Escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains



Guest Blog by Forever Freckled.

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

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

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

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

Escape to Blue Ridge

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

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

The Cabin

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

There are no words to describe this place.

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

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

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

That view was worth the entire trip for us!

Things to Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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

Atlanta Aquarium

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

Mercier Orchards

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

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

Burt’s Farm

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

Hiking

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

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

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

Lily Pad Village

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

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

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

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

Three Sisters Fudge & Das Kauffee Haus

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

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

BBQ and S’mores

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

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

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

Black Sheep Restaurant

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

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

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

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

Tips on Traveling with Kids

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

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

Just kidding!

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

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts on Traveling to the Blue Ridge Mountains

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

Blue Ridge has it all!

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

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

Love,

Carrie, Katie, and Alison

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

6 Extraordinary Vacation Rentals for an Unforgettable Family Reunion



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

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

Ambleside

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

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

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

Eagles Landing

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

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

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

Falling Waters Lodge

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

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

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

Just Like Heaven

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

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

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

Legend

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

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

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

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

Spyglass

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

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

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

Reservations

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