Hiking out the Back Door



When you come to the mountains, you come to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and get out in nature. So it’s important that you’re close to all the trails and outdoor adventures that Blue Ridge has to offer; www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/seven-blue-ridge-hikes.

But what if these trails were right outside your cabin doors? Step outside and start on the trails, no driving necessary! Immerse yourself in the great outdoors and get moving with access to miles worth of trails, right in your backyard.  These 6 cabins are the perfect retreat for all the outdoor lovers and hikers out there! 

Aska Adventure Lodge

This beautiful cabin is right in the heart of the Aska Adventure Area and less than 5 minutes from Toccoa River, Lake Blue Ridge, and town. Just off of the vast, wraparound porch, you’ll find yourself just steps from The Benton MacKaye Trail. Along the trail, you might run into Fall Branch Falls, Long Creek Falls, Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, and even Springer Mountain. You’re also close to many great tubing and canoeing opportunities.

After a long day on the trails, lay back and soak in the hot tub or play a game of pool in the game room. Even inside you won’t feel far from the outdoors, with themed rooms like “Trout Camp”, a bear room, and an all-around rustic, natural look throughout. Aska Adventure Lodge sleeps up to 10 people, so grab a group of your favorite hikers and get ready to adventure! 

TreeTops

Perched high on the mountain overlooking the Aska Adventure Area, this classic mountain cabin is close by to a variety of great outdoor activities! Tube down the Toccoa River, catch fish in Lake Blue Ridge, or walk down the driveway to Long Mountain Trail which connects to both the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Aska Adventure Trail, where all kinds of beautiful hikes await you!

Even enjoy a long, scenic ride on the winding Aska Road to Highway 60 and take in all the mountain views. TreeTops also has a hot tub and game room; perfect for unwinding after a busy day. You can even bring your furry friend along to join in all the fun! 

Sanctuary Summit

For a relaxing escape to the wilderness, Sanctuary Summit is your place! This newly constructed cabin, built-in 2020, sits high on a hillside overlooking the National Forest. You’ll have stunning mountain views all around and can see Lake Blue Ridge off in the distance.

Located in the Aska Adventure Area, you’ll be just steps away from all kinds of fun outdoor activities. With access to dozens of hiking trails, the beautiful Toccoa River, and so much more, you’ll basically be living outdoors for a week! And Sanctuary Summit is pet friendly as well, so be sure to bring your pup along with you on the trails

Even when you’re inside the cabin you can enjoy the great outdoors with multiple wrap-around decks and enormous windows where you can sit to watch the sunset. In the evening, you can grill out on the deck and cuddle up next to the wood-burning fireplace. And of course, this cabin has both a hot tub and a game room as well so you can unwind however you choose! Hike, relax, and escape at this wonderful cabin!

Lake View Retreat

Perfect for a small group of nature lovers, Lake View Retreat is built right into the side of the mountain with an amazing view of Lake Blue Ridge framed by the trees. Since it’s located right next to Lake Blue Ridge it’s the perfect getaway for those who’d rather be on the lake. Boat and kayak on the lake, catch lots of fish, and if it’s summertime enjoy a nice swim.

Not only is Lake View Retreat close to Lake Blue Ridge but it’s also nearby countless hiking trails and the Toccoa River, where more outdoor adventures await! After a long day at the lake or on the trails soak into one of the comfy leather couches and watch some TV by the fire. It’s also pet friendly, and has a hot tub and game room as well! Grab your closest friends and go live a week by the lake! 

Take a Hike

As its name implies Take a Hike is perfect for all the hikers out there! Located in the Cohutta Wilderness and on Mt. Pisgah, you’ll experience stunning mountain views from any of the cabin’s 3 decks and be fully immersed in nature. Right from your cabin, step on the trails and enjoy an easy hike to a waterfall, cave, and even Colonel Magnum’s memorial. Or take a quick drive to get to any of the major trails in the Cohutta Wilderness like Daily Gap, Jacks River, Benton MacKaye, and Hemptop.

Also enjoy fantastic mountain biking trails around the mountain base. And within just 20 minutes from the cabin, you’ll find fishing, boating, and rafting adventures at the Ocoee River, Lake Blue Ridge, and Fighting Town Creek. You’ll have a full day of fun and adventure in store with so many great outdoor opportunities so close by.

When your day of hiking, biking, fishing, and boating is done enjoy dinner with a view at the picnic table and rocking chairs on the back deck. You’ll get cozy by the outdoor fireplace and watch the sunset. Then after dinner is done and the sun has set, step on down to the yard for s’mores by the fire or a dip in the hot tub. This cabin was truly made for outdoor lovers and adventurers! 

The Overlook 

Last but not least on our list is the beautiful and secluded cabin, The Overlook. It gets it’s name because it overlooks the Aska Adventure Area, Lake Blue Ridge, and has panoramic mountain views. And lucky for you outdoor lovers, it’s in short walking distance to the Benton McKaye trail, which takes you to past numerous falls, rivers, and mountain hikes. Its prime location and easy access to the trails makes this cabin the ideal escape for hikers.

Even while at the cabin you can take full advantage of the great outdoors by sitting out on the deck in a rocking chair and taking in the views. Or soak in the hot tub to warm up and relax after a long day on the trails. You’ll absolutely love having your own private and secluded oasis, far away from the rest of the world! 

Christmas Lights Around the Mountains



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

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

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

Blue Ridge:

William’s Home Photo Courtesy of Becky Dyer

Downtown Blue Ridge – East Main St.

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

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

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

Blairsville:

Gwynn’s Christmas Light Show

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

Collins – 257 Windy Hill Rd. (Santa Here)

289 Cook St

Downtown – On the Square

195 Forest Dr

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

262 Jewell Mason Rd

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

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

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

Hiawassee

Mountain Country Christmas in Lights

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

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

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

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

North Carolina:

Harshaw Road Lights Courtesy of Susie Bryant

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

Harshaw Road – Near Cherokee Hills Golf Course

The Ultimate Meal



Cover Photo of delicious meals courtesy of Chef Jeff Servin

Fine dining is different at every restaurant, but there is something magical about having a fully prepared gourmet meal in the privacy of your luxurious mountain cabin. Lucky for us, so many of the finest award-winning international chefs have found their way to the Appalachian mountains, tired of the hassle of metropolitan restaurant life, and a few special ones chose to settle right here in Blue Ridge to share their talents.  

These professional chefs will come to your cabin, prepare an incredible meal suited to your tastes and dietary needs, and the best part is they clean up all the mess! The surprising part, is this 5-star service is much more affordable than you might think. Seriously. It is! We recommend you consider one of these amazing options (listed alphabetically because we love all 3!) on your next Escape to Blue Ridge.

BLUE DUCK EATS

Chef Steven – Blue Duck Eats

Steven Lash is a veteran of the restaurant world having worked in some of the top kitchens in Atlanta for over 15 years. Steven’s food is best described as “inspired American cuisine” combining fine dining with local influence inspired by his extensive travel, passion for the outdoors, and hunger for understanding cultures.

Jumbo lump crab cake with Meyer lemon Beurre Blanc and Microgreen salad

CHEF JEFF SERVIN

Locals Only Special for Escape to Blue Ridge Guests

Chef Jeff Servin

With over 15 years of restaurant experience, this 33 year old Executive Chef takes pride in sourcing his produce from local farmers, and bringing the best quality to the table for every plate he delivers, so you know it’s fresh! He puts his entire heart, passion, and skillset into dinner parties, family dinners, or an exotic feast for two. He also offers packaged meals that are ready in minutes, so you don’t even need to leave your cabin!

Wedding Reception for Escape to Blue Ridge partner, Ernie White
  • Featured blog cover photo courtesy of Chef Jeff Servin.

CHEF TREY GOURMET

Chef Trey Griffith

Using the freshest, often locally sourced ingredients, Chef Trey is passionate about sharing the experience of fine dining with his clients. His services include initial client consultation, a customized menu plan, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and kitchen clean up!

Five spiced wild caught Steelhead Trout with Honey glaze, Saffron scented yellow rice, diced sautéed yellow Beet Root, Soy glaze

S’mores Elevated



S’mores. A favorite dessert for families and a fun time sitting around the firepit. A little graham cracker, a little marshmallow, a little chocolate is an amazing combination for the perfectly crafted s’mores, BUT how do you take your s’mores to the next level?

BACON of course!🥓

Chocolate Lovers

What about using Reese’s Peanut Butter cups instead of milk chocolate?

Photo courtesy of Hershey’s

Candy Bar Style

Give me a break. Give me a break. Make me a s’mores with a Kit Kat bar!

Photo courtesy of Flickr

“Get the sensation” of minty deliciousness when you make your s’mores with a York Peppermint Patty!

Photo courtesy of Hip2Save

Peanut, Peanut Butter!

There isn’t much that compliments chocolate better than Peanut Butter, but have you ever added it to your s’mores? We promise, this extra layer of yum will change the way you make s’mores forever!

Photo courtesy of Jif

Healthier?

Make your s’mores a little healthy with strawberries!

Elevate your sweetness level with bananas! When the sugars caramelize, your taste buds are going to jump for joy!

Photo courtesy of the Food Network

Piece de Resistance

Chocolate lovers already know, but we’re going to let you in on a secret. NUTELLA! This hazelnut chocolate is an incredible way to elevate your s’mores and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time!

Photo courtesy of Laura in the Kitchen

What’s Your Fav?

Do you have better s’mores concoctions? Leave a comment with your favorites or tag us on Facebook or Instagram!

Extreme Outdoors for the Brave at Heart



The moments when we conquer our fears are the moments when we feel most alive! Extreme activities in the great outdoors allow you to capture the place we all call home from an entirely different perspective. You’ll be chasing the adrenaline rush for days to come! And what better place to try out a new and unusual outdoor activity than in the Blue Ridge Mountains?

These 7 extreme activities will swipe you off your feet…literally!

Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

Choose from 13 extraordinary zip line adventures ranging from 25-75 feet at this property. Ages 10 and up are welcome to experience any of the zip lines. While zipping through the treetops, you’ll catch views of mountain peaks, pastures, and Fighting Town Creek. There are one-hour and two-hour guided tours available to pick the route most suitable for you. The cable lines extend up to 1,000 feet in length so you’ll be soaring as far as the eye can see!

Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge
891 Old Cashes Valley Rd. Blue Ridge, GA 30513 | (800) 251-4800 | Hours: 7 days a week, 7am-11pm

Blue Ridge Adventure Park

Photo Courtesy of Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

After you’ve completed your zip line tour, head over to the Blue Ridge Adventure Park, located only 15 minutes away from the Zipline Canopy Tours site. This park features climbing walls, zip lines, suspension bridges, and other exciting obstacles. There are three courses with varying levels of difficulty offered for ages seven and up. The paths are designed to stretch your physical and mental ability!

Blue Ridge Adventure Park
2087 E 1st St, Blue Ridge, GA 30513 | (800)-251-4800 | Hours: Vary. Call for reservations

Rolling Thunder River Company

Photo Courtesy of Rolling Thunder River Company

If you’re looking for an action-packed day of fun, you can find it at Rolling Thunder River Company. This thrilling experience can be shared with friends or family and can be enjoyed for a half-day or a full-day long. The two scenic options for whitewater rafting include the Ocoee River in Southern TN or the Nantahala River in Western NC. The Ocoee River rafting center is located only 15 minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, and holds the most continuous class III and IV rapids in the country! These river waters were chosen as the whitewater events venue for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, making them a popular destination since then. A whitewater rafting trip will leave you with a new-found passion, a greater appreciation for wilderness, and probably soaked clothes!

Rolling Thunder River Company
20 Hughes St. McCaysville, GA 30555 | (800) 404-7238 | Hours: Reservations can be made 7 days a week, 10am-5p
m

Tank Town USA

Photo Courtesy of Tank Town USA

This activity is truly next level! This place is an amusement park for ages 15+ and where every artillery enthusiasts’ dreams come true. At Tank Town USA, visitors can drive real tanks, crush cars with tanks, operate construction excavators, and shoot M-1919 machine guns. These activities are once in a lifetime opportunities or you can become a regular visitor! Group rates are available. Tank Town USA is designed for anyone willing to put the daredevil within them to the test!

Tank Town USA
10408 Appalachian Hwy, Morganton, GA 30560 | (706) 633-6072 | Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday by reservation only

Lookout Mountain Flight Park

Photo Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Flight Park

It’s time to let the wind take you away! At Lookout Mountain Flight Park you can learn to hang glide or paraglide through the sky. With stunning views of the Georgia and Tennessee mountains and valleys, this is an activity that will allow you to gain some wings! There are solo and tandem flights available. After lessons and practice with instructors, you will be soaring high with the clouds!

Lookout Mountain Flight Park
7201 Scenic Highway, Rising Farm 30738 | (706) 383-1292 | Summer Hours: Thursday-Tuesday 9am-6pm

Chattanooga Skydiving Company

Photo Courtesy of Chattanooga Skydiving Company

Freefall like never before! Take a chance and fall from an aircraft 14,000 or 18,000 feet in the air. The Chattanooga Skydiving company offers various levels of packages, and their team has been providing skydiving instruction for over 50 years. The skydiving experience is done with a highly experienced skydiving instructor strapped on your back. The instructor will film your jump from their perspective for free!

Chattanooga Skydiving Company
300 Airport Rd. Jasper, TN 37347 | (855) 776-5867 | Hours: 7 Days a Week 8am-6pm

Wing-N-It Seaplane Adventures

Photo Courtesy of Wing-N-It Seaplane Adventures

You can capture the beautiful North Georgia mountains and lakes all in one trip. Their flight packages are available with tours in Gainesville, Blairsville, Blue Ridge, and Hiawassee. The Blue Ridge aerial flight takes passengers around the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Blue Ridge, and Lake Nottely. The flight tours range from 15 to 60 minutes. Reach new heights with Wing-N-It seaplane adventures!

Wing-N-It Seaplane Adventures
1660 Palmour Dr. Gainesville, GA 30501| (678) 971-9922 | Hours:
Vary. Call for reservations

Your Furkids are Welcome Here



Bringing your dog with you on your Blue Ridge mountain vacation can enrich a trip in so many ways. You’ll meet and talk to dog-loving strangers who otherwise would have passed right by you. You’ll travel to dog-friendly parks and other places that wouldn’t ordinarily be on your itinerary. You’ll have a built-in reason to go outside, exercise and have fun. Most meaningfully, you’ll have your best friend at your side. We are glad that you and your four legged pooch have decided to stay with us, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of Blue Ridge’s favorite canine and people friendly spots.

Let’s Get Our 20,000 Steps In

Photo Courtesy of @celine_celeste_great_danes

Fido isn’t wearing a Fitbit, but he does have twice as many legs that welcome the fresh air and exercise that come as a vacation bonus here in the foothills of the Appalachians. The Chattahoochee National Forest is dog-friendly. When combined with the Oconee National Forest, the Chattahoochee National Forest spans nearly 867,000 acres across 26 counties and features thousands of miles of clear streams and rivers, 850 miles of recreation trails, picnic areas, and areas rich in natural scenery, history, and culture. Hikers bringing their dogs on the trails must keep them under verbal or physical restraint at all times—using a leash in crowded areas is highly encouraged.

If your dog loves to socialize with her canine counterparts, then a visit to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge Dog Park is a must. An off leash park there offers both Big dog and Small Dog areas. There are toys to play with or you are welcome to bring your furkids favorite fetch toy. Clean up bags are provided, but you need to do the heavy lifting and disposal into the litter cans. The park is open sun-up till sun-down, 7 days a week.

Shopping is GRRRRReat

Watson greeting customers at Blue Ridge Cotton Company

Blue Ridge Cotton Company is a dog-friendly clothing store, located in downtown Blue Ridge. Inside the store, you’ll find an extensive pet section, including gifts, books, leashes in a variety of colors, treats, and more. There’s even more irresistible human stuff, too. Additionally, Blue Ridge Cotton Company donates one percent of every purchase to a number of animal charities in the local area.

If it’s a girls day out, then the two of you need to head over to Humble Pie Ladies Boutique. A pet-friendly ladies outfitter in Blue Ridge, the clothing they stock is Bohemian-style, unique, affordable and comfortable. Dogs are welcome to join you in the dressing room as you decide which flowing dress or headband best suits you.

Love Dogs and Cats Too is a pet-friendly store full of items for Fido and Fluffy. They stock everything from healthy treats and snazzy leashes to plush toys and comfy beds. Dogs are welcome inside to sniff out their birthday gift or drop some hints as to their favorite kind of toy to take home.

Drinking out of a bowl, frosted mug or goblet

Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards & Winery

Eventually you and your pet are going to get thirsty. Though your four legged friend isn’t old enough to legally indulge in liquid spirits, he/she will still love to socialize with you as you test out some of the finest in craft beers and wines produced in our region. Hanging out on the patio seating at Grumpy Old Men’s Brewing will actually put you all in a good mood. Fannin Brewing Company is another favorite for Fido travelers and the Ale beer connoisseur on the other end of the leash. Just up the road from downtown Blue Ridge is Bear Claw Vineyards & Winery, a boutique farm winery with vineyards where production of handcrafted wines are offered in the tasting room which also includes a dog friendly patio. Salud!

This Movie Rates 5 Bones

Photo Courtesy of Kaysi and Grey Darrah

When was the last time you took your pooch to the movies? Here in Blue Ridge you can bring Chunky with you to catch Call of the Wild (or Lady and the Tramp if she’s into chick flicks) on the biggest screen she’s ever seen – at  the Swan Drive-in Theater. Screening since 1955, this drive-in features 1st run blockbusters & an old-school snack bar with burgers. You’ll love the nostalgia, your pet will dig the burger bar outdoor patio and you’ll both enjoy the movie.

French Fries to Fine Dining

Photo Courtesy of The Black Sheep

It’s vacation, and McDonalds isn’t going to do for either of you. It’s time to try new gourmet delights, something that didn’t come out of a can. Toccoa Riverside Restaurant, located in Blue Ridge, GA, is a casual eatery that serves up a variety of delicious American fare. Best known for their local trout dishes, it’s best not to mention to your pet that there is also catfish on the menu. Spot is welcome to join you at one of their pet-friendly outdoor tables while you enjoy your meal. (They even offer a special menu just for pups with options like hot dogs, burgers, chicken, rice, and more!) And there is live entertainment for your pet too, as they quack up watching the ducks waddling along the river bed. 

Photo Courtesy of Toccoa Riverside Restaurant

You don’t have to be a Polish Greyhound to enjoy the patio dining at Margo’s Gourmet Polish Kitchen. Margo makes everything fresh daily, and Cuddles will appreciate that she refers to her famous steamed weiners as sausages, not hot dogs. If you are both preferring something more like a pizza than a pierogi, upstairs from Margo’s is where Blue Jeans Pizza is located. Rated #1 Blue Ridge Pizza on Trip Advisor, this Italian-American eatery also serves up menu options like appetizers, salads, burgers, pizza, strombolis, calzones, subs, pasta, wraps, and more. And your furry bambino is welcome to join you at their outdoor patio seating.

When the palate calls for something more upscale or a certain date night ambience, then be sure to sniff out these two places. Harvest on Main has comfortable seating on their patio under the porch for both you and your furkid. Don’t share the menu though. Cuddles will have you ordering the Smoked Duroc Bone-In Pork Chop served with Red Skinned Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Pork Collard Greens, topped with Mushroom Ragout. Guess who wants the bone? 

And talk about the right canine atmosphere to indulge in culinary perfection, check out the 200 year old tree that Cuddles can rest under while you indulge in what’s been voted the best weekend brunch in Blue Ridge at The Black Sheep, just a short walk down Main Street. 

Did someone say walk?

A Secluded Heaven



Here at Escape to Blue Ridge, we consider the current recommendation of “Social Distancing” a serious responsibility. Click HERE to learn more about what we’re doing to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus within our vacation homes.

We also believe our vacation homes provide a great resource for adapting to this new temporary way of life while still enjoying quality family time with your loved ones. In fact, providing incredible getaways in underpopulated areas is our specialty! Many of our cabins back up to National Forest service land making you feel like you are in your very own secluded heaven! Besides, last we heard, getting outdoors and spending time with family was not cancelled. So, let’s make the most of our situation and embrace the opportunities we do have.

Today, with many schools being closed and offices shutting down, there is not a better time to “seize the day” and take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy life a little. Here in Blue Ridge, we have an abundance of natural resources to experience, comfortable cabins to unwind in, and breathtaking views to enjoy your own secluded peace.

Take a Hike

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. Is Fido traveling with you? These hikes are perfect for your 4-legged adventure partner!

Ride a Horse

Photo Courtesy of @littlebitty87

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 which means there are countless miles of trails to explore and enjoy. Fresh mountain air, beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and getting in touch with nature is what it’s all about. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced equestrian, one of the area’s local outfitters would love to show you our countryside and provide you with a rewarding, memorable, and exhilarating trip.

Chase Waterfalls

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

If you’re looking for a scenic trail with beautiful falls at the end, and to check off a couple high profile hiking trails while you’re at it, Long Creek Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Blue Ridge, Georgia should make it to the top of your list. Don’t forget to bring your best friend. Dogs will enjoy the trail as much as their humans!

Scenic Drives

Photo Courtesy of @heatherdrones

Expand your horizons, pack up the family, and hit the road for a beautiful scenic drive! Here are our three favorites:

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.

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.

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)

Isolate in Style

Black Dog of Blue Ridge Cabin

Escape to Blue Ridge cabins are equipped with every amenity you might look for in a home away from home. Complete with extraordinarily comfortable bedrooms, gourmet kitchens, and entertaining game rooms. With every rental home we provide hotel-style linens with spa-quality bath towels for each guest and exquisite bath soaps and shampoos from William Roam. Our kitchens are well-equipped with appliances including a stove, oven, refrigerator, coffeemaker and all the preparation and serving implements you’ll need to cook and serve your family. The majority of cabins feature games rooms to keep you entertained, but once you breathe in that fresh mountain air and gaze at the vastness of the mountains, your soul will already be satisfied.

Play Games

There is no shortage of entertainment when you Escape to Blue Ridge. Compete in classic board games, shuffle a deck of cards, or play charades. Some cabins feature foosball, ping pong tables or a pool table. And don’t worry. You’ll be able to keep up with current events, if you really want to, because high-speed internet is included with every one of our homes. 

Relax in the Hot Tub

Green Pine Cabin

Feel your stress melt away as you step into the bubbling, steaming 102° hot tub. When you soak in the warm water your nervous system slows down causing relaxation throughout your body. As the jets beat on your tense, tight muscles your body begins to release endorphins that provide you with a sensation to improve your overall mood. A little glass a vino. An incredible view. This social seclusion isn’t too bad after all!

Ring Around the Fire

Adventure Us Cabin

As the sun begins to set, go on a family stick hunt to get kindling for the fire. Once the fire is lit, break out the marshmallows and show your kids 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 you and your family will hold on to and cherish forever. After all, that’s what life is all about.

High Class in the High Hills²



(If you haven’t had the chance to read our Part I blog, we encourage you to click here and see what indulgent amenities the North Georgia Mountains has to offer in the way of pampering services and adventure experiences! Now we’d like to take you to other areas of resort vacationing that you might not expect to find here in a 30-mile radius of your luxurious cabin rental.)

Outdoor Fun and Entertainment (Including Spirits)

“Wine is the only artwork you can drink” 


Luis Fernando Oliverri
Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

If this quote is accurate than the North Georgia mountains boasts over 20 “museums” or vineyards. With its high elevation, warm temperatures, sandy red clay and aged granite soil (which soaks up extra moisture that could potentially affect proper grape ripening), this region is ideally suited for producing varietals more often associated with France – Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Malbec – and other parts of Europe (Touriga, Sangiovese).

Nearly every one of these vineyards has a tasting room, and all are picturesque. Yet the disadvantage of visiting these wineries on your own is the need for a “designated driver”.  Now everyone in your party can partake with the lavish way to tour and taste your way through some of the region’s finest vineyards and wineries. VIP Southern Tours has different wine tours available to their clients, but they also will help you build your own personal winery tour based on your vino preferences coupled with their years of experience touring North Georgia’s wine country.

Mountain High

Photo Courtesy of Wing-N-It Seasplane Tours

In Part 1 of our High-Class blog we covered adventure by land and by sea, but we didn’t mention the thrilling adventure of seeing the mountaintops by air! It was 60 years ago when TV’s Lloyd Bridges took his seaplane up in every episode in the 1960’s show “Sea Hunt”.  More than a half-century later you can charter your own Seaplane just 30 miles up the highway in Hiawaseee on Lake Chatuge. Wing-N-It Seaplane Tours has air tours of all the regional lakes, including Lake Blue Ridge. We suggest you also sample the mountainscape tours which are particularly breathtaking in the peak of Autumn or customize your own tour package.

Par!

Photo Courtesy of Old Toccoa Farm

Is it the trails or the links for your vacation? Old Toccoa Farm , in neighboring Mineral Bluff, GA, is one of the courses that has shaped the golf world in 2019. This 18 hole course is the most attractive and challenging course in the North Georgia Mountains and selected as the 4th Best Golf Course in Georgia by Golf Advisor! The course winds through 125 acres of ridges and meadows, featuring over 280 feet of elevation change with spectacular views of the Chattahoochee and Cherokee National Forests and surrounding valleys. You’ll be more than smitten with the spectacular views, lush fairways and the immaculate condition of the greens and bunkers.

Trail

Photo Courtesy of Appalachian Trail Rides at S&T Stables

If you feel more like donning Hoss’s 10 Gallon cap than Payne Stewart’s scally cap, then a trail ride on horseback is in order. And there are no friendlier and knowledgeable trail guides than the staff at Appalachian Trail Rides at S&T Stables.   This 250 acre privately owned mountainous farm features a large stable facility, pasture, scenic trails, private lakes, and creeks.  There is a full menu of trail rides to take advantage of, but they also will provide a private trail ride for just you and your guests. 

Epicurean Fantasies Become Reality

“A great meal is an experience that nourishes more than your body. “


Ruth Reichl
Photo Courtesy of The Black Sheep

This stylish, and classy restaurant believes in fresh food that’s locally sourced and artfully prepared. Set in a historic house (circa 1814) you have your choice of pet-friendly patio seating under a 200-year-old oak tree, the enclosed porch with its flaming heaters, up at the beautifully appointed bar or in the main dining room, where service is second to none.  Start with an appetizer of pork belly and marmalade, add a perfect beet salad and eventually savor the lamb pappardelle. We can’t forget to mention that The Black Sheep offers a killer Brunch menu every Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 4pm. The Sunday paper, an inspired Bloody Mary and a chicken & red velvet waffle. Who can resist? Reservations are recommended.

You can also choose to eat at higher elevations. Cucina Rustica is located just down the road and up a wooded hill in neighboring Morganton. Upon entering this rustic dining experience you will find yourself transported to an established trattoria on a Tuscan hillside. The finest of dining experiences features the Italian cuisine of Chef Danny Mellman. This highly reviewed establishment is a true farm-to-table experience, with Chef Mellman growing many of the vegetables and herbs on his own organic farm. His interpretation of Old World Italian foods range from Sicilian fish dishes to Northern Italian pasta and succulent roasted meat dishes has a bountiful loyal patronage, so be sure to call or make online reservations. 

Concierge Services at Your Fingertips

Part of our amazing Escape to Blue Ridge team

We hope we’ve helped you consider another opulent option to that oceanfront resort you head to each year. When booking your cabin with Escape of Blue Ridge you also have available to you our knowledgeable concierge team.

We can connect you with most any experience you want to try (i.e. fly fishing guide, whitewater rafting etc).  Share with us the type of experience that you are looking for and we will offer suggestions on where to go and what to do, and then enlist us to book the experience.

High Class in the High Hills



Even though you love the fresh air, starlit nights, breathtaking scenery and u-pick-em apples, like many luxury vacationers, you can only imagine visiting the mountains of North Georgia for no more than a long weekend.  The idea of dining out on cornbread, fried okra, country ham and banana pudding more than once doesn’t appeal at all to your taste buds. You most likely see the shopping opportunities limited to a multitude of fudge emporiums and tourist trap museum shops that sell brown bears painted on black velvet and handmade Davy Crockett raccoon caps in adult sizes. You envision a cabin shared with three blind mice and one badly chipped Teflon pan to cook the trout you caught with a bamboo pole at a stocked trout pond the size of your kid’s wading pool. All this while foreseeing the issues with trying to keep contact with the office all week without state of the art cellular service and high-speed internet. It’s enough to send you packing the suntan lotion and heading for a week or more to your favorite pampering luxury beach resort once again. 

STOP! You have been misled by the media that overexposes Bavarian town wannabees, the virtues of “meat and three dining” and the Bob Ross painting shows you watch on the nights when your Ambien isn’t working. We’re here to tell you that luxury abounds in the high hills. Allow us to elaborate.

Accommodations

Bear Claw Cabin

With each of our over 200 rentals, we strive for the Escape to Blue Ridge difference. This includes complimentary concierge services to help you plan the perfect vacation. With every rental home we provide hotel-style linens with spa-quality bath towels for each guest and exquisite bath soaps and shampoos from William Roam

You will appreciate the convenience of our keyless entry system and express check-in for all arrivals. And just to get your visit to the Mountains started, our exclusive Escape to Blue Ridge welcome basket is waiting for you when you arrive at your rental. 

We know that you’ve come to escape to the mountains, but sometimes we still need to be connected to the world and to assure you that connection, high-speed internet is also included with every one of our homes.

Let’s Get Pampered

There are many opportunities to have that spa experience you are used to at the elegant resorts. You can relax, restore and renew with an incredible hour in the Himilayan Salt Caves at Serenity In the Mountains Spa.  The Couple’s massage in the Salt Cave is worthy of your consideration. There’s also the magical experience of getting a massage in one of their exquisitely decorated treehouses at the top of the Serenity In The Mountains grounds. 

TeaTrees Boutique Spa in Downtown Blue Ridge caters to a more individualized approach to your spa and massage needs. And though we highly recommend a visit to their boutique, if you would like to stay in, enjoying your rental cabin while being pampered by professionals, TeaTree’s therapists are available to make cabin calls so you can relax in the privacy of your elegant cabin while enjoying the beautiful mountain views.

Indulgent  Adventure

Photo Courtesy of Outback Guide Service

If you are in anticipation of hiking the trails, visiting the area’s many spectacular waterfalls or finding the most impressive views for your photography you can peruse the many brochures and maps available at Blue Ridge’s Visitor’s Center to help you on your way.  Or you can also contact Outback Guide Service to have a personized itinerary with a private guide and even transportation on those point to point hikes. Outback Guide Services designs your hike based on your time, interests, skillset and from easy to challenging trips. Besides vista and hike tours, they also will create tours of waterfalls, historic trails and tours, and even photo safaris. Your experienced tour guide and naturalist is a life long resident of the area and well versed in North Georgia’s wildlife, birds, flowers, geology, local history, and so much more.

Photo Courtesy of Noontootla Creek Farm

If the sportsman in you needs to be released, then there is no one better to enlist than the folks at Noontootla Creek Farms to give you the optimal mountain hunting and fishing adventure. There’s no need to schlep all your gear, for this Blue Ridge 1,000 acre sportsman’s paradise has everything you need.  Noontootla Creek Farms (NCF) offers guided fly fishing on the most picturesque private trophy trout waters in North Georgia. Because of the cooler temperatures on the side of the mountains, there’s usually good trout fishing at NCF year-round.  Rainbow and Brown trout fishing has catches averaging 20 inches but often upwards of 30 inches. If you would like to bird hunt, then join your guide and their Brittanny or Setter and head out to capture Bob White Quail and Red- Neck Pheasant with wing shooting season open from November 1st until the last day of March. NCF also boasts a challenging 12 station clay shooting course, complete with golf carts.

By Land or By Sea

Photo Courtesy of Visit Blue Ridge

Visitors year-round enjoy the many recreational opportunities around the 3,290 acres of the crystal blue waters of Lake Blue Ridge. Capt’n Joe’s Lake Adventures offers private charters to guests looking to fish, swim or just enjoy an evening cruise. Their motto is to “relax, enjoy, and be happy”, which is much easier to do when you have Captian Joe at the helm.  Private charters are an amazing way to experience Lake Blue Ridge in style.

Photo Courtesy of Pedego Electric Bikes Blue Ridge

If you would enjoy a more modern touring land vessel,  then renting a Segway or a Pedego electric bike might be just the escapade you’ve been looking for and more. Pedego Bike Shop in downtown Blue Ridge offers electric bike tours of Fall Branch Falls, the Ocoee Whitewater/ Tanasi Trail and the picturesque Shallowford  Bridge River. Rent a Segway and tour all of downtown Blue Ridge, never having to be concerned about finding a parking place.

There’s so much more to share with you about our ideas for a resort style experience here in these magnificent mountains. We haven’t begun to talk about the fine dining and exceptional outdoor entertainment opportunities. Please be sure to visit our Part II blog on “High Class in the High Hills” posting soon.

Conferring with Cupid



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.

Majestic Peace Cabin

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. 

Photo Courtesy of Out of the Blue

Intoxicating. Check.

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.

Photo Courtesy of Chef Trey Griffith

Nourishment. Check

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. 

Photo Courtesy of Serenity in the Mountains

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. 

No, seriously. 

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.

Photo courtesy of Heather Drones

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 Courtesy of ZoLu Photography

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. 

Photo Courtesy of the Fire & Ice Chili Cook Off

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.

The Overlook Cabin

Hot tub. Check.

Happy Valentine’s Day!