Waterfalls are one of nature’s most beautiful sights and the surrounding areas around Blue Ridge have plenty to explore. These waterfalls offer views that appeal to all ages and the anticipation leading up to the waterfall can be an enjoyable experience of its own. Nature is calling and it’s waiting for you to explore these falls on your next Escape to Blue Ridge!
Located right on the edge of the North Georgia Mountains, Amicalola Falls State Park is one of the most visited parks in Georgia. The 729-foot falls, south of Ellijay, make it the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The forest and mossy terrain surrounding the waterfall truly complete the picturesque scene.
The ease of access to Amicalola Falls is another factor that contributes to the visit. The top part of the falls can be viewed by a drive through the State Park and looking down. Another popular option is to park your car at the State Park parking lot and access the falls by climbing the lengthy staircase with viewing platforms leading up to the cascading water. The 600 stairs are well worth the effort and offer views of Amicalola Falls throughout its mildly steep course. The waterfall can also be viewed by a 7.5-mile hike starting at Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. All three options offer breathtaking scenery along the way and the Amicalola Falls Lodge is an ideal spot for a refreshing drink or meal to complete your day!
Only 20 minutes from Blue Ridge, Fall Branch Falls is a location where you can spend a half-hour or a half-day! The adventure begins with only a 0.5-mile shaded path that leads visitors to a series of cascading waterfalls reaching 30 feet. The area below the falls is great for a picnic or water break. The mist from the side of the cliff and the water at the base of the falls make for a perfect place to cool down from a hot summer’s day. But watch your step because the rocks can sure be slippery! The observation deck at the falls can be used to snap a picture or to admire nature’s beauty.
This pair of waterfalls can be found near Blairsville and by following a brief 0.3-mile trail. The trail consisting of wildlife and greenery brings visitors to the smaller Lower Helton Creek Falls first. The trail continues ahead to the Upper Helton Creek Falls, where the 50-foot rush of water can be seen. If you make the short journey up to Helton Creek Falls on a sunny afternoon, we promise you won’t regret it!
Long Creek Falls
With towering trees and a 50-foot double-tiered waterfall, Long Creek Falls is easily one of Fannin County’s most treasured sights. The falls are only a short drive from downtown Blue Ridge and can be found at the intersection of the Appalachian and the Benton MacKaye trails. This makes Long Creek Falls a beautiful stop for a variety of travelers and explorers. The hike to admire the waterfall is under a mile and the boulders along the edge of the falls offer visitors a peaceful spot for a water break or a nature-filled conversation!
Sea Creek Falls
Most breathtaking after a summer rain, Sea Creek Falls can be accessed after only a 0.1-mile walk. A trip to see the double cascading falls at Sea Creek Falls, located outside of Blairsville, can be appreciated by skill levels of all ages. The falls displaying 30 feet of mountain water offer sounds, views, and relaxation for any visitor. The water flowing at the base of Sea Creek Falls is available for feet or paws to splash around in while enjoying a break from the Southern heat.
Remarkable in any season, North Georgia is lucky to claim these waterfalls. A breath of fresh air, a cooling mist from the cliffs, and a leisurely mountain walk are all waiting for you at these five waterfalls just a short drive away from Blue Ridge.
embark on your next waterfall adventure, be sure to share your trip with us on
our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @escapetobr. We can’t wait for you to
experience these stunning falls for yourself!
The Blue Ridge Mountains provide the terrain, views, and challenge that all mountain bikers search for. The back country trails and systems will have bikers pedaling through a series of rocks, roots, and jumps. Pick from the variety of trails near Blue Ridge and the adrenaline rush will quickly follow! Grab your bike and helmet and get ready to experience the easy to rigorous trails in North Georgia for an adventure that will keep you itching to return!
If you are looking for a nice easy intro trail, the wide singletrack of Longbranch Loop is a great starting point. A staple in the Aska Adventure Area Trail System, the shady trail keeps obstacles limited and the fun rolling! (Easy)
Beautiful and fun, the Amadahy Trail in Ellijay is perfect to take your kids out for a ride and develop their passion for mountain biking. Wrapping around the edge of Carters Lake, this loop is extremely picturesque, but still offers a few easy uphill and downhill sections. (Easy-Intermediate)
If you’re a beginner to mountain biking and hoping to have an easy ride, this is a great spot to start. The 15-mile trail system at Jackrabbit Mountain offers stunning views of Lake Chatuge throughout. There are simple inclines and declines throughout this scenic trail system. It’s located on the North Carolina/Georgia border, making it accessible for visitors near and far. (Easy – Intermediate)
This 350-mile stretch of trails that venture from Georgia to Alabama makes it one of the most popular trail systems in the southeast for a series of reasons. With access points throughout its length, the entry near Dalton takes bikers along a mountainous journey with paved sections as well. The Mountaintown Creek Trail, part of the Pinhoti Trail System, is 11 miles out-and-back with rushing waterfalls and backcountry views that make it perfect for a day trip. (Intermediate)
This system in the Tennessee River Valley has over 30 miles of rushing trails that bikers of all skill levels can enjoy. Only a half-hour from Blue Ridge, this well-maintained set of trails provides captivating overlooks of the Ocoee River and secluded vistas of the Tennessee wilderness. This year-round trail system is filled with advanced climbs, thrilling jumps, and short bridges to keep the adventure going. (Intermediate)
Located only 2 hours away from our cabins in Blairsville, this is a must-ride trail system that is unforgettable for all those who cross it. There are four intermediate to moderate loops within this 40-mile trail system and each provides a unique encounter with nature. Bikers can expect jaw-dropping views of Lake Fontana and the Smokey Mountains while on these Western North Carolina trails. Its reputation still stands as one of the best mountain bike trails in the Southeast! (Intermediate)
While on this 8-mile loop, riders can expect rewarding descents with an assortment of tough climbs, switchbacks, and berms. This trail is not too crowded and is suitable for mountain bikers of any kind. Located on the outskirts of Helen, Unicoi State Park offers lake views and challenging paths for an exhilarating day of adventure! (Intermediate-Difficult)
The view at this trail’s peak is what makes the climb on this pathway all worth the travel. Bear Creek Trail, located in Ellijay, offers beautiful views of Fort Mountain and has several switchbacks to keep the adventure interesting. There are several creeks along the 10-mile loop that offer a change in scenery and help bikers cross through. (Intermediate-Difficult)
If you’re looking to go downhill fast, the trails at Stanley Gap can provide that experience for you! This intermediate trail in Blue Ridge is 10 miles out and back, and lets bikers have plenty of opportunities to ride through the trees. With steady inclines and sections suitable for a rest stop, the Stanley Gap trail does not disappoint. (Difficult)
This connecting system only a few miles from Dahlonega offers fast descents, wildlife sightings, and plenty of ground to uncover! The Jake Mountain Trail System and the Bull Mountain Trail System merge to form over 30 miles of trails for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. The picturesque sights make this trail system for intermediate and advanced bikers hard to forget. (Difficult)
With 2,500 feet of climbing, this trail is for serious mountain bikers only. The 19-mile loop in Helen features multiple obstacles including falling rocks, a steep uphill trek, and speedy descents. This blood rushing trail will test, stretch, and grow your mountain biking limits! (Very Difficult)
Whether you’ve been biking for years or hoping to begin a new hobby, these trails are only a short drive away from Blue Ridge. One of the few activities that combines exercise with breath-taking views, the southeast mountain ranges make mountain biking accessible for all ages. Take a risk and experience what mountain biking can do for you while conquering these trails. We’ll see you out there!
Nestled only a few miles outside of downtown Blue Ridge, the Aska Adventure Area is packed with plenty of activities for visitors. Whether you are hoping to explore the serene North Georgia Mountains or grab a bite to eat at a mom-and-pop restaurant, you’ll have a blast in the Aska region of Blue Ridge. The Toccoa River, Appalachian Trail, and the Benton Mackaye Trail all intersect through the Aska Trail System. When you are ready to make your Escape to Blue Ridge, don’t forget to pack your hiking boots, load up the bicycle and get ready to have some great outdoor fun!
Eat Off Aska
If you’re looking for a tasty meal without breaking the bank, Van Zandt’s Riverwalk Grill & Grocery is a country diner serving breakfast and lunch. Their shelves are stocked with basic groceries and a gift shop with goods crafted by local artisans.
The Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is a true ‘taste-and-see’ spot, as this eatery sits alongside rushing river waters. Here you can feast upon fresh local trout prepared several different ways or choose from the finest and freshest steaks, seafood, ribs, and signature pasta dishes. Pets are welcome and Fido can even enjoy some canine cuisine from the Pooch Porch Goodies menu!
Channel your inner child and get ready for a day full of fun and adventure at the Lilly Pad Village. Explore the two acres of picturesque land and choose to go gem mining, fishing, and mini-golfing! You are sure to get lots of smiles out of your little ones, and who knows, you might end up having more fun playing along with them!
Roll up your sleeves and get ready for an entertaining and educational gem mining experience. Once you’ve discovered some shiny treasure, head over to the fishing pond for some peaceful relaxation. The fishing hole, sitting on one-third of an acre, is stocked with catfish, bream, and bass. Fishing tickets and rental equipment are offered on-site. End your trip at Lilly Pad Village with a competitive game of mountainside mini-golf. The nine-hole mini-golf course takes players through tall trees with sounds from a variety of birds and frogs at the lily pond. The best part about Lilly Pad Village is that your activity ticket lasts all day so you can stay as long as you would like!
Because of its mountainous terrain, hiking is one of the main reasons that travelers add Aska to their must-visit list. The Aska Trails Area consists of a 17-mile trail system where hikers and mountain bikers of all skill levels can explore. This trail system highlights the landscapes of North Georgia by revealing mountain peaks, shorelines of Lake Blue Ridge, and a series of hardwood trees among thickets of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendrons.
A few of our favorite hiking and mountain biking trails include:
The Toccoa River flows parallel to Aska Road and is at the heart of outdoor activities in this idyllic mountain region. The 93-mile-long river journeys through the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Ocoee River Basin and is one of the South’s few north-flowing rivers. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful Toccoa by their choice of tubing, kayaking, rafting, or fishing.
A tubing trip down the Toccoa River is a popular activity that allows visitors a simple way to capture the river’s beauty. Depending on the drop-off site, you can float on your river tube for an hour or close to four hours. The Toccoa Valley Campground, Shallowford Bridge Tubing, and Van Zandt’s each offer tube rentals, life vests, and a shuttle trip.
Rafting and kayaking allow you to embark along the Toccoa River at your own pace. If you’re looking for a route alone or with a guide, both options are available in Aska. Pack a lunch and enjoy cruising along the mountain waters. Kayaks and rafts can be rented at the Jon Ron Toccoa Outfitters.
Fishing in the surrounding Aska areas provides peace and relaxation for all outdoor enthusiasts. Sandy Bottoms is an excellent spot to splash in the swimming hole or catch fish on a hot summer day. Another great fishing location is at the Shallowford Bridge. Underneath the steel one-lane bridge, fishermen (and women) can set up their line and patiently wait for a bite. Private guided trout fishing tours are also available through companies like Cohutta Fishing Company.
The breathtaking scenery and endless adventures are waiting to be explored off Aska. This adventure area is rich in history and wildlife, and it will be a trip that you won’t forget. Hop in the car and Escape to Blue Ridge to explore the Aska Adventure Area!
Calling all thrill-seekers, backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts! We believe that the view from up above will always be greater than the view from down below! The adrenaline that motivates you to keep going and the feeling of conquering a new trail only make up a fraction of what makes hiking worth the while. The hiking trails located around Blue Ridge remind us why we are so lucky to call this beautiful earth our home!
While hiking through Fannin County you can experience the steep mountain terrain and flowing rivers, making it one of the best ways to spend a sunny afternoon. We rounded up a the top 7 trails for beginners, experts, and everyone in between. Whether you have been hiking for years or just hoping to begin, we have found that the trails can’t tell the difference!
Hike alongside this simple and scenic trail and experience one of the most stunning lakes in Georgia for yourself. The Lake Blue Ridge Loop comes in at about 0.8 miles and is well maintained, making it achievable for all ages. Once the hike is finished, head on over to the Morganton Point Recreation Area to splash in the cool lake at their sandy beach!
River Swinging Bridge Trail
Accessing the 270-foot-long suspension bridge above the Toccoa River can be as short as a .5 mile hike or make it a 2-mile mountain hike and fully take in the beauty of North Georgia! This hike offers a cool breeze from the Toccoa River and the excitement of bouncing along the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River!
The Swinging Bridge Trail is a part of the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) which consists of 300-miles of nature just waiting to be explored! If a 2-mile hike is like a walk in the park for you, keep following the BMT for more mountain views and a multitude of adventures!
Mountain Tower Trail
Hiking through the Cohutta Wilderness on the Grassy Mountain Tower Trail comes with amazing outdoor perks on a 5-mile moderate hike. The adventure begins along the shore of the Lake Conasauga, a spot ideal for a picnic to fuel up for the trek. Once you make your way around the lake, the elevation and the views begin to increase. As you make your way to the trail peak, hikers can expect to see Fort Mountain and long-ranging views. The best part of this trail is climbing the stairs of the historic Grassy Mountain Fire Lookout Tower for an outstanding view of the surrounding countryside!
Serenity and a remote escape from civilization can be found while on the Emery Creek Falls Trail. This intermediate trail takes hikers through 20 creeks and past several waterfalls throughout the 6.2-mile round trip hike. These double waterfalls, located outside of Ellijay, provide plenty of adventure with wildlife and green forestry surrounding your every step!
Hemp Top Trail offers sights with some of the highest peaks in Georgia and provides breathtaking sights of the Tennessee Valley as well. With Blue Ridge located only 10 miles away, this quiet hike will submerge you right into the beauty of the North Georgia wilderness. The abundant hardwood trees provide enough shade for moderate-skilled hikers along the 6.2-mile course and if you’re lucky you may experience a chilly mountain breeze!
Forks to Springer Mountain
This hike to Springer Mountain comes in at 8.6 miles round trip includes mountain peak views, tranquil streams, and a lush environment. This trail intersects with the Benton Mackaye Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Your summer hiking boots will lead you to the official end of the Appalachian Trail once you hike the 4.3 miles to view the Springer Mountain summit. At the Springer Mountain peak, you can take a rest with your portable hammock, grab a handful of your favorite trail mix, or simply sit in awe to marvel at the gorgeous views!
Jacks River Trail
Immerse yourself in the hardwood trees of North Georgia while hiking alongside the Jacks River. Located within the Cohutta Wilderness, the Jacks River Trail invites hikers to witness one of the most captivating waterfalls in the state! This moderately challenging trail reaches a there-and-back total of 9-miles. While a highlight of the hike is the spectacular 80-foot Jacks River Falls, the trail also features wildflowers, mossy river banks, and rocky paths waiting to be explored!
Escape to Nature
If you are looking to Escape to Blue Ridge for the weekend, one week, or even one month, there are a plethora of trails in the Blue Ridge area for you to explore! When our summer schedules get hectic, a change of scenery and a good hike can be the perfect remedy to calm our minds. Before you head out on the trails, don’t forget to bring sunscreen, a healthy snack, and plenty of water!
We would love to see your photos of when you hit the trails this summer! You can find us through our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @escapetobr and we’ll be sure to feature you!
I’ve spent the last 28 years cruising the shoreline of Lake Blue Ridge. I’ve seen and heard it all, I suppose. My friends call me Captain Katz, pretty much for my expertise on steering them into the areas safe for spawning, and away from the fish hunting sapiens. But to the naked human eye, I’m just a big old channel catfish, not good for much of anything except a great selfie if they are lucky enough to snag me. I’m happy to say that hasn’t been my destiny to date.
Today, I’ve been asked to share with you warm-blooded, gill-less persons many of the amazing amenities of the 3,300 acres of pristine clean clear waters of Lake Blue Ridge. I’ve observed your enthusiasm for our lagoons for nearly three decades. Yes, if you can see your toes in the water, I can see up at you, as well as hear you. And you are quite the vocal species, aren’t you? Especially when you manage to hook one of my fellow aquatic compadres.
My grandfather spoke often about the rudiments of this human sport. It is essential for those of us who have no intention of being caught just how to avoid the situation. That means that I happen to know where I shall stay clear, but where you will enjoy hooking a few of those less savvy fish for your dinner.
When deciding on your bait as well as your choice of hook, you might want to consider which one of us you hope to snag. You’ll mostly find small and largemouth bass, white bass, spotted bass, bluegill, walleye, rainbow trout, and yellow perch at the end of your pole if luck is on your side.
If dropping a line from shore the best places to fish are amid the rocky flats around the marina, Star Creek Cove, and the docks around the main body of the lake. There’s also some serious consideration given to the base of the Blue Ridge Dam.
Family-Friendly Recreational Spots
The U.S. Forest Service manages two recreational areas where one can exhibit their angling skills. But I suggest these to further emphasize that there is more to a great family lake experience than getting sunburned while dunking a worm in hopes of enticing the likes of me to nip at it.
Lake Blue Ridge Recreational Area is located on the west side of the lake. This is a passive recreation area with a beautiful view of the lake and mountains. The boat ramp is free. This park is also a good place for quiet walks and relaxing bike rides. There is a short, easy hike along the shoreline, and also a one-mile paved loop road that is popular for walking. Kayak and paddleboards are available for rent.
Morganton Point Recreational Area is the ideal place for swimming and beaching it with the family. Open April through October, the summer months will find the waters warm and crystal clear. I don’t enjoy watching you all stumble around while attempting to have fun, so please consider water shoes for the pebble base in this area, especially for the young ones. Why you all have toes instead of webbed feet, I will never understand! There are also covered pavilions for picnicking and there are lavatories (a place with a porcelain water hole of which I cannot comprehend the need).
For those of you who want to tour the lake by vessel, there are numerous means to explore our more than 60 miles of shoreline, of which only twenty-five percent is developed.
There are wonderful coves to explore all along the banks of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Star Creek Cove is the largest, located just off the channel (around the corner from Star Creek Rd.). Its expanse is about a mile long and nearly 1,000 feet across at its widest point. This allows for all kinds of recreational pursuits from canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and motor boating, with plenty of room for all.
If you’ve come to the lake with your owned equipment, there are five different boat ramps to choose from including Lake Blue Ridge Dam, Lakewood Landing Boat Ramp, The Lake Blue Ridge Day Use Recreational Area and Boat Ramp, Morganton Point Recreation Area, and the Blue Ridge Marina.
You don’t have your own vessel? At the Blue Ridge Marina, you can rent pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddleboards, as well as stock up on all the boating essentials supplies. A day on the lake is bound to find you hungry. The Boat Dock Bar and Grill is a great place to grab a bite to eat. On many weekends you’ll find the Marina hosting live music and events.
Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters is located inside the Morganton Point Recreational Area. Here you can rent kayaks, SUP boards (paddleboard-kayak hybrid), fishing kayaks, paddleboards, and party paddleboards.
Sunrise to Sunset
There are spectacular views of the mountains from every angle of the Lake, and we sea bearers, much like you, often marvel at their reflection above us. But there seem to be two different times of the day that you humans are most captivated by the views along the lake, and that would be at sunrise and sunset.
For breathtaking sunrises I highly recommend perching atop the Lake Blue Ridge Dam, looking north and south. There is also a new overlook on the lake in the park area next to the dam, for you shutterflys who want to capture the moment with your cameras.
Sunsets on Lake Blue Ridge are Mother Nature’s means of showing off. One of the favorite spots to observe her color palette’s slide show bouncing off the water is at the Morgantown Point Recreational Area.
I have seen the happiest land dwellers are the ones that are lucky enough to book a cabin right on the lake. There’s just something about stepping out of the house right onto the dock of the lake or ending the day soaking your cares away in a hot tub overlooking the shimmering waters of my home. Even if you aren’t big into water activities you can appreciate the beauty of your surroundings as you settle into a rocking chair with a book, a beer or a glass of wine, and simply enjoy a spectacular sunset from the porch from one of these Lakeside Cabin Rentals.
A Big Splash
That about wraps up my lake tips. For those of you who walk on land, but envy those of us blessed to inhabit the tranquil waters of Lake Blue Ridge, I encourage you to come spend time with us. We don’t mind sharing our liquid homestead, but we do ask that along with your memories and your photos that you take home from your day on the lake, also take your trash to dispose of in appropriate containers. We look forward to your next visit!
Here at Escape to Blue Ridge, we consider the current recommendation of “Social Distancing” a serious responsibility. Click HERE to learn more about what we’re doing to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus within our vacation homes.
We also believe our vacation homes provide a great resource for adapting to this new temporary way of life while still enjoying quality family time with your loved ones. In fact, providing incredible getaways in underpopulated areas is our specialty! Many of our cabins back up to National Forest service land making you feel like you are in your very own secluded heaven! Besides, last we heard, getting outdoors and spending time with family was not cancelled. So, let’s make the most of our situation and embrace the opportunities we do have.
many schools being closed and offices shutting down, there is not a better time
to “seize the day” and take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy life a little.
Here in Blue Ridge, we have an abundance of natural resources to experience, comfortable
cabins to unwind in, and breathtaking views to enjoy your own secluded peace.
Take a Hike
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
MacKaye Trail, 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. Is Fido
traveling with you? These hikes
are perfect for your 4-legged adventure partner!
Ride a Horse
nothing more enjoyable than unplugging form the digital world, saddling up on
horseback, and heading out into the countryside. In Blue Ridge, forty percent
of the county’s land is located within the Chattahoochee National Forest which
means there are countless miles of trails to explore and enjoy. Fresh mountain
air, beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and getting in touch with nature is
what it’s all about. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced equestrian,
one of the area’s local
outfitters would love to show you our countryside and provide you with a
rewarding, memorable, and exhilarating trip.
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.
looking for a scenic trail with beautiful falls at the end, and to check off a
couple high profile hiking trails while you’re at it, Long
Creek Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Blue Ridge, Georgia
should make it to the top of your list. Don’t forget to bring your best friend.
Dogs will enjoy the trail as much as their humans!
horizons, pack up the family, and hit the road for a beautiful scenic
drive! Here are our three favorites:
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.
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)
Escape to Blue Ridge cabins are equipped with every amenity you might look for in a home away from home. Complete with extraordinarily comfortable bedrooms, gourmet kitchens, and entertaining game rooms. With every rental home we provide hotel-style linens with spa-quality bath towels for each guest and exquisite bath soaps and shampoos from William Roam. Our kitchens are well-equipped with appliances including a stove, oven, refrigerator, coffeemaker and all the preparation and serving implements you’ll need to cook and serve your family. The majority of cabins feature games rooms to keep you entertained, but once you breathe in that fresh mountain air and gaze at the vastness of the mountains, your soul will already be satisfied.
There is no shortage of entertainment when you Escape to Blue Ridge. Compete in classic board games, shuffle a deck of cards, or play charades. Some cabins feature foosball, ping pong tables or a pool table. And don’t worry. You’ll be able to keep up with current events, if you really want to, because high-speed internet is included with every one of our homes.
Relax in the Hot Tub
Feel your stress melt away as you step into the bubbling, steaming 102° hot tub. When you soak in the warm water your nervous system slows down causing relaxation throughout your body. As the jets beat on your tense, tight muscles your body begins to release endorphins that provide you with a sensation to improve your overall mood. A little glass a vino. An incredible view. This social seclusion isn’t too bad after all!
Ring Around the Fire
As the sun begins to set, go on a family stick hunt to get kindling for the fire. Once the fire is lit, break out the marshmallows and show your kids how to roast them. Do you like your marshmallows burnt too? Better yet, add graham crackers and chocolate for some campfire s’mores! The firepit is a good time to tell stories about when you were young or when your kids were young. This writer must have told her child the story of her birth no less than a million times! Break out the guitar, sing some songs, make wishes on stars, and enjoy every moment you have together. Regardless how you spend your time in Blue Ridge, be content in knowing that you are creating memories you and your family will hold on to and cherish forever. After all, that’s what life is all about.
(If you haven’t had the chance to read our Part I blog, we encourage you to click here and see what indulgent amenities the North Georgia Mountains has to offer in the way of pampering services and adventure experiences! Now we’d like to take you to other areas of resort vacationing that you might not expect to find here in a 30-mile radius of your luxurious cabin rental. )
Outdoor Fun and Entertainment (Including Spirits)
“Wine is the only artwork you can drink”
Luis Fernando Oliverri
If this quote is accurate than the North Georgia mountains boasts over 20 “museums” or vineyards. With its high elevation, warm temperatures, sandy red clay and aged granite soil (which soaks up extra moisture that could potentially affect proper grape ripening), this region is ideally suited for producing varietals more often associated with France – Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Malbec – and other parts of Europe (Touriga, Sangiovese).
Nearly every one of these vineyards has a tasting room, and all are picturesque. Yet the disadvantage of visiting these wineries on your own is the need for a “designated driver”. Now everyone in your party can partake with the lavish way to tour and taste your way through some of the region’s finest vineyards and wineries. VIP Southern Tours has different wine tours available to their clients, but they also will help you build your own personal winery tour based on your vino preferences coupled with their years of experience touring North Georgia’s wine country.
In Part 1 of our High-Class blog we covered adventure by land and by sea, but we didn’t mention the thrilling adventure of seeing the mountaintops by air! It was 60 years ago when TV’s Lloyd Bridges took his seaplane up in every episode in the 1960’s show “Sea Hunt”. More than a half-century later you can charter your own Seaplane just 30 miles up the highway in Hiawaseee on Lake Chatuge. Wing-N-It Seaplane Tours has air tours of all the regional lakes, including Lake Blue Ridge. We suggest you also sample the mountainscape tours which are particularly breathtaking in the peak of Autumn or customize your own tour package.
Is it the trails or the links for your vacation? Old Toccoa Farm , in neighboring Mineral Bluff, GA, is one of the courses that has shaped the golf world in 2019. This 18 hole course is the most attractive and challenging course in the North Georgia Mountains and selected as the 4th Best Golf Course in Georgia by Golf Advisor! The course winds through 125 acres of ridges and meadows, featuring over 280 feet of elevation change with spectacular views of the Chattahoochee and Cherokee National Forests and surrounding valleys. You’ll be more than smitten with the spectacular views, lush fairways and the immaculate condition of the greens and bunkers. Oh, and did we mention we have a cabin rental located between the 6th and 7th holes? Ambleside is a 5-bedroom cabin that looks like the elegant homes in “Southern Living” magazine!
If you feel more like donning Hoss’s 10 Gallon cap than Payne Stewart’s scally cap, then a trail ride on horseback is in order. And there are no friendlier and knowledgeable trail guides than the staff at Appalachian Trail Rides at S&T Stables. This 250 acre privately owned mountainous farm features a large stable facility, pasture, scenic trails, private lakes, and creeks. There is a full menu of trail rides to take advantage of, but they also will provide a private trail ride for just you and your guests.
Epicurean Fantasies Become Reality
“A great meal is an experience that nourishes more than your body. “
When the sign suggests “steaks, seafood and pasta served here”, in a small downtown underground tuck-away, one doesn’t expect too much more than average. Treo is anything but average! Though they say they are casual dining, you might want to dress in something that makes you feel as special as the wait staff is going to treat you. There’s your choice of seating in the main dining room, outside patio, or the old cellar. Even if you don’t choose the cellar, be sure to ask for a tour, for here is where the finest wines and the most amazing bourbons are kept, waiting for the next indulgent guest to order up. A bourbon flight includes a choice of three from a list of 35 of the world’s best bourbons. Wine flights are four samplings, with a choice from an international wine list you’ll be hard-pressed to find at most five-star restaurants. Sit back and enjoy your flights with a charcuterie and artisan cheese board while you contemplate your next move. Will it be the Lobster Mac and Cheese?
You can also choose to eat at higher elevations. Cucina Rustica is located just down the road and up a wooded hill in neighboring Morganton. Upon entering this rustic dining experience you will find yourself transported to an established trattoria on a Tuscan hillside. The finest of dining experiences features the Italian cuisine of Chef Danny Mellman. This highly reviewed establishment is a true farm-to-table experience, with Chef Mellman growing many of the vegetables and herbs on his own organic farm. His interpretation of Old World Italian foods range from Sicilian fish dishes to Northern Italian pasta and succulent roasted meat dishes has a bountiful loyal patronage, so be sure to call or make online reservations.
Concierge Services at Your Fingertips
We hope we’ve helped you consider another opulent option to that oceanfront resort you head to each year. When booking your cabin with Escape of Blue Ridge you also have available to you our knowledgeable concierge team.
We can connect you with most any experience you want to try (i.e. fly fishing guide, whitewater rafting etc). Share with us the type of experience that you are looking for and we will offer suggestions on where to go and what to do, and then enlist us to book the experience.
Even though you love the fresh air, starlit nights, breathtaking scenery and u-pick-em apples, like many luxury vacationers, you can only imagine visiting the mountains of North Georgia for no more than a long weekend. The idea of dining out on cornbread, fried okra, country ham and banana pudding more than once doesn’t appeal at all to your taste buds. You most likely see the shopping opportunities limited to a multitude of fudge emporiums and tourist trap museum shops that sell brown bears painted on black velvet and handmade Davy Crockett raccoon caps in adult sizes. You envision a cabin shared with three blind mice and one badly chipped Teflon pan to cook the trout you caught with a bamboo pole at a stocked trout pond the size of your kid’s wading pool. All this while foreseeing the issues with trying to keep contact with the office all week without state of the art cellular service and high-speed internet. It’s enough to send you packing the suntan lotion and heading for a week or more to your favorite pampering luxury beach resort once again.
STOP! You have been misled by the media that overexposes Bavarian town wannabees, the virtues of “meat and three dining” and the Bob Ross painting shows you watch on the nights when your Ambien isn’t working. We’re here to tell you that luxury abounds in the high hills. Allow us to elaborate.
With each of our over 200 rentals, we strive for the Escape to Blue Ridge difference. This includes complimentary concierge services to help you plan the perfect vacation. With every rental home we provide hotel-style linens with spa-quality bath towels for each guest and exquisite bath soaps and shampoos from William Roam.
You will appreciate the convenience of our keyless entry system and express check-in for all arrivals. And just to get your visit to the Mountains started, our exclusive Escape to Blue Ridge welcome basket is waiting for you when you arrive at your rental.
We know that you’ve come to escape to the mountains, but sometimes we still need to be connected to the world and to assure you that connection, high-speed internet is also included with every one of our homes.
Let’s Get Pampered
There are many opportunities to have that spa experience you are used to at the elegant resorts. You can relax, restore and renew with an incredible hour in the Himilayan Salt Caves at Serenity In the Mountains Spa. The Couple’s massage in the Salt Cave is worthy of your consideration. There’s also the magical experience of getting a massage in one of their exquisitely decorated treehouses at the top of the Serenity In The Mountains grounds.
TeaTrees Boutique Spa in Downtown Blue Ridge caters to a more individualized approach to your spa and massage needs. And though we highly recommend a visit to their boutique, if you would like to stay in, enjoying your rental cabin while being pampered by professionals, TeaTree’s therapists are available to make cabin calls so you can relax in the privacy of your elegant cabin while enjoying the beautiful mountain views.
If you are in anticipation of hiking the trails, visiting the area’s many spectacular waterfalls or finding the most impressive views for your photography you can peruse the many brochures and maps available at Blue Ridge’s Visitor’s Center to help you on your way. Or you can also contact Outback Guide Service to have a personized itinerary with a private guide and even transportation on those point to point hikes. Outback Guide Services designs your hike based on your time, interests, skillset and from easy to challenging trips. Besides vista and hike tours, they also will create tours of waterfalls, historic trails and tours, and even photo safaris. Your experienced tour guide and naturalist is a life long resident of the area and well versed in North Georgia’s wildlife, birds, flowers, geology, local history, and so much more.
If the sportsman in you needs to be released, then there is no one better to enlist than the folks at Noontootla Creek Farms to give you the optimal mountain hunting and fishing adventure. There’s no need to schlep all your gear, for this Blue Ridge 1,000 acre sportsman’s paradise has everything you need. Noontootla Creek Farms (NCF) offers guided fly fishing on the most picturesque private trophy trout waters in North Georgia. Because of the cooler temperatures on the side of the mountains, there’s usually good trout fishing at NCF year-round. Rainbow and Brown trout fishing has catches averaging 20 inches but often upwards of 30 inches. If you would like to bird hunt, then join your guide and their Brittanny or Setter and head out to capture Bob White Quail and Red- Neck Pheasant with wing shooting season open from November 1st until the last day of March. NCF also boasts a challenging 12 station clay shooting course, complete with golf carts.
By Land or By Sea
Visitors year-round enjoy the many recreational opportunities around the 3,290 acres of the crystal blue waters of Lake Blue Ridge. Capt’n Joe’s Lake Adventures offers private charters to guests looking to fish, swim or just enjoy an evening cruise. Their motto is to “relax, enjoy, and be happy”, which is much easier to do when you have Captian Joe at the helm. Private charters are an amazing way to experience Lake Blue Ridge in style.
If you would enjoy a more modern touring land vessel, then renting a Segway or a Pedego electric bike might be just the escapade you’ve been looking for and more. Pedego Bike Shop in downtown Blue Ridge offers electric bike tours of Fall Branch Falls, the Ocoee Whitewater/ Tanasi Trail and the picturesque Shallowford Bridge River. Rent a Segway and tour all of downtown Blue Ridge, never having to be concerned about finding a parking place.
There’s so much more to share with you about our ideas for a resort style experience here in these magnificent mountains. We haven’t begun to talk about the fine dining and exceptional outdoor entertainment opportunities. Please be sure to visit our Part II blog on “High Class in the High Hills” posting soon.
As we ring in not just a New Year, but a new Decade, 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 2020 Escape to Blue Ridge!
1. EAT BLACK-EYED PEAS & COLLARD GREENS
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. WALK THE LINE
Take a walk on the state line between the twin
cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, Tn! This newly revitalized town
features great shopping, delicious restaurants, and plenty of photographic
3. HIT THE LINKS
Farm is the seven-course meal of golf courses in North Georgia. It took a
few years to fill out the full complement of 18 holes, but the first nine,
which has been open since 2015, was enough to garner stupendous compliments and
comparisons to the likes of Augusta National. Now with the back nine open, and
the layout reconfigured, Old Toccoa is by far the best of the best in this neck
of the North Georgia woods!
4. ENJOY LIFE ON THE 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
5. SADDLE UP & RIDE
There is nothing more enjoyable than unplugging form the
digital world, saddling
up on horseback, and heading out into the countryside. In Blue Ridge, forty
percent of the county’s land is located within the Chattahoochee National
Forest and has countless miles of trails to explore and enjoy.
6. 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. Blue Ridge festivals are family friendly, pet friendly, and
7. 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 Andy Bowen at the Cohutta Fishing Company 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.
8. WALK IN THE WOODS
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
MacKaye Trail, 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.
Plan to visit EXPEDITION:
BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum. You may be 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 Big Footers from around the globe
make the pilgrimage to Blue Ridge just to explore this museum and its many
11. SWING INTO THE NEW YEAR
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!
12. CHASE WATERFALLS
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.
13. CHOO CHOO
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
14. DRIVE IN
If you haven’t been to a drive-in movie since you were a
kid, we encourage you to make plans to go to the Swan Drive In Theater
and take in a show or a double feature! A throwback to yesteryears, there is
just something so fun about watching a movie outdoors.
15. FAIRY CROSS & TRAIL TREES
Legend has it 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 known as Fairy
Crosses. Commonly known as staurolite crystals, these minerals are abundant
in Fannin County.
16. HIT THE RAPIDS
The Southeastern United States is known for having some of
the best whitewater
around. Here in Blue Ridge we are within 1 hour of 3 action packed, exciting
rivers and 2 hours away from one of the most challenging rivers in the state!
If you are looking for a new hair style, a total manicure
and pedicure, body scrub, massage, or a special facial treatment/peel, you will
find an amazing staff of creative and accomplished cosmeticians, estheticians
and stylists, the caliber you would only expect to find in a metropolitan area,
in the Mountains.
18. TAKE IN A SHOW
Immerse yourself in the culture of the area at Blue Ridge Community Theater.
This cozy community theater offers quality productions, live music, and a
robust children’s program. The 2020 line-up includes the first ever Blue Ridge
Film Festival, surprisingly saucy comedies, musicals, and even a sweet summer
19. SCENIC DRIVES
Mother Nature’s landscape specialist (shall we call her
Flora?) takes a particular interest in altering our mountainscape on a quarterly
basis, cloaking it in very different hues, depths of foliage, and fragrances.
Drive the 41 miles of Georgia’s only national scenic
drive, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway as it circles around the
Chattahoochee National Forest.
20. 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!
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.
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!