TOP 20 THINGS TO DO IN BLUE RIDGE FOR 2020



As we ring in not just a New Year, but a new Decade, 365 opportunities await you to get out and explore the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Here are a few of our favorite ideas to enjoy your 2020 Escape to Blue Ridge!

1. EAT BLACK-EYED PEAS & COLLARD GREENS

After all, it’s a southern tradition. Eat these as your first meal for the New Year and you will increase your luck and prosperity for the year ahead. The Village Restaurant will be open and ready to serve you the very best in Southern Cuisine

2. WALK THE LINE

Take a walk on the state line between the twin cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, Tn! This newly revitalized town features great shopping, delicious restaurants, and plenty of photographic opportunities.

3. HIT THE LINKS

Old Toccoa Farm is the seven-course meal of golf courses in North Georgia. It took a few years to fill out the full complement of 18 holes, but the first nine, which has been open since 2015, was enough to garner stupendous compliments and comparisons to the likes of Augusta National. Now with the back nine open, and the layout reconfigured, Old Toccoa is by far the best of the best in this neck of the North Georgia woods!

4. ENJOY LIFE ON THE LAKE

Beautiful Lake Blue Ridge offers 3,290-acres of crystal-clear water to explore. Bring your own water craft, rent a pontoon boat, or take a guided tour with Capt’n Joe. Whether you are kayaking, tubing, fishing, or just floating along, there is no prettier place in the world than where the mountains meet the water.

5. SADDLE UP & RIDE

There is nothing more enjoyable than unplugging form the digital world, saddling up on horseback, and heading out into the countryside. In Blue Ridge, forty percent of the county’s land is located within the Chattahoochee National Forest and has countless miles of trails to explore and enjoy.

6. TAKE IN A FESTIVAL OR 5

There is always something happening in these here mountains. Festival season begins in February and ends in October, plus holiday activities are abundant in November and December. You will be blown away with the ice sculpting that takes place at the annual Fire and Ice Chili Cookoff. Blue Ridge festivals are family friendly, pet friendly, and extraordinarily fun!

7. FLY FISH IN THE TROUT CAPITAL OF GEORGIA

Brown trout, rainbow trout, and native trout are abundant in our freshwater mountain streams. Stop by and see Andy Bowen at the Cohutta Fishing Company for some flies and a pole. Then head out to the headwaters of the Toccoa River, Noontootla Creek, or Rock Creek for premier trout fishing.

8. WALK IN THE WOODS

There are few better places to hike than on the hundreds and hundreds of miles of trails that crisscross the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia. Not only is this an area that speaks to the hiker in familiar terms – Appalachian Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, Amicalola Falls – but it’s the wide variety of experiences, from the casual to the challenging, that make these hikes some of the most popular in America.

9. GET IN THE “SPIRIT”

You can’t visit the mountains without trying the refreshing flavors of Hard Cider at Mercier Orchards. While you are there, pick up a peck of apples and some of their fruit infused wines as well. If you are more of a purist, both Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards have classic Chardonnays, Sauvignons, and more. If Craft beer is more your style, don’t fret, there are many options to choose from like Grumpy Old Men Brewing and Fannin Brewing Company.

10. HUNT FOR BIG FOOT

Plan to visit EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum. You may be giggling on the way in the door, but you will leave with a new appreciation for your next walk in the woods. You’ll discover why Big Footers from around the globe make the pilgrimage to Blue Ridge just to explore this museum and its many relics.

11. SWING INTO THE NEW YEAR

Pack up a picnic and hit either the Benton MacKaye Trail or the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail to the Swinging Bridge. This 270-foot-long suspension bridge is the longest swinging bride east of the Mississippi River! If you do decide to jump in the middle, make sure you are faster than your travel buddies or you might get thrown off!

12. CHASE WATERFALLS

A short, family friendly hike makes Fall Branch Falls a must do activity for the young and young at heart. Explore both the upper and lower area of the falls and take time to relax on the rocks and enjoy the views. Don’t forget to bring your best friend. Dogs will enjoy the trail as much as their humans.

13. CHOO CHOO

The iconic Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a must do when in town. Enjoy the scenery every season of the year as the train departs from Downtown Blue Ridge and travels the countryside to the revitalized towns of Copperhill, TN and McCaysville, GA

14. DRIVE IN

If you haven’t been to a drive-in movie since you were a kid, we encourage you to make plans to go to the Swan Drive In Theater and take in a show or a double feature! A throwback to yesteryears, there is just something so fun about watching a movie outdoors.

15. FAIRY CROSS & TRAIL TREES

Legend has it that as the Native Americans embarked on the Trail of Tears, they shed tears of sorrow that fell to the ground and formed tiny crosses of stone known as Fairy Crosses. Commonly known as staurolite crystals, these minerals are abundant in Fannin County.

16. HIT THE RAPIDS

The Southeastern United States is known for having some of the best whitewater around. Here in Blue Ridge we are within 1 hour of 3 action packed, exciting rivers and 2 hours away from one of the most challenging rivers in the state!

17. RELAX

If you are looking for a new hair style, a total manicure and pedicure, body scrub, massage, or a special facial treatment/peel, you will find an amazing staff of creative and accomplished cosmeticians, estheticians and stylists, the caliber you would only expect to find in a metropolitan area, at Serenity in the Mountains.

18. TAKE IN A SHOW

Immerse yourself in the culture of the area at Blue Ridge Community Theater. This cozy community theater offers quality productions, live music, and a robust children’s program. The 2020 line-up includes the first ever Blue Ridge Film Festival, surprisingly saucy comedies, musicals, and even a sweet summer farce!

19. SCENIC DRIVES

Mother Nature’s landscape specialist (shall we call her Flora?) takes a particular interest in altering our mountainscape on a quarterly basis, cloaking it in very different hues, depths of foliage, and fragrances. Drive the 41 miles of Georgia’s only national scenic drive, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway as it circles around the Chattahoochee National Forest.

20. BOOK AN ESCAPE TO BLUE RIDGE

Eagles Landing

There is just something about these mountains that is so good for the soul. Whether you want to come for a romantic getaway, to reconnect with friends and family, or to enjoy the abundant outdoor adventures, we have the perfect cabin for you!

We wish each of you and yours a prosperous year ahead filled with lots of love, exciting adventures, and many opportunities to make heartfelt memories. Happy New Year!

Escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains



Guest Blog by Forever Freckled.

If you haven’t already experienced the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia, you should! Our families have been visiting this area for the last 6 years. Each time we return, it becomes even more special. There is something so incredibly quaint and peaceful about the small town of Blue Ridge.

Growing up in South Florida, we do not get to experience the amazing change in seasons. If you know us sisters, we are always talking about “sweater weather” and how badly we want to see the leaves change colors.

Well, we’ve teamed up again with Escape To Blue Ridge who always help us experience incredible family trips in the Blue Ridge Mountains! As we gear up for our next trip, we are excited to share information about Escape to Blue Ridge, the company we rent the cabins from, as well as some of the best activities and spots to hit up on your journey. If you love a vacation with a small town feel and views to die for, this trip is one for you.

We also want to lend you some pointers for traveling with a ton of kids! You may deal with plenty of tantrums, tears, accidents, and fights along with the fun. But if you’re well prepared, you’ll make it out in one piece.

Escape to Blue Ridge

For the past 6 years, we have reserved our mountain family cabin with Escape to Blue Ridge. The most amazing part about this company is that they have hundreds of homes you can reserve, making it easy to choose the cabin that best suits the needs and preferences of your family.

The trip we took a couple of years ago was AMAZING! We want to share those adventures with you again, so let’s get started!

The Cabin

We love a cabin with mountain views and a great outdoor space that’s big enough for our three families. We could not believe our eyes when we arrived on this trip. The kids were in heaven, and the views were spectacular!

There are no words to describe this place.

The name of our cabin was Falling Waters Lodge, named after the two small waterfalls running down the front yard. Let me tell you, the house was spotless, at least in the moment we all arrived. The details and decor that went into creating this home were unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The cabin had a large open kitchen with top-of-line appliances and large windows to look out over the Blue Ridge Mountains while you cook.

There was also a hot tub on the downstairs patio to enjoy the few cold mountain nights. The bottom floor had a media room for movie nights with the kids and a play room with ping pong, billiards, and air hockey. There was a large open fire pit in the front next to the waterfalls where we made s’mores every night.

And even with all that, the most incredible part of this home was being able to wake up at 7am (before the kids) to enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the sunrise and seeing the most amazing fog spread across the mountain tops.

That view was worth the entire trip for us!

Things to Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains

On this particular trip, we spent 6 event filled days in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Here are some of our favorite activities from the trip and our top must do activities when visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Atlanta Aquarium

This aquarium is amazing, and the kids will love it. Take some extra time after flying into Atlanta before heading to Blue Ridge, or before you head home, check out this great aquarium.

Mercier Orchards

For us, this stop is one of the most memorable stops in Blue Ridge. There is something so special about visiting an orchard. We took a hay ride with the kiddos up to the orchard fields where they let you roam around picking and eating apples. The kids had a blast, and Mason even lost a tooth biting into an apple!

After picking apples, we walked around their enormous shop trying homemade foods and buying tons of their famous maple syrup and homemade fried apple pies. The fried apple pies disappeared before we even made it back to the car!

Burt’s Farm

What is fall without a pumpkin patch? This day was so much fun! Besides a few major temper tantrums, we managed to have a really great time. The ride around this property on the tractor was so much fun, and the kids had a blast. We got to see how the pumpkins grow and some of the biggest pumpkins we have ever seen! And of course, they had fun Halloween decorations to give us some good decorating ideas for home!

Hiking

The parents decided that one afternoon the guys would get some alone time, and the ladies would get to do the same the next day. Our husbands went fly fishing in the Toccoa River (please see the hilarious, yet handsome, photo below), and we went hiking.

We made videos on toddler bathroom accidents and literally almost peed our pants laughing so hard!

Everyone was in full hiking gear, but we were probably the least prepared on our trail! We hiked at Springer Mountain, which is the very beginning of the Appalachian trail that leads north all the way up to Maine. There are so many great hikes and waterfalls around the Blue Ridge Mountains, even ones that are less challenging and more kid friendly.

Lily Pad Village

This spot has the cutest little fishing pond and gem mining spot that you ever did see! The kids loved spending the morning here. They sorted through their rock buckets full of soil, mining for gems and keeping some of the cool rocks and gems they found. We spent some time fishing by the pond using live bait. They also have a mini-golf course built into the side of the mountain!

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

This trip was very cool for the kids and great for the parents, especially if you go during the fall when the leaves are changing. The scenery on the ride is beautiful. The hour-long train ride on Blue Ridge’s old train cars takes you to a quaint town in Tennessee where you can shop the general stores and enjoy some southern food.

Our kids enjoyed riding the train and sitting in the open cart! Also, close to the train station in Blue Ridge is an amazing public park for the kids. We spent a lot of time there, until one of the kids had an accident in his pants, and we had to leave!

Three Sisters Fudge & Das Kauffee Haus

All day, every day! We ate so much fudge and drank so much coffee, and I am not upset about it! These are just two of the many perfect little shops you can stop at for fudge and coffee in downtown Blue Ridge.

We are obsessed with walking around main street going in and out of all their great shops.

BBQ and S’mores

Do not miss out on BBQ and s’mores – you don’t even have to leave your cabin! Yes, going out to dinner is fun but not always with 6 kids in tow. So we cooked at the cabin most of the time, and it made things a lot easier. We ate dinner outside and built a fire for the kids to make s’mores.

Some of our best memories from this trip were made staying home at the cabin!

Once the kids were in bed by 8:30pm, the parents enjoyed alone time and even some of our own s’mores, too!

Black Sheep Restaurant

Hands down, Black Sheep is the restaurant you want to visit in Blue Ridge. We were lucky enough to have one parent’s night out during the trip and decided to head to the main street of Blue Ridge and try this raved about dinner spot. This place is an historical home converted into one of the coolest restaurants we have ever seen. In the past when we visited Blue Ridge, we heard about this place but we didn’t feel like it would be family friendly.

But on this trip, new owners had completely revamped the restaurant in the best way possible. The ambiance and atmosphere are comfortable and casual, but it still has that fine dining feel we were craving.

We were lucky to be seated outside on the patio where the guys could watch their football during the meal. They even have an old-school movie night on the front lawn, which is such a great touch for bringing families and children to the restaurant!

Our meal was amazing, and the food was top notch. Seriously, everything was delicious, but we must say the crab cakes and the lamb bolognese were our favorites. For dessert, we had the most amazing pumpkin cheesecake ever…a slice of heaven.

Tips on Traveling with Kids

Oh man…before you do anything else, read this article Katie wrote on traveling with kids.

Now, for the tips. Our first tip is simple – just don’t take the kids with you!

Just kidding!

We were all nervous before we left, but I have to say, the kids were great. We had a few tantrums and one nasty cold that spread around fast, but we did well. The one thing that helped us immensely was preparation!

For the airport, make sure you stock snacks, iPads, movies, games, and whatever you can stuff in your bag. Entertainment and distraction are key! We had some really fun travel games that the kids LOVED playing.

The looks we got boarding a plane with 6 kids were laughable. But never say you’re sorry as a mom. We realized we were apologizing for having kids on the plane…that’s ridiculous, right? This is life. Kids fly, and we will do our very best to keep them happy, but sometimes, kids will be kids. Luckily, ours all behaved pretty well, and we didn’t get too many dirty looks.

A great tip to keep your kid busy and interested is to let them oversee their own suitcase. Each kid had their own personalized suitcase that they were responsible for. It was so cute how much they loved having matching luggage with their cousins, and they were proud to show off their bags!

We also brought nap mats which the kids used for movie nights in the media room. Sleeping bags would be fun, too!

Final Thoughts on Traveling to the Blue Ridge Mountains

All we can say is that Blue Ridge is a magical escape that takes you to a different world. It’s a great place for families or for couples.

Blue Ridge has it all!

We are so happy we discovered this amazing vacation spot, so we can create more memories over the years. All the cabins from Escape to Blue Ridge are incredible. We have stayed in a few cabins now, but if you need a 4+ bedroom home, and it is available, we highly recommend you book the cabin Falling Waters Lodge. It has that special, warm feeling of home you long for on family vacations. We most certainly will go back!

Thanks Escape to Blue Ridge for having us and letting us experience this amazing trip with our families!

Love,

Carrie, Katie, and Alison

*This trip was sponsored but all opinions are our own! We mean it!

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.

Fall is Prime Time to go to Blue Ridge



Guest Blog by Blake Guthrie as written for the AJC (Atlanta Journal & Constitution).

The Cabin

Photo Courtesy of Blake Guthrie

Cloud Nine. It’s the type of name one would expect for a mountain vacation rental home. It’s one of those places that if you try and follow GPS directions you’ll get lost. The rental agency sent a confirmation that stressed the importance of following the turn-by-turn directions provided in the email, including detail you wouldn’t get from a GPS such as “go right when you see a bunch of mailboxes.”

The Approach

Photo Courtesy of Blake Guthrie

What it didn’t mention was the very steep and winding one-lane road. After putting my Honda into its lowest gear for the first time ever and having to navigate past an approaching vehicle, I came to the crest of Sunrock Mountain four miles west of Blue Ridge. I saw that Cloud Nine was the type of place I might want to hole-up for a while, but, having never been to Blue Ridge or nearby Ellijay before, I came to do some exploring, to find the most beautiful scenery and the best outdoor spots to experience the autumnal ambiance.

The Train

Photo courtesy of @chusion

It turned out the back porch of the cabin was one of those places. In the morning I could see how the cabin got its name. It was literally in the clouds, the surrounding mountain peaks sticking up through a thick white blanket covering the valleys below. Still, I had to venture out. First on my itinerary was the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. The major attraction in town, the railway has been in operation as a sightseeing excursion train since 1998 along tracks that have a history going back as far as 1886. The tracks follow the route of the winding Toccoa River through the Chattahoochee National Forest to the twin towns of McCaysville and Copperhill, Tennessee. They’re essentially the same town with the state line running through the middle. Like a running joke, the line is demarcated by a blue stripe painted on sidewalks, roadways and running through the middle of businesses.

The train rolls at a leisurely pace and the open-air windows are large, making it a prime fall sightseeing adventure with a good dose of history thrown in. Along the way, you’ll see a Native American fish trap in the middle of the river that experts believe is 500 years old, and the old telegraph poles that used to be the fastest form of communication in a bygone era. The trip takes four hours, with two spent in McCaysville/Copperhill for exploring the towns.

McCaysville

If hunger strikes, Burra Burra on the River in McCaysville is near the train station and serves pub fare and local brews. Be sure to ask for outside seating, weather permitting. The real selling point here is the covered deck that overlooks the clear waters of the Toccoa River flowing past the state line where it becomes the Ocoee River after crossing into Tennessee.

Piano Bar

Photo Courtesy of The Black Sheep

Back in Blue Ridge, the largest patio bar in town can be found at Black Sheep Restaurant, where the seasonal menu leans heavily on seafood. Housed in a historic home shaded by a 200-year-old oak tree, the patio overlooks the center of town. It’s a popular place, so make reservations for dinner. Or just have a drink at the bar.

Breweries

The craft beer scene is surprisingly good in Blue Ridge for such a small town that was dry not too long ago. Two breweries — Fannin Brewing Company and Grumpy Old Men Brewing — both have large, inviting outdoor beer gardens where you can play cornhole, meet the locals and catch some live music. Wine drinkers have no shortage of options either, as wineries have been opening at a fast clip in this area over the last few years.

Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

Near Ellijay, Chateau Meichtry (pronounced “my-tree”) stands out not only for its wine but also its patio outside the barn tasting room where the rolling vineyards reveal a long-range view of the mountains to the north.At Bear Claw Vineyards visitors can spend the night in the Blue Ridge Treehouse, featured on the DIY Network show “The Treehouse Guys.” The treehouse overlooks the vineyards and contains all the amenities one would expect when staying in a hotel.

Apple Country

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

No trip to the North Georgia mountains during the fall harvest season would be complete without taking advantage of apple country. The pull of a roadside farm store backed by endless acres of fruit orchards is undeniable. Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge and R&A Orchards outside Ellijay both have roadside markets selling freshly picked apples and other fruits, fresh-baked goods, local foodstuffs and offer pick-your-own days as well as plenty of free samples.

Welcome to the Mountains!

Photo Courtesy of Blake Guthrie

Lake Blue Ridge is the centerpiece of a scenic drive worth exploring. Stop at the Blue Ridge Welcome Center to pick up a detailed map. Ringed by mountains, the lake has clear, emerald-hued water and a pristine, forested shoreline. The route also runs alongside the tumbling rapids of the Toccoa River, rolling farmland, historic houses, and has many side hikes to cascading waterfalls and other pastoral pleasures. Bring comfortable hiking shoes and make an afternoon of it if you plan to visit all the stops listed on the map. On my last morning at Cloud Nine, I got up early enough to see the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains and stayed on the porch until checkout. Sometimes where you are is the best place to be.

If You Go

Blue Ridge is 92 miles north of Atlanta.

What to see

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. $35 and up. 241 Depot St., Blue Ridge. 877-413-8724, brscenic.com

R&A Orchards. 5505 Hwy. 52 East, Ellijay. 706-273-3821, www.randaorchards.com

Where to stay

Escape to Blue Ridge. Cabins $140-$1,800 per night. 866-618-2521, www.escapetoblueridge.com.

Blue Ridge Treehouse. $234 and up. 2555 Tennis Court Road, Blue Ridge. 706-223-3750, blueridgetreehouse.com.

Where to Eat

Burra Burra on the River. $11 and up. 100 Blue Ridge Drive, McCaysville. 706-400-6660, www.burraburraontheriver.com.

Black Sheep Restaurant. $20 and up. 480 W. Main St., Blue Ridge 706-946-3663, www.blacksheepblueridge.com.

Visitor Info

Blue Ridge Welcome Center. 152 Orvin Lance Drive. 800-899-6867, www.blueridgemountains.com.

Ellijay Welcome Center. 10 Broad St. 706-635-7400, www.gilmerchamber.com.

Hot Events, Cool Mountains



The days are heating up and so are the events in the North Georgia Mountains! Splash into Lake Blue Ridge on a hot July day and as the sun sets over the mountains and the temperature starts to cool off for the evening, enjoy some family time around the fire pit. There are so many fun and festive events happening in and around our little mountain community this month. Take a look and plan your Escape to Blue Ridge to experience all the mountains have to offer!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Italian Wine & Food Tour: A Culinary Experience
July 2
LOCATION: Cucina Rustica

Photo Courtesy of Cucina Rustica

Enjoy a 5-course meal of authentic Italian dishes paired by the Chefs of Cucina Rustica with regional Italian wines! Reservations are required and space is limited.

Blue Ridge Freedom 5K and 10K
July 4
LOCATION: Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Freedom 5K and 10K

If you want to start the morning off healthy, you could run in the Blue Ridge Freedom 5k or 10k, featuring a scenic route through beautiful and historic Blue Ridge!Show your American Pride by coming dressed in your finest red, white and blue running gear. Even more fun after the race with music, watermelon, sweet tea, and lemonade.

Old Timers 4th of July Parade
July 4
LOCATION: Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Fetch Your News

Don’t miss the Old Timers 4th of July Parade! Anyplace downtown is a good viewing spot to enjoy the colorful floats, antique vehicles, and marchers dressed in patriotic attire!

Independence Day Fireworks
July 4
LOCATION: Meeks Park, Blairsville

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!

Music & Trivia
July 4 – 27
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!

July 4 – Trivia with Lauren
July 6 – Jeb Rogers
July 13 – Justin Bridges
July 20 – Gopher Broke
July 27 – Jeb Rogers

McCaysville Fireworks
July 5
LOCATION: Downtown McCaysville and Copperhill

The skies over the twin cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, TN will be lit up on Friday night. Anywhere downtown is a great viewing area! Don’t want to drive? You can board the Firecracker Express in Downtown Blue Ridge and arrive by train. There will be a street festival, vendors with food etc. Live music. First Baptist Church of McCaysville has a fair that is open to the public, festivities start around 6 pm.

Boat Dock Bar & Grill
July 5 – 28
LOCATION: Lake Blue Ridge Marina

Photo Courtesy of Lake Blue Ridge Marina

You can’t get a better venue or greater acoustics than right on the lake. With delicious food and jamming tunes, you’ll love the atmosphere and entertainment at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina!

July 5 – Travis Bowlin
July 7 – Shannon York
July 12 – Danny Rhea
July 13 – Johnathan Batten
July 14 – Lindsay Beth Harper
July 19 – Buck & Oz
July 20 – Trevor Patillo
July 21 – Gopher Broke Band
July 26 – Danny Rhea
July 27 – Buck & Oz
July 28 — Shannon York

Meet & Greet and Special Presentation
July 5 – 6
LOCATION: Expedition Bigfoot!

Photo Courtesy of Idaho State University

The Indiana Jones of Sasquatch, Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, is coming to Blue Ridge to talk about that mysterious of all near-humans – Bigfoot, or Skunk Ape, or Yeti, or Sasquatch. Dr. Meldrum will discuss his experiences and near-misses he’s had over the 30 years he has tracked Bigfoot.

Live Music at The Blue Coyote
July 5 – 26
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!

July 5 – Southern Vantage
July 6 – The Bone Daddys
July 12 – Natti Lovejoys
July 13 – Topper/Voices of Rock
July 19 – Mind the Stepchildren
July 26 – Donny Hammonds Band

Cartecay Vineyards Live Music
July 5 – 28
LOCATION: Cartecay Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Cartecay Vineyards

Looking for a serene setting on the hillsides near Ellijay with twisty grapevines, a fireplace with outdoor seating (including a statuesque still-standing chimney, which is the winery’s icon), and live music on weekends? Come out to Cartecay Vineyards!

July 5 – Adrian Stover
July 6 – Gregg Erwin
July 7 – Craig Hendricks
July 13 – Timothy O’Donovan
July 14 – Rick Byers
July – 20 – Tommy Joe Conner
July 21 – Johnny Summers
July 27 – April Rooks
July 28 – Surrender Hill

Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks
July 6
LOCATION: Lake Blue Ridge Dam

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Foster Bidez

Fireworks are set off on the Lake Blue Ridge Dam and are viewable by boat, at various viewing locations along the shoreline, and from a large area adjacent to the Lake Blue Ridge Marina.

Namaste and Cabernet
July 6
LOCATION: Bear Claw Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Yoga Over Blue Ridge

The perfect combination – yoga, followed by wine tasting at a vineyard with a view. Ashlee Lofton leads the yoga class, beginning at 10:45am and then there’s a moment of reflection before moving on to Bear Claw’s Grizzly Tasting. OMMM & AHHH. Nothing better!

Earth & Cosmic Creations
July 9 – 12
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Working with clay, painting and a wide range of exciting art classes make up this creative summer camp for kids. This camp is for emerging artists – which is what kids are, after all. And the focus is on allowing them to explore their own exceptional creative side.

A Funny Little Thing Called Love
July 11 – 28
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

When you read a play summary that includes locations like a rooftop London bistro and a 12th floor window ledge, and descriptions of main characters like a car-selling Romeo from Dallas and ancient waitress who wields a wicked sousaphone, you know this is going to be a wild and wacky romp of a performance and you’d better be prepared to laugh. At the heart of all the craziness is love – and that alone should make it all worthwhile.

Appalachian Cooking Redux
July 12
LOCATION: The Folk Apothic

Photo Courtesy of The Folk Apothic

The great thing about a cooking class is you usually get to eat what you cook and this cooking class, which celebrates Appalachian roots is no different. Stories and local wisdom are shared in this hands-on workshop featuring Real Appalachian food brought to you by real Appalachian Grandmas!

Tap Into Your Forest
July 13
LOCATION: Brasstown Bald

Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Bald

Not quite a seminar and not quite a field trip, but the best of both. This program at Georgia’s tallest point is intended to help you understand the importance of a forest watershed. Water conservation techniques and this region’s ecologically turbulent history over the past 100 years are discussed – and you get a bird’s eye view of creeks, rivers and streams and an explanation of how they have evolved to form the Hiawassee Watershed. Extra special bonus – a glass of refreshing mountain lemonade at the end!

2019 Kids Farm to Fork Camp
July 15 – 19
LOCATION: The Cook’s Farm

Photo Courtesy of The Cook’s Farm

Where does food come from exactly? The grocery store, of course. Nope! Kids learn the value of agriculture production and how to take care of food products and animals during this highly popular summer camp. Tours and hands-on opportunities at three off-farm locations add variety to the experience.

Georgia Mountain Fair
July 19 – 29
LOCATION: 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, Ricky Skaggs, and more!

Harvey
July 26 – 28
LOCATION: Gilmer Arts Playhouse

There’s something about having a 6-foot rabbit at your side as a constant companion that tends to make a person feel safe and secure. That’s the way it is for Elwood P. Dowd, who is content in the knowledge that Harvey, the 6-foot rabbit, is always there for him. He’s also there for others, it’s just that they can’t see him. First made famous by Jimmy Stewart, this is a heartwarming story that’s fun for kids of all ages.

National Juried Photography Show
July 27 – August 25
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Open to all photographers, amateur and professional and all original photographic media, including film and digital images. This event showcases some of the best photographers in the nation, capturing the uniqueness of this region, and competing for cash prizes.

NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM

Dock Holiday

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 cabin is situated in a wooded lot on Lake Nottely, and true to its name, comes with a double-decker dock that’s tailor made for swimming, fishing, and sunning.

North Georgia Overlook

Perched on a hillside surrounded by tall trees with a breathtaking long-range vista of mountains and farmland as far as the eye can see, North Georgia Overlook makes a fantastic first impression. But take a closer look at this Blue Ridge cabin rental and you’ll find even more to love. This magnificent tri-level home has wraparound decks, lofty vaulted ceilings and huge picture windows to maximize the stunning view from sunrise to sunset, whether you’re indoors or out. Its beautifully decorated and furnished interior is the epitome of rustic charm and comfort!

Wolf’s Den

When it comes to North Georgia Cabin rentals, you can’t find a better location than Wolf’s Den. Nestled in the woods with a breathtaking view of the mountains, this beautiful jewel box of a cabin takes you worlds away from “real life,” but it’s just five minutes from the shops and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge and not much more to the area’s wonderful wineries, orchards and Lake Blue Ridge. Driving to the cabin is quick and easy, and when you arrive you’ll instantly feel calm, peaceful and relaxed in this cozy home away from home!

Cloud Nine

At the Blue Ridge Mountain cabin rental Cloud Nine, great things come in twos: two beautiful, spacious family rooms, two comfortable master suites, and two levels of indoor and outdoor living space to accommodate a large family or group of friends. Newly constructed, elegantly furnished, and decorated in an eye-pleasing blend of contemporary and country style, this beautiful hilltop home is perfectly situated to maximize its most valuable asset: a spectacular, breathtaking, awe-inspiring view that stretches far into North Carolina and Tennessee!

Our Blue Heaven

What do you want most in a Blue Ridge cabin rental? If your wish list includes a beautiful wooded location that’s private but close to everything, plenty of space for your family or friends to gather and relax, and all the amenities you’d expect plus the comforts of an exclusive resort, look no further than Our Blue Heaven. Named for the old song of the same name, the cabin is ideally located on a magnificent wooded property just five miles from downtown Blue Ridge, surrounded by the wonders of nature and close to hiking trails, trout fishing, water sports and other activities. Inside, it’s built for comfort, with inviting, spacious rooms, all of them cozy and handsomely appointed with high-end furnishings in rustic mountain style.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The 9 Best Lakeside Cabin Rentals

As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to sore, it’s finally time for our favorite season of all – Sweet Summertime! Those sunshine filled days and star filled evenings are finally here and at Escape to Blue Ridge we want to help you create memories that are as happy and warm as the rays of sunshine piercing through the trees. 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! Keep Reading.

Blue Ridge Unplugged



In today’s world, we spend more time staring at screens than with each other. It’s important to take a break every now and then and reconnect with the ones you love most, especially the youngest members of your family. One of the benefits of getting away for vacation on an Escape To Blue Ridge you can take the time to enjoy each other’s company, tell stories, and laugh a lot. 

Whether you are playing board games, going on a hiking adventure, or roasting marshmallows by the fire pit, when you make an effort to unplug and spend quality time together, you will make memories to last a lifetime!

Get Adventurous

Long Creek Falls

Getting kids outdoors and into nature is one of the best things you can do for them. Not only is it good for their health, and yours, but it will also help build their confidence. What better feeling is there than to look back at how far you’ve come and be proud of that journey? Whether your taking the stairs at Amicalola State Park, bouncing along the swinging bridge, or taking a hike down to Long Creek Falls, your kids will feel so proud when they get to your destination. The best part? Since cell service rarely works out in the woods, you get to talk and observe nature along your route!

Learn Something Together

Children’s brains are like little sponges. They absorb absolutely everything they can from everywhere they can. One way to help encourage knowledge through learning is taking in a museum or two. Who knows, you might even learn something! For a light hearted and fun afternoon, you and your mini-me’s can try to determine whether the legendary Big Foot is indeed fiction or non-fiction at EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Tourism

For a more classic approach, there is plenty to see and do at the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association. Their gallery features a plethora of art pieces in various mediums. Each month a new Artist in Residence is featured, and their art exhibits are switched out every four to six weeks so there is always something new to see. The Arts Center also offers classes for both adults and children alike to encourage your creativity and hone your artistic skills. Like scavenger hunts? The Art Center has been instrumental in creating the one and only Trout Art Trail! Take a stroll around town and find each of the colorful trout placed throughout town. After  you’ve found them all, head to the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center for a prize!

Rainy Day Fun

2nd Story Entertainment

Oh, we know, sometimes rainy days are the most challenging days to be locked up with your kids with nothing to do. Fortunately, there is a great solution right in Downtown Blue Ridge – 2nd Story Entertainment. This kid friendly and fun business is located upstairs, on the second floor, from Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill. Inside you find a full eighteen holes of challenging putt putt obstacles and fun games to play in between golf rounds. The course is spread out through nine different rooms with each featuring its own theme like a red-carpet room with movie stars, a western room, and a throw back to classic games room.

Channel Your Inner Child

Photo Courtesy of Weird Oh!

The communities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN have recently seen a great revitalization which means there are some great new shops to explore and restaurant to try. We highly recommend you channeling your inner child and checking out a fun little shop called “Weird Oh!”. So, what exactly is Weird Oh!? Well, it’s a magical emporium of fun! Better known as an unusual place for unusual people, inside you will find peculiar treasures and trinkets. It’s a place where kids can be kids and adults can be kids too! Everything can be touched, moved, and you can even write on the walls and not get in trouble! The only rule that you will encounter is that laughter is a must! No matter what. Laugh, have fun, pick up a toy, purchase a gag gift that will make someone laugh. Giggle a little, chuckle a lot, let out a guffaw if something strikes your funny bone. You won’t be judged, because Weird Oh is all about fun!

What trip is complete without a little something to satisfy your sweet tooth? At Sweet & Southern Sugar Company you will be delighted with all the fun treats from delicious ice cream to decadent desserts. You will definitely feel like a kid again trying to pick out a treat. We highly recommend the Sin Shakes and their to-die-for cinnamon buns! Just across the street, you absolutely MUST take a selfie while standing in two states. That’s right. You can stand in Georgia and Tennessee at the same exact time!

If you really want to feel like a kid again, you should plan your trip to McCaysville via the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Who doesn’t love a train ride? Come on, admit it, we’ve all played “conductor” with our best sounding “All Aboard” and attempts at a train whistle. This relaxing and enjoyable ride begins in downtown Blue Ridge and the tracks meander through the countryside on a twenty-six-mile round trip journey. There is a two hour layover in McCaysville which gives you plenty of time to check out all the shops and load up on sweets!

Be Nostalgic

Swan Drive-In

If you haven’t been to a drive-in movie since you were a kid, we encourage you to make plans to go to the Swan Drive In Theater and take in a show or a double feature! A throwback to yesteryears, there is just something so fun about watching a movie outdoors. Plan to arrive early and have a little picnic while you wait on the movie to begin. Trust us, it fills up fast, so you’ll want to be there early! There is a grassy knoll to throw a football, play some corn hole, or just enjoy an old-fashioned game of tag. Whether you choose to watch the show in camp chairs behind your car or on blankets in the bed of your truck, there will be no shortage of smiles from every member of the family. Local tip – bring a portable radio/boombox. You don’t want to be the one who’s battery dies from running the radio!

Keep It Simple

Photo Courtesy of Huck’s General Store

Kids don’t need anything to entertain them except for your attention. Well, maybe a little ice cream! Seriously though, keep it simple, unplug, and give them your undivided attention. Take a stroll through downtown Blue Ridge. There are some adorable shops that both you and your children will find interesting like Huck’s General Store. There are plenty of places along the strip to stop and grab a scoop or two like The Chocolate Express. At the end of Main Street there is an awesome playground (and restrooms) for the kids to burn off some energy before you decide on a fabulous restaurant for dinner.

Back at the cabin go on a family stick hunt to get kindling for the fire. Once the sun sets, and the fire is lit, break out the marshmallows and show them how to roast them. Do you like your marshmallows burnt too? Better yet, add graham crackers and chocolate for some campfire s’mores! The firepit is a good time to tell stories about when you were young or when your kids were young. This writer must have told her child the story of her birth no less than a million times! Break out the guitar, sing some songs, make wishes on stars, and enjoy every moment you have together. Regardless how you spend your time in Blue Ridge, be content in knowing that you are creating memories your children will hold on to and cherish forever. After all, that’s what life is all about.

Great Town, Great Events!



MARK YOUR CALENDAR, IT’S AN ANNUAL THING!

Some communities are fortunate to have county fairs in their backyards or a state fair within an hour’s drive or two – so when it comes to deep-fried anything outrageous (Krispy Kreme Burgers, deep-fried butter, python kabobs, etc), or a carnival ride or two, it’s available – at least once or twice a year.

Then there are communities known far and wide as festival towns. You don’t even have to ask if there’s anything going on, or fun things to do during the week and on the weekends – because there always is, and you’re not limited to crazy cuisine on a stick, octo-dogs, chocolate-covered bacon (yummo, by the way) or funnel cakes. Sometimes healthy food and fitness is the central theme, and you might actually lose weight rather than gain a pound or two.

Blue Ridge is one of those special towns where there’s always something going on – it’s a festival town, but also a destination for events – big ones and small ones – some tied to traditional holidays and some that have been created with care by locals who are passionate about books, music, the outdoors, or the arts.

A listing of festivals and events in Blue Ridge usually begins at the beginning – in January – but the beginning of the summer season starts with Memorial Day, when the pools are filled, the boat motor is tuned up and wineries and restaurants typically return to extended hours. So, let’s start with that.

Spring Arts in the Park – Memorial Day Weekend – May 25 & 26

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge City Park
Host: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Arts in the Park is not just a spring kickoff to the festival season in Blue Ridge, another Arts in the Park brings things to a close in October. In both instances, artists and artisans, including musicians, fill the expansive Blue Ridge Downtown City Park with activities, performances and even some dancing. More than 200 juried art, craft and food booths are featured. This event is 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. Weekend Admission: Adults $5 and children 12 and under are free!

Ride the Rails Festival – June 22 & 23

Location: Mineral Bluff Depot
Host: Tri-County Railroaders

Photo Courtesy of Shanna Beavers

You’ve seen ‘em, although you may not have known what you were seeing, railroad motor cars. They were used to monitor track conditions along stretches of railways. During a two-day Ride the Rails festival weekend, you’ll have a chance to actually ride in one in a five-mile round trip from the Mineral Bluff Depot, through the historic Iron Bridge and over the beautiful Toccoa River and back.  The trip begins (and ends) at the Mineral Bluff Depot, where there’s also a scale model railroad, built and maintained by the Tri-County Railroaders. Food and beverage will also be available. For railroad enthusiasts, and the intellectually curious, this is an event not to be missed!

Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival – June 22

Location: Merciers Orchards
Host: Blue Ridge Mountains Wine and Jazz Festival

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Wine and Jazz Festival

Blue Ridge is becoming (if it isn’t already) a cultural tourism destination. That means wine, of course, and music. The wine will come from around the world, including those made locally in North Georgia and North Carolina and all you have to bring is a blanket or a few lawn chairs. Set wine, hard cider and some groove music against the gorgeous mountain backdrop of Merciers Orchards, and you have a classy and cultural event.

Independence Day – 4th of July Parade & Fireworks – Saturday Closest to July 4th

Locations: Downtown Blue Ridge, Lake Blue Ridge and McCaysville
More Information: Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Foster Bidez

It’s the ideal 4th of July weekend package: Independence day in a small patriotic town that also likes it’s fun and a beautiful lake to provide the perfect backdrop for fireworks. Blue Ridge’s Independence Day parade is a “blast” You will have a ball seeing floats that show 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. Here’s a thought – ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to the fireworks for a totally unique Independence Day experience on July 5.  

Blue Ridge Kiwanis Rodeo – August 17 & 18

Location: Kiwanis Fairgrounds in Blue Ridge
Host: Blue Ridge Kiwanis

Photo Courtesy of Rick Young

The Wild Wild West has nothin’ on Blue Ridge. Every August, for the last 22 years, you would swear (but please don’t) that you have landed in Laramie, Wyoming or Tucson, Arizona, because Georgia’s red clay is being pulverized to dust by broncs and bulls. This is a classic western style rodeo, complete with bull riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, bareback, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and special events. There’s great food and fun for all ages!

Plein Aire Festival – September 5-8

Location: Horse Creek Stable Rescue Sanctuary
Host: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

It sometimes takes a while to recognize and realize what’s happening in a town or out in the country, when you see artists standing stock still in front of easels and canvases, recreating a visual or a vista. When you approach the artist you can see what they see – beautiful mountains, or unique downtown scenes you may not have noticed (but they have – they’re artists, after all). If you peer over their shoulder you’ll see that these images are being captured in watercolors or charcoals or any number of arts mediums. It’s all part of an arts event that brings artists from across the region to Blue Ridge to capture the scenic beauty of this mountain community. Artists from across the southeast are encouraged to get outside and recreate nature’s beauty!

Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival – September 14 & 15

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: The Blue Ridge Lodging Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival

One rule of thumb in the events realm is anything that starts with a crawl is going to be a good thing! So, the Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival starts with a Blues Crawl on Friday night, followed by great blues and barbecue on Saturday. So, what is a Blues Crawl?  Well, it’s kind of a meander through eight different restaurants, enjoying live music, food and drink, kicking off the Blues Weekend in the mountains. Then on Saturday it’s on to the blues and barbecue portion of the festivities with barbecue smells from local and regional cookers filling the air downtown and blues musicians performing from stages set around Blue Ridge City Park.

Fall Foliage Train Rides – October to November

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge Historic Train Depot
Host: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

And winter, and spring and summer… The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is an icon in downtown Blue Ridge, and all along the line to McCaysville and back. You can enjoy the brilliant colors of fall on a special train ride during October and early November or you can ride during the winter, spring or summer seasons as well! Learn about this region’s history along the way and you will have a deeper understanding about the beauty of this incredible part of the country!

Paws in the Park – 2nd Weekend of October

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: Humane Society of Blue Ridge

Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Blue Ridge

This is the perfect annual event for pet lovers! You can have a great time with your pets and get a few critical things done that need to be done before the end of fall, like a rabies vaccine at the rabies clinic and/or micro-chipping. Other pet friendly events include a pet parade, 5K race, pet education and demonstrations, a costume contest, prizes, photos and more for a fun day with your favorite pet!

Blue Ridge Fall Fest Arts & Crafts Show – 3rd and 4th Weekend in October

Location: Blue Ridge Farmers Market
Host: Fannin County Fire Explorers

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Farmers Market

Fall Fest features local arts, crafts, food and fun on two separate October weekends! This event has historically been called the Homemakers Fall Festival, but the event has stretched to include artisans as well as heritage crafts and food vendors. Come out to the Blue Ridge Farmers Market and experience the best in mountain creations.

Halloween Safe Zones – October 31

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge and McCaysville
Host: Blue Ridge Business Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Business Association

There’s nothing better than seeing the excitement that surrounds a group of kids all dressed up for Halloween and ready to head out to an early evening of trick-or-treating. The only thing better is knowing that where they’re going is safe. Kids of all ages get to trick or treat from shop to shop in downtown Blue Ridge and McCaysville. Pumpkin carving, costume contests, food, and entertainment are also part of the evening festivities!

Holiday Art Show & Sale, Light Up Blue Ridge & Hometown Christmas – Each November-December

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge, McCaysville, & Copperhill
More Information: Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy of Light Up Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association sponsors a regional arts and crafts event where you can shop for regional art and crafts at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Downtown Blue Ridge and Downtown McCaysville hold their Christmas festival on the day after Thanksgiving with music, refreshments, caroling and all-day activities. Official lighting of the Christmas tree in downtown Blue Ridge takes place at dusk and then Santa arrives! Santa’s arrival, food, refreshments and entertainment and the lighting of the bridge all are on the agenda that same night in McCaysville. 

AND SO BEGINS 2020 …

Fire and Ice Chili Cookoff – President’s Day Weekend

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: Blue Ridge Business Association

Photo Courtesy of Fire and Ice Chili Cook-Off

Is it really cold enough in Blue Ridge, Georgia in February to hold an ice carving competition? Yup.  It is – so bundle up. But you also have to be prepared for the heat – the heat of homemade chili that comes in all kinds of flavors and a range of hotness. The contrast of cool and hot also perfectly describes the weekend festivities that kick off the festival season. The event is cool – attracting thousands to City Park in downtown Blue Ridge and the ice sculptures are hot with a wide range of ideas and images that emerge from a block of ice. The event in 2020 will be the eighth annual, and it continues to grow every year!

Annual Blue Ridge Writers Conference – Early April

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association Art Center

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference

Writers write – that’s what they do. But writing is a solitary pursuit and sometimes writers just have to get together to compare notes and chat about what they do and how they do it. The annual Writers Conference is a literary tradition and unique cultural asset enjoyed by our many writers and aspiring writers each Spring as they gather in Blue Ridge to learn more about their special craft.

Blue Ridge Trout Fest & Outdoor Adventures  – Last Weekend in April

Location: Downtown Blue Ridge
Host: Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Unlimited #696 and the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Trout Festival

There are a lot of trout in Georgia. They are stocked, and caught, and eaten in large numbers. There are also several trout festivals designed to help anglers learn about and appreciate one of America’s favorite fish – the trout. But there is only one Official Trout Festival in the state of Georgia – 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. 

Where To Stay?

Summit Escape

And as always, when you are looking to Escape to Blue Ridge, we have your best mountain accommodations. From cozy two bed cabins to massive six bedroom lodges. Not only can you enjoy festivals, but there is always live music in town, great shops to explore and fabulous restaurants to enjoy. When you’ve had enough “people” time, escape to nature and explore all the natural beauty that surrounds us. You’ll be happy you did.

Memorial Day in the Mountains



Spring has sprung, the temperatures are climbing, and everything is blooming! The last weekend in May, Memorial Day Weekend, is an excellent time to get away from the hub bub of daily life and Escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains to enjoy the beauty that is bursting all around us!

Extreme or Serene

There is no shortage of fun to be had around town, but if just relaxing with your favorite people (and pups) in a fabulous cabin is your idea of a good time, we totally get it. Many of our cabins are equipped with game rooms, hot tubs, fire pits, and wooded trails to explore. There is also horseback riding stables, zip lines, and whitewater rafting close by for added immersion into the wonders of Mother Nature.

Downtown Blue Ridge

In downtown Blue Ridge you’ll enjoy attending the 44th Annual Spring Arts in the Park event on Saturday and Sunday, May 25th & 26th.  This Southern tradition features more than two hundred arts, crafts, and food booths for you to admire fine arts and mountain crafts. You’ll also be able to see artist’s demonstrations, hear some great music, and support the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association! The event is held rain or shine, and well-behaved leashed pets are welcome. Admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free!  

Spring Arts in the Park
Photo Courtesy of The Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Center

Music will be abundant in the Downtown area as well. The Blue Ridge Brewery will welcome Gopher Broke on Saturday and Travis Bowlin on Sunday. At Grumpy Old Men Brewery you’ll get to see Highbeams on Saturday and the Copperhill Brewery will host Gerry Herndon on Sunday. You won’t want to miss Travis Bowlin at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill, which by the way, did you know, they are a sunny spot for shady people? Check them out. They offer great views of Lake Blue Ridge, delicious food, and fantastic drinks! Last but not least, The Blue Coyote will be jamming on Saturday with the Breaking Point Band and a local favorite, Gregg Erwin on Sunday.

Downtown Blairsville

About thirty minutes East of Blue Ridge in the town of Blairsville, you’ll encounter their annual Spring Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival. Saturday morning begins with a Memorial Day Parade and the rest of the day and all-day Sunday you can enjoy more than 200 local and regional artists. Many musicians will also be on site to entertain you and your family. There is no charge to attend, but plenty of family fun is sure to be had!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Downtown Blairsville

McCaysville/Copperhill

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Railway

If you’ve never experienced a trip on the Blue Ridge Railway, you should definitely consider boarding in downtown Blue Ridge and taking an enjoyable two hour ride to the revitalized cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, Tn.  Yep, this is your chance to stand in two states at one time! Grab a sinful shake or decadent donuts at Sweet & Southern Sugar Company.  Maybe Cuban is more your style and you prefer a Cuban coffee and empanada at the Rum Cake Lady for an afternoon treat. For a good giggle and unique gifts, head over to Weird Oh!. So, what exactly is Weird Oh!? Well, it’s a magical emporium of fun! Better known as an unusual place for unusual people, inside you will find peculiar treasures and trinkets. It’s a place where kids can be kids and adults can be kids too! Everything can be touched, moved, and you can even write on the walls and not get in trouble! The only rule that you will encounter is that laughter is a must! No matter what.

Whatever plans you make for the holiday weekend, we hope that you are spending it with all the ones you love creating memories and enjoying the freedom that we get to enjoy in the great United States of America. As we approach Memorial Day Weekend, we want to take a moment to thank all of the men and women that have so courageously given their lives to defend this beautiful country in which we are so fortunate to live. There is no greater sacrifice one can make and the patriotism that these honorable souls displayed deserves our recognition and gratitude, not just one weekend a year, but all year long. Thank you for your service.

6 Extraordinary Vacation Rentals for an Unforgettable Family Reunion



Whether your family gets together every year or every few years, it’s always a good time to come together and celebrate your history and heritage. Reunions give the older generations time to sit together and reminisce and the younger generations and meet each other and develop lifelong friendships.

Blue Ridge, Georgia is the perfect location to plan a family reunion because there is something to entertain the entire family. Book a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway or plan a hike to Long Creek Falls along the Benton Mackaye Trail. Maybe a tractor ride and apple picking at Mercier Orchards is on the agenda or an exhilarating rafting trip on the Ocoee River will bond together long-lost family members. Either way, you need a base camp and we have the perfect cabins to accommodate your group!

Ambleside

Not every Georgia mountain cabin rental looks like the elegant homes in “Southern Living” magazine, but Ambleside is that kind of place! Exquisitely appointed, this five bedroom, five and a half bath lodge is roomy enough to accommodate (16) sixteen guests in comfort and style. Add in magnificent mountain and river views from every window and fun things to do right on the property and nearby, and you have the makings of a magical vacation!

Ambleside rests on a hillside in a secure, gated community eight miles from downtown Blue Ridge, between the seventh and eighth holes of the top-rated Old Toccoa Farm golf course which you have “member rate” access to play. The cabin’s property overlooks the fairway and the Toccoa River below inviting your family to fish, kayak, or explore the beautiful hiking trails.

Take turns preparing meals in the fully stocked expansive kitchen with its new stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, and conveniences like an icemaker, coffeemaker, blender, and anything else you may need to prepare a feast for your crowd. After dinner, enjoy a friendly game of ping pong or foosball or take it outside for a corn hole tournament!  End the day relaxing in the hot tub or roasting s’mores over the fire pit area.

Eagles Landing

Situated directly on Lake Blue Ridge, Eagles Landing is a spectacular showplace that has incomparable views of the surrounding mountains! If the epitome of rustic elegance is what you’re looking for, this spacious lodge has seven bedrooms to accommodate (19) nineteen guests!

By day, the whole family can enjoy boating and swimming at the lake and all the activities the nearby Aska Adventure Area has to offer. Unwind afterward with good food, conversation, and entertainment indoors or under the stars. Whether inside or out, enjoy views and privacy that cannot be found anywhere else. You may even be lucky enough to spot the family of bald eagles that nests nearby!

There are three decks spanning the length of the home, a hot tub, swings, and a picnic table, but that’s not all! This home comes complete with a two-story dock that has enough furniture enough to accommodate sixteen! Enjoy a picnic on the water, fishing directly from the dock, taking a ride on the paddleboat, or swimming. There are also two ramps for watercraft, as well accommodations for a motorboat. Whether you and your family spen time watching the skiers and wakeboarders, or watching an incomparable sunset, you’ll spend as much time as possible on the dock!

Falling Waters Lodge

Falling Waters Lodge sits at the pinnacle of luxury in every way. The four bedroom, three and a half bath retreat can comfortably accommodate (12) twelve guests. Lucky for you, the home’s location is at one of the highest points in the Aska Adventure Area. Step out on the expansive decking, which provides the best seat in the house, as you become the ultimate spectator of nature’s most majestic scenic views!

Every detail put into Falling Waters is living testimony that craftsmanship is alive and well. It is large and spacious with abundant windows, yet it is also – somehow – inviting and snug.  You will become invigorated as you inch up the driveway passing the gazebo, fire pit and of course, the home’s multi-level waterfall for which it is named, and that bids you welcome. 

At Falling Waters, every luxury is thoughtfully provided from high-thread linens to a gourmet kitchen. The home offers entertainment you can share from the game library or billiards, ping pong and air hockey fun. Or, make your time as personal as a work out in the home’s private gym. In the evening, take in the sun set over the mountains, from the hot tub which is set on the lower-level deck or choose to cap off the evening with a movie in the theater-quality media room.

Just Like Heaven

Just Like Heaven is a gorgeous mountain retreat that features six bedrooms for up to (16) sixteen guests making it perfect for a vacation with your entire family! With incredible seasonal mountain views this cabin in the Blairsville woods is your own private, secluded hideaway but close to activities like hiking, horseback riding, fishing and boating at Cozy Cove Marina. There’s even an ATV trail at nearby Davenport Ridge!

Inside, Just Like Heaven is warm, airy, and bright, with décor that’s a professionally decorated mix of modern and traditional furnishings, colors and touches. The solid pine interior, vaulted ceilings and spacious open living area provide a welcoming setting for gathering before the wood-burning fireplace. Upstairs in the media room, you’ll find billiards, shuffleboard, board games, a karaoke machine, foosball, an enormous 103” flat screen TV with DirecTV and DVD for hours of fun and entertainment!

There’s even more fun to be had outside, where you can play corn hole, basketball, ping-pong or fire up the charcoal grill for an al fresco meal. There’s plenty of comfortable seating on the covered deck, where there’s a wood burning fireplace to keep you cozy on crisp evenings while you enjoy the mountain air. But the best attribute of Just Like Heaven is the feeling it gives you while you’re there and the experience you’ll take home with you. The name says it all!

Legend

Staying at Legend is like having an entire five-star resort all to yourself. This luxury log cabin is truly in a class of its own. It’s built from handcrafted Douglas-fir logs and each spacious room presents incredible attention to detail with cathedral ceilings, arched doorways, sumptuous furnishings, stylish fixtures, and every amenity you desire to relax in complete luxury!

You’ll have everything you need to entertain your (13) thirteen guests in this six bedroom, six and a half bath lodge and on the land surrounding you. Bring your fishing pole and spend the day at the stocked trout stream rushing right outside your door, or simply have fun splashing around and getting a little sun! Go on an exhilarating hike through one of the property’s hiking paths, or enjoy a leisurely stroll in the pastures, taking in breathtaking mountain views around you. The gang can even play a little touch football on the sprawling lawn. You can also take a foursome just a short drive to one of three fantastic golf courses in the area or indulge in a little pampering at a spa in town followed by some shopping.

In case of inclement weather you can spend an afternoon in the game room downstairs playing pinball, billiards, foosball, ping pong or board games — there’s a little something for everyone. And with another gourmet kitchen and wet bar at the ready, you’ll have everything you need — no need to even go upstairs for snacks and drinks! Legend even has its own cinema screening room downstairs, complete with stadium seating — it doesn’t get any closer to an authentic movie theater experience than this! Make some popcorn, grab drinks at the nearby kitchen and bar, then everyone can sink into sumptuous loungers and enjoy a great movie up on the big screen!

Legend’s spacious, covered decks with their sweeping views make entertaining easy as a mountain breeze! Nature will entertain you and your guests for hours, with views of the rushing creek, horses playing in the nearby pastures, and the verdant tree farm nearby. With the smoker and gas grill at the ready, host a mouthwatering barbecue — with two picnic tables, there’s plenty of room for everyone to dine al fresco, with the soothing sounds of the nearby stream as background music. Or, perhaps make a feast in the enormous gourmet kitchen, and everyone can gather ’round the large dining table in front of epic mountain views!

Spyglass

SpyGlass is the name, the view will explain. The largest of our cabin rentals, this six bedroom, five and a half bath home can comfortable accommodate (21) twenty-one guests. Seize the opportunity to stay in this $5 million custom resort lodge with its own private pool and spa, where you can come and go by helicopter, and treat the entire family to 8,000 sq. ft. of pure luxury and decadence!

SpyGlass is the stuff of fairy tales. The palatial custom gourmet kitchen is made for entertaining, with two refrigerators, two dishwashers, two drawer warmers, a double oven and wine cooler. Relax after a meal in the great room with its 32 ft. vaulted ceiling, imposing iron chandelier, custom woodcarvings of wildlife adorning the walls, and a huge stone fireplace as the room’s centerpiece. The curved, windowed wall has built-in seating for a perfect view of the hills and starlit sky offering wide-open 40-mile views!

Outside the fire pit is an enchanted place for stargazing and making s’mores. During the day, set out fresh fruit and snacks in the gazebo for your guests while they swim, sunbathe or chat at tables and chairs throughout the deck. They can also have lunch at the picnic tables whenever they’re ready.  And there’s plenty of room for everyone at dinner as well – you can seat 20 between the formal dining room and informal dining seating.

Reservations

We are here to help make your family reunion one for the books! Our helpful Reservation Specialists can assist with any concierge services you would like. From stocking your fridge to booking an excursion, we are here to help! Escape to Blue Ridge for an unforgettable family vacation!

Getting Hitched – Blue Ridge Style



Just off the holiday season is a perfect time to talk about the best places to get married or propose in 2019. More engagements take place around Christmas and New Year’s than any other time of the year. If you were one of the lucky ones, congratulations! If your New Year resolution was to make an honest man or woman out of your other half, here are a few of our favorite most romantic places in North Georgia.

The Ring is the Thing

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway – Getting on board the marriage track can be as simple as getting aboard a train. Because of who they are and what they do, the folks who operate the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway know what it takes to make an engagement extra special. Yes, it’s been done before, but popping the question aboard a train – with that lonesome whistle crooning romantically in the background – is guaranteed to melt a heart – maybe even two.  

Brasstown Bald – Elevation can lead to exhilaration – plus fantastic 360 degree views! There’s nothing more exciting than anticipation…and the climb up Brasstown Bald, to the highest point in Georgia, can leave you both breathless. Whether you choose an engagement here or to set your wedding among the tall pines, you can’t go wrong in this memorable location.

Knot Tying Made Memorable

Mercier Orchards – Memorable is the goal of a destination wedding, and setting your wedding against a backdrop of apple and peach trees in a rustic farmland is definitely memorable. Mercier Orchards is a year-round venue for weddings, complete with lovely ponds, old barns, and apple sheds — a true and genuine setting — and there are plenty of perfect spots to get down on one knee and ask “will you” or stand up to say “I do”.  

Old Toccoa Farm – Old Toccoa Farm is rooted in simplicity, quality and natural beauty. Trout streams boarder the golf course providing a relaxed and casual atmosphere with an emphasis on the outdoors. The farm is what it says it is – agricultural, rural and peaceful – and the perfect place for a simple or formal wedding.

Bear Claw Vineyards – It’s hard to get much more romantic than a vineyard and winery. After all, all the elements for a successful event are built in. Vines and wine. What more do you need?  This vineyard and winery was actually built with romantic visits in mind – a unique treehouse, a wedding venue, and a delightful tasting room ideal for receptions. The owners themselves call this a “soothing and relaxing aesthetic” – what better place to take first steps toward an everlasting life together?

Classic and Classy

Aska Farms – There is a reason why Wedding Wire has consistently identified Aska Farms as a top choice of couples for wedding venues in North Georgia. The majestic mountain background is truly jaw dropping and makes for some amazing pictures. The venue can be low key, or it can be an extravagant and awe-inspiring location! With a house and grounds that sets up ideally for brides (including a bridal party preparation suite) and a groom’s party space that encourages guys to just relax, there’s something for everyone. 

At Escape To Blue Ridge, we offer many cabin options that are perfect for out of town guests or for a romantic honeymoon. We hope that regardless of the location that you choose, that love fills your life from the beginning and follows you all through your lives together! Share your happy memories with us and let us see the joy from your happiest days!