TOP 20 THINGS TO DO IN BLUE RIDGE FOR 2020



As we ring in not just a New Year, but a new Decade, 365 opportunities await you to get out and explore the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Here are a few of our favorite ideas to enjoy your 2020 Escape to Blue Ridge!

1. EAT BLACK-EYED PEAS & COLLARD GREENS

After all, it’s a southern tradition. Eat these as your first meal for the New Year and you will increase your luck and prosperity for the year ahead. The Village Restaurant will be open and ready to serve you the very best in Southern Cuisine

2. WALK THE LINE

Take a walk on the state line between the twin cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, Tn! This newly revitalized town features great shopping, delicious restaurants, and plenty of photographic opportunities.

3. HIT THE LINKS

Old Toccoa Farm is the seven-course meal of golf courses in North Georgia. It took a few years to fill out the full complement of 18 holes, but the first nine, which has been open since 2015, was enough to garner stupendous compliments and comparisons to the likes of Augusta National. Now with the back nine open, and the layout reconfigured, Old Toccoa is by far the best of the best in this neck of the North Georgia woods!

4. ENJOY LIFE ON THE LAKE

Beautiful Lake Blue Ridge offers 3,290-acres of crystal-clear water to explore. Bring your own water craft, rent a pontoon boat, or take a guided tour with Capt’n Joe. Whether you are kayaking, tubing, fishing, or just floating along, there is no prettier place in the world than where the mountains meet the water.

5. SADDLE UP & RIDE

There is nothing more enjoyable than unplugging form the digital world, saddling up on horseback, and heading out into the countryside. In Blue Ridge, forty percent of the county’s land is located within the Chattahoochee National Forest and has countless miles of trails to explore and enjoy.

6. TAKE IN A FESTIVAL OR 5

There is always something happening in these here mountains. Festival season begins in February and ends in October, plus holiday activities are abundant in November and December. You will be blown away with the ice sculpting that takes place at the annual Fire and Ice Chili Cookoff. Blue Ridge festivals are family friendly, pet friendly, and extraordinarily fun!

7. FLY FISH IN THE TROUT CAPITAL OF GEORGIA

Brown trout, rainbow trout, and native trout are abundant in our freshwater mountain streams. Stop by and see Andy Bowen at the Cohutta Fishing Company for some flies and a pole. Then head out to the headwaters of the Toccoa River, Noontootla Creek, or Rock Creek for premier trout fishing.

8. WALK IN THE WOODS

There are few better places to hike than on the hundreds and hundreds of miles of trails that crisscross the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia. Not only is this an area that speaks to the hiker in familiar terms – Appalachian Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, Amicalola Falls – but it’s the wide variety of experiences, from the casual to the challenging, that make these hikes some of the most popular in America.

9. GET IN THE “SPIRIT”

You can’t visit the mountains without trying the refreshing flavors of Hard Cider at Mercier Orchards. While you are there, pick up a peck of apples and some of their fruit infused wines as well. If you are more of a purist, both Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards have classic Chardonnays, Sauvignons, and more. If Craft beer is more your style, don’t fret, there are many options to choose from like Grumpy Old Men Brewing and Fannin Brewing Company.

10. HUNT FOR BIG FOOT

Plan to visit EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum. You may be giggling on the way in the door, but you will leave with a new appreciation for your next walk in the woods. You’ll discover why Big Footers from around the globe make the pilgrimage to Blue Ridge just to explore this museum and its many relics.

11. SWING INTO THE NEW YEAR

Pack up a picnic and hit either the Benton MacKaye Trail or the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail to the Swinging Bridge. This 270-foot-long suspension bridge is the longest swinging bride east of the Mississippi River! If you do decide to jump in the middle, make sure you are faster than your travel buddies or you might get thrown off!

12. CHASE WATERFALLS

A short, family friendly hike makes Fall Branch Falls a must do activity for the young and young at heart. Explore both the upper and lower area of the falls and take time to relax on the rocks and enjoy the views. Don’t forget to bring your best friend. Dogs will enjoy the trail as much as their humans.

13. CHOO CHOO

The iconic Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a must do when in town. Enjoy the scenery every season of the year as the train departs from Downtown Blue Ridge and travels the countryside to the revitalized towns of Copperhill, TN and McCaysville, GA

14. DRIVE IN

If you haven’t been to a drive-in movie since you were a kid, we encourage you to make plans to go to the Swan Drive In Theater and take in a show or a double feature! A throwback to yesteryears, there is just something so fun about watching a movie outdoors.

15. FAIRY CROSS & TRAIL TREES

Legend has it that as the Native Americans embarked on the Trail of Tears, they shed tears of sorrow that fell to the ground and formed tiny crosses of stone known as Fairy Crosses. Commonly known as staurolite crystals, these minerals are abundant in Fannin County.

16. HIT THE RAPIDS

The Southeastern United States is known for having some of the best whitewater around. Here in Blue Ridge we are within 1 hour of 3 action packed, exciting rivers and 2 hours away from one of the most challenging rivers in the state!

17. RELAX

If you are looking for a new hair style, a total manicure and pedicure, body scrub, massage, or a special facial treatment/peel, you will find an amazing staff of creative and accomplished cosmeticians, estheticians and stylists, the caliber you would only expect to find in a metropolitan area, at Serenity in the Mountains.

18. TAKE IN A SHOW

Immerse yourself in the culture of the area at Blue Ridge Community Theater. This cozy community theater offers quality productions, live music, and a robust children’s program. The 2020 line-up includes the first ever Blue Ridge Film Festival, surprisingly saucy comedies, musicals, and even a sweet summer farce!

19. SCENIC DRIVES

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. Drive the 41 miles of Georgia’s only national scenic drive, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway as it circles around the Chattahoochee National Forest.

20. BOOK AN ESCAPE TO BLUE RIDGE

Eagles Landing

There is just something about these mountains that is so good for the soul. Whether you want to come for a romantic getaway, to reconnect with friends and family, or to enjoy the abundant outdoor adventures, we have the perfect cabin for you!

We wish each of you and yours a prosperous year ahead filled with lots of love, exciting adventures, and many opportunities to make heartfelt memories. Happy New Year!

A Blue Ridge Holiday



‘Tis the season to celebrate in the mountains! The crisp weather is perfect for shopping downtown, enjoying outdoor activities and then relaxing in the hot tub or by the crackling fire at the cabin! Come stay with us this month and check out the upcoming events below!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Tour of Trees
December 1 – 31
LOCATION: Union County Community Center

Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

The Blairsville-Union County Community Center is transformed into a winter wonderland for the whole month of December. Bring your family and friends and enjoy an amazing display of trees, lights, wreaths, and decorations. This is a perfect place to get your holiday photos! Admission is FREE!

Colonial Christmas
December 1 – 31
LOCATION: Inola Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of INOLA Blue Ridge

If you love Williamsburg’s Colonial Christmas, but you’d prefer to skip the half-day drive from here, consider a colonial style Christmas at Inola village. Each day from from 12pm-10pm enjoy a Yule Log celebration, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, carriage rides, an illuminated maze, Christmas lights, and ice skating!

Mountain Country Christmas
December 5 – 28
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Visit the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds for a Winter Walk through thousands and thousands of lights and exhibits! Visit Poinsettia Place, Candy Cane Lane, Santa’s Workshop, Toyland, Frosty’s Trail and many more light exhibits. 🎄There will be live music, arts and craft vendors, food, and most important…SANTA!!! 🎅 $5 for adults, $4 Group sales and children under 12 are FREE!!! Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 6pm – 9pm December 5th through December 28th!

It’s a Wonderful Life
December 5 – 15
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

Photo Courtesy of Google images

But… but … but … It’s not YOUR town, Mr. Potter! Thank you, Jimmy Stewart for your one-of-a-kind interpretation of this Christmas classic, which will be ringing in your ears as you ring in the season with “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The Blue Ridge Community Theater’s performance of this memorable, and inspirational, timeless holiday story will be sure to delight young and old. 

Music & Hops
December 6 – 28
LOCATION: Misty Mountain Hops

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Hops

If you love eating and music then you will love the laid back vibes of Misty Mountain Hops. Good food and sweet tunes make this Vinyl Pub a must!

December 6 – The Orange Walls Band
December 7 – Scott Stambaugh
December 13 – Travis Bowlin
December 14 – Gopher Broke
December 20 – Dan Foster

December 27 – Steve Baskin
December 28 – Travis Bowlin

Music at The Blue Coyote
December 6 – 31
LOCATION: The Blue Coyote

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Coyote

The Blue Coyote is known for their live music and entertainment. While you’re there you can enjoy their tasty bar food and a whole bunch of beer! They even have a dog-friendly patio! Stop by, check it out, and enjoy the music!

December 6 – Slickfoot
December 7 – Gregg Erwin
December 13 – Apollo Band
December 14 – Breaking Point
December 20 – Double Barrel
December 21 – Topper
December 27 – Bottoms Up
December 28 – Fiction
December 31 – Mind the Stepchildren

Morning at the Manger
December 7
LOCATION: First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge First Baptist

Staying focused on the true meaning of Christmas is tough these days, so the First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge makes it easy, with displays like a stable of animals, a Bethlehem bakery, a textile shop, a spice shop, and it’s one of the few places where the Christmas story is spoken to families gathered around a manger.

St. Luke’s 13th Annual Christmas Bazaar
December 7
LOCATION: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

Photo Courtesy of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will hold its annual Christmas Bazaar and Silent Auction from 9am to 3pm. Taking place across from the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club Fairground, this event will feature original art works, matted reproductions, knitted items, handmade birdhouses, note-cards, pottery, and handcrafted Christmas decorations! Baked goods, homemade jams, jellies, pickles, and other sweets and treats will also be available!

Carols of the Bells
December 7
LOCATION: Hope Lutheran Church, Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Ringers

If you haven’t seen hand bells rung, go! The sounds are so resonant, pure, and uplifting. The Brasstown Ringers are in Ellijay on December 7 at7pm. Don’t miss them!

Kiwanis Christmas Parade
December 7
LOCATION: Downtown McCaysville/Copperhill

Photo Courtesy of Copperhill Kiwanis

This annual event in Copperhill & McCaysville provides a fun and celebratory atmosphere for family and friends! Occurring on the first Saturday in December each year, this parade features a myriad of floats and high school marching bands. Come and support the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club! The parade begins at 2pm and ends at 4pm. This year’s theme is Christmas Around the World. At 6pm will be the lighting of the tree ceremony and music.

Cartecay Vineyards
December 7 – 31
LOCATION: Cartecay Vineyards

A beautiful vineyard and winery set in pastoral farmlands in the heart of the Southern Appalachians. Cartacay’s wine history dates to 2007, but it’s heritage is comprised of Cherokee roots (in fact, Cartecay translates to “bread valley”). The winery features plenty of locally sourced wines, tastings and special events, plus live music on most weekends.

December 7 – Craig Hendricks
December 8 – Rose Brown
December 14 – Timothy Donovan
December 15 – Johnny Summers
December 21 – Rick Byers
December 22 – Surrender Hill
December 26 – Obe & Amber Brown
December 27 – Rose Brown
December 28 – Gregg Erwin
December 29 – Tommy Joe Conner
December 30 – Lindsay Beth Harper
December 31 – Adrian Stover

Santa Express
December 8 – 23
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Take a ride on the Santa Express and enjoy hearing a Christmas story, singing Christmas songs, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Every child will receive a traditional Christmas bell, a candy cane, and a memory they won’t soon forget!

Christmas Tour of Homes
December 8
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Area

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Parade of Homes by Satterwhite Log Homes

Christmas Tour of Homes is hosted by the Fannin County Family Connection. The tour includes 6 beautifully decorated homes and holiday refreshments. Tickets are available at online at www.fannin.gafcp.org. All proceeds are used to fund Drug & Alcohol outreach programs and the food pantry at Family Connection.

Kid’s Bakery Class
December 14th
LOCATION: Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

You and your littles will learn to make Christmas Gingerbread Trees. They will measure, mix, and decorate and most of all enjoy the quality time learning with you.

Santa Days
December 14th & 21st
LOCATION: Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

Christmas is a magical time of year and Mercier Orchards has a day of fun and photo ops ready for you! Children will be able to decorate gingerbread cookies and write letters to Santa. Come out and make memories as a family.

Third Annual Santa at the Vineyard
December 14
LOCATION: Chateau Meichtry

Photo Courtesy of Chateau Meichtry

Even Santa likes wine and so does Mrs. Claus! That’s why Santa likes to hang at Chateau Meichtry for the day, fueling up for the run around the world he’ll have to make about 10 days later. It’s a time to enjoy wine, visit with Santa, relax with hot chocolate by the fire in the tasting room, and perhaps even get your photo taken with Santa.

The Georgia Spiritual Ensemble
December 21
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater

There’s no better way to describe the heart, soul and legacy of Spiritual music than “Haunting quality, uncanny beauty and dignity”. The Georgia Spiritual Ensemble’s power to present this musical genre is remarkable, and this concert is not to be missed!

New Year’s Eve Midnight Train
December 31
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Few things are deeply romantic as that long, lonely swoon of an authentic old railroad whistle. That’s only a small part of what makes a midnight train ride the perfect way to usher in the New Year. There’s also the beverages (beer and wine), the camaraderie of being among new and old friends who value this unique way of saying hello to a new year, plus the hors d’oeuvres, and the historical narrative along the way. This year’s train ride is appropriately themed “Roar into the 20’s” and riders are encouraged to “dress to impress in your best ‘20s attire”. It’s an unusual, and memorable, way to start the New Year.

Joy to the World
All Season Long
LOCATION: Across the World

To every household near and far, we hope that regardless of your beliefs, you and yours are filled with the merriment and joy of the season. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Festivus!

NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM

The scene is picture perfect: you’re high on a hillside with a lush green cow pasture below, a magnificent long-range Cohutta mountain vista in the distance, and the Ellijay River flowing a few hundred yards away. At Highland Harmony, this idyllic setting can be the backdrop for the vacation of your dreams.  Located in Ellijay nine miles from downtown Blue Ridge, this gorgeous custom tri-level cabin offers you the ultimate in stress-free relaxation, surrounded by nature’s natural beauty!

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!

There are a lot of mountain vacation rentals with similar features and amenities, so choosing between one cabin and another often comes down to the atmosphere it projects that sets it apart. With a warm and cozy ambience and a rustic décor, vintage-inspired furniture and homey patchworks and plaids, Southern Star can be summed up by a saying on a family room pillow: ‘Cabin Sweet Cabin.’

In Case You Missed It

Move Over Napa, Georgia Is For Wine Lovers!


Who needs Napa Valley, when you have North Georgia?In fact, North Georgia, and specifically Dahlonega, has been called the Napa of the East. So, what’s the point of hopping on a plane, enduring crazy traffic, and dealing with stifling crowds? Right here in North Georgia you will be better served, remain relaxed, and meander the charming and scenic back roads of Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Dahlonega, Blairsville, and Helen to enjoy a wine experience that’s even better than what the wild west can offer! KEEP READING.

Blue Friday Deals For YOU!

Ladies Shopping in Downtown Blue Ridge

If you are lucky enough to be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in the mountains, we have an extra special treat for you this year! Not only do you get to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the comfort of your luxury cabin rental, but you also get to adventure out into the most quintessential little town. From our abundance of natural resources like hiking trails, waterfalls, and soaring mountains, we are also proud to share with you the heartbeat of our community – Downtown Blue Ridge.

Of course, anytime is a fantastic time to Escape to Blue Ridge, but when you plan a visit during the holiday season, you will feel like you are stepping into a Hallmark Movie. The town is beautifully decorated and festive from every streetlight to each of the shopkeeper’s windows. The crispness of the mountain air and the excitement for the possibility of snow heightens your exhilaration and desire to explore every corner.

We could list one thousand plus reasons why you should visit Downtown Blue Ridge and of course shopping would be included on that very long list just as dining in our restaurants, meeting our residents, and experiencing the specialness of our beloved mountain community. This year you have ten more reasons to shop here because we have arranged for special Blue Friday savings to all of our Escape to Blue Ridge fans!

What? You don’t know what Blue Friday is? Well, allow me to explain. Blue Friday is Blue Ridge’s version of Black Friday, but it goes far beyond shopping and it is really the local kick-off to the entire holiday season! Let’s look at all the fun things there are to do and before we wrap this up, we’ll share your 10 special savings! Promise.

Blue Ridge Turkey Trot

Thursday, November 28th

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Turkey Trot

The Blue Ridge Turkey Trot is a family event for all ages and abilities from walkers to competitive runners. Kick off the Thanksgiving Day at 8am with a 5K race/walk. Registration starts at 7am and you are encouraged to bring a canned food item for the Good Samaritans food pantry. You’ll be able to enjoy all the holiday food guilt free after completing this run/walk and be back to the cabin in time to put on the turkey. Registration is $30 in advance or $40 on race day. Money raised will be donated to Blue Ridge charities.

Light up Copper Basin

Friday, November 29th

Photo Courtesy of Copper Basin Business Association & Riverwalk Shops

Help light up the twin cities of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. Enjoy live holiday music, hot cocoa, and cookies. Donation are welcome to support Christmas for Kids. The music begins at 4pm and the tree lighting is a 7pm.

Christmas Market

Saturday, November 30th

Photo Courtesy of Downtown Market Blue Ridge

Local produce, handmade arts and crafts, baked goods and more! The Christmas Market opens at 7am and will stay open until dark.

Light Up Blue Ridge

Saturday, November 30th

Photo Courtesy of Light Up Blue Ridge

Light up Blue Ridge is a festive event for children and adults alike. A full day of fun begins when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway where they will then be available in the town gazebo for pictures. There will be performances all day. Santa and Mrs. Claus will then be in the holiday parade at 5:30pm. Food vendors will surround the park, winners of the window decorating contest will be announced, and then the lighting of the 27 foot “Great Tree” takes place at 7:00pm.

Even More Holiday Events!

We covered all the BIG events, but there is so much more fun to be had in this great little town. Our November Events Newsletter features the play It’s A Wonderful Life at the Blue Ridge Community Theater, live music, and a community Thanksgiving event! Our December Events Newsletter features Santa Trains, a Tour of Homes, and Ice Skating!

Blue Friday Specials

Now for your special treat! Some of our favorite shops and downtown Blue Ridge have decided to offer YOU special savings beginning on Blue Friday and lasting all weekend long! (November 29-December 1) All you have to do is let the proprietor know that you are a fan of Escape to Blue Ridge!

Appalachian Trail Rides at S & T Stables

Photo Courtesy of Appalachian Trail Rides at S & T Stables

Appalachian Trail Rides offers guided horseback trail riding from beginner to advanced through the Blue Ridge Mountains on 250 acres located minutes from downtown Blue Ridge GA. On your ride take in beautiful views, wildlife, and creek crossings on customized rides with experienced guides. From family outings to corporate events and private rides to proposal rides, Appalachian Trail Rides will make your time in the Appalachian Mountains as memorable as possible.

Deal: 10% Off Trail Rides

Canoe

Photo Courtesy of Canoe

Canoe is a lifestyle brand of bags and jewelry made right here in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Their unique collection of bags and jewelry effortlessly marry rustic charm with contemporary sophistication. Utilizing natural materials with enduring appeal, every piece you purchase from Canoe will be your new favorite for years to come!

Deal: Free gift with purchase (Friday Only)

Blue Ridge Cotton Company

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Cotton Company

Blue Ridge Cotton Company is a thoughtful store with a big heart. Here you will find quality apparel at affordable prices for the entire family. They are also your source for inspirational gifts, books and journals, home accessories, unique gifts, and so much more.

Deal: 10% off your Entire Purchase!

Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

The Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (the Art Center) has been fostering the creative process in these mountains in excess of 32 years. The Art Center endeavors to promote art, artists & art experiences across the Southern Appalachian Region.

Deal:

  1. 15% off ALL Art Supply Station supplies and items
  2. Receive $5 off Holiday Gift Memberships!
  3. All active BRMAA Members will receive 10% off all purchases

Blue Ridge Mountain Outfitters

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountain Outfitters

This full-service outfitter represents the premier outdoor brands including The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, YETI, Chaco and much more. They are also authorized Trek and Cannondale bike dealers and offer service of all makes.

Deal: Receive 10% off all North Face purchases

Fly Shop Co

Photo Courtesy of Fly Shop Co

Fly Shop Co specializes in locally tied flies, apparel, gear, and a large selection of made in the USA items. Here you can also book guided fly fishing trips and specialized instruction.

Deal: 10% discount on Guided Fly Fishing trips with Will

Pedego Bikes Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Pedego Bikes Blue Ridge

If you are looking for a fun experience you need to tour Blue Ridge by bike! Pedego Electric Bikes sells & rents the most fun electric bikes in the world. They even offer guided tours that include waterfall and swinging bridge adventures!

Deal: 20% off all Tours & Rentals

Misty Mountain Hops

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Hops

If you love eating and music then you will love the laid back vibes of Misty Mountain Hops. Good food and sweet tunes make this Vinyl Pub a must!

Deal: 10% off all Food Orders

Mystic Mountain Pizza

Mystic Mountain Pizza is a family owned and operated pizza restaurant with fantastic food and an inviting atmosphere! They have a passion for crafting fresh salads, all-beef gourmet hot dogs, wings, desserts, and specialty pizzas in their oak-fired brick ovens.

Deal: 10% Off Meal

Escape to Blue Ridge

Cloud Nine Cabin

If you’ve never experienced a Thanksgiving weekend in the mountains, you should discuss it with your friends and family this year and make your plans early because we book up fast!

Deal: For every $100 Escape to Blue Ridge gift certificate purchase, get an extra $10 credit! Please use promo code “Gift10” when booking.

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!

Blue Ridge Fall Bucket List



Fall in the mountains is a special time of year. The temperatures begin to drop to more moderate levels, the leaves turn to beautiful colors, and we can finally don our favorite sweaters and boots! There is always so much to do, both inside and outside, when you Escape to Blue Ridge and experience some fall fun! Here are a few ideas to make this time of year extra special while you create memories with your favorite people!

Scenic Drives

Brasstown Bald Courtesy of Sunrise Grocery

This is the most beautiful time of the year to pack up the family or gather your friends and hit the road for some beautiful leaf peeping! Here are our three favorites:

  1. The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a nationally designated Scenic Byway that is 40.64 miles in length and makes a loop through the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest. 
  2. Brasstown Bald rises 4,784 feet above sea level and is Georgia’s tallest mountain. Visitors to this place on high find an observation deck which allows a spectacular 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, exhibits, a film, hiking trails, and gift shop.
  3. The Southern Highroads Trail can be traveled in its entirety or in sections.  This very scenic route travels through four national forests (Chattahoochee, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Sumter) and four states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia)

Come on Ride That Train

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains is best seen via railway through the Chattahoochee National Forest. Board the eleven-car Blue Ridge Scenic Railway train and enjoy a relaxing 26-mile roundtrip journey beginning and ending in downtown Blue Ridge with a stop in the newly revitalized twin cities of McCaysville, Ga & Copperhill, TN.  

Local Tip: Choose one of the three open air cars to have unobstructed views and to breathe in the fresh mountain air!

Take A Hike

Photo Courtesy of Daniel Frank

There is not another season that encourages you to pause and look around quite like Fall. We think nature is best experienced slowly because sometimes when you’re hiking it can be easy to focus more on the destination or watching where you step. However, in the Fall, bright colors implore you to look away from the ground and towards the colorful trees that make this season so special. Take your time and look up!

Local Tip: Explore the Aska Adventure area with 17 miles of trails to take in the beauty of the season. You can even incorporate the Long Creek Falls loop!

Pick a Peck

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

We can’t really think of a much more iconic fall activity than picking a pick of apples and finding the perfect pumpkin. Right here in Blue Ridge, Mercier Orchards offers you the opportunity to do both. Take a hayride around the property, enjoy a cup of hot apple cider, or warm up from the inside out with some delicious hard cider!

Local Tip: The best part of apple picking isn’t just about going home with yummy apples, it’s about spending quality time with your loved ones and enjoying the fresh air. Make sure to take lots of pictures, that way the memories will last a lifetime.

Star Gazing

Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Watching the stars, moon, and planets shine in real time can be a powerful reminder of how big our world really is and when you look up into the Blue Ridge sky you’ll see why autumn is the best time for star gazing! So, grab a blanket, a thermos of hot chocolate, and a special someone and cuddle up under the stars for a fascinating and romantic evening. Download a Stargazing app to help decipher exactly what you’re looking at and learn about the stories of the constellations.

Fireside Fun

Toccoa Lookout Cottage

What better way to enjoy the fall season than with a warm and toasty fire on the deck or down at the fire pit! This is really a fall MUST. It’s not optional. The air is just so fresh and clean, the crickets and frogs are chirping, and your heart is warmer than the flames with all the chitter chatter while you roast up marshmallows for the perfect s’mores.

Fall Food

Your cabin comes fully stocked with everything you might need to make delicious meals for your friends and family. Since you came back with more pecs of apples than you planned on, let’s put the fruits of your labor to work and make some yummy fall recipes like:

  1. Apple Pie
  2. Pumpkin Stew
  3. Apple Stuffed Porkchops
  4. Cinnamon Stewed Apples
  5. Chicken Pot Pie

Fall Drinks

The best part about fall evenings is sitting on the porch (or in the hot tub) and watching the sun set over the beautiful mountain tops. Instead of the same ol wine and/or beer that you normally would have, impress your friends with some autumn inspired beverages. Apple Cider – Adult Style

  1. Apple Cider – Adult Style
  2. Pumpkin Spice White Russian
  3. Applejack
  4. Fall ‘Tini
  5. Harvest Punch

Leaf Art

Mother Nature produces colors that make Crayola Crayons jealous! So, why do we think they have to stay put outside? Pick up for favorite leaves, of all different colors and shapes, and bring them into the cabin to make your stay even more homey feeling.  Create a simple centerpiece for the table or place some around the fireplace mantle in a decorative fashion. Regardless of whether or not you have children vacationing with you, you can try your hand at some of these fun fall leaf crafts.  You don’t have to be super crafty to make something beautiful. Besides, the fun is in the laughter and memories you make with your loved ones.

Be Thankful

Make a “thankfulness” list. With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, take the time to make a list of all the things you are thankful for in your life. If you have children, make it a family project and teach them the value of remembering all the good things that they have been experiencing during the year.

Fall is Prime Time to go to Blue Ridge



Guest Blog by Blake Guthrie as written for the AJC (Atlanta Journal & Constitution).

The Cabin

Photo Courtesy of Blake Guthrie

Cloud Nine. It’s the type of name one would expect for a mountain vacation rental home. It’s one of those places that if you try and follow GPS directions you’ll get lost. The rental agency sent a confirmation that stressed the importance of following the turn-by-turn directions provided in the email, including detail you wouldn’t get from a GPS such as “go right when you see a bunch of mailboxes.”

The Approach

Photo Courtesy of Blake Guthrie

What it didn’t mention was the very steep and winding one-lane road. After putting my Honda into its lowest gear for the first time ever and having to navigate past an approaching vehicle, I came to the crest of Sunrock Mountain four miles west of Blue Ridge. I saw that Cloud Nine was the type of place I might want to hole-up for a while, but, having never been to Blue Ridge or nearby Ellijay before, I came to do some exploring, to find the most beautiful scenery and the best outdoor spots to experience the autumnal ambiance.

The Train

Photo courtesy of @chusion

It turned out the back porch of the cabin was one of those places. In the morning I could see how the cabin got its name. It was literally in the clouds, the surrounding mountain peaks sticking up through a thick white blanket covering the valleys below. Still, I had to venture out. First on my itinerary was the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. The major attraction in town, the railway has been in operation as a sightseeing excursion train since 1998 along tracks that have a history going back as far as 1886. The tracks follow the route of the winding Toccoa River through the Chattahoochee National Forest to the twin towns of McCaysville and Copperhill, Tennessee. They’re essentially the same town with the state line running through the middle. Like a running joke, the line is demarcated by a blue stripe painted on sidewalks, roadways and running through the middle of businesses.

The train rolls at a leisurely pace and the open-air windows are large, making it a prime fall sightseeing adventure with a good dose of history thrown in. Along the way, you’ll see a Native American fish trap in the middle of the river that experts believe is 500 years old, and the old telegraph poles that used to be the fastest form of communication in a bygone era. The trip takes four hours, with two spent in McCaysville/Copperhill for exploring the towns.

McCaysville

If hunger strikes, Burra Burra on the River in McCaysville is near the train station and serves pub fare and local brews. Be sure to ask for outside seating, weather permitting. The real selling point here is the covered deck that overlooks the clear waters of the Toccoa River flowing past the state line where it becomes the Ocoee River after crossing into Tennessee.

Piano Bar

Photo Courtesy of The Black Sheep

Back in Blue Ridge, the largest patio bar in town can be found at Black Sheep Restaurant, where the seasonal menu leans heavily on seafood. Housed in a historic home shaded by a 200-year-old oak tree, the patio overlooks the center of town. It’s a popular place, so make reservations for dinner. Or just have a drink at the bar.

Breweries

The craft beer scene is surprisingly good in Blue Ridge for such a small town that was dry not too long ago. Two breweries — Fannin Brewing Company and Grumpy Old Men Brewing — both have large, inviting outdoor beer gardens where you can play cornhole, meet the locals and catch some live music. Wine drinkers have no shortage of options either, as wineries have been opening at a fast clip in this area over the last few years.

Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

Near Ellijay, Chateau Meichtry (pronounced “my-tree”) stands out not only for its wine but also its patio outside the barn tasting room where the rolling vineyards reveal a long-range view of the mountains to the north.At Bear Claw Vineyards visitors can spend the night in the Blue Ridge Treehouse, featured on the DIY Network show “The Treehouse Guys.” The treehouse overlooks the vineyards and contains all the amenities one would expect when staying in a hotel.

Apple Country

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

No trip to the North Georgia mountains during the fall harvest season would be complete without taking advantage of apple country. The pull of a roadside farm store backed by endless acres of fruit orchards is undeniable. Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge and R&A Orchards outside Ellijay both have roadside markets selling freshly picked apples and other fruits, fresh-baked goods, local foodstuffs and offer pick-your-own days as well as plenty of free samples.

Welcome to the Mountains!

Photo Courtesy of Blake Guthrie

Lake Blue Ridge is the centerpiece of a scenic drive worth exploring. Stop at the Blue Ridge Welcome Center to pick up a detailed map. Ringed by mountains, the lake has clear, emerald-hued water and a pristine, forested shoreline. The route also runs alongside the tumbling rapids of the Toccoa River, rolling farmland, historic houses, and has many side hikes to cascading waterfalls and other pastoral pleasures. Bring comfortable hiking shoes and make an afternoon of it if you plan to visit all the stops listed on the map. On my last morning at Cloud Nine, I got up early enough to see the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains and stayed on the porch until checkout. Sometimes where you are is the best place to be.

If You Go

Blue Ridge is 92 miles north of Atlanta.

What to see

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. $35 and up. 241 Depot St., Blue Ridge. 877-413-8724, brscenic.com

R&A Orchards. 5505 Hwy. 52 East, Ellijay. 706-273-3821, www.randaorchards.com

Where to stay

Escape to Blue Ridge. Cabins $140-$1,800 per night. 866-618-2521, www.escapetoblueridge.com.

Blue Ridge Treehouse. $234 and up. 2555 Tennis Court Road, Blue Ridge. 706-223-3750, blueridgetreehouse.com.

Where to Eat

Burra Burra on the River. $11 and up. 100 Blue Ridge Drive, McCaysville. 706-400-6660, www.burraburraontheriver.com.

Black Sheep Restaurant. $20 and up. 480 W. Main St., Blue Ridge 706-946-3663, www.blacksheepblueridge.com.

Visitor Info

Blue Ridge Welcome Center. 152 Orvin Lance Drive. 800-899-6867, www.blueridgemountains.com.

Ellijay Welcome Center. 10 Broad St. 706-635-7400, www.gilmerchamber.com.

Hit the Rapids



Photo courtesy of Ocoee Rafting

The Southeastern United States is known for having some of the best whitewater around. Here in Blue Ridge we are within 1 hour of 3 action packed, exciting rivers and 2 hours away from one of the most challenging rivers in the state! Our cabins make the perfect Home Base for day trips, exploring the beauty of Mother Nature and soaking up the Appalachian Lifestyle.

Cartecay River

Photo Courtesy of Ellijay River Outfitters

Just thirty minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, you can access the put-in to the 91-mile Cartecay River off Highway 52. This class I-II river starts in foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and runs West and if you follow it pass the common commercial takeout, you’ll float right through the center of town! The river begins with a nice, calm current as it meanders through the valley. About halfway through your float, the rapids begin to increase in frequency and in fun! The last quarter of the river offers some fun rapids that aren’t too terribly technical and end in a last hurrah at Blackberry Falls. This intimidating looking rapid is really just a big slide and is tons of fun to run down regardless of the your water vessel. There are two outfitters, Cartecay River Experience or Ellijay River Outfitters, to help you with shuttle assistance or to rent you a tube, kayak, or canoe.

Bonus: Since Ellijay is the Apple Capital of Georgia, there are plenty of Apple Houses around to stock up on cider, breads, and of course a wide variety of apples!  

Nantahala River

Photo courtesy of Nantahala Outdoor Center

About an hour Northeast of Blue Ridge after passing through the mountain towns of Murphy and Andrews in Western North Carolina the road will narrow up and you will begin to drop down into the Nantahala Gorge. There’s just something about this gorge that’s special. You can hang a right on old river road and watch the pro kayakers take on the Cascades and Upper Nantahala or continue straight to the lower Nantahala and stop at one of many outfitters that offer guided and non-guided rafting adventures.

The 8-mile Nantahala River is a Class II-III River that runs right along US HWY 76 deep through the Nantahala National Forest. There is no shortage of fun on this exciting river! The opening rapid Pattons Run is a good class III rapid to get your blood pumping right off the bat! After that enjoy a good hour or two of fun, fast, cold water and about 20 named rapids. The river ends with the Grand Finale of The Falls. This class III rapid has an observation deck for passerby’s to stop and watch as the kayaks, canoes, and rafts navigate the technical section of fast white water as they try to pick the perfect line to conquer The Falls!

Bonus: Eat at River’s End after a fun day on the water. Enjoy delicious food, friendly service, and a spectacular view of the river below.

Ocoee River

Photo Courtesy of Ocoee Rafting

Traveling a little less than an hour Northwest from Blue Ridge the Ocoee River, home of the 1996 Olympics is 10 miles of Whitewater fun! The aforementioned Olympic competition took place on the upper section of the Ocoee River. This super technical section of the river features some of the biggest most challenging rapids and is only able to be experienced for 34 days per year. The Middle Ocoee is 5 miles of class III and IV rapids. Hop on Mother Nature’s natural roller coaster and squeal with delightment as your trusty raft guide navigates you and your party down the river with great care to maximize the fun! From the put in at Grumpy’s to the ending rapid at Hell’s Hole, you will never forget the fun and excitement of a trip down the Ocoee!

Bonus: Love to mountain bike? The Cherokee National Forest features miles of mountain biking trails.

Chattooga River

Photo Courtesy of Wildwater

Made famous after the filming of the movie Deliverence, the Chattooga River is about two hours from Blue Ridge. Flowing across both Georgia and South Carolina, the Chattooga River is divided into 4 sections with section 4 being probably the hardest in the Southeast. The class III section increases in difficulty from a mild beginning to a challenging final rapid at Bull Sluice. Being that section 4 of the Chattooga begins at the hardest rapid on section 3 should lead you to believe that this will be a much more challenging run, and you’d be absolutely right about that. The crux of section 4 is at the Five Falls Section of the river. These Class IV rapids are no joke with a 75 foot drop from the beginning to end.

Bonus: Add to your adrenaline rush by booking a Zipline trip where you fly through the sky, over lakes, and among nature!

Hot Events, Cool Mountains



The days are heating up and so are the events in the North Georgia Mountains! Splash into Lake Blue Ridge on a hot July day and as the sun sets over the mountains and the temperature starts to cool off for the evening, enjoy some family time around the fire pit. There are so many fun and festive events happening in and around our little mountain community this month. Take a look and plan your Escape to Blue Ridge to experience all the mountains have to offer!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Italian Wine & Food Tour: A Culinary Experience
July 2
LOCATION: Cucina Rustica

Photo Courtesy of Cucina Rustica

Enjoy a 5-course meal of authentic Italian dishes paired by the Chefs of Cucina Rustica with regional Italian wines! Reservations are required and space is limited.

Blue Ridge Freedom 5K and 10K
July 4
LOCATION: Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Freedom 5K and 10K

If you want to start the morning off healthy, you could run in the Blue Ridge Freedom 5k or 10k, featuring a scenic route through beautiful and historic Blue Ridge!Show your American Pride by coming dressed in your finest red, white and blue running gear. Even more fun after the race with music, watermelon, sweet tea, and lemonade.

Old Timers 4th of July Parade
July 4
LOCATION: Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Fetch Your News

Don’t miss the Old Timers 4th of July Parade! Anyplace downtown is a good viewing spot to enjoy the colorful floats, antique vehicles, and marchers dressed in patriotic attire!

Independence Day Fireworks
July 4
LOCATION: Meeks Park, Blairsville

In Blairsville, Independence Day Fireworks is on July 4th – at Meeks Park, beginning at around 9:30 pm. A day-long festival takes place just south of Blairsville at Vogel State Park, with a bicycle parade, pedal boat races, a watermelon eating contest, sack races and a number of other traditional activities for kids and families. Then head to town to watch the big fireworks show!

Music & Trivia
July 4 – 27
LOCATION: Misty Mountain Hops

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Hops

If you love eating and music then you will love the laid back vibes of Misty Mountain Hops. Good food and sweet tunes make this Vinyl Pub a must!

July 4 – Trivia with Lauren
July 6 – Jeb Rogers
July 13 – Justin Bridges
July 20 – Gopher Broke
July 27 – Jeb Rogers

McCaysville Fireworks
July 5
LOCATION: Downtown McCaysville and Copperhill

The skies over the twin cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, TN will be lit up on Friday night. Anywhere downtown is a great viewing area! Don’t want to drive? You can board the Firecracker Express in Downtown Blue Ridge and arrive by train. There will be a street festival, vendors with food etc. Live music. First Baptist Church of McCaysville has a fair that is open to the public, festivities start around 6 pm.

Boat Dock Bar & Grill
July 5 – 28
LOCATION: Lake Blue Ridge Marina

Photo Courtesy of Lake Blue Ridge Marina

You can’t get a better venue or greater acoustics than right on the lake. With delicious food and jamming tunes, you’ll love the atmosphere and entertainment at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina!

July 5 – Travis Bowlin
July 7 – Shannon York
July 12 – Danny Rhea
July 13 – Johnathan Batten
July 14 – Lindsay Beth Harper
July 19 – Buck & Oz
July 20 – Trevor Patillo
July 21 – Gopher Broke Band
July 26 – Danny Rhea
July 27 – Buck & Oz
July 28 — Shannon York

Meet & Greet and Special Presentation
July 5 – 6
LOCATION: Expedition Bigfoot!

Photo Courtesy of Idaho State University

The Indiana Jones of Sasquatch, Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, is coming to Blue Ridge to talk about that mysterious of all near-humans – Bigfoot, or Skunk Ape, or Yeti, or Sasquatch. Dr. Meldrum will discuss his experiences and near-misses he’s had over the 30 years he has tracked Bigfoot.

Live Music at The Blue Coyote
July 5 – 26
LOCATION: The Blue Coyote

Photo Courtesy of The Blue Coyote

The Blue Coyote is known for their live music and entertainment. While you’re there you can enjoy their tasty bar food and a whole bunch of beer! They even have a dog-friendly patio! Stop by, check it out, and enjoy the music!

July 5 – Southern Vantage
July 6 – The Bone Daddys
July 12 – Natti Lovejoys
July 13 – Topper/Voices of Rock
July 19 – Mind the Stepchildren
July 26 – Donny Hammonds Band

Cartecay Vineyards Live Music
July 5 – 28
LOCATION: Cartecay Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Cartecay Vineyards

Looking for a serene setting on the hillsides near Ellijay with twisty grapevines, a fireplace with outdoor seating (including a statuesque still-standing chimney, which is the winery’s icon), and live music on weekends? Come out to Cartecay Vineyards!

July 5 – Adrian Stover
July 6 – Gregg Erwin
July 7 – Craig Hendricks
July 13 – Timothy O’Donovan
July 14 – Rick Byers
July – 20 – Tommy Joe Conner
July 21 – Johnny Summers
July 27 – April Rooks
July 28 – Surrender Hill

Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks
July 6
LOCATION: Lake Blue Ridge Dam

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Foster Bidez

Fireworks are set off on the Lake Blue Ridge Dam and are viewable by boat, at various viewing locations along the shoreline, and from a large area adjacent to the Lake Blue Ridge Marina.

Namaste and Cabernet
July 6
LOCATION: Bear Claw Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Yoga Over Blue Ridge

The perfect combination – yoga, followed by wine tasting at a vineyard with a view. Ashlee Lofton leads the yoga class, beginning at 10:45am and then there’s a moment of reflection before moving on to Bear Claw’s Grizzly Tasting. OMMM & AHHH. Nothing better!

Earth & Cosmic Creations
July 9 – 12
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Working with clay, painting and a wide range of exciting art classes make up this creative summer camp for kids. This camp is for emerging artists – which is what kids are, after all. And the focus is on allowing them to explore their own exceptional creative side.

A Funny Little Thing Called Love
July 11 – 28
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

When you read a play summary that includes locations like a rooftop London bistro and a 12th floor window ledge, and descriptions of main characters like a car-selling Romeo from Dallas and ancient waitress who wields a wicked sousaphone, you know this is going to be a wild and wacky romp of a performance and you’d better be prepared to laugh. At the heart of all the craziness is love – and that alone should make it all worthwhile.

Appalachian Cooking Redux
July 12
LOCATION: The Folk Apothic

Photo Courtesy of The Folk Apothic

The great thing about a cooking class is you usually get to eat what you cook and this cooking class, which celebrates Appalachian roots is no different. Stories and local wisdom are shared in this hands-on workshop featuring Real Appalachian food brought to you by real Appalachian Grandmas!

Tap Into Your Forest
July 13
LOCATION: Brasstown Bald

Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Bald

Not quite a seminar and not quite a field trip, but the best of both. This program at Georgia’s tallest point is intended to help you understand the importance of a forest watershed. Water conservation techniques and this region’s ecologically turbulent history over the past 100 years are discussed – and you get a bird’s eye view of creeks, rivers and streams and an explanation of how they have evolved to form the Hiawassee Watershed. Extra special bonus – a glass of refreshing mountain lemonade at the end!

2019 Kids Farm to Fork Camp
July 15 – 19
LOCATION: The Cook’s Farm

Photo Courtesy of The Cook’s Farm

Where does food come from exactly? The grocery store, of course. Nope! Kids learn the value of agriculture production and how to take care of food products and animals during this highly popular summer camp. Tours and hands-on opportunities at three off-farm locations add variety to the experience.

Georgia Mountain Fair
July 19 – 29
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Get ready for corn dogs and funnel cakes, but that’s not all. The Georgia Mountain Fair is a North Georgia icon, complete with living exhibits, arts and crafts, a pioneer village; a parade with antique cars, carnival rides and music that ranges from country to gospel including Pam Tillis, Ricky Skaggs, and more!

Harvey
July 26 – 28
LOCATION: Gilmer Arts Playhouse

There’s something about having a 6-foot rabbit at your side as a constant companion that tends to make a person feel safe and secure. That’s the way it is for Elwood P. Dowd, who is content in the knowledge that Harvey, the 6-foot rabbit, is always there for him. He’s also there for others, it’s just that they can’t see him. First made famous by Jimmy Stewart, this is a heartwarming story that’s fun for kids of all ages.

National Juried Photography Show
July 27 – August 25
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Open to all photographers, amateur and professional and all original photographic media, including film and digital images. This event showcases some of the best photographers in the nation, capturing the uniqueness of this region, and competing for cash prizes.

NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM

Dock Holiday

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 cabin is situated in a wooded lot on Lake Nottely, and true to its name, comes with a double-decker dock that’s tailor made for swimming, fishing, and sunning.

North Georgia Overlook

Perched on a hillside surrounded by tall trees with a breathtaking long-range vista of mountains and farmland as far as the eye can see, North Georgia Overlook makes a fantastic first impression. But take a closer look at this Blue Ridge cabin rental and you’ll find even more to love. This magnificent tri-level home has wraparound decks, lofty vaulted ceilings and huge picture windows to maximize the stunning view from sunrise to sunset, whether you’re indoors or out. Its beautifully decorated and furnished interior is the epitome of rustic charm and comfort!

Wolf’s Den

When it comes to North Georgia Cabin rentals, you can’t find a better location than Wolf’s Den. Nestled in the woods with a breathtaking view of the mountains, this beautiful jewel box of a cabin takes you worlds away from “real life,” but it’s just five minutes from the shops and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge and not much more to the area’s wonderful wineries, orchards and Lake Blue Ridge. Driving to the cabin is quick and easy, and when you arrive you’ll instantly feel calm, peaceful and relaxed in this cozy home away from home!

Cloud Nine

At the Blue Ridge Mountain cabin rental Cloud Nine, great things come in twos: two beautiful, spacious family rooms, two comfortable master suites, and two levels of indoor and outdoor living space to accommodate a large family or group of friends. Newly constructed, elegantly furnished, and decorated in an eye-pleasing blend of contemporary and country style, this beautiful hilltop home is perfectly situated to maximize its most valuable asset: a spectacular, breathtaking, awe-inspiring view that stretches far into North Carolina and Tennessee!

Our Blue Heaven

What do you want most in a Blue Ridge cabin rental? If your wish list includes a beautiful wooded location that’s private but close to everything, plenty of space for your family or friends to gather and relax, and all the amenities you’d expect plus the comforts of an exclusive resort, look no further than Our Blue Heaven. Named for the old song of the same name, the cabin is ideally located on a magnificent wooded property just five miles from downtown Blue Ridge, surrounded by the wonders of nature and close to hiking trails, trout fishing, water sports and other activities. Inside, it’s built for comfort, with inviting, spacious rooms, all of them cozy and handsomely appointed with high-end furnishings in rustic mountain style.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The 9 Best Lakeside Cabin Rentals

As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to sore, it’s finally time for our favorite season of all – Sweet Summertime! Those sunshine filled days and star filled evenings are finally here and at Escape to Blue Ridge we want to help you create memories that are as happy and warm as the rays of sunshine piercing through the trees. 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! Keep Reading.

Blue Ridge Unplugged



In today’s world, we spend more time staring at screens than with each other. It’s important to take a break every now and then and reconnect with the ones you love most, especially the youngest members of your family. One of the benefits of getting away for vacation on an Escape To Blue Ridge you can take the time to enjoy each other’s company, tell stories, and laugh a lot. 

Whether you are playing board games, going on a hiking adventure, or roasting marshmallows by the fire pit, when you make an effort to unplug and spend quality time together, you will make memories to last a lifetime!

Get Adventurous

Long Creek Falls

Getting kids outdoors and into nature is one of the best things you can do for them. Not only is it good for their health, and yours, but it will also help build their confidence. What better feeling is there than to look back at how far you’ve come and be proud of that journey? Whether your taking the stairs at Amicalola State Park, bouncing along the swinging bridge, or taking a hike down to Long Creek Falls, your kids will feel so proud when they get to your destination. The best part? Since cell service rarely works out in the woods, you get to talk and observe nature along your route!

Learn Something Together

Children’s brains are like little sponges. They absorb absolutely everything they can from everywhere they can. One way to help encourage knowledge through learning is taking in a museum or two. Who knows, you might even learn something! For a light hearted and fun afternoon, you and your mini-me’s can try to determine whether the legendary Big Foot is indeed fiction or non-fiction at EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Tourism

For a more classic approach, there is plenty to see and do at the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association. Their gallery features a plethora of art pieces in various mediums. Each month a new Artist in Residence is featured, and their art exhibits are switched out every four to six weeks so there is always something new to see. The Arts Center also offers classes for both adults and children alike to encourage your creativity and hone your artistic skills. Like scavenger hunts? The Art Center has been instrumental in creating the one and only Trout Art Trail! Take a stroll around town and find each of the colorful trout placed throughout town. After  you’ve found them all, head to the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center for a prize!

Rainy Day Fun

2nd Story Entertainment

Oh, we know, sometimes rainy days are the most challenging days to be locked up with your kids with nothing to do. Fortunately, there is a great solution right in Downtown Blue Ridge – 2nd Story Entertainment. This kid friendly and fun business is located upstairs, on the second floor, from Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill. Inside you find a full eighteen holes of challenging putt putt obstacles and fun games to play in between golf rounds. The course is spread out through nine different rooms with each featuring its own theme like a red-carpet room with movie stars, a western room, and a throw back to classic games room.

Channel Your Inner Child

Photo Courtesy of Weird Oh!

The communities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN have recently seen a great revitalization which means there are some great new shops to explore and restaurant to try. We highly recommend you channeling your inner child and checking out a fun little shop called “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. 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!

What trip is complete without a little something to satisfy your sweet tooth? At Sweet & Southern Sugar Company you will be delighted with all the fun treats from delicious ice cream to decadent desserts. You will definitely feel like a kid again trying to pick out a treat. We highly recommend the Sin Shakes and their to-die-for cinnamon buns! Just across the street, you absolutely MUST take a selfie while standing in two states. That’s right. You can stand in Georgia and Tennessee at the same exact time!

If you really want to feel like a kid again, you should plan your trip to McCaysville via the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Who doesn’t love a train ride? Come on, admit it, we’ve all played “conductor” with our best sounding “All Aboard” and attempts at a train whistle. This relaxing and enjoyable ride begins in downtown Blue Ridge and the tracks meander through the countryside on a twenty-six-mile round trip journey. There is a two hour layover in McCaysville which gives you plenty of time to check out all the shops and load up on sweets!

Be Nostalgic

Swan Drive-In

If you haven’t been to a drive-in movie since you were a kid, we encourage you to make plans to go to the Swan Drive In Theater and take in a show or a double feature! A throwback to yesteryears, there is just something so fun about watching a movie outdoors. Plan to arrive early and have a little picnic while you wait on the movie to begin. Trust us, it fills up fast, so you’ll want to be there early! There is a grassy knoll to throw a football, play some corn hole, or just enjoy an old-fashioned game of tag. Whether you choose to watch the show in camp chairs behind your car or on blankets in the bed of your truck, there will be no shortage of smiles from every member of the family. Local tip – bring a portable radio/boombox. You don’t want to be the one who’s battery dies from running the radio!

Keep It Simple

Photo Courtesy of Huck’s General Store

Kids don’t need anything to entertain them except for your attention. Well, maybe a little ice cream! Seriously though, keep it simple, unplug, and give them your undivided attention. Take a stroll through downtown Blue Ridge. There are some adorable shops that both you and your children will find interesting like Huck’s General Store. There are plenty of places along the strip to stop and grab a scoop or two like The Chocolate Express. At the end of Main Street there is an awesome playground (and restrooms) for the kids to burn off some energy before you decide on a fabulous restaurant for dinner.

Back at the cabin go on a family stick hunt to get kindling for the fire. Once the sun sets, and the fire is lit, break out the marshmallows and show them how to roast them. Do you like your marshmallows burnt too? Better yet, add graham crackers and chocolate for some campfire s’mores! The firepit is a good time to tell stories about when you were young or when your kids were young. This writer must have told her child the story of her birth no less than a million times! Break out the guitar, sing some songs, make wishes on stars, and enjoy every moment you have together. Regardless how you spend your time in Blue Ridge, be content in knowing that you are creating memories your children will hold on to and cherish forever. After all, that’s what life is all about.

4th in the North



July will be here before you know it and we couldn’t be more excited! It’s time for lazy days at the lake, burgers and hot dogs on the back porch grill, and fireworks filling up the night sky! Here in North Georgia, we are proud Americans and we go all out to celebrate this great country that we love so much! Here’s a round-up of what to expect in Blue Ridge this Fourth of July.

First Things First

A celebration of America’s independence in these parts starts with pancakes. And why not?  There’s nothing better than a heaping stack, with some slathered syrup to remind of us of how lucky we are to live in the good ol’ US of A.

Plus, there are at least two pancake breakfasts on the morning of the 4th. The Habitat for Humanity,sponsored breakfast at the Faith Presbyterian Church is right on the Old Timers 4th of July Parade Route and, coincidence of coincidences, breakfast is finished when the parade begins at 10 am! Or you could visit the Epworth Community Club, where breakfast is followed by family activities throughout the rest of the day.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Freedom 5K and 10K

If you want to start the morning off healthy, you could run in the Blue Ridge Freedom 5k or 10k which features a scenic route through beautiful and historic Blue Ridge. What a great way to start the holiday weekend!

Photo Courtesy of Fetch Your News

Whatever you do, don’t miss the Old Timers 4th of July Parade! Any place downtown is a good viewing spot to enjoy the colorful floats, antique vehicles and marchers dressed in patriotic attire!

Dare to Be Different

For something really unusual, you could spend some time on the 4th of July weekend hanging out with gentle alpaca at the 7th Annual Alpaca Farm Independence Day Celebration. Featured events include fiber arts demonstrations, snacks and fuzzy alpaca kisses!

Photo Courtesy of Lasso the Moon Alpaca Farm

Throughout the weekend, the Ellijay Farmers Market is open and gaining vibrancy every day.

Light Up The Sky

Fireworks for the 4th in Blue Ridge and surrounding areas are actually on the 5th and 6th, with one of the largest displays in Copper Basin/McCaysville on Friday night, July 5th.

A great way to view the fireworks is by train, on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway “Firecracker Special”.

A Fireworks and Family Picnic and fundraiser for Fannin County Family Connection is planned for July 6 at the Riverstone Medical Campus in Blue Ridge. Fireworks begin at dusk. h

Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks – “Fire in the Sky” – also the night of the 6th —  is being put on by the Lake Blue Ridge Civic Association. Fireworks are set off on the Lake Blue Ridge Dam and are viewable by boat, at various viewing locations along the shoreline, and from a large area adjacent to the Lake Blue Ridge Marina.

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Foster Bidez

Speaking of boats – the 4th Annual Lake Blue Ridge Boat Parade will be on Friday, July 5th at 9pm. The parade will follow the shoreline from Blue Ridge Recreation Area to Morganton Point Recreation Area ending at Lake Blue Ridge Marina. In Blairsville, the Independence Day Boat Parade on Lake Nottely takes place Saturday, July 6 starting at 12:00pm.  Anyone with a boat and the spirit to decorate is welcome to attend and be part of the fun!

Photo Courtesy of Norm Cooper

In Blairsville, Independence Day Fireworks is on July 4that Meeks Park, beginning at around 9:30 pm. A day-long festival takes place just south of Blairsville at Vogel State Park, with a bicycle parade, pedal boat races, a watermelon eating contest, sack races and a number of other traditional activities for kids and families!

Bonus

Aside from great celebrations, we also are fortunate to have some great restaurants to check out and fabulous little places to shop. However you spend your 4th of July celebration, we hope that it is spent with friends, family, and lots of good food!

Happy Birthday, America! We are so very grateful to live in the beautiful United States of America. It is an absolute honor to live in the land of the free and the home of the (very) brave! Thank you to all of our men and women that have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice to defend our great nation and allow us to enjoy the comfortable life we get to live.