Budget Friendly Vacation for the Post Holiday Traveler



The holidays can be a very expensive time of the year, so we understand needing to save money where you can. If you’re planning on taking a trip to Blue Ridge after the holidays but need to be a little more money savvy than usual, there are still lots of budget-friendly activities for you to experience! We’ve comprised a list of 6 activities for you and your family to take part in, for your wonderful Budget Friendly Blue Ridge Vacation! 

Hiking 

One thing Blue Ridge has plenty of is outdoor experiences. Hiking is one of our most popular outdoor activities because we have mountain trails galore! Climb to the peak of some of Georgia’s tallest mountains with the hike to Brasstown Bald near Blairsville or Fort Mountain in Chatsworth. Both of these hikes will provide you with breathtaking views from all around and a great workout! You could also hike to one of our four local waterfalls; Amicalola Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Fall Branch Falls, or Long Branch Falls. All four of these waterfalls are simply stunning, so you can’t go wrong with whichever you chose! And of course, you can always enjoy a hike on any of the trails through the Chattahoochee National Forest. With over 850 miles of recreational trails throughout the forest, there’s no way you’ll run out of fun!

Scenic Drive

Photo Courtesy of Bob Reel

With mountains all around, Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas have plenty of beautiful scenic drives you can take. Even though most of the trees will not have leaves since it’s wintertime, the mountain views and exploring the countryside are what make the drive. Hop on Highway 60 through Suches and find yourself high above the clouds, at 3,000 feet above sea level! Check out Highway 5 as well for a relaxing drive through the Cohutta Wilderness. And if you’re up for a little bit more of a road trip then hop on either the Cherohala Skyway or Ocoee Scenic Byway both of which will take you through parts of Tennessee. Spending the afternoon cruising around the countryside is an incredibly relaxing experience after the chaos of the holidays. So pile in the car, grab the wheel (and some snacks), and cruise!  

Window Shop

One of the most fun parts of shopping is looking at everything. It’s great to get a chance to scope out all of your options and Downtown Blue Ridge is the perfect place to window shop. Check out different oils from all over the world at Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company or check out all the outdoor accessories at Blue Ridge Adventure Wear. With so much to see and do around town, and a variety of different stores, you could window shop all day if you wanted! But if you do end up seeing something in the shop that’s an absolute MUST have and need to spend just a little, we promise we won’t tell if you don’t. Shhh! 

Live Music 

Who doesn’t love free live music? Many of Blue Ridge’s restaurants, bars, breweries, and wineries have free live music on the weekends. Stop by Grumpy Old Men Brewery on a Friday or Sunday afternoon for great music and great drinks. The Blue Coyote Bar in Downtown Blue Ridge is known for their live music and entertainment every Friday and Saturday night. At the delicious The Black Sheep restaurant, enjoy a yummy Sunday brunch all while listening to local artists perform. Bin 322 also has live music every Friday and Saturday night. And many of our local wineries offer live music on the weekends as well including; Cartecay Vineyards, Engleheim Vineyards, Crane Creek Vineyards and Chateau Meichtry Family Vineyard and Winery. Music makes you feel good. Simple as that. And in Blue Ridge we have an abundance of options! 

Explore Landmarks 

Photo Courtesy of Chanel Josephson

Over the years tourists have loved coming to Blue Ridge and exploring all we have to offer. So of course, they started to find some of our wonderful hidden gems and turned them into the great tourist attractions they are today. And it costs exactly nothing to explore and find them all! First on the list is the Swinging Bridge over Toccoa River, which has turned into one of tourists favorite spots. The bridge is over 270 feet long and the perfect place to take a great photo! Next on the list is the bears welcome sign located at the entrance to Blue Ridge Mountain Mall. This cute welcoming bear has become such a fun part of the Blue Ridge experience. After you visit with the bear be sure to go into the to the Mountain Mall to check out all kinds of antiques and collectables. Did you know that the Statue of Liberty is in Blue Ridge? No, not the one you’re thinking of; but we do have our own mini Statue of Liberty in front of the Fannin County Courthouse in Downtown Blue Ridge. Though, instead of a torch our Statue of Liberty holds a lamp globe to help light the streets at night. It’s such fun surprise to see! If you take a little road trip over to the twin cities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN then you can actually stand in two states at once! There’s a sign that sits in between the two states, that’s a perfect place to take a photo. Have fun jumping back and forth between states. And last but certainly not least, the Blue Ridge mural in Downtown Blue Ridge is a must see! You can’t complete your Blue Ridge vacation without making a stop to see it!

Cabin Time

Our cabins have so many incredible amenities that will make it hard for you to leave; from hot tubs and game rooms, to beautiful fireplaces and firepits, to large kitchens with all the appliances you need and wrap around porches with stunning views; Escape to Blue Ridge cabins have a little something for everyone! While our little town has so much to explore we won’t blame you if you want to stay curled up inside your cabin instead. Lounge around the cabin or in the hot tub all day, then eat a delicious home cooked meal, watch the sunset from your porch, and then end the night with a cozy movie marathon by the fire. Sounds perfect doesn’t it? There’s nothing wrong with a little rest and relaxation every once and a while; after all that’s what vacations are all about! 

However you chose to see our little town, there’s plenty of ways to do it without breaking the bank. Make it a vacation to remember while still saving for anything life might throw your way. Whatever way you escape, we’re happy you chose to do it with us!

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!

Blue Ridge Area Waterfalls



It’s hard to imagine anything more tranquil, peaceful, powerful and appealing than a waterfall. And if one is good, many are better. Fortunately, in Blue Ridge and Fannin County, there is an abundance of rushing water, and impressive elevations – and, thanks to gravity, it all inevitably leads to waterfalls in various forms or fashion – all about 30 minutes’ drive from town.

Long Creek Falls

Starting with waterfalls closest to downtown Blue Ridge, Long Creek Falls provides easy access and an impressive view of a 50-foot drop in two sections. The bonus here is that the falls are at the intersection of the Appalachian and the Benton MacKaye trails, both of which offer a reasonable, but not daunting hike in.

Fall Branch Falls

Also nearby, is the upper part of Fall Branch Falls, which is a series of cascading waterfalls leading to a single drop of about 30 feet into a deep pool at the base of the falls. Fall Branch is a slightly less dramatic drop, but the hike is more challenging and the sound of cascading falls along the trail can be heard before it’s seen.

Sea Creek Falls

Just north of Blue Ridge, close to Morganton, Sea Creek Falls rewards a hiker’s driving indulgence with a short walk to a series of steep cascades. Like Long Falls, Sea Creek drops in two sections, and at high water times of the year (usually later winter and early spring) these cascading waterfalls are enormously impressive.

Amicalola Falls

It’s not a well-known fact that the Blue Ridge Mountains are older than the Rockies, but it explains the softer and relatively less severe ridge lines, thanks to centuries of weather wearing away the rough edges. Still, there are areas in these mountains that feature geological fissures affording deep drops and in the case of Amicalola Falls, just south of Ellijay, the result is a 729-foot cascading waterfall, the steepest east of the Mississippi.

Amicalola can be accessed by way an arduous hike from Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, or by car through Amicalola State Park. If you choose the State Park route, there are a few viewing options – 1) drive to the top of the falls and look down; 2) walk up the meandering staircase, which features switchbacks and landing platforms; or 3) hike up the backside of the falls to the top and have drinks or lunch at Amicalola Falls Resort. Any and all are good options.

Whatever you choice in waterfall hunting, you can’t go wrong. From pastoral to pounding waterfalls, they are a great destination and a rich reward after a drive, hike, walk or run. Additionally, they are a great way to experience family fun together, build camaraderie among buddies, or add a bit of romance to a relationship. Get out and explore. You’ll be glad you did.

We love to see your Blue Ridge adventures! Please share your favorite waterfall photos with us on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @escapetobr. We can’t wait to see!