A few years ago, you and your spouse promised each other a weekly date, knowing that it would be good (maybe even great) for your relationship. You’ve still been trying to find time for that first date. “Life” somehow always seems to take precedence, and finding time away from the merry –go-round we ride day in and day out has been nearly impossible. Maybe it’s time to jump off that ride for just a few days. It’s time to come to the mountains and re-discover each other.
Let’s start by renting a cabin in Blue Ridge for a romantic weekend for two. You arrive on Friday night. You enjoy an evening of sipping champagne in the hot tub and….. well, you know the rest of that evening ….
When you wake up on Saturday at noon, feeling more connected than you have in a while, it’s time to share even more time together.
And then you realize you have nearly forgotten how to just spend time together.
Here are some suggestions to help open up the gateway to re-discovery.
A Walk in the Woods of a Poet
You know what your heart feels, but you’ve never been able to put it to prose like a poet. The Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center will cover that for you. Located in Union County, just a stone’s throw from Blue Ridge, this 9+ acre parcel is where Reece, a celebrated 20th Century Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet was born and raised. Now restored into a beautiful public park, with lovely walking trails cradled along Wolf’s Creek, you can take an easy stroll to our favorite romantic stop simply known as the Poetry Trail. Here you’ll discover four small islands of stone with seating at each slab that has been carved with a different poem from the Reece collection. Pick a poem, read it together and talk about your life shared, there in the stillness of the moment.
Keeping it Spa-cial
One of the most popular services our cabin couples like to take advantage of at local Serenity in the Mountains Spa is the Couples Massage. With cozy, heated tables, in a beautifully appointed private room, two therapists will give you the massage style you each prefer. Then afterward, you both can relax alone in front of the fireplace, making this a totally romantic experience.
Over a Cocktail
Maybe it’s a little later than noon before you both want to get going. You both decide you need a little nourishment but you really aren’t ready for dinner, but a great conversation over a good cocktail or two is what you’re feeling for this afternoon. We highly recommend you find a seat on the patio or on the porch at The Black Sheep. Their bartenders are highly skilled, their $5 bar menu (served from 2 till 5) is an outrageously cheap gourmet delight and the atmosphere is divine.
Keep It Moving
Your lives seem like they are in perpetual motion, and you aren’t always on the same ride. This is a great time to move in the same direction sharing the jaunt, whether by land or by sea. For a romantic evening on the lake, contact Capt’n Joe and book an evening sunset pontoon boat ride on Lake Blue Ridge. Enjoy cuddling under the moon as the lake laps in a soothing motion, getting your heart beats to synchronize once again.
Would you like to propose all over again to the love of your life? Appalachian Trail Rides has the “horse” power you need to do it in style. Their “Proposal Ride” is a 1.5 Hour reserved guided ride (includes a bottle of sparkling cider) on a private trail to a secluded romantic gazebo in the woods by a stream and lake.
Bring Back the Memories
Remember the good old fashion make out sessions you had at the Drive-in movie? Well, you can rekindle those sparks just around the bend at the Swan Drive-in here in Blue Ridge. This historic drive-in theater was established in 1955. It shows first-run movies, has great popcorn and hot dogs and they promise to not shine a light inside your car because they got a call from your concerned parents.
Sometimes relationships need perspective. We are so busy, day in and day out, each fighting the challenges presented to us, we forget the big picture. There’s no better reminder of our place in the universe than to stare up at the starlit night. Away from the glare of the city lights, there is nowhere better to observe the galaxy than here in the mountains. Grab a blanket and take a ride out to Cooper’s Creek Wildlife Management Area. Part of the US Forest Service, the Wildlife area is open 24 hours a day. It is just the perfect place to share a romantic evening, together, under the stars.
For most American kids, our first introduction to the concept of trail markers is Hansel and Gretel’s attempt at leaving crumbs on their venture into the woods. The birds thwarted their efforts and that’s where their fictional journey begins. First published in 1812, their story was read to children in Germany at the same time the Cherokee Indians were creating their own trail markers here in the North Georgia Mountains. Or are Trail trees just folklore?
Trail Marker Trees
Trail trees, trail marker trees, crooked trees, prayer trees, thong trees, or culturally modified trees are hardwood trees throughout North America. One unique characteristic of the trail marker tree is a horizontal bend several feet off the ground, which makes it visible at greater distances, even in snow. These distinctive characteristics convey that the tree was shaped by human activity rather than deformed by nature or disease. The legend is that Native Americans intentionally shaped these trees for navigational purposes or to mark important places, such as sacred burial grounds.
Throughout the North Georgia Mountains, a day of hiking can find you encountering one or more of these gentle bent giants in our forests. As you hike through one of the twenty four top forests in our area you’ll stumble upon some of the most incredible shaped trees and wonder if they are the work of Mother Nature or did an American Indians walk these same trails 200 years ago. It is both highly possible and very likely that the tree was there marking a specific direction or possibly an area where a plant grew at its base that was used for healing.
For many, a hike in the woods is an adventure you remember from your childhood days. It is a child’s foray into uncharted territory, a field or a wooded area close to home where they might discover an old unidentifiable bone, a creek filled with crayfish, or a cluster of butterflies on a floral bush they’ve never seen the likes of before. They come back from these walking expeditions with pockets filled with pretty leaves, unusual shaped stones and always a bird feather or two. As adults we reawaken that lust for exploration and here on these mountain trails, there seems to be one treasure that many are hunting: Fairy Crosses.
The Legend of the Fairy Cross derives from the Cherokee Indians and thought to be over 2000 years old! It is said that long, long, ago fairies inhabited a certain quiet and remote region in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The fairies roamed freely, enjoying the beauty and serenity of that enchanted place. One day, the fairies were playing in a sunny dell when an elfin courier arrived from a far-away city bearing the sad news of Christ’s death. When they heard the terrible details of the crucifixion, the fairies wept. As their tears fell to the earth, they crystallized into little stone crosses. Though the fairies have long since disappeared, the little stone crosses, known as “fairy stones,” still remain as vestiges in that enchanted spot. There was a belief among the Cherokee that the crosses had the power to reduce the owner invisible at will. In some instances, the tiny crosses were supposed to give the owner the power of diving into the ground and coming up again among the enemy to scalp and kill with unexpected terror.
The Scientific Side
Fairy crosses (aka fairy stones) are small bricks originally formed seven miles underground of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Staurolite crystals form into little tiny “bricks” that, under pressure, twist in 60 degree or 90 degree angles, forming crosses. As they push their way up to the earth’s surface, the action of wind and rain dissolve the softer surrounding stone called schist to reveal the precious cross-shaped minerals within.
The good fortune of finding fairy stones is best after a heavy rain. Dig with your hands along the soft dirt at the base of the trees. The cross stones are the same color as the dirt, so use your hands to sift the stones from the soil until you find a cross shaped stone about the size of a small marble, usually less than an inch in length. They are wonderful keepsakes when found, and can be polished and used as a lucky pocket token, or designed into a necklace, bracelet, or earrings.
If you haven’t had the good fortune to find a fairy stone on your hiking trip, you can still find a wonderful collection of fairy crosses at Pezrok in downtown Blue Ridge, a gallery full of artistic creations of exquisite minerals, fossils, gems and carved driftwood.
There are countless numbers of adventures to be had on your visit to these mountains. You’ll want to capture many of your explorations in pictures to take home and share with us, your family, and your friends. Oh, and while you are taking a cell phone selfie at one of the bent trees you are likely to encounter, remember your phone is also equipped with GPS, which will assure your chances of getting back to your car in the parking lot. As we already know from 19th century literature, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs will not suffice.
When you visit a new area, don’t you wonder where the “locals” choose to eat, shop and play? After all, they have the benefit of experience and “word of mouth” before they spend their hard earned dollars. If you are vacationing with us here in the North Georgia Mountains, and you want to know where the “locals” go to be pampered, we’ve already scoped it out for you. Today we shine the spotlight on Serenity in the Mountains.
Himalayan Salt Cave
If after a few days here you need a great change of pace to all the outdoor activities you’ve indulged, then may we suggest a session in Serenity’s Himalayan Salt Cave. During your 45 minute session, you can relax in one of the zero-gravity chairs, lay back and take a nap, or sit and enjoy the soft music and stress-free environment while benefiting from the Cave’s healing salt atmosphere. Serenity’s Cave was built by hand with pure Himalayan salt boulders, rocks, bricks and sand.
Gentlemen, pay attention. Spas are not just for women. We
know that you have bought countless numbers of pampering gift certificates for
your Mom, wife and daughters over the years. And when you walk in to purchase
it and you feel like a fish out of water, swiping your credit card on high
speed just to get out of the girlie palace. Trust us. You won’t feel that way
in the Mountains’ Gentleman Spa. Serenity offers a gentlemen’s locker room
with steam and sauna as well as a relaxation area. While almost all of the spa treatments are
personalized, they are tailored for their male clientele, including facials,
manicures, hair styles and hair colors.
Ladies, maybe it’s time to treat your man to an awesome
experience he won’t soon forget. Serenity has a treehouse massage room. Yes,
built very high in the clouds, this childhood fantasy style treehouse is equipped
with the finest equipment and therapists.
One of the most popular services vacationers take advantage
of at Serenity in the Mountains is the Couples Massage. With cozy, heated
tables, in beautifully appointed private rooms, two therapists will give you
the massage style you each prefer. Then afterwards, you both can relax alone in
front of the fireplace, making this a total romantic experience.
If you are looking for a fun indulgence for your bridal
party or best friend weekend, then look no further. Serenity’s staff wants to
help you create the perfect memory. They will help you craft the ideal signature
spa experience. And be sure to let them know that you want ample time to
enjoy the sauna and steam rooms.
The reviews are all five star, with lots of mentions of “warm
cozy atmosphere”, “friendly professional staff”, and “reasonable prices” as the
most commented remarks. Many note that just arriving in the rustic relaxation
lounge with its comfortable chaises and leather sofas is a charming experience,
and we can whole-heartedly vouch for that!
Serenity in the Mountains makes it easy to book an appointment
online or you can call them at 706-258-2244. We recommend that you book
early. This is one very popular pampering destination! Their services are
offered Monday and Tuesday from 9am-5pm and Wednesday – Saturday from 9am to
7pm. They are closed on Sundays, but if you are here during the week, be sure
to ask about the mid-week specials.
We humans are very much like diamonds. We are created
through the pressures of our lives, and very much like these precious stones,
we can be massaged, buffed and polished to our full beauty. You came to the
mountains to relax and renew. Let Serenity in the Mountains pamper you to a new
brilliance. Don’t be surprised when this spa experience becomes one of your
fondest vacation memories!
The days are heating up and so are the events in the North Georgia Mountains! Splash into Lake Blue Ridge on a hot July day and as the sun sets over the mountains and the temperature starts to cool off for the evening, enjoy some family time around the fire pit. There are so many fun and festive events happening in and around our little mountain community this month. Take a look and plan your Escape to Blue Ridge to experience all the mountains have to offer!
If you want to start the morning off healthy, you could run in the Blue Ridge Freedom 5k or 10k, featuring a scenic route through beautiful and historic Blue Ridge!Show your American Pride by coming dressed in your finest red, white and blue running gear. Even more fun after the race with music, watermelon, sweet tea, and lemonade.
In Blairsville, Independence Day Fireworks is on July 4th – at Meeks Park, beginning at around 9:30 pm. A day-long festival takes place just south of Blairsville at Vogel State Park, with a bicycle parade, pedal boat races, a watermelon eating contest, sack races and a number of other traditional activities for kids and families. Then head to town to watch the big fireworks show!
The skies over the twin cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, TN will be lit up on Friday night. Anywhere downtown is a great viewing area! Don’t want to drive? You can board the Firecracker Express in Downtown Blue Ridge and arrive by train. There will be a street festival, vendors with food etc. Live music. First Baptist Church of McCaysville has a fair that is open to the public, festivities start around 6 pm.
You can’t get a better venue or greater acoustics than right on the lake. With delicious food and jamming tunes, you’ll love the atmosphere and entertainment at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina!
July 5 – Travis Bowlin July 7 – Shannon York July 12 – Danny Rhea July 13 – Johnathan Batten July 14 – Lindsay Beth Harper July 19 – Buck & Oz July 20 – Trevor Patillo July 21 – Gopher Broke Band July 26 – Danny Rhea July 27 – Buck & Oz July 28 — Shannon York
The Indiana Jones of Sasquatch, Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, is coming to Blue Ridge to talk about that mysterious of all near-humans – Bigfoot, or Skunk Ape, or Yeti, or Sasquatch. Dr. Meldrum will discuss his experiences and near-misses he’s had over the 30 years he has tracked Bigfoot.
The Blue Coyote is known for their live music and entertainment. While you’re there you can enjoy their tasty bar food and a whole bunch of beer! They even have a dog-friendly patio! Stop by, check it out, and enjoy the music!
July 5 – Southern Vantage July 6 – The Bone Daddys July 12 – Natti Lovejoys July 13 – Topper/Voices of Rock July 19 – Mind the Stepchildren July 26 – Donny Hammonds Band
Looking for a serene setting on the hillsides near Ellijay with twisty grapevines, a fireplace with outdoor seating (including a statuesque still-standing chimney, which is the winery’s icon), and live music on weekends? Come out to Cartecay Vineyards!
July 5 – Adrian Stover July 6 – Gregg Erwin July 7 – Craig Hendricks July 13 – Timothy O’Donovan July 14 – Rick Byers July – 20 – Tommy Joe Conner July 21 – Johnny Summers July 27 – April Rooks July 28 – Surrender Hill
The perfect combination – yoga, followed by wine tasting at a vineyard with a view. Ashlee Lofton leads the yoga class, beginning at 10:45am and then there’s a moment of reflection before moving on to Bear Claw’s Grizzly Tasting. OMMM & AHHH. Nothing better!
Working with clay, painting and a wide range of exciting art classes make up this creative summer camp for kids. This camp is for emerging artists – which is what kids are, after all. And the focus is on allowing them to explore their own exceptional creative side.
When you read a play summary that includes locations like a rooftop London bistro and a 12th floor window ledge, and descriptions of main characters like a car-selling Romeo from Dallas and ancient waitress who wields a wicked sousaphone, you know this is going to be a wild and wacky romp of a performance and you’d better be prepared to laugh. At the heart of all the craziness is love – and that alone should make it all worthwhile.
The great thing about a cooking class is you usually get to eat what you cook and this cooking class, which celebrates Appalachian roots is no different. Stories and local wisdom are shared in this hands-on workshop featuring Real Appalachian food brought to you by real Appalachian Grandmas!
Not quite a seminar and not quite a field trip, but the best of both. This program at Georgia’s tallest point is intended to help you understand the importance of a forest watershed. Water conservation techniques and this region’s ecologically turbulent history over the past 100 years are discussed – and you get a bird’s eye view of creeks, rivers and streams and an explanation of how they have evolved to form the Hiawassee Watershed. Extra special bonus – a glass of refreshing mountain lemonade at the end!
Where does food come from exactly? The grocery store, of course. Nope! Kids learn the value of agriculture production and how to take care of food products and animals during this highly popular summer camp. Tours and hands-on opportunities at three off-farm locations add variety to the experience.
Get ready for corn dogs and funnel cakes, but that’s not all. The Georgia Mountain Fair is a North Georgia icon, complete with living exhibits, arts and crafts, a pioneer village; a parade with antique cars, carnival rides and music that ranges from country to gospel including Pam Tillis, Ricky Skaggs, and more!
Harvey July 26 – 28 LOCATION: Gilmer Arts Playhouse
There’s something about having a 6-foot rabbit at your side as a constant companion that tends to make a person feel safe and secure. That’s the way it is for Elwood P. Dowd, who is content in the knowledge that Harvey, the 6-foot rabbit, is always there for him. He’s also there for others, it’s just that they can’t see him. First made famous by Jimmy Stewart, this is a heartwarming story that’s fun for kids of all ages.
Open to all photographers, amateur and professional and all original photographic media, including film and digital images. This event showcases some of the best photographers in the nation, capturing the uniqueness of this region, and competing for cash prizes.
NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM
When you think about your dream vacation, does a beautiful mountain setting, proximity to water, and plenty of space for your family and friends top the list? Then look no further than the North Georgia cabin rental Dock Holiday. This magnificent cabin is situated in a wooded lot on Lake Nottely, and true to its name, comes with a double-decker dock that’s tailor made for swimming, fishing, and sunning.
Perched on a hillside surrounded by tall trees with a breathtaking long-range vista of mountains and farmland as far as the eye can see, North Georgia Overlook makes a fantastic first impression. But take a closer look at this Blue Ridge cabin rental and you’ll find even more to love. This magnificent tri-level home has wraparound decks, lofty vaulted ceilings and huge picture windows to maximize the stunning view from sunrise to sunset, whether you’re indoors or out. Its beautifully decorated and furnished interior is the epitome of rustic charm and comfort!
When it comes to North Georgia Cabin rentals, you can’t find a better location than Wolf’s Den. Nestled in the woods with a breathtaking view of the mountains, this beautiful jewel box of a cabin takes you worlds away from “real life,” but it’s just five minutes from the shops and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge and not much more to the area’s wonderful wineries, orchards and Lake Blue Ridge. Driving to the cabin is quick and easy, and when you arrive you’ll instantly feel calm, peaceful and relaxed in this cozy home away from home!
At the Blue Ridge Mountain cabin rental Cloud Nine, great things come in twos: two beautiful, spacious family rooms, two comfortable master suites, and two levels of indoor and outdoor living space to accommodate a large family or group of friends. Newly constructed, elegantly furnished, and decorated in an eye-pleasing blend of contemporary and country style, this beautiful hilltop home is perfectly situated to maximize its most valuable asset: a spectacular, breathtaking, awe-inspiring view that stretches far into North Carolina and Tennessee!
What do you want most in a Blue Ridge cabin rental? If your wish list includes a beautiful wooded location that’s private but close to everything, plenty of space for your family or friends to gather and relax, and all the amenities you’d expect plus the comforts of an exclusive resort, look no further than Our Blue Heaven. Named for the old song of the same name, the cabin is ideally located on a magnificent wooded property just five miles from downtown Blue Ridge, surrounded by the wonders of nature and close to hiking trails, trout fishing, water sports and other activities. Inside, it’s built for comfort, with inviting, spacious rooms, all of them cozy and handsomely appointed with high-end furnishings in rustic mountain style.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The 9 Best Lakeside Cabin Rentals
As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to sore, it’s finally time for our favorite season of all – Sweet Summertime! Those sunshine filled days and star filled evenings are finally here and at Escape to Blue Ridge we want to help you create memories that are as happy and warm as the rays of sunshine piercing through the trees. Take some time out to relax on the patio with a cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade while you take in the magnificent mountain and lake views of the North Georgia mountains. Once you get hot enough, splash into the lake and cool off or take a boat ride to explore all the coves of Lake Blue Ridge or Lake Nottely. As the sun begins to set, finish off your perfect day roasting s’mores around the fire or catch lighting bugs in a jar. Just because you’re grown up, doesn’t mean like you shouldn’t feel like a kid again while you’re on vacation! Slow down, savor summer, and soak up the Lake Life at one of these nine lakeside cabins! Keep Reading.
Some communities are fortunate to have county fairs in their backyards or a state fair within an hour’s drive or two – so when it comes to deep-fried anything outrageous (Krispy Kreme Burgers, deep-fried butter, python kabobs, etc), or a carnival ride or two, it’s available – at least once or twice a year.
Then there are communities known far and wide as festival towns. You don’t even have to ask if there’s anything going on, or fun things to do during the week and on the weekends – because there always is, and you’re not limited to crazy cuisine on a stick, octo-dogs, chocolate-covered bacon (yummo, by the way) or funnel cakes. Sometimes healthy food and fitness is the central theme, and you might actually lose weight rather than gain a pound or two.
Blue Ridge is one of those special towns where there’s always something going on – it’s a festival town, but also a destination for events – big ones and small ones – some tied to traditional holidays and some that have been created with care by locals who are passionate about books, music, the outdoors, or the arts.
A listing of festivals and events in Blue Ridge usually begins at the beginning – in January – but the beginning of the summer season starts with Memorial Day, when the pools are filled, the boat motor is tuned up and wineries and restaurants typically return to extended hours. So, let’s start with that.
Spring Arts in the Park – Memorial Day Weekend – May 25 & 26
Arts in the Park is not just a spring kickoff to the festival season in Blue Ridge, another Arts in the Park brings things to a close in October. In both instances, artists and artisans, including musicians, fill the expansive Blue Ridge Downtown City Park with activities, performances and even some dancing. More than 200 juried art, craft and food booths are featured. This event is 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. Weekend Admission: Adults $5 and children 12 and under are free!
You’ve seen ‘em, although you may not have known what you were seeing, railroad motor cars. They were used to monitor track conditions along stretches of railways. During a two-day Ride the Rails festival weekend, you’ll have a chance to actually ride in one in a five-mile round trip from the Mineral Bluff Depot, through the historic Iron Bridge and over the beautiful Toccoa River and back. The trip begins (and ends) at the Mineral Bluff Depot, where there’s also a scale model railroad, built and maintained by the Tri-County Railroaders. Food and beverage will also be available. For railroad enthusiasts, and the intellectually curious, this is an event not to be missed!
Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival – June 22
Blue Ridge is becoming (if it isn’t already) a cultural tourism destination. That means wine, of course, and music. The wine will come from around the world, including those made locally in North Georgia and North Carolina and all you have to bring is a blanket or a few lawn chairs. Set wine, hard cider and some groove music against the gorgeous mountain backdrop of Merciers Orchards, and you have a classy and cultural event.
Independence Day – 4th of July Parade & Fireworks – Saturday Closest to July 4th
It’s the ideal 4th of July weekend package: Independence day in a small patriotic town that also likes it’s fun and a beautiful lake to provide the perfect backdrop for fireworks. Blue Ridge’s Independence Day parade is a “blast” You will have a ball seeing floats that show 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. Here’s a thought – ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to the fireworks for a totally unique Independence Day experience on July 5.
The Wild Wild West has nothin’ on Blue Ridge. Every August, for the last 22 years, you would swear (but please don’t) that you have landed in Laramie, Wyoming or Tucson, Arizona, because Georgia’s red clay is being pulverized to dust by broncs and bulls. This is a classic western style rodeo, complete with bull riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, bareback, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and special events. There’s great food and fun for all ages!
It sometimes takes a while to recognize and realize what’s happening in a town or out in the country, when you see artists standing stock still in front of easels and canvases, recreating a visual or a vista. When you approach the artist you can see what they see – beautiful mountains, or unique downtown scenes you may not have noticed (but they have – they’re artists, after all). If you peer over their shoulder you’ll see that these images are being captured in watercolors or charcoals or any number of arts mediums. It’s all part of an arts event that brings artists from across the region to Blue Ridge to capture the scenic beauty of this mountain community. Artists from across the southeast are encouraged to get outside and recreate nature’s beauty!
Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival – September 14 & 15
One rule of thumb in the events realm is anything that starts with a crawl is going to be a good thing! So, the Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival starts with a Blues Crawl on Friday night, followed by great blues and barbecue on Saturday. So, what is a Blues Crawl? Well, it’s kind of a meander through eight different restaurants, enjoying live music, food and drink, kicking off the Blues Weekend in the mountains. Then on Saturday it’s on to the blues and barbecue portion of the festivities with barbecue smells from local and regional cookers filling the air downtown and blues musicians performing from stages set around Blue Ridge City Park.
And winter, and spring and summer… The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is an icon in downtown Blue Ridge, and all along the line to McCaysville and back. You can enjoy the brilliant colors of fall on a special train ride during October and early November or you can ride during the winter, spring or summer seasons as well! Learn about this region’s history along the way and you will have a deeper understanding about the beauty of this incredible part of the country!
This is the perfect annual event for pet lovers! You can have a great time with your pets and get a few critical things done that need to be done before the end of fall, like a rabies vaccine at the rabies clinic and/or micro-chipping. Other pet friendly events include a pet parade, 5K race, pet education and demonstrations, a costume contest, prizes, photos and more for a fun day with your favorite pet!
Blue Ridge Fall Fest Arts & Crafts Show – 3rd and 4th Weekend in October
Fall Fest features local arts, crafts, food and fun on two separate October weekends! This event has historically been called the Homemakers Fall Festival, but the event has stretched to include artisans as well as heritage crafts and food vendors. Come out to the Blue Ridge Farmers Market and experience the best in mountain creations.
There’s nothing better than seeing the excitement that surrounds a group of kids all dressed up for Halloween and ready to head out to an early evening of trick-or-treating. The only thing better is knowing that where they’re going is safe. Kids of all ages get to trick or treat from shop to shop in downtown Blue Ridge and McCaysville. Pumpkin carving, costume contests, food, and entertainment are also part of the evening festivities!
Holiday Art Show & Sale, Light Up Blue Ridge & Hometown Christmas – Each November-December
Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association sponsors a regional arts and crafts event where you can shop for regional art and crafts at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Downtown Blue Ridge and Downtown McCaysville hold their Christmas festival on the day after Thanksgiving with music, refreshments, caroling and all-day activities. Official lighting of the Christmas tree in downtown Blue Ridge takes place at dusk and then Santa arrives! Santa’s arrival, food, refreshments and entertainment and the lighting of the bridge all are on the agenda that same night in McCaysville.
AND SO BEGINS 2020 …
Fire and Ice Chili Cookoff – President’s Day Weekend
Is it really cold enough in Blue Ridge, Georgia in February to hold an ice carving competition? Yup. It is – so bundle up. But you also have to be prepared for the heat – the heat of homemade chili that comes in all kinds of flavors and a range of hotness. The contrast of cool and hot also perfectly describes the weekend festivities that kick off the festival season. The event is cool – attracting thousands to City Park in downtown Blue Ridge and the ice sculptures are hot with a wide range of ideas and images that emerge from a block of ice. The event in 2020 will be the eighth annual, and it continues to grow every year!
Annual Blue Ridge Writers Conference – Early April
Writers write – that’s what they do. But writing is a solitary pursuit and sometimes writers just have to get together to compare notes and chat about what they do and how they do it. The annual Writers Conference is a literary tradition and unique cultural asset enjoyed by our many writers and aspiring writers each Spring as they gather in Blue Ridge to learn more about their special craft.
Blue Ridge Trout Fest & Outdoor Adventures – Last Weekend in April
There are a lot of trout in Georgia. They are stocked, and caught, and eaten in large numbers. There are also several trout festivals designed to help anglers learn about and appreciate one of America’s favorite fish – the trout. But there is only one Official Trout Festival in the state of Georgia – 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.
Where To Stay?
And as always, when you are looking to Escape to Blue Ridge, we have your best mountain accommodations. From cozy two bed cabins to massive six bedroom lodges. Not only can you enjoy festivals, but there is always live music in town, great shops to explore and fabulous restaurants to enjoy. When you’ve had enough “people” time, escape to nature and explore all the natural beauty that surrounds us. You’ll be happy you did.
What Mom really wants for Mother’s Day might surprise you.
It rarely has to do with those lovely wrapped little boxes from the jewelry
store. And it has less to do with gift certificates to get body maintenance
done, like massages and manicures.
It was 50 years ago that this iconic ad first ran. “Calgon,
take me away”. It still epitomizes what
every Mom wants and needs – time away from the daily grind, if even for just
time for a private, quiet bath. So, this Mother’s Day we think we can help you
with giving Mom that Calgon moment she’ll remember for many years to come.
Mom with Little Ones
Mom is rising close to noon and not hearing a peep. As she
clears the cobwebs from her sleep, she realizes that she woke in the cabin they
came to last night. Oh, the bed felt so luxurious, and somehow, she was the
only one in it. Next to the bed is a note from hubby. “The kids and I are gone
for the day. White
wine in the fridge with brie, apple, and crackers. The hot tub is
waiting for you. Don’t forget your book at the bottom of the suitcase. We’ll see you at 6. Bringing dinner with us.
Relax and enjoy the solitude. You
deserve this. You’re the best Mom in the world. We love you.” She looks out over the magnificent view of
the mountains from her bedroom window. This is the best gift I could ever
imagine, she thought. Six hours later the gang rolls in, running into her arms
to tell her all about their visit to Lilly Pad Village, where they gem mined and went
trout fishing. After a great boxed
dinner from Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ was consumed, they all
packed up to head to the Swan Drive-in Theater for a nostalgic experience
watching the 21st-century Avengers on the outdoor screen. (Did you
know that you can choose from 177 of our properties that have at least two bedrooms and a
Mom with Teen-agers
Mom marvels at how they are growing and maturing. She
realizes that in just a few short years they will be leaving the nest. She
wants to make these times away to the mountains something special for them all
to remember. They all agree that ziplining
had been on their bucket list. But first, while the day was still cool, they’d
challenge themselves to trek on the swinging bridge across the Toccoa River. After an afternoon of adventure, they pull up
to the Rum Cake
Lady’s outdoor dining. Mom loves Cuban food, and they sit at the
picnic tables all sharing their menu picks, joyful and tired. When they get
back to the cabin, the fire pit is lit, the oldest son brings out his guitar,
the youngest starts to make S’mores. Mom gazes at her family in the glow of the
fire and wonders how she got to be the luckiest Mom in the whole world.
(Thirty-eight of our rentals have either fire pits or outdoor fireplaces. Which one would your family choose?)
Mom with Grown
Every Mom feels the same way once their chicks have grown and flown the coop. They yearn for one on one time with them again. When her daughter texts her to ask if she’d like to spend the weekend with her in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Mom searches to find an emoji that can express her excitement. She ends up sending 10 happy faces, and the words, “yes, yes, YES!”. Saturday it’s a quick, trouble free keyless entry into their little lakefront cabin and off to the Himalayan Salt Caves for a 45-minute session of pure bliss, relaxing in zero gravity chairs, listening to soft music in a stress-free environment. After, they head into downtown Blue Ridge and make a stop at Blue Ridge Booksellers. As different as they can be in many respects, Mom and daughter share a love for vintage bookstores. With just enough time, they make their reservation at Harvest on Main for a relaxing evening of fine dining. Back to the cottage, another glass of wine to top off the evening and a wonderful heart to heart chat on the porch overlooking the moonlit lake. They sleep in late, pack up their things, close the door behind them and take a lovely drive out to Mercier’s Orchards for brunch and then to pick strawberries together, a memory they share from a Mother’s Day trip 20 years before. Now, they head home and banter back in forth as to whether it’s biscuits or pound cake that will host these sweet, juicy berries.
We think everyday should be Mother’s Day! Thank you to all the wonderful Moms who celebrate their families with us throughout the year. We hope your Mother’s Day is a Calgon day for you!
Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone!
While we’d all love to be able to take our dogs with us on every trail we venture down, we can’t always do that. Sometimes the trails are too steep or the terrain is too rough for our four-legged friends to maneuver, or sometimes they simply aren’t allowed in that area because of other critters that may be dangerous for our dogs to encounter.
To make things a little easier for you and your furry companion, here’s a list of a few trails around the Blue Ridge area that are sure to bring tons of fun for both you and your favorite adventure buddy!
Duncan Ridge Trail
Easily accessible by both the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail, the Duncan Ridge Trail is one of the more difficult trails in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, spanning a total of around 30.1 miles. While the trail is labeled as moderate to strenuous by most experienced hikers and backpackers out there (mainly because of the low usage and steep climbs), don’t let that discourage you from taking on this gorgeous trek back into the Chattahoochee National Forest! You don’t have to hike the whole 30.1 miles and for those with pups that aren’t too keen on making friends with other hikers/dogs, this trail will let you have the outdoor experience you always wanted without the anxiety of other dogs and hikers.
The Duncan Ridge Trail begins at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail/Benton MacKaye Trail. Beginning at Three Forks, you’ll hop on the AT and walk the beautiful mile stretch out toward Long Creek Falls, following the soft sounds of the creek that runs alongside the trail. Hiking toward the falls, the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) and the Duncan Ridge Trail veer off to the right less than 0.1 miles after the short path down to the falls begins. There will be markers present that identifies which trail is the BMT and which is the Duncan Ridge Trail but just in case, follow the blue vertical blazes (marks on the trees) for the Duncan Ridge and the white diamond blazes for the BMT.
From there, hikers will follow the trail through a tunnel of laurels and rhododendrons during the spring and summer months deep into the Chattahoochee National Forest before reaching the swinging bridge over the Toccoa River. Hikers can choose to push on and make the climb up Tooni Mountain, or call it a day a hike back toward Three Forks. Regardless of what you decide, just remember to have fun and hike your own hike!
Appalachian Approach Trail
Roughly 75 percent of Appalachian Trail hikers, thru-hikers and sectioners alike, decide to take the Appalachian Approach Trail to begin the trail while the other 25 percent simply take off at the base of Springer Mountain as they start the 2,192 mile (or less) journey. But for those who want to join the majority, the 8-mile trail starts off from Amicalola Falls State Park, beginning the 78-mile Georgia portion of this famous hiking trail to Maine. Not planning on walking to Maine? Then just hop on the Appalachian Approach Trail with your favorite furry pal and enjoy one of the best day hikes in the North Georgia Mountains.
Just above the top of Amicalola Falls (you can hike up the falls or just enjoy the view from the parking lot at the top), the trailhead begins. For the first ⅓ mile, the trail will coincide with the Len Foote Hike Inn. When the trail forks, follow the blue blazes, veer left, and head toward Springer Mountain.
Soon enough the trail will leave Amicalola State Park, climbing its way through the Chattahoochee National Forest and onward toward the Appalachian Trail. Though not strenuous, this trail is rated at moderate, so this might prove a challenge for some at certain parts of the trail. Elevation gain is steady over the eight miles, climbing gradually through the thick Chattahoochee Forest. During the spring and summer months, the trail beams with lush greenery and vibrant native wildflowers. In the fall, the trail is a technicolor of bright orange, yellow, and red. Regardless of the time of year, the trail promises spectacular scenery.
While much of the eight-mile stretch is shaded and covered with thicket, the last 1.5 miles will provide close to 500-ft elevation gain and thinning treeline as you make the final climb up Springer. And once you get to the summit, the blue blazes will fade to white, marking the Southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and a gorgeous view of the rolling mountains and valleys of the Blue Ridge.
Stanley Gap Trail
If you’re looking for the typical North Georgia hiking experience for you and your furry friend, look no further than the Stanley Gap Trail. Full of bright red Georgia clay and plenty of white mountain granite and large roots, you’re in for an adventurous afternoon out in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Now, be forewarned, this trail doesn’t offer up any waterfalls or stunning summit views, but it’s great for those who just want to get out and enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains. Plus, you’ll have plenty of protection from the sun on hot, humid days.
Coming in at just under 5 miles — around 4.8 mi — the Stanley Gap Trail is rated at moderated, but those used to hiking easier trails shouldn’t find this one too difficult either. It’s fairly forgiving, with breaks in the upward climb every 50- 100 ft along the way. The main thing hikers should watch out for are large upturned roots and rocks that can be a bit tricky to manage if you’re not careful. But as long as you are being mindful of them, the hike shouldn’t pose any problems whatsoever.
The highest point on the trail comes around Rocky Mountain, just below the summit, near the trail’s halfway point. After reaching that point, you’ll have to scamper up one last incline before winding back down for 1,000 ft descent toward Deep Gap. If you’re not wanting to hike all the way back to the trailhead, you can always make arrangements ahead of time for someone to pick you up at the Deep Gap parking lot or even catch a ride with a trail system shuttle driver back to you (and your dog!) back to your car.
Where are your favorite places to hike with your favorite 4-legged family member? Be sure to share your pictures of your journeys with us on Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to see where your Escape to Blue Ridge takes you!
Some of us just don’t “vacation” well. Swinging in a hammock, listening to the birdies go “tweet, tweet, tweet” is a might too boring. Nor does the quest to hike to the top of a waterfall hold any allure. We need a more constructive reason to leave home and head to the mountains. For those who need an educational prospect before booking a cabin, here are some awesome Blue Ridge conferences, workshops, and day trips available this spring.
From Shabby To Chic
Outlaws Workshop – Stay with us while you venture into town for this 3-day hands-on workshop being offered by an incredibly talented group of home décor specialists. This workshop focuses on refurbishing that old piece of furniture and painting it with the latest techniques. This would be a great Mother-Daughter Weekend retreat – an early celebration of Mother’s Day. May 3-5, 2019
The 22nd Annual Blue Ridge Writer’s Conference – For more than two decades this writer’s conference has brought together would be authors with leaders in the publishing industry, offering instruction on both sides of the trade. This is a jam-packed conference in an amazingly comfortable atmosphere, aiding in the fostering of new friendships and maximizing business networking. April 5 and 6, 2019.
Leather Working Workshop – The Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Center is the regions premier facility for arts education. Have you wanted a taste of leatherworking without investing lots of time and money? During this one day class students will make something beautiful and learn a new skill. Each student will take home their creative leather bag including a strap and tassel. April 16, 2019
Chimps Rock – This is the perfect event for kids and kids at heart. Project Chimps provides lifelong care to former research chimpanzees at its 236-acre forested sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is an opportunity to visit the sanctuary, receive a guided walking tour, see chimps behind glass and even participate in a Chimp Rock painting craft project. April 26 and April 27, 2019
Rock the Dome – The O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium at Young Harris College features more than 30 Friday-evening public shows. Guests are encouraged to arrive early for the best seats. No late seating is permitted. These public planetarium shows include a live-narrated “seasonal stargazing” segment in addition to the featured full-dome program. If you love classic rock, don’t miss the performances in late April/early May which will have that Dome rocking to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Peter Frampton, to name a few. April 26, 2019, May 3, 2019
An Apple A Day
Mercier’s Blossom Tours – Visitors from all over the world flock to Mercier Orchards every year to purchase goods produced from the fruits of the orchards. Few know that in the spring, they can take advantage of guided tours during the blossom season, learning about the cultivation of the many varieties of fruit the Orchard harvests each year. Bring your camera on these tours, because the visual spectacle of the blossoms is almost as captivating as the marvelous fragrant bouquets. Because Mother Nature doesn’t care to keep a tight schedule, you can call the Orchard at 800-361-7731 to find out when the blossom tours will be offered this Spring.
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. 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 country side and provide
you with a rewarding, memorable, and exhilarating trip.
A love of family and horses led to the creation of S&T
Stables and then in 2017 they designed and created Appalachian Trail Rides at
S&T Stables. Proudly providing trail rides on 250 acres of privately-owned
mountainous farm land, visitors can ride through pastures on scenic trails and gallop
around private lakes and cross creeks while seeing wildlife frolic in their
natural habitat. The youngest family members can enjoy pony rides and anyone 6
years and older can enjoy trail rides. Luke and Blair of Appalachian Trail
rides have created a Proposal Ride for blossoming love or Dinner Rides complete
with a delicious meal and songs around the campfire!
Almost Heaven is a spectacular cabin set high up on a
mountain crest. This three-bedroom three bath cabin is snug in the treetops of an enchanting forest that makes for natural
framework around layered panoramic mountain views. Whether you wish to lock
yourself away for a romantic or sentimental gathering or create a wonderful
family vacation filled with adventure — Almost Heaven will have you on Cloud
Year-round horseback riding adventures are available at Blanche
Manor in Blue Ridge for all age levels and skill levels. Trail rides will take
you through unspoiled scenery and take in views from three states – Georgia,
North Carolina, and Tennessee. You can choose from a leisurely stroll through
wooded trails or sign up for the City Slicker Special where you can learn how to
barrel race or do an obstacle course on horseback! Complete with Sunset rides,
pony rides, and full day experiences you will enjoy every minute of your time
with Kimberly and her team of experienced guides.
its name from the hundreds of acres of picturesque horse farms in the
surrounding area, Bucking Horse
is a distinctive Georgia Mountain cabin rental that offers the peaceful getaway
from your everyday life that you are craving. Perfectly situated in the Cashes
Valley Area, this four-bedroom, 4-bath cabin invites you to enjoy the sounds
and sights of nature from the spacious, multi-level decks and balconies. Take
in the majestic mountain views as you rock your cares away on the back deck or
sink into the steamy and rejuvenating waters of the hot tub. Let the scenic
woods and calming mountain views from Bucking Horse envelop you as you create a
truly memorable mountain experience that will last a lifetime- and having you
longing to return!
Spend a half day or a full day riding trails through the
Cohutta Wildlife Management area. This family owned and operated horse farm is
widely known for training, boarding, sales, riding lessons, and outfitted trail
riding in the Chattahoochee National Forest. They believe in the importance of
finding a horse to suit your needs and skill level. Heather and her team will
take guests on a thirteen-mile trip through stunning landscape. The ride takes
a break at Jacks River Fields, a primitive campground, for a picnic lunch and a
leg stretch, before picking up the trail and returning back to the stables.
If you love the peace from quiet mountain vistas
and beautiful sunsets, then let Cashes
Serenity wash over you. Located in the desirable Cashes
Valley area of Blue Ridge, this three-bedroom, three bath home offers
spectacular views of the Cohutta wilderness, a 37,000-acre protected wildlife
sanctuary with more than 95 miles of hiking trails. Enjoy the beauty of the
meandering streams and grazing horses in Cashes Valley as you wind your way up
the mountain to breathtaking views. Horseback riding trails are within walking
distance down the mountain and white water rafting on the Ocoee River is
nearby. When you visit Cashes Serenity cabin, we hope you will echo the words
of John Muir: “Keep close to Nature’s heart and break clear away, once in
a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit