Wherever the Water Flows is Where We Will Go!



It’s time to cool off and soak in the views from North Georgia’s creeks, rivers, and streams. These small, but mighty, bodies of water offer an extensive variety of activities and adventure. The canopy trees, wildlife, and stunning boulders all around the waters provide plenty of sights for the whole group.

The spectacular waters found in the North Georgia Mountains are truly hidden gems. With hot temperatures rising, jumping into these cool waters is a must. These parks and recreation areas will allow you to experience the beauty of nature in a family-friendly environment. The best part is you can stay as long as you’d like! The sun is shining, the water is flowing and the mountains are calling! So what are you waiting for?! Grab your water shoes and let’s go!

Cooper Creek Recreation Area

Photo Courtesy of USDA Forest Service

Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, Cooper Creek Recreation Area is a prime location for an afternoon or a weekend of adventure! Activities at this recreation area include hunting, hiking, and trout fishing. Cooper Creek is stocked with rainbow trout so all fishermen will not leave disappointed! After you’ve explored the shady banks of Cooper Creek, grill some burgers and hot dogs for a creek-side cookout!

Mulky Recreation Area

Photo Courtesy of USDA Forest Service

Another spot located along Cooper Creek is the Mulky Recreation Area. This is a simple, yet serene environment to spend some time. Activities involving hiking, fishing, and creek splashing are all offered at the Mulky Recreation Area. Test out your hiking boots on the Yellow Mountain Trail, which follows an old logging road for 3.6 miles through forests of hemlock, pine and hardwood.

Deep Hole Recreation Area

Photo Courtesy of USDA Forest Service

The Deep Hole Recreation Area is just north of Suches, GA, and sits alongside the banks of the Toccoa River. This campground has picnic tables, benches, and trails through the lush forest. There is also a canoe launch available if you’re looking to experience the river in a new way. Bring your portable hammock to swing within the trees and take a nap with the soothing sound of the Toccoa’s waters!

Sandy Bottoms Recreation Area

Photo Courtesy of Lilly Pad Village

The Sandy Bottoms Recreation Area is filled with towering hardwoods and views of the Toccoa River. It is in Morganton, GA, making it not too far from the town of Blue Ridge. There are places to camp, fish, swim, or sit and enjoy the outdoor scenery. This is a site that is pleasant all year long, but there is no better time than now to check it out for yourself!

Tammen Park

Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Tammen Park is only a few miles north of the town of Blue Ridge and is a great place for the entire family. The park amenities here include a softball field, sheltered pavilions with picnic tables, river access, and a playground. The Toccoa River access at the park is the perfect spot to cast a line or load in your kayak or canoe. With Lake Blue Ridge sitting right around the corner, you’ll find yourself wandering around the area all day!

Amicalola River

Photo Courtesy of 365 Atlanta Traveler

The Amicalola River is a stream part of the Etowah River and lends its name from the popular Amicalola Falls. This site offers walking trails, stunning sights of the water rapids, and a swimming hole. With its sandy beaches, there are multiple places alongside this stream to enjoy an outdoor picnic! After your adventure, head over to Amicalola Falls State Park to catch the 729-foot cascading falls. You can then watch the sunset fall behind the mountains at the Amicalola Falls Lodge and grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink!

Horseshoe Bend Park

Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

This park offers a full day of fun! Located in McCaysville, it is a wonderful place to bring the entire family. The Toccoa River flows alongside the Horseshoe Bend Park offering non-stop views. Picnic tables, volleyball nets, and playgrounds are all available for use at this park. Horseshoe Bend Park is also the location of ‘Pickin’ In the Park’. ‘Pickin’ In the Park’ is an event with live music from local artists. It occurs every Thursday, May- September, from 6pm to dusk and is a relaxing place to enjoy a summer’s evening!

The Hiwassee River

Photo Courtesy of Simply Awesome Trips

The Hiwassee River begins in Towns County and flows through the
spectacular North Georgia Mountains, into North Carolina, and eventually merging into the Tennessee River. Activities at the Hiwassee River include walking, fly-fishing, kayaking, or tubing. There are plenty of sights and plenty of opportunities for adventure!

Christmas Lights Around the Mountains



Every family has many Christmas traditions that they enjoy preserving. For this writer, one of my family’s favorite things to do is to go drive around and see all the Christmas lights! However, when you’re not from around here, you wouldn’t even know where to begin to look for lights to enjoy. Well, we tried to make it easy for you and stalked as many of our friends pages to locate all the Christmas light displays that you HAVE to go check out!

Each community offers a brief directions, but click on the town name to access a Google map to help you find your way! If you’re a local reading this and know of other places we’re missing please drop a comment or send us a Facebook or Instagram message. Merry Christmas!

Click to go to the Escape To Blue Ridge Christmas Light Map

Blue Ridge:

William’s Home Photo Courtesy of Becky Dyer

Downtown Blue Ridge – East Main St.

INOLA – Holiday lights, carriage rides, pony rides, painted ponies, ice skating, an illuminated maze and more! Prices vary from $5-$15 for each activity.

Spur 60 – Between Mineral Bluff and NC State line. Drive through Winter Wonderland! Santa on certain nights.

The Penlands – Hwy 75, just past the North Carolina/Georgia state line.

Williams’ – Forge Mill Road off Hwy 515 across from Cucina Rustica. Santa on certain nights.

Blairsville:

Gwynn’s Christmas Light Show

Chamber of Commerce – Tour of Trees. 9am – 5pm. 129 Union County Recreation Road, Blairsville

Collins – 257 Windy Hill Rd. (Santa Here)

289 Cook St

Downtown – On the Square

195 Forest Dr

Gwynn’s Christmas Light Show – Shows at 7pm & 7:30pm. Tune your radio to 91.9 and enjoy! Address is 121 Birch Cane Drive, Blairsville, GA 30512

262 Jewell Mason Rd

Stonehenge Assisted Living – Hwy 129 North towards Murphy, about 7 miles north of Hwy 76/129 intersection. Note: Nativity Scene

The Browns – Take Old Blue Ridge Highway out past Mulkey Gap. Right on Ed King Road. Just before the solar panel field. Note: Santa’s Mailbox – leave a letter to Santa and receive a reply!

The Jones – Take Blue Ridge Hwy, then a left on Mulkey Gap, right on Jones Rd.

Hiawassee

Mountain Country Christmas in Lights

Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds – Mountain Country Christmas in Lights every Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 6pm-9pm through December 28th. Here you will enjoy beautiful light displays and food ops along with food, music, arts & crafts, hot chocolate, marshmallow, a petting zoo and Santa. Admission is $5 per person and children 12 and under are FREE! On the main drag – Hwy 76 in Hiawassee.

Bugscuffle Road – Through the town of Hiawassee, but before the School. See Uhaul & Parker Oil, next road on left is Bugscuffle. On Hwy 76, just west of Towns County School.

Scataway Road – About 5 minutes past the Towns County School, see sign for Mount Zion Church on left and follow the red glow. Off of Hwy 76, 5 minutes east of town. See Santa on certain nights.

Panter House – Gumlog Rd off of Hwy 66 in Young Harris. On the Towns County side of Gumlog.

North Carolina:

Harshaw Road Lights Courtesy of Susie Bryant

Penlands – Hwy 75, just across the NC/Ga line.

Harshaw Road – Near Cherokee Hills Golf Course

Salsa or Sushi?



Even though a trip to the mountains hints at a hankering for sausage gravy slathered over big fluffy biscuits, with a side of smoked baby backs and a dish of collards with ham hocks, you will find lots of exceptional cuisines that aren’t best washed down with sweet tea and a to-go container of banana pudding.

Here are some of the restaurants that are within a 35 mile drive of Blue Ridge that will more than satisfy your craving for either salsa or sushi:

The Rum Cake Lady Cuban Café

Photo Courtesy of the Rum Cake Lady

Yes, Miss Elizabeth is best known for her four different varieties of Rum Cakes which she ships all across the globe from her mountain bakery. But those who are fortunate enough to have eaten at one of her two café establishments know that it’s just as much about the true Cuban cuisine, not just the cakes. With two locations to serve you, the downtown Blue Ridge Café is similar to a Cuban walk-up window, or “La Ventanita”. When after a morning of hiking or tubing, you are hungry and you don’t want to shower before a hearty lunch – this is the ideal place to visit. They offer fresh, authentic Cuban sandwiches, tamales, empanadas, plantains, rice, and beans.

Their Copperhill location includes indoor seating, dinner hours, the same great menu plus a Cuban grocery. Both locations boast the best Cuban coffee in the mountains. A guava and cheese pastelitos or a caramel flan with a café con leche is not a problem on your diet. After all,  you are on vacation. Oh, and grab a couple of rum cakes for those you left back at home. Located at: 205 First St. Blue Ridge GA & 111 Ocoee St. Copperhill TN.

Asiano

Images courtesy of Asiano

When the urge for Asian cuisine hits, there always seems to be an issue with which style will you treat yourself tonight. Will it be sushi or Thai? Japanese Steakhouse or Chinese? And rarely will two people agree, much less a family of four. This is when to head straight up the 515 corridor to the beautiful lakeside town of Hiawassee.

For the past two decades, Koo and his family have been serving great food and even entertainment, as the personable hibachi chefs show off their superior knife skills around the large griddles of the Japanese Steakhouse side of the restaurant. The menu for each style of Asian fare is quite extensive, with all food fresh and sauces made in house. Whether it’s their traditional sweet and sour soup or their untraditional Philly cheesesteak eggroll, you won’t be disappointed with the number of options to satisfy that Asian craving.  Located at 1382 Hwy 76 (515) Hiawassee, GA.

Las 2 Hustecas

Photo Courtesy of Las 2 Hustecas

You won’t need your passport, but this Mexican food is so authentic, you’ll have wondered if you crossed the border and stumbled into a small village cantina. There are often two sure signs that a Mexican restaurant serves top-notch authentic cuisine. Yes to both at Las 2 Hustecas. A good percentage of the clientele is Hispanic and the best chefs in the region are often seen eating here on their nights off.

Rated nearly five stars on every online review service, the reviewers consistently mention that they were served the BEST guacamole, the biggest burritos, the smallest seating (so expect to wait or opt for takeout) and the highest quality fresh food, all at ridiculously low prices (there’s a breakfast menu, too). In fact, the main complaint from out of town visitors is they don’t have Mexican food this good when they go back home. Located in a little strip center, no frills 4114 E. Main St.  Blue Ridge, GA.

Kizuna Sushi & Noodle

Photo Courtesy of Kizuna Sushi & Noodle

The newest restaurant to join the Blue Ridge culinary scene has opened to rave reviews. An authentic Japanese and Sushi House, Kizuna is an elegant restaurant that serves what one reviewer called “Japanese street food”. The sushi is raw and skillfully crafted. No California rolls here. This is true sashimi. Then they turn your idea of ramen noodles upside down with so many options to choose from for your Japanese bowls. The tempura is light with a variety of vegetables and seafood to tempt you to order fried. The pork dumplings have also won critical reviews.

Check out their menu before deciding to order take-out. The freshest items like sushi and Udon noodles will only be served in-house. Kizuna serves beer, wine and a nice selection of sake. Located at 140 Progress Cr. Suite 3 Blue Ridge GA