Blue Ridge Bucket List



Top 10 Things To Do In Blue Ridge For 2019

As we ring in the New Year, 365 opportunities await you to get out and explore the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Here are a few of our favorite ideas to enjoy your 2019 Escape to Blue Ridge!

1. Eat Collard Greens & Black-Eyed Peas

After all, it’s a southern tradition. Eat these as your first meal for the New Year and you will increase your luck and prosperity for the year ahead. The Village Restaurant will be open and ready to serve you the very best in Southern Cuisine

2. Experience the Lake Life

Beautiful Lake Blue Ridge offers 3,290-acres of crystal-clear water to explore. Bring your own water craft, rent a pontoon boat, or take a guided tour with Capt’n Joe. Whether you are kayaking, tubing, fishing, or just floating along, there is no prettier place in the world than where the mountains meet the water.

3. Take in a Festival or 5

There is always something happening in these here mountains. Festival season begins in February and ends in October, plus holiday activities are abundant in November and December. You will be blown away with the ice sculpting that takes place at the annual Fire and Ice Chili Cookoff. If music is more your style, you can shake your groove thing at both the Blue Ridge Wine & Jazz Festival and Blue Ridge Blues & Barbeque Festival. Blue Ridge festivals are family friendly, pet friendly, and extraordinarily fun!

4. Fly fish in the Trout Capital of Georgia

Brown trout, rainbow trout, and native trout are abundant in our freshwater mountain streams. Stop by and see Will Taylor at the Fly Shop Co. for some flies and a pole. Then head out to the headwaters of the Toccoa River, Noontootla Creek, or Rock Creek for premier trout fishing.

5. Wine, Beer and Hard Cider, Oh My!

You can’t visit the mountains without trying the refreshing flavors of Hard Cider at Mercier Orchards. While you are there, pick up a peck of apples and some of their fruit infused wines as well. If you are more of a purist, both Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards have classic Chardonnays, Sauvignons, and more. If Craft beer is more your style, don’t fret, there are many options to choose from like Grumpy Old Men Brewing and Fannin Brewing Company.

6. Jump on the Swinging Bridge

Pack up a picnic and hit either the Benton MacKaye Trail or the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail to the Swinging Bridge. This 270-foot-long suspension bridge is the longest swinging bride east of the Mississippi River! If you do decide to jump in the middle, make sure you are faster than your travel buddies or you might get thrown off!

7. Get wet at Fall Branch Falls

A short, family friendly hike makes Fall Branch Falls a must do activity for the young and young at heart. Explore both the upper and lower area of the falls and take time to relax on the rocks and enjoy the views. Don’t forget to bring your best friend. Dogs will enjoy the trail as much as their humans.

8. Come on Ride That Train

The iconic Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a must do when in town. Enjoy the scenery every season of the year as the train departs from Downtown Blue Ridge and travels the countryside to the revitalized towns of Copperhill, TN and McCaysville, GA

9. Find a Fairy Cross

Legend has is that as the Native Americans embarked on the Trail of Tears, they shed tears of sorrow that fell to the ground and formed tiny crosses of stone. Commonly known as staurolite crystals, these minerals are abundant in Fannin County.

10. Book an Escape to Blue Ridge

There is just something about these mountains that is so good for the soul. Whether you want to come for a romantic getaway, to reconnect with friends and family, or to enjoy the abundant outdoor adventures, we have the perfect cabin for you!

We wish each of you and yours a prosperous year ahead filled with lots of love, exciting adventures, and many opportunities to make heartfelt memories. Happy New Year!

Home For the Holidays



Everyone has a different version of their holiday traditions and celebrations. We think that’s awesome, because frankly, if we were all the same, what a boring place this world would really be. Some traditions include cutting and trimming a fresh evergreen, some include lighting candles, some include singing songs, and some include incredible gourmet meals. Traditions are important to keep, but at the end of the day, coming Home for the Holidays is probably the most fulfilling part of the holiday tradition.

Times Have Changed

You see, in today’s day and age, Home is no longer your grandmother or abuela’s place. We don’t come together every Sunday for a family meal. We don’t have our aunts and uncles disciplining us right along with our parents. We are all spread out across the states, the nation, and the world. However, during this time of year, the holiday season, we make every effort to come together. We travel by plane, car, and sometimes even train to get to Aunt Susan’s or Uncle John’s house. We make the effort to get to Grandma Betty or Nanny Chambers house. We go to visit those friends that are really like family. Sometimes we even rent a cabin nestled within the North Georgia mountains to have a more neutral location to gather with our most favorite humans.

Regardless of the home that you flock to, whether it’s owned by someone you know or not, Home is where you gather. Home is the place where you stay up until midnight telling old stories. Home is where you get into full blown monopoly wars. Home is where you cook up your most favorite meals. Home is where laughter rings through the hallways. Home is where you share your hopes and dreams with your loved ones. Home is that place in your heart that swells when you are around people you love and enjoy. It really doesn’t matter the geographic location of the Home. What matters is that you are all together.

Be The Joy

Not everyone has the luxury of having a home to go to. While the holiday season is filled with excitement, joy, wonderment, and delight for most, for some it is filled with worry, sadness, grief, stress, and pressure. So, this season as you prepare to go “Home for the Holidays” remember those that are less fortunate. Reach out to the ones that don’t have others to care for them. If you know someone has recently lost a loved one, go to their home and share a meal with them. Invite your new acquaintance over, they may turn out to become your best friend. Give your estranged cousin a call, you may be surprised at how you’re received. Be the one to take away a little of that sadness. Be the one to bring joy into someone’s life.

This is a time of year where we never really know what to say to each other. We want to be cautious not to offend each other, but it really seems like no matter whether you say Merry Christmas or not, someone is bound to have beef. For us, we want to take all the pretext out of any phrases and simply wish you peace, love, and happiness today, tomorrow, and always. We hope you find your way Home for the Holidays, wherever that may be. Enjoy your Christmas, Kwanza, Chanukah (belated), Festivus, or however you want to describe your time spent together with loved ones.

Winter Hiking in Blue Ridge



There are few better places to hike than on the hundreds and hundreds of miles of trails that crisscross the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia. Not only is this an area that speaks to the hiker in familiar terms – Appalachian Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, Hike Inn, Amicalola Falls – but it’s the wide variety of experiences, from the casual to the challenging, that make these hikes some of the most popular in America. You can come prepared and packed to the hilt or just carry a water bottle and be perfectly pleased with the result.

Every year thousands of hikers start the Appalachian Trail journey – north–to-south, south-to-north, or a split blend of both – and roughly one-quarter of those who start with intentions of a thru-hike manage to complete the 2,000-mile plus trek. Those are usually serious hikers with high aspirations, deep determination, and a lot of time.

Many, many more hikers take a day (or two), or just a morning or an afternoon to enjoy the beauty of nature, 50-mile views, and the peace and solitude of a recreational hike. For those, and the more determined and dedicated both, there’s no better place to start than Blue Ridge, Georgia and Fannin County.

What draws hikers to Blue Ridge in the first place is the variety of terrain and the landscape that surrounds it. This region has been called the “hinge of botany” for its unique ability to sustain the widest variety of plant life on the East Coast – a robust mixture of northern and southern species.

Constant surprises greet those who look for unusual trees, shrubs and ground cover. You may end up in the midst of mountain laurel, rhododendron and hemlock trees all at the same time – an experience not at all common in any other part of the country.

So, where to go to discover all this?  Well, it doesn’t take more than 10-20 miles, and 30 minutes or less to get you to where you want to go.  You can avail yourself of guide services like Blue Ridge Mountain Outfitters, ready willing and able to chime in on suggestions, or to lead the hike itself.

Springer Mountain

Just minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, Springer Mountain is best known as the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. It’s the southern equivalent of Maine’s Katahdin Mountain – where hundreds per year start or finish their AT thru-hike adventures. A thru-hike isn’t a necessity to enjoy the beauty, tranquility and sense of camaraderie on the country’s most famous hiking trail. Sections of the 2,181-mile AT starting at Springer are at times both challenging and peaceful, so it’s best to consult the proper guide to determine a section of trail that suits your level of ability.

 

The Benton MacKaye Trail

Named for Benton MacKaye, the originator of the Appalachian Trail, crosses the AT about 15 miles south of Blue Ridge and features a 260-foot suspension bridge across the Toccoa River known as the Swinging Bridge. The Benton MacKaye is great option for day hikers, or you can warm up for a thru hike by doing the entire 300 miles ending in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

 

Grassy Mountain Tower Trail at Lake Conasauga

A couple of special things are going on here with this 4-mile trail – all at once. 1) The location of Grassy Mountain Tower Trail begins and ends with gorgeous views of Fort Mountain and the Cohutta Wilderness.  2) Lake Conasauga is a small, crystal clear mountaintop lake with remarkable beauty; and 3) The historic Grassy Mountain fire tower provides a perch from which to view the length and breadth of this shimmering mountain lake.

 

Emery Creek Falls Trail

This trail follows lushly forested creek banks to a pair of stunning, beautiful, remote waterfalls. The trail is refreshing, and especially fun in the summer months.  The Emery Creek Falls Trail splashes through 20 creek crossings to the pinnacle, cascading Emery Creek Falls.

 

The Jacks River Trail

If you are looking for and adventure, Jacks River ia a 14.8 mile trail located within the Cohutta Wilderness Area. This trail is slightly more advanced and parts of it crosses moving water. Forest service guidance is strongly recommended. However, if a crystal-clear river and a series of waterfalls gets you excited, then you really need to add this hike to your list.

 

The Hemp Top Trail

About 10 miles from Blue Ridge, The Hemp Top Trail is a hike of about 30 minutes, but well worth the trek. This hike accesses peaks that are among the tallest in Georgia — and the views are breathtaking.

 

Hiking anywhere in close proximity to Blue Ridge, Blairsville, Ellijay and Dahlonega in the North Georgia Mountains is an experience not to be forgotten. The exercise, exhilaration and discovery of true companionship along the way always makes for memorable moments. Most of these trails are pet friendly as well, so don’t leave Roscoe at home. Be sure to share your pictures of your journeys with us on Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to see where your Escape to Blue Ridge takes you!

Blue Ridge Area Waterfalls



It’s hard to imagine anything more tranquil, peaceful, powerful and appealing than a waterfall. And if one is good, many are better. Fortunately, in Blue Ridge and Fannin County, there is an abundance of rushing water, and impressive elevations – and, thanks to gravity, it all inevitably leads to waterfalls in various forms or fashion – all about 30 minutes’ drive from town.

Long Creek Falls

Starting with waterfalls closest to downtown Blue Ridge, Long Creek Falls provides easy access and an impressive view of a 50-foot drop in two sections. The bonus here is that the falls are at the intersection of the Appalachian and the Benton MacKaye trails, both of which offer a reasonable, but not daunting hike in.

Fall Branch Falls

Also nearby, is the upper part of Fall Branch Falls, which is a series of cascading waterfalls leading to a single drop of about 30 feet into a deep pool at the base of the falls. Fall Branch is a slightly less dramatic drop, but the hike is more challenging and the sound of cascading falls along the trail can be heard before it’s seen.

Sea Creek Falls

Just north of Blue Ridge, close to Morganton, Sea Creek Falls rewards a hiker’s driving indulgence with a short walk to a series of steep cascades. Like Long Falls, Sea Creek drops in two sections, and at high water times of the year (usually later winter and early spring) these cascading waterfalls are enormously impressive.

Amicalola Falls

It’s not a well-known fact that the Blue Ridge Mountains are older than the Rockies, but it explains the softer and relatively less severe ridge lines, thanks to centuries of weather wearing away the rough edges. Still, there are areas in these mountains that feature geological fissures affording deep drops and in the case of Amicalola Falls, just south of Ellijay, the result is a 729-foot cascading waterfall, the steepest east of the Mississippi.

Amicalola can be accessed by way an arduous hike from Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, or by car through Amicalola State Park. If you choose the State Park route, there are a few viewing options – 1) drive to the top of the falls and look down; 2) walk up the meandering staircase, which features switchbacks and landing platforms; or 3) hike up the backside of the falls to the top and have drinks or lunch at Amicalola Falls Resort. Any and all are good options.

Whatever you choice in waterfall hunting, you can’t go wrong. From pastoral to pounding waterfalls, they are a great destination and a rich reward after a drive, hike, walk or run. Additionally, they are a great way to experience family fun together, build camaraderie among buddies, or add a bit of romance to a relationship. Get out and explore. You’ll be glad you did.

We love to see your Blue Ridge adventures! Please share your favorite waterfall photos with us on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @escapetobr. We can’t wait to see!

5 Romantic Blue Ridge Cabins



Winter time is the best time for a romantic getaway to Blue Ridge, Georgia. Not only is our little town inviting and festive during this time of year, but our cabins are set up for you and your honey to relax, cuddle, and enjoy each other’s company. After a day full of exploring the North Georgia Mountains, you can come back to the cabin, put on something a little more comfortable and pop open that bottle of wine. You may have selected to pick up a take-out order from Sweet & Southern Sugar Company or prepare dinner together in the fully stocked kitchen. After you have eaten to your hearts content, take a dip in the hot tub or turn on the fireplace for a relaxing evening of laughing, talking, and dreaming.

A Sunset Dream

Good things come in small packages, and that applies to the North Georgia mountain cabin rental A Sunset Dream. Located in Cherry Log in the Hidden Lake subdivision, just seven miles from downtown Blue Ridge, A Sunset Dream is a secluded, private paradise, aptly named for the glorious sunsets you can enjoy from every room. This two-bedroom, 2-bath cabin has an atmosphere that is bright, airy and welcoming. Everything is conveniently on one level: the living room, with its soaring ceiling, leather furniture, stone wood burning fireplace and 44” TV with DirecTV; the well-equipped kitchen and dining table for four; and two cheery bedrooms, each with a luxurious king bed, 32” TV, and private bath with tub/shower combo. You’ll have a great night’s sleep in whichever one you choose. The cabin’s outdoor amenities include a gas grill, six-person hot tub, rocking chairs and a picnic table on the main deck, so you can barbecue your dinner and relax afterward with a drink and a soak as you take in the incredible view.

A Beary Nice View

Tucked into the hillside on My Mountain, A Beary Nice View offers beary nice views indeed. With its sweet and cozy atmosphere, Goldilocks would surely think this cabin is “just right”. This 2-bedroom, 1-bath Gordon cabin is so bright and cheerful it will even keep you smiling through a thunderstorm. You’ll ‘bearly’ believe how much there is to do here. Once you’ve chosen among all the activities in the North Georgia Mountains, you’ll be off and running.

After working up a bear’s appetite, have a late lunch back at the cabin’s outdoor picnic table. Then have an afternoon snooze in the recliner, warm and cozy by the rock gas fireplace. When you’ve awakened refreshed after your brief hibernation, play checkers on the screened-in porch as you witness a breathtaking sunset. Spend some time just relaxing on the porch swing while sipping a cup of tea or perhaps an Irish coffee. Make an easy pasta dish for dinner or simply enjoy a platter of hearty antipasto with a glass of wine. Then settle in to the hot tub on the private open deck for a soothing soak at the end of the day.

 Lil’ Slice of Heaven

This enchanting Georgia mountain cabin rental is indeed a Lil’ Slice of Heaven. Perfect for a romantic getaway or a few couples, this two bedroom cabin has plenty of room but is small enough to feel warm and cozy. It’s a place so relaxed and comfortable; you’ll feel like you’re walking on clouds. Naturally, you’ll also want to make the most of being in the great outdoors. Whether you prefer sun or shade, there are plenty of both to be had on the deck or covered porch. Sip refreshing lemonade while lounging on the porch swing or one of the rockers. Looking through the canopied trees towards the mountaintops, you’ll feel so at peace here in your quaint little haven.

Lil’ by lil’, the sky will change a spectacular array of colors before you as the sun goes down. Enjoy romantic evenings under the stars as you share a champagne toast by the light of the gas fire stand, or while immersed in the soothing bubbles of the hot tub. Snuggle under the covers with the one you love and enjoy a divine night’s sleep. In the morning, you can step out to the deck if you’d like to take in a truly glorious sunrise. Spend some time on cloud nine with your special someone, and enjoy your own Lil’ Slice of Heaven in the North Georgia Mountains.

Blackberry Lodge

The sweet smell of a successful Blue Ridge mountain vacation is in the air as you ascend up the drive toward Blackberry Lodge. Nestled at the end of the road on a wooded lot high atop Long Mountain, this Blue Ridge cabin rental is charmingly named for its flowering and fragrant blackberry bushes.  The fully equipped gourmet kitchen is to your immediate right and features a large island with bar stools, so everyone can gather around as you prepare your meals.

After enjoying a meal, you can relax in the great room that features several large windows, all with wonderful mountain views. Here you can also get cozy and warm by the heavy stone wood burning fireplace. A deep-seated leather sofa and recliner invites everyone to enjoy a movie, or satellite HDTV. Kick back and reminisce about your day’s mountain experiences, as you gaze out the window facing West for the beautiful sunset.

Endless View Lodge

When multiple couples are looking for a place to retreat, look no further than the ultimate ‘Southern Living’ lodge in the North Georgia Mountains. Endless View Lodge is perfectly situated for mountainous seclusion and picturesque views that surround you for miles. This five-bedroom home, all of which are master suites, is an upscale luxury mountain experience.  The lodge is beautifully crafted and immediately inviting with its dormer windows, huge front porch and an amazing 1,300 square-foot wraparound deck, anchored on one end by a covered gathering room and an outdoor rock fireplace.  Professionally decorated, this home’s refined interior is matched only by the beauty of each room’s magnificent long and short range mountain views.  The entire space offers luxurious comfort so you can relax and reconnect with your friends in style.

Endless View Lodge boasts three floors of living space, a stunning two-story interior rock fireplace and soaring prow front windows.  Enjoy good conversation in several open and hospitably placed seating areas from the custom leather and fabric sofas to two, eight-person dining tables, one indoors and one on the outdoor deck.  For the chefs in the group, a gourmet-style kitchen offers a large granite island and high-end KitchenAid stainless steel appliances. Head down stairs to the terrace level for another great seating area featuring a romance-inspiring fireplace.  Curl up to for a movie on the LCD-HD TV with Blu-ray disc player, or try your hand at the hand-carved poker and game table, or one of the many games or puzzles provided.