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!
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds– Mountain Country Christmas in Lights every Thursday, Friday, & Saturday from November 25-December 18th. Come early on Saturdays for the Craft Show and stay for the lights 4pm-9pm! Open EVERY night from December 19th-23rd! (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). 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 $6 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.
As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to sore, it’s finally time for our favorite season of all – Sweet Summertime!
It’s a perfect time to come enjoy the Blue Ridge Georgia mountains and get on the water. If you’re looking for some exceptional Lake Blue Ridge cabin rentals, Lake Nottely cabins, or a great Blue Ridge riverside cabin to getaway and enjoy some mountain streams, we’ve got you covered.
Take some time out to relax on the patio with a cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade while you take in the magnificent mountain and lake views of the North Georgia mountains. Once you get hot enough, splash into the lake and cool off or take a boat ride to explore all the coves of Lake Blue Ridge or Lake Nottely. As the sun begins to set, finish off your perfect day roasting s’mores around the fire or catch lighting bugs in a jar. Just because you’re grown up, doesn’t mean like you shouldn’t feel like a kid again while you’re on vacation! Slow down, savor summer, and soak up the Lake Life at one of these nine lakeside cabins!
Get a look at all of our Blue Ridge waterfront cabin rentals and book your time to getaway. Get a taste of what Blue Ridge Lake and other great Blue Ridge waterfront cabins we offer below that you can vacation in when you’re ready for adventure.
When you think about your dream
vacation, does a beautiful mountain setting, proximity to water, and plenty of
space for your family and friends top the list? Then look no further than the
North Georgia cabin rental Dock Holiday. This
magnificent four-bedroom cabin is situated in a wooded lot on Lake Nottely. True
to its name, this retreat comes with a double-decker dock that’s tailor made
for swimming, fishing, and sunning. The nearby marina provides boats and jet
skis for rent, and it’s an easy drive to activities like tubing, golf, hiking,
or exploring vineyards, parks and waterfalls. The possibilities for adventure are endless here, but if you
just want to relax and unwind, you’ll find that too, without leaving the
property. You can soak your cares away in the eight-seat hot tub with a view of
the lake, settle into a rocking chair with a book, a beer or a glass of wine,
or simply enjoy a spectacular sunset from the porch!
Take in the breathtaking beauty of natural surroundings and the serenity of a lodge situated against the National Forrest and directly on Lake Blue Ridge. Eagles Landing is a spectacular showplace that has incomparable views of the surrounding mountains and will capture your attention and your heart before you even step through the front door. The epitome of rustic elegance, there are seven bedrooms to accommodate 19 guests, making it ideal for large families, reunions, couples’ weekends or getaways with all your friends. By day, 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!
Firefly Lake House
Ahh, the lake! If you’re looking
for a waterfront home away from home, Firefly Lake
House offers a refreshing respite right on Lake Nottely during the summer
months. This contemporary,
spacious three-level house provides plenty of room for everyone, easily
accommodating several couples or one or two families. Professionally decorated,
it features upscale furnishings throughout the home and four luxurious bedrooms
awaiting you at the end of each fun-filled day on the lake. Like catching fireflies in a jar,
capture brilliant memories here that you’ll treasure forever!
Lodge On The Lake
In real estate location is everything, and you won’t find a better one than this wooded waterfront property on Lake Blue Ridge, with spectacular lake and mountain views, the best dock on the lake, and proximity to downtown and all the vacation activities you crave. Lodge on the Lake is perfectly situated on the very desirable Horse Pointe Road just four miles from Blue Ridge’s shops and restaurants and custom designed, built and decorated and with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the view, Lodge on the Lake truly has the wow factor!
True to its name, Lakefront
Getaway has 94 feet of lake frontage and a huge double-decker dock with
chaise lounges, two Jet Ski lifts, and a boat hookup. A nearby marina rents Jet
Skis, pontoon boats, paddleboards and kayaks, but feel free to bring your own. Uniquely
designed and luxuriously furnished, with a wall of windows in the open-plan
great room and the two master suites on either side opening onto an enormous
deck framing the view, this cabin elicits the same reaction from everyone that
visits: “Wow!” Ideal for a small family or a couples’ weekend with
your best friends, this two-bedroom cabin is like having your own private
high-end luxury resort with a beautiful lake steps away!
Meant to Be
Located on Lake Nottely five miles
from the town of Blairsville, this spectacular tri-level showplace offers you
breathtaking mountain and water views, accommodations for 14 guests in its five
bedrooms and loft, and all the amenities of a top-flight resort. Meant to Be has
a game room, but the outdoor living is where it’s at in this spectacular
getaway. Dine alfresco at the marble table that seats eight while you cook your
fresh catch on the gas grill. Need more seating? There is plenty on the
screened-in porch or down at the dock. On the lower level deck, there’s a
six-person hot tub with a great view of the mountains and lake, providing
magnificent scenery as you soak your cares away. Designed for maximum comfort,
each of the five spacious bedrooms has its own bathroom. But the best
thing about this unique mountain retreat is its wonderful setting, welcoming
ambiance, and the feeling of peace and serenity that you’ll remember long after
Pure Pleasure on the Lake
This magnificent North Georgia
cabin rental is located on Lake Nottely and has one of the best lake views the
area has to offer. This pet friendly retreat sits just over the shoreline with
tiered steps down to its private dock with a ladder. Year-long deep water makes
it a great property if you’d like to bring your own boat or rent one from the
nearby marina. Double your pleasure at Pure
Pleasure on the Lake, because when it comes to this home, it seems to have
two (or more) of everything you really want. There are two top-of-the-line
kitchens, one located on the main and the other in the game room. Two
indoor dining tables, adjacent to each of the kitchens and another table out on
the deck provide plenty of spots to share and take pride over the fresh fish
that was caught earlier in the day. When its time to turn in for
the day you can choose from four bedrooms that all have plush king-sized beds.
This home has been thoughtfully designed all for its guests’ pleasure and
you’ll find that it fulfills all of your family’s vacation needs from endless
fun to never-ending tranquility!
Standing tall on the lakeshore, the
three-bedroom Blue Ridge mountain cabin rental Southern
Comfort offers you two vacation destinations in one: a magnificent mountain
retreat and an aquatic playground that boating, fishing and swimming
enthusiasts will love. Located
on Lake Blue Ridge near Morganton boat launch, this lovely lakefront property
comes with its own double-decker dock with a boat slip below and a lounging
area above with umbrella-shaded table, chairs and lounges. If you settle in
there or on the cabin’s double deck, you’ll be treated to a magnificent
year-round view. Sunsets are especially incredible, with the sun shining on the
lake as it dips behind the mountains!
Treehouse on the Lake
If the word ‘treehouse’ conjures up memories of the little childhood playhouse your dad built in the old oak in the backyard, prepare to be astounded when you see Treehouse on the Lake. This magnificent tri-level cabin on Lake Blue Ridge is a bigger, better version of the private oasis you remember, with breathtaking water and mountain views and all the grown-up amenities you crave.
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
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!
With its soaring cathedral ceilings, wraparound decks, and enormous wall of windows that frame a magnificent long-range mountain view, Animal Crossings makes a great first impression. Perched on a wooded hillside just six miles from downtown Blue Ridge and close to nearby waterfalls, wineries and antique shops, this beautiful five-bedroom cabin is the perfect place for a large family or group of friends to relax, celebrate, and enjoy nature and each other.
Inside, the cabin is spacious, comfortable with a warm and welcoming ambiance and decorated in a modern rustic style with an animal accented décor that reflects its name. The five bedrooms are cozy and beautifully appointed, with an animal theme represented in the décor and wooden signage above each bed. If you want relaxation, family fun and a vacation you’ll remember for years to come, you’ll find it here in a spectacular mountain setting!
Situated directly on Lake Blue
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!
At Chestnut Lodge, you will breathe a sigh of nostalgia, gently releasing the present-day stress. The home sits serenely over miles of pastoral fields nestled in between the rolling mountains. Chestnut Lodge is a beautifully-crafted custom Barna log home, with 3000 roomy square feet offering plenty of comfortable crevices. The open floor plan is perfect for gatherings, but Chestnut Lodge has lovingly appointed corners with furnishings that invite you to your own personal time.
Great naps await whether on the hammock off of a bedroom porch, or in the five cozy bedrooms with classic mountain-home furnishings, high-thread linens and plush comforters. The five-bedrooms all have their own peaceful views and in total, 14 people can sleep in the home comfortably. Everyone can also retreat to the home’s lower level which offers more living space, a wet bar, regulation billiards table and home theater. The lower level deck provides a great hot tub and viewing spot to take in nature’s surround sound from nearby birds chirping or the distant cows settling in for the night. A home theater, game room, and hot tub ensure your entire group a wide variety of entertainment. Chestnut Lodge is a place of true relaxation and one that fulfills the longing of old comforts with a renewed feeling of today.
Just Like Heaven
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!
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!
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.
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!
I’m supposed to write to you about telling ghost stories around the campfire, but the truth is this writer is a big ‘ol scaredy cat and just researching good ghost stories is enough to have the hair on the back of my neck stand up! Why do we like telling ghost stories? Do we like to be scared or do we prefer to do the scaring and see someone else’s reaction? Is it the thrill of the story? The adrenaline rush when your brain is thinking is this a fight or flight situation? I mean, we know it’s not real and can’t possibly be true, but…….why is this so scary then?
I’ve been around firepits where some of the funniest moments that ever happened was when someone got super scared. You know the scared I mean, when they are all tensed up, on high alert, and usually make some really strange and high pitched shrieking sounds. Next thing you know, they are tripping over themselves and acting a fool running back toward the safety of the cabin in a frantic wail! (That may or may not be a rather personal experience, but I’ll let you be the judge of that!)
A dear friend is an amazing storyteller that puts on the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival and participates in Appalachian Story nights at the Haunts & Harvest at Blue Ridge Community Theater. So, I reached out to her to find out if there are any legends or lore in these Blue Ridge mountains that would be fit for a ghost story tale. She shared this super creepy Cherokee Tail that happened right here in these mountains that you may be interested in. But fair warning, if you don’t like to be scared or don’t want to be super creeped out try these lighter ghost stories and don’t scroll below to read the Cherokee Legend of Spear-Finger!
Ok. I lied. There is no such thing as “lighter” ghost stories. Even the kid’s ones are totally creepy! Why can’t we just stick to roasting marshmallows and singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire?! Ok. I’m pulling myself together. Here we go. I remember hearing this one as a kid. Maybe this was the beginning of my trauma. Courtesy of Café Mom, enjoy “The Pink Jelly Bean”.
Premise: At the end of a long, dark road is a long, dark path. At the end of the long, dark path is a lone, dark house. And the lone, dark house has a single, dark door. Behind the single, dark door is a long, dark hall. At the end of the long, dark hall are some tall, dark stairs. (Story continues, narrowing in from a room to a closet to a chest to a box, etc.) And in the small, dark box is … a pink jellybean!!!!
Notes for telling: The idea here is to build as much suspense as possible before you leap forward and dramatically shout the jellybean line. You’ll know you did it right if your audience reacts by instantly pooping their pants.
Long, long ago there dwelt in the mountains a terrible ogress, a woman monster, whose food was human livers. She could take on any shape or appearance to suit her purpose, but in her right form she looked very much like an old woman.
But not an ordinary woman: her whole body was covered with a skin as hard as a rock that no weapon could wound or penetrate, and that on her right hand she had a long, stony forefinger of bone, like an awl or spearhead, with which she stabbed everyone to whom she could get near enough.
On account of this fact she was called U `tlun’ta “Spear-finger,” and on account of her stony skin she was sometimes called Nun’yunu’I, “Sone-dress.” There was another stone-clothed monster that killed people, but that is a different story.
Spear-finger had such powers over stone that she could easily lift and carry immense rocks, and could cement them together by merely striking one against another. To get over the rough country more easily she undertook to build a great rock bridge through the air from Nunyu’tlu `gun’yi, the “Tree rock,” on Hiwassee, over to Sanigila’gi (Whiteside mountain), on the Blue Ridge, and had it well started from the top of the “Tree rock” when the lightning struck it and scattered the fragments along the whole ridge, where the pieces can still be seen by those who go there. She used to range all over the mountains about the heads of the streams and in the dark passes of Nantahala, always hungry looking for victims. Her favorite haunt on the Tennessee side was about the gap on the trail where Chilhowie mountain comes down to the river.
Sometimes an old woman would approach along the rail where the children were picking strawberries or playing near the village, and would say to them coaxingly, “Come, my grandchildren, come to your granny and let granny dress your hair.”
When some little girl ran up and laid her head in the old woman’s lap to be petted and combed the old witch would gently run her fingers through the child’s hair until it went to sleep, when she would stab the little one through the heart or back of the neck with the long awl finger, which she had kept hidden under her robe. Then she would take out the liver and eat it.
She would enter a house by taking the appearance of one of the family who happened to have gone out for a short time, and would watch her chance to stab someone with her long finger and take out his liver.
She could stab him without being noticed, and often the victim did not even know it himself at the time – for it left no wound and caused no pain – but went on about his own affairs, until all at once he felt weak and began gradually to pine away, and was always sure to die, because Spear-finger had taken his liver.
When the Cherokee went out in the fall, according to their custom, to burn the leaves off from the mountains in order to get the chestnuts on the ground, they were never safe, for the old witch was always on the lookout, and as soon as she saw the smoke rise she knew there were Indians there and sneaked up to try to surprise one alone.
So as well as they could they tried to keep together, and were very cautious of allowing any stranger to approach the camp. But if one went down to the spring for a drink they never knew but it might be the liver eater that came back and sat with them.
Sometimes she took her proper form, and once or twice, when far out from the settlements, a solitary hunter had seen an old woman, with a queer-looking hand, going through the woods singing low to herself:
Uwe’la na’tsiku’. Su’ sa’ sai’.
Liver, I eat it. Su’ sa’ sai’.
It was rather pretty song, but it chilled his blood, for he knew it was the liver eater, and he hurried away, silently, before she might see him.
At last a great council was held to devise some means to get rid of U `tlun’ta before she should destroy everybody. The people came from all around, and after much talk it was decided that the best way would be to trap her in a pitfall where all the warriors could attack her at once.
So they dug a deep pitfall across the trail and covered it over with earth and grass as if the ground had never been disturbed. Then they kindled a large fire of brush near the trail and hid themselves in the laurels, because they knew she would come as soon as she saw the smoke.
Sure enough they soon saw an old woman coming along the trail. She looked like an old woman whom they knew well in the village, and although several of the wiser men wanted to shoot at her, the other interfered, because they did not want to hurt one of their own people. The old woman came slowly along the trail, with one hand under her blanket, until she stepped upon the pitfall and tumbled through the brush top into the deep hole below.
Then, at once, she showed her true nature, and instead of the feeble old woman there was the terrible U`tlun’ta with her stony skin, and her sharp awl finger reaching out in every direction for someone to stab.
The hunters rushed out from the thicket and surrounded the pit, but shoot as true and as often as they could, their arrows struck the stony mail of the witch only to be broken and fall useless at her feet, while she taunted them and tried to climb out of the pit to get at them. They kept out of her way, but were only wasting their arrows when a small bird, Utsu’ gi, the titmouse, perched on a tree overhead and began to sing “un, un, un.”
They thought it was saying u’nahu’, heart, meaning that they should aim at the heart of the stone witch. They directed their arrows where the heart should be, but the arrows only glanced off with the flint heads broken.
Then they caught the Utsu’ 1gi and cut off its tongue, so that ever since its tongue is short and everybody knows it is a liar. When the hunters let go it flew straight up into the sky until it was out of sight and never came back again. The titmouse that we know now is only an image of the other.
They kept up the fight without result until another bird, little Tsikilili, the chickadee, flew down from a tree and alighted upon the witch’s right hand. The warriors took this as a sign that they must aim there, and they were right, for her heart was on the inside of her hand, which she kept doubled into a fist, this same awl hand with which she had stabbed so many people.
Now she was frightened in earnest, and began to rush furiously at them with her long awl finger and to jump about in the pit to dodge the arrows, until at last a lucky arrow struck just where the awl joined her wrist and she fell down dead.
Ever since the tsikilili is know as a truth teller, and when a man is away on a journey, if this bird comes and perches near the house and chirps its song, his friends know he will soon be safe home.
But wait. There’s one more we have to share. The Blue Ridge Witch or the Ghost of Tilley Bend
The Bradleys and Stanleys had a feud akin to the Hatfields & McCoys. After an unfortunate incident where several Tilleys were killed, retribution was due to the Stanleys. When the attack occurred, Elizabeth’s pregnant daughter, that was married to a Stanley, watched her husband be murdered and she and her child later died in childbirth. Distraught and outraged Elizabeth cursed both the Stanleys and the Bradleys that no child would be born to either family. And sure enough every single child was either still-born, miscarried, or died within the 1st year.
The Tilley family decided enough was enough and to break the curse, they must break Elizabeth. But before she was hung from a tree and given a witch’s burial, Elizabeth vowed to come back. Some say she came back through her sister-in-law Mary who one year to the DAY of Elizabeth’s hanging, Mary hung from the same. exact. tree. There are many reports of sightings of a woman in a long dress walking around, crying sounds, and feeling cold spots. 😲
I’m often referred to as the “ Santa Claus for Lovers”. I have a little bit of a problem with that. See, the big guy gets to wear a full suit, hat, gloves, boots, and the whole bit on December 25th. I get to fly around, shooting arrows to connect the hearts of couples, which isn’t a bad gig if I didn’t have to perform it wearing barely a loincloth, my chubby body exposed to the elements, in the second week of February.
This is one of the reasons I’m going to encourage you to cuddle up around the fire in your cabin on Valentine’s weekend. Yes, the big day falls on a Friday this year, so you and the person you love most in this world get to spend the whole weekend together. And if you’ve chosen to be here in one of the comfy, cozy and romantic cabins in Blue Ridge, you’ve already set the tone for a weekend to remember. So, get the checklist ready.
Plenty of firewood. Check.
Now we need something intoxicating. That could be wine. Out Of The Blue has you covered. They have an extraordinary selection of the finest wines, beers, and artisan cheeses from around the world. Chocolates are also intoxicating. Try the delectable hand-dipped chocolates at Chocolate Express. They are sure to win any heart.
Let’s face it. You aren’t the only romantic out there. It’s a busy weekend and though spontaneity is great in the boudoir, some of the other activities just might need reservations. I’m going to suggest you make arrangements with a private chef to have that quixotic feast for two, right there at your cabin. Chef Trey Griffith or Chef Jeff Servin can serve up a luscious feast, but they need fair warning. There are also very intimate dining experiences even in public eateries. The porch at The Black Sheep, with it’s towering flame heaters, is a place I’ve noticed lovers getting very starry-eyed over a plate of cold water select oysters.
It has been my experience (my parents are Mars and Venus, so I’ve been around the block a few times) that occasionally destressing from the cacophony of everyday life needs an assist. A Salt Cave Couples Massage at Serenity In the Mountains is an experience neither of you will soon forget. And it might just be your favorite activity away from home, ever. There’s also an opportunity to engage in public intoxication without being unlawful. Imagine indulging in wine with chocolates that have been paired by the connoisseurs at The Vine Wine Bar on Main St. in Blue Ridge. This only happens on Friday evenings, so call for your reservations quickly.
Destressing mode. Check
Now. Maybe you’ve been together a very long time, like most of your adult life, and there needs to be more than a spark added to your relationship. You need an eight-cylinder rev to throw complacency out of neutral and into drive. That usually means you need to find a way to depend on one another again. Be a team. Find a new challenge. Like maybe drive a military tank together.
And, why just drive a tank when you can crush a car with one? Get your heart pumping with 25+ minutes of driving excitement which starts with Tank Town USA’s exciting tank driving course and finishes with smashing a car. Yes, they have a couple’s package. And if that’s a little over the top, you could be locked in a room together for one hour, with only clues as to how to escape. Sound like fun? Make your reservation with Escape Blue Ridge and see if the two of you can figure out how to outfox your captures.
Team challenge mode. Check
If the two of you love these mountains, almost as much as you love each other, why not merge the two and enlist a professional photographer to help? The professional shutterbugs at ZoLu Photography know these landscapes well. They will take you to beautiful places to capture your love in natural light, to be viewed for many years to come.
Photo memories. Check
Before I mention the Hot Tub stuff, let’s be sure to talk about the one big event that takes these mountains by storm every February, that happens to fall on Valentine’s Weekend this year! It’s the 10th Annual Fire & Ice Chili Cook-Off being held Saturday, February 15 from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, in downtown Blue Ridge. The cook-off will happen come rain, snow or shine. You’ll enjoy live music, ice sculptures and amazing chili. You can purchase a $10 Tasting Card to sample the competition and vote for the People™s Choice Award. There will also be live entertainment from the Blue Ridge Community Theater actors. You’ll love strolling through an amazing display of individual and unique ice sculptures from the award-winning, National Ice Carving Champion Rock on Ice including several ice carving demonstrations.
Fire and Ice Festival. Check.
Now let’s talk about the hot tub. Well…..
No, I think you already know enough about the hot tub.
In the North Georgia Mountains, we celebrate four gentle yet very distinct seasonal transitions, each measured very close to the designated tri-month celestial calendar. Mother Nature’s landscape specialist (shall we call her Flora?) takes a particular interest in altering our mountainscape on a quarterly basis, cloaking it in very different hues, depths of foliage, and fragrances.
To get a full appreciation of Flora’s artistry in any one of the seasonal changeovers, we encourage you to drive the 41 miles of Georgia’s only national scenic drive, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway. The Byway, one of only 120 highways across our fifty states so designated, circles around the Chattahoochee National Forest and can be launched just seventeen miles southeast of Fannin County, at the intersection of Hwys 129 and 180, located in neighboring Union County.
Highest Peak In GA
Following Hwy 180 northeast, you’ll travel twelve miles to the entrance to Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain elevation (4,784’) in Georgia. When you get to the top of the Bald’s observation tower, you will have a spectacular 360-degree view of three states!
Anna Ruby Falls
Back on Hwy
180 and after heading southeast for ten miles, you will turn south onto Hwy
75/17. Over the next 10 miles, you will motor through some of the heaviest of
forestry, including designated recreation areas Unicoi Gap and Andrews Cove. These are ideal places to hike,
fish, picnic or just relax before heading out on the next part of your
adventure. Driving for just a few minutes you will arrive at one of the
region’s finest natural gems, Anna Ruby Falls. This double waterfall is formed from the merging of two
creeks, both sourced from underground springs.
more miles south you will find yourself at Unicoi State Park, where you can jet off on a bicycle, paddleboard on Unicoi
Lake or eat at the Unicoi Restaurant located in the beautifully appointed
If you haven’t visited Bavaria’s USA sister city, quaint Helen GA, here’s the best opportunity, located just 3 more miles south of Unicoi State Park. But if Helen isn’t part of your plans for this scenic trip, then backtrack up 75/17 for only two miles where you’ll arrive at the entrance of one of the State’s most beautiful wooded parks, Smithgall Woods/Dukes Creek Falls State Park. Covering over 5,600 acres, this Park focuses on conservation. It’s also an angler’s paradise with some of the very best trout fishing in the State on the waters of Dukes Creek. Visit their event calendar to see what is scheduled during your visit.
There’s one more leg to this journey, and it is perhaps the most spectacular. Just a hair north of Smithgall Woods you will come upon the gateway (Hwy 348) to Richard Russell Scenic Hwy. These next 23 miles are not only a favorite for motorists, bicyclists and motorcyclists, but wildlife also love to roam all over the cliffs and valleys along this route. Do drive with patience and caution.
Helton Creek Falls
After nearly a 10 mile ascent, you’ll reach Hogpen Gap, (elevation 3,525′). This is a very popular, year-round hiking trail. But for just leaf lookers, the vistas at the appointed observation areas at this elevation are breathtaking! And in the spring there is no better place to view the “greening of the mountains”. As you begin the steep descent traveling north on Richard Russell, the valley brings more surprises as the fields open up and the farmlands, an integral facet of life in historical Choestoe Valley, are dotted across the highway. Look for a turn heading west at Hatchett Creek Rd. Follow this road till it merges with Helton Creek Road and visit one of the area’s favorite family waterfalls, Helton Creek Falls. The short hike (.24 miles) from the parking area leads to two falls. The lower falls has a wading pool area. The upper falls has an observation deck with bench seating.
Seasons of Fun!
Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a 4 season wonderland. In the spring the hiking trails boast 1500 varieties of wildflowers with over 200 plants indigenous to just this Southern Appalachian region.
Stop, look and listen and you’ll see fawn and bear cubs emerging from the woods, beavers building dams to reroute the heavy spring rainwater, and you’ll hear the songbirds who’ve migrated back to these mountains from their winter retreats.
Open the windows on your summer drive and capture the fragrances of the season as you pass cavernous areas of native azalea, rhododendron and mountain laurel. The farmers cut hay around Memorial Day and again at Labor Day. The smell of fresh-cut hay, watching the baling process or just coming upon a field of hay bales peppering the countryside all leave an indelible imprint on one’s senses.
visits to the waterfalls along this road will often find the thunderous waters
framed by a rainbow. And as the days become shorter and autumn ushers in, the
forest canopy bursts with vibrant colors as the sweetgum, red maples, and oak
trees display their final fashion before shedding their foliage. In winter the
starkness of the bare forest, covered in frost is an incredible photo
opportunity. The cliffs near Hogpen Gap are covered with ice and a favorite
spot for ice climbers to hone their skills.
Plan on this driving adventure the next time you visit us. It promises to impress you, whatever the season. Share your adventures with us by tagging #escapetobr on your social posts. Enjoy!
For most American kids, our first introduction to the concept of trail markers is Hansel and Gretel’s attempt at leaving crumbs on their venture into the woods. The birds thwarted their efforts and that’s where their fictional journey begins. First published in 1812, their story was read to children in Germany at the same time the Cherokee Indians were creating their own trail markers here in the North Georgia Mountains. Or are Trail trees just folklore?
Trail Marker Trees
Trail trees, trail marker trees, crooked trees, prayer trees, thong trees, or culturally modified trees are hardwood trees throughout North America. One unique characteristic of the trail marker tree is a horizontal bend several feet off the ground, which makes it visible at greater distances, even in snow. These distinctive characteristics convey that the tree was shaped by human activity rather than deformed by nature or disease. The legend is that Native Americans intentionally shaped these trees for navigational purposes or to mark important places, such as sacred burial grounds.
Throughout the North Georgia Mountains, a day of hiking can find you encountering one or more of these gentle bent giants in our forests. As you hike through one of the twenty four top forests in our area you’ll stumble upon some of the most incredible shaped trees and wonder if they are the work of Mother Nature or did an American Indians walk these same trails 200 years ago. It is both highly possible and very likely that the tree was there marking a specific direction or possibly an area where a plant grew at its base that was used for healing.
For many, a hike in the woods is an adventure you remember from your childhood days. It is a child’s foray into uncharted territory, a field or a wooded area close to home where they might discover an old unidentifiable bone, a creek filled with crayfish, or a cluster of butterflies on a floral bush they’ve never seen the likes of before. They come back from these walking expeditions with pockets filled with pretty leaves, unusual shaped stones and always a bird feather or two. As adults we reawaken that lust for exploration and here on these mountain trails, there seems to be one treasure that many are hunting: Fairy Crosses.
The Legend of the Fairy Cross derives from the Cherokee Indians and thought to be over 2000 years old! It is said that long, long, ago fairies inhabited a certain quiet and remote region in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The fairies roamed freely, enjoying the beauty and serenity of that enchanted place. One day, the fairies were playing in a sunny dell when an elfin courier arrived from a far-away city bearing the sad news of Christ’s death. When they heard the terrible details of the crucifixion, the fairies wept. As their tears fell to the earth, they crystallized into little stone crosses. Though the fairies have long since disappeared, the little stone crosses, known as “fairy stones,” still remain as vestiges in that enchanted spot. There was a belief among the Cherokee that the crosses had the power to reduce the owner invisible at will. In some instances, the tiny crosses were supposed to give the owner the power of diving into the ground and coming up again among the enemy to scalp and kill with unexpected terror.
The Scientific Side
Fairy crosses (aka fairy stones) are small bricks originally formed seven miles underground of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Staurolite crystals form into little tiny “bricks” that, under pressure, twist in 60 degree or 90 degree angles, forming crosses. As they push their way up to the earth’s surface, the action of wind and rain dissolve the softer surrounding stone called schist to reveal the precious cross-shaped minerals within.
The good fortune of finding fairy stones is best after a heavy rain. Dig with your hands along the soft dirt at the base of the trees. The cross stones are the same color as the dirt, so use your hands to sift the stones from the soil until you find a cross shaped stone about the size of a small marble, usually less than an inch in length. They are wonderful keepsakes when found, and can be polished and used as a lucky pocket token, or designed into a necklace, bracelet, or earrings.
If you haven’t had the good fortune to find a fairy stone on your hiking trip, you can still find a wonderful collection of fairy crosses at Pezrok in downtown Blue Ridge, a gallery full of artistic creations of exquisite minerals, fossils, gems and carved driftwood.
There are countless numbers of adventures to be had on your visit to these mountains. You’ll want to capture many of your explorations in pictures to take home and share with us, your family, and your friends. Oh, and while you are taking a cell phone selfie at one of the bent trees you are likely to encounter, remember your phone is also equipped with GPS, which will assure your chances of getting back to your car in the parking lot. As we already know from 19th century literature, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs will not suffice.
Spring has sprung, the temperatures are climbing, and
everything is blooming! The last weekend in May, Memorial Day Weekend, is an
excellent time to get away from the hub bub of daily life and Escape to the Blue
Ridge Mountains to enjoy the beauty that is bursting all around us!
Extreme or Serene
There is no shortage of fun to be had around town, but if just relaxing with your favorite people (and pups) in a fabulous cabin is your idea of a good time, we totally get it. Many of our cabins are equipped with game rooms, hot tubs, fire pits, and wooded trails to explore. There is also horseback riding stables, zip lines, and whitewater rafting close by for added immersion into the wonders of Mother Nature.
Downtown Blue Ridge
In downtown Blue Ridge you’ll enjoy attending the 44th Annual
Spring Arts in the Park event on Saturday and Sunday, May 25th
& 26th. This Southern
tradition features more than two hundred arts, crafts, and food booths for you
to admire fine arts and mountain crafts. You’ll also be able to see artist’s
demonstrations, hear some great music, and support the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts
Association! The event is held rain or shine, and well-behaved leashed pets are
welcome. Admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free!
Music will be abundant in the Downtown area as well. The Blue Ridge Brewery will welcome Gopher Broke on Saturday and Travis Bowlin on Sunday. At Grumpy Old Men Brewery you’ll get to see Highbeams on Saturday and the Copperhill Brewery will host Gerry Herndon on Sunday. You won’t want to miss Travis Bowlin at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill, which by the way, did you know, they are a sunny spot for shady people? Check them out. They offer great views of Lake Blue Ridge, delicious food, and fantastic drinks! Last but not least, The Blue Coyote will be jamming on Saturday with the Breaking Point Band and a local favorite, Gregg Erwin on Sunday.
About thirty minutes East of Blue Ridge in the town of Blairsville,
you’ll encounter their annual Spring Arts, Crafts, &
Music Festival. Saturday morning begins with a Memorial Day Parade and the
rest of the day and all-day Sunday you can enjoy more than 200 local and
regional artists. Many musicians will also be on site to entertain you and your
family. There is no charge to attend, but plenty of family fun is sure to be
If you’ve never experienced a trip on the Blue Ridge Railway, you should definitely consider boarding in downtown Blue Ridge and taking an enjoyable two hour ride to the revitalized cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, Tn. Yep, this is your chance to stand in two states at one time! Grab a sinful shake or decadent donuts at Sweet & Southern Sugar Company. Maybe Cuban is more your style and you prefer a Cuban coffee and empanada at the Rum Cake Lady for an afternoon treat. For a good giggle and unique gifts, head over to Weird Oh!. So, what exactly is Weird Oh!? Well, it’s a magical emporium of fun! Better known as an unusual place for unusual people, inside you will find peculiar treasures and trinkets. It’s a place where kids can be kids and adults can be kids too! Everything can be touched, moved, and you can even write on the walls and not get in trouble! The only rule that you will encounter is that laughter is a must! No matter what.
Whatever plans you make for the holiday weekend, we hope
that you are spending it with all the ones you love creating memories and enjoying
the freedom that we get to enjoy in the great United States of America. As we
approach Memorial Day Weekend, we want to take a moment to thank all of the men
and women that have so courageously given their lives to defend this beautiful
country in which we are so fortunate to live. There is no greater sacrifice one
can make and the patriotism that these honorable souls displayed deserves our
recognition and gratitude, not just one weekend a year, but all year long. Thank
you for your service.
There has been quite the buzz of late regarding the revitalization happening in the twin cities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN. Word is there is an investor that has been helping to spur along the progress where the state lines meet. So, we decided to go check it out. And Wow! What a turnaround! Things are definitely changing for the better in these two little towns, but our favorite stop of the trip was this obscure little shop, right on the corner as you come into McCaysville called Weird Oh!
Weird Oh! is not a product of the fancy investor. Weird Oh! is the brainchild of a very special lady with a gigantic heart. Once upon a time, proprietor Erin Hawley, earned a living as a comedian on the coast of North Carolina. Her favorite destination to vacation was in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. As her life progressed and her three children grew in age, she decided it was time for a change and she relocated to her vacation spot.
Since there were no comedy clubs in Blue Ridge, she thought maybe that would be a great business venture. However, space in downtown Blue Ridge is hard to come by. One day Erin and her eight-year-old son were walking around the McCaysville area and she thought “what do children do here for fun?” So, for the next few days, they walked the area, mother and son, back and forth, thinking and talking. Then one day on their regular walk, a for sale signed appeared in the window of the ugliest building you have ever seen. It was red and orange and just an eye sore.
As a creative artist, Erin saw a diamond in the rough and contacted the owner. For weeks she single handedly, with only the help of her youngest child, worked tirelessly to give a major facelift to this corner building. There may have been some gawking of townsfolk as Erin worked. You see, Ms. Hawley does not look like your typical business owner. Tall and gorgeous? Yes! Conservative and formal? No! Erin loves her makeup, her fashion, and it is very unlikely to catch her in any shoe other than high heels. And since she is an artist, you should expect that her body has been used as a canvas so don’t be surprised by her colorful expressions.
So, what exactly is Weird Oh!? Well, it’s a magical emporium of fun! Better known as an unusual place for unusual people, inside you will find peculiar treasures and trinkets. It’s a place where kids can be kids and adults can be kids too! Everything can be touched, moved, and you can even write on the walls and not get in trouble! The only rule that you will encounter is that laughter is a must! No matter what. Laugh, have fun, pick up a toy, purchase a gag gift that will make someone laugh. Giggle a little, chuckle a lot, let out a guffaw if something strikes your funny bone. You won’t be judged, because Weird Oh is all about fun!
Like we told you in the beginning, Erin has a very big heart. Her whole purpose in opening Weird Oh! was to have a place for kids to come in and be kids. She gives gifts to almost every little one that opens the “Alice in Wonderland” door. Additionally, she supports Shop with a Cop, little league teams, and every opportunity for a child to get a toy that makes them happy. Being called a weirdo her whole life, Erin embraces her uniqueness and uses it in a way to positively impact the youth of the area.
Stop in next time you ride the Blue Ridge train or when you just find yourself exploring the twin cities of Georgia and Tennessee. Bonus tip: If you yell out “Dang, You’re Beautiful!” you get 10% off your whole order!