A Mountain of Summer Fun!



Ahhhhhh, August! It’s time to start checking the newspaper circulars for Back to School deals on sneakers and backpacks, and to get the kids ready for a return to Readin’, Writin’, and ‘Rithmatic. But don’t lose sight that it’s still summer and that means festivals abound, there’s an outrageous amount of live music at local wineries and breweries, and the end of the month is the beginning of U-Pick Apple season in Blue Ridge, Blairsville and Ellijay! Take a look at the upcoming events and plan your Escape to Blue Ridge to experience all the mountains have to offer!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

National Juried Photography Show
August 1 – 25
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge 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.

Harvey
August 2 – 3
LOCATION: Gilmer Arts Playhouse

Photo Courtesy of Gilmer Arts

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.

Gombie Fest!
August 3
LOCATION: Grumpy Old Men Brewing

Photo Courtesy of Grumpy Old Men Brewing

There’s very little info about this very mysterious festival.  Even the name is a bit odd. What is a Gomby? Gumby’s twin perhaps? It’s not clear. There are a couple of clues though: the festival is one day after International Beer Day and the location is very clear – Grumpy Old Men Brewing.  Hmmmm … GOM. Grumpy Old Men maybe?

Live Music at Grumpy’s:
August 9 – Jacob Davis
August 30 – Gregg Erwin

Music at The Blue Coyote
August 3
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!

August 3 – Owl Creek Band

Music & Hops
August 3 – 31
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!

August 3rd – The Orange Walls Band
August 10th – Barb Carbon Live
August 17th – Dave Dale
August 24th – Rivertown Road
August 31 – Dale Click

Cartecay Vineyards Live Music
August 3 – 31
LOCATION: Cartecay Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Cartecay Vineyards

Twisty grapevines, a fireplace with outdoor seating (including a statuesque still-standing chimney, which is the winery’s icon), with live music on weekends all in a serene setting on the hillsides near Ellijay. Of special note: The annual Cartecay Crush Festival is August 24 – 25.

August 3 – David Hyde
August 4 – Scott Stambaugh
August 10 – Camille Rae
August 11 – Cagle and Pitts Duo Review
August 17 – Jesse Black
August 18 – Adrian Stover
August 24 – Dom Wier
August 25 – Rowdy Yates
August 31 – Timothy O’Donovan

Boat Dock Bar and Grill
August 4 – 30
LOCATION: Lake Blue Ridge Marina

Photo Courtesy of the Boat Dock Bar & Grill

The Boat Dock Bar and Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina has one of the best views of Lake Blue Ridge around. The restaurant features a full kitchen, outdoor seating, a beachy atmosphere, and it’s dog-friendly (if your dog is dog friendly).

August 4 – Buck & Oz
August 10 – Gerry Herndon
August 30 – Gerry Herndon returns

Vince Gill
August 9
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Vince Gill has won 20 Grammys, 18 CMA awards, including Entertainer of the Year twice. His songs have hit the top of the charts numerous times and he’s sold more than 26 million albums. Gill is the ultimate entertainer who says he’ll keep on because “it’s still as much fun as it’s ever been to play music.” That attitude will ring true when he hits the Anderson Music Hall stage on August 9.

An Evening with The Eagles (Tribute)
August 9
LOCATION: Chateau Meichtry

Photo Courtesy of Chateau Meichtry

You will be amazed at how many songs you’ll recognize! That peaceful, easy feeling of the Eagles is a part of nearly all their songs. This evening package includes the concert, thanks to Eagles tributaries Matty Croxton Band and the Craig McGriff band, plus a bottle of Chateau Meichtry wine, a souvenir glass, and dinner from the Angelfire Food Truck, parked on site!

Everybody Loves Opal
August 15 – October 1
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater

Every small town has an Opal. She’s a middle-age recluse who lives in an old, falling down mansion on the edge of town. She’s quirky, to say the least and she collects things, hauling them through town to her house in a little red wagon. She’s harmless, she’s also a target, but she’s oblivious and those trying to do her harm end up getting theirs in the end.

Kiwanis Club of Blue Ridge’s 23rd Annual Championship Rodeo
August 16 – 17
LOCATION: Kiwanis Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Rick Young & Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club

This 23rd annual western rodeo event features bull riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, bareback, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and special events. Don’t miss the Boot Toss, where a drawing of 5 registered participants will toss a boot for chances to win $100 cash or a 2019 4×4 Dodge Ram!

Herbalist Medicine Making
August 17
LOCATION: The Folk Apothic

Photo Courtesy of Folk Apothics

They used to say “let food be your medicine” and how many times are diets based on a simple change of what you eat. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of raw vegetables, fresh produce and herbs from the garden, along with some wild harvested material. As usual, you get to eat what you cook! Bonus: A pickin’ jam session will take place. Grab a chair and your instrument and jam with local musicians.

Georgia Mountain Classics Cruise In
August 23
LOCATION: Dairy Queen, Blue Ridge

Photo Coutesy of Georgia Mountain Classics Car Club

Bring your classic car and park it at the DQ and you get a $4 off DQ coupon if you do! It’s all part of the summer classic car Cruise Ins that occur on the 4th Friday of every month.

Mercier Hard Cider & Craft Beer Festival
August 24
LOCATION: Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

One of the most scenic venues for live music in the North Georgia Mountains, whether it’s apple blossom time, little green apples time, or harvest time, anytime is the right time to enjoy the spectacular views, the freshest fruit and the best Hard Cider! In August the 2nd annual Hard Cider & Craft Beer Festival returns as the largest gathering of hard cider makers in the state of Georgia and at the end of the month U-pick begins!

Mountain Heritage Festival
August 31
LOCATION: Town Square, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of the Union County Historical Society

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

The Art of Dylan Pierce
August 31 – September 28
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Beautiful watercolors capturing the soul of his subjects and the heart and beauty of animals Dylan Pierce has been painting, presenting and touring since he was 12.

Sawyer Brown
August 31
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

You’ll recognize them if you hear them: “Some Girls Do”, The Dirt Road”, “Thank God for You” and “The Boys and Me”. This is a band that burst on the scene in 1981 with a lot of hits and a distinctive sound. Opening for Sawyer Brown is Exile, a band that’s been touring for 55 years!

NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM

With the amenities of an exclusive riverside resort, a charming private guesthouse, and sleeping accommodations for dozen friends or family members in a gorgeous wooded setting, Row Harder is not your average Blue Ridge mountain cabin rental. Situated on 1.8 green acres with 200 feet of frontage on the Toccoa River, this magnificent property is a nature lover’s dream. You can fish, swim, or kayak on the river or settle into a swing, rocker or hammock and instantly feel your daily stresses disappear. It’s a tranquil oasis, just five minutes from Lake Blue Ridge, shopping and the bars and restaurants of Blue Ridge.

Toccoa Lookout Cottage

Toccoa Lookout Cottage is not your average Blue Ridge GA cabin rental. With 3,000 square feet of gorgeously decorated living space and four bedrooms to accommodate 11 people, all the comforts of home and amenities of a private resort, and the Toccoa River running through the property, this is a very special place.

Rising above the canopy with the clouds above and majestic mountains in the distance, Princeton Heights is like a treehouse on a grand scale, with all the amenities of an exclusive resort. This beautiful custom red cedar log home is located in Blue Ridge, seven miles from downtown in the heart of the Aska Adventure area. Whatever sports or activities you favor, whether it’s swimming, fly fishing, kayaking, mountain biking or hiking the nearby Benton MacKaye and Aska trails, you can find it here, just minutes away.

Lakeview at Boulder Rock

Some say that Lakeview at Boulder Rock has the best view in the Blue Ridge area, and it’s easy to see why. Perched high on a hillside above a glistening Lake Blue Ridge with long-range mountain vistas stretching 50 miles into Tennessee and North Carolina, its magnificent show-stopping panorama will take your breath away.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

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.

May Flowers Are Popping & So Are These Great Events!



May 2019
Spring is in full bloom and this is an ideal time to come visit the North Georgia Mountains! Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy a vibrant downtown, great restaurants, unique shops, rushing waterfalls, a sparkling blue lake, and mountain views that will take your breath away!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Veterans Fishing Rodeo
May 3
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Fish Hatchery

Photo Courtesy of Chattahoochee Fish Hatchery

Bring your own fishing gear and bait – but you’ll never have a better chance to catch fresh trout.  The event comes complete with lunch and prizes. Georgia Sports Fishing Regulations apply.

Live Music at The Blue Coyote
May 3

LOCATION: Chattahoochee Fish Hatchery

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!

May 3 – Slickfoot Band Live
May 4 – Southern Vantage Band
May 10 – Apollo Band
May 11 – Mind the Stepchildren
May 17 – Shadow Ape Band
May 18 – Topper/Voices of Rock
May 24 – Breaking Point Band
May 25 – Gregg Erwin
May 31 – Rocket Band

Live Music Is Better: Geoff Achison
May 3
LOCATION: Chattahoochee Fish Hatchery

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater

Australian and on tour, Achison is a guitar master as well as a song writer.  His music has been compared to the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton and JJ Cale. He has a solid foundation in blues while also embracing varied musical styles.

Outlaw’s Workshop Retreat
May 3 – May 5
LOCATION: 3 Monkey’s Home Accents

Photo Courtesy of 3 Monkey’s Home Accents

If you’ve ever wanted to learn the art of watercolor painting, now’s the time. This three-day retreat covers techniques like layering, blending, accenting and various other aspects of watercolor painting. Crafters at all levels from beginners to advanced are welcome. 

Boat Dock Bar & Grill
May 3 – May 24
LOCATION: Lake Blue Ridge Marina

Photo Courtesy of the 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.

May 3 – Shannon York and Rob Harper 
May 4 – Lindsay Beth Harper 
May 5 – Buck & Oz Return 
May 10 – Danny Rhea Live
May 11 – Gopher Broke
May 18 – David Welch Unplugged 
May 24 – Gopher Broke

All Star Monster Truck Monster BBQ Tailgate Party
May 3 – May 4
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Motorsports Park

Photo Courtesy of Dale Burkhart Photography

On Friday meet all the biggies – Bigfoot, Avenger, Brutus, Gunslinger and more. Plus you get to meet the guys who drive these monster trucks and eat a bit of barbecue while you’re at it. On Saturday the trucks and their drivers are in full stomp mode. Choose either event or both.

Namaste and Cabernet
May 4
LOCATION: Bear Claw Vineyards & Winery

Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

The perfect combination – an hour of yoga with Ashlee Lofton of Yoga Over Blue Ridge followed by a tasting of award-winning Bear Claw’s Grizzly Tasting. You get relaxed both ways!

Georgia Apple Blossom Festival
May 4 – May 5
LOCATION: Downtown Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of the Gilmer Chamber of Commerce

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

7th Annual Awake the Grapes
May 4 – May 5
LOCATION: Downtown Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of Serenberry Vineyards

It’s a tradition at wineries to help grapes wake up in the spring – it takes more than a nudge, and alarm clocks are worthless with grapes. So, cuttings from cold weather prunings fuel the bonfire and grapevines are perked up by folks drinking wine and listening to live music. It’s a tradition. It’s necessary. And it’s fun!

Taste of Blue Ridge
May 4 – May 5
LOCATION: Downtown Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of The Humane Society of Blue Ridge

This will be the 12th annual Taste of Blue Ridge, benefiting the Humane Society of Blue Ridge. More than 30 restaurants from around the Blue Ridge area will participate – plenty to eat, plus live and silent auctions and live music!

Apple Trees Art Party
May 4
LOCATION: Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

Being out your creative side at Mercier’s and create a beautiful painting of an apple tree. The cost is $40/per person and includes a tractor ride up to the pavilion overlooking the orchard, a lunch consisting of a variety of sandwiches, fruits, and desserts, all the art supplies you will need, and a skilled artist to help you! All skill levels are welcome!

Cartecay Vineyards
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of Cartecay Vineyards

A picturesque venue, live music, and wine. What better way to spend an afternoon with your family or friends?

May 4 – David Hyde
May 5 – April Rooks
May 12 – Rick Byers
May 26 – Gopher Broke

American Idol Winner Kris Allen in Concert
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of Firefly Productions

Back in Blue Ridge, American Idol winner Kris Allen is ready to rock the mountains in a special live intimate acoustic show in a private cabin! Tickets are seriously limited, so get them as soon as you can!  

Rusty Trucks Folkart Style
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of Cohutta Country Store

Rule of thumb – do anything (whether it’s art, a demolition derby or a golf outing) whenever the first two words describing the event are “rusty trucks”. In this case, it’s an art event – so sign up soon and you’ll be painting your very own rusty truck before you know it. The cost is $25 and all art supplies are included plus instruction by Becca.

Boeing Boeing
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Community Theater

It’s the swinging 60’s and it was okay to call flight attendants “stewardesses”. Dating practices also were a tad different in those days, like three fiances! Life gets a little bumpy when his lies catch up to him and his friend Robert comes to stay! 

Blue Ridge Adventure Race 2019
May 4 – May 26
LOCATION: The Blue Ridge Brewery

Photo Courtesy of AR Georgia

Not your usual 5k or 10k – that’s for sure. This Adventure Race features a 24-hour race and an 8-hour race complete with secret locations and a variety of skill sets like trekking, biking, paddling, navigation and orienteering. 

Georgia Mountain EggFest
May 17 – May 18
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Mountain Fairground

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

Outlaws & Renegades Tour
May 18
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Travis Tritt and The Cadillac Three will be live in Hiawassee on May 18! Grab your best boots and sing along to some of your favorite Country songs like “It’s a great day to be alive”, “Here’s a quarter”, “T.R.O.U.B.L.E” and “I’m gonna be somebody”!

Spring Arts in the Park
May 18
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountain Art Association

The 44th Annual Spring Arts in the Park is a Southern tradition in these parts. Enjoy more than 200 arts, crafts and food booths, featuring the best in mountain crafts and fine arts, demonstrations, music and dancing!

Great American Pie Fest
May 25
LOCATION: Paradise Hills

Photo Courtesy of Paradise Hills

A full day celebration honoring those who served to protect America. Live music featuring Michael Hulett, beer, brats, lunch and a never-ending pie buffet (apple and cherry especially, of course).

Spring Arts,Crafts & Music Festival
May 25 – May 26
LOCATION: Downtown Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of the Union County Historical Society

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

New Homes Added to Our Program

Just Bluffing

Just Bluffing

Do you dream of a private mountain getaway where you can leave the stresses of daily life behind and relax with family and friends in a magnificent setting? That dream can become a reality at Just Bluffing. This beautifully designed Blue Ridge cabin rental is a tri-level showplace situated on a bluff amid the trees, with a glorious view of the mountains from sunrise to sunset. Secluded and serene but just six miles from the shops and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge and fun activities like apple picking at Mercier’s Orchard, it’s the perfect place for a well-deserved vacation.

Aska Adventure Lodge

Aska Adventure Lodge

The Aska Adventure Lodge is located in the sought after Aska Adventure area and is conveniently located less than five minutes from the quaint town of Blue Ridge, Georgia, the Toccoa River and Lake Blue Ridge. It is close to everything you’d want, but tucked away with all the privacy you’d expect from a mountain vacation retreat. Aska is the Cherokee Native American word for “winter retreat,” however, this cabin is perfect in every season. Hike right from the expansive wraparound porch, up the hill and connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail. Or, take advantage of the many popular area waterfalls and great tubing and canoeing activities.

In Case You Missed It

Dog Friendly Hikes

Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone! While we’d all love to be able to take our dogs with us on every trail we venture down, we can’t always do that. Sometimes the trails are too steep or the terrain is too rough for our four-legged friends to maneuver, or sometimes they simply aren’t allowed in that area because of other critters that may be dangerous for our dogs to encounter. To make things a little easier for you and your furry companion, here’s a list of a few trails around the Blue Ridge area that are sure to bring tons of fun for both and your favorite adventure buddy! Keep Reading.

Thank you again for giving us the privilege of serving you. If we can ever be of assistance, please visit us online at www.escapetoblueridge.com email us at reservations@escapetoblueridge.com or give us a call at 1-866-618-2521. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Many happy returns,
From all of us at Escape to Blue Ridge

The Black Sheep



History, architecture, and flavor combine to bring you the most incredible Blue Ridge dining experience at The Black Sheep Restaurant. From the moment you walk up the marble steps, taking note of the pet friendly patio, and the door swings open to welcome you, there is no question that you are about to have a divine experience. From the attentive staff and thoughtful menu items, The Black Sheep is clearly not your average, ordinary run-of-the-mill dining establishment. It is in fact, an elevated, stylish, and classy restaurant that believes in fresh food that’s locally sourced and artfully prepared.

What to Expect

Expect your taste buds to do jumping jacks! Seriously, Executive Chef Greg Cornelius is an absolute master with his culinary talents and abilities.  He specializes in taking your favorite American fares and elevating them about twenty notches. For example, you may think a hamburger or meatloaf is an odd item to find in at fine dining restaurant, but once that first taste of meat crosses your lips, you will become a believer because it will be like no other you have ever tasted! Of course, you will find traditional upscale dishes like rack of lamb or duck breast but add a gorgonzola cream or gorgonzola polenta and we’ve just crossed the line from ordinary to extraordinary!

You know what else you can expect? A Raw Oyster Bar! That’s right, the only one you will find in Blue Ridge. You can choose classic on the half shell oysters or if raw is not your thing, they can be prepared Rockefeller style. On Wednesdays and Sundays, you can select the Three Course Dinner Special. For either $19.99 or $26.99 you can enjoy an appetizer, main course, and dessert! Oh, and we’re not done yet. Saturdays and Sundays now feature a decadent Brunch menu. From 12pm – 4pm you can feast on Crab Cake Benedict or Corned Beef Hash, but the Chicken and Red Velvet Waffle is so good it’ll make your tongue jump out and lick the eyebrows right off your head!

Dine on the Black Sheep’s Pet Friendly Patio!

Happy Hour

The Black Sheep features not one but two bars to enjoy craft cocktails, beer, and wine. In fact, their wine cellar is so superb that they have been recognized by Wine Spectator for their impressive selection of vino. Both the owner, Brandon Lofton, and the General Manager, Patrick, are sommeliers and can help you pair the perfect bottle with your menu selections.

Have you heard of the Blue Ridge Lavender Smash? Made with fresh blueberry, lavender, lemon & Sipsmith London Dry Gin, this refreshing cocktail is the hit of the season! You can order one at the inside bar or step out to the patio and enjoy an adult beverage on the largest outdoor bar in Blue Ridge. Here you can take in the sights and sounds of Downtown Blue Ridge while sampling the Bar Bites like Truffle French Fries or Tuna Nachos, watching the game, and chatting it up with both old friends and new.

Blue Ridge Lavender Smash!

Distinctively Unique

The Black Sheep has been historically known as a place to go for special occasions and while that is still true, their mission is to cater to the every day patron while making each dining experience special. Speaking of catering, you don’t have to be onsite to enjoy the gourmet flavors of The Black Sheep. Treat your corporate partners or family and friends to decadent eats for your meetings or festive celebrations. If you prefer the ambiance of the restaurant, you may choose to make use of one of two private rooms – The Wine Room or The Library Room for large parties, banquets or special events.

Photo courtesy of Candy Murdock-Hagerman’s Birthday Celebration!

Since we’re talking about events, The Black Sheep likes to mix things up and keep fresh ideas flowing along with their fresh cuisine. Last summer they premiered their Outdoor Movie Nights on the front patio under the big oak tree. This year not only will they host Movie Nights, but they will also add Yoga on the Patio. Just picture this: Brunch, Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, and Yoga. Oh yeah!  Keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram pages for all the latest happenings and upcoming events.

Beauty, Brains & Bayou

Deep in the bayou of Louisiana, a young chef took his passion for Cajun cooking and restaurant management to work for a large restaurant conglomerate in Southern Florida. By chance, Brandon Lofton found himself in an airport in Puerto Rico making conversation with a beautiful corporate executive, Ashlee, also from the Ft. Lauderdale area. Eventually they would marry and purchase a vacation home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Brandon and Ashlee love the outdoor life – hiking, biking, and boating, but after one fateful trip, the whole game changed. The Lofton’s went back to Florida and made the decision to leave Corporate America, become entrepreneurs, and make the move to be full time mountain residents. If you ask the owners of The Black Sheep if they made the right move, you will get an unequivocal..YES! It’s the best decision they ever made. They love being a part of the Blue Ridge community. They also love having the great outdoors so accessible and all the great people they get to meet along the way!

After settling into the mountain lifestyle and getting his restaurant where it needs to be, Brandon wanted to be able to showcase his Cajun side. In partnership with his GM, Patrick, Lulu’s Gumbo Shop can now be seen in their branded tent around town at festivals, during special events with partners like Grumpy Old Men Brewing, and at private events like weddings. Lulu’s specializes in chicken & sausage Gumbo and Jambalaya – a shrimp and crawfish combination, made from old family recipes straight out of LA.

Ashlee has also become a certified yoga instructor. Her business, Yoga Over Blue Ridge, is a mobile yoga studio. She offers private instruction and lessons and destination yoga classes. These are perfect for Girlfriend Getaways, Bachelorette parties, or any private yoga party. Recently she has partnered with Bear Claw Vineyards for a Namaste & Cabernet class. Yoga class + wine tasting? Yes, please! She’s also partnering with local breweries for Bend & Brew events. That’s right, yoga and a flight of beer! Keep an eye on her social pages to find out about future events.

If all of this wasn’t enough, the power couple recently purchased Blue Ridge Brewery in downtown Blue Ridge. Located less than a quarter mile from The Black Sheep, Blue Ridge Brewery is located at 187 Depot Street. You can look forward to new beers crafted by an expert brew master, a new menu designed to delight the taste buds, and a stellar lineup of live music and events!

Up Next For The Sheep

A new menu was just released and includes amazing dishes like an heirloom tomato Panzanella salad and seared diver scallops with lemon risotto and smoked tomato coulis. If you haven’t yet been to The Black Sheep Restaurant, what are you waiting for? Put it on the top of your must do list. If you haven’t been in a while, you need to come back and check it out. The vibe is comfortable and not pretentious, the food is on point, and the atmosphere will make this your favorite downtown spot. If you’ve been there recently, then you know what’s up!

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad topped with Ricotta Salata

As a special treat just for Escape to Blue Ridge Fans, The Black Sheep Restaurant is offering one free appetizer per table if you tell your waiter that you are the “Black Sheep of Your Family”. How cool is that? Now don’t be sheepish, make your dinner reservations today!

Where Do I Find Souvenirs?



This is often the toughest chore on any vacation.  There will be someone who was left at home that wishes they had been able to escape to the mountains with you. Bringing them home a little something special might just take the sting out of having been left behind. Here are a few downtown shops that make this task a pleasure, though they can’t be held responsible if you should purchase trinkets for yourself, as well!

Shopping for the Outdoor Enthusiast?

If a river runs through the heart of your special someone, then they might be (or wish they were) a fly fisherman. Fly Shop Co. of Blue Ridge has a sizeable collection of locally tied flies, as well as all the enviable apparel and gear. This shop knows how to bait you, now it is up to you to decide what you want to net. Visit their retail shop at 11 Mountain St. #4.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Knife Company

The art of bladesmithing was developed thousands of centuries ago. The Egyptians used wrought iron in the production of swords and knife blades as early as 3000 BC. Blue Ridge Knife Company has one of the largest and finest selections of artisan and utility knives that can be found in the southeastern United States. Whether you are shopping for a hunter or fisherman, a steak lover, a bread baker or a savvy collector, you must not miss a visit to this shop located at 497 East Main St.

What to Buy the Artist or Art Connoisseur….

There are art galleries that display breathtaking works that go far beyond your souvenir budget, but Multitudes Gallery is not one of them. This eclectic shop, at 723 E. Main St., retails the works of many local and regional award-winning and collectible artists, yet everything you begin to covet is actually affordable. A hand-blown wine glass, a mosaic serving plate, a fabric covered lamp, a giant metal sculptured red ant or an antique jeweled photo frame are part of an incredible collection of works that will have you asking what their shipping policy might be, for you may not have enough trunk space to take all these works of art back home with you.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

So many of the artists featured in the local galleries are members and contributors to the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association, located at 420 W. Main St. The Arts Center has a wonderful collection of original works for sale, as well as prints, cards, and an art book library. If you are shopping for an aspiring artist, the center also has a wonderful selection of fine art supplies, the ideal gift to encourage someone to pursue their talents.

Shopping for the Porch Sitters can be a challenge.

Not everyone in your life wants to paint like Monet or fish for Moby Dick. Some of them just like to sit on the porch and observe Mother Nature at her finest, or read about the wonders of the world and the people who have evolved around it.

Blue Ridge Booksellers is what book stores should always be about. Allow yourself plenty of time to peruse this remarkable inventory of collectible, rare and antiquarian books for sale. In addition, there are great books that kids will love. The Booksellers, at 691 E. Main St., also has a unique inventory of militaria and maps.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Bird Seep Company

One doesn’t have to be a life long member of the Audubon Society to enjoy birdwatching. When doing it from the porch, it does help to entice these feathered friends with food, lodging and a place to bathe. Blue Ridge Bird Seed Company is second to no other mercantile in this region when it comes to such an inventory.  You can visit the Bird Seed Company at 611 E Main St. They are open 7 days a week.

And for the “just bring me a t-shirt” person on your list…

Well, not just any t-shirt will do, right?  If you want it to say, Blue Ridge, you want to make a trip to The Blue Ridge Cotton Co. There you will be surrounded by high-quality cotton items including sweatshirts, hats, home accessories, and unique gifts. They also donate 1% of every purchase, every day, to a local charity. They are conveniently located at 550 East Main Street.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Cotton Company

One of the first questions everyone will ask you when you return home from your cabin stay is, “did you see a bear?” We hope you have experienced a sighting or two, but to ensure that you don’t disappoint anyone, visit The Bear Store, (601 E. Main St. Suite 1) where everything is about the bears. Cute, friendly adorable and wearable ones, of course.

When you get home with your souvenir stash, we are sure you’ll be greeted with hugs of appreciation. They may also suggest you plan to bring them with you on your next visit. Here is a link to our larger cabins!   

The Tastes of Europe In Blue Ridge



For Americans visiting Europe, an integral part of the adventure is partaking of the local cuisine and libations. When Europeans immigrate to our country they too enjoy our regional cuisine, at least for a little while. Eventually, they begin to miss a fine Irish whiskey or a delicately seasoned Polish sausage. Fortunately for Blue Ridge, some of these traditional European fares have established themselves here in the mountains. On your next stay with us, consider visiting one of these fine establishments.

The Black Bear Bier Garten

📷 @ancole78

Over 4,500 miles separate the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Bavarian Alps, but only a few miles come between our cabins and the genuine vibes of a German beer garden. If you are looking to have a non-American food experience, then try a sampling of sausages with choices that include Boar, Venison, Buffalo, Pheasant, and Elk. If you want to experience something on draft besides Miller Lite, then cozy up to the bar and start asking about their outstanding hops selections. And if you don’t want to take your husband shopping with you, the sign on the door at the Black Bear acknowledges that they have free husband daycare! Meet him later for a brew and a large German soft pretzel. You won’t be disappointed.

The Boro Inn Irish Pub

📷 The Boro Inn Irish Pub

The curb impression is very deceiving as you drive up to the Boro Inn. From the outside, there is nothing authentic about it. As you open the door, you enter a pub in the County Wexford, with Father Brendan Doyle (retired) officiating behind the bar. With 177 different handcrafted libations including whiskeys and brews whose recipes span 1,300 years, there is nothing that isn’t authentic at the Boro. Part pub, part museum, you will be as captivated by historical artifacts as you will be by the bartender’s brogue. The music, the stories, the potations and the grub will land you smack in the middle of The Emerald Isle while you vacation in the North Georgia Mountains.

Cucina Rustica

📷 Cucina Rustica

Chef Danny Mellman takes Italian fare to a new level at this fine-dining ristorante located in Morganton, GA, just a few miles east of Blue Ridge. This is the perfect place to spend an evening with friends. Start out with a plate of Frito Misto- flash fried calamari and fish with artichokes and lemon and charred tomato-lemon aioli. The salads are shareable in size. The Treviso is a patron favorite – with bacon, balsamic, fresh pear, walnuts, and Gorgonzola. A myriad of pasta, risottos, and polentas, with fresh roasted vegetables, compliment delectable fresh sauces, meat entrees, and the finest of seafood. This is Old World Italian cuisine served mountainside. Reservations are recommended.

Margo’s Gourmet Polish Kitchen

📷 Margo’s Gourmet Polish Kitchen

Do you often crave your Babciu’s pierogi? Maybe you always preferred her meat pies even though everyone else fought over the potato and cheese filled pockets. Has it been years since you dove into a dish of your grandmother’s cabbage rolls? Margo wants to satisfy those memories. She is in her kitchen preparing all of her menu by hand daily to assure the best quality taste. When the weather cooperates, you can enjoy amazing Polish sausages, krauts, goulash, soups, and baked goods served on the kawiarnia na dworze (outdoor patio). Whether seated indoors or out, having a chair in Margo’s kitchen means a visit from Margo, too. You will love the food, the experience, and the chef.

Blue Ridge Bucket List



Top 10 Things To Do In Blue Ridge For 2019

As we ring in the New Year, 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 2019 Escape to Blue Ridge!

1. Eat Collard Greens & Black-Eyed Peas

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. Experience the Lake Life

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.

3. 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. If music is more your style, you can shake your groove thing at both the Blue Ridge Wine & Jazz Festival and Blue Ridge Blues & Barbeque Festival. Blue Ridge festivals are family friendly, pet friendly, and extraordinarily fun!

4. 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 Will Taylor at the Fly Shop Co. 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.

5. Wine, Beer and Hard Cider, Oh My!

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.

6. Jump on the Swinging Bridge

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!

7. Get wet at Fall Branch Falls

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.

8. Come on Ride That Train

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

9. Find a Fairy Cross

Legend has is 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. Commonly known as staurolite crystals, these minerals are abundant in Fannin County.

10. Book an Escape to Blue Ridge

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!

Das Kaffee Haus



If you’ve never stepped foot in the cutest coffee shop in North Georgia, you are truly missing out. Das Kaffee Haus is the definition of gourmet chic. Not only will you find aromatic coffees and knowledgeable baristas, but the quaintness of this Blue Ridge coffee shop will make it a fast favorite every time you are in town.

During the week, you can mingle with the locals. Das Kaffee Haus is a popular space for friends and business acquaintances to meet up and begin the day with a high-octane espresso or their favorite cup of joe. During the day you can plug into their Wi-Fi and keep working while you get your afternoon pick-me-up. On the weekends, the tourists discover the magic of this shop and enjoy the friendly service and inviting atmosphere.

What’s Inside

For the last two and a half years, Das Kaffee Haus has been building their reputation with providing their customers with the most flavorful and delicious coffee selections. Quality and consistency along with the friendliest people is what makes this coffee shop so special. Utilizing only the highest quality of beans roasted from Batdorf & Bronson out of Marietta, Georgia, you will think that you have been transported to a little café in Italy when you taste your first sip.

What sets apart this java from any other coffee shop, besides the quality of beans and the friendliness of the staff, is both the water and the Astoria espresso machine. Heads and shoulders above other espresso machines, the Astoria is Italian made and when used correctly can produce hundreds of porta filter espresso shots, a specific barista tool of the trade. In fact, a traditional espresso shot is actually a double shot. This is the base of all their drinks and they can custom make any requests. The coolest part is they are true to the brew and don’t use super sugary and fake sweeteners. Most of their sauces and syrups are completely natural and organic. Staying true to their organic profile and the true flavor of the bean is why people rave about this place and it keeps people coming back time and again.

The Science

Manager, Anthony Vitters, and his head barista, Alex Cruz have undergone extensive training to ensure the perfect nectar of the gods. After all, the coffee industry is not strictly about latte art. There is a science that goes into the perfect espresso shot. The roast, the grind-off, the timing, and the water all make a difference. Speaking of water, Das Kaffee Haus invested in a special filtration system to take the already refreshing Blue Ridge mountain water and remove all the chlorine and chemicals from it while leaving all the healthy minerals in place.

Besides perfect espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes, Das Kaffee Haus is supplied by its own bakery / full kitchen offsite, (which is the Fudge Shop owned by the company as well) . There they bake up tantalizing treats like freshly baked muffins, cookies, and cakes. Recently added to their repertoire, you can now find savory treats like spinach and egg puff pastries. You never know what type of sweet or savory treat they will create, so be sure to stop by often and see what’s new! Need something Vegetarian or Gluten Free? It can be done per request.

Meet the owner

Das Kaffee Haus is the brain child of owner Michael Fuerst and wife Cherie Fuerst. Mr. Fuerst is originally from Bavaria, Germany and didn’t come to America until he was 31 years old. While in California, he fell in love with a Georgia girl, Cherie. Together they vacationed back east, and Michael realized that this is where he belonged. The mountain landscape reminded him so much of the geography back home, that he knew this is where he wanted to take his next step in life.

With a background in business and marketing, Michael has vast experience in the food and beverage world. Getting his start in the industry back in Germany, he transferred his knowledge and opened up a restaurant here in the states. When the opportunity came up in Blue Ridge, Michael didn’t think twice and jumped on the chance to blend his business knowledge, restaurant experience, and passion for coffee.

No stranger to working hard, this ambitious man also owns the previously mentioned fudge shop (Fudge & Company) in Ellijay and is working on another business opportunity right here in Blue Ridge. About ten months ago, Michael and his wife opened a local art and home décor store called Down to Urth Provisions which is adjacent and just below the coffee shop. Stay tuned to see what’s next for this dynamic entrepreneur couple!

Here We Grow Again

The story is not complete with this amazing little coffee house. There are certainly more great things to come in the future. It was important to Michael and his team to not grow too fast and compromise the quality of their product. Now that they are established and have a strong base, they are ready to add events to their repertoire. You can look forward to acoustic musical performances, poetry readings, and other live music on their outdoor deck. Now complete with electricity, lights, fans and heaters, you can sit out on the deck soon and watch the passersby below warming up from the inside out with a nice café au lait.

Escape To Blue Ridge

We’ve just shared with you yet another reason to leave the concrete jungle and escape to the adorable town of Blue Ridge. Book one of our cozy cabins or grand lodges and enjoy the slower pace of life in the mountains. When you venture into downtown, be sure to stop and have a cuppa at Das Kaffee Haus. From now until December 31st, if you say “Hansel & Gretel” you will get a free cookie to go with your coffee selection! Because at Das Kaffee, when you have the right roast, the right equipment, and the right barista, you know you are at just the right spot!