winery’s icon), and live music on weekends? Come out to Cartecay Vineyards!

June 1 – Dom Weir
June 2 – Tommy Joe Conner 
June 8 – Man Bites Dog
June 9 – Robert Ferguson
June 15 – Timothy O’Donovan
June 16 – Buck & Oz
June 22 – Rose Brown
June 23 – Surrender Hill
June 29 – Travis Bowlin
June 30 – Scott Stambaugh

Gail Bliss and the Nashville Barn Dance
June 6 
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

If you like songs by famous country stars like Patsy Cline, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette and George Jones, you’re going to love Gail Bliss and the Nashville Barn Dance! Gail has actually played Patsy Cline in a hit musical that spans Patsy’s career. If you enjoy fiddle and steel guitar, don’t miss this concert!

Seniors Fishing Rodeo
June 6 
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

The definition of “senior” these days is 55 or older, so if you fit that description, this event is free! All you have to do is bring fishing gear and bait and you can fish for beautiful rainbow trout in Rock Creek. The event starts at 9am and continues to noon.

Appalachian Weaving of a Market Basket
June 7 – 8
LOCATION: The Arts Center

The art of weaving a market basket is not only truly art, and an admirable avocation, it is also pretty darn practical, if you’re planning a trip to a farmers market anytime soon. Plus you learn about historical uses, designs and materials that were used years ago in Appalachian culture. 

An American Story & Bergonzi String Quartet
June 7 – 8
LOCATION: The Arts Center

An American play, accompanied by the Bergonzi String Quarter is a wonderful mix of theater and concert to tell the story of a modern couple living in Appalachia, tracing their families’ story through letters saved from the 1800’s. 

Grumpy Old Men Brewery
June 7 – 8
LOCATION: The Arts Center

Great beer (18 beers on tap), a fun atmosphere and a stellar philosophy (delicious beer, dog-friendly, people tolerated). Plenty of craft beers, including those brewed in the brewery, and lots of live music! It’s one of those places that locals like!

June 7 – Gerry Herndon
June 14 – Lindsay Beth Harper
June 21 – Highbeams
June 28 – Gregg Erwin

Boat Dock Bar & Grill
June 7 – 8
LOCATION: The Arts Center

You can’t get a better venue or greater acoustics than right on the lake. With delicious food and jamming tunes, you’ll love the atmosphere and entertainment at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina!

June 8 – Gopher Broke
June 21 – Buck & Oz
June 22 – David Welch Unplugged
June 23 – Gopher Broke

Blairsville Scottish Festival & Highland Games
June 7 – 8
LOCATION: The Arts Center

There’s nothing quite like the sound of bagpipes on a lovely summer day – and you’ll hear and see that and more at the Blairsville Scottish Festival. Enjoy pipe and drum bands, a parade of tartans, border collie demonstrations, amateur athletics, children’s games, and more as Blairsville celebrates its Scottish heritage! 

Kids Fishing Rodeo
June 8
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

First of all, it’s not a rodeo – so don’t expect horses and cowboys. It’s another kind of rodeo, where kids gather up and fish for fun at a hatchery with a lot of fish. You see what you’re about to catch, and then you catch ‘em. It’s fun and enormously rewarding when you see the look on a child’s face as he or she catches their first fish!

Solar Astronomy Day at Brasstown Bald
June 8
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

The great thing about looking at the sun in an observatory is you don’t have to stay up late at night, like you do when you’re trying to catch a glimpse of a planet or two through a telescope. Looking directly into the sun is highly not advised, but the Brasstown Bald astronomy people have tools for that. They just recommend you wear a fair amount of sunscreen, since elevation equals an increase in the sun’s rays intensity and Brasstown is Georgia’s highest point at 4,784 feet.  You’ll learn a lot, and it’s free, just the cost of admission to the park. This event aligns with Junior Explorers Day also on June 8. 

Lake Blue Ridge Concert Series
June 8
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

Come out for the first in a series of live concerts at a great outdoor venue on the shores of Lake Blue Ridge. You have access options – come by boat and anchor in Morganton Cove, or carpool and park on Lakeshore Drive. The lineup of artists include Buck & Oz, Kurt Thomas Band, and it all starts with Jacob Davis Martin at 5pm.

Blairsville Pro Rodeo
June 8
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

A real rodeo straight out of the Wild West – with plenty of action, rumbles and tumbles and opportunities to see bronc riding, roping and barrel racing. Always held on the third weekend of June, this rodeo has become one of the most popular in North Georgia. 

Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival
June 8
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

It’s hard to beat hot jazz, good wine and stunning mountain views, but add in the setting: in the middle of Georgia’s largest orchard, and you have a wonderful recipe for a great day! Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and get ready for the Rhythm Jets, Cadillac Jones and Kharisma Jazzmatic Funk to perform. And wine – did we mention wine? 

Appalachian Trail Day – A Day in the Life (of the Appalachian Trail)
June 8
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

Yes, there’s the Wild West.  But this event asks that we don’t forget there’s also a Wild East and a lot of it is along a narrow, 2,000-mile strip of hiking trail known as the Appalachian Trail.  Each year thousands hike sections of the trail and some try to thru-hike it. It’s sometimes hard to imagine the challenges, hardships and rewards of that journey, but this Day in the Life attempts to capture a slice of that.  

New Homes Added to Our Program

Hilltop Hideaway

You have a lot of choices when deciding where and how to spend your vacation, and it can be overwhelming. But if you want magnificent architecture, and first class amenities in a secluded setting less than five miles from downtown Blue Ridge, look no further than Hilltop Hideaway. Truly spectacular inside and out, this Blue Ridge cabin rental is the perfect relaxing retreat to enjoy with family and friends. Located on a mountain with wraparound decks to showcase the view from every angle, the cabin is the epitome of rustic elegance, with plenty of country charm and a relaxed, welcoming ambiance.

Above The Blue

Aptly named for its perfectly situated location above the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Blue Ridge, the North Georgia cabin rental Above the Blue is all about its million-dollar view. Breathtaking, magnificent, and stunning are words you might use to describe its spectacular sunrise-to-sunset picture postcard vistas, if you’re not rendered completely speechless by nature’s beauty. This private, wooded oasis is convenient to popular attractions like Falls Creek Falls, the Swinging Bridge on the Toccoa River, and of course Lake Blue Ridge, and the shops and restaurants of Blue Ridge are just five miles away. Constructed of the finest pine and furnished in modern rustic style, the tri-level cabin is warm and inviting, the perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy a carefree experience with friends and family.

BUCKingham Palace

What qualities do you crave most in a mountain vacation? Is it the peace, quiet and serenity your daily life lacks, the magnificent beauty of unspoiled nature, or experiencing all the fun and adventure the Georgia Mountains have to offer? At the Blue Ridge cabin rental BUCKingham Palace, you can have all of the above, and so much more. Located on more than an acre in the heart of the Aska Adventure Area just 10 miles from downtown Blue Ridge, this serene woodland oasis replaces asphalt with lush forest greenery and traffic noise with the sound of a nearby waterfall. Here, you’ll have privacy, tranquility, and a sense of calm that allows you to leave the world behind.

In Case You Missed It

To many in this neck of the woods, Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch, Yowie and Yedi) isn’t just a 20th-century folk legend. The first recorded sighting of him here in Fannin County was June 26, 1873. Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest has long been known as a hotbed for Bigfoot activity amongst the Bigfoot research community. And if you think that those who have an interest in this mysterious creature are just a little bit left of center, take into consideration that the famed anthropologist and highly regarded scientist Jane Goodall has said of Sasquatch beings, “I’m fascinated by them and would actually love them to exist”. This reddish-brown hairy creature is reportedly about 8 feet in height and his alleged footprints that have been found all across the globe suggesting he has a 24-inch long foot that measures 8 inches across. To put that into some perspective, NBA giant  Shaquille O’Neal is 7’1” and the length of his foot measures 15 inches. Keep Reading.

Great Town, Great Events!



MARK YOUR CALENDAR, IT’S AN ANNUAL THING!

Some communities are fortunate to have county fairs in their backyards or a state fair within an hour’s drive or two – so when it comes to deep-fried anything outrageous (Krispy Kreme Burgers, deep-fried butter, python kabobs, etc), or a carnival ride or two, it’s available – at least once or twice a year.

Then there are communities known far and wide as festival towns. You don’t even have to ask if there’s anything going on, or fun things to do during the week and on the weekends – because there always is, and you’re not limited to crazy cuisine on a stick, octo-dogs, chocolate-covered bacon (yummo, by the way) or funnel cakes. Sometimes healthy food and fitness is the central theme, and you might actually lose weight rather than gain a pound or two.

Blue Ridge is one of those special towns where there’s always something going on – it’s a festival town, but also a destination for events – big ones and small ones – some tied to traditional holidays and some that have been created with care by locals who are passionate about books, music, the outdoors, or the arts.

A listing of festivals and events in Blue Ridge usually begins at the beginning – in January – but the beginning of the summer season starts with Memorial Day, when the pools are filled, the boat motor is tuned up and wineries and restaurants typically return to extended hours. So, let’s start with that.

Spring Arts in the Park – Memorial Day Weekend – May 25 & 26

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge City Park
Host: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Arts in the Park is not just a spring kickoff to the festival season in Blue Ridge, another Arts in the Park brings things to a close in October. In both instances, artists and artisans, including musicians, fill the expansive Blue Ridge Downtown City Park with activities, performances and even some dancing. More than 200 juried art, craft and food booths are featured. This event is recognized as one of the Top 20 Events by the Southeastern Tourism Society. The Festival is held rain or shine. Pets are welcome as long as they are leashed and well-behaved. Weekend Admission: Adults $5 and children 12 and under are free!

Ride the Rails Festival – June 22 & 23

Location: Mineral Bluff Depot
Host: Tri-County Railroaders

Photo Courtesy of Shanna Beavers

You’ve seen ‘em, although you may not have known what you were seeing, railroad motor cars. They were used to monitor track conditions along stretches of railways. During a two-day Ride the Rails festival weekend, you’ll have a chance to actually ride in one in a five-mile round trip from the Mineral Bluff Depot, through the historic Iron Bridge and over the beautiful Toccoa River and back.  The trip begins (and ends) at the Mineral Bluff Depot, where there’s also a scale model railroad, built and maintained by the Tri-County Railroaders. Food and beverage will also be available. For railroad enthusiasts, and the intellectually curious, this is an event not to be missed!

Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival – June 22

Location: Merciers Orchards
Host: Blue Ridge Mountains Wine and Jazz Festival

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Wine and Jazz Festival

Blue Ridge is becoming (if it isn’t already) a cultural tourism destination. That means wine, of course, and music. The wine will come from around the world, including those made locally in North Georgia and North Carolina and all you have to bring is a blanket or a few lawn chairs. Set wine, hard cider and some groove music against the gorgeous mountain backdrop of Merciers Orchards, and you have a classy and cultural event.

Independence Day – 4th of July Parade & Fireworks – Saturday Closest to July 4th

Locations: Downtown Blue Ridge, Lake Blue Ridge and McCaysville
More Information: Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Foster Bidez

It’s the ideal 4th of July weekend package: Independence day in a small patriotic town that also likes it’s fun and a beautiful lake to provide the perfect backdrop for fireworks. Blue Ridge’s Independence Day parade is a “blast” You will have a ball seeing floats that show creativity and a good sense of humor.  The Fabulous Fireworks will be shot off near the Lake Blue Ridge Dam and can be viewed from there as well as Morganton Point Recreation Area, Tammen Park and Lake Blue Ridge Marina. The marina will have live music and barbecue throughout the day. And if it’s an old-fashioned 4th that appeals to you, the small town Independence Day celebration in McCaysville is just the thing, featuring an impressive fireworks display from Tater Hill in downtown McCaysville-Copperhill. Here’s a thought – ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to the fireworks for a totally unique Independence Day experience on July 5.  

Blue Ridge Kiwanis Rodeo – August 17 & 18

Location: Kiwanis Fairgrounds in Blue Ridge
Host: Blue Ridge Kiwanis

Photo Courtesy of Rick Young

The Wild Wild West has nothin’ on Blue Ridge. Every August, for the last 22 years, you would swear (but please don’t) that you have landed in Laramie, Wyoming or Tucson, Arizona, because Georgia’s red clay is being pulverized to dust by broncs and bulls. This is a classic western style rodeo, complete with bull riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, bareback, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and special events. There’s great food and fun for all ages!

Plein Aire Festival – September 5-8

Location: Horse Creek Stable Rescue Sanctuary
Host: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

It sometimes takes a while to recognize and realize what’s happening in a town or out in the country, when you see artists standing stock still in front of easels and canvases, recreating a visual or a vista. When you approach the artist you can see what they see – beautiful mountains, or unique downtown scenes you may not have noticed (but they have – they’re artists, after all). If you peer over their shoulder you’ll see that these images are being captured in watercolors or charcoals or any number of arts mediums. It’s all part of an arts event that brings artists from across the region to Blue Ridge to capture the scenic beauty of this mountain community. Artists from across the southeast are encouraged to get outside and recreate nature’s beauty!

Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival – September 14 & 15

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: The Blue Ridge Lodging Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival

One rule of thumb in the events realm is anything that starts with a crawl is going to be a good thing! So, the Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival starts with a Blues Crawl on Friday night, followed by great blues and barbecue on Saturday. So, what is a Blues Crawl?  Well, it’s kind of a meander through eight different restaurants, enjoying live music, food and drink, kicking off the Blues Weekend in the mountains. Then on Saturday it’s on to the blues and barbecue portion of the festivities with barbecue smells from local and regional cookers filling the air downtown and blues musicians performing from stages set around Blue Ridge City Park.

Fall Foliage Train Rides – October to November

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge Historic Train Depot
Host: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

And winter, and spring and summer… The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is an icon in downtown Blue Ridge, and all along the line to McCaysville and back. You can enjoy the brilliant colors of fall on a special train ride during October and early November or you can ride during the winter, spring or summer seasons as well! Learn about this region’s history along the way and you will have a deeper understanding about the beauty of this incredible part of the country!

Paws in the Park – 2nd Weekend of October

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: Humane Society of Blue Ridge

Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Blue Ridge

This is the perfect annual event for pet lovers! You can have a great time with your pets and get a few critical things done that need to be done before the end of fall, like a rabies vaccine at the rabies clinic and/or micro-chipping. Other pet friendly events include a pet parade, 5K race, pet education and demonstrations, a costume contest, prizes, photos and more for a fun day with your favorite pet!

Blue Ridge Fall Fest Arts & Crafts Show – 3rd and 4th Weekend in October

Location: Blue Ridge Farmers Market
Host: Fannin County Fire Explorers

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Farmers Market

Fall Fest features local arts, crafts, food and fun on two separate October weekends! This event has historically been called the Homemakers Fall Festival, but the event has stretched to include artisans as well as heritage crafts and food vendors. Come out to the Blue Ridge Farmers Market and experience the best in mountain creations.

Halloween Safe Zones – October 31

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge and McCaysville
Host: Blue Ridge Business Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Business Association

There’s nothing better than seeing the excitement that surrounds a group of kids all dressed up for Halloween and ready to head out to an early evening of trick-or-treating. The only thing better is knowing that where they’re going is safe. Kids of all ages get to trick or treat from shop to shop in downtown Blue Ridge and McCaysville. Pumpkin carving, costume contests, food, and entertainment are also part of the evening festivities!

Holiday Art Show & Sale, Light Up Blue Ridge & Hometown Christmas – Each November-December

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge, McCaysville, & Copperhill
More Information: Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy of Light Up Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association sponsors a regional arts and crafts event where you can shop for regional art and crafts at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Downtown Blue Ridge and Downtown McCaysville hold their Christmas festival on the day after Thanksgiving with music, refreshments, caroling and all-day activities. Official lighting of the Christmas tree in downtown Blue Ridge takes place at dusk and then Santa arrives! Santa’s arrival, food, refreshments and entertainment and the lighting of the bridge all are on the agenda that same night in McCaysville. 

AND SO BEGINS 2020 …

Fire and Ice Chili Cookoff – President’s Day Weekend

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: Blue Ridge Business Association

Photo Courtesy of Fire and Ice Chili Cook-Off

Is it really cold enough in Blue Ridge, Georgia in February to hold an ice carving competition? Yup.  It is – so bundle up. But you also have to be prepared for the heat – the heat of homemade chili that comes in all kinds of flavors and a range of hotness. The contrast of cool and hot also perfectly describes the weekend festivities that kick off the festival season. The event is cool – attracting thousands to City Park in downtown Blue Ridge and the ice sculptures are hot with a wide range of ideas and images that emerge from a block of ice. The event in 2020 will be the eighth annual, and it continues to grow every year!

Annual Blue Ridge Writers Conference – Early April

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association Art Center

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference

Writers write – that’s what they do. But writing is a solitary pursuit and sometimes writers just have to get together to compare notes and chat about what they do and how they do it. The annual Writers Conference is a literary tradition and unique cultural asset enjoyed by our many writers and aspiring writers each Spring as they gather in Blue Ridge to learn more about their special craft.

Blue Ridge Trout Fest & Outdoor Adventures  – Last Weekend in April

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Unlimited #696 and the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Trout Festival

There are a lot of trout in Georgia. They are stocked, and caught, and eaten in large numbers. There are also several trout festivals designed to help anglers learn about and appreciate one of America’s favorite fish – the trout. But there is only one Official Trout Festival in the state of Georgia – and this is it. The festival includes great exhibits by outdoor organizations and businesses, education on trout fishing, entertainment, food trucks and more in downtown Blue Ridge’s City Park. 

Where To Stay?

Summit Escape

And as always, when you are looking to Escape to Blue Ridge, we have your best mountain accommodations. From cozy two bed cabins to massive six bedroom lodges. Not only can you enjoy festivals, but there is always live music in town, great shops to explore and fabulous restaurants to enjoy. When you’ve had enough “people” time, escape to nature and explore all the natural beauty that surrounds us. You’ll be happy you did.

Salsa or Sushi?



Even though a trip to the mountains hints at a hankering for sausage gravy slathered over big fluffy biscuits, with a side of smoked baby backs and a dish of collards with ham hocks, you will find lots of exceptional cuisines that aren’t best washed down with sweet tea and a to-go container of banana pudding.

Here are some of the restaurants that are within a 35 mile drive of Blue Ridge that will more than satisfy your craving for either salsa or sushi:

The Rum Cake Lady Cuban Café

Photo Courtesy of the Rum Cake Lady

Yes, Miss Elizabeth is best known for her four different varieties of Rum Cakes which she ships all across the globe from her mountain bakery. But those who are fortunate enough to have eaten at one of her two café establishments know that it’s just as much about the true Cuban cuisine, not just the cakes. With two locations to serve you, the downtown Blue Ridge Café is similar to a Cuban walk-up window, or “La Ventanita”. When after a morning of hiking or tubing, you are hungry and you don’t want to shower before a hearty lunch – this is the ideal place to visit. They offer fresh, authentic Cuban sandwiches, tamales, empanadas, plantains, rice, and beans.

Their Copperhill location includes indoor seating, dinner hours, the same great menu plus a Cuban grocery. Both locations boast the best Cuban coffee in the mountains. A guava and cheese pastelitos or a caramel flan with a café con leche is not a problem on your diet. After all,  you are on vacation. Oh, and grab a couple of rum cakes for those you left back at home. Located at: 205 First St. Blue Ridge GA & 111 Ocoee St. Copperhill TN.

Asiano

Images courtesy of Asiano

When the urge for Asian cuisine hits, there always seems to be an issue with which style will you treat yourself tonight. Will it be sushi or Thai? Japanese Steakhouse or Chinese? And rarely will two people agree, much less a family of four. This is when to head straight up the 515 corridor to the beautiful lakeside town of Hiawassee.

For the past two decades, Koo and his family have been serving great food and even entertainment, as the personable hibachi chefs show off their superior knife skills around the large griddles of the Japanese Steakhouse side of the restaurant. The menu for each style of Asian fare is quite extensive, with all food fresh and sauces made in house. Whether it’s their traditional sweet and sour soup or their untraditional Philly cheesesteak eggroll, you won’t be disappointed with the number of options to satisfy that Asian craving.  Located at 1382 Hwy 76 (515) Hiawassee, GA.

Las 2 Hustecas

Photo Courtesy of Las 2 Hustecas

You won’t need your passport, but this Mexican food is so authentic, you’ll have wondered if you crossed the border and stumbled into a small village cantina. There are often two sure signs that a Mexican restaurant serves top-notch authentic cuisine. Yes to both at Las 2 Hustecas. A good percentage of the clientele is Hispanic and the best chefs in the region are often seen eating here on their nights off.

Rated nearly five stars on every online review service, the reviewers consistently mention that they were served the BEST guacamole, the biggest burritos, the smallest seating (so expect to wait or opt for takeout) and the highest quality fresh food, all at ridiculously low prices (there’s a breakfast menu, too). In fact, the main complaint from out of town visitors is they don’t have Mexican food this good when they go back home. Located in a little strip center, no frills 4114 E. Main St.  Blue Ridge, GA.

Kizuna Sushi & Noodle

Photo Courtesy of Kizuna Sushi & Noodle

The newest restaurant to join the Blue Ridge culinary scene has opened to rave reviews. An authentic Japanese and Sushi House, Kizuna is an elegant restaurant that serves what one reviewer called “Japanese street food”. The sushi is raw and skillfully crafted. No California rolls here. This is true sashimi. Then they turn your idea of ramen noodles upside down with so many options to choose from for your Japanese bowls. The tempura is light with a variety of vegetables and seafood to tempt you to order fried. The pork dumplings have also won critical reviews.

Check out their menu before deciding to order take-out. The freshest items like sushi and Udon noodles will only be served in-house. Kizuna serves beer, wine and a nice selection of sake. Located at 140 Progress Cr. Suite 3 Blue Ridge GA

Memorial Day in the Mountains



Spring has sprung, the temperatures are climbing, and everything is blooming! The last weekend in May, Memorial Day Weekend, is an excellent time to get away from the hub bub of daily life and Escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains to enjoy the beauty that is bursting all around us!

Extreme or Serene

There is no shortage of fun to be had around town, but if just relaxing with your favorite people (and pups) in a fabulous cabin is your idea of a good time, we totally get it. Many of our cabins are equipped with game rooms, hot tubs, fire pits, and wooded trails to explore. There is also horseback riding stables, zip lines, and whitewater rafting close by for added immersion into the wonders of Mother Nature.

Downtown Blue Ridge

In downtown Blue Ridge you’ll enjoy attending the 44th Annual Spring Arts in the Park event on Saturday and Sunday, May 25th & 26th.  This Southern tradition features more than two hundred arts, crafts, and food booths for you to admire fine arts and mountain crafts. You’ll also be able to see artist’s demonstrations, hear some great music, and support the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association! The event is held rain or shine, and well-behaved leashed pets are welcome. Admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free!  

Spring Arts in the Park
Photo Courtesy of The Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Center

Music will be abundant in the Downtown area as well. The Blue Ridge Brewery will welcome Gopher Broke on Saturday and Travis Bowlin on Sunday. At Grumpy Old Men Brewery you’ll get to see Highbeams on Saturday and the Copperhill Brewery will host Gerry Herndon on Sunday. You won’t want to miss Travis Bowlin at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill, which by the way, did you know, they are a sunny spot for shady people? Check them out. They offer great views of Lake Blue Ridge, delicious food, and fantastic drinks! Last but not least, The Blue Coyote will be jamming on Saturday with the Breaking Point Band and a local favorite, Gregg Erwin on Sunday.

Downtown Blairsville

About thirty minutes East of Blue Ridge in the town of Blairsville, you’ll encounter their annual Spring Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival. Saturday morning begins with a Memorial Day Parade and the rest of the day and all-day Sunday you can enjoy more than 200 local and regional artists. Many musicians will also be on site to entertain you and your family. There is no charge to attend, but plenty of family fun is sure to be had!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Downtown Blairsville

McCaysville/Copperhill

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Railway

If you’ve never experienced a trip on the Blue Ridge Railway, you should definitely consider boarding in downtown Blue Ridge and taking an enjoyable two hour ride to the revitalized cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, Tn.  Yep, this is your chance to stand in two states at one time! Grab a sinful shake or decadent donuts at Sweet & Southern Sugar Company.  Maybe Cuban is more your style and you prefer a Cuban coffee and empanada at the Rum Cake Lady for an afternoon treat. For a good giggle and unique gifts, head over to Weird Oh!. So, what exactly is Weird Oh!? Well, it’s a magical emporium of fun! Better known as an unusual place for unusual people, inside you will find peculiar treasures and trinkets. It’s a place where kids can be kids and adults can be kids too! Everything can be touched, moved, and you can even write on the walls and not get in trouble! The only rule that you will encounter is that laughter is a must! No matter what.

Whatever plans you make for the holiday weekend, we hope that you are spending it with all the ones you love creating memories and enjoying the freedom that we get to enjoy in the great United States of America. As we approach Memorial Day Weekend, we want to take a moment to thank all of the men and women that have so courageously given their lives to defend this beautiful country in which we are so fortunate to live. There is no greater sacrifice one can make and the patriotism that these honorable souls displayed deserves our recognition and gratitude, not just one weekend a year, but all year long. Thank you for your service.

May Flowers Are Popping & So Are These Great Events!



May 2019
Spring is in full bloom and this is an ideal time to come visit the North Georgia Mountains! Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy a vibrant downtown, great restaurants, unique shops, rushing waterfalls, a sparkling blue lake, and mountain views that will take your breath away!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Veterans Fishing Rodeo
May 3
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Fish Hatchery

Photo Courtesy of Chattahoochee Fish Hatchery

Bring your own fishing gear and bait – but you’ll never have a better chance to catch fresh trout.  The event comes complete with lunch and prizes. Georgia Sports Fishing Regulations apply.

Live Music at The Blue Coyote
May 3

LOCATION: Chattahoochee Fish Hatchery

Photo Courtesy of The Blue Coyote

The Blue Coyote is known for their live music and entertainment. While you’re there you can enjoy their tasty bar food and a whole bunch of beer! They even have a dog-friendly patio! Stop by, check it out, and enjoy the music!

May 3 – Slickfoot Band Live
May 4 – Southern Vantage Band
May 10 – Apollo Band
May 11 – Mind the Stepchildren
May 17 – Shadow Ape Band
May 18 – Topper/Voices of Rock
May 24 – Breaking Point Band
May 25 – Gregg Erwin
May 31 – Rocket Band

Live Music Is Better: Geoff Achison
May 3
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Fish Hatchery

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater

Australian and on tour, Achison is a guitar master as well as a song writer.  His music has been compared to the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton and JJ Cale. He has a solid foundation in blues while also embracing varied musical styles.

Outlaw’s Workshop Retreat
May 3 – May 5
LOCATION: 3 Monkey’s Home Accents

Photo Courtesy of 3 Monkey’s Home Accents

If you’ve ever wanted to learn the art of watercolor painting, now’s the time. This three-day retreat covers techniques like layering, blending, accenting and various other aspects of watercolor painting. Crafters at all levels from beginners to advanced are welcome. 

Boat Dock Bar & Grill
May 3 – May 24
LOCATION: Lake Blue Ridge Marina

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Marina

You can’t get a better venue or greater acoustics than right on the lake. With delicious food and jamming tunes, you’ll love the atmosphere and entertainment at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina.

May 3 – Shannon York and Rob Harper 
May 4 – Lindsay Beth Harper 
May 5 – Buck & Oz Return 
May 10 – Danny Rhea Live
May 11 – Gopher Broke
May 18 – David Welch Unplugged 
May 24 – Gopher Broke

All Star Monster Truck Monster BBQ Tailgate Party
May 3 – May 4
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Motorsports Park

Photo Courtesy of Dale Burkhart Photography

On Friday meet all the biggies – Bigfoot, Avenger, Brutus, Gunslinger and more. Plus you get to meet the guys who drive these monster trucks and eat a bit of barbecue while you’re at it. On Saturday the trucks and their drivers are in full stomp mode. Choose either event or both.

Namaste and Cabernet
May 4
LOCATION: Bear Claw Vineyards & Winery

Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

The perfect combination – an hour of yoga with Ashlee Lofton of Yoga Over Blue Ridge followed by a tasting of award-winning Bear Claw’s Grizzly Tasting. You get relaxed both ways!

Georgia Apple Blossom Festival
May 4 – May 5
LOCATION: Downtown Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of the Gilmer Chamber of Commerce

Ellijay is apple country so no wonder an apple festival is a huge springtime attraction! Artists, crafters, music, entertainment, and children’s activities will all be there to kick off the spring season! Pet friendly and FREE admission! 

7th Annual Awake the Grapes
May 4 – May 5
LOCATION: Downtown Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of Serenberry Vineyards

It’s a tradition at wineries to help grapes wake up in the spring – it takes more than a nudge, and alarm clocks are worthless with grapes. So, cuttings from cold weather prunings fuel the bonfire and grapevines are perked up by folks drinking wine and listening to live music. It’s a tradition. It’s necessary. And it’s fun!

Taste of Blue Ridge
May 4 – May 5
LOCATION: Downtown Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of The Humane Society of Blue Ridge

This will be the 12th annual Taste of Blue Ridge, benefiting the Humane Society of Blue Ridge. More than 30 restaurants from around the Blue Ridge area will participate – plenty to eat, plus live and silent auctions and live music!

Apple Trees Art Party
May 4
LOCATION: Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

Being out your creative side at Mercier’s and create a beautiful painting of an apple tree. The cost is $40/per person and includes a tractor ride up to the pavilion overlooking the orchard, a lunch consisting of a variety of sandwiches, fruits, and desserts, all the art supplies you will need, and a skilled artist to help you! All skill levels are welcome!

Cartecay Vineyards
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of Cartecay Vineyards

A picturesque venue, live music, and wine. What better way to spend an afternoon with your family or friends?

May 4 – David Hyde
May 5 – April Rooks
May 12 – Rick Byers
May 26 – Gopher Broke

American Idol Winner Kris Allen in Concert
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of Firefly Productions

Back in Blue Ridge, American Idol winner Kris Allen is ready to rock the mountains in a special live intimate acoustic show in a private cabin! Tickets are seriously limited, so get them as soon as you can!  

Rusty Trucks Folkart Style
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of Cohutta Country Store

Rule of thumb – do anything (whether it’s art, a demolition derby or a golf outing) whenever the first two words describing the event are “rusty trucks”. In this case, it’s an art event – so sign up soon and you’ll be painting your very own rusty truck before you know it. The cost is $25 and all art supplies are included plus instruction by Becca.

Boeing Boeing
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Community Theater

It’s the swinging 60’s and it was okay to call flight attendants “stewardesses”. Dating practices also were a tad different in those days, like three fiances! Life gets a little bumpy when his lies catch up to him and his friend Robert comes to stay! 

Blue Ridge Adventure Race 2019
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of AR Georgia

Not your usual 5k or 10k – that’s for sure. This Adventure Race features a 24-hour race and an 8-hour race complete with secret locations and a variety of skill sets like trekking, biking, paddling, navigation and orienteering. 

Georgia Mountain EggFest
May 17 – May 18
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Mountain Fairground

An Eggfest is a gathering of Big Green Egg fans and experienced cooks from all across the country and Canada. The cooks will be showcasing their skills and talents and will be preparing their specialty recipes all day long!

Outlaws & Renegades Tour
May 18
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Travis Tritt and The Cadillac Three will be live in Hiawassee on May 18! Grab your best boots and sing along to some of your favorite Country songs like “It’s a great day to be alive”, “Here’s a quarter”, “T.R.O.U.B.L.E” and “I’m gonna be somebody”!

Spring Arts in the Park
May 18
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountain Art Association

The 44th Annual Spring Arts in the Park is a Southern tradition in these parts. Enjoy more than 200 arts, crafts and food booths, featuring the best in mountain crafts and fine arts, demonstrations, music and dancing!

Great American Pie Fest
May 25
LOCATION: Paradise Hills

Photo Courtesy of Paradise Hills

A full day celebration honoring those who served to protect America. Live music featuring Michael Hulett, beer, brats, lunch and a never-ending pie buffet (apple and cherry especially, of course).

Spring Arts,Crafts & Music Festival
May 25 – May 26
LOCATION: Downtown Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of the Union County Historical Society

Blairsville’s Downtown  comes alive Memorial Day Weekend with talented artists, musicians, and food. The weekend begins with a concert at the Old Courthouse Friday evening, a Memorial Day parade at 10am on Saturday, an outdoor concert on the Square Saturday evening and of course the festival! FREE and family-friendly!

New Homes Added to Our Program

Just Bluffing

Just Bluffing

Do you dream of a private mountain getaway where you can leave the stresses of daily life behind and relax with family and friends in a magnificent setting? That dream can become a reality at Just Bluffing. This beautifully designed Blue Ridge cabin rental is a tri-level showplace situated on a bluff amid the trees, with a glorious view of the mountains from sunrise to sunset. Secluded and serene but just six miles from the shops and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge and fun activities like apple picking at Mercier’s Orchard, it’s the perfect place for a well-deserved vacation.

Aska Adventure Lodge

Aska Adventure Lodge

The Aska Adventure Lodge is located in the sought after Aska Adventure area and is conveniently located less than five minutes from the quaint town of Blue Ridge, Georgia, the Toccoa River and Lake Blue Ridge. It is close to everything you’d want, but tucked away with all the privacy you’d expect from a mountain vacation retreat. Aska is the Cherokee Native American word for “winter retreat,” however, this cabin is perfect in every season. Hike right from the expansive wraparound porch, up the hill and connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail. Or, take advantage of the many popular area waterfalls and great tubing and canoeing activities.

In Case You Missed It

Dog Friendly Hikes

Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone! While we’d all love to be able to take our dogs with us on every trail we venture down, we can’t always do that. Sometimes the trails are too steep or the terrain is too rough for our four-legged friends to maneuver, or sometimes they simply aren’t allowed in that area because of other critters that may be dangerous for our dogs to encounter. To make things a little easier for you and your furry companion, here’s a list of a few trails around the Blue Ridge area that are sure to bring tons of fun for both and your favorite adventure buddy! Keep Reading.

Thank you again for giving us the privilege of serving you. If we can ever be of assistance, please visit us online at www.escapetoblueridge.com email us at reservations@escapetoblueridge.com or give us a call at 1-866-618-2521. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Many happy returns,
From all of us at Escape to Blue Ridge

6 Extraordinary Vacation Rentals for an Unforgettable Family Reunion



Whether your family gets together every year or every few years, it’s always a good time to come together and celebrate your history and heritage. Reunions give the older generations time to sit together and reminisce and the younger generations and meet each other and develop lifelong friendships.

Blue Ridge, Georgia is the perfect location to plan a family reunion because there is something to entertain the entire family. Book a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway or plan a hike to Long Creek Falls along the Benton Mackaye Trail. Maybe a tractor ride and apple picking at Mercier Orchards is on the agenda or an exhilarating rafting trip on the Ocoee River will bond together long-lost family members. Either way, you need a base camp and we have the perfect cabins to accommodate your group!

Ambleside

Not every Georgia mountain cabin rental looks like the elegant homes in “Southern Living” magazine, but Ambleside is that kind of place! Exquisitely appointed, this five bedroom, five and a half bath lodge is roomy enough to accommodate (16) sixteen guests in comfort and style. Add in magnificent mountain and river views from every window and fun things to do right on the property and nearby, and you have the makings of a magical vacation!

Ambleside rests on a hillside in a secure, gated community eight miles from downtown Blue Ridge, between the seventh and eighth holes of the top-rated Old Toccoa Farm golf course which you have “member rate” access to play. The cabin’s property overlooks the fairway and the Toccoa River below inviting your family to fish, kayak, or explore the beautiful hiking trails.

Take turns preparing meals in the fully stocked expansive kitchen with its new stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, and conveniences like an icemaker, coffeemaker, blender, and anything else you may need to prepare a feast for your crowd. After dinner, enjoy a friendly game of ping pong or foosball or take it outside for a corn hole tournament!  End the day relaxing in the hot tub or roasting s’mores over the fire pit area.

Eagles Landing

Situated directly on Lake Blue Ridge, Eagles Landing is a spectacular showplace that has incomparable views of the surrounding mountains! If the epitome of rustic elegance is what you’re looking for, this spacious lodge has seven bedrooms to accommodate (19) nineteen guests!

By day, the whole family can enjoy boating and swimming at the lake and all the activities the nearby Aska Adventure Area has to offer. Unwind afterward with good food, conversation, and entertainment indoors or under the stars. Whether inside or out, enjoy views and privacy that cannot be found anywhere else. You may even be lucky enough to spot the family of bald eagles that nests nearby!

There are three decks spanning the length of the home, a hot tub, swings, and a picnic table, but that’s not all! This home comes complete with a two-story dock that has enough furniture enough to accommodate sixteen! Enjoy a picnic on the water, fishing directly from the dock, taking a ride on the paddleboat, or swimming. There are also two ramps for watercraft, as well accommodations for a motorboat. Whether you and your family spen time watching the skiers and wakeboarders, or watching an incomparable sunset, you’ll spend as much time as possible on the dock!

Falling Waters Lodge

Falling Waters Lodge sits at the pinnacle of luxury in every way. The four bedroom, three and a half bath retreat can comfortably accommodate (12) twelve guests. Lucky for you, the home’s location is at one of the highest points in the Aska Adventure Area. Step out on the expansive decking, which provides the best seat in the house, as you become the ultimate spectator of nature’s most majestic scenic views!

Every detail put into Falling Waters is living testimony that craftsmanship is alive and well. It is large and spacious with abundant windows, yet it is also – somehow – inviting and snug.  You will become invigorated as you inch up the driveway passing the gazebo, fire pit and of course, the home’s multi-level waterfall for which it is named, and that bids you welcome. 

At Falling Waters, every luxury is thoughtfully provided from high-thread linens to a gourmet kitchen. The home offers entertainment you can share from the game library or billiards, ping pong and air hockey fun. Or, make your time as personal as a work out in the home’s private gym. In the evening, take in the sun set over the mountains, from the hot tub which is set on the lower-level deck or choose to cap off the evening with a movie in the theater-quality media room.

Just Like Heaven

Just Like Heaven is a gorgeous mountain retreat that features six bedrooms for up to (16) sixteen guests making it perfect for a vacation with your entire family! With incredible seasonal mountain views this cabin in the Blairsville woods is your own private, secluded hideaway but close to activities like hiking, horseback riding, fishing and boating at Cozy Cove Marina. There’s even an ATV trail at nearby Davenport Ridge!

Inside, Just Like Heaven is warm, airy, and bright, with décor that’s a professionally decorated mix of modern and traditional furnishings, colors and touches. The solid pine interior, vaulted ceilings and spacious open living area provide a welcoming setting for gathering before the wood-burning fireplace. Upstairs in the media room, you’ll find billiards, shuffleboard, board games, a karaoke machine, foosball, an enormous 103” flat screen TV with DirecTV and DVD for hours of fun and entertainment!

There’s even more fun to be had outside, where you can play corn hole, basketball, ping-pong or fire up the charcoal grill for an al fresco meal. There’s plenty of comfortable seating on the covered deck, where there’s a wood burning fireplace to keep you cozy on crisp evenings while you enjoy the mountain air. But the best attribute of Just Like Heaven is the feeling it gives you while you’re there and the experience you’ll take home with you. The name says it all!

Legend

Staying at Legend is like having an entire five-star resort all to yourself. This luxury log cabin is truly in a class of its own. It’s built from handcrafted Douglas-fir logs and each spacious room presents incredible attention to detail with cathedral ceilings, arched doorways, sumptuous furnishings, stylish fixtures, and every amenity you desire to relax in complete luxury!

You’ll have everything you need to entertain your (13) thirteen guests in this six bedroom, six and a half bath lodge and on the land surrounding you. Bring your fishing pole and spend the day at the stocked trout stream rushing right outside your door, or simply have fun splashing around and getting a little sun! Go on an exhilarating hike through one of the property’s hiking paths, or enjoy a leisurely stroll in the pastures, taking in breathtaking mountain views around you. The gang can even play a little touch football on the sprawling lawn. You can also take a foursome just a short drive to one of three fantastic golf courses in the area or indulge in a little pampering at a spa in town followed by some shopping.

In case of inclement weather you can spend an afternoon in the game room downstairs playing pinball, billiards, foosball, ping pong or board games — there’s a little something for everyone. And with another gourmet kitchen and wet bar at the ready, you’ll have everything you need — no need to even go upstairs for snacks and drinks! Legend even has its own cinema screening room downstairs, complete with stadium seating — it doesn’t get any closer to an authentic movie theater experience than this! Make some popcorn, grab drinks at the nearby kitchen and bar, then everyone can sink into sumptuous loungers and enjoy a great movie up on the big screen!

Legend’s spacious, covered decks with their sweeping views make entertaining easy as a mountain breeze! Nature will entertain you and your guests for hours, with views of the rushing creek, horses playing in the nearby pastures, and the verdant tree farm nearby. With the smoker and gas grill at the ready, host a mouthwatering barbecue — with two picnic tables, there’s plenty of room for everyone to dine al fresco, with the soothing sounds of the nearby stream as background music. Or, perhaps make a feast in the enormous gourmet kitchen, and everyone can gather ’round the large dining table in front of epic mountain views!

Spyglass

SpyGlass is the name, the view will explain. The largest of our cabin rentals, this six bedroom, five and a half bath home can comfortable accommodate (21) twenty-one guests. Seize the opportunity to stay in this $5 million custom resort lodge with its own private pool and spa, where you can come and go by helicopter, and treat the entire family to 8,000 sq. ft. of pure luxury and decadence!

SpyGlass is the stuff of fairy tales. The palatial custom gourmet kitchen is made for entertaining, with two refrigerators, two dishwashers, two drawer warmers, a double oven and wine cooler. Relax after a meal in the great room with its 32 ft. vaulted ceiling, imposing iron chandelier, custom woodcarvings of wildlife adorning the walls, and a huge stone fireplace as the room’s centerpiece. The curved, windowed wall has built-in seating for a perfect view of the hills and starlit sky offering wide-open 40-mile views!

Outside the fire pit is an enchanted place for stargazing and making s’mores. During the day, set out fresh fruit and snacks in the gazebo for your guests while they swim, sunbathe or chat at tables and chairs throughout the deck. They can also have lunch at the picnic tables whenever they’re ready.  And there’s plenty of room for everyone at dinner as well – you can seat 20 between the formal dining room and informal dining seating.

Reservations

We are here to help make your family reunion one for the books! Our helpful Reservation Specialists can assist with any concierge services you would like. From stocking your fridge to booking an excursion, we are here to help! Escape to Blue Ridge for an unforgettable family vacation!

Finding Bigfoot on a Rainy Day



A vacation usually means a bit of sightseeing and possibly seeking that one celebrity spotting you always associated with your destination. If visiting the Palm Beaches you might be hoping to catch a glimpse of the Presidential motorcade, where on LA’s famous Rodeo Drive, a glimpse of Brad sipping an iced Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks might be your quest. And what (or whom) are some tourists visiting the Northeast Georgia Mountains yearning to see?  Well, Bigfoot, of course!

Photo Courtesy of Patterson-Gimlin Footage

A legend or not?

To many in this neck of the woods, Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch, Yowie and Yedi) isn’t just a 20th-century folk legend. The first recorded sighting of him here in Fannin County was June 26, 1873. Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest has long been known as a hotbed for Bigfoot activity amongst the Bigfoot research community. And if you think that those who have an interest in this mysterious creature are just a little bit left of center, take into consideration that the famed anthropologist and highly regarded scientist Jane Goodall has said of Sasquatch beings, “I’m fascinated by them and would actually love them to exist”.

This reddish-brown hairy creature is reportedly about 8 feet in height and his alleged footprints that have been found all across the globe suggesting he has a 24-inch long foot that measures 8 inches across. To put that into some perspective, NBA giant  Shaquille O’Neal is 7’1” and the length of his foot measures 15 inches.

Photo Courtesy of Expedition: Bigfoot

Blue Ridge Museum

If taking a hike out into the forest after the sun sets, night vision glasses in place, to snap your photo op with Bigfoot is too much effort, don’t let that deter you from finding out all you can about him. While here in Blue Ridge, plan to visit EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum, located just east of the city. This museum may have you giggling on the way in the door, but you will leave with a new appreciation for your next walk in the woods. You’ll discover why Bigfooters from around the globe make the pilgrimage to Blue Ridge just to explore this museum and its many relics.

Photo Courtesy of Expedition: Bigfoot

See For Yourself

The quality of the displays and the huge amount of content are most impressive. In addition to the extensive collection of artifacts, the museum has interactive exhibits, lots of scientific analysis making the credible case that there are Sasquatches roaming the earth, and audio-video presentations that captivate even the least likely believers, young and old. Yes, kids are fascinated with this self-guided tour that usually lasts 90 mins to two hours. We highly recommend this as a Plan B family destination when a rainy mountain day messes up your original outdoor intentions.

Photo Courtesy of Expedition: Bigfoot

The museum, located at 1934 GA-515, Cherry Log, GA, is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 am till 5 pm. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children age 5 to 12. Kids under 5 and Active Military (with ID) are free! It’s more than a fair price for an educational and entertaining museum of this quality, with such fun opportunities for photo ops that will sure to bring gasps to your friends back home. And though you will be welcomed by a super cool staff that is known for sharing free coffee and cookies to their guests, you might want to be prepared to drop a few bucks on souvenirs at the museum’s bountiful gift shop, where Bigfoot really comes to life.

Calgon, Take Me to the Mountains…What Moms Really Want



What Mom really wants for Mother’s Day might surprise you. It rarely has to do with those lovely wrapped little boxes from the jewelry store. And it has less to do with gift certificates to get body maintenance done, like massages and manicures.

It was 50 years ago that this iconic ad first ran. “Calgon, take me away”.  It still epitomizes what every Mom wants and needs – time away from the daily grind, if even for just time for a private, quiet bath. So, this Mother’s Day we think we can help you with giving Mom that Calgon moment she’ll remember for many years to come.

Mom with Little Ones

Daddy Daycare!

Mom is rising close to noon and not hearing a peep. As she clears the cobwebs from her sleep, she realizes that she woke in the cabin they came to last night. Oh, the bed felt so luxurious, and somehow, she was the only one in it. Next to the bed is a note from hubby. “The kids and I are gone for the day. White wine in the fridge with brie, apple, and crackers. The hot tub is waiting for you. Don’t forget your book at the bottom of the suitcase.  We’ll see you at 6. Bringing dinner with us. Relax and enjoy the solitude.  You deserve this. You’re the best Mom in the world. We love you.”  She looks out over the magnificent view of the mountains from her bedroom window. This is the best gift I could ever imagine, she thought. Six hours later the gang rolls in, running into her arms to tell her all about their visit to Lilly Pad Village, where they gem mined and went trout fishing.  After a great boxed dinner from Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ was consumed, they all packed up to head to the Swan Drive-in Theater for a nostalgic experience watching the 21st-century Avengers on the outdoor screen. (Did you know that you can choose from 177 of our properties that have at least two bedrooms and a hot tub?)

Mom with Teen-agers

Growing up too fast!

Mom marvels at how they are growing and maturing. She realizes that in just a few short years they will be leaving the nest. She wants to make these times away to the mountains something special for them all to remember.  They all agree that ziplining had been on their bucket list. But first, while the day was still cool, they’d challenge themselves to trek on the swinging bridge across the Toccoa River.  After an afternoon of adventure, they pull up to the Rum Cake Lady’s outdoor dining. Mom loves Cuban food, and they sit at the picnic tables all sharing their menu picks, joyful and tired. When they get back to the cabin, the fire pit is lit, the oldest son brings out his guitar, the youngest starts to make S’mores. Mom gazes at her family in the glow of the fire and wonders how she got to be the luckiest Mom in the whole world. (Thirty-eight of our rentals have either fire pits or outdoor fireplaces. Which one would your family choose?)

Mom with Grown Daughter

No matter how old you are, you’ll always be my baby.

Every Mom feels the same way once their chicks have grown and flown the coop. They yearn for one on one time with them again. When her daughter texts her to ask if she’d like to spend the weekend with her in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Mom searches to find an emoji that can express her excitement. She ends up sending 10 happy faces, and the words, “yes, yes, YES!”.  Saturday it’s a quick, trouble free keyless entry into their little lakefront cabin and off to the Himalayan Salt Caves for a 45-minute session of pure bliss, relaxing in zero gravity chairs, listening to soft music in a stress-free environment.  After, they head into downtown Blue Ridge and make a stop at Blue Ridge Booksellers. As different as they can be in many respects, Mom and daughter share a love for vintage bookstores. With just enough time, they make their reservation at Harvest on Main for a relaxing evening of fine dining. Back to the cottage, another glass of wine to top off the evening and a wonderful heart to heart chat on the porch overlooking the moonlit lake. They sleep in late, pack up their things, close the door behind them and take a lovely drive out to Mercier’s Orchards for brunch and then to pick strawberries together, a memory they share from a Mother’s Day trip 20 years before. Now, they head home and banter back in forth as to whether it’s biscuits or pound cake that will host these sweet, juicy berries.

We think everyday should be Mother’s Day! Thank you to all the wonderful Moms who celebrate their families with us throughout the year. We hope your Mother’s Day is a Calgon day for you!

The Black Sheep



History, architecture, and flavor combine to bring you the most incredible Blue Ridge dining experience at The Black Sheep Restaurant. From the moment you walk up the marble steps, taking note of the pet friendly patio, and the door swings open to welcome you, there is no question that you are about to have a divine experience. From the attentive staff and thoughtful menu items, The Black Sheep is clearly not your average, ordinary run-of-the-mill dining establishment. It is in fact, an elevated, stylish, and classy restaurant that believes in fresh food that’s locally sourced and artfully prepared.

What to Expect

Expect your taste buds to do jumping jacks! Seriously, Executive Chef Greg Cornelius is an absolute master with his culinary talents and abilities.  He specializes in taking your favorite American fares and elevating them about twenty notches. For example, you may think a hamburger or meatloaf is an odd item to find in at fine dining restaurant, but once that first taste of meat crosses your lips, you will become a believer because it will be like no other you have ever tasted! Of course, you will find traditional upscale dishes like rack of lamb or duck breast but add a gorgonzola cream or gorgonzola polenta and we’ve just crossed the line from ordinary to extraordinary!

You know what else you can expect? A Raw Oyster Bar! That’s right, the only one you will find in Blue Ridge. You can choose classic on the half shell oysters or if raw is not your thing, they can be prepared Rockefeller style. On Wednesdays and Sundays, you can select the Three Course Dinner Special. For either $19.99 or $26.99 you can enjoy an appetizer, main course, and dessert! Oh, and we’re not done yet. Saturdays and Sundays now feature a decadent Brunch menu. From 12pm – 4pm you can feast on Crab Cake Benedict or Corned Beef Hash, but the Chicken and Red Velvet Waffle is so good it’ll make your tongue jump out and lick the eyebrows right off your head!

Dine on the Black Sheep’s Pet Friendly Patio!

Happy Hour

The Black Sheep features not one but two bars to enjoy craft cocktails, beer, and wine. In fact, their wine cellar is so superb that they have been recognized by Wine Spectator for their impressive selection of vino. Both the owner, Brandon Lofton, and the General Manager, Patrick, are sommeliers and can help you pair the perfect bottle with your menu selections.

Have you heard of the Blue Ridge Lavender Smash? Made with fresh blueberry, lavender, lemon & Sipsmith London Dry Gin, this refreshing cocktail is the hit of the season! You can order one at the inside bar or step out to the patio and enjoy an adult beverage on the largest outdoor bar in Blue Ridge. Here you can take in the sights and sounds of Downtown Blue Ridge while sampling the Bar Bites like Truffle French Fries or Tuna Nachos, watching the game, and chatting it up with both old friends and new.

Blue Ridge Lavender Smash!

Distinctively Unique

The Black Sheep has been historically known as a place to go for special occasions and while that is still true, their mission is to cater to the every day patron while making each dining experience special. Speaking of catering, you don’t have to be onsite to enjoy the gourmet flavors of The Black Sheep. Treat your corporate partners or family and friends to decadent eats for your meetings or festive celebrations. If you prefer the ambiance of the restaurant, you may choose to make use of one of two private rooms – The Wine Room or The Library Room for large parties, banquets or special events.

Photo courtesy of Candy Murdock-Hagerman’s Birthday Celebration!

Since we’re talking about events, The Black Sheep likes to mix things up and keep fresh ideas flowing along with their fresh cuisine. Last summer they premiered their Outdoor Movie Nights on the front patio under the big oak tree. This year not only will they host Movie Nights, but they will also add Yoga on the Patio. Just picture this: Brunch, Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, and Yoga. Oh yeah!  Keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram pages for all the latest happenings and upcoming events.

Beauty, Brains & Bayou

Deep in the bayou of Louisiana, a young chef took his passion for Cajun cooking and restaurant management to work for a large restaurant conglomerate in Southern Florida. By chance, Brandon Lofton found himself in an airport in Puerto Rico making conversation with a beautiful corporate executive, Ashlee, also from the Ft. Lauderdale area. Eventually they would marry and purchase a vacation home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Brandon and Ashlee love the outdoor life – hiking, biking, and boating, but after one fateful trip, the whole game changed. The Lofton’s went back to Florida and made the decision to leave Corporate America, become entrepreneurs, and make the move to be full time mountain residents. If you ask the owners of The Black Sheep if they made the right move, you will get an unequivocal..YES! It’s the best decision they ever made. They love being a part of the Blue Ridge community. They also love having the great outdoors so accessible and all the great people they get to meet along the way!

After settling into the mountain lifestyle and getting his restaurant where it needs to be, Brandon wanted to be able to showcase his Cajun side. In partnership with his GM, Patrick, Lulu’s Gumbo Shop can now be seen in their branded tent around town at festivals, during special events with partners like Grumpy Old Men Brewing, and at private events like weddings. Lulu’s specializes in chicken & sausage Gumbo and Jambalaya – a shrimp and crawfish combination, made from old family recipes straight out of LA.

Ashlee has also become a certified yoga instructor. Her business, Yoga Over Blue Ridge, is a mobile yoga studio. She offers private instruction and lessons and destination yoga classes. These are perfect for Girlfriend Getaways, Bachelorette parties, or any private yoga party. Recently she has partnered with Bear Claw Vineyards for a Namaste & Cabernet class. Yoga class + wine tasting? Yes, please! She’s also partnering with local breweries for Bend & Brew events. That’s right, yoga and a flight of beer! Keep an eye on her social pages to find out about future events.

If all of this wasn’t enough, the power couple recently purchased Blue Ridge Brewery in downtown Blue Ridge. Located less than a quarter mile from The Black Sheep, Blue Ridge Brewery is located at 187 Depot Street. You can look forward to new beers crafted by an expert brew master, a new menu designed to delight the taste buds, and a stellar lineup of live music and events!

Up Next For The Sheep

A new menu was just released and includes amazing dishes like an heirloom tomato Panzanella salad and seared diver scallops with lemon risotto and smoked tomato coulis. If you haven’t yet been to The Black Sheep Restaurant, what are you waiting for? Put it on the top of your must do list. If you haven’t been in a while, you need to come back and check it out. The vibe is comfortable and not pretentious, the food is on point, and the atmosphere will make this your favorite downtown spot. If you’ve been there recently, then you know what’s up!

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad topped with Ricotta Salata

As a special treat just for Escape to Blue Ridge Fans, The Black Sheep Restaurant is offering one free appetizer per table if you tell your waiter that you are the “Black Sheep of Your Family”. How cool is that? Now don’t be sheepish, make your dinner reservations today!