5 Scenic North Georgia Overlooks



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

Richard Russell Scenic Highway

Photo Courtesy of Metro-On-The-Move

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!

129 South

Photo Courtesy of Lindy Callahan

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!

Highway 60

Photo Courtesy of Explore Georgia

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

Photo Courtesy of Nate Shivar

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

Preacher’s Rock courtesy of Hike the South

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.

Take a Spring Break



Spring break is just around the corner and we know families are looking for the ultimate escape this year! That’s why we’ve put together this blog, to tell you all the best places to play, eat, and stay in and around Blue Ridge. Your family is sure to have an incredible, adventure-packed spring break when you Escape to Blue Ridge!

Hikers Escape

Photo Courtesy of Mari Ortiz
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If you’re going on a trip to the mountains you might as well take full advantage of it, right? So get on the trails and experience all the natural beauty that Blue Ridge has to offer. Conquer mountains on a hike to Brasstown Bald or Fort Mountain, and be blown away by its breathtaking views.

Hike by the Toccoa River and visit the famous Swinging Bridge. Or hike to one of our many beautiful waterfalls. Or if you’re a big adventurer you could do it all! Some of our favorite trails include the Benton McKaye Trail, the Aska Adventure Trails, and Long Mountain Trail. These trails are great because they’ll take you through some of the most stunning views in Blue Ridge. Let your inner adventurer free and get outside!

Eat
Photo Courtesy of Hansen’s Grill

After a long day of hiking, you’ll want to eat all of the carbs! Hansen’s Grill off Main Street is the place to go! Hansen’s serves homemade style food that will totally hit the spot, especially after hiking all day. Their burgers and fries are just to die for! And they have a large variety of other delicious food as well. They’re open breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and they’ll be sure to give you the best service and one of the best meals of your life!

Stay

As its name states, “Take a Hike” is the perfect cabin for hikers. Located in the Cohutta Wilderness, you’ll be just mere steps away from the trails. The cabin itself has 3 beautiful wraparound decks so that you can take in the views and be one with nature!

The deck is filled with rocking chairs, a picnic table, a wood-burning fireplace, and even a hot tub so you can keep the outdoor fun going! Take a Hike is pet friendly and comfortably sleeps up to 7 people. This home away from home has all the amenities you could ever need including a firepit for roasting s’mores, a game room, a spacious kitchen and family room, and so much more! Take a Hike is a perfect escape for all outdoor lovers!

Downtown Adventure

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Photo Courtesy of The Pasta Market

Downtown Blue Ridge is every shopper’s dream. With dozens of trendy shops and restaurants you’ll need the whole day to experience them all. Get all the trendiest clothes, accessories and Blue Ridge apparel from Blue Ridge Adventure Wear, Blue Ridge Cotton Company and Crawford Collections. For beautiful antiques visit the Blue Ridge Mountain Mall. To add gorgeous furnishing and art from Blue Ridge to your own home check out High Country Gallery Art and New Blue Home and Gift. And for a “taste” of Blue Ridge you can bring to your own home cooked meals check out The Pasta Market, Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company, and Out of the Blue. You’ll have a great afternoon exploring all the wonderful, unique shops downtown. 

Eat
Photo Courtesy of the Black Sheep

When your bags are full and your shopping is done, fill your stomach with a delicious meal from our beloved restaurant, The Black Sheep. Just off of Main Street, The Black Sheep will provide you with a fine dining experience. If incredible dishes made with fresh ingredients, refreshing cocktails and wine, and excellent service all sound good to you, then this is the place for you. They don’t call it the best in Blue Ridge for nothing! Enjoy a delicious variety of meals like the Pan Seared Half Chicken, the Fried Calamari, Lamb Lollipop Chops, or the Black Sheep Burger. Make sure you stop by for brunch sometime too for live music, drink specials, and awesome dishes like the Chicken and Red Velvet Waffle. The Black Sheep even has a huge covered patio and outdoor bar, perfect for pet lovers who want to bring their furry friend along! Drop by for an incredible dining experience! 

Stay

If you’re looking to stay in the heart of downtown then “Postcard Perfection Downtown” is the place for you! This stunning condo has a modern look and is just steps from all the great shops and restaurants. Just an elevator ride down, on the first floor, is Bin 322 Wine & Tapas Bar and Mona Lisa’s Dessert House! Step outside onto the 50 foot wrap around veranda and look down at the town below. “Postcard Perfection Downtown” other amenities include, Smart TVs, a work station perfect for those working from home, a fully equipped kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, and 2 bedrooms with luxurious linens. You’ll be living like royalty in this beautiful condo right in the heart of Downtown Blue Ridge!

Family Fun

Photo Courtesy of Chanel Josephson
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Photo Courtesy of @littlebitty87

What kid doesn’t wonder about the urban legends of creatures like the Yeti, Lochness Monster, or Bigfoot? Indulge their fantasies and sense of adventure by taking them to Expedition: Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum. It’ll be a great outing that the whole family can enjoy! Come face to face with Bigfoot himself and find all sorts of mysteries like Bigfoot artifacts, life sized exhibits, photos and maps of Bigfoot sightings, the Bigfoot research and Tech Vehicle, and so much more! Then visit the “Sasquatch Theater”, the Bigfoot Reference Library, and take home a souvenir from the gift shop! Expedition: Bigfoot is the countries largest, permanent display of all things Bigfoot! Everyone will be sure to have a blast on this fun filled adventure. Just what will you find?

Eat
Photo Courtesy of Mystic Mountain Pizza

All kids love pizza, right? Then why not take them to Mystic Mountain Pizza for a slice! They’re famous for their specialty pizzas made in oak fire brick ovens but they also have salads, hot dogs, and wings. Your kids will love munching on all that yummy goodness and have fun picking out their own specialty pizza slice. From the classic pepperoni, to Mediterranean, meat lovers, vegetable, and even a Clam Casino pizza; you’ll have lots to choose from! After dinner treat the kids to something sweet and grab a treat from The Sweet Shoppe. Cupcakes, cookies, cakes, pies, and chocolate covered strawberries galore; the kids and you will have a blast satisfying your sweet tooth!

Stay

Eagles Landing is the perfect cabin for big families! This beautiful cabin is located right off of Lake Blue Ridge and has everything you and the kids could possibly need! 7 bedrooms, a game room, a wrap around deck with plenty of seating, a hot tub, a stone gas fireplace in the living room that stretches up to 18 feet, and a two story dock! This cabin is great for the warmer spring weather because you can just grab a boat and hop onto the lake for the day! Then you can come home and continue to relax by the water on the dock or on the porch. Families will absolutely love Eagles Landing and all of it’s wonderful amenities. 

For the Adults

Photo Courtesy of Forever Freckled
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Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

Enjoy some grown up time and a glass of wine at the beautiful Bear Claw Vineyard. Take in the gorgeous mountain views and calming atmosphere and stay awhile! Enjoy 3 different tasting options and be sure to pair them with one of Bear Claw’s delicious chocolate wine truffles. On Saturdays even enjoy some wonderful live music from local artists. Sit outside on the patio or inside the tasting room and sip away! 

Eat
Photo Courtesy of Bin 322

If you need more for your wine fix check out Bin 322 Wine and Tapas Bar. Take a night out with great food, drinks, and a great atmosphere. Enjoy countless tapas each paired with a delicious wine. Or enjoy soups and salads, sandwiches, or meat and cheese platters. On Friday or Saturday nights enjoy live music and on Sunday enjoy a delicious brunch, with mimosas of course! Bin 322 bases 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! Enjoy a relaxing evening in this calming and intimate atmosphere. 

Stay

For a relaxing and beautiful retreat look no further then “Big Sky Retreat”. Perched on the edge of Sunrock Mountain the mountain views here will take your breath away. And you’ll be able to admire the views from any of the 3 viewing decks. Here you’re close to both the fun of the great outdoors and close to town. You can unwind after a long day of activities by making s’mores and hot dogs at the outdoor firepit. Or play a round of billiards in the game room. Take full advantage of this 3 bedroom cabin’s wonderful amenities and beautiful rooms! 

Take in the Sights

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Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Being in the North Georgia Mountains, Blue Ridge has all the sights, so you have to take full advantage of them during your stay! Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a favorite way to travel and see the beauty of Blue Ridge. You’ll start and end in the historic part of downtown, pass by the Chattahoochee National Forest, the Toccoa River, and the twin cities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN. On this 26 mile trip you’ll pass through the most beautiful sights. Another way to check out the views is on a scenic drive. Many roads in the area will lead you past stunning mountain views like the Richard B. Scenic Highway and Highway 60. And lastly on your scenic views journey, hike to the top of Brasstown Bald. You’ll have breathtaking mountain views on every side and will even be able to see 3 different states at once! If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, a hike up Brasstown Bald should definitely be on your bucket list! 

Eat
Photo Courtesy of Chester Brunnemeyer’s Bar & Grill

After taking in the sights grab a bite to eat at Chester Brunnemeyer’s Bar & Grill. Chester’s is an American bar & grill specializing in food from the southeastern region. Delicious food, wine, cocktails, and craft beer are all yours for the taking. Enjoy some of your favorite dishes like wings, steak, seafood, burgers, and more! Chester’s really does have something for everyone and a great menu for the kids as well! 

Stay

Continue taking in the sights at “My Mountain Lookout” which is so fondly named because of it’s spectacular mountain views. This peaceful and private cabin provides the views but is also just a few miles from all the shops and restaurants of Downtown Blue Ridge. Cook dinner in the beautiful kitchen with granite countertops and all the amenities or grill out on the deck to keep the views going. Enjoy a hot tub and game room in this cabin as well! This welcoming,  3 bedroom cabin is the perfect escape for families!

10 Best Blue Ridge Photo Ops



Who doesn’t love a good photo-op? On a family trip? Take a photo. On an exciting adventure? Take a photo. An outing with your friends? Take a photo. In this modern age of social media and iPhones, photo-ops and selfies have become a part of everyday life.

Being a small town, tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains sure has its benefits. We have so many fun and unique places that you can’t find anywhere else, which make for amazing photo ops! So, we’ve comprised a list of the 10 best selfie/photo-op spots here in Blue Ridge!

Next time you escape to Blue Ridge be sure to stop by some of these famous sites and take some great photos. Be sure to share anything you take with us, we love to see how much fun you’re having and which places are your favorite!

  • Cover Photo Courtesy of @k4fish

The Wall

Photo Courtesy of Gabrielle Perlman

When visiting the area it’s a MUST to take pictures in front of the Blue Ridge wall in Downtown Blue Ridge. Located on the corner of Mountain and East First Street, this is the perfect backdrop for all your fun photo-ops! This backdrop is a fantastic representation of Blue Ridge and a great way to start off your trip. After you take the picture be sure to explore all Downtown Blue Ridge has to offer from its fantastic shops, great art scene, and its delicious restaurants!

The Bears

Photo Courtesy of Chanel Josephson

How cute are these friendly bears? Located at the entrance of the Blue Ridge Mountain Mall, this welcoming bear is a perfect addition to your photo. And after you grab the picture check out the Mountain Mall for all things antiques and collectibles!

The Bridge

Photo Courtesy of Mari Ortiz

Not only is this iconic bridge a perfect place to explore while hiking or kayaking but it’s also a great location for a photo-op! It’s become a staple of the most liked photo spots in Blue Ridge and it’s not hard to see why. The bridge over the Toccoa River is the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River, spanning 270 feet long! It’s surrounded by the beautiful Chattahoochee National Forest so there are trees all around, and at this time of year, the trees are sure to be at peak color. And with the beautiful river flowing freely down below, it really is a fantastic spot. Located on the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail in Fannin County, make sure to put this experience on your list of must-sees!

The Falls

Photo Courtesy of @ancole78

In Blue Ridge we are lucky enough to have 4 stunning waterfalls nearby; Amicalola Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Fall Branch Falls, and Long Branch Falls.  Any of these breathtaking and beautiful waterfalls are fantastic spots to take a great photo.

Amicalola Falls is the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River at 729 feet! Located in Amicalola Falls State Park, it may be a hike to get there but I promise the views are worth the trip to see this huge waterfall up close! 

Helton Creek Falls is a series of two beautiful waterfalls in the Chattahoochee National Forest of close-by Blairsville. Luckily, getting to this waterfall is a fairly easy and short hike. This gorgeous double waterfall that flows into the creek below is a sight you won’t want to miss.

Fall Branch Falls, on the Benton MacKaye Trail, is another stunning double waterfall. With a 30+ foot drop, the water drops into a deep pool at the base of the waterfall; perfect for swimming in warm weather. It’s another short hike to this waterfall but is also fairly steep, the views are worth the uphill battle though!

And last but not least we have Long Branch Falls on the Appalachian/Benton MacKaye Trail. This beautiful waterfall rushes over the surrounding boulders and cliffs and drops about 50 feet. This is another fairly easy hike, only 30 minutes uphill. 

The Bald

Courtesy of Brasstown Bald

The views from on top of Brasstown Bald are completely out of this world beautiful! It’s the highest mountain peak in all of Georgia, and from the observation tower, you can see 4 different states at once! It truly is a sight to behold. Since the elevation is so high, you can even see the clouds over the mountains, which always takes my breath away!

Coke & a Smile

Another great backdrop for your pictures is the Coca-Cola wall, which is also located in Downtown Blue Ridge. Located at the end of East Main Street on the side of the Fly Fishing shop, it’s the perfect backdrop for both Coke and Blue Ridge lovers alike. Get a couple of friends, grab the shot, and share a coke with Blue Ridge!

The Orchard 

Photo Courtesy of Kendra Mae

Mercier Orchard is the largest apple orchard in the southeast and one of the most popular places to visit while in Blue Ridge. With so much fun to be had from picking fruit, to shopping, and gobbling up their delish bakery treats, it’s a great place to take the family! Throughout the orchard, there are so many places to take awesome pictures, but by far the most popular spot is the entrance. Nothing screams Blue Ridge like standing in front of the sign of one its most popular attractions! 

For Husbands 

Photo Courtesy of @Ancole78

How funny is this!? Having the husband take a photo in front of this sign would be a hilarious and fun memory. The “Husband Daycare Center” is actually the Black Bear Bier Garten, which is a German bar and pub. Take a fantastic photo in front of the sign and then head inside for some great German fare! 

The Tree & The Train

We couldn’t possibly leave the famous “tree” off the list! Located at the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, this tree shows off its stunning colors every fall. It’s become one of the most photographed things in Blue Ridge during the fall season because you just can’t beat those stunning colors! After you take a photo (or 10) in front of Blue Ridge’s famous tree, be sure to snap some of the train before you hitch a ride on the scenic railway for even more beautiful sights!

GA/TN Line

Photo Courtesy of Dan Blankowski

How many times can you say you’ve been in two places at once? Or even two states at once? Probably not very often! But you CAN be in two places at once and snag a great picture if you visit the twin cities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN. Here is the sign between the two states that is sure to provide you with all kinds of fun photos!

Escape To Blue Ridge

Our property management offices located at 1844 Old Hwy 76 is a perfect place to stop in, pick up a Kid’s Activity Book and get your photo taken with our holiday trees! Who says trees are just for Christmas anyway? We love celebrating all the holidays with our seasonal tree!

2021 Blue Ridge Bucket List



To say that 2020 has been a hard year would be an understatement. This year has been so incredibly hard on many families all over the world. That’s why we want to help make 2021 the best year yet! We all deserve a little happiness and fun after a year like this. So we’ve created a 2021 bucket list of 10 activities to do in Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas. Let’s make 2021 the best year, mountain style! 

Explore a Waterfall

Photo Courtesy of @willsbeenhere

Fall Branch Falls, and Long Branch Falls are located here in Blue Ridge and Amicalola Falls and Helton Creek Falls are pretty close by! Just the hike to these falls alone is a great experience, but when you finally arrive you’ll be blown away by the beauty of it all. The whole family (dogs included) will love exploring around the falls and relaxing by the waterside. And be sure to grab a couple of great photos before you head back! Each of the Blue Ridge area waterfalls are so unique and beautiful it will be hard to pick just one, so we won’t blame you if you need to explore all of them! 

Jump on the Swinging Bridge 

Photo Courtesy of Audrey Dre Spears

The Swinging Bridge over the Tococca River has become a kind of landmark for Blue Ridge. Located on the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail in Fannin County, this bridge is an experience you won’t want to miss. Spanning 270 feet long, this makes it the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi. When you walk the bridge look down below and keep an eye out for kayakers floating down the peaceful river. 

Eat Local

Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill

Downtown Blue Ridge is home to many fantastic local restaurants. The whole street is filled with shops and restaurants, so it’s the perfect place to go for a afternoon or night out. Spend the day shopping and then stop by a restaurant for a bite to eat after a long day. Try the Black Sheep and get their famous “Black Sheep Burger” or stop by Bin 322 for wine and tapas. Then there’s Chester’s serving rustic American food or the Rum Cake Lady serving Cuban style food. And if you have a sweet tooth check out Mona Lisa’s Dessert House for everything from cakes and pies to cookies and dessert martinis. With so many dining options to chose from it might be hard to pick just one, but we assure you they are all delicious. And no one said you have to only chose one, right? 

Ride the Mountain Coaster

Have you ever ridden a rollercoaster through the mountains? Well, now you can! Take a little road trip to our friends in Helen, Georgia, and hop on the Georgia Mountain Coaster, the first alpine coaster in Georgia. Whizz past beautiful mountains and forests at whatever speed you’d like because YOU control the speed! You’ll even pass by ruins that are over 100 years old! It’s not often you can say that you went on an alpine coaster and that you even controlled the speed, so what are you waiting for? Stop by for a once in a lifetime, family fun experience! 

Hike to the Highest Peak in Georgia

Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Bald

The views from the top of Brasstown Bald are a must see! You can see 3 different states all at once, from the observation tower at the top. Brasstown Bald is the highest mountain peak in Georgia so it’s quite the hike but the views at the top are so worth it! And think of how accomplished you’ll feel knowing you made the hike. When you push yourself the rewards are all the greater!

Hunt Big Foot

To many in this neck of the woods, Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch, Yowie and Yedi) isn’t just a 20th-century folk legend. The first recorded sighting of him here in Fannin County was June 26, 1873. Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest has long been known as a hotbed for Bigfoot activity amongst the Bigfoot research community. If taking a hike out into the forest after the sun sets, night vision glasses in place, to snap your photo op with Bigfoot is too much effort, don’t let that deter you from finding out all you can about him. While here in Blue Ridge, plan to visit EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum, located just east of the city. This museum may have you giggling on the way in the door, but you will leave with a new appreciation for your next walk in the woods. You’ll discover why Bigfooters from around the globe make the pilgrimage to Blue Ridge just to explore this museum and its many relics.

Cheers to Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge is home to some amazing wineries, breweries, and distilleries. So grab your friends and drink your way around town! For wineries check out Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards, both right here in Blue Ridge. If you’re up for more of a road trip than be sure to check out Cartecay Vineyards in Ellijay and Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris. All of these wineries have not only delicious wines but beautiful mountain views as well.

For beer try Grumpy Old Men Brewing, Fannin Brewing Company, Copperhill Brewery, and Buck Bald Brewing. Any of these breweries will provide you with excellent and delicious craft brews. And for hard liquors try out Grandaddy Mimm’s Moonshine Distillery. The moonshine is crafted from Jack Mimm McClure’s original 1930’s recipe. Every place is filled with great drinks, great service, and a relaxing environment so you can’t go wrong. Bring your friends and you’ll be sure to have a blast! 

Take a Helicopter Tour 

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Helicopter Tours

How often can you say that you took a helicopter tour over the North Georgia Mountains of Blue Ridge? Drop by Blue Ridge Helicopter Tours to get your tickets to soar above the mountains and clouds. The scenic views you will get from up above are out of this world beautiful! There’s absolutely nothing like it. 

Zip Through the Mountains

Photo Courtesy of Explore Georgia

If you’re the adventurous type than look no further than Blue Ridge Adventure Park. Clip in and find yourself way above the ground as you navigate through ropes courses and zipline. It will challenge you both mentally and physically as you try to make your way through the course. With 3 levels of suspended bridges and tightropes ranging from 15 to 50 feet in the air, you’re sure to be in for an exciting challenge. Blue Ridge Adventure Park is the perfect destination for all you thrill seekers out there! 

Book the Perfect Mountain Escape 

Leatherwood Lodge

After a year like 2020 we all need to getaway and get out of our house! There’s no better place to escape than Blue Ridge. Get outside, enjoy the fresh mountain air, and go on the adventure of a lifetime! Grab your favorite people and book your Escape to Blue Ridge for the most perfect mountain escape! We all need a little escape every now and then! 

It’s time to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021! Watch 2020 disappear in your rearview mirror and look forward to all that lies ahead in 2021. A big thank you to everyone who helped make 2020 a great year for us, despite the circumstances. We’re so grateful for each and every one of you! Now let’s head into the new year and make it the best one yet! From all of us at Escape to Blue Ridge, have a very Happy New Year! 

Top 5 Scenic Fall Drives



Fall is finally here! And that means taking the more scenic route, to enjoy all the beautiful fall foliage that Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas have to offer. Here are our 5 favorite scenic roads to drive this fall that will provide you with the best views and a variety of fun stops along the way that the whole family will enjoy!

Suches

Preachers Rock courtesy of The Hobson Homestead

A drive through Suches, on Highway 60, has to be one of the most beautiful drives through Blue Ridge’s countryside!  It is one of the most elevated areas in the state of Georgia, approaching 3,000 feet above sea level, which is why many people call it “The Valley Above the Clouds”.  It’s such a beautiful place that, up until recent years, the Tour of Georgia bicycle race went directly through Suches and onto Dahlongea. Suches is completely surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest so there are many fantastic hiking trails and pit stops to make. If you’re up for a little adventure there’s the Swinging Bridge over the Toccoa River. It’s the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River at 270 feet long! It’s the perfect place to hike or even kayak down the river. Nearby is also Preacher’s Rock, a great place to hike and catch some stunning views. 

Cohutta Wilderness

Jacks River Falls Trail in the Cohutta Wilderness courtesy of Atlanta Trails

We couldn’t make this list without a trip through the beautiful Cohutta Wilderness! The Cohutta Wilderness is the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi taking up over 40,000 acres of land. They also make up a part of the oldest mountain chain in the world, running all the way from Fannin County to the Tennessee and North Carolina borders. For the best views take Highway 5, which will lead you through the Cohuttas and be surrounded by fall beauty all around! Make sure to take a pitstop at Mercier Orchards to pick up some fresh apples and enjoy fun for the whole family. And be sure to check out the historic site of Prater’s Mill, a pre-civil war building and continued working mill.  

Cherohala Skyway

Cherohala Skyway photograph by Mike Waller

Cherohala Skyway passes through Tennessee and parts of North Carolina, but we assure you it’s worth the drive. It’s a 43 mile long National Scenic Byway and National Forest Scenic Byway, passing through both Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests which gives the road its name Chero-Hala. While on the drive be sure to make a stop at Bald River Falls. It’s a beautiful, 90-foot waterfall and a great place to take some awesome pictures. Another great stop is located in Tellico Plains, TN; The Charles Hall Museum and Visitor Center. The museum features many antiques from Charles Hall who was a local businessman and resident of Tellico Plains. From old photographs, guns, telephone equipment, and other historic artifacts there’s sure to be something fun and interesting for the whole family!

Ocoee Scenic Byway

Chilhowee view courtesy of Jim Caldwell

Ocoee Scenic Byway is another Tennessee road filled with stunning mountain views, rock peaks, Lake Ocoee, and the Cherokee National Forest. The area is also filled to the brim with Civil War and Cherokee Indian historic sites. One historic site to check out on your drive is the Old Copper Road. Originally, the road was used to transport copper ore from Copperhill and Ducktown to Clevland, TN. They moved the copper by horse-drawn wagons and once they reached Cleveland the copper was then transported by train all the way to Richmond, VA and Birmingham, AL. The copper transported here was the main source of copper for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The original Old Copper Road has now been rehabilitated into a hiking trail at Ocoee Whitewater Center. The river at the Ocoee Whitewater Center was even the site of the canoe and kayak competition in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games!

Highway 180

Hwy 180 courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Highway 180 connects with Georgia’s only national scenic drive, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Drive. You’ll circle around the Chattahoochee National Forest on this road and have a front row seat to all the trees changing colors.  If you follow highway 180 for about 12 miles you’ll reach Brasstown Bald, which has the highest elevation in the whole state of Georgia. Make sure to check out the observation tower where you’ll have a view of 3 different states at once! Hop back on 180 and pass through Helen, GA where you can stop at Habersham Vineyards & Winery, one of Georgia’s oldest and largest wineries. Relax for a bit and enjoy a refreshing glass of one of their award winning wines. Also in Helen, GA be sure to check out The Georgia Mountain Coaster. It’s the first alpine roller coaster in Georgia and a quick ride on it will be sure to be a thrilling experience!

These roads are the perfect trip to enjoy the views and the vibrant colors that the mountains have to offer. So grab your family, fill up your tank, and keep the windows rolled down for an awesome trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains this fall! And please share your photos with us. We love to see them!

How Did the Blue Ridge Mountains Form?



When we say the old Blue Ridge mountains, we mean it! As part of the Appalachian mountain range, the Blue Ridge mountains are the second oldest range in the whole world. Over 1 BILLION years ago, shifts in our Earth’s tectonic plates caused the Blue Ridge mountains to form in a system of peaks and valleys that span eight states!

Sometimes it’s a little confusing that you can see the Blue Ridge mountains in other states besides Georgia but these mountains are vast. There is a Northern section that includes Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The Southern section includes West Virginia, Tennessee, North & South Carolina, and of course right here in Blue Ridge, Georgia! Our particular section of the range is known as the Appalachian Mountain Range and we are a part of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

They Really are Blue!

View from “Adventure Us” cabin

Have you ever wondered why these mountains are called Blue Ridge? If you catch any section of the range at the right time of day, you’ll see that the mountains have a distinctive blue color. The forests that cover these rocky protrusions are predominately made up of spruce and fir trees and they emit isoprene into the atmosphere creating the blue hue!

The Blue Ridge Mountains can span across 60 miles in some locations. While the tallest mountain in this system is Mount Mitchell in North Carolina rising at 6,684 feet high, just 30 minutes from downtown Blue Ridge is the tallest peak in Georgia, Brasstown Bald rising at 4,784 feet above sea level! Here you can see 4 states!

Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Bald

Early Inhabitants

The Native Americans, and specifically the Cherokee, lived in the Blue Ridge area more than 12,000 years ago! The moderate climate and the character of the mountains themselves, made a perfect region for inhabitants to settle. They farmed and hunted in the valleys and mountains that they called “the Enchanted Land” until they were forced to leave on the Trail of Tears.

Two Features

Photo Courtesy of @ancole78

One popular trail system that follow the Blue Ridge mountains all the way through Virginia is the Appalachian Trail. Hikers along the trail get the advantage of seeing the stunning untouched beauty of the mountains.

At the extreme Southern tip of the Appalachian Trail and the entire Blue Ridge mountain system is the spectacular Amicalola Falls, the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi!

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 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!

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.

A Four Season Scenic Ride



In the North Georgia Mountains, we celebrate four gentle yet very distinct seasonal transitions, each measured very close to the designated tri-month celestial calendar. Mother Nature’s landscape specialist (shall we call her Flora?) takes a particular interest in altering our mountainscape on a quarterly basis, cloaking it in very different hues, depths of foliage, and fragrances.

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

Highest Peak In GA

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

Photo Courtesy of Steve Grundy Photography

Anna Ruby Falls

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

Anna Ruby Falls Photo Courtesy of Bill Mantooth

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

Alpine Helen

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

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

Hogpen Gap

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

Hogpen Gap Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Helton Creek Falls

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

Helton Creek Falls Photo Courtesy of Molly Carreras

Seasons of Fun!

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Mountain Mem’ries Photography

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

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

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!