Extreme Outdoors for the Brave at Heart



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!

Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

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!

Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge
891 Old Cashes Valley Rd. Blue Ridge, GA 30513 | (800) 251-4800 | Hours: 7 days a week, 7am-11pm

Blue Ridge Adventure Park

Photo Courtesy of Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

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!

Blue Ridge Adventure Park
2087 E 1st St, Blue Ridge, GA 30513 | (800)-251-4800 | Hours: Vary. Call for reservations

Rolling Thunder River Company

Photo Courtesy of Rolling Thunder River Company

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-5p
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Tank Town USA

Photo Courtesy of Tank Town USA

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

Lookout Mountain Flight Park

Photo Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Flight Park

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!

Lookout Mountain Flight Park
7201 Scenic Highway, Rising Farm 30738 | (706) 383-1292 | Summer Hours: Thursday-Tuesday 9am-6pm

Chattanooga Skydiving Company

Photo Courtesy of Chattanooga Skydiving Company

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!

Chattanooga Skydiving Company
300 Airport Rd. Jasper, TN 37347 | (855) 776-5867 | Hours: 7 Days a Week 8am-6pm

Wing-N-It Seaplane Adventures

Photo Courtesy of Wing-N-It Seaplane Adventures

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

5 Must-See Waterfalls in North Georgia



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!

Amicalola Falls

Photo Courtesy of @northgeorgiasoftball

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!

Fall Branch Falls

Photo Courtesy of @k4fish

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.

Helton Creek Falls

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

Video Courtesy of @mariajill

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

Photo Courtesy of All Trails

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.

Photo Courtesy of @ancole78

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.

When you 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!

July Events & Happenings in Blue Ridge



There is truly nothing like spending summer in the mountains. While admittedly, 2020 has not been traditional in any sense, the traditions of local community, lively events, and friendly people is still the foundation of beautiful Blue Ridge! Summer has heated up and if you haven’t already made plans to spend your time exploring our vast mountains or relaxing on Lake Blue Ridge or nearby refreshing streams, what are you waiting for? Book your Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy the hot summer days and cool mountain nights making memories with your loved ones!

Upcoming Events & Activities

Firecracker Special ~ Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
July 3
Location: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Hop on the train in Blue Ridge to enjoy the great Copper Basin Fireworks display just after dark! The train will head out of Blue Ridge at 7:00 pm and return back by 11:00 pm. You can bring your lawn chair & sit outside the train to watch the fireworks display. There will be vendors & activities for the whole family once you arrive in downtown McCaysville/Copperhill.

Live Music at Grumpy Old Men Brewing
July 3 – 24
Location: Grumpy Old Men Brewing

Photo Courtesy of Grumpy Old Men Brewing

Great beer (18 beers on tap), a fun atmosphere and a stellar philosophy – delicious beer, dog-friendly, people tolerated. Plenty of craft beers, including those brewed in the brewery, and lots of live music. It’s one of those places that locals like!
July 3 – High Beams Music
July 4 – DaisyChain
July 10 – Travis Bowlin
July 17 – Michael Mann
July 24 – David Flowers

History & Hike
July 4th
Location: Springer Mountain Loop Trail

Photo Courtesy of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Hike part of the Benton MacKaye Trail & the Appalachian Trail and learn about local history and about the Civilian Conservation Corp Camp. The History & Hike series is part of the Smithsonian Crossroads Exhibit Events. The event begins at 10am and is limited to 15 participants. Pre-Registration is required and closes June 30, 2020. Once you have registered, you will receive information about meeting location, supply list & additional details. The 6-mile trail is easy to moderate and will take you about 5 hours to complete the hike. This series is sponsored by Blue Ridge Adventure Wear, Benton MacKaye Trail Association, and Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Lake Nottely Boat Parade
July 4th
Location: Nottely Marina

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Highlander

The annual Independence Day Boat Parade on Lake Nottely is on July 4th from 12pm- 2pm. Anyone with a boat is welcome to line up at the marina beginning at 10:30 am. Boats can be decorated in any theme and it is free to participate or view. Visitors can watch the parade from areas around the marina.

Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks
July 4th
Location: Lake Blue Ridge Dam

Photo Courtesy of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Fireworks begin at dusk from about 8:30pm to 9:30pm. Places to view the fireworks include Morganton Point Recreation Area, by boat in Lake Blue Ridge near the Lake Blue Ridge Dam, Lake Blue Ridge Dam, and The Lake Blue Ridge Marina. Fireworks are being put on by the Lake Blue Ridge Civic Association.

Independence Day Fireworks
July 4
Location: Meeks Park, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Highlander

In Blairsville, Independence Day Fireworks is on July 4th – at Meeks Park, beginning at around 9:30 pm. A day-long festival takes place just south of Blairsville at Vogel State Park, with a bicycle parade, pedal boat races, a watermelon eating contest, sack races and a number of other traditional activities for kids and families. Then head to town to watch the big fireworks show!

Live Music at Cartecay Vineyards
July 4 – 26
Location: Cartecay Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Cartecay Vineyards

A beautiful vineyard and winery set in pastoral farmlands in the heart of the Southern Appalachians. Cartacay’s wine history dates to 2007, but it’s heritage consists of Cherokee roots (in fact, Cartecay translates to “bread valley”). The winery features plenty of locally sourced wines, tastings and special events, plus live music on most weekends.
July 4 – Surrender Hill
July 5 – Craig Hendricks
July 11 – Gregg Erwin
July 12 – Lindsay Beth Harper
July 18 – April Rooks
July 19 – Scott Stambaugh
July 25 – Adrian Stover
July 26 – Tommy Joe Conner

Pickin’ in the Park
July 9, 16, 23 & 30
Location: Horseshoe Bend Park

Photo Courtesy of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Pickin’ in Horseshoe Bend Park every Thursday, 6:00 PM to dusk, May – Sept. Live music jams & pickin’ on the banks of the Toccoa River at the Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville. Free Admission. (park is wheelchair accessible). Bring the whole family to enjoy the experience. Picnic tables available and a nice grassy lawn but you are also welcome to bring a blanket or chair.

Georgia Mountain Needle Arts Festival 2020
July 10 – 12
Location: Gilmer County Civic Center

Photo Courtesy of Yarn Junkees

The event features a Marketplace with a variety of Fiber Vendors, Classes taught by top-notch instructors, space to sit with your yarn projects and craft with your new fiber friends, and this year local food trucks will be available! There is an entrance fee of $5 for anyone ages 11 and older. This fee covers admission for the whole weekend. Come and shop as many days as you like and register to attend a new class each day!

Appalachian Cookery- Summer Edition
July 10
Location: The Folk Apothic

Photo Courtesy of The Folk Apothic

The Appalachian ladies are back for their favorite cooking class of the year! Summer is when the garden is in full swing and they will be cooking up the natural and organic bounty found within. Fried squash, fried okra, fresh green beans, mashed taters, fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, cornbread, and a delicious peach cobbler. Vegetarians rejoice…at this time of year, the garden produces so much bounty, meat is rarely needed. As always, they will prepare, cook, and share cooking secrets and recipes before sitting down and breaking bread together.

An Evening of Appalachian Stories
July 11 and July 18
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Spend an evening as true stories are told about life, customs and traditions of Southern Appalachian life in the North Georgia mountains. This theatrical event is based on the collected interviews, stories, and folk traditions by Foxfire. Seating is limited, pre- REGISTRATION required. This event is free to the public but donations are appreciated and all proceeds go to the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association and Foxfire Fund, Inc.

Comedy Central Comes To Blue Ridge
July 23
Location: Stewart Farms

Photo Courtesy of Freedom For Fido

Stand-up comedy with Comedy Central’s hilarious Eric Hunter, great music by the amazing Adrian Stover and a catered meal in the new barn venue at Stewart’s Farm. All to help free dogs from life on a chain! A fundraiser to support Freedom For Fido, a 501c3 non-profit who builds free fences for low-income families who keep their dogs on a chain. Come out for a great night of laughter, music, and food while helping Free some Fido’s in our area!

Georgia Mountain Moonshine Cruiz-in
July 30 – August 1
Location: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Moonshine Cruiz-in

Enjoy three fun filled days of good ole mountain hillbilly fun. See a Pioneer village, real moonshine still in the works, mountain crafts, and plenty of hot classic cars, trucks, bikes, rat rods and more!

New Homes Added To Our Program

High atop Crockett Mountain on three pristine acres in a gated community in Cherry Log, a one-of-a-kind property with stunning long-range, year-round mountain views provides the backdrop for a magical vacation. It’s called Unforgettable for a reason, and you’ll know why from the moment you arrive, take in that view, and step inside.

If your dream mountain vacation has the luxury, privacy and high-end amenities of an exclusive resort, but none of the crowds, lines, and noise, you’ll find it and much more at Falcon’s Lair. Boasting phenomenal 180-degree long-range multilayered mountain views stretching from Georgia to North Carolina and Tennessee, with cathedral ceilings and enormous windows to frame them, this tri-level showplace truly has the wow factor!

The scene is picture perfect: you’re high on a hillside with a lush green cow pasture below, a magnificent long-range Cohutta mountain vista in the distance, and the Ellijay River flowing a few hundred yards away. At Highland Harmony, this idyllic setting can be the backdrop for the vacation of your dreams. Located in Ellijay nine miles from downtown Blue Ridge, this gorgeous custom tri-level cabin offers you the ultimate in stress-free relaxation, surrounded by nature’s natural beauty.

In Case You Missed It

Relaxing at Green Pine Cabin

Your Furkids are Welcome in Blue Ridge

Bringing your dog with you on your Blue Ridge mountain vacation can enrich a trip in so many ways. You’ll meet and talk to dog-loving strangers who otherwise would have passed right by you. You’ll travel to dog-friendly parks and other places that wouldn’t ordinarily be on your itinerary. You’ll have a built-in reason to go outside, exercise and have fun. Most meaningfully, you’ll have your best friend at your side. We are glad that you and your four legged pooch have decided to stay with us, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of Blue Ridge’s favorite canine and people friendly spots. Keep Reading.

2020 Festivals



You never need a specific occasion to Escape to Blue Ridge, but it’s fun to plan trips around fun mountain festivals and events. With that in mind, we are here to help, with some suggestions for Blue Ridge area festivals and special events that are not to be missed this year!

FEBRUARY

10th Annual Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off Festival
President’s Day Weekend
Saturday, February 15th
11am-5pm
Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Fire & Ice Festival

The yin and yang of fire and ice is pretty compelling.  Opposites attract, so they say, so this combining of hot and cold is just the thing to attract a crowd. And this festival certainly does that. Thousands are drawn to downtown Blue Ridge, regardless of the weather, to watch ice carving demonstrations and to sample chili concoctions.  Some chili is hot, some is cooler, but all have tang and flavor to please a wide range of samplers. It’s a great time of year for this event, usually cool enough to bundle up, but not so cold as to be uncomfortable, but if you are cold, just find a cup of chili with some heat!

Bringing the Blues to Blue Ridge
Saturday, February 22nd
6pm-10pm
Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

This 9th Annual music event, with a Mardi Gras Celebration, is for a good cause benefiting “Snack in a Backpack”. The event features music group the Crossroads Band, Cajun food, masks, dancing, auction, and door prizes. Tickets are $60 per person or $90 per couple for main dining and include appetizers, dinner, dessert and non-alcoholic drinks. Cash bar will be available.

MARCH

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Saturday, March 14th
11am
Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of The Boro Inn Irish Pub

Fast becoming an annual highlight in downtown Blue Ridge, you can walk in the 7th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade or just watch it anywhere along East or West Main St.  Bring a float, be creative, dress festive and of course, the more green, the better!

38th Hammer-In & Metalworking Event
Friday & Saturday, March 13th & 14th
9am-6pm
Trackrock Campground & Stable

Photo Courtesy of Trackrock Campground & Stables

The Georgia Knifemakers Guild presents a day of blade-related activities include bladesmithing, hawk forging, leather crafting and forge building.  Watch, meet and talk with several talented bladesmiths. See what it takes to transform old discarded steel scrap metal into functional works of art. Fine craftsmen from several states attend, some collectors bring their collections to display, knifemaking supply vendors participate and others come just like to look and talk knives. This is a family oriented event open to all with no admission fees, so come join in the fun!  

APRIL

Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival
Friday & Saturday, April 3rd & 4th
9am-9pm
Union County Fine Arts Center, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival

The Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival showcases the art of Southern storytelling with an emphasis on Appalachian stories, both traditional and contemporary. The Festival’s events include two days of outstanding storytelling performances. Workshops will be available for students and visitors to learn storytelling, speaking, and performance skills.

23rd Annual Blue Ridge Writers Conference
Friday & Saturday, April 3rd & 4th
Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Center

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

The irony of writing is that writers can only write on their own since collaborative writing is uncommon, but they love to socialize and share the fruit of their labor, so a reason to get together is always welcome! Writers conferences and literary events like this one allow writers to showcase their work and rub elbows with other writers, and readers, who appreciate the skill it takes to produce words on a page. Readings, book signings, seminars, and receptions are all a part of this annual event that celebrates words both written and spoken.

Blue Ridge Parade of Homes
Saturday & Sunday, April 18th & 19th
9am-5pm
Blue Ridge and Fannin County

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Parade of Homes

Gain inspiration for your dream home! Meet builders and tour homes that range from 1,600-square feet to 9,000-square feet. Purchase your ticket and take a self-guided tour through twenty stunning properties.

5th Annual Blue Ridge Trout Fest & Outdoor Adventures
Saturday, April 25th
10am-5pm
Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Trout Fest & Outdoor Adventures

Trout in Georgia come in various sizes, colors and genres (native, brown, rainbow, etc).  They are stocked, caught, and eaten in large numbers. And while there are several trout festivals around the state designed to help anglers learn about and appreciate one of America’s favorite fish, there is only one Official Trout Festival – and this is it. The festival includes great exhibits by outdoor organizations and businesses, education on trout fishing, entertainment, food trucks and more in downtown Blue Ridge’s City Park. 

MAY

Georgia Apple Blossom Festival
Saturday & Sunday, May 2nd & 3rd
9am-5pm
Downtown Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Apple Blossom Festival

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

Georgia Mountain EggFest
Saturday, May 16th
9am-5pm
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

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

Spring Arts in the Park
Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday & Sunday, May 23rd & 24th
10am-5pm
All Over Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Arts in the Park is a spring kickoff to the festival season in Blue Ridge and it’s a time when artists of all types fill the expansive Blue Ridge Downtown City Park with activities, performances and even some dancing. More than 200 juried arts, crafts and food booths are featured. This event is often recognized as one of the Top 20 Events by the Southeastern Tourism Society. The Festival is held rain or shine. Pets are welcome as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

Spring Arts,Crafts & Music Festival
Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday & Sunday, May 23rd & 24th
10am-5pm
Downtown Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of Visit Downtown Blairsville

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

JUNE

Blairsville Scottish Festival & Highland Games
Saturday & Sunday, June 13th & 14th
9am-5pm
Meeks Park, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of the Blairsville Scottish Festival & Highland Games

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

Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival
Saturday, June 27th
3pm-9pm
Inola, Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival

What is it about wine and jazz?  You almost can’t have one without the other. Well, you can, of course.  But why would you want to? Blue Ridge has made it easy to enjoy both at a festival that’s as naturally occurring as jazz and wine can be.  All you have to do is show up and there’s jazz, and there’s wine, both peacefully, and perfectly coexisting in an idyllic setting in Blue Ridge.

JULY

Old Fashioned Fourth
July 4th Weekend
Downtown Blue Ridge, McCaysville-Copperhill

Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

It’s the ideal 4th of July weekend package: Independence Day in a small patriotic town and several other small, and equally patriotic towns, and a beautiful lake to provide the perfect backdrop for fireworks. Blue Ridge’s Independence Day parade shows creativity and a good sense of humor.  The Fabulous Fireworks will be shot off near the Lake Blue Ridge Dam and can be viewed from there as well as Morganton Point Recreation Area, Tammen Park and Lake Blue Ridge Marina. The marina will have live music and barbecue throughout the day. And if it’s an old-fashioned 4th that appeals to you, the small town Independence Day celebration in McCaysville is just the thing, featuring an impressive fireworks display from Tater Hill in downtown McCaysville-Copperhill.

Butternut Creek Festival
Saturday & Sunday, July 18th & 19th
9am-4pm
Meeks Park, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of Butternut Creek Festival

This festival is one of the finest juried arts & crafts shows in the southeast and features work from over 65 artists and craftsmen. Located along the banks of Butternut Creek in Meeks Park, you’ll find something for everyone at this great festival!

August

Georgia Mountain Fair
August 14th-22nd
10am-8pm
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Get ready for corn dogs and funnel cakes, but that’s not all. The Georgia Mountain Fair is a North Georgia icon, complete with living exhibits, arts and crafts, a pioneer village; a parade with antique cars, carnival rides and music that ranges from country to gospel including Pam Tillis, Lee Greenwood, and more!

SEPTEMBER

Mountain Heritage Festival
Saturday & Sunday, September 5th & 6th
10am-5pm
Town Square, Blairsville


Photo Courtesy of Visit Downtown Blairsville

Celebrating the history, heritage and mountain culture of Union County, this event is a Labor Day tradition, complete with regional arts and crafts, music, arts demonstrations. Since the event is centered around the restored 1861 Payne family log home, it makes sense that focus is on the activities that took place back in those days like basket making, chair caning, tending to farm animals and even gold panning.

Plein Air International Paint Out
September 10th-13th
Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Be on the lookout for artists painting everything everywhere in Fannin County during this four-day international event. You may see artists in parks, in farm fields, even alongside the road – wherever the spirit has moved them to sit, or stand, and capture the beauty and uniqueness of this region on canvas. This is a judged show with various events surrounding it, including opportunities to meet the artists and purchase their work.

Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Music Festival
Saturday, September 19th
11am-9pm
Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival

The Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival starts with a Blues Crawl on Friday night, followed by great blues and barbecue on Saturday, which means you get to kind of a meander through eight different restaurants, enjoying live music, food and drink, before jumping full on into the Blues Weekend on Saturday. The blues and barbecue portion of the festivities features barbecue smells and great eats from local and regional cookers. That means aromas and music will be filling the air downtown, with blues musicians performing from stages set all around Blue Ridge City Park.

OCTOBER

Georgia Marble Festival
Saturday & Sunday, October 3rd & 4th
10am-6pm
Jasper, GA

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Marble Festival

These are not marbles. Those small, round things that young boys and girls used to “shoot”, kneeling on the floor, or trading them. Remember “purees”, “cat eyes” and “steelys”? No, this festival is a celebration of indigenous rocks, quarries, and local art. Tate marble is historic and world famous and marble quarry tours will be given during the festival.

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
October 9th-17th
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, Hiawassee

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

You’ve got to love a fair that spans weekdays, welcoming visitors for nine straight days! That gives you a chance to enjoy this annual event during large crowd days and during quiet times. You can even plan a fair food lunch. As usual, this year’s fair will feature arts and crafts vendors, educational demonstrations, a flower show, and exciting musical performances.

Fall Arts in the Park Festival
Saturday & Sunday, October 10th & 11th
10am-5pm
Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

Photo Courtesy of Doug Miracle

A true sign of autumn, the fall version of Blue Ridge’s popular Arts in the Park, set amidst the lovely, tree-filled downtown park, with fresh food smells all around, local art, special events and musical performances.

Sorghum Festival
October 10th-11th & 17th-18th
10am-5pm
Meeks Park, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of Blairsville Sorghum Festival

Sorghum is one of those mystery words. Pork product? Dental affliction? Nope. It’s actually a cereal grain that grows tall, like corn, but boiled down it produces a sugary-like syrup. You’d be able to deduce that from one item on a list of events that’s part of this annual festival: a biscuit eating contest, with sorghum on top. You may know sorghum better by its full name – sorghum molasses. Whether the taste speaks to you or not, this festival also features live music, arts, crafts, and more fun contests like rock throwing and log sawing!

Georgia Apple Festival
October 10th-11th & 17th-18th
9am-6pm
Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Apple Festival

For 49 years, apples have brought folks together in Ellijay, East Ellijay and Gilmer County. These days, people come from all over for the apples, the parade, the antique car show, the arts and crafts, and almost everything you can imagine (or eat) made from apples!

NOVEMBER

Light Up Blue Ridge!
Saturday, November 28th
10am-7:30pm
Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Black Friday, the all-out dash for discounts, just got softened a bit by Blue Ridge’s very appropriate “Blue Friday”, with special emphasis on fun, a parade, community caroling, Santa’s arrival, and the lighting of a 27-foot tall tree! Also be on the lookout for strolling characters, food vendors and entertainment in the park on Saturday, November 28th and every Saturday through December. Make your escape memorable and join us as Blue Ridge ushers in and celebrates the holiday season!

DECEMBER

Mountain Country Christmas
December 3 – 26
6pm-9pm
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Visit the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds for a Winter Walk through thousands and thousands of lights and exhibits! Visit Poinsettia Place, Candy Cane Lane, Santa’s Workshop, Toyland, Frosty’s Trail and many more light exhibits. 🎄There will be live music, arts and craft vendors, food, and most important…SANTA!!! 🎅 $5 for adults, $4 Group sales and children under 12 are FREE!!!

7 Luxurious Mountain Lodges



When living large is what you want out of your vacation, Escape to Blue Ridge has the perfect properties to satisfy your every desire. Enjoy getting away to relax and enjoy the beautiful North Georgia mountain views and the outdoor adventures in the area. With amenities galore and plenty of room to roam, everyone in your group can indulge in their own fun and their own space. Complete with extraordinarily comfortable bedrooms, gourmet kitchens, and entertaining game rooms, book your stay and let the relaxation begin in one of these seven luxurious mountain lodges!

Chestnut Lodge

Chestnut Lodge sits serenely over miles of pastoral fields nestled in between the rolling mountains. This retreat is a beautifully-crafted custom Barna log home, with 3000 roomy square feet offering plenty of comfortable crevices.
The light-filled home has picture-perfect windows framing idyllic scenes of soft valleys, hills and long-range mountains. Sitting in front of the beautiful stone fireplace you will appreciate the home’s design inspiration: the decor marries upscale farmhouse and mountain styling with the newest, top of the line finishes — modern fixtures with a hint of vintage. The five-bedrooms all have their own peaceful views and in total, 14 people can sleep in the home comfortably. Chestnut Lodge is a place of true relaxation and one that fulfills the longing of old comforts with a renewed feeling of today.

Endless View Lodge

Endless View Lodge is perfectly situated for mountainous seclusion and picturesque views that surround you for miles. This five-bedroom home, all of which are master suites, is an upscale luxury mountain experience.  The lodge is beautifully crafted and immediately inviting with its dormer windows, huge front porch and an amazing 1,300 square-foot wraparound deck, anchored on one end by a covered gathering room and an outdoor rock fireplace. Professionally decorated, this home’s refined interior is matched only by the beauty of each room’s magnificent long and short range mountain views.  The entire space offers luxurious comfort so you can relax and reconnect with your family and friends in style.

High Five Lodge

Upon arrival, you’ll immediately be taken by High Five Lodge’s eye-catching architecture and enormous rooms. This cabin is spacious in size with a rustic yet elegant décor making this cabin warm and homey. High Five Lodge has a spacious downstairs where you can play a game of pool or cheer on your favorite team while watching the game in front of a roaring fire. Relax in the hot tub under the stars while overlooking the picturesque expanse of mountain vistas. You can see three states worth of mountain ranges (GA, TN & NC). You will be comfortable in one of five huge bedrooms, most of which open up to a deck and romantic views. Spend some time here and you’re sure to have an unforgettable time of your own!

King Daddy Lodge

King Daddy Lodge is the mother of luxury-living in the North Georgia Mountains. You will feel far away from the rigors of life and yet you will also be less than 30 minutes away from Blue Ridge, Georgia. Everything about this luxury cabin rental is regal, from its position at the top of the mountain to its upscale comfort and amenities. You will enjoy this home’s completely private location where no other cabins are in plain sight. The home’s enormous wraparound deck is perfectly positioned over absolutely spectacular long-range mountain views!

Laurel Valley Lodge

Laurel Valley Lodge is named for the mountain laurel covering the valley it overlooks. Here, you’ll enjoy spectacular mountain views, and your location in the popular Aska Adventure Area puts you close to everything. One of the few five-bedroom cabins in the North Georgia Mountains, this spacious lodge is ideal for large groups, family gatherings, holidays and business retreats. Good times are sure to ‘blossom’ here among the laurels! The main level’s huge wraparound deck is perfect for outdoor entertaining. Grill the Georgia trout caught earlier from the Toccoa, and share stories around the fireplace. On the lower deck, relax under the stars in the sunken hot tub or enjoy a nightcap on the Adirondack chairs. Whether you’re seeking rest or play, this spacious retreat will provide a wonderful vacation experience for you, your family and friends.

Luxury Lakeside Lodge

Swim in the lap of luxury as well as Lake Nottely by staying at the aptly named Luxury Lakeside Lodge. This home is packed with every amenity and looks like a model home and to top it all off — sits above the shores of deep lake water with its own private boat dock. this welcoming log home with its green shingled roof complimenting the bright blue-green color of the water will take your breath away. Inside, there’s a great wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, just one indication that everything about this North Georgia cabin was built to showcase the gorgeous views of the lake and mountains. It has been professionally decorated with well appointed furnishings that were also chosen for comfort and relaxation. Luxury Lakeside Lodge truly lives up to its name and can easily accommodate one or multiple families for a truly spectacular lake side vacation.

Serenity Lodge and Stable

If you dream of a peaceful, relaxing escape for your next vacation, look no further than the Blue Ridge, Georgia cabin rental called Serenity Lodge and Stable. True to its name, this magnificent property located five miles west of Ellijay, GA offers the ultimate in serene tranquility, bringing you closer to nature while you enjoy all the modern amenities it has to offer, both indoors and out. Serenity’s rooms are elegantly rustic, with exposed beams, wood burning fireplace, sumptuous leather sofas, ceiling fans in every room, and unusual touches like handmade antler chandeliers. Serenity Lodge and Stable’s vibe is restful, soothing and calm, offering you the opportunity to commune with nature in a spiritual way while you connect and celebrate with those you love.

Christmas Lights Around the Mountains



Every family has many Christmas traditions that they enjoy preserving. For this writer, one of my family’s favorite things to do is to go drive around and see all the Christmas lights! However, when you’re not from around here, you wouldn’t even know where to begin to look for lights to enjoy. Well, we tried to make it easy for you and stalked as many of our friends pages to locate all the Christmas light displays that you HAVE to go check out!

Each community offers a brief directions, but click on the town name to access a Google map to help you find your way! If you’re a local reading this and know of other places we’re missing please drop a comment or send us a Facebook or Instagram message. Merry Christmas!

Click to go to the Escape To Blue Ridge Christmas Light Map

Blue Ridge:

William’s Home Photo Courtesy of Becky Dyer

Downtown Blue Ridge – East Main St.

INOLA – Holiday lights, carriage rides, pony rides, painted ponies, ice skating, an illuminated maze and more! Prices vary from $5-$15 for each activity.

Spur 60 – Between Mineral Bluff and NC State line. Drive through Winter Wonderland! Santa on certain nights.

The Penlands – Hwy 75, just past the North Carolina/Georgia state line.

Williams’ – Forge Mill Road off Hwy 515 across from Cucina Rustica. Santa on certain nights.

Blairsville:

Gwynn’s Christmas Light Show

Chamber of Commerce – Tour of Trees. 9am – 5pm. 129 Union County Recreation Road, Blairsville

Collins – 257 Windy Hill Rd. (Santa Here)

289 Cook St

Downtown – On the Square

195 Forest Dr

Gwynn’s Christmas Light Show – Shows at 7pm & 7:30pm. Tune your radio to 91.9 and enjoy! Address is 121 Birch Cane Drive, Blairsville, GA 30512

262 Jewell Mason Rd

Stonehenge Assisted Living – Hwy 129 North towards Murphy, about 7 miles north of Hwy 76/129 intersection. Note: Nativity Scene

The Browns – Take Old Blue Ridge Highway out past Mulkey Gap. Right on Ed King Road. Just before the solar panel field. Note: Santa’s Mailbox – leave a letter to Santa and receive a reply!

The Jones – Take Blue Ridge Hwy, then a left on Mulkey Gap, right on Jones Rd.

Hiawassee

Mountain Country Christmas in Lights

Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds – Mountain Country Christmas in Lights every Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 6pm-9pm through December 28th. Here you will enjoy beautiful light displays and food ops along with food, music, arts & crafts, hot chocolate, marshmallow, a petting zoo and Santa. Admission is $5 per person and children 12 and under are FREE! On the main drag – Hwy 76 in Hiawassee.

Bugscuffle Road – Through the town of Hiawassee, but before the School. See Uhaul & Parker Oil, next road on left is Bugscuffle. On Hwy 76, just west of Towns County School.

Scataway Road – About 5 minutes past the Towns County School, see sign for Mount Zion Church on left and follow the red glow. Off of Hwy 76, 5 minutes east of town. See Santa on certain nights.

Panter House – Gumlog Rd off of Hwy 66 in Young Harris. On the Towns County side of Gumlog.

North Carolina:

Harshaw Road Lights Courtesy of Susie Bryant

Penlands – Hwy 75, just across the NC/Ga line.

Harshaw Road – Near Cherokee Hills Golf Course

A Blue Ridge Holiday



‘Tis the season to celebrate in the mountains! The crisp weather is perfect for shopping downtown, enjoying outdoor activities and then relaxing in the hot tub or by the crackling fire at the cabin! Come stay with us this month and check out the upcoming events below!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Tour of Trees
December 1 – 31
LOCATION: Union County Community Center

Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

The Blairsville-Union County Community Center is transformed into a winter wonderland for the whole month of December. Bring your family and friends and enjoy an amazing display of trees, lights, wreaths, and decorations. This is a perfect place to get your holiday photos! Admission is FREE!

Colonial Christmas
December 1 – 31
LOCATION: Inola Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of INOLA Blue Ridge

If you love Williamsburg’s Colonial Christmas, but you’d prefer to skip the half-day drive from here, consider a colonial style Christmas at Inola village. Each day from from 12pm-10pm enjoy a Yule Log celebration, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, carriage rides, an illuminated maze, Christmas lights, and ice skating!

Mountain Country Christmas
December 5 – 28
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Visit the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds for a Winter Walk through thousands and thousands of lights and exhibits! Visit Poinsettia Place, Candy Cane Lane, Santa’s Workshop, Toyland, Frosty’s Trail and many more light exhibits. 🎄There will be live music, arts and craft vendors, food, and most important…SANTA!!! 🎅 $5 for adults, $4 Group sales and children under 12 are FREE!!! Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 6pm – 9pm December 5th through December 28th!

It’s a Wonderful Life
December 5 – 15
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

Photo Courtesy of Google images

But… but … but … It’s not YOUR town, Mr. Potter! Thank you, Jimmy Stewart for your one-of-a-kind interpretation of this Christmas classic, which will be ringing in your ears as you ring in the season with “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The Blue Ridge Community Theater’s performance of this memorable, and inspirational, timeless holiday story will be sure to delight young and old. 

Music & Hops
December 6 – 28
LOCATION: Misty Mountain Hops

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Hops

If you love eating and music then you will love the laid back vibes of Misty Mountain Hops. Good food and sweet tunes make this Vinyl Pub a must!

December 6 – The Orange Walls Band
December 7 – Scott Stambaugh
December 13 – Travis Bowlin
December 14 – Gopher Broke
December 20 – Dan Foster

December 27 – Steve Baskin
December 28 – Travis Bowlin

Music at The Blue Coyote
December 6 – 31
LOCATION: The Blue Coyote

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Coyote

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

December 6 – Slickfoot
December 7 – Gregg Erwin
December 13 – Apollo Band
December 14 – Breaking Point
December 20 – Double Barrel
December 21 – Topper
December 27 – Bottoms Up
December 28 – Fiction
December 31 – Mind the Stepchildren

Morning at the Manger
December 7
LOCATION: First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge First Baptist

Staying focused on the true meaning of Christmas is tough these days, so the First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge makes it easy, with displays like a stable of animals, a Bethlehem bakery, a textile shop, a spice shop, and it’s one of the few places where the Christmas story is spoken to families gathered around a manger.

St. Luke’s 13th Annual Christmas Bazaar
December 7
LOCATION: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

Photo Courtesy of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will hold its annual Christmas Bazaar and Silent Auction from 9am to 3pm. Taking place across from the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club Fairground, this event will feature original art works, matted reproductions, knitted items, handmade birdhouses, note-cards, pottery, and handcrafted Christmas decorations! Baked goods, homemade jams, jellies, pickles, and other sweets and treats will also be available!

Carols of the Bells
December 7
LOCATION: Hope Lutheran Church, Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Ringers

If you haven’t seen hand bells rung, go! The sounds are so resonant, pure, and uplifting. The Brasstown Ringers are in Ellijay on December 7 at7pm. Don’t miss them!

Kiwanis Christmas Parade
December 7
LOCATION: Downtown McCaysville/Copperhill

Photo Courtesy of Copperhill Kiwanis

This annual event in Copperhill & McCaysville provides a fun and celebratory atmosphere for family and friends! Occurring on the first Saturday in December each year, this parade features a myriad of floats and high school marching bands. Come and support the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club! The parade begins at 2pm and ends at 4pm. This year’s theme is Christmas Around the World. At 6pm will be the lighting of the tree ceremony and music.

Cartecay Vineyards
December 7 – 31
LOCATION: Cartecay Vineyards

A beautiful vineyard and winery set in pastoral farmlands in the heart of the Southern Appalachians. Cartacay’s wine history dates to 2007, but it’s heritage is comprised of Cherokee roots (in fact, Cartecay translates to “bread valley”). The winery features plenty of locally sourced wines, tastings and special events, plus live music on most weekends.

December 7 – Craig Hendricks
December 8 – Rose Brown
December 14 – Timothy Donovan
December 15 – Johnny Summers
December 21 – Rick Byers
December 22 – Surrender Hill
December 26 – Obe & Amber Brown
December 27 – Rose Brown
December 28 – Gregg Erwin
December 29 – Tommy Joe Conner
December 30 – Lindsay Beth Harper
December 31 – Adrian Stover

Santa Express
December 8 – 23
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Take a ride on the Santa Express and enjoy hearing a Christmas story, singing Christmas songs, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Every child will receive a traditional Christmas bell, a candy cane, and a memory they won’t soon forget!

Christmas Tour of Homes
December 8
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Area

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Parade of Homes by Satterwhite Log Homes

Christmas Tour of Homes is hosted by the Fannin County Family Connection. The tour includes 6 beautifully decorated homes and holiday refreshments. Tickets are available at online at www.fannin.gafcp.org. All proceeds are used to fund Drug & Alcohol outreach programs and the food pantry at Family Connection.

Kid’s Bakery Class
December 14th
LOCATION: Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

You and your littles will learn to make Christmas Gingerbread Trees. They will measure, mix, and decorate and most of all enjoy the quality time learning with you.

Santa Days
December 14th & 21st
LOCATION: Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

Christmas is a magical time of year and Mercier Orchards has a day of fun and photo ops ready for you! Children will be able to decorate gingerbread cookies and write letters to Santa. Come out and make memories as a family.

Third Annual Santa at the Vineyard
December 14
LOCATION: Chateau Meichtry

Photo Courtesy of Chateau Meichtry

Even Santa likes wine and so does Mrs. Claus! That’s why Santa likes to hang at Chateau Meichtry for the day, fueling up for the run around the world he’ll have to make about 10 days later. It’s a time to enjoy wine, visit with Santa, relax with hot chocolate by the fire in the tasting room, and perhaps even get your photo taken with Santa.

The Georgia Spiritual Ensemble
December 21
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater

There’s no better way to describe the heart, soul and legacy of Spiritual music than “Haunting quality, uncanny beauty and dignity”. The Georgia Spiritual Ensemble’s power to present this musical genre is remarkable, and this concert is not to be missed!

New Year’s Eve Midnight Train
December 31
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Few things are deeply romantic as that long, lonely swoon of an authentic old railroad whistle. That’s only a small part of what makes a midnight train ride the perfect way to usher in the New Year. There’s also the beverages (beer and wine), the camaraderie of being among new and old friends who value this unique way of saying hello to a new year, plus the hors d’oeuvres, and the historical narrative along the way. This year’s train ride is appropriately themed “Roar into the 20’s” and riders are encouraged to “dress to impress in your best ‘20s attire”. It’s an unusual, and memorable, way to start the New Year.

Joy to the World
All Season Long
LOCATION: Across the World

To every household near and far, we hope that regardless of your beliefs, you and yours are filled with the merriment and joy of the season. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Festivus!

NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM

The scene is picture perfect: you’re high on a hillside with a lush green cow pasture below, a magnificent long-range Cohutta mountain vista in the distance, and the Ellijay River flowing a few hundred yards away. At Highland Harmony, this idyllic setting can be the backdrop for the vacation of your dreams.  Located in Ellijay nine miles from downtown Blue Ridge, this gorgeous custom tri-level cabin offers you the ultimate in stress-free relaxation, surrounded by nature’s natural beauty!

In real estate location is everything, and you won’t find a better one than this wooded waterfront property on Lake Blue Ridge, with spectacular lake and mountain views, the best dock on the lake, and proximity to downtown and all the vacation activities you crave. Lodge on the Lake is perfectly situated on the very desirable Horse Pointe Road just four miles from Blue Ridge’s shops and restaurants and custom designed, built and decorated and with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the view, Lodge on the Lake truly has the wow factor!

There are a lot of mountain vacation rentals with similar features and amenities, so choosing between one cabin and another often comes down to the atmosphere it projects that sets it apart. With a warm and cozy ambience and a rustic décor, vintage-inspired furniture and homey patchworks and plaids, Southern Star can be summed up by a saying on a family room pillow: ‘Cabin Sweet Cabin.’

In Case You Missed It

Move Over Napa, Georgia Is For Wine Lovers!


Who needs Napa Valley, when you have North Georgia?In fact, North Georgia, and specifically Dahlonega, has been called the Napa of the East. So, what’s the point of hopping on a plane, enduring crazy traffic, and dealing with stifling crowds? Right here in North Georgia you will be better served, remain relaxed, and meander the charming and scenic back roads of Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Dahlonega, Blairsville, and Helen to enjoy a wine experience that’s even better than what the wild west can offer! KEEP READING.

Blue Ridge Fall Bucket List



Fall in the mountains is a special time of year. The temperatures begin to drop to more moderate levels, the leaves turn to beautiful colors, and we can finally don our favorite sweaters and boots! There is always so much to do, both inside and outside, when you Escape to Blue Ridge and experience some fall fun! Here are a few ideas to make this time of year extra special while you create memories with your favorite people!

Scenic Drives

Brasstown Bald Courtesy of Sunrise Grocery

This is the most beautiful time of the year to pack up the family or gather your friends and hit the road for some beautiful leaf peeping! Here are our three favorites:

  1. The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a nationally designated Scenic Byway that is 40.64 miles in length and makes a loop through the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest. 
  2. Brasstown Bald rises 4,784 feet above sea level and is Georgia’s tallest mountain. Visitors to this place on high find an observation deck which allows a spectacular 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, exhibits, a film, hiking trails, and gift shop.
  3. The Southern Highroads Trail can be traveled in its entirety or in sections.  This very scenic route travels through four national forests (Chattahoochee, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Sumter) and four states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia)

Come on Ride That Train

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains is best seen via railway through the Chattahoochee National Forest. Board the eleven-car Blue Ridge Scenic Railway train and enjoy a relaxing 26-mile roundtrip journey beginning and ending in downtown Blue Ridge with a stop in the newly revitalized twin cities of McCaysville, Ga & Copperhill, TN.  

Local Tip: Choose one of the three open air cars to have unobstructed views and to breathe in the fresh mountain air!

Take A Hike

Photo Courtesy of Daniel Frank

There is not another season that encourages you to pause and look around quite like Fall. We think nature is best experienced slowly because sometimes when you’re hiking it can be easy to focus more on the destination or watching where you step. However, in the Fall, bright colors implore you to look away from the ground and towards the colorful trees that make this season so special. Take your time and look up!

Local Tip: Explore the Aska Adventure area with 17 miles of trails to take in the beauty of the season. You can even incorporate the Long Creek Falls loop!

Pick a Peck

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

We can’t really think of a much more iconic fall activity than picking a pick of apples and finding the perfect pumpkin. Right here in Blue Ridge, Mercier Orchards offers you the opportunity to do both. Take a hayride around the property, enjoy a cup of hot apple cider, or warm up from the inside out with some delicious hard cider!

Local Tip: The best part of apple picking isn’t just about going home with yummy apples, it’s about spending quality time with your loved ones and enjoying the fresh air. Make sure to take lots of pictures, that way the memories will last a lifetime.

Star Gazing

Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Watching the stars, moon, and planets shine in real time can be a powerful reminder of how big our world really is and when you look up into the Blue Ridge sky you’ll see why autumn is the best time for star gazing! So, grab a blanket, a thermos of hot chocolate, and a special someone and cuddle up under the stars for a fascinating and romantic evening. Download a Stargazing app to help decipher exactly what you’re looking at and learn about the stories of the constellations.

Fireside Fun

Toccoa Lookout Cottage

What better way to enjoy the fall season than with a warm and toasty fire on the deck or down at the fire pit! This is really a fall MUST. It’s not optional. The air is just so fresh and clean, the crickets and frogs are chirping, and your heart is warmer than the flames with all the chitter chatter while you roast up marshmallows for the perfect s’mores.

Fall Food

Your cabin comes fully stocked with everything you might need to make delicious meals for your friends and family. Since you came back with more pecs of apples than you planned on, let’s put the fruits of your labor to work and make some yummy fall recipes like:

  1. Apple Pie
  2. Pumpkin Stew
  3. Apple Stuffed Porkchops
  4. Cinnamon Stewed Apples
  5. Chicken Pot Pie

Fall Drinks

The best part about fall evenings is sitting on the porch (or in the hot tub) and watching the sun set over the beautiful mountain tops. Instead of the same ol wine and/or beer that you normally would have, impress your friends with some autumn inspired beverages. Apple Cider – Adult Style

  1. Apple Cider – Adult Style
  2. Pumpkin Spice White Russian
  3. Applejack
  4. Fall ‘Tini
  5. Harvest Punch

Leaf Art

Mother Nature produces colors that make Crayola Crayons jealous! So, why do we think they have to stay put outside? Pick up for favorite leaves, of all different colors and shapes, and bring them into the cabin to make your stay even more homey feeling.  Create a simple centerpiece for the table or place some around the fireplace mantle in a decorative fashion. Regardless of whether or not you have children vacationing with you, you can try your hand at some of these fun fall leaf crafts.  You don’t have to be super crafty to make something beautiful. Besides, the fun is in the laughter and memories you make with your loved ones.

Be Thankful

Make a “thankfulness” list. With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, take the time to make a list of all the things you are thankful for in your life. If you have children, make it a family project and teach them the value of remembering all the good things that they have been experiencing during the year.

The Marriage of Moonshine and Music



National Moonshine Day is observed annually on the first Thursday in June. Yes, we are posting this in October, and we don’t expect you to remember this date eight months from now. Truth is, you can turn just about any day into a celebration partaking in some good ole mountain white lightning. But where can you get your hands on it? Stay with us for the answer to that question.

Prohibition

For years, visitors to our area would ask their waitresses at diners, gas station attendants, and the guy who gave them the key to their room at the local travel lodge (in a quiet whisper) where they might get their hands on some of the illegal potables these hills were noted to produce. In the ’50s and ’60s, if one of those tourists was lucky enough to land him a ball jar bottle of the mountain hooch, there’s a great possibility it came from the still of American Appalachian moonshiner  Jack “Mimm” McClure.

Everyone knew of Jack in these parts. He was easy to spot when he came to town. With his big 250 lb frame and always in a Stetson hat, he opened doors for the ladies, spoke kindly to children and was noted for his philanthropic generosity of spirit. Still, he made his fortune selling illegal spirits. He had a reputation for influencing the election of many politicians in the local and state seats. He also had his own ideas when justice should be served. The late Georgia Governor and McClure’s fellow Towns County native Zell Miller wrote of Jack, “He was loved, hated, respected, and feared, depending upon the experience one had had with him.”

The Music

McClure was dubbed “Grandaddy Mimm” by his grandchildren and that became his moniker amongst the folks in the mountains. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 1969. With his passing, so did an era of illegal bootlegging. But this is just where our story gets more interesting.

One of Jack’s grandkids, Tommy Townsend was a “gitar” player who as a youngin’ fell in love with the music of Waylon Jennings. Now Jennings could easily be to country music what Tommy’s Grandaddy Mimm was to moonshine. They were both outlaws with class, who had a presence that no one could quite forget. Townsend’s parents got him behind stage to meet Jennings many years ago. Waylon took a liking to the boy and brought him into the Jennings family fold.  Waylon was Tommy’s mentor but it was Waylon’s son Shooter Jennings who became Tommy’s friend. Since 2008 Townsend and 4 other former members of the Jennings band have been entertaining fans as the Waymore’s Outlaws. In 2014 they began opening for Shooter Jennings and then backing him as his set in concerts all over the country. This year Tommy released his solo debut album “Turn Back the Clock”. Shooter Jennings produced the project. 

Who’s Your Grandaddy?

Tommy never forgot his North Georgia roots nor his Grandaddy Mimm. He also held the family secret recipe to Grandaddy’s famous moonshine as well as the schematics to the still his Grandaddy designed many years before. In 2012, Townsend announced his plans to recreate his Grandaddy’s legacy, only this time, it would be within the law.

Today, you can tour the Grandaddy Mimm’s Corn Whiskey Distillery located in Blairsville GA, just a thirty-minute drive from Blue Ridge. Tours are given daily, but on Saturday’s you get to meet and chat with the head distiller and get to see the whole “still” in action. Your imagination of the outlaw days of moonshine starts to unfurl as soon as you drive up to the building that houses the museum and distillery. Inside you’ll find so many eclectic relics from those days as well as an enormous, interesting array of music memorabilia and instruments collected by Townsend over the years.

The Shine

Taste tasting this hooch is also encouraged. The choices are tough to make. Just four ingredients, corn, sugar, yeast, and water produce all of the moonshines, including the Mule Kickin 140 proof. The 96 proof  Peach is their biggest seller. It’s hard to find a naturally flavored high octane whiskey, and it makes for some very interesting mixed drink recipes. There are also Apple, Cherry and Blueberry options, all using natural extracts. Plan on taking a jar or three home for great souvenir memories. The gift shop also has an abundant selection of shirts, hats and other mementos to bring back home.

When you mosey up to the bar, take note of its fine detail and its rich wood design. If you are a cult fan of the movie  “Coyote Ugly”, this is the very bar that LeeAnn Rhimes ascends to join leading ladies Piper Perabo, Maria Bello, and Bridget Moynahan to dance while she sings “Can’t Fight the Moonlight”. 

Plan Your Trip

The Distillery is located on your way to many of this region’s most visited autumn viewing spots and waterfalls, including Brasstown Bald, Vogel State Park, Richard Russell National Scenic Byway, and the Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center.  The distillery is open  Monday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm.

Grandaddy Mimm’s legacy lives on through the distillery and his grandson’s music. When you view Townsend’s recently released music video for his song “Drinkin”, look closely at the ball jars on the bar. You might just recognize some of that high octane corn “licker” that made Jack McClure a North Georgia legend. 

A Four Season Scenic Ride



In the North Georgia Mountains, we celebrate four gentle yet very distinct seasonal transitions, each measured very close to the designated tri-month celestial calendar. 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.

To get a full appreciation of Flora’s artistry in any one of the seasonal changeovers, we encourage you to drive the 41 miles of Georgia’s only national scenic drive, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway. The Byway, one of only 120  highways across our fifty states so designated, circles around the Chattahoochee National Forest and can be launched just seventeen miles southeast of Fannin County, at the intersection of Hwys 129 and 180, located in neighboring Union County.

Highest Peak In GA

Following Hwy 180 northeast, you’ll travel twelve miles to the entrance to Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain elevation (4,784’) in Georgia. When you get to the top of the Bald’s observation tower, you will have a spectacular 360-degree view of three states!

Photo Courtesy of Steve Grundy Photography

Anna Ruby Falls

Back on Hwy 180 and after heading southeast for ten miles, you will turn south onto Hwy 75/17. Over the next 10 miles, you will motor through some of the heaviest of forestry, including designated recreation areas Unicoi Gap and Andrews Cove. These are ideal places to hike, fish, picnic or just relax before heading out on the next part of your adventure. Driving for just a few minutes you will arrive at one of the region’s finest natural gems, Anna Ruby Falls. This double waterfall is formed from the merging of two creeks, both sourced from underground springs.

Anna Ruby Falls Photo Courtesy of Bill Mantooth

Just three more miles south you will find yourself at Unicoi State Park, where you can jet off on a bicycle, paddleboard on Unicoi Lake or eat at the Unicoi Restaurant located in the beautifully appointed Unicoi Lodge.

Alpine Helen

If you haven’t visited Bavaria’s USA sister city, quaint Helen GA, here’s the best opportunity, located just 3 more miles south of Unicoi State Park. But if Helen isn’t part of your plans for this scenic trip, then backtrack up 75/17 for only two miles where you’ll arrive at the entrance of one of the State’s most beautiful wooded parks, Smithgall Woods/Dukes Creek Falls State Park.  Covering over 5,600 acres, this Park focuses on conservation. It’s also an angler’s paradise with some of the very best trout fishing in the State on the waters of Dukes Creek. Visit their event calendar to see what is scheduled during your visit.

Photo Courtesy of Alpine Helen – White County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Hogpen Gap

There’s one more leg to this journey, and it is perhaps the most spectacular. Just a hair north of Smithgall Woods you will come upon the gateway (Hwy 348) to Richard Russell Scenic Hwy.  These next 23 miles are not only a favorite for motorists, bicyclists and motorcyclists, but wildlife also love to roam all over the cliffs and valleys along this route. Do drive with patience and caution.

Hogpen Gap Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Helton Creek Falls

After nearly a 10 mile ascent, you’ll reach Hogpen Gap, (elevation 3,525′). This is a very popular, year-round hiking trail. But for just leaf lookers, the vistas at the appointed observation areas at this elevation are breathtaking! And in the spring there is no better place to view the “greening of the mountains”. As you begin the steep descent traveling north on Richard Russell, the valley brings more surprises as the fields open up and the farmlands, an integral facet of life in historical Choestoe Valley, are dotted across the highway. Look for a turn heading west at Hatchett Creek Rd. Follow this road till it merges with Helton Creek Road and visit one of the area’s favorite family waterfalls, Helton Creek Falls. The short hike (.24 miles) from the parking area leads to two falls. The lower falls has a wading pool area. The upper falls has an observation deck with bench seating.

Helton Creek Falls Photo Courtesy of Molly Carreras

Seasons of Fun!

Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a 4 season wonderland. In the spring the hiking trails boast 1500 varieties of wildflowers with over 200 plants indigenous to just this Southern Appalachian region. 

Stop, look and listen and you’ll see fawn and bear cubs emerging from the woods, beavers building dams to reroute the heavy spring rainwater, and you’ll hear the songbirds who’ve migrated back to these mountains from their winter retreats.

Open the windows on your summer drive and capture the fragrances of the season as you pass cavernous areas of native azalea, rhododendron and mountain laurel. The farmers cut hay around Memorial Day and again at Labor Day. The smell of fresh-cut hay, watching the baling process or just coming upon a field of hay bales peppering the countryside all leave an indelible imprint on one’s senses.

Photo Courtesy of Mountain Mem’ries Photography

Summer visits to the waterfalls along this road will often find the thunderous waters framed by a rainbow. And as the days become shorter and autumn ushers in, the forest canopy bursts with vibrant colors as the sweetgum, red maples, and oak trees display their final fashion before shedding their foliage. In winter the starkness of the bare forest, covered in frost is an incredible photo opportunity. The cliffs near Hogpen Gap are covered with ice and a favorite spot for ice climbers to hone their skills.

Plan on this driving adventure the next time you visit us. It promises to impress you, whatever the season. Share your adventures with us by tagging #escapetobr on your social posts. Enjoy!