A friend of this writer is in a Christmas play that’s very popular. Mostly because it’s that time of year, when folks want to be: a) frightened about the past and the future, reminded about core values, and encouraged to make lifestyle changes (don’t be so cheap Mr. Scrooge!), to address the immediate present before it’s too late; or: b) they want to get all nostalgic for how much better things used to be when simple stuff, like BB guns and leg lamps, could satisfy and enthrall.
In this case it’s about the BB gun and leg lamp.
“A Christmas Story” is one of those timeless tales that strikes a nostalgic chord: real Christmas trees, a real fire in the fireplace, (a real clunky furnace!), lots of snow, and temperatures cold enough to stick your tongue to a metal pole. It’s a story about deep friendships, loud personalities, a scary Santa, turkey, and love.
It reminds us of those days when, at least in hindsight, families were close and predictable, friendships were iconic and memorable, and experiences were indelibly etched.
Some will say that those days are gone forever, brought back only on stage or on screen. Others, however, know that all it takes is a little effort, some logistical coordination, and the right venue to bring it all back again. It’s amazing how quickly weeks, months, or even years apart melt away around a kitchen table or breakfast bar. A couple cups of coffee, the squall of a newborn, a shared memory, or a joke we’ve all heard before,and we’re back among friends and family just like things used to be.
‘Tis the season
Don’t let distance or time deter you from rediscovering the best things about life. Distance is easily traversed and can be part of the experience. Time is fleeting, and the sooner you’re decisive the more time you’ll have to spend with friends and family. As for the venue, well, that’s where we have you covered.
One of the best things about escaping to a new, neutral space for the holidays, or any time of year for that matter, is that it evenly distributes responsibility during the gathering to all those in attendance. Everyone brings something. It’s not just Mom doing the dishes. Plus there’s the fun of discovery. Explore all the rooms. Take a hike around the grounds. Getting out and about to a winery, or a play space, or to a restaurant along the river.
The holiday season is about nostalgia and renewal. It’s a look back and a fresh start. It’s a time best spent with friends and family, to remind us to be grateful for all we have, as we look forward to more good times. No guarantees about that BB gun, or a tongue stuck to a pole. It’s up to you to make it memorable and stay in touch.
‘Tis the season to celebrate in the mountains! The crisp weather is perfect for shopping downtown, enjoying outdoor activities and then relaxing in the hot tub or by the crackling fire at the cabin! Come stay with us this month and check out the upcoming events below!
The Blairsville-Union County Community Center is transformed into a winter wonderland for the whole month of December. Bring your family and friends and enjoy an amazing display of trees, lights, wreaths, and decorations. This is a perfect place to get your holiday photos! Admission is FREE!
If you love Williamsburg’s Colonial Christmas, but you’d prefer to skip the half-day drive from here, consider a colonial style Christmas at Inola village. Each day from from 12pm-10pm enjoy a Yule Log celebration, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, carriage rides, an illuminated maze, Christmas lights, and ice skating!
Visit the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds for a Winter Walk through thousands and thousands of lights and exhibits! Visit Poinsettia Place, Candy Cane Lane, Santa’s Workshop, Toyland, Frosty’s Trail and many more light exhibits. 🎄There will be live music, arts and craft vendors, food, and most important…SANTA!!! 🎅 $5 for adults, $4 Group sales and children under 12 are FREE!!! Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 6pm – 9pm December 5th through December 28th!
But… but … but … It’s not YOUR town, Mr. Potter! Thank you, Jimmy Stewart for your one-of-a-kind interpretation of this Christmas classic, which will be ringing in your ears as you ring in the season with “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The Blue Ridge Community Theater’s performance of this memorable, and inspirational, timeless holiday story will be sure to delight young and old.
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!
December 6 – Slickfoot December 7 – Gregg Erwin December 13 – Apollo Band December 14 – Breaking Point December 20 – Double Barrel December 21 – Topper December 27 – Bottoms Up December 28 – Fiction December 31 – Mind the Stepchildren
Staying focused on the true meaning of Christmas is tough these days, so the First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge makes it easy, with displays like a stable of animals, a Bethlehem bakery, a textile shop, a spice shop, and it’s one of the few places where the Christmas story is spoken to families gathered around a manger.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will hold its annual Christmas Bazaar and Silent Auction from 9am to 3pm. Taking place across from the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club Fairground, this event will feature original art works, matted reproductions, knitted items, handmade birdhouses, note-cards, pottery, and handcrafted Christmas decorations! Baked goods, homemade jams, jellies, pickles, and other sweets and treats will also be available!
This annual event in Copperhill & McCaysville provides a fun and celebratory atmosphere for family and friends! Occurring on the first Saturday in December each year, this parade features a myriad of floats and high school marching bands. Come and support the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club! The parade begins at 2pm and ends at 4pm. This year’s theme is Christmas Around the World. At 6pm will be the lighting of the tree ceremony and music.
A beautiful vineyard and winery set in pastoral farmlands in the heart of the Southern Appalachians. Cartacay’s wine history dates to 2007, but it’s heritage is comprised of Cherokee roots (in fact, Cartecay translates to “bread valley”). The winery features plenty of locally sourced wines, tastings and special events, plus live music on most weekends.
December 7 – Craig Hendricks December 8 – Rose Brown December 14 – Timothy Donovan December 15 – Johnny Summers December 21 – Rick Byers December 22 – Surrender Hill December 26 – Obe & Amber Brown December 27 – Rose Brown December 28 – Gregg Erwin December 29 – Tommy Joe Conner December 30 – Lindsay Beth Harper December 31 – Adrian Stover
Santa Express December 8 – 23 LOCATION: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Take a ride on the Santa Express and enjoy hearing a Christmas story, singing Christmas songs, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Every child will receive a traditional Christmas bell, a candy cane, and a memory they won’t soon forget!
Christmas Tour of Homes is hosted by the Fannin County Family Connection. The tour includes 6 beautifully decorated homes and holiday refreshments. Tickets are available at online at www.fannin.gafcp.org. All proceeds are used to fund Drug & Alcohol outreach programs and the food pantry at Family Connection.
You and your littles will learn to make Christmas Gingerbread Trees. They will measure, mix, and decorate and most of all enjoy the quality time learning with you.
Santa Days December 14th & 21st LOCATION: Mercier Orchards
Christmas is a magical time of year and Mercier Orchards has a day of fun and photo ops ready for you! Children will be able to decorate gingerbread cookies and write letters to Santa. Come out and make memories as a family.
Even Santa likes wine and so does Mrs. Claus! That’s why Santa likes to hang at Chateau Meichtry for the day, fueling up for the run around the world he’ll have to make about 10 days later. It’s a time to enjoy wine, visit with Santa, relax with hot chocolate by the fire in the tasting room, and perhaps even get your photo taken with Santa.
There’s no better way to describe the heart, soul and legacy of Spiritual music than “Haunting quality, uncanny beauty and dignity”. The Georgia Spiritual Ensemble’s power to present this musical genre is remarkable, and this concert is not to be missed!
Few things are deeply romantic as that long, lonely swoon of an authentic old railroad whistle. That’s only a small part of what makes a midnight train ride the perfect way to usher in the New Year. There’s also the beverages (beer and wine), the camaraderie of being among new and old friends who value this unique way of saying hello to a new year, plus the hors d’oeuvres, and the historical narrative along the way. This year’s train ride is appropriately themed “Roar into the 20’s” and riders are encouraged to “dress to impress in your best ‘20s attire”. It’s an unusual, and memorable, way to start the New Year.
Joy to the World All Season Long LOCATION: Across the World
To every household near and far, we hope that regardless of your beliefs, you and yours are filled with the merriment and joy of the season. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Festivus!
NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM
The scene is picture perfect: you’re high on a hillside with a lush green cow pasture below, a magnificent long-range Cohutta mountain vista in the distance, and the Ellijay River flowing a few hundred yards away. At Highland Harmony, this idyllic setting can be the backdrop for the vacation of your dreams. Located in Ellijay nine miles from downtown Blue Ridge, this gorgeous custom tri-level cabin offers you the ultimate in stress-free relaxation, surrounded by nature’s natural beauty!
In real estate location is everything, and you won’t find a better one than this wooded waterfront property on Lake Blue Ridge, with spectacular lake and mountain views, the best dock on the lake, and proximity to downtown and all the vacation activities you crave. Lodge on the Lake is perfectly situated on the very desirable Horse Pointe Road just four miles from Blue Ridge’s shops and restaurants and custom designed, built and decorated and with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the view, Lodge on the Lake truly has the wow factor!
There are a lot of mountain vacation rentals with similar features and amenities, so choosing between one cabin and another often comes down to the atmosphere it projects that sets it apart. With a warm and cozy ambience and a rustic décor, vintage-inspired furniture and homey patchworks and plaids, Southern Star can be summed up by a saying on a family room pillow: ‘Cabin Sweet Cabin.’
Who needs Napa Valley, when you have North Georgia?In fact, North Georgia, and specifically Dahlonega, has been called the Napa of the East. So, what’s the point of hopping on a plane, enduring crazy traffic, and dealing with stifling crowds? Right here in North Georgia you will be better served, remain relaxed, and meander the charming and scenic back roads of Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Dahlonega, Blairsville, and Helen to enjoy a wine experience that’s even better than what the wild west can offer! KEEP READING.
All the tell-tale signs of fall coalesce at this time of year to slow the pace of life, just in time to allow us to fully appreciate the holiday season. The bare trees offer more opportunities for soaring vistas, the chill at night encourages comfortable sweaters and cozy fires, and the cheerful spirit in the air is nothing short of magnetic.
It’s a perfect time of year to reflect and be grateful for all we have. We live in the most perfect part of North Georgia and we are thrilled to welcome others to experience the dynamic nature and beauty of our beloved town of Blue Ridge. If you have had the opportunity to experience the splendidness of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the shimmering of our lake and rivers, take part in our exciting events, learn about the history of our area, and experience the unique culture of our town then you can understand why we count our blessings every day for this beautiful area.
We consider how hard we work for our guests to make the most of their Escape to Blue Ridge, but realize that we can only do it because of the hard work of our colleagues, our partners, and our team of hospitality professionals. We make it a point to always take the time to consider how fortunate we are to be in the business of helping others make memories. There is no greater satisfaction than the reaction we get from guests when we’ve found them the perfect cabin and hear about the memories and experiences they’ve had on vacation.
Our Pride & Joy
We represent a wide variety of vacation properties from grand and luxurious to quaint and cozy. It’s a portfolio that we believe provides something for everyone, and we have a wonderful team that takes good care to honor the trust of our property owners. Our owners count on us to promote their properties, manage their care, and return value. A great deal of work and dedication by our sales team, our property managers, reservations planners, housekeepers, landscapers and many others makes this business work for everyone.
As we head into this week of Thanksgiving, we want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to the success of Escape to Blue Ridge. We are appreciative for the dedication of our team members, the trust of our property owners, and the support of our guests. As we go forward from here, we are dedicated to continue to improve our services, expand our lodging options, and to build our reputation and acclaim as Blue Ridge’s premier property management company!
It is our sincere wish that this holiday season you gather with your family and friends, break bread, and reflect on all the happy times you’ve experienced this past year. As we approach the end of the decade and turn the calendar to 2020, we hope that your plans will include an Escape to Blue Ridge.
If you are lucky enough to be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in the mountains, we have an extra special treat for you this year! Not only do you get to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the comfort of your luxury cabin rental, but you also get to adventure out into the most quintessential little town. From our abundance of natural resources like hiking trails, waterfalls, and soaring mountains, we are also proud to share with you the heartbeat of our community – Downtown Blue Ridge.
Of course, anytime is a fantastic time to Escape to Blue Ridge, but when you plan a visit during the holiday season, you will feel like you are stepping into a Hallmark Movie. The town is beautifully decorated and festive from every streetlight to each of the shopkeeper’s windows. The crispness of the mountain air and the excitement for the possibility of snow heightens your exhilaration and desire to explore every corner.
We could list one thousand plus reasons why you should visit Downtown Blue Ridge and of course shopping would be included on that very long list just as dining in our restaurants, meeting our residents, and experiencing the specialness of our beloved mountain community. This year you have ten more reasons to shop here because we have arranged for special Blue Friday savings to all of our Escape to Blue Ridge fans!
What? You don’t know what Blue Friday is? Well, allow me to explain. Blue Friday is Blue Ridge’s version of Black Friday, but it goes far beyond shopping and it is really the local kick-off to the entire holiday season! Let’s look at all the fun things there are to do and before we wrap this up, we’ll share your 10 special savings! Promise.
The Blue Ridge Turkey Trot is a family event for all ages
and abilities from walkers to competitive runners. Kick off the Thanksgiving
Day at 8am with a 5K race/walk. Registration starts at 7am and you are
encouraged to bring a canned food item for the Good Samaritans food pantry.
You’ll be able to enjoy all the holiday food guilt free after completing this
run/walk and be back to the cabin in time to put on the turkey. Registration is
$30 in advance or $40 on race day. Money raised will be donated to Blue Ridge charities.
Help light up the twin cities of McCaysville, Georgia and
Copperhill, Tennessee. Enjoy live holiday music, hot cocoa, and cookies.
Donation are welcome to support Christmas for Kids. The music begins at 4pm and
the tree lighting is a 7pm.
Light up Blue Ridge is a festive event for children and
adults alike. A full day of fun begins when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on The
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway where they will then be available in the town gazebo
for pictures. There will be performances all day. Santa and Mrs. Claus will
then be in the holiday parade at 5:30pm. Food vendors will surround the park,
winners of the window decorating contest will be announced, and then the
lighting of the 27 foot “Great Tree” takes place at 7:00pm.
Even More Holiday Events!
We covered all the BIG events, but there is so much more fun
to be had in this great little town. Our November Events
Newsletter features the play It’s A Wonderful Life at the Blue Ridge
Community Theater, live music, and a community Thanksgiving event! Our December Events
Newsletter features Santa Trains, a Tour of Homes, and Ice Skating!
Blue Friday Specials
Now for your special treat! Some of our favorite shops and
downtown Blue Ridge have decided to offer YOU special savings beginning on Blue
Friday and lasting all weekend long! (November 29-December 1) All you have to
do is let the proprietor know that you are a fan of Escape to Blue Ridge!
Appalachian Trail Rides offers guided horseback trail riding from beginner to advanced through the Blue Ridge Mountains on 250 acres located minutes from downtown Blue Ridge GA. On your ride take in beautiful views, wildlife, and creek crossings on customized rides with experienced guides. From family outings to corporate events and private rides to proposal rides, Appalachian Trail Rides will make your time in the Appalachian Mountains as memorable as possible.
Canoe is a lifestyle brand of bags and jewelry made right
here in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Their unique collection of bags and jewelry
effortlessly marry rustic charm with contemporary sophistication. Utilizing
natural materials with enduring appeal, every piece you purchase from Canoe
will be your new favorite for years to come!
Blue Ridge Cotton Company is a thoughtful store with a big
heart. Here you will find quality apparel at affordable prices for the entire
family. They are also your source for inspirational gifts, books and journals,
home accessories, unique gifts, and so much more.
The Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (the Art Center) has been fostering the creative process in these mountains in excess of 32 years. The Art Center endeavors to promote art, artists & art experiences across the Southern Appalachian Region.
15% off ALL Art Supply Station supplies and items
Receive $5 off Holiday Gift Memberships!
All active BRMAA Members will receive 10% off all purchases
This full-service outfitter represents the premier outdoor
brands including The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, YETI, Chaco and
much more. They are also authorized Trek and Cannondale bike dealers and offer
service of all makes.
If you are looking for a fun experience you need to tour
Blue Ridge by bike! Pedego Electric Bikes sells & rents the most fun
electric bikes in the world. They even offer guided tours that include
waterfall and swinging bridge adventures!
Mystic Mountain Pizza is a family owned and operated pizza restaurant with fantastic food and an inviting atmosphere! They have a passion for crafting fresh salads, all-beef gourmet hot dogs, wings, desserts, and specialty pizzas in their oak-fired brick ovens.
If you haven’t already experienced the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia, you should! Our families have been visiting this area for the last 6 years. Each time we return, it becomes even more special. There is something so incredibly quaint and peaceful about the small town of Blue Ridge.
Growing up in South Florida, we do not get to experience the amazing change in seasons. If you know us sisters, we are always talking about “sweater weather” and how badly we want to see the leaves change colors.
Well, we’ve teamed up again with Escape To Blue Ridge who always help us experience incredible family trips in the Blue Ridge Mountains! As we gear up for our next trip, we are excited to share information about Escape to Blue Ridge, the company we rent the cabins from, as well as some of the best activities and spots to hit up on your journey. If you love a vacation with a small town feel and views to die for, this trip is one for you.
We also want to lend you some pointers for traveling with a ton of kids! You may deal with plenty of tantrums, tears, accidents, and fights along with the fun. But if you’re well prepared, you’ll make it out in one piece.
Escape to Blue Ridge
For the past 6 years, we have reserved our mountain family cabin with Escape to Blue Ridge. The most amazing part about this company is that they have hundreds of homes you can reserve, making it easy to choose the cabin that best suits the needs and preferences of your family.
The trip we took a couple of years ago was AMAZING! We want to share those adventures with you again, so let’s get started!
We love a cabin with mountain views and a great outdoor space that’s big enough for our three families. We could not believe our eyes when we arrived on this trip. The kids were in heaven, and the views were spectacular!
There are no words to describe this place.
The name of our cabin was Falling Waters Lodge, named after the two small waterfalls running down the front yard. Let me tell you, the house was spotless, at least in the moment we all arrived. The details and decor that went into creating this home were unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The cabin had a large open kitchen with top-of-line appliances and large windows to look out over the Blue Ridge Mountains while you cook. *NOTE: While this cabin is no longer enrolled in our rental program, we have several other cabins that are just as fabulous like Waterfall Lodge and many more!
There was also a hot tub on the downstairs patio to enjoy the few cold mountain nights. The bottom floor had a media room for movie nights with the kids and a play room with ping pong, billiards, and air hockey. There was a large open fire pit in the front next to the waterfalls where we made s’mores every night.
And even with all that, the most incredible part of this home was being able to wake up at 7am (before the kids) to enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the sunrise and seeing the most amazing fog spread across the mountain tops.
That view was worth the entire trip for us!
Things to Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains
On this particular trip, we spent 6 event filled days in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Here are some of our favorite activities from the trip and our top must do activities when visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains!
This aquarium is amazing, and the kids will love it. Take some extra time after flying into Atlanta before heading to Blue Ridge, or before you head home, check out this great aquarium.
For us, this stop is one of the most memorable stops in Blue Ridge. There is something so special about visiting an orchard. We took a hay ride with the kiddos up to the orchard fields where they let you roam around picking and eating apples. The kids had a blast, and Mason even lost a tooth biting into an apple!
After picking apples, we walked around their enormous shop trying homemade foods and buying tons of their famous maple syrup and homemade fried apple pies. The fried apple pies disappeared before we even made it back to the car!
What is fall without a pumpkin patch? This day was so much fun! Besides a few major temper tantrums, we managed to have a really great time. The ride around this property on the tractor was so much fun, and the kids had a blast. We got to see how the pumpkins grow and some of the biggest pumpkins we have ever seen! And of course, they had fun Halloween decorations to give us some good decorating ideas for home!
The parents decided that one afternoon the guys would get some alone time, and the ladies would get to do the same the next day. Our husbands went fly fishing in the Toccoa River (please see the hilarious, yet handsome, photo below), and we went hiking.
We made videos on toddler bathroom accidents and literally almost peed our pants laughing so hard!
Everyone was in full hiking gear, but we were probably the least prepared on our trail! We hiked at Springer Mountain, which is the very beginning of the Appalachian trail that leads north all the way up to Maine. There are so many great hikes and waterfalls around the Blue Ridge Mountains, even ones that are less challenging and more kid friendly.
Lily Pad Village
This spot has the cutest little fishing pond and gem mining spot that you ever did see! The kids loved spending the morning here. They sorted through their rock buckets full of soil, mining for gems and keeping some of the cool rocks and gems they found. We spent some time fishing by the pond using live bait. They also have a mini-golf course built into the side of the mountain!
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
This trip was very cool for the kids and great for the parents, especially if you go during the fall when the leaves are changing. The scenery on the ride is beautiful. The hour-long train ride on Blue Ridge’s old train cars takes you to a quaint town in Tennessee where you can shop the general stores and enjoy some southern food.
Our kids enjoyed riding the train and sitting in the open cart! Also, close to the train station in Blue Ridge is an amazing public park for the kids. We spent a lot of time there, until one of the kids had an accident in his pants, and we had to leave!
Three Sisters Fudge & Das Kauffee Haus
All day, every day! We ate so much fudge and drank so much coffee, and I am not upset about it! These are just two of the many perfect little shops you can stop at for fudge and coffee in downtown Blue Ridge.
We are obsessed with walking around main street going in and out of all their great shops.
BBQ and S’mores
Do not miss out on BBQ and s’mores – you don’t even have to leave your cabin! Yes, going out to dinner is fun but not always with 6 kids in tow. So we cooked at the cabin most of the time, and it made things a lot easier. We ate dinner outside and built a fire for the kids to make s’mores.
Some of our best memories from this trip were made staying home at the cabin!
Once the kids were in bed by 8:30pm, the parents enjoyed alone time and even some of our own s’mores, too!
Black Sheep Restaurant
Hands down, Black Sheep is the restaurant you want to visit in Blue Ridge. We were lucky enough to have one parent’s night out during the trip and decided to head to the main street of Blue Ridge and try this raved about dinner spot. This place is an historical home converted into one of the coolest restaurants we have ever seen. In the past when we visited Blue Ridge, we heard about this place but we didn’t feel like it would be family friendly.
But on this trip, new owners had completely revamped the restaurant in the best way possible. The ambiance and atmosphere are comfortable and casual, but it still has that fine dining feel we were craving.
We were lucky to be seated outside on the patio where the guys could watch their football during the meal. They even have an old-school movie night on the front lawn, which is such a great touch for bringing families and children to the restaurant!
Our meal was amazing, and the food was top notch. Seriously, everything was delicious, but we must say the crab cakes and the lamb bolognese were our favorites. For dessert, we had the most amazing pumpkin cheesecake ever…a slice of heaven.
Tips on Traveling with Kids
Oh man…before you do anything else, read this article Katie wrote on traveling with kids.
Now, for the tips. Our first tip is simple – just don’t take the kids with you!
We were all nervous before we left, but I have to say, the kids were great. We had a few tantrums and one nasty cold that spread around fast, but we did well. The one thing that helped us immensely was preparation!
For the airport, make sure you stock snacks, iPads, movies, games, and whatever you can stuff in your bag. Entertainment and distraction are key! We had some really fun travel games that the kids LOVED playing.
The looks we got boarding a plane with 6 kids were laughable. But never say you’re sorry as a mom. We realized we were apologizing for having kids on the plane…that’s ridiculous, right? This is life. Kids fly, and we will do our very best to keep them happy, but sometimes, kids will be kids. Luckily, ours all behaved pretty well, and we didn’t get too many dirty looks.
A great tip to keep your kid busy and interested is to let them oversee their own suitcase. Each kid had their own personalized suitcase that they were responsible for. It was so cute how much they loved having matching luggage with their cousins, and they were proud to show off their bags!
We also brought nap mats which the kids used for movie nights in the media room. Sleeping bags would be fun, too!
Final Thoughts on Traveling to the Blue Ridge Mountains
All we can say is that Blue Ridge is a magical escape that takes you to a different world. It’s a great place for families or for couples.
Blue Ridge has it all!
We are so happy we discovered this amazing vacation spot, so we can create more memories over the years. All the cabins from Escape to Blue Ridge are incredible. We have stayed in a few cabins now, but if you need a 4+ bedroom home, and it is available, we highly recommend you book the cabin Falling Waters Lodge. It has that special, warm feeling of home you long for on family vacations. We most certainly will go back!
Thanks Escape to Blue Ridge for having us and letting us experience this amazing trip with our families!
Who needs Napa Valley, when you have North Georgia?In fact, North Georgia, and specifically Dahlonega, has been called the Napa of the East. So, what’s the point of hopping on a plane, enduring crazy traffic, and dealing with stifling crowds? Right here in North Georgia you will be better served, remain relaxed, and meander the charming and scenic back roads of Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Dahlonega, Blairsville, and Helen to enjoy a wine experience that’s even better than what the wild west can offer!
1st Place Winners
Surprisingly enough, it turns out North Georgia wines also are winning quality competitions in California’s very own backyard which is causing quite the “Bottleshock” to all the more seasoned western vineyards. So quality-wise, the wine is not a concern. Which makes another good reason to stay close to home!
Starting in Blue Ridge, it doesn’t take long to feel like you’re in wine country. Within an hour’s drive you might swear you just caught a glimpse of Tuscany, or around the corner there’s what looks like Oregon, California, or Upstate New York. North Georgia looks like a lot of other states in the beauty department. That’s why Hollywood likes Georgia, and especially North Georgia, so much. It could look like the Midwest, inland Oregon, or maybe even New England.
For wine production purposes in these parts, the secret lies in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, which provide ideal weather, geography and geology for successful vinifera grape growing due to its long springs, hot, dry summers, and elevations between 1,300 – 1,800 feet.
It’s All About The Grapes
The trail of six farm wineries that lead from Dahlonega north and east into White County and Helen is a great example of how terrain changes dictate grape production and variety of purpose. Designated as the “Dahlonega Plateau”, an AVA (American Viticultural Area), on July 20, 2018, the area encompasses 133 square miles with the same climate, soil, elevation and physical features creating conditions that are ideal for growing grape varietals such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot.
Passport to Wine
2020 Wine Highway Week is now a MONTH long! Enjoy touring 24 participating vineyards in the beautiful mountains while you discover Georgia wines! There will be a $50.00 fee for each participant which will be collected at the first winery visited. Travelers will receive a “Wine Highway Week” collectors’ glass and Passport which will give them admission to ALL participating wineries at no additional charge. Be sure to keep you Passport and Collectors glass with you at all wineries visited! You can purchase your Passport on line at: www.georgiawineproducers.org/shop
The Wine Highway
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery is tucked in the hills just 45 minutes from Blue Ridge and a five-minute drive from downtown Dahlonega. Wolf Mountain is elegant, with spectacular views, the perfect wedding and event venue, but also the ideal place for Sunday brunch, or fun gatherings with friends. A lot of the North Georgia wineries multi-task that way.
Montaluce Winery and Restaurant, with its elegant, ivy-covered walls, and its porches with views to the vineyard, conjures up images of Italy, but is also the site of bike races that have featured the likes of Lance Armstrong and Georgia Hincapie. This breathtaking destination offers a spectacular brunch on Sunday and lunch and dinner Monday through Sunday.
Kaya Vineyard & Winery, in White County, makes the best of the perfect perch, with 360 degree views of Blue Ridge scenery. Wines produced from Kaya’s vines have received over fifty awards and most recently, the vineyard was recognized for producing grapes for one of the “Top 50 Wines of the Year” reviewed by the Wine Report.
The Cottage Vineyard & Winery, one of the earliest Georgia farm wineries on the scene, founded in the late 1990s, actually has church services on Sunday mornings, with inspiring views of the vineyard. Paying homage to all military men and women is a North Georgia Honor Wall that features the 5 service flags of the US Armed Forces: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corp., and Navy as well as the POW and U.S. Flags.
The wineries of all three – Dahlonega, White County and Gilmer make for a pleasant mix of wine trail possibilities – from upscale to downhome; and from farm to fancy. At Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery you can even pet donkeys and alpacas. It’s a local favorite, especially on Friday nights, and live music is always a draw, as it is at most wineries on the weekends.
You’d guess by the name, that Three Sisters Vineyards was a family winery started by siblings – good guess, but wrong. It is indeed a family winery, but the name refers to the three Blue Ridge Mountain ridges that form the perfect backdrop for wedding and special events.
Frogtown Wine, a perennial winner of prestigious national and international wine competitions, offers dramatic 50-mile views, but the ambiance is decidedly California casual, especially the bright white main lodge with deck seating. There are 23,000 grape vines in Frogtown’s North Georgia vineyards capable of producing up to 180 tons of premium wine grapes each year. This tonnage equates to over ten thousand cases of Estate grown wine per year!
On the Ellijay side of Blue Ridge, Fainting Goat Vineyards (yes, they actually have fainting goats), and Cartecay Vineyards, with its distinctive fireplace and iconic chimney, both make for fine outdoor enjoyment most times during the year. Chateau Meichtry specializes in combining wine tasting with learning a lot about the wines, and the entire process of wine production. All three feature live music most weekends.
Right here in Blue Ridge we are lucky to have two great wineries: Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards. Bear Claw Vineyards is welcoming for every member of the family, both two legged and four. Well behaved pets are welcome and there are plenty of games to keep the kids busy while you catch up with your friends and family while you sip their delicious wines. At Serenberry, you are invited to savor the day by relaxing in a beautiful mountain setting while tasting delicious wines!
So, who needs Napa? With the broad variety of wines, and the expanse of experiences, plus the proximity and easy scenic drives (be sure to stop along the way at Amicalola Falls, the highest cascading waterfall on the East Coast), or at charming farmers markets, orchards and food stands – that is indeed the question.
These are the times when things start falling from the trees, unless you pick them first! That especially applies to apples, plums, and persimmons (as sometimes the fun is in the pickin’). As for the leaves, just let them fall. They’re pretty, and crunchy, and they add to the overall ambiance of this wonderful season!
It’s that time of year when fall colors lead to a true change toward cooler temps. Indian Summer is over, and now you can haul out those long pants, hiking boots, and sweaters for the cooler times. It’s also time for art shows, visits to vineyards, gathering with friends & family, honoring our Veterans, and fishing for autumn trout, just to name a few.
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!
November 1 Slickfoot November 2 Disciples of sound November 8 Topper! November 9 Bottoms up November 15 Fiction at The Blue Coyote November 16 Breaking point November 22 Taylor Hughes November 23 BEATS Workin’s Ridge Rock in November November 29 The Nati Lovejoys Reggae Band November 30 Mind the Stepchildren
The distances sound daunting, 30k is no 10 and 11k is no 5 – but when you consider that this run will be managed for a maximum of 250 participants and the terrain will be all dirt trails through dense forest, you quickly understand that this is not your typical run around the block. The beauty of this part of Georgia, especially in the National Forest, and especially at this time of year, is breathtaking. Register soon – space is limited.
Veterans Day is a solemn occasion, when we recognize those who sacrificed to keep America safe and secure, but somehow, with brass bands, flags waving, color guards leading a parade, and burgers on the grill, it’s also a cause for celebrating the strength of a nation! Thanks to those who have given so much. Celebrate and commemorate Veterans Day in Downtown Blue Ridge, but save the solemn for Memorial Park.
Here is your monthly opportunity to drink wine with no guilt. A yoga workout, then drink wine. Easy! The guided yoga lasts about an hour. The wine tasting and wine drinking has no set time parameters. Enjoy!
There’s the blues … then there’s the Tullie Brae BLUES! This contemporary blues/rock-infused contemporary blues musician is a magician when it comes to setting tone and tenor for a fabulous night of jazzy swing. Her shows have been described as pure energy, a Louisiana Delta meets Memphis Belle kind of tribute to all the best of the genre. She has appeared with BB King and Bonnie Raitt among others and she captivates all she comes in contact with. It’s gonna be quite a concert!
Unique handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings, and gifts of all description are about to go on sale…let the holidays begin! This is just what artists have been working for and what customers of custom crafts have been waiting for, and it’s not just a weekend fling. This holiday show and sale begins just before Thanksgiving and lasts into January!
The WhoDunIt Mystery Art Fundraiser includes original art pieces, food, live music and lots of fun!
But… but … but … It’s not YOUR town, Mr. Potter! Thank you, Jimmy Stewart for your one-of-a-kind interpretation of this Christmas classic, which will be ringing in your ears as you ring in the season with “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The Blue Ridge Community Theater’s performance of this memorable, and inspirational, timeless holiday story will be sure to delight young and young at heart!
An early entry in the holiday crafts bazaar scene, about a week before all the Black Friday craziness. You can choose to be more civilized picking and choosing of your holiday-themed local crafts and creations in jewelry, pottery, soap-making and wood crafts. Plus the local artisans are fascinating to talk to and learn about.
You’ve just gotta trust a fishing company to teach you how to fish. It’s what they do. This class covers all the basics and the advanced stuff you really need to know to catch fish plus descriptions of local waters (aka, fishing where the fish are), knots, rods, reels and casting techniques.
We are thankful for all of our past and future cabin guests. It’s our absolute pleasure to provide you luxury accommodations in the North Georgia Mountains. Our sincere wish this holiday season is that you and yours can come together, eat some delicious food, and be thankful for all we have been given in this life.
It is a day of sharing good things, including a Thanksgiving meal, with neighbors and friends as well as anyone in need. It’s also a fundraiser to support future good deeds. Take out meals are available.
Black Friday, the all-out dash for discounts, just got softened a bit by Blue Ridge’s very appropriate “Blue Friday”, with special emphasis on fun, a parade, community caroling, Santa’s arrival, and the lighting of a 27-foot tall tree! Also be on the lookout for strolling characters, food vendors and entertainment in the park on Saturday, November 30th and every Saturday through December. Make your escape memorable and join us as Blue Ridge ushers in and celebrates the holiday season!
NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM
A unique cabin retreat built to become the backdrop for large families to gather and create lasting memories. If you’ve had your heart set on a North Georgia mountain family vacation but haven’t found a rental large enough for your big family, group of friends, or church retreats Serenity Cove is the perfect cabin for you. With ample room for 16 guests, Serenity Cove is a magnificent private retreat that offers you all the amenities of a high-end resort, and so much more!
If the stress and hustle and bustle of daily life in the city has you yearning for peace, quiet and the beauty of nature, it’s time to escape to the Blue Ridge mountains, and Getaway is the perfect place to do it. On a hillside surrounded by towering trees, this tri-level cabin offers you the ultimate in privacy and relaxation, with a world of fun activities and adventure just a short drive away. You can walk down and hike back the half mile to the Toccoa River, and it’s four miles to tubing and whitewater rafting, five miles to Mercier Orchards, seven miles to downtown Blue Ridge and three miles to Copperhill and McCaysville.
What’s on your checklist when considering a North Georgia cabin rental? Chances are you want privacy, a great view, all the comforts of a home away from home and close proximity to downtown Blue Ridge. At Cloud Top Cabin, you’ll find that and so much more. This uniquely constructed mountain retreat, built of wood from Montana and decorated in rustic-chic style with brand new, custom-made furniture, is ideal for a large family or friends’ getaway—it can accommodate 10 guests in its four master bedroom suites. And the view? Step onto the wraparound decks to take in long-range mountain vistas that are especially spectacular at sunset.
When you escape to the mountains, you look forward to being able to explore the great outdoors, to take scenic rides through the Blue Ridge foothills and highlands, seek out a waterfall and enjoy an evening around the fire pit, sipping wine while the kids gorge on toasted marshmallows. Sometimes Mother Nature plays havoc with your plans, aiming her watering hose right at your coveted vacation spot. When this occurs, don’t let it keep you from enjoying what Blue Ridge has to offer. Lots of our best activities are under roof. Keep Reading.
Fall in the mountains is a special time of year. The temperatures begin to drop to more moderate levels, the leaves turn to beautiful colors, and we can finally don our favorite sweaters and boots! There is always so much to do, both inside and outside, when you Escape to Blue Ridge to experience some fall fun! Here are a few ideas to make this time of year extra special while you create memories with your favorite people!
This is the most beautiful time of the year to pack up the
family or gather your friends and hit the road for some beautiful leaf peeping!
Here are our three favorites:
The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a nationally designated Scenic Byway that is 40.64 miles in length and makes a loop through the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Brasstown Bald rises 4,784 feet above sea level and is Georgia’s tallest mountain. Visitors to this place on high find an observation deck which allows a spectacular 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, exhibits, a film, hiking trails, and gift shop.
The Southern Highroads Trail can be traveled in its entirety or in sections. This very scenic route travels through four national forests (Chattahoochee, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Sumter) and four states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia)
Come on Ride That Train
Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains is best seen via railway
through the Chattahoochee National Forest. Board the eleven-car Blue Ridge Scenic Railway train and enjoy a relaxing
26-mile roundtrip journey beginning and ending in downtown Blue Ridge with a
stop in the newly revitalized twin cities of McCaysville, Ga & Copperhill,
Local Tip: Choose one of the three open air cars to have unobstructed views and to breathe in the fresh mountain air!
There is not another season that encourages you to pause and
look around quite like Fall. We think nature is best experienced slowly because
sometimes when you’re hiking it can be easy to focus more on the destination or
watching where you step. However, in the Fall, bright colors implore you to look
away from the ground and towards the colorful trees that make this season so
special. Take your time and look up!
Local Tip: Explore the Aska Adventure area with 17 miles of trails to take in the beauty of the season. You can even incorporate the Long Creek Falls loop!
Pick a Peck
We can’t really think of a much more iconic fall activity
than picking a pick of apples and finding the perfect pumpkin. Right here in
Blue Ridge, Mercier Orchards
offers you the opportunity to do both. Take a hayride around the property,
enjoy a cup of hot apple cider, or warm up from the inside out with some
delicious hard cider!
Local Tip: The best part of apple picking isn’t just about going home with yummy apples, it’s about spending quality time with your loved ones and enjoying the fresh air. Make sure to take lots of pictures, that way the memories will last a lifetime.
Watching the stars, moon, and planets shine in real time can be a powerful reminder of how big our world really is and when you look up into the Blue Ridge sky you’ll see why autumn is the best time for star gazing! So, grab a blanket, a thermos of hot chocolate, and a special someone and cuddle up under the stars for a fascinating and romantic evening. Download a Stargazing app to help decipher exactly what you’re looking at and learn about the stories of the constellations.
What better way to enjoy the fall season than with a warm and toasty fire on the deck or down at the fire pit! This is really a fall MUST. It’s not optional. The air is just so fresh and clean, the crickets and frogs are chirping, and your heart is warmer than the flames with all the chitter chatter while you roast up marshmallows for the perfect s’mores.
Your cabin comes fully stocked with everything you might
need to make delicious meals for your friends and family. Since you came back
with more pecs of apples than you planned on, let’s put the fruits of your
labor to work and make some yummy fall recipes like:
The best part about fall evenings is sitting on the porch
(or in the hot tub) and watching the sun set over the beautiful mountain tops.
Instead of the same ol wine and/or beer that you normally would have, impress
your friends with some autumn inspired beverages. Apple Cider – Adult Style
Mother Nature produces colors that make Crayola Crayons jealous! So, why do we think they have to stay put outside? Pick up for favorite leaves, of all different colors and shapes, and bring them into the cabin to make your stay even more homey feeling. Create a simple centerpiece for the table or place some around the fireplace mantle in a decorative fashion. Regardless of whether or not you have children vacationing with you, you can try your hand at some of these fun fall leaf crafts. You don’t have to be super crafty to make something beautiful. Besides, the fun is in the laughter and memories you make with your loved ones.
Make a “thankfulness” list. With the Thanksgiving holiday just
around the corner, take the time to make a list of all the things you are thankful
for in your life. If you have children, make it a family project and teach
them the value of remembering all the good things that they have been experiencing
during the year.
A few years ago, you and your spouse promised each other a weekly date, knowing that it would be good (maybe even great) for your relationship. You’ve still been trying to find time for that first date. “Life” somehow always seems to take precedence, and finding time away from the merry –go-round we ride day in and day out has been nearly impossible. Maybe it’s time to jump off that ride for just a few days. It’s time to come to the mountains and re-discover each other.
Let’s start by renting a cabin in Blue Ridge for a romantic weekend for two. You arrive on Friday night. You enjoy an evening of sipping champagne in the hot tub and….. well, you know the rest of that evening ….
When you wake up on Saturday at noon, feeling more connected than you have in a while, it’s time to share even more time together.
And then you realize you have nearly forgotten how to just spend time together.
Here are some suggestions to help open up the gateway to re-discovery.
A Walk in the Woods of a Poet
You know what your heart feels, but you’ve never been able to put it to prose like a poet. The Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center will cover that for you. Located in Union County, just a stone’s throw from Blue Ridge, this 9+ acre parcel is where Reece, a celebrated 20th Century Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet was born and raised. Now restored into a beautiful public park, with lovely walking trails cradled along Wolf’s Creek, you can take an easy stroll to our favorite romantic stop simply known as the Poetry Trail. Here you’ll discover four small islands of stone with seating at each slab that has been carved with a different poem from the Reece collection. Pick a poem, read it together and talk about your life shared, there in the stillness of the moment.
Keeping it Spa-cial
One of the most popular services our cabin couples like to take advantage of at local Serenity in the Mountains Spa is the Couples Massage. With cozy, heated tables, in a beautifully appointed private room, two therapists will give you the massage style you each prefer. Then afterward, you both can relax alone in front of the fireplace, making this a totally romantic experience.
Over a Cocktail
Maybe it’s a little later than noon before you both want to get going. You both decide you need a little nourishment but you really aren’t ready for dinner, but a great conversation over a good cocktail or two is what you’re feeling for this afternoon. We highly recommend you find a seat on the patio or on the porch at The Black Sheep. Their bartenders are highly skilled, their $5 bar menu (served from 2 till 5) is an outrageously cheap gourmet delight and the atmosphere is divine.
Keep It Moving
Your lives seem like they are in perpetual motion, and you aren’t always on the same ride. This is a great time to move in the same direction sharing the jaunt, whether by land or by sea. For a romantic evening on the lake, contact Capt’n Joe and book an evening sunset pontoon boat ride on Lake Blue Ridge. Enjoy cuddling under the moon as the lake laps in a soothing motion, getting your heart beats to synchronize once again.
Would you like to propose all over again to the love of your life? Appalachian Trail Rides has the “horse” power you need to do it in style. Their “Proposal Ride” is a 1.5 Hour reserved guided ride (includes a bottle of sparkling cider) on a private trail to a secluded romantic gazebo in the woods by a stream and lake.
Bring Back the Memories
Remember the good old fashion make out sessions you had at the Drive-in movie? Well, you can rekindle those sparks just around the bend at the Swan Drive-in here in Blue Ridge. This historic drive-in theater was established in 1955. It shows first-run movies, has great popcorn and hot dogs and they promise to not shine a light inside your car because they got a call from your concerned parents.
Sometimes relationships need perspective. We are so busy, day in and day out, each fighting the challenges presented to us, we forget the big picture. There’s no better reminder of our place in the universe than to stare up at the starlit night. Away from the glare of the city lights, there is nowhere better to observe the galaxy than here in the mountains. Grab a blanket and take a ride out to Cooper’s Creek Wildlife Management Area. Part of the US Forest Service, the Wildlife area is open 24 hours a day. It is just the perfect place to share a romantic evening, together, under the stars.
National Moonshine Day is observed annually on the first Thursday in June. Yes, we are posting this in October, and we don’t expect you to remember this date eight months from now. Truth is, you can turn just about any day into a celebration partaking in some good ole mountain white lightning. But where can you get your hands on it? Stay with us for the answer to that question.
For years, visitors to our area would ask their waitresses at diners, gas station attendants, and the guy who gave them the key to their room at the local travel lodge (in a quiet whisper) where they might get their hands on some of the illegal potables these hills were noted to produce. In the ’50s and ’60s, if one of those tourists was lucky enough to land him a ball jar bottle of the mountain hooch, there’s a great possibility it came from the still of American Appalachian moonshiner Jack “Mimm” McClure.
Everyone knew of Jack in these parts. He was easy to spot when he came to town. With his big 250 lb frame and always in a Stetson hat, he opened doors for the ladies, spoke kindly to children and was noted for his philanthropic generosity of spirit. Still, he made his fortune selling illegal spirits. He had a reputation for influencing the election of many politicians in the local and state seats. He also had his own ideas when justice should be served. The late Georgia Governor and McClure’s fellow Towns County native Zell Miller wrote of Jack, “He was loved, hated, respected, and feared, depending upon the experience one had had with him.”
McClure was dubbed “Grandaddy Mimm” by his grandchildren and that became his moniker amongst the folks in the mountains. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 1969. With his passing, so did an era of illegal bootlegging. But this is just where our story gets more interesting.
One of Jack’s grandkids, Tommy Townsend was a “gitar” player who as a youngin’ fell in love with the music of Waylon Jennings. Now Jennings could easily be to country music what Tommy’s Grandaddy Mimm was to moonshine. They were both outlaws with class, who had a presence that no one could quite forget. Townsend’s parents got him behind stage to meet Jennings many years ago. Waylon took a liking to the boy and brought him into the Jennings family fold. Waylon was Tommy’s mentor but it was Waylon’s son Shooter Jennings who became Tommy’s friend. Since 2008 Townsend and 4 other former members of the Jennings band have been entertaining fans as the Waymore’s Outlaws. In 2014 they began opening for Shooter Jennings and then backing him as his set in concerts all over the country. This year Tommy released his solo debut album “Turn Back the Clock”. Shooter Jennings produced the project.
Who’s Your Grandaddy?
Tommy never forgot his North Georgia roots nor his Grandaddy Mimm. He also held the family secret recipe to Grandaddy’s famous moonshine as well as the schematics to the still his Grandaddy designed many years before. In 2012, Townsend announced his plans to recreate his Grandaddy’s legacy, only this time, it would be within the law.
Today, you can tour the Grandaddy Mimm’s Corn Whiskey Distillery located in Blairsville GA, just a thirty-minute drive from Blue Ridge. Tours are given daily, but on Saturday’s you get to meet and chat with the head distiller and get to see the whole “still” in action. Your imagination of the outlaw days of moonshine starts to unfurl as soon as you drive up to the building that houses the museum and distillery. Inside you’ll find so many eclectic relics from those days as well as an enormous, interesting array of music memorabilia and instruments collected by Townsend over the years.
Taste tasting this hooch is also encouraged. The choices are tough to make. Just four ingredients, corn, sugar, yeast, and water produce all of the moonshines, including the Mule Kickin 140 proof. The 96 proof Peach is their biggest seller. It’s hard to find a naturally flavored high octane whiskey, and it makes for some very interesting mixed drink recipes. There are also Apple, Cherry and Blueberry options, all using natural extracts. Plan on taking a jar or three home for great souvenir memories. The gift shop also has an abundant selection of shirts, hats and other mementos to bring back home.
When you mosey up to the bar, take note of its fine detail and its rich wood design. If you are a cult fan of the movie “Coyote Ugly”, this is the very bar that LeeAnn Rhimes ascends to join leading ladies Piper Perabo, Maria Bello, and Bridget Moynahan to dance while she sings “Can’t Fight the Moonlight”.
Plan Your Trip
The Distillery is located on your way to many of this region’s most visited autumn viewing spots and waterfalls, including Brasstown Bald, Vogel State Park, Richard Russell National Scenic Byway, and the Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center. The distillery is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm.
Grandaddy Mimm’s legacy lives on through the distillery and his grandson’s music. When you view Townsend’s recently released music video for his song “Drinkin”, look closely at the ball jars on the bar. You might just recognize some of that high octane corn “licker” that made Jack McClure a North Georgia legend.