Shop like nobody’s business in all the wonderful shops located in Downtown Blue Ridge! Pick up something to use in the cabin or something extra special to remember your mountain trip always. We know that Blue Ridge is known for its beautiful mountains and outdoor excursions; but it’s also home to countless shops most of which are located right in the Downtown area. Here you’ll find a variety of unique and trendy shops like antique shops, art galleries, artisan goods, clothing, outdoor gear, and so much more. It’s the perfect place to pick up a souvenir or ten from your Escape to Blue Ridge because not only is there something for everyone, but it’s a great way to remember your North Georgia trip! Downtown Blue Ridge has every type of shop you can imagine so the only question is where are you going first? Let us help with our guide of favorite shops.
For the Family
The whole family will love all that Huck’s General Store has to offer! Here, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back into a time of small mountain town shops complete with old school candies, artisan goods, canned & pickled fruits and vegetables, soaps, and more. The kids will love picking out their favorite candies and games; while the adults stock up on snacks, funny signs, and nostalgic gifts. This is also a great place to pick up a Blue Ridge hat or t-shirt! Once you’re finished shopping grab your goodies, an ice cold drink, and relax on the back porch rockers while you watch the train pass by.
For the Art Lover
Are you an art lover or just looking for something beautiful to take home with you? Look no further than High Country Art Gallery. The walls and shelves are stocked with paintings, sculptures, jewelry, pottery, and other beautiful crafts. A majority of the art is crafted by local artists from Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And many of the artists are willing to create a personal piece of your choosing, so you can bring home something extra special. There’s always something beautiful and unique to find here.
For the Collector
Blue Ridge Antique Mall & Consignment is the place to be for antique lovers! They have a large selection of vintage and unique items; you never know just what you’ll find! Deck out your home with everything from furniture to collectibles, textiles to glassware, ceramics to art; they have it all! They also have locally made products, perfect for a mountain souvenir or gift for a special someone back home.
For the Kids
Lily + Coco is a magical & colorful shop that the kids will absolutely love! What fun toys will the kiddos find? How about unicorn themed gifts for your favorite little girl? A slingshot with felt ammo for the boys? Or unique, one-of-a-kind décor for the holidays? Lily + Coco is truly a one of a kind shop filled with “fanciful finds & whimsical whatnots”. The kids and you won’t be able to get enough of this colorful and super fun shop!
For the Fisherman
Stock up on your gear and apparel for your next fishing excursion at Cohutta Fishing Company! They don’t coin the phrase “Your Local Fly Fish Shop” for nothing; they have everything you’ll need to get out on the water like fly rods and reels, packs and luggage, fishing vests, boots, apparel and more. Pick up your gear and then book a guided fishing trip on the Toccoa River! Cohutta Fishing Company’s excellent staff provides great service both in the shop and on the water.
For the Ladies
If you’re looking for cute accessories and apparel for you next night out then check out The Owl’s Nest of Blue Ridge. They have everything from jewelry, gemstones, purses, shoes, t-shirts, and more. With all kinds of beautiful bling and accessories your new look is sure to be the talk of every get together!
For the Men
The guys like to look good too! So men be sure to check out OAR Finer Goods, an accessory shop for modern gentlemen. They have everything from men’s jewelry, ties, socks, books, fun trinkets, novelty gifts, and more. Some of their brands include Fulton & Roark, Brackish Bowties, Studebaker Metals, and OAR leather goods. Dress to impress at your next special occasion!
For the Foodie
The Pasta Market has everything you could possibly imagine from pasta, sauces, wines, seasonings, baked goods, candles, kitchen & home items and so much more! They even have a secret wine bar where they offer wine tastings and tapas-style platters. And they also now offer charcuterie boards and cannolis to enjoy in the shop or on the go! Pick up something amazing to use in a family dinner at the cabin or bring it home to remember your special trip.
For the Furry Friends
Not only does Blue Ridge Adventure Wear have plenty of apparel and outdoor gear for the whole family but they also have treats and toys for your favorite furry friends! They’ve got everything your dog could need from toys, treats, collars and leashes, fun dog themed shirts for you, and even dog friendly donuts! Your dog will love exploring the mountain trails near our dog friendly cabins and the gifts you so thoughtfully picked out for them at Blue Ridge Adventure Wear!
Whether your family gets together every year or every few
years, it’s always a good time to come together and celebrate your history and
heritage. Reunions give the older generations time to sit together and
reminisce and the younger generations and meet each other and develop lifelong
Blue Ridge, Georgia is the perfect location to plan a family
reunion because there is something to entertain the entire family. Book a ride
on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway or plan
a hike to Long
Creek Falls along the Benton Mackaye Trail.
Maybe a tractor ride and apple picking at Mercier Orchards is on the agenda
or an exhilarating rafting trip on the Ocoee River will bond together
long-lost family members. Either way, you need a base camp and we have the perfect
cabins to accommodate your group!
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.
Situated high on a mountaintop and nestled in Necowa Cove on a cul-de-sac next to the National Forest, this spectacular cabin boasts breathtaking views of Lake Blue Ridge and extended mountain vistas that stretch into North Carolina and Tennessee. Named for the serene, peaceful, relaxed feeling that you’ll feel from the moment you enter its doors, Serenity Cove was built and designed for large family gatherings, a place to connect and make lasting memories with the ones you love.
Each of the seven bedrooms is named for something in nature—Fox Den, Forest Room, Bear Den and so on—and the theme is carried out in the bedspreads and wall art. There are two bedrooms on each of the three levels, each with unique custom bed frames, headboards and footboards housing a plush king bed. The seventh bedroom, on the lower level, features a pair of twin beds, and there’s a twin daybed in the upstairs open loft that also has a twin trundle.
Situated directly on Lake Blue Ridge, Eagles Landing is a spectacular showplace that has incomparable views of the surrounding mountains! If the epitome of rustic elegance is what you’re looking for, this spacious lodge has seven bedrooms to accommodate (19) nineteen guests!
By day, the whole family can enjoy
boating and swimming at the lake and all the activities the nearby Aska Adventure
Area has to offer. Unwind afterward with good food, conversation, and
entertainment indoors or under the stars. Whether inside or out, enjoy views
and privacy that cannot be found anywhere else. You may even be lucky enough to
spot the family of bald eagles that nests nearby!
There are three decks spanning the
length of the home, a hot tub, swings, and a picnic table, but that’s
not all! This home comes complete with a two-story dock that has enough
furniture enough to accommodate sixteen! Enjoy a picnic on the water,
fishing directly from the dock, taking a ride on the paddleboat, or
swimming. There are also two ramps for watercraft, as well accommodations
for a motorboat. Whether you and your family spen time watching the skiers
and wakeboarders, or watching an incomparable sunset, you’ll spend as much time
as possible on the dock!
At Chestnut Lodge, you will breathe a sigh of nostalgia, gently releasing the present-day stress. The home sits serenely over miles of pastoral fields nestled in between the rolling mountains. Chestnut Lodge is a beautifully-crafted custom Barna log home, with 3000 roomy square feet offering plenty of comfortable crevices. The open floor plan is perfect for gatherings, but Chestnut Lodge has lovingly appointed corners with furnishings that invite you to your own personal time.
Great naps await whether on the hammock off of a bedroom porch, or in the five cozy bedrooms with classic mountain-home furnishings, high-thread linens and plush comforters. The five-bedrooms all have their own peaceful views and in total, 14 people can sleep in the home comfortably. Everyone can also retreat to the home’s lower level which offers more living space, a wet bar, regulation billiards table and home theater. The lower level deck provides a great hot tub and viewing spot to take in nature’s surround sound from nearby birds chirping or the distant cows settling in for the night. A home theater, game room, and hot tub ensure your entire group a wide variety of entertainment. Chestnut Lodge is a place of true relaxation and one that fulfills the longing of old comforts with a renewed feeling of today.
Just Like Heaven is a gorgeous mountain retreat that features six bedrooms for up to (16) sixteen guests making it perfect for a vacation with your entire family! With incredible seasonal mountain views this cabin in the Blairsville woods is your own private, secluded hideaway but close to activities like hiking, horseback riding, fishing and boating at Cozy Cove Marina. There’s even an ATV trail at nearby Davenport Ridge!
Inside, Just Like Heaven is warm, airy, and bright, with décor that’s a professionally decorated mix of modern and traditional furnishings, colors and touches. The solid pine interior, vaulted ceilings and spacious open living area provide a welcoming setting for gathering before the wood-burning fireplace. Upstairs in the media room, you’ll find billiards, shuffleboard, board games, a karaoke machine, foosball, an enormous 103” flat screen TV with DirecTV and DVD for hours of fun and entertainment!
There’s even more fun to be had outside, where you can play corn hole, basketball, ping-pong or fire up the charcoal grill for an al fresco meal. There’s plenty of comfortable seating on the covered deck, where there’s a wood burning fireplace to keep you cozy on crisp evenings while you enjoy the mountain air. But the best attribute of Just Like Heaven is the feeling it gives you while you’re there and the experience you’ll take home with you. The name says it all!
Staying atLegend is like having an entire five-star resort all to yourself. This luxury log cabin is truly in a class of its own. It’s built from handcrafted Douglas-fir logs and each spacious room presents incredible attention to detail with cathedral ceilings, arched doorways, sumptuous furnishings, stylish fixtures, and every amenity you desire to relax in complete luxury!
You’ll have everything you need to
entertain your (13) thirteen guests in this six bedroom, six and a half bath
lodge and on the land surrounding you. Bring your fishing pole and spend the
day at the stocked trout stream rushing right outside your door, or simply have
fun splashing around and getting a little sun! Go on an exhilarating hike
through one of the property’s hiking paths, or enjoy a leisurely stroll in the
pastures, taking in breathtaking mountain views around you. The gang can even
play a little touch football on the sprawling lawn. You can also take a
foursome just a short drive to one of three fantastic golf courses in the area
or indulge in a little pampering at a spa in town followed by some shopping.
In case of inclement weather you can spend an afternoon in the
game room downstairs playing pinball, billiards, foosball, ping pong or board
games — there’s a little something for everyone. And with another gourmet
kitchen and wet bar at the ready, you’ll have everything you need — no need to
even go upstairs for snacks and drinks! Legend even has its own cinema
screening room downstairs, complete with stadium seating — it doesn’t get any
closer to an authentic movie theater experience than this! Make some popcorn,
grab drinks at the nearby kitchen and bar, then everyone can sink into
sumptuous loungers and enjoy a great movie up on the big screen!
Legend’s spacious, covered decks with their sweeping views make entertaining easy as a mountain breeze! Nature will entertain you and your guests for hours, with views of the rushing creek, horses playing in the nearby pastures, and the verdant tree farm nearby. With the smoker and gas grill at the ready, host a mouthwatering barbecue — with two picnic tables, there’s plenty of room for everyone to dine al fresco, with the soothing sounds of the nearby stream as background music. Or, perhaps make a feast in the enormous gourmet kitchen, and everyone can gather ’round the large dining table in front of epic mountain views!
SpyGlass is the name, the view will explain. The largest of our cabin rentals, this six bedroom, five and a half bath home can comfortable accommodate (21) twenty-one guests. Seize the opportunity to stay in this $5 million custom resort lodge with its own private pool and spa, where you can come and go by helicopter, and treat the entire family to 8,000 sq. ft. of pure luxury and decadence!
SpyGlass is the stuff of fairy tales. The palatial custom gourmet kitchen is made for entertaining, with two refrigerators, two dishwashers, two drawer warmers, a double oven and wine cooler. Relax after a meal in the great room with its 32 ft. vaulted ceiling, imposing iron chandelier, custom woodcarvings of wildlife adorning the walls, and a huge stone fireplace as the room’s centerpiece. The curved, windowed wall has built-in seating for a perfect view of the hills and starlit sky offering wide-open 40-mile views!
Outside the fire pit is an enchanted place for stargazing and making s’mores. During the day, set out fresh fruit and snacks in the gazebo for your guests while they swim, sunbathe or chat at tables and chairs throughout the deck. They can also have lunch at the picnic tables whenever they’re ready. And there’s plenty of room for everyone at dinner as well – you can seat 20 between the formal dining room and informal dining seating.
We are here to help make your family reunion one for the books! Our helpful Reservation Specialists can assist with any concierge services you would like. From stocking your fridge to booking an excursion, we are here to help! Escape to Blue Ridge for an unforgettable family vacation!
When you come to the mountains, you come to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and get out in nature. So it’s important that you’re close to all the trails and outdoor adventures that Blue Ridge has to offer; www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/seven-blue-ridge-hikes.
But what if these trails were right outside your cabin doors? Step outside and start on the trails, no driving necessary! Immerse yourself in the great outdoors and get moving with access to miles worth of trails, right in your backyard. These 6 cabins are the perfect retreat for all the outdoor lovers and hikers out there!
This beautiful cabin is right in the heart of the Aska Adventure Area and less than 5 minutes from Toccoa River, Lake Blue Ridge, and town. Just off of the vast, wraparound porch, you’ll find yourself just steps from The Benton MacKaye Trail. Along the trail, you might run into Fall Branch Falls, Long Creek Falls, Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, and even Springer Mountain. You’re also close to many great tubing and canoeing opportunities.
After a long day on the trails, lay back and soak in the hot tub or play a game of pool in the game room. Even inside you won’t feel far from the outdoors, with themed rooms like “Trout Camp”, a bear room, and an all-around rustic, natural look throughout. Aska Adventure Lodge sleeps up to 10 people, so grab a group of your favorite hikers and get ready to adventure!
Perched high on the mountain overlooking the Aska Adventure Area, this classic mountain cabin is close by to a variety of great outdoor activities! Tube down the Toccoa River, catch fish in Lake Blue Ridge, or walk down the driveway to Long Mountain Trail which connects to both the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Aska Adventure Trail, where all kinds of beautiful hikes await you!
Even enjoy a long, scenic ride on the winding Aska Road to Highway 60 and take in all the mountain views. TreeTops also has a hot tub and game room; perfect for unwinding after a busy day. You can even bring your furry friend along to join in all the fun!
Perched on a mountaintop more than 3,000 feet above the trees with dramatic, sweeping long-range mountain vistas in the distance, An Owl’s Perch is like a magnificent picture postcard come to life. Located northeast of Lake Blue Ridge on a large lot in Morganton that borders unspoiled U.S. Forest Service land, it’s a calm oasis far removed from stressful city life, but just a short drive away from the shops and dining of downtown Blue Ridge.
The western-facing view from the cabin offers you magical sunrises, revealing the mountains as the fog lifts across the lake, and spectacular sunsets that will take your breath away. The cabin can easily accommodate big families and groups, sleeping 10 guests in four bedrooms. And An Owl’s Perch is pet friendly as well, so be sure to bring your pup along with you to adventure on the trails! Hike, relax, and escape at this wonderful cabin!
A Cub’s Retreat is the best place to spend your vacation with family and friends and provides you a serene, relaxed, and rejuvenated environment! As you pull up to the cabin, you’ll immediately notice the true log cabin construction and the incredible mountain views visible from every angle. Step inside and immediately feel at ease as you walk into the great room and gaze through a wall of windows and doors that overlook unobstructed mountain views. So bright and welcoming, you’ll feel lighter the second you walk in.
This stunning retreat is located right near the Benton Mackaye Trail, which is excellent for hiking and taking in all of the beautiful local nature and scenery. The cabin is close to various trails, creeks, and streams in the Cashes Valley area, too. You’re also not too far from Blue Ridge and Ellijay, with just a 10-minute drive to either location and all of the fun. Pack your bags and get ready for a retreat you will never forget. A Cub’s Retreat is perfect for your escape to Blue Ridge!
As its name implies Take a Hike is perfect for all the hikers out there! Located in the Cohutta Wilderness and on Mt. Pisgah, you’ll experience stunning mountain views from any of the cabin’s 3 decks and be fully immersed in nature. Right from your cabin, step on the trails and enjoy an easy hike to a waterfall, cave, and even Colonel Magnum’s memorial. Or take a quick drive to get to any of the major trails in the Cohutta Wilderness like Daily Gap, Jacks River, Benton MacKaye, and Hemptop.
Also enjoy fantastic mountain biking trails around the mountain base. And within just 20 minutes from the cabin, you’ll find fishing, boating, and rafting adventures at the Ocoee River, Lake Blue Ridge, and Fighting Town Creek. You’ll have a full day of fun and adventure in store with so many great outdoor opportunities so close by.
When your day of hiking, biking, fishing, and boating is done enjoy dinner with a view at the picnic table and rocking chairs on the back deck. You’ll get cozy by the outdoor fireplace and watch the sunset. Then after dinner is done and the sun has set, step on down to the yard for s’mores by the fire or a dip in the hot tub. This cabin was truly made for outdoor lovers and adventurers!
Even while at the cabin you can take full advantage of the great outdoors by sitting out on the deck in a rocking chair and taking in the views. Or soak in the hot tub to warm up and relax after a long day on the trails. You’ll absolutely love having your own private and secluded oasis, far away from the rest of the world!
The moments when we conquer our fears are the moments when we feel most alive! Extreme activities in the great outdoors allow you to capture the place we all call home from an entirely different perspective. You’ll be chasing the adrenaline rush for days to come! And what better place to try out a new and unusual outdoor activity than in the Blue Ridge Mountains?
These 7 extreme activities will swipe you off your feet…literally!
Choose from 13 extraordinary zip line adventures ranging from 25-75 feet at this property. Ages 10 and up are welcome to experience any of the zip lines. While zipping through the treetops, you’ll catch views of mountain peaks, pastures, and Fighting Town Creek. There are one-hour and two-hour guided tours available to pick the route most suitable for you. The cable lines extend up to 1,000 feet in length so you’ll be soaring as far as the eye can see!
After you’ve completed your zip line tour, head over to the Blue Ridge Adventure Park, located only 15 minutes away from the Zipline Canopy Tours site. This park features climbing walls, zip lines, suspension bridges, and other exciting obstacles. There are three courses with varying levels of difficulty offered for ages seven and up. The paths are designed to stretch your physical and mental ability!
If you’re looking for an action-packed day of fun, you can find it at Rolling Thunder River Company. This thrilling experience can be shared with friends or family and can be enjoyed for a half-day or a full-day long. The two scenic options for whitewater rafting include the Ocoee River in Southern TN or the Nantahala River in Western NC. The Ocoee River rafting center is located only 15 minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, and holds the most continuous class III and IV rapids in the country! These river waters were chosen as the whitewater events venue for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, making them a popular destination since then. A whitewater rafting trip will leave you with a new-found passion, a greater appreciation for wilderness, and probably soaked clothes!
Rolling Thunder River Company 20 Hughes St. McCaysville, GA 30555 | (800) 404-7238 | Hours: Reservations can be made 7 days a week, 10am-5pm
This activity is truly next level! This place is an amusement park for ages 15+ and where every artillery enthusiasts’ dreams come true. At Tank Town USA, visitors can drive real tanks, crush cars with tanks, operate construction excavators, and shoot M-1919 machine guns. These activities are once in a lifetime opportunities or you can become a regular visitor! Group rates are available. Tank Town USA is designed for anyone willing to put the daredevil within them to the test!
Tank Town USA 10408 Appalachian Hwy, Morganton, GA 30560 | (706) 633-6072 | Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday by reservation only
It’s time to let the wind take you away! At Lookout Mountain Flight Park you can learn to hang glide or paraglide through the sky. With stunning views of the Georgia and Tennessee mountains and valleys, this is an activity that will allow you to gain some wings! There are solo and tandem flights available. After lessons and practice with instructors, you will be soaring high with the clouds!
Freefall like never before! Take a chance and fall from an aircraft 14,000 or 18,000 feet in the air. The Chattanooga Skydiving company offers various levels of packages, and their team has been providing skydiving instruction for over 50 years. The skydiving experience is done with a highly experienced skydiving instructor strapped on your back. The instructor will film your jump from their perspective for free!
You can capture the beautiful North Georgia mountains and lakes all in one trip. Their flight packages are available with tours in Gainesville, Blairsville, Blue Ridge, and Hiawassee. The Blue Ridge aerial flight takes passengers around the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Blue Ridge, and Lake Nottely. The flight tours range from 15 to 60 minutes. Reach new heights with Wing-N-It seaplane adventures!
Wing-N-It Seaplane Adventures 1660 Palmour Dr. Gainesville, GA 30501| (678) 971-9922 | Hours: Vary. Call for reservations
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!
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’m not sure
if I was in my right mind when I let my two cousins convince me to spend a week
with them in the cabin they rented in Blue Ridge last September. It started as
friendly banter between us at the annual 4th of July family reunion.
My Aunt asked me about my love life, and my cousins snickered. They accused me
of being a workaholic. I assured them that was not the case. They asked me how
much vacation time I had accrued at my job. I admitted to three weeks (It was
actually 5). They challenged me to join them on their annual fall fishing trip,
promised me the master bedroom, and said that if I’d agree to cook the fish
they caught, they’d foot the bill for everything, all week. That included my
choice of wines.
I contemplated. I made them pinky swear to the wines of my choice. My Aunt chided me when she kissed me goodbye that evening. “I look forward to hearing all about you great escape adventure”.
later I was in the back seat of a jeep sans shock absorbers, my suitcase
stuffed with ten books I had been collecting to read on the vacations I had
never found time to take and my cast iron frying pan (because frying fresh
trout in anything else would be a crime).
That evening when we arrived at Eagles Landing, all my trepidations about the “deliverance” experience were evaporated. This cabin was gorgeous. And true to their word, they dropped my bags in the upstairs master suite. I decided to explore the kitchen to see what might already be there to help me execute my “duties” in the next six days. I was impressed with the tools of the trade and took out my tablet to start to create my menu.
Jake and Jeff are twins. My Aunt and her sister (my Mom) were pregnant at the
same time. I was born a mere 34 hours after they were. At family reunions, we
were referred to as the triplets. Growing up we lived just two blocks away from
each other until we all left for college. Our families took summer trips
together for as long as I can remember. Vacationing with these guys wasn’t
going to be a new journey. In many ways, I was hoping it would be a rekindling
of such joyful past adventures. While deciding on the culinary options, I knew
what they’d eat, what they’d abhor, and what would make them gastronomically
morning I woke up to find the car keys on the counter and a credit card. The
note from my cousins said their guide picked them up and I should feel free to
take the jeep into town and shop for whatever was needed to keep us all well
fed and hydrated.
I had done
my internet research on possible provisions before our arrival. My first stop
that morning: Out of the Blue. This is one of the finest gourmet
shops I’ve ever had the pleasure of shopping, and now, on my cousin’s tab, I was
going to indulge for all three of us.
Sara, Out of
the Blue’s founder, who travels all over the world to select wines from small
producers, asked me my vin likes and dislikes. We also discussed my menu ideas
for the next week. I settled on wines from three countries, craft beer for the
boys from the region as well as from Europe, and a selection of cheeses that
she packed on ice for me so I could continue on my shopping adventure. I left
feeling accomplished and I also bid farewell with a promise to revisit before
heading back to the city.
stops were Blue Ridge Olive Oil Co. and Tupelo Tea, two sister stores that abut
one another. My morning rituals are always accompanied by at least one cup of
freshly brewed tea so the first door I chose was Tupelo
Tea. It was amazing;
a “candy store” for tea drinkers. I browsed and sniffed and tasted. After
having indulged in a cup of MOCHA NUT MATE, I left with pouches of PU-ERH
HAZELBERRY and CHINA MILKY OOLONG, as well as a pump jar of honey.
Next door, I found the Blue Ridge Olive Oil Co. to be more than irresistible. I wanted to taste-test every one of their 65+ olive oils and balsamic vinegar from around the world, but alas, the day was short and my palette overwhelmed. I had two salads and two appetizers on my menu that needed the right dressings. Two bottles of olive oil and two of balsamic seemed a bit excessive, but it was my cousins’ nickel. I added a small bottle of blood orange olive oil to the purchase and made a note that I was going to have to make a dessert with this that both of the guys would adore (recipe below).
While downtown, I found my way over to Huck’s General Store. I nearly didn’t find my way back out of there. This is the kind of place that our parents would find on past summer trips, knowing that we kids would be occupied for at least an hour deciding on how we were going to spend the five dollars they gave each of us. Then we’d negotiate with each other for the rest of the trip, swapping pieces of candy and taking turns wearing the raccoon hat. Even though the barrels of candy were overwhelmingly nostalgic, my adult tastes led me to the outstanding selection of rubs, sauces, jellies, pickles, and other canned delicacies. I took a long time deliberating before making my choices: pickled okra, habanero pickled garlic, and Huck’s sweet potato pecan butter. (recipes below).
Man (or in
this case “men”) can not live on just fish alone, so it was off to find some scrumptious
protein. I knew that easy grill meats were in order this week. These guys were
going to want to just kick back with a beer (or 3) after trolling the fishline
all day. I needed to keep it simple but succulent. I wanted a variety of
sausages so my research took me to Margo’s Gourmet Polish Kitchen. Not only did I find a great selection of European weiners
and sausages, but she also carried locally raised beef, pork. chicken and free-range
Now it was
time to take a lovely drive out to Mercier’s Orchard. Mercier’s started over 40 years ago as an apple
orchard, but the second and third generations of the Mercier family have
developed an amazing farm to table experience that draws visitors twelve months
of the year, seven days a week, and from all over the world. I decided that I
would have lunch in their café, and stuffed myself with a delicious salad and a
fried peach pie. That gave me all the energy boost I needed to continue on my
shopping throughout their huge market for the best of provisions.
Mercier’s fresh produce, homemade cheese spreads, and a hefty selection of hard
cider, I had just left myself enough time for my last stop of the day, Ingles Supermarket, Blue Ridge’s large grocery chain
store. Trip Advisor reviews gave Ingle’s nearly 5 stars. It didn’t disappoint.
I found all the rest of the staples on my list and made it home in time to sip
a glass of fine wine while I read three chapters of my first vacation book
before starting dinner.
Snakebite Cocktail: Mix the following in a chilled mug: Six ounces of a dark German Guinness ale from Out of the Blue. A pinch of salt. A tablespoon of liquid from the jar of Huck’s General Store pickled Okra. Stir. Now pour six ounces of Mercier’s Sneaky Jack Hard Cider over the beer mixture. Serve with Huck’s Pickled Okra, (slit down the middle and scoop out the seeds) stuffed with Mercier’s Pimento Cheese Spread. Shake a dash of Cayenne pepper over each filled okra.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes: I cheated and bought Bob Evans family size at Ingles. You can’t tell the difference after I spiced them up with three minced cloves of habanero pickled garlic from Hucks and drizzled with Garlic Olive Oil from Blue Ridge Olive Oil.
Trout: What can one do to fresh trout besides adding a light dusting of flour, salt, and pepper then pan-fry in a hot cast-iron skillet and a large slab of Amish Butter? Well, I topped each filet with a tablespoon of Sweet Potato Pecan Butter from Huck’s General store. The guys devoured it all.
Vegetable: Steamed shredded red cabbage with a side of Spice Apple Chutney from Mercier’s.
Blood Orange Olive Oil Pound Cake
INGREDIENTS (Makes one 9 inch loaf) 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for the pan 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder Pinch of salt 3 large eggs 1 cup of sugar 1 cup of Blood Orange olive oil 1/2 cup whole milk 4 tablespoons brandy (or bourbon) 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon grated orange zest 1/4 cup fresh orange juice ¼ cup of grenadine (maraschino cherry juice) Frosting Ingredients: ¼ cup of sugar ¼ cup of orange juice
PREPARATION Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9 × 5-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 cup of the sugar. Whisk in the olive oil, milk, brandy, lemon zest, orange zest, and 1/4 cup of the orange juice. Add the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. The batter is wet. It’s okay. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. You will smell the cake when it is done. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool enough to handle, then flip over onto a rack to cool thoroughly. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup orange juice. Turn the cake right side up. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze all over the cake. Allow the glaze to harden some before serving.
Not a cook? Call the Chef!
Local area professional chefs will come to your cabin, prepare an incredible meal suited to your tastes and dietary needs, and the best part is they clean up all the mess! We recommend you consider one of these amazing options (listed alphabetically because we love all 3!):
Steven Lash is a veteran of the the restaurant world having worked in some of the top kitchens in Atlanta for over 15 years. Steven’s food is best described as “inspired American cuisine” combining fine dining with local influence inspired by his extensive travel, passion for the outdoors, and hunger for understanding cultures.
With over 15 years of restaurant experience, this 33 year old Executive Chef takes pride in sourcing his produce from local farmers, and bringing the best quality to the table for every plate he delivers, so you know it’s fresh!
Using the freshest, often locally sourced ingredients, Chef Trey will create an imaginative menu for your family or friends, all in your kitchen. Giving consideration to food allergies or dietary restrictions is something he takes into account when writing the menus.
For most American kids, our first introduction to the concept of trail markers is Hansel and Gretel’s attempt at leaving crumbs on their venture into the woods. The birds thwarted their efforts and that’s where their fictional journey begins. First published in 1812, their story was read to children in Germany at the same time the Cherokee Indians were creating their own trail markers here in the North Georgia Mountains. Or are Trail trees just folklore?
Trail Marker Trees
Trail trees, trail marker trees, crooked trees, prayer trees, thong trees, or culturally modified trees are hardwood trees throughout North America. One unique characteristic of the trail marker tree is a horizontal bend several feet off the ground, which makes it visible at greater distances, even in snow. These distinctive characteristics convey that the tree was shaped by human activity rather than deformed by nature or disease. The legend is that Native Americans intentionally shaped these trees for navigational purposes or to mark important places, such as sacred burial grounds.
Throughout the North Georgia Mountains, a day of hiking can find you encountering one or more of these gentle bent giants in our forests. As you hike through one of the twenty four top forests in our area you’ll stumble upon some of the most incredible shaped trees and wonder if they are the work of Mother Nature or did an American Indians walk these same trails 200 years ago. It is both highly possible and very likely that the tree was there marking a specific direction or possibly an area where a plant grew at its base that was used for healing.
For many, a hike in the woods is an adventure you remember from your childhood days. It is a child’s foray into uncharted territory, a field or a wooded area close to home where they might discover an old unidentifiable bone, a creek filled with crayfish, or a cluster of butterflies on a floral bush they’ve never seen the likes of before. They come back from these walking expeditions with pockets filled with pretty leaves, unusual shaped stones and always a bird feather or two. As adults we reawaken that lust for exploration and here on these mountain trails, there seems to be one treasure that many are hunting: Fairy Crosses.
The Legend of the Fairy Cross derives from the Cherokee Indians and thought to be over 2000 years old! It is said that long, long, ago fairies inhabited a certain quiet and remote region in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The fairies roamed freely, enjoying the beauty and serenity of that enchanted place. One day, the fairies were playing in a sunny dell when an elfin courier arrived from a far-away city bearing the sad news of Christ’s death. When they heard the terrible details of the crucifixion, the fairies wept. As their tears fell to the earth, they crystallized into little stone crosses. Though the fairies have long since disappeared, the little stone crosses, known as “fairy stones,” still remain as vestiges in that enchanted spot. There was a belief among the Cherokee that the crosses had the power to reduce the owner invisible at will. In some instances, the tiny crosses were supposed to give the owner the power of diving into the ground and coming up again among the enemy to scalp and kill with unexpected terror.
The Scientific Side
Fairy crosses (aka fairy stones) are small bricks originally formed seven miles underground of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Staurolite crystals form into little tiny “bricks” that, under pressure, twist in 60 degree or 90 degree angles, forming crosses. As they push their way up to the earth’s surface, the action of wind and rain dissolve the softer surrounding stone called schist to reveal the precious cross-shaped minerals within.
The good fortune of finding fairy stones is best after a heavy rain. Dig with your hands along the soft dirt at the base of the trees. The cross stones are the same color as the dirt, so use your hands to sift the stones from the soil until you find a cross shaped stone about the size of a small marble, usually less than an inch in length. They are wonderful keepsakes when found, and can be polished and used as a lucky pocket token, or designed into a necklace, bracelet, or earrings.
If you haven’t had the good fortune to find a fairy stone on your hiking trip, you can still find a wonderful collection of fairy crosses at Pezrok in downtown Blue Ridge, a gallery full of artistic creations of exquisite minerals, fossils, gems and carved driftwood.
There are countless numbers of adventures to be had on your visit to these mountains. You’ll want to capture many of your explorations in pictures to take home and share with us, your family, and your friends. Oh, and while you are taking a cell phone selfie at one of the bent trees you are likely to encounter, remember your phone is also equipped with GPS, which will assure your chances of getting back to your car in the parking lot. As we already know from 19th century literature, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs will not suffice.
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! Our cabins make the perfect Home Base for day trips, exploring the beauty of Mother Nature and soaking up the Appalachian Lifestyle.
Just thirty minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, you can access the put-in to the 91-mile Cartecay River off Highway 52. This class I-II river starts in foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and runs West and if you follow it pass the common commercial takeout, you’ll float right through the center of town! The river begins with a nice, calm current as it meanders through the valley. About halfway through your float, the rapids begin to increase in frequency and in fun! The last quarter of the river offers some fun rapids that aren’t too terribly technical and end in a last hurrah at Blackberry Falls. This intimidating looking rapid is really just a big slide and is tons of fun to run down regardless of the your water vessel. There are two outfitters, Cartecay River Experience or Ellijay River Outfitters, to help you with shuttle assistance or to rent you a tube, kayak, or canoe.
Bonus: Since Ellijay is the Apple Capital of Georgia, there are plenty of Apple Houses around to stock up on cider, breads, and of course a wide variety of apples!
About an hour Northeast of Blue Ridge after passing through
the mountain towns of Murphy and Andrews in Western North Carolina the road
will narrow up and you will begin to drop down into the Nantahala Gorge. There’s
just something about this gorge that’s special. You can hang a right on old
river road and watch the pro kayakers take on the Cascades and Upper Nantahala
or continue straight to the lower Nantahala and stop at one of many outfitters that
offer guided and non-guided rafting adventures.
The 8-mile Nantahala River is a Class II-III River that runs
right along US HWY 76 deep through the Nantahala National Forest. There is no shortage
of fun on this exciting river! The opening rapid Pattons Run is a good class
III rapid to get your blood pumping right off the bat! After that enjoy a good
hour or two of fun, fast, cold water and about 20 named rapids. The river ends
with the Grand Finale of The Falls. This class III rapid has an observation
deck for passerby’s to stop and watch as the kayaks, canoes, and rafts navigate
the technical section of fast white water as they try to pick the perfect line to
conquer The Falls!
Bonus: Eat at River’s End after a fun day on the water. Enjoy delicious food, friendly service, and a spectacular view of the river below.
Traveling a little less than an hour Northwest from Blue
Ridge the Ocoee River, home of the 1996 Olympics is 10 miles of Whitewater fun!
The aforementioned Olympic competition took place on the upper section of the
Ocoee River. This super technical section of the river features some of the
biggest most challenging rapids and is only able to be experienced for 34 days
per year. The Middle Ocoee is 5 miles of class III and IV rapids. Hop on Mother
Nature’s natural roller coaster and squeal with delightment as your trusty raft
guide navigates you and your party down the river with great care to maximize
the fun! From the put in at Grumpy’s to the ending rapid at Hell’s Hole, you
will never forget the fun and excitement of a trip down the Ocoee!
Bonus: Love to mountain bike? The Cherokee National Forest features miles of mountain biking trails.
Made famous after the filming of the movie Deliverence, the
Chattooga River is about two hours from Blue Ridge. Flowing across both Georgia
and South Carolina, the Chattooga River is divided into 4 sections with section
4 being probably the hardest in the Southeast. The class III section increases
in difficulty from a mild beginning to a challenging final rapid at Bull Sluice. Being that section 4 of the Chattooga begins at
the hardest rapid on section 3 should lead you to believe that this will be a much
more challenging run, and you’d be absolutely right about that. The crux of
section 4 is at the Five Falls Section of the river. These Class IV rapids are
no joke with a 75 foot drop from the beginning to end.
Bonus: Add to your adrenaline rush by booking a Zipline trip where you fly through the sky, over lakes, and among nature!
A vacation usually means a bit of sightseeing and possibly seeking that one celebrity spotting you always associated with your destination. If visiting the Palm Beaches you might be hoping to catch a glimpse of the Presidential motorcade, where on LA’s famous Rodeo Drive, a glimpse of Brad sipping an iced Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks might be your quest. And what (or whom) are some tourists visiting the Northeast Georgia Mountains yearning to see? Well, Bigfoot, of course!
A legend or not?
To many in this neck of the woods, Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch, Yowie and Yedi) isn’t just a 20th-century folk legend. The first recorded sighting of him here in Fannin County was June 26, 1873. Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest has long been known as a hotbed for Bigfoot activity amongst the Bigfoot research community. And if you think that those who have an interest in this mysterious creature are just a little bit left of center, take into consideration that the famed anthropologist and highly regarded scientist Jane Goodall has said of Sasquatch beings, “I’m fascinated by them and would actually love them to exist”.
This reddish-brown hairy creature is reportedly about 8 feet in height and his alleged footprints that have been found all across the globe suggesting he has a 24-inch long foot that measures 8 inches across. To put that into some perspective, NBA giant Shaquille O’Neal is 7’1” and the length of his foot measures 15 inches.
Blue Ridge Museum
If taking a hike out into the forest after the sun sets, night vision glasses in place, to snap your photo op with Bigfoot is too much effort, don’t let that deter you from finding out all you can about him. While here in Blue Ridge, plan to visit EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum, located just east of the city. This museum may have you giggling on the way in the door, but you will leave with a new appreciation for your next walk in the woods. You’ll discover why Bigfooters from around the globe make the pilgrimage to Blue Ridge just to explore this museum and its many relics.
See For Yourself
The quality of the displays and the huge amount of content are most impressive. In addition to the extensive collection of artifacts, the museum has interactive exhibits, lots of scientific analysis making the credible case that there are Sasquatches roaming the earth, and audio-video presentations that captivate even the least likely believers, young and old. Yes, kids are fascinated with this self-guided tour that usually lasts 90 mins to two hours. We highly recommend this as a Plan B family destination when a rainy mountain day messes up your original outdoor intentions.
The museum, located at 1934 GA-515, Cherry Log, GA, is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 am till 5 pm. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children age 5 to 12. Kids under 5 and Active Military (with ID) are free! It’s more than a fair price for an educational and entertaining museum of this quality, with such fun opportunities for photo ops that will sure to bring gasps to your friends back home. And though you will be welcomed by a super cool staff that is known for sharing free coffee and cookies to their guests, you might want to be prepared to drop a few bucks on souvenirs at the museum’s bountiful gift shop, where Bigfoot really comes to life.
Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone!
While we’d all love to be able to take our dogs with us on every trail we venture down, we can’t always do that. Sometimes the trails are too steep or the terrain is too rough for our four-legged friends to maneuver, or sometimes they simply aren’t allowed in that area because of other critters that may be dangerous for our dogs to encounter.
To make things a little easier for you and your furry companion, here’s a list of a few trails around the Blue Ridge area that are sure to bring tons of fun for both you and your favorite adventure buddy!
Duncan Ridge Trail
Easily accessible by both the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail, the Duncan Ridge Trail is one of the more difficult trails in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, spanning a total of around 30.1 miles. While the trail is labeled as moderate to strenuous by most experienced hikers and backpackers out there (mainly because of the low usage and steep climbs), don’t let that discourage you from taking on this gorgeous trek back into the Chattahoochee National Forest! You don’t have to hike the whole 30.1 miles and for those with pups that aren’t too keen on making friends with other hikers/dogs, this trail will let you have the outdoor experience you always wanted without the anxiety of other dogs and hikers.
The Duncan Ridge Trail begins at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail/Benton MacKaye Trail. Beginning at Three Forks, you’ll hop on the AT and walk the beautiful mile stretch out toward Long Creek Falls, following the soft sounds of the creek that runs alongside the trail. Hiking toward the falls, the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) and the Duncan Ridge Trail veer off to the right less than 0.1 miles after the short path down to the falls begins. There will be markers present that identifies which trail is the BMT and which is the Duncan Ridge Trail but just in case, follow the blue vertical blazes (marks on the trees) for the Duncan Ridge and the white diamond blazes for the BMT.
From there, hikers will follow the trail through a tunnel of laurels and rhododendrons during the spring and summer months deep into the Chattahoochee National Forest before reaching the swinging bridge over the Toccoa River. Hikers can choose to push on and make the climb up Tooni Mountain, or call it a day a hike back toward Three Forks. Regardless of what you decide, just remember to have fun and hike your own hike!
Appalachian Approach Trail
Roughly 75 percent of Appalachian Trail hikers, thru-hikers and sectioners alike, decide to take the Appalachian Approach Trail to begin the trail while the other 25 percent simply take off at the base of Springer Mountain as they start the 2,192 mile (or less) journey. But for those who want to join the majority, the 8-mile trail starts off from Amicalola Falls State Park, beginning the 78-mile Georgia portion of this famous hiking trail to Maine. Not planning on walking to Maine? Then just hop on the Appalachian Approach Trail with your favorite furry pal and enjoy one of the best day hikes in the North Georgia Mountains.
Just above the top of Amicalola Falls (you can hike up the falls or just enjoy the view from the parking lot at the top), the trailhead begins. For the first ⅓ mile, the trail will coincide with the Len Foote Hike Inn. When the trail forks, follow the blue blazes, veer left, and head toward Springer Mountain.
Soon enough the trail will leave Amicalola State Park, climbing its way through the Chattahoochee National Forest and onward toward the Appalachian Trail. Though not strenuous, this trail is rated at moderate, so this might prove a challenge for some at certain parts of the trail. Elevation gain is steady over the eight miles, climbing gradually through the thick Chattahoochee Forest. During the spring and summer months, the trail beams with lush greenery and vibrant native wildflowers. In the fall, the trail is a technicolor of bright orange, yellow, and red. Regardless of the time of year, the trail promises spectacular scenery.
While much of the eight-mile stretch is shaded and covered with thicket, the last 1.5 miles will provide close to 500-ft elevation gain and thinning treeline as you make the final climb up Springer. And once you get to the summit, the blue blazes will fade to white, marking the Southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and a gorgeous view of the rolling mountains and valleys of the Blue Ridge.
Stanley Gap Trail
If you’re looking for the typical North Georgia hiking experience for you and your furry friend, look no further than the Stanley Gap Trail. Full of bright red Georgia clay and plenty of white mountain granite and large roots, you’re in for an adventurous afternoon out in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Now, be forewarned, this trail doesn’t offer up any waterfalls or stunning summit views, but it’s great for those who just want to get out and enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains. Plus, you’ll have plenty of protection from the sun on hot, humid days.
Coming in at just under 5 miles — around 4.8 mi — the Stanley Gap Trail is rated at moderated, but those used to hiking easier trails shouldn’t find this one too difficult either. It’s fairly forgiving, with breaks in the upward climb every 50- 100 ft along the way. The main thing hikers should watch out for are large upturned roots and rocks that can be a bit tricky to manage if you’re not careful. But as long as you are being mindful of them, the hike shouldn’t pose any problems whatsoever.
The highest point on the trail comes around Rocky Mountain, just below the summit, near the trail’s halfway point. After reaching that point, you’ll have to scamper up one last incline before winding back down for 1,000 ft descent toward Deep Gap. If you’re not wanting to hike all the way back to the trailhead, you can always make arrangements ahead of time for someone to pick you up at the Deep Gap parking lot or even catch a ride with a trail system shuttle driver back to you (and your dog!) back to your car.
Where are your favorite places to hike with your favorite 4-legged family member? Be sure to share your pictures of your journeys with us on Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to see where your Escape to Blue Ridge takes you!