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!
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds– Mountain Country Christmas in Lights every Thursday, Friday, & Saturday from November 24-December 13rd. Come early on Saturdays for the Craft Show and stay for the lights 4pm-9pm! Open EVERY night from December 15th-23rd! (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). 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 $7 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. As seen on the Great Christmas Light Fight!
Panter House – Gumlog Rd off of Hwy 66 in Young Harris. On the Towns County side of Gumlog.
As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to sore, it’s finally time for our favorite season of all – Sweet Summertime!
It’s a perfect time to come enjoy the Blue Ridge Georgia mountains and get on the water. If you’re looking for some exceptional Lake Blue Ridge cabin rentals, Lake Nottely cabins, or a great Blue Ridge riverside cabin to getaway and enjoy some mountain streams, we’ve got you covered.
Take some time out to relax on the patio with a cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade while you take in the magnificent mountain and lake views of the North Georgia mountains. Once you get hot enough, splash into the lake and cool off or take a boat ride to explore all the coves of Lake Blue Ridge or Lake Nottely. As the sun begins to set, finish off your perfect day roasting s’mores around the fire or catch lighting bugs in a jar. Just because you’re grown up, doesn’t mean like you shouldn’t feel like a kid again while you’re on vacation! Slow down, savor summer, and soak up the Lake Life at one of these nine lakeside cabins!
Get a look at all of our Blue Ridge waterfront cabin rentals and book your time to getaway. Get a taste of what Blue Ridge Lake and other great Blue Ridge waterfront cabins we offer below that you can vacation in when you’re ready for adventure.
When you think about your dream
vacation, does a beautiful mountain setting, proximity to water, and plenty of
space for your family and friends top the list? Then look no further than the
North Georgia cabin rental Dock Holiday. This
magnificent four-bedroom cabin is situated in a wooded lot on Lake Nottely. True
to its name, this retreat comes with a double-decker dock that’s tailor made
for swimming, fishing, and sunning. The nearby marina provides boats and jet
skis for rent, and it’s an easy drive to activities like tubing, golf, hiking,
or exploring vineyards, parks and waterfalls. The possibilities for adventure are endless here, but if you
just want to relax and unwind, you’ll find that too, without leaving the
property. You can soak your cares away in the eight-seat hot tub with a view of
the lake, settle into a rocking chair with a book, a beer or a glass of wine,
or simply enjoy a spectacular sunset from the porch!
Take in the breathtaking beauty of natural surroundings and the serenity of a lodge situated against the National Forrest and directly on Lake Blue Ridge. Eagles Landing is a spectacular showplace that has incomparable views of the surrounding mountains and will capture your attention and your heart before you even step through the front door. The epitome of rustic elegance, there are seven bedrooms to accommodate 19 guests, making it ideal for large families, reunions, couples’ weekends or getaways with all your friends. By day, 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!
Firefly Lake House
Ahh, the lake! If you’re looking
for a waterfront home away from home, Firefly Lake
House offers a refreshing respite right on Lake Nottely during the summer
months. This contemporary,
spacious three-level house provides plenty of room for everyone, easily
accommodating several couples or one or two families. Professionally decorated,
it features upscale furnishings throughout the home and four luxurious bedrooms
awaiting you at the end of each fun-filled day on the lake. Like catching fireflies in a jar,
capture brilliant memories here that you’ll treasure forever!
Lodge On The Lake
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!
True to its name, Lakefront
Getaway has 94 feet of lake frontage and a huge double-decker dock with
chaise lounges, two Jet Ski lifts, and a boat hookup. A nearby marina rents Jet
Skis, pontoon boats, paddleboards and kayaks, but feel free to bring your own. Uniquely
designed and luxuriously furnished, with a wall of windows in the open-plan
great room and the two master suites on either side opening onto an enormous
deck framing the view, this cabin elicits the same reaction from everyone that
visits: “Wow!” Ideal for a small family or a couples’ weekend with
your best friends, this two-bedroom cabin is like having your own private
high-end luxury resort with a beautiful lake steps away!
Meant to Be
Located on Lake Nottely five miles
from the town of Blairsville, this spectacular tri-level showplace offers you
breathtaking mountain and water views, accommodations for 14 guests in its five
bedrooms and loft, and all the amenities of a top-flight resort. Meant to Be has
a game room, but the outdoor living is where it’s at in this spectacular
getaway. Dine alfresco at the marble table that seats eight while you cook your
fresh catch on the gas grill. Need more seating? There is plenty on the
screened-in porch or down at the dock. On the lower level deck, there’s a
six-person hot tub with a great view of the mountains and lake, providing
magnificent scenery as you soak your cares away. Designed for maximum comfort,
each of the five spacious bedrooms has its own bathroom. But the best
thing about this unique mountain retreat is its wonderful setting, welcoming
ambiance, and the feeling of peace and serenity that you’ll remember long after
Pure Pleasure on the Lake
This magnificent North Georgia
cabin rental is located on Lake Nottely and has one of the best lake views the
area has to offer. This pet friendly retreat sits just over the shoreline with
tiered steps down to its private dock with a ladder. Year-long deep water makes
it a great property if you’d like to bring your own boat or rent one from the
nearby marina. Double your pleasure at Pure
Pleasure on the Lake, because when it comes to this home, it seems to have
two (or more) of everything you really want. There are two top-of-the-line
kitchens, one located on the main and the other in the game room. Two
indoor dining tables, adjacent to each of the kitchens and another table out on
the deck provide plenty of spots to share and take pride over the fresh fish
that was caught earlier in the day. When its time to turn in for
the day you can choose from four bedrooms that all have plush king-sized beds.
This home has been thoughtfully designed all for its guests’ pleasure and
you’ll find that it fulfills all of your family’s vacation needs from endless
fun to never-ending tranquility!
Standing tall on the lakeshore, the
three-bedroom Blue Ridge mountain cabin rental Southern
Comfort offers you two vacation destinations in one: a magnificent mountain
retreat and an aquatic playground that boating, fishing and swimming
enthusiasts will love. Located
on Lake Blue Ridge near Morganton boat launch, this lovely lakefront property
comes with its own double-decker dock with a boat slip below and a lounging
area above with umbrella-shaded table, chairs and lounges. If you settle in
there or on the cabin’s double deck, you’ll be treated to a magnificent
year-round view. Sunsets are especially incredible, with the sun shining on the
lake as it dips behind the mountains!
Treehouse on the Lake
If the word ‘treehouse’ conjures up memories of the little childhood playhouse your dad built in the old oak in the backyard, prepare to be astounded when you see Treehouse on the Lake. This magnificent tri-level cabin on Lake Blue Ridge is a bigger, better version of the private oasis you remember, with breathtaking water and mountain views and all the grown-up amenities you crave.
If you want to take in the sights of North Georgia and explore some awesome places along the way, then these 5 scenic drives are for you! You’ll have, literally, a front row seat of the most stunning long range mountain views in the state and you’ll want to make some fun pitstops along the way! Roll the windows down, enjoy the weather, and cruise through the Blue Ridge Mountains. *Featured Photo courtesy of Scott Michael Anna
A scenic journey on Highway 348 should be at the top of your list for a mountain drive. Just about 30 minutes East of Blue Ridge you can access the Richard Russell Scenic Highway via the town of Blairsville. Winding and curving as mountain roads should, you’ll feel the climb in altitude as you make your way down the 23 mile stretch of a National Scenic Byway. Once you’ve climbed to peak altitude, there is a perfect spot at HogPen Gap to stop and take in the glorious mountain views! Snap a picture and hop back in the car for the next overlook as you cross into Helen/White County. You’ll encounter a trailhead of the Appalachian Trail and maybe see some hikers passing through. In the winter time, the rock walls turn to ice and you can catch ice climber’s practicing their sport! As you start descending the mountain you’ll find access trail to Dukes Creek Falls and Raven Cliff Falls. Highway 348 dead-ends into Highway 75 where you can hang a left and go adventure in the quaint town of Helen, Ga!
Highway 129 South will take you right through Chattahoochee National Forest, which takes up a large part of North Georgia, a whopping 749,689 acres! You’ll also climb through the North Georgia Mountains on your way, taking in the sights as you go. But before you start the climb, we highly recommend you stop at Sunrise Grocery to load up on boiled peanuts and provisions to enjoy as you wind through the Blue Ridge mountains. Along the way you will pass the access road for Helton Creek Falls, Lake Winfield Scott, and the stunning Vogel State Park. Eventually, you’ll make your way to the top of Neels Gap and the base of Blood Mountain. Stretch your legs, take some pictures at the beautiful overlook or take a hike to the top of Blood Mountain if you’re up for it. Either way, you’ll be right on the Appalachian Trail so if you’re not up for an intense hike, you can still walk the width of the Appalachian Trail here! After you do, stop into Mountain Crossing, an outdoor sports store, for a keepsake or souvenir. Here you can also learn about thru-hiking, section hiking, and pick up any outdoor equipment or gear you may need!
Take a drive through the countryside of Suches on Highway 60. This drive will take you through the scenic Chattahoochee National Forest, so if wilderness is your passion this drive is the one for you! On your drive, you’ll pass access points to some of our favorite spots like Serenberry Vineyards and the Swinging Bridge over the Toccoa River. As your drive continues, you will get to some of the most stunning and untouched wilderness you’ve ever seen! The Suches area is known as “The Valley Above the Clouds” and you’ll definitely feel like since this ride takes you 3,000 feet above sea level! This ride will loop around until you reach Stonepile Gap, where you can continue to Dahlonega, hang a right to head towards Blairsville or ring around the Stone Pile and head back to Blue Ridge on Highway 60.
Highway 5/S.R. 2
For a true mountain experience, we recommend taking a ride through the Cohutta Wilderness. Beginning right in the heart of Blue Ridge, take Highway 5 (by McDonald’s) and head north passing the famous Mercier Orchards on your left. We recommend stopping for fried pies, apple bread, or apple cider donuts to take on your trip. If you stay straight on Hwy 5, you’ll end up in the twin cities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN where you can stand on the state line and get a little shopping down at the Riverwalk Shops! But to get out in the deep mountains, you are going to hang a left on South Road 2. Fair warning – the road is no longer paved, but you will be surrounded by a hardwood forest on both sides of the road. You’ll travel on until you reach Watson Gap at 2,700 feet in altitude! Hang a right to head towards the Ocoee River or take a left on Forest Service road 64 to Lake Conasauga. Continue your way up climbing to 2,840 feet above sea level to Dyer Gap. As you continue your journey you will pass access points to Jacks River Falls, Three Forks Mountain, Cowpen Trail, and the Mountaintown Creek Overlook at an altitude of a whopping 3,484 feet!
Highway 180 is a truly beautiful drive from Helen to Suches. As you take in the beauty of the Chattahoochee National Forest, you can take a quick turn off onto Spur 180 and begin climbing the mountain up to the base of Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia. The views from the top are stunning and here you can see four states – Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. On a clear day you can even see the Atlanta skyline which is about 90 miles as the crow flies. If you don’t take the spur, Highway 180 continues and takes a little jog on Hwy 129 before you pick it back up again to start climbing Woody Gap. Untouched and pristine, the winding road will take you on the backside of Vogel State Park and up to the top where you’ll find Lake Winfield Scott and the Woody Gap overlook. Here you can also access the Appalachian Trail and one of the most photo worthy spots on Preacher’s Rock.
With so many amazing wineries and vineyards to explore in and around the Blue Ridge area, it’s hard to choose just one. They all provide a relaxing environment, beautiful mountain views, live music and of course great wine! North Georgia is the next upcoming wine region, so while you are on your Escape to Blue Ridge plan to visit one or all of our eight favorite North Georgia wineries!
Bear Claw Vineyards is the perfect place to relax with a group of gal pals or family. With its gorgeous mountain views and calming atmosphere, you won’t want to leave! The wine is also superb because the grapes are grown in such an ideal location. What makes the location so ideal you ask? Being high above sea level greatly helps the grapes, as well as the cool mountain breezes and rich soil. The land was made for growing grapes that would turn into high-quality wine. With so many delicious flavors of wine to choose from it’s hard to pick just one. Luckily, they have a variety of tasting options. Whatever wine you choose, make sure to pair it with their wine truffles; milk chocolate ganache and vanilla cake truffles made with Bear Claw wine!
On the outskirts of Morganton is another winery you must put on your list, Serenberry Vineyards. Their beautiful tasting area was a barn from the 1920’s that they transformed into what you see today. Relax on the back deck of the Tasting Barn and find yourself surrounded by the beauty of the Chattahoochee National Forest. And not only are their wines delicious but they’re special too! Each wine is named after something meaningful to the owners within the county or nearby area. For example, you might want to try the Apple-lachian named after the nearby Appalachian Trail and made with local apples. Stop on by, relax in the wooded area, and sip on some delicious wine.
Just outside of Ellijay lies the beautiful, Cartecay Vineyards. Known for its stunning mountain views and delicious wines, you’ll be sure to want to escape the stress of everyday life and relax here. Cartecay Vineyards was established back in 2007 when they purchased an old farm dating all the way back to 1890. They turned the farm into the vineyard you see today, which is perfect for growing grapes because of its elevation, sun exposure, climate, and soil. All of these aspects come together to make a bottle of near-perfect wine. And not only is Cartecay’s wine delicious but they have a large variety of wine as well, most of which you can taste fruit-forward flavors in. Visit on the weekend and enjoy live music on their patio. Soak in the mountain views surrounding you, have a glass of wine, and enjoy listening to local Georgia artists. Cartecay Vineyards is one you won’t want to miss!
Also located in Ellijay, Engelheim Vineyards focuses on growing outstanding grapes to create award-winning wines. And with 20+ award-winning wines, you can’t go wrong! Try their Cabernet Sauvignon, a smooth wine with flavors of black cherry, currant, and spice; or their Engel Weiss, a full bodied wine with fruit, floral, and nutty undertones. No matter what you choose, we promise you’ll love it! The Engel family who established the vineyard in 2011, tie in their German heritage along with their Appalachian home in the North Georgia Mountains to help create their unique and special wines. If you’re looking for the right dish to pair with the wine look no further; Engelheim has wine pairing classes for their customers and even offers wine-paired dinners. That way your wine and meal can complement one another in the most delicious way possible. Here you can also enjoy art events, music events, and wine festivals throughout the year. And enjoy live music every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. You can even bring your dog along to enjoy a relaxing day at the winery. Voted “2018 Georgia Winery of the Year” by Georgia Trustees Wine Challenge, you’ll be sure to enjoy your time here!
Not your average winery, Bin 322 is actually a wine and tapas bar located in Downtown Blue Ridge. From tapas to charcuterie boards, to crab cakes, to duck; no matter what food you get make sure to pair it with one of their regional wines. At Bin 322, they base your food and drink pairings off of their experience with culinary delights and wine tasting all over North America and Europe, so they know exactly what they’re doing! With its intimate and relaxed atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to share a drink with friends. And enjoy live music from local artists most Friday and Saturday nights either on the patio or in the venue. On Sundays, enjoy brunch to the sounds of jazz and big band music. And pair your brunch with mimosas of course! With so much fun to be had, tasty foods and drinks to enjoy, Bin 322 is a great way to unwind after a long day of shopping downtown or hiking on the trails.
Located in Young Harris, close to Brasstown Bald, is Crane Creek Vineyards. The owner and winemaker, Eric Seifarth, began to love wine while he was stationed in Italy as a young army officer. His goal at Crane Creek is that their wines be enjoyed with food, family, and friends to make for an enjoyable experience. With a huge variety of wines to try from reds, to whites, to roses, to sweet wines you’re sure to find something that makes your taste buds dance. And what better way to enjoy wine than with food!? Every Friday night from May-October you can enjoy homemade seasonal appetizers, as well as live music on the vineyard deck. Like the Italians, Crane Creek calls this Aperitivo, which means “to open”, such as a drink being opened or an open/stimulating appetite. And Friday night Aperitivo’s aren’t all they have to offer! Crane Creek always has some sort of event going on whether it’s a tour of the vineyard, Wine Highway Month, and so much more! You can be sure there will always be something going on. So stop on by one Friday night to experience Aperitivo and feel like you’re being transported to Italy!
Located in Talking Rock, at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, is the beautiful Chateau Meichtry Family Vineyard and Winery. If it sounds French that’s because in a way it is! In 1921, Stephen Meichtry traveled to America from Switzerland. While he was living in New York his love for wine grew and it’s rumored that he even brought his own rootstock from Switzerland. He then grew the vines so that he could make his own wine. It is believed that stock from Meichtry’s vines is now planted at the vineyard, hence the name Chateau Meichtry Family Vineyard and Winery. Whether from Meichtry’s vine or not, one thing is for sure, the rolling hills provide the perfect environment for growing high-quality grapes. From light whites to dark reds, there’s a wine for every palette. Chateau Meichtry Family Vineyard and Winery is a member of the GA Wine Producers, North Georgia Wine Producers, and Ellijay Wine Country; so you can rest assured that their wines are delicious! On weekends enjoy live music while you sip on wine and enjoy the views of the Appalachian Mountains. And with special events happening almost every weekend you’re sure to have a blast soaking it all up with friends and family!
Located in the small town of Blairsville, you’ll love Odom Springs Vineyards. For over a century the Odom Family have owned land in the Young Cane valley, and the vineyard takes up 16 acres of that land. The family has been farming the rolling hills of the Appalachian mountains for years so the owners of the vineyard pay tribute to them by doing the same. The uniquely fertile soil of the Appalachian Mountains helps to create unique wines. They plant the same kind of grapes, French-American hybrids, in different soil conditions to get the different flavors of wines. For a dry-red try the Silver 2016 Award Winner, ‘Earl’s Reserve’, which is a smooth, classic wine honoring Earl Odom, who is the father of the current owners’ Steve and Shari Odom. Or for something sweeter try ‘Sweet Sam’, which blends different types of the French-American grape, grapefruit, and pear for a perfectly sweet wine. It was also a 2016 Silver Award Winner and named after sweet Samantha Blair-Odom. And there’s even more delicious reds and whites to try as well! Enjoy a glass of their award-winning wine from the deck, while you take in the mountain views at this family-owned vineyard.
Waterfalls are one of nature’s most beautiful sights and the surrounding areas around Blue Ridge have plenty to explore. These waterfalls offer views that appeal to all ages and the anticipation leading up to the waterfall can be an enjoyable experience of its own. Nature is calling and it’s waiting for you to explore these falls on your next Escape to Blue Ridge!
Located right on the edge of the North Georgia Mountains, Amicalola Falls State Park is one of the most visited parks in Georgia. The 729-foot falls, south of Ellijay, make it the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The forest and mossy terrain surrounding the waterfall truly complete the picturesque scene.
The ease of access to Amicalola Falls is another factor that contributes to the visit. The top part of the falls can be viewed by a drive through the State Park and looking down. Another popular option is to park your car at the State Park parking lot and access the falls by climbing the lengthy staircase with viewing platforms leading up to the cascading water. The 600 stairs are well worth the effort and offer views of Amicalola Falls throughout its mildly steep course. The waterfall can also be viewed by a 7.5-mile hike starting at Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. All three options offer breathtaking scenery along the way and the Amicalola Falls Lodge is an ideal spot for a refreshing drink or meal to complete your day!
Only 20 minutes from Blue Ridge, Fall Branch Falls is a location where you can spend a half-hour or a half-day! The adventure begins with only a 0.5-mile shaded path that leads visitors to a series of cascading waterfalls reaching 30 feet. The area below the falls is great for a picnic or water break. The mist from the side of the cliff and the water at the base of the falls make for a perfect place to cool down from a hot summer’s day. But watch your step because the rocks can sure be slippery! The observation deck at the falls can be used to snap a picture or to admire nature’s beauty.
This pair of waterfalls can be found near Blairsville and by following a brief 0.3-mile trail. The trail consisting of wildlife and greenery brings visitors to the smaller Lower Helton Creek Falls first. The trail continues ahead to the Upper Helton Creek Falls, where the 50-foot rush of water can be seen. If you make the short journey up to Helton Creek Falls on a sunny afternoon, we promise you won’t regret it!
Long Creek Falls
With towering trees and a 50-foot double-tiered waterfall, Long Creek Falls is easily one of Fannin County’s most treasured sights. The falls are only a short drive from downtown Blue Ridge and can be found at the intersection of the Appalachian and the Benton MacKaye trails. This makes Long Creek Falls a beautiful stop for a variety of travelers and explorers. The hike to admire the waterfall is under a mile and the boulders along the edge of the falls offer visitors a peaceful spot for a water break or a nature-filled conversation!
Sea Creek Falls
Most breathtaking after a summer rain, Sea Creek Falls can be accessed after only a 0.1-mile walk. A trip to see the double cascading falls at Sea Creek Falls, located outside of Blairsville, can be appreciated by skill levels of all ages. The falls displaying 30 feet of mountain water offer sounds, views, and relaxation for any visitor. The water flowing at the base of Sea Creek Falls is available for feet or paws to splash around in while enjoying a break from the Southern heat.
Remarkable in any season, North Georgia is lucky to claim these waterfalls. A breath of fresh air, a cooling mist from the cliffs, and a leisurely mountain walk are all waiting for you at these five waterfalls just a short drive away from Blue Ridge.
embark on your next waterfall adventure, be sure to share your trip with us on
our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @escapetobr. We can’t wait for you to
experience these stunning falls for yourself!
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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!
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!
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!!!
‘Tis the season to celebrate in the mountains! The crisp weather is perfect for shopping downtown, enjoying outdoor activities and then relaxing in the hot tub or by the crackling fire at the cabin! Come stay with us this month and check out the upcoming events below!
The Blairsville-Union County Community Center is transformed into a winter wonderland for the whole month of December. Bring your family and friends and enjoy an amazing display of trees, lights, wreaths, and decorations. This is a perfect place to get your holiday photos! Admission is FREE!
If you love Williamsburg’s Colonial Christmas, but you’d prefer to skip the half-day drive from here, consider a colonial style Christmas at Inola village. Each day from from 12pm-10pm enjoy a Yule Log celebration, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, carriage rides, an illuminated maze, Christmas lights, and ice skating!
Visit the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds for a Winter Walk through thousands and thousands of lights and exhibits! Visit Poinsettia Place, Candy Cane Lane, Santa’s Workshop, Toyland, Frosty’s Trail and many more light exhibits. 🎄There will be live music, arts and craft vendors, food, and most important…SANTA!!! 🎅 $5 for adults, $4 Group sales and children under 12 are FREE!!! Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 6pm – 9pm December 5th through December 28th!
But… but … but … It’s not YOUR town, Mr. Potter! Thank you, Jimmy Stewart for your one-of-a-kind interpretation of this Christmas classic, which will be ringing in your ears as you ring in the season with “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The Blue Ridge Community Theater’s performance of this memorable, and inspirational, timeless holiday story will be sure to delight young and old.
The Blue Coyote is known for their live music and entertainment. While you’re there you can enjoy their tasty bar food and a whole bunch of beer! They even have a dog-friendly patio! Stop by, check it out, and enjoy the music!
December 6 – Slickfoot December 7 – Gregg Erwin December 13 – Apollo Band December 14 – Breaking Point December 20 – Double Barrel December 21 – Topper December 27 – Bottoms Up December 28 – Fiction December 31 – Mind the Stepchildren
Staying focused on the true meaning of Christmas is tough these days, so the First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge makes it easy, with displays like a stable of animals, a Bethlehem bakery, a textile shop, a spice shop, and it’s one of the few places where the Christmas story is spoken to families gathered around a manger.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will hold its annual Christmas Bazaar and Silent Auction from 9am to 3pm. Taking place across from the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club Fairground, this event will feature original art works, matted reproductions, knitted items, handmade birdhouses, note-cards, pottery, and handcrafted Christmas decorations! Baked goods, homemade jams, jellies, pickles, and other sweets and treats will also be available!
This annual event in Copperhill & McCaysville provides a fun and celebratory atmosphere for family and friends! Occurring on the first Saturday in December each year, this parade features a myriad of floats and high school marching bands. Come and support the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club! The parade begins at 2pm and ends at 4pm. This year’s theme is Christmas Around the World. At 6pm will be the lighting of the tree ceremony and music.
A beautiful vineyard and winery set in pastoral farmlands in the heart of the Southern Appalachians. Cartacay’s wine history dates to 2007, but it’s heritage is comprised of Cherokee roots (in fact, Cartecay translates to “bread valley”). The winery features plenty of locally sourced wines, tastings and special events, plus live music on most weekends.
December 7 – Craig Hendricks December 8 – Rose Brown December 14 – Timothy Donovan December 15 – Johnny Summers December 21 – Rick Byers December 22 – Surrender Hill December 26 – Obe & Amber Brown December 27 – Rose Brown December 28 – Gregg Erwin December 29 – Tommy Joe Conner December 30 – Lindsay Beth Harper December 31 – Adrian Stover
Santa Express December 8 – 23 LOCATION: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Take a ride on the Santa Express and enjoy hearing a Christmas story, singing Christmas songs, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Every child will receive a traditional Christmas bell, a candy cane, and a memory they won’t soon forget!
Christmas Tour of Homes is hosted by the Fannin County Family Connection. The tour includes 6 beautifully decorated homes and holiday refreshments. Tickets are available at online at www.fannin.gafcp.org. All proceeds are used to fund Drug & Alcohol outreach programs and the food pantry at Family Connection.
You and your littles will learn to make Christmas Gingerbread Trees. They will measure, mix, and decorate and most of all enjoy the quality time learning with you.
Santa Days December 14th & 21st LOCATION: Mercier Orchards
Christmas is a magical time of year and Mercier Orchards has a day of fun and photo ops ready for you! Children will be able to decorate gingerbread cookies and write letters to Santa. Come out and make memories as a family.
Even Santa likes wine and so does Mrs. Claus! That’s why Santa likes to hang at Chateau Meichtry for the day, fueling up for the run around the world he’ll have to make about 10 days later. It’s a time to enjoy wine, visit with Santa, relax with hot chocolate by the fire in the tasting room, and perhaps even get your photo taken with Santa.
There’s no better way to describe the heart, soul and legacy of Spiritual music than “Haunting quality, uncanny beauty and dignity”. The Georgia Spiritual Ensemble’s power to present this musical genre is remarkable, and this concert is not to be missed!
Few things are deeply romantic as that long, lonely swoon of an authentic old railroad whistle. That’s only a small part of what makes a midnight train ride the perfect way to usher in the New Year. There’s also the beverages (beer and wine), the camaraderie of being among new and old friends who value this unique way of saying hello to a new year, plus the hors d’oeuvres, and the historical narrative along the way. This year’s train ride is appropriately themed “Roar into the 20’s” and riders are encouraged to “dress to impress in your best ‘20s attire”. It’s an unusual, and memorable, way to start the New Year.
Joy to the World All Season Long LOCATION: Across the World
To every household near and far, we hope that regardless of your beliefs, you and yours are filled with the merriment and joy of the season. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Festivus!
NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM
The scene is picture perfect: you’re high on a hillside with a lush green cow pasture below, a magnificent long-range Cohutta mountain vista in the distance, and the Ellijay River flowing a few hundred yards away. At Highland Harmony, this idyllic setting can be the backdrop for the vacation of your dreams. Located in Ellijay nine miles from downtown Blue Ridge, this gorgeous custom tri-level cabin offers you the ultimate in stress-free relaxation, surrounded by nature’s natural beauty!
In real estate location is everything, and you won’t find a better one than this wooded waterfront property on Lake Blue Ridge, with spectacular lake and mountain views, the best dock on the lake, and proximity to downtown and all the vacation activities you crave. Lodge on the Lake is perfectly situated on the very desirable Horse Pointe Road just four miles from Blue Ridge’s shops and restaurants and custom designed, built and decorated and with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the view, Lodge on the Lake truly has the wow factor!
There are a lot of mountain vacation rentals with similar features and amenities, so choosing between one cabin and another often comes down to the atmosphere it projects that sets it apart. With a warm and cozy ambience and a rustic décor, vintage-inspired furniture and homey patchworks and plaids, Southern Star can be summed up by a saying on a family room pillow: ‘Cabin Sweet Cabin.’
Who needs Napa Valley, when you have North Georgia?In fact, North Georgia, and specifically Dahlonega, has been called the Napa of the East. So, what’s the point of hopping on a plane, enduring crazy traffic, and dealing with stifling crowds? Right here in North Georgia you will be better served, remain relaxed, and meander the charming and scenic back roads of Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Dahlonega, Blairsville, and Helen to enjoy a wine experience that’s even better than what the wild west can offer! KEEP READING.
Fall in the mountains is a special time of year. The temperatures begin to drop to more moderate levels, the leaves turn to beautiful colors, and we can finally don our favorite sweaters and boots! There is always so much to do, both inside and outside, when you Escape to Blue Ridge to experience some fall fun! Here are a few ideas to make this time of year extra special while you create memories with your favorite people!
This is the most beautiful time of the year to pack up the
family or gather your friends and hit the road for some beautiful leaf peeping!
Here are our three favorites:
The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a nationally designated Scenic Byway that is 40.64 miles in length and makes a loop through the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Brasstown Bald rises 4,784 feet above sea level and is Georgia’s tallest mountain. Visitors to this place on high find an observation deck which allows a spectacular 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, exhibits, a film, hiking trails, and gift shop.
The Southern Highroads Trail can be traveled in its entirety or in sections. This very scenic route travels through four national forests (Chattahoochee, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Sumter) and four states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia)
Come on Ride That Train
Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains is best seen via railway
through the Chattahoochee National Forest. Board the eleven-car Blue Ridge Scenic Railway train and enjoy a relaxing
26-mile roundtrip journey beginning and ending in downtown Blue Ridge with a
stop in the newly revitalized twin cities of McCaysville, Ga & Copperhill,
Local Tip: Choose one of the three open air cars to have unobstructed views and to breathe in the fresh mountain air!
There is not another season that encourages you to pause and
look around quite like Fall. We think nature is best experienced slowly because
sometimes when you’re hiking it can be easy to focus more on the destination or
watching where you step. However, in the Fall, bright colors implore you to look
away from the ground and towards the colorful trees that make this season so
special. Take your time and look up!
Local Tip: Explore the Aska Adventure area with 17 miles of trails to take in the beauty of the season. You can even incorporate the Long Creek Falls loop!
Pick a Peck
We can’t really think of a much more iconic fall activity
than picking a pick of apples and finding the perfect pumpkin. Right here in
Blue Ridge, Mercier Orchards
offers you the opportunity to do both. Take a hayride around the property,
enjoy a cup of hot apple cider, or warm up from the inside out with some
delicious hard cider!
Local Tip: The best part of apple picking isn’t just about going home with yummy apples, it’s about spending quality time with your loved ones and enjoying the fresh air. Make sure to take lots of pictures, that way the memories will last a lifetime.
Watching the stars, moon, and planets shine in real time can be a powerful reminder of how big our world really is and when you look up into the Blue Ridge sky you’ll see why autumn is the best time for star gazing! So, grab a blanket, a thermos of hot chocolate, and a special someone and cuddle up under the stars for a fascinating and romantic evening. Download a Stargazing app to help decipher exactly what you’re looking at and learn about the stories of the constellations.
What better way to enjoy the fall season than with a warm and toasty fire on the deck or down at the fire pit! This is really a fall MUST. It’s not optional. The air is just so fresh and clean, the crickets and frogs are chirping, and your heart is warmer than the flames with all the chitter chatter while you roast up marshmallows for the perfect s’mores.
Your cabin comes fully stocked with everything you might
need to make delicious meals for your friends and family. Since you came back
with more pecs of apples than you planned on, let’s put the fruits of your
labor to work and make some yummy fall recipes like:
The best part about fall evenings is sitting on the porch
(or in the hot tub) and watching the sun set over the beautiful mountain tops.
Instead of the same ol wine and/or beer that you normally would have, impress
your friends with some autumn inspired beverages. Apple Cider – Adult Style
Mother Nature produces colors that make Crayola Crayons jealous! So, why do we think they have to stay put outside? Pick up for favorite leaves, of all different colors and shapes, and bring them into the cabin to make your stay even more homey feeling. Create a simple centerpiece for the table or place some around the fireplace mantle in a decorative fashion. Regardless of whether or not you have children vacationing with you, you can try your hand at some of these fun fall leaf crafts. You don’t have to be super crafty to make something beautiful. Besides, the fun is in the laughter and memories you make with your loved ones.
Make a “thankfulness” list. With the Thanksgiving holiday just
around the corner, take the time to make a list of all the things you are thankful
for in your life. If you have children, make it a family project and teach
them the value of remembering all the good things that they have been experiencing
during the year.
National Moonshine Day is observed annually on the first Thursday in June. Yes, we are posting this in October, and we don’t expect you to remember this date eight months from now. Truth is, you can turn just about any day into a celebration partaking in some good ole mountain white lightning. But where can you get your hands on it? Stay with us for the answer to that question.
For years, visitors to our area would ask their waitresses at diners, gas station attendants, and the guy who gave them the key to their room at the local travel lodge (in a quiet whisper) where they might get their hands on some of the illegal potables these hills were noted to produce. In the ’50s and ’60s, if one of those tourists was lucky enough to land him a ball jar bottle of the mountain hooch, there’s a great possibility it came from the still of American Appalachian moonshiner Jack “Mimm” McClure.
Everyone knew of Jack in these parts. He was easy to spot when he came to town. With his big 250 lb frame and always in a Stetson hat, he opened doors for the ladies, spoke kindly to children and was noted for his philanthropic generosity of spirit. Still, he made his fortune selling illegal spirits. He had a reputation for influencing the election of many politicians in the local and state seats. He also had his own ideas when justice should be served. The late Georgia Governor and McClure’s fellow Towns County native Zell Miller wrote of Jack, “He was loved, hated, respected, and feared, depending upon the experience one had had with him.”
McClure was dubbed “Grandaddy Mimm” by his grandchildren and that became his moniker amongst the folks in the mountains. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 1969. With his passing, so did an era of illegal bootlegging. But this is just where our story gets more interesting.
One of Jack’s grandkids, Tommy Townsend was a “gitar” player who as a youngin’ fell in love with the music of Waylon Jennings. Now Jennings could easily be to country music what Tommy’s Grandaddy Mimm was to moonshine. They were both outlaws with class, who had a presence that no one could quite forget. Townsend’s parents got him behind stage to meet Jennings many years ago. Waylon took a liking to the boy and brought him into the Jennings family fold. Waylon was Tommy’s mentor but it was Waylon’s son Shooter Jennings who became Tommy’s friend. Since 2008 Townsend and 4 other former members of the Jennings band have been entertaining fans as the Waymore’s Outlaws. In 2014 they began opening for Shooter Jennings and then backing him as his set in concerts all over the country. This year Tommy released his solo debut album “Turn Back the Clock”. Shooter Jennings produced the project.
Who’s Your Grandaddy?
Tommy never forgot his North Georgia roots nor his Grandaddy Mimm. He also held the family secret recipe to Grandaddy’s famous moonshine as well as the schematics to the still his Grandaddy designed many years before. In 2012, Townsend announced his plans to recreate his Grandaddy’s legacy, only this time, it would be within the law.
Today, you can tour the Grandaddy Mimm’s Corn Whiskey Distillery located in Blairsville GA, just a thirty-minute drive from Blue Ridge. Tours are given daily, but on Saturday’s you get to meet and chat with the head distiller and get to see the whole “still” in action. Your imagination of the outlaw days of moonshine starts to unfurl as soon as you drive up to the building that houses the museum and distillery. Inside you’ll find so many eclectic relics from those days as well as an enormous, interesting array of music memorabilia and instruments collected by Townsend over the years.
Taste tasting this hooch is also encouraged. The choices are tough to make. Just four ingredients, corn, sugar, yeast, and water produce all of the moonshines, including the Mule Kickin 140 proof. The 96 proof Peach is their biggest seller. It’s hard to find a naturally flavored high octane whiskey, and it makes for some very interesting mixed drink recipes. There are also Apple, Cherry and Blueberry options, all using natural extracts. Plan on taking a jar or three home for great souvenir memories. The gift shop also has an abundant selection of shirts, hats and other mementos to bring back home.
When you mosey up to the bar, take note of its fine detail and its rich wood design. If you are a cult fan of the movie “Coyote Ugly”, this is the very bar that LeeAnn Rhimes ascends to join leading ladies Piper Perabo, Maria Bello, and Bridget Moynahan to dance while she sings “Can’t Fight the Moonlight”.
Plan Your Trip
The Distillery is located on your way to many of this region’s most visited autumn viewing spots and waterfalls, including Brasstown Bald, Vogel State Park, Richard Russell National Scenic Byway, and the Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center. The distillery is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm.
Grandaddy Mimm’s legacy lives on through the distillery and his grandson’s music. When you view Townsend’s recently released music video for his song “Drinkin”, look closely at the ball jars on the bar. You might just recognize some of that high octane corn “licker” that made Jack McClure a North Georgia legend.