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!

2020 Festivals



You never need a specific occasion to Escape to Blue Ridge, but it’s fun to plan trips around fun mountain festivals and events. With that in mind, we are here to help, with some suggestions for Blue Ridge area festivals and special events that are not to be missed this year!

FEBRUARY

10th Annual Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off Festival
President’s Day Weekend
Saturday, February 15th
11am-5pm
Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Fire & Ice Festival

The yin and yang of fire and ice is pretty compelling.  Opposites attract, so they say, so this combining of hot and cold is just the thing to attract a crowd. And this festival certainly does that. Thousands are drawn to downtown Blue Ridge, regardless of the weather, to watch ice carving demonstrations and to sample chili concoctions.  Some chili is hot, some is cooler, but all have tang and flavor to please a wide range of samplers. It’s a great time of year for this event, usually cool enough to bundle up, but not so cold as to be uncomfortable, but if you are cold, just find a cup of chili with some heat!

Bringing the Blues to Blue Ridge
Saturday, February 22nd
6pm-10pm
Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

This 9th Annual music event, with a Mardi Gras Celebration, is for a good cause benefiting “Snack in a Backpack”. The event features music group the Crossroads Band, Cajun food, masks, dancing, auction, and door prizes. Tickets are $60 per person or $90 per couple for main dining and include appetizers, dinner, dessert and non-alcoholic drinks. Cash bar will be available.

MARCH

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Saturday, March 14th
11am
Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of The Boro Inn Irish Pub

Fast becoming an annual highlight in downtown Blue Ridge, you can walk in the 7th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade or just watch it anywhere along East or West Main St.  Bring a float, be creative, dress festive and of course, the more green, the better!

38th Hammer-In & Metalworking Event
Friday & Saturday, March 13th & 14th
9am-6pm
Trackrock Campground & Stable

Photo Courtesy of Trackrock Campground & Stables

The Georgia Knifemakers Guild presents a day of blade-related activities include bladesmithing, hawk forging, leather crafting and forge building.  Watch, meet and talk with several talented bladesmiths. See what it takes to transform old discarded steel scrap metal into functional works of art. Fine craftsmen from several states attend, some collectors bring their collections to display, knifemaking supply vendors participate and others come just like to look and talk knives. This is a family oriented event open to all with no admission fees, so come join in the fun!  

APRIL

Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival
Friday & Saturday, April 3rd & 4th
9am-9pm
Union County Fine Arts Center, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival

The Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival showcases the art of Southern storytelling with an emphasis on Appalachian stories, both traditional and contemporary. The Festival’s events include two days of outstanding storytelling performances. Workshops will be available for students and visitors to learn storytelling, speaking, and performance skills.

23rd Annual Blue Ridge Writers Conference
Friday & Saturday, April 3rd & 4th
Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Center

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

The irony of writing is that writers can only write on their own since collaborative writing is uncommon, but they love to socialize and share the fruit of their labor, so a reason to get together is always welcome! Writers conferences and literary events like this one allow writers to showcase their work and rub elbows with other writers, and readers, who appreciate the skill it takes to produce words on a page. Readings, book signings, seminars, and receptions are all a part of this annual event that celebrates words both written and spoken.

Blue Ridge Parade of Homes
Saturday & Sunday, April 18th & 19th
9am-5pm
Blue Ridge and Fannin County

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Parade of Homes

Gain inspiration for your dream home! Meet builders and tour homes that range from 1,600-square feet to 9,000-square feet. Purchase your ticket and take a self-guided tour through twenty stunning properties.

5th Annual Blue Ridge Trout Fest & Outdoor Adventures
Saturday, April 25th
10am-5pm
Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Trout Fest & Outdoor Adventures

Trout in Georgia come in various sizes, colors and genres (native, brown, rainbow, etc).  They are stocked, caught, and eaten in large numbers. And while there are several trout festivals around the state designed to help anglers learn about and appreciate one of America’s favorite fish, there is only one Official Trout Festival – and this is it. The festival includes great exhibits by outdoor organizations and businesses, education on trout fishing, entertainment, food trucks and more in downtown Blue Ridge’s City Park. 

MAY

Georgia Apple Blossom Festival
Saturday & Sunday, May 2nd & 3rd
9am-5pm
Downtown Ellijay

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Apple Blossom Festival

Ellijay is apple country so no wonder an apple festival is a huge springtime attraction! Artists, crafters, music, entertainment, and children’s activities will all be there to kick off the spring season! Pet friendly and FREE admission! 

Georgia Mountain EggFest
Saturday, May 16th
9am-5pm
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

An Eggfest is a gathering of Big Green Egg fans and experienced cooks from all across the country and Canada. The cooks will be showcasing their skills and talents and will be preparing their specialty recipes all day long!

Spring Arts in the Park
Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday & Sunday, May 23rd & 24th
10am-5pm
All Over Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Arts in the Park is a spring kickoff to the festival season in Blue Ridge and it’s a time when artists of all types fill the expansive Blue Ridge Downtown City Park with activities, performances and even some dancing. More than 200 juried arts, crafts and food booths are featured. This event is often recognized as one of the Top 20 Events by the Southeastern Tourism Society. The Festival is held rain or shine. Pets are welcome as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

Spring Arts,Crafts & Music Festival
Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday & Sunday, May 23rd & 24th
10am-5pm
Downtown Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of Visit Downtown Blairsville

Blairsville’s Downtown comes alive Memorial Day Weekend with talented artists, musicians, and food. The weekend begins with a concert at the Old Courthouse Friday evening, a Memorial Day parade at 10am on Saturday, an outdoor concert on the Square Saturday evening and of course the festival! FREE and family-friendly!

JUNE

Blairsville Scottish Festival & Highland Games
Saturday & Sunday, June 13th & 14th
9am-5pm
Meeks Park, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of the Blairsville Scottish Festival & Highland Games

There’s nothing quite like the sound of bagpipes on a lovely summer day – and you’ll hear and see that and more at the Blairsville Scottish Festival. Enjoy pipe and drum bands, a parade of tartans, border collie demonstrations, amateur athletics, children’s games, and more as Blairsville celebrates its Scottish heritage!

Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival
Saturday, June 27th
3pm-9pm
Inola, Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival

What is it about wine and jazz?  You almost can’t have one without the other. Well, you can, of course.  But why would you want to? Blue Ridge has made it easy to enjoy both at a festival that’s as naturally occurring as jazz and wine can be.  All you have to do is show up and there’s jazz, and there’s wine, both peacefully, and perfectly coexisting in an idyllic setting in Blue Ridge.

JULY

Old Fashioned Fourth
July 4th Weekend
Downtown Blue Ridge, McCaysville-Copperhill

Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

It’s the ideal 4th of July weekend package: Independence Day in a small patriotic town and several other small, and equally patriotic towns, and a beautiful lake to provide the perfect backdrop for fireworks. Blue Ridge’s Independence Day parade shows creativity and a good sense of humor.  The Fabulous Fireworks will be shot off near the Lake Blue Ridge Dam and can be viewed from there as well as Morganton Point Recreation Area, Tammen Park and Lake Blue Ridge Marina. The marina will have live music and barbecue throughout the day. And if it’s an old-fashioned 4th that appeals to you, the small town Independence Day celebration in McCaysville is just the thing, featuring an impressive fireworks display from Tater Hill in downtown McCaysville-Copperhill.

Butternut Creek Festival
Saturday & Sunday, July 18th & 19th
9am-4pm
Meeks Park, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of Butternut Creek Festival

This festival is one of the finest juried arts & crafts shows in the southeast and features work from over 65 artists and craftsmen. Located along the banks of Butternut Creek in Meeks Park, you’ll find something for everyone at this great festival!

August

Georgia Mountain Fair
August 14th-22nd
10am-8pm
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, Lee Greenwood, and more!

SEPTEMBER

Mountain Heritage Festival
Saturday & Sunday, September 5th & 6th
10am-5pm
Town Square, Blairsville


Photo Courtesy of Visit Downtown Blairsville

Celebrating the history, heritage and mountain culture of Union County, this event is a Labor Day tradition, complete with regional arts and crafts, music, arts demonstrations. Since the event is centered around the restored 1861 Payne family log home, it makes sense that focus is on the activities that took place back in those days like basket making, chair caning, tending to farm animals and even gold panning.

Plein Air International Paint Out
September 10th-13th
Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Be on the lookout for artists painting everything everywhere in Fannin County during this four-day international event. You may see artists in parks, in farm fields, even alongside the road – wherever the spirit has moved them to sit, or stand, and capture the beauty and uniqueness of this region on canvas. This is a judged show with various events surrounding it, including opportunities to meet the artists and purchase their work.

Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Music Festival
Saturday, September 19th
11am-9pm
Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival

The Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival starts with a Blues Crawl on Friday night, followed by great blues and barbecue on Saturday, which means you get to kind of a meander through eight different restaurants, enjoying live music, food and drink, before jumping full on into the Blues Weekend on Saturday. The blues and barbecue portion of the festivities features barbecue smells and great eats from local and regional cookers. That means aromas and music will be filling the air downtown, with blues musicians performing from stages set all around Blue Ridge City Park.

OCTOBER

Georgia Marble Festival
Saturday & Sunday, October 3rd & 4th
10am-6pm
Jasper, GA

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Marble Festival

These are not marbles. Those small, round things that young boys and girls used to “shoot”, kneeling on the floor, or trading them. Remember “purees”, “cat eyes” and “steelys”? No, this festival is a celebration of indigenous rocks, quarries, and local art. Tate marble is historic and world famous and marble quarry tours will be given during the festival.

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
October 9th-17th
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, Hiawassee

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

You’ve got to love a fair that spans weekdays, welcoming visitors for nine straight days! That gives you a chance to enjoy this annual event during large crowd days and during quiet times. You can even plan a fair food lunch. As usual, this year’s fair will feature arts and crafts vendors, educational demonstrations, a flower show, and exciting musical performances.

Fall Arts in the Park Festival
Saturday & Sunday, October 10th & 11th
10am-5pm
Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

Photo Courtesy of Doug Miracle

A true sign of autumn, the fall version of Blue Ridge’s popular Arts in the Park, set amidst the lovely, tree-filled downtown park, with fresh food smells all around, local art, special events and musical performances.

Sorghum Festival
October 10th-11th & 17th-18th
10am-5pm
Meeks Park, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of Blairsville Sorghum Festival

Sorghum is one of those mystery words. Pork product? Dental affliction? Nope. It’s actually a cereal grain that grows tall, like corn, but boiled down it produces a sugary-like syrup. You’d be able to deduce that from one item on a list of events that’s part of this annual festival: a biscuit eating contest, with sorghum on top. You may know sorghum better by its full name – sorghum molasses. Whether the taste speaks to you or not, this festival also features live music, arts, crafts, and more fun contests like rock throwing and log sawing!

Georgia Apple Festival
October 10th-11th & 17th-18th
9am-6pm
Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Apple Festival

For 49 years, apples have brought folks together in Ellijay, East Ellijay and Gilmer County. These days, people come from all over for the apples, the parade, the antique car show, the arts and crafts, and almost everything you can imagine (or eat) made from apples!

NOVEMBER

Light Up Blue Ridge!
Saturday, November 28th
10am-7:30pm
Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Black Friday, the all-out dash for discounts, just got softened a bit by Blue Ridge’s very appropriate “Blue Friday”, with special emphasis on fun, a parade, community caroling, Santa’s arrival, and the lighting of a 27-foot tall tree! Also be on the lookout for strolling characters, food vendors and entertainment in the park on Saturday, November 28th and every Saturday through December. Make your escape memorable and join us as Blue Ridge ushers in and celebrates the holiday season!

DECEMBER

Mountain Country Christmas
December 3 – 26
6pm-9pm
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!!!

Spring Break in Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Pedego Electric Bikes Blue Ridge GA

👍🧳️After all, we only get 18 school years with our kids, so we should make each and every school vacation count! Because if we’re being truthful, you are dying for a reason to escape from the stresses of work and Spring Break is the perfect guilt-free excuse for a fun family trip!

The Blue Ridge region is a mountain playground full of fantastic opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, including hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, as well as waterways for paddling, fishing, and boating. So go ahead, take that much-needed vacation, get recharged, and finish the school year strong. Here are a few of our ideas for a perfect family-friendly Spring Break experience.

Mountain Adventure

Play: Breathe in that fresh mountain air and take in all the views from your own electric bike. That’s right! You don’t have to worry about any family members getting too tired when you have an electric bike to help out and keep you moving when you run out of energy. Adventure out on your own or take one of their four guided tours provided by Pedego Electric Bikes in Blue Ridge. Choose a tour through the Chattahoochee National Forest and visit Fall Branch Falls, experience the Tennessee National Forest around the Ocoee whitewater Trails, adventure around the Toccoa River and Shallowford Bridge, or just cruise around downtown Blue Ridge!

Photo Courtesy of Pedego Electric Bikes

Eat: Mystic Mountain Pizza is a family owned and family friendly pizza restaurant has fantastic food and an inviting atmosphere often featuring live music. They have a passion for crafting fresh salads, all-beef gourmet hot dogs, wings, desserts, and specialty pizzas in their oak-fired brick ovens. You’ll be happy, stuffed, and a part of the Mystic Mountain Pizza family before you finish your first slice of pie. Now that’s amore!

Photo Courtesy of Mystic Mountain Pizza

Sleep: Perfect for families, sports enthusiasts or a romantic getaway, Whippoorwill View sits high above it all. Enjoy magnificent long-range panoramic views of layered mountains and fresh mountain air while the area’s native Whippoorwill birds sing and hummingbirds buzz by. This classic log home is located at the end of a cull-de sac in a small community of other lovely homes with a very private setting and exceptional near and long range views. A huge wraparound deck juts out toward the back of the house to make the most of the spectacular scenery and provide an optimal location for rocking chair relaxation.

The cabin has a decorators touch and mixes rustic and modern furnishings on three living levels. The main level features a floor to ceiling stone fireplace and comfortable sofas with a deep plush rug. The kitchen features maple cabinets with earth tone granite countertops, and is fully stocked with high-end stainless steel cookware, as well as dishes and serving pieces. The basement area is ready for gaming or theater and is furnished with comfortable seating in front of a stone fireplace. A 55” TV, foosball and air hockey tables are available for your gaming pleasure. Also, there are custom built twin bunk beds built into the wall to provide “fort” style sleeping fun.

Relaxing Rides

Play: The iconic Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a must do when in town. Enjoy the scenery aboard an eleven-car train as your ramble down the tracks through the Chattahoochee National Forest and the Toccoa watershed. Enjoy a relaxing 26-mile round trip journey beginning and ending in downtown Blue Ridge with a stop in the newly revitalized twin cities of McCaysville, Ga & Copperhill, TN.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Eat: Made famous for their four flavors of incredible rum cakes, the Rum Cake Lady Cuban Food Cafe offers two locations to serve you. The downtown Blue Ridge Café is similar to a Cuban walk-up window, or “La Ventanita”. They offer fresh, authentic Cuban sandwiches, tamales, empanadas, plantains, rice, and beans. Their Copperhill location includes indoor seating, dinner hours, the same great menu plus a Cuban grocery. Both locations boast the best Cuban coffee in the mountains, but their dessert is what made them who they are so how can you not take home a rum cake or 3? We must admit, their guava and cheese pastelitos are pretty incredible and we would be hard pressed to pass on their tasty caramel flan or Tres Leches cake!

Photo Courtesy of the Cuban Rum Cake Lady

Sleep: Blue Mist Heaven is a luxurious mountaintop cabin with spectacular 180° views that can be yours for a very special vacation getaway. This tri-level showplace is decked out with designer touches and upscale features. Ideal for large families or a group of friends, this spacious cabin sleeps 12 in its four bedrooms and library/loft, with king beds in the upstairs master, main floor and downstairs bedrooms, twin bunk beds and twin over double size beds in the second downstairs bedroom that kids will love. There’s also a full size crib and Pack ‘n Play in the closet.

Outside, three sets of stairs lead down to a large, level backyard with a lighted covered Gazebo, four bench swings and a rock fire pit.  The backyard has a giant playground set for the kids with slides, swings and playhouse. Also, there is an additional large deck with a picnic tables, swings and chairs to lounge in while you take in the view and watch the kids at play. Blue Mist Heaven’s other amenities include high-speed wireless Internet, a movie room with recliners, giant 82” TV, two-person cocktail game table with 412 games installed and a wet bar.

Heart Pumping Fun

Play: Bring a little excitement into your family’s life when you try zipping through the Blue Ridge Mountains at Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge. Here you’ll get to see the mountains from the treetops with over 6,000 feet of cable, it includes 13 zips ranging from 250 feet to 1000 feet and 3 sky bridges to cross. Your whole family will giggle with delight as you zip into the valley and soar over pastures before landing on the banks of Fighting Town Creek!

Photo Courtesy of Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

Eat: Nourish your body with the most delicious tasting BBQ in the mountains at Carroll’s BBQ. This family owned restaurant doesn’t skimp on their portions and if you leave hungry, it’s your own fault! Offering classic pulled pork options, we highly recommend you try their fall-off-the-bone ribs or brisket. A kid’s menu is available, but whatever you do, save room for dessert because you really NEED to try their banana pudding. It’s so good it’ll make your tongue jump out and lick the eyebrows right off your head!

Photo Courtesy of Carroll’s BBQ

Sleep: If you are imagining a scenic mountain getaway that the whole family will enjoy when searching for your North Georgia cabin rental, look no further than EddieBear! This inviting cabin was named for the owners’ constant canine companion Eddie, who loved being in the mountains. The cabin even has a fenced-in yard so everyone, including your best buddy, can safely play in the beautiful outdoors. Perched on a wooded hillside with sweeping mountain views, the cabin has a traditional log cabin exterior and warm pine interior that beckons you to step in and start relaxing. A striking wood-burning fireplace made with large river stones will keep you warm as you stretch out on the leather sofa or reclining armchair and watch the game or read by the light of the distinctive wine barrel chandelier.

Step down to the lower level into the game room and engage in some friendly competition at the dart board or billiards table that converts to a ping-pong table, a poker table and even a roulette table! There is a flat screen TV and an adjacent kids room with a chalkboard wall, games, small rocking chairs, and a pullout sofa. As you venture outside onto the lower deck, sink into the steamy waters of the hot tub, recline in the wooden lounge chairs, or have a snack at the wooden table that seats four. Directly off the deck is the fenced-in yard where you can play or gather around the fire pit and roast marshmallows for S’mores you can eat at the nearby picnic table.

Kid-Centric

Play: On the outskirts of downtown Blue Ridge in the Aska Adventure Area, you will find the uber kid friendly Lilly Pad Village. Here you can mine for large and colorful gemstones. Your kids will especially love “gemstone magic” where a large gemstone or two magically appear out of nowhere in their trays! Here you can also play a round of mountainside mini golf. If you think regular putt putt is challenging, just give this nine-hole course a try! Bonus: Children under 7 play free! The fun is not over yet at Lilly Pad Village. Pick up a pole and some live bait and throw a line or two in their cute little catch & release fishing pond.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Williams

Eat: There is no shortage of tasty items at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge. The main location features a bakery boasting several varieties of fried pies, as well as apple cider donuts, and a large variety of bread, cookies and many other delectable baked goods. The Market Café (open 7am-6pm daily) serves a delicious breakfast each day till 11 am. Lunchtime is just as scrumptious with a wide variety of sandwiches including their specialty pecan chicken salad which we highly recommend you trying it in a stuffed tomato with pimento cheese! 

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

Sleep: If you’re looking for the perfect place to bring your whole family on your next vacation, look no further than Toccoa Playground, a Blue Ridge, GA cabin rental that promises you and your children a fun-filled getaway. True to its name, this spacious cabin in the woods near the Toccoa River, considered to be some of the best fly fishing in the Southeast, is a playground for both adults and kids, with plenty of child-friendly features and amenities.

Large family? No problem: the cabin sleeps ten, and has two sets of twin bunk beds in the downstairs bedroom and twin beds and a toddler bed in the upstairs loft, perfect for your young ones. The loft’s play area includes a puppet theater, play kitchen, a 32” flat screen with Blu-ray, and toys to delight kids of all ages, and the swings, slide, and playhouse on the railing-protected deck will provide hours of fun.  A crib, bassinet, baby swing, carrier, portable child seat and high chair are available, and there are safety gates on the stairs.

Educational Vacay

Play: Project Chimps provides lifelong care to former research chimpanzees at its 236-acre forested sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sanctuary is not regularly open to the public, but they do offer periodic tours and events including their Chimp Rock and Discovery Days. You may even consider making your trip a Volunteer Vacation where you have the opportunity to give back, see chimpanzees up close, meet other animal enthusiasts, and enjoy the mountains!

Photo Courtesy of Project Chimps

Eat: It’s hard to pass up a good burger joint, but when the locals know it as “the best hamburger in town” you just have to stop in and try one! Sue’s Burgers is the oldest restaurants in town, so they’ve had some time to perfect their craft and perfect they did! If you like your burgers big and juicy, then you are going to be a happy camper here. For the hungry one in your group, Sue features a double or triple stacked bacon cheeseburger you can even add a beer battered onion ring on every layer!

Photo Courtesy of Sue’s Burgers

Sleep: Campfire Cabin is perfect for all vacationers wanting a getaway filled with ease and peacefulness. This cabin is tucked away in a private setting of smooth and laid-back rides on the best paved roads the North Georgia Mountains have to offer. Feel the freedom of the gorgeous and scenic winding roads that run along a creek bed. Keep pace with its peaceful ripples that lead you right to Campfire Cabin.

Entering the home, on the main level, Campfire Cabin offers an open concept living space which features plush rich leather furnishings with a touch of rustic cabin decor perfect for lounging with loved ones. As you enter the lower level of Campfire Cabin you will find a fun, extensive game room filled with a billiards, ping pong table, electronic darts and board games. With three levels to choose from you can spend some alone time on the upper level enjoying the view and relaxing on the private balcony located just outside the master suite with 2 cozy porch swings. 

7 Luxurious Mountain Lodges



When living large is what you want out of your vacation, Escape to Blue Ridge has the perfect properties to satisfy your every desire. Enjoy getting away to relax and enjoy the beautiful North Georgia mountain views and the outdoor adventures in the area. With amenities galore and plenty of room to roam, everyone in your group can indulge in their own fun and their own space. Complete with extraordinarily comfortable bedrooms, gourmet kitchens, and entertaining game rooms, book your stay and let the relaxation begin in one of these seven luxurious mountain lodges!

Chestnut Lodge

Chestnut Lodge sits serenely over miles of pastoral fields nestled in between the rolling mountains. This retreat is a beautifully-crafted custom Barna log home, with 3000 roomy square feet offering plenty of comfortable crevices.
The light-filled home has picture-perfect windows framing idyllic scenes of soft valleys, hills and long-range mountains. Sitting in front of the beautiful stone fireplace you will appreciate the home’s design inspiration: the decor marries upscale farmhouse and mountain styling with the newest, top of the line finishes — modern fixtures with a hint of vintage. The five-bedrooms all have their own peaceful views and in total, 14 people can sleep in the home comfortably. Chestnut Lodge is a place of true relaxation and one that fulfills the longing of old comforts with a renewed feeling of today.

Endless View Lodge

Endless View Lodge is perfectly situated for mountainous seclusion and picturesque views that surround you for miles. This five-bedroom home, all of which are master suites, is an upscale luxury mountain experience.  The lodge is beautifully crafted and immediately inviting with its dormer windows, huge front porch and an amazing 1,300 square-foot wraparound deck, anchored on one end by a covered gathering room and an outdoor rock fireplace. Professionally decorated, this home’s refined interior is matched only by the beauty of each room’s magnificent long and short range mountain views.  The entire space offers luxurious comfort so you can relax and reconnect with your family and friends in style.

High Five Lodge

Upon arrival, you’ll immediately be taken by High Five Lodge’s eye-catching architecture and enormous rooms. This cabin is spacious in size with a rustic yet elegant décor making this cabin warm and homey. High Five Lodge has a spacious downstairs where you can play a game of pool or cheer on your favorite team while watching the game in front of a roaring fire. Relax in the hot tub under the stars while overlooking the picturesque expanse of mountain vistas. You can see three states worth of mountain ranges (GA, TN & NC). You will be comfortable in one of five huge bedrooms, most of which open up to a deck and romantic views. Spend some time here and you’re sure to have an unforgettable time of your own!

King Daddy Lodge

King Daddy Lodge is the mother of luxury-living in the North Georgia Mountains. You will feel far away from the rigors of life and yet you will also be less than 30 minutes away from Blue Ridge, Georgia. Everything about this luxury cabin rental is regal, from its position at the top of the mountain to its upscale comfort and amenities. You will enjoy this home’s completely private location where no other cabins are in plain sight. The home’s enormous wraparound deck is perfectly positioned over absolutely spectacular long-range mountain views!

Laurel Valley Lodge

Laurel Valley Lodge is named for the mountain laurel covering the valley it overlooks. Here, you’ll enjoy spectacular mountain views, and your location in the popular Aska Adventure Area puts you close to everything. One of the few five-bedroom cabins in the North Georgia Mountains, this spacious lodge is ideal for large groups, family gatherings, holidays and business retreats. Good times are sure to ‘blossom’ here among the laurels! The main level’s huge wraparound deck is perfect for outdoor entertaining. Grill the Georgia trout caught earlier from the Toccoa, and share stories around the fireplace. On the lower deck, relax under the stars in the sunken hot tub or enjoy a nightcap on the Adirondack chairs. Whether you’re seeking rest or play, this spacious retreat will provide a wonderful vacation experience for you, your family and friends.

Luxury Lakeside Lodge

Swim in the lap of luxury as well as Lake Nottely by staying at the aptly named Luxury Lakeside Lodge. This home is packed with every amenity and looks like a model home and to top it all off — sits above the shores of deep lake water with its own private boat dock. this welcoming log home with its green shingled roof complimenting the bright blue-green color of the water will take your breath away. Inside, there’s a great wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, just one indication that everything about this North Georgia cabin was built to showcase the gorgeous views of the lake and mountains. It has been professionally decorated with well appointed furnishings that were also chosen for comfort and relaxation. Luxury Lakeside Lodge truly lives up to its name and can easily accommodate one or multiple families for a truly spectacular lake side vacation.

Serenity Lodge and Stable

If you dream of a peaceful, relaxing escape for your next vacation, look no further than the Blue Ridge, Georgia cabin rental called Serenity Lodge and Stable. True to its name, this magnificent property located five miles west of Ellijay, GA offers the ultimate in serene tranquility, bringing you closer to nature while you enjoy all the modern amenities it has to offer, both indoors and out. Serenity’s rooms are elegantly rustic, with exposed beams, wood burning fireplace, sumptuous leather sofas, ceiling fans in every room, and unusual touches like handmade antler chandeliers. Serenity Lodge and Stable’s vibe is restful, soothing and calm, offering you the opportunity to commune with nature in a spiritual way while you connect and celebrate with those you love.

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 Christmas Story



A friend of this writer is in a Christmas play that’s very popular. Mostly because it’s that time of year, when folks want to be: a) frightened about the past and the future, reminded about core values, and encouraged to make lifestyle changes (don’t be so cheap Mr. Scrooge!), to address the immediate present before it’s too late; or: b) they want to get all nostalgic for how much better things used to be when simple stuff, like BB guns and leg lamps, could satisfy and enthrall.

In this case it’s about the BB gun and leg lamp. 

“A Christmas Story” is one of those timeless tales that strikes a nostalgic chord: real Christmas trees, a real fire in the fireplace, (a real clunky furnace!), lots of snow, and temperatures cold enough to stick your tongue to a metal pole.  It’s a story about deep friendships, loud personalities, a scary Santa, turkey, and love.

It reminds us of those days when, at least in hindsight, families were close and predictable, friendships were iconic and memorable, and experiences were indelibly etched.

Some will say that those days are gone forever, brought back only on stage or on screen. Others, however, know that all it takes is a little effort, some logistical coordination, and the right venue to bring it all back again.  It’s amazing how quickly weeks, months, or even years apart melt away around a kitchen table or breakfast bar. A couple cups of coffee, the squall of a newborn, a shared memory, or a joke we’ve all heard before,and we’re back among friends and family just like things used to be.

‘Tis the season

Don’t let distance or time deter you from rediscovering the best things about life. Distance is easily traversed and can be part of the experience. Time is fleeting, and the sooner you’re decisive the more time you’ll have to spend with friends and family. As for the venue, well, that’s where we have you covered.

Bearway To Heaven

One of the best things about escaping to a new, neutral space for the holidays, or any time of year for that matter, is that it evenly distributes responsibility during the gathering to all those in attendance. Everyone brings something. It’s not just Mom doing the dishes. Plus there’s the fun of discovery. Explore all the rooms. Take a hike around the grounds. Getting out and about to a winery, or a play space, or to a restaurant along the river.

The holiday season is about nostalgia and renewal. It’s a look back and a fresh start. It’s a time best spent with friends and family, to remind us to be grateful for all we have, as we look forward to more good times. No guarantees about that BB gun, or a tongue stuck to a pole. It’s up to you to make it memorable and stay in touch.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Lights Around the Mountains



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

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

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

Blue Ridge:

William’s Home Photo Courtesy of Becky Dyer

Downtown Blue Ridge – East Main St.

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

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

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

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

Blairsville:

Gwynn’s Christmas Light Show

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

Collins – 257 Windy Hill Rd. (Santa Here)

289 Cook St

Downtown – On the Square

195 Forest Dr

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

262 Jewell Mason Rd

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

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

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

Hiawassee

Mountain Country Christmas in Lights

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

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

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

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

North Carolina:

Harshaw Road Lights Courtesy of Susie Bryant

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

Harshaw Road – Near Cherokee Hills Golf Course

6 Charming Cabins for Two



Life is demanding and it’s so easy to get caught up in everything you feel like you have to do day in and day out. Even the happiest of couples can find themselves in a regular rut, but it’s important to take time out of your busy lives to work on your relationship and focus on each other.

One of the best ways to reconnect is to have new experiences together. This gives you the perfect opportunity to discover new things to talk about, acquire new memories, and appreciate uninterrupted time for intimate moments. Add a stunning mountain backdrop and these six charming cabins for two are a perfect escape for reconnecting with your partner!

Cabin Sweet Cabin

Set deep in the My Mountain area of Morganton this hidden gem tucked away at the end of a short country lane offers a secluded and serene setting for your mountain vacation. With its warm decor and cheerful atmosphere, Cabin Sweet Cabin will make you feel right at home. This pet-friendly cabin even has a security gate on the main deck for keeping pets safe, so they can share the view with you!

Cuddle by the stone wood-burning fireplace on cooler nights or warm up in the bubbling hot tub on the private deck while enjoying a nightcap and breathtaking panoramic vistas. Cabin Sweet Cabin is a sweet retreat, offering privacy and a perfect place to unwind. Spend some time here with the one you love and you’ll truly experience ‘la dolce vita’.

Cozy Lakeview

Your vacation time is precious, so make the most of it by choosing an extraordinary destination like the North Georgia cabin rental Cozy Lakeview. With breathtaking picture-postcard views of Lake Blue Ridge framed by a canopy of trees and a majestic mountain backdrop, this very special place will calm you down, soothe your mind, relax your body and renew your spirit.

Located in a gated community on two wooded acres on former Native American land – many arrowheads and stone tools have been found right outside the door – the cabin is just six miles from downtown Blue Ridge and minutes from the Toccoa River and all the land and water activities the Aska Adventure Area has to offer. For a couple wanting to reconnect and unplug (not child friendly with open staircase and hot wood burning stove). Cozy Lakeview will soothe and comfort you and fill you with a sense of peace that you can only find when you’re surrounded by nature. Your worries and cares will melt away like magic, and you’ll feel relaxed and renewed – and never want to leave.

Lil’ Slice of Heaven

This enchanting Georgia mountain cabin rental is indeed a Lil’ Slice of Heaven. Perfect for a romantic getaway, this two bedroom cabin has plenty of room but is small enough to feel warm and cozy. It’s a place so relaxed and comfortable; you’ll feel like you’re walking on clouds. Your ride up Cherry Log Mountain will set the tone for your tranquil escape.

Looking through the canopied trees towards the mountaintops, you’ll feel so at peace here in your quaint little haven. Lil’ by lil’, the sky will change a spectacular array of colors before you as the sun goes down. Enjoy romantic evenings under the stars as you share a champagne toast by the light of the gas fire stand, or while immersed in the soothing bubbles of the hot tub. Spend some time on cloud nine with your special someone, and enjoy your own Lil’ Slice of Heaven in the North Georgia Mountains.

Stairway to Heaven

Ascend high into the mountains and climb up the front stairs of Stairway to Heaven where your vacation will reach a whole new level. This perfectly-appointed two-bedroom cottage is a truly romantic getaway with custom touches throughout. The home’s private ambiance belies its treasured location in My Mountain community and its easy 15 minute proximity to downtown Blue Ridge.

Stairway to Heaven’s dramatic wall of glass will draw you out toward the amazing covered deck overlooking spectacular mountain and pastoral views. You’ll feel torn about where to spend your time — out on the deck relaxing at the dining table and eating al fresco or back inside where the home’s unbelievable touches draw you in for restful luxuriating. Whatever your desire, Stairway to Heaven has it all. This custom home with true luxury fineries will keep your romantic getaway on Cloud Nine.

Sunset Lodge

Nestled on over three acres of unspoiled beauty, Sunset Lodge is located in one of Blue Ridge’s most serene and ideal spots. Sitting on a ridgeline located on Sunrock Mountain, this home has been thoughtfully built to perfectly face the ever-changing, natural light shows that continuously play against the mountain ranges. This inviting, mountain retreat sleeps four and is a wonderful escape for two couples, a small family, or a romantic getaway.

When you first arrive at Sunset Lodge, you won’t know what to explore first… Will you run around the wrap around deck to scan the magnificent views from all of its vantage points? With rocking chairs and patio furniture dotted around the deck’s perimeter, there is no shortage of viewing opportunities. Relaxation also awaits in this area during afternoon cook-outs on the gas grill, and evenings warmed by the chimanea. Or what about roasting some marshmallows to make s’mores over the fire pit located just few steps down onto the property. Regardless on how you spend your time, you realize you’ve found your perfect mountain getaway in Sunset Lodge.

White Tail Crossing

White Tail Crossing is a decidedly romantic, two-bedroom cabin sitting perfectly at the crossroads of luxury and serenity. Situated in the Aska Adventure Area close to all that is Blue Ridge, the home has magnificent wooded mountain views.

Meditative moments on a hammock off of the master bedroom overlooking Rich Mountain provide a perfect first course to relaxation. Yet, the most delicious rest awaits you in the queen-sized pillow-top master canopied bed with high thread count bedding and silky linens. You will appreciate the details at White Tail Crossing and reconnect with yourself – or your loved one – in comfort and with contentment.

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.

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!