Ahhhhhh, August! Hot summer days perfect for splashing in creeks and jumping into the lake! While there aren’t as many events as usual going on this summer, the ones we have are worth checking out and each event is taking extra precautions to keep you safe.
2020 Wine Highway Week is now a MONTH long! Enjoy touring 24 participating vineyards in the beautiful mountains while you discover Georgia wines! There will be a $50.00 fee for each participant which will be collected at the first winery visited. Travelers will receive a “Wine Highway Week” collectors’ glass and Passport which will give them admission to ALL participating wineries at no additional charge. Be sure to keep you Passport and Collectors glass with you at all wineries visited! You can purchase your Passport on line at: www.georgiawineproducers.org/shop
Top notch local farmers & artisans offering farm fresh produce, fruits, food and handmade arts & crafts. Parking lot at Cohutta Country Store. Presented by the Appalachian Mountains Farmers Cooperative.
Professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls will be competing in a variety of events at the fairgrounds arena including bareback riding, barrell racing, bull riding, calf scrambles, team roping, and bronc riding!
It’s time to cool off and soak in the views from North Georgia’s creeks, rivers, and streams. These small, but mighty, bodies of water offer an extensive variety of activities and adventure. The canopy trees, wildlife, and stunning boulders all around the waters provide plenty of sights for the whole group.
The spectacular waters found in the North Georgia Mountains are truly hidden gems. With hot temperatures rising, jumping into these cool waters is a must. These parks and recreation areas will allow you to experience the beauty of nature in a family-friendly environment. The best part is you can stay as long as you’d like! The sun is shining, the water is flowing and the mountains are calling! So what are you waiting for?! Grab your water shoes and let’s go!
Cooper Creek Recreation Area
Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, Cooper Creek Recreation Area is a prime location for an afternoon or a weekend of adventure! Activities at this recreation area include hunting, hiking, and trout fishing. Cooper Creek is stocked with rainbow trout so all fishermen will not leave disappointed! After you’ve explored the shady banks of Cooper Creek, grill some burgers and hot dogs for a creek-side cookout!
Mulky Recreation Area
Another spot located along Cooper Creek is the Mulky Recreation Area. This is a simple, yet serene environment to spend some time. Activities involving hiking, fishing, and creek splashing are all offered at the Mulky Recreation Area. Test out your hiking boots on the Yellow Mountain Trail, which follows an old logging road for 3.6 miles through forests of hemlock, pine and hardwood.
Deep Hole Recreation Area
The Deep Hole Recreation Area is just north of Suches, GA, and sits alongside the banks of the Toccoa River. This campground has picnic tables, benches, and trails through the lush forest. There is also a canoe launch available if you’re looking to experience the river in a new way. Bring your portable hammock to swing within the trees and take a nap with the soothing sound of the Toccoa’s waters!
Sandy Bottoms Recreation Area
The Sandy Bottoms Recreation Area is filled with towering hardwoods and views of the Toccoa River. It is in Morganton, GA, making it not too far from the town of Blue Ridge. There are places to camp, fish, swim, or sit and enjoy the outdoor scenery. This is a site that is pleasant all year long, but there is no better time than now to check it out for yourself!
Tammen Park is only a few miles north of the town of Blue Ridge and is a great place for the entire family. The park amenities here include a softball field, sheltered pavilions with picnic tables, river access, and a playground. The Toccoa River access at the park is the perfect spot to cast a line or load in your kayak or canoe. With Lake Blue Ridge sitting right around the corner, you’ll find yourself wandering around the area all day!
The Amicalola River is a stream part of the Etowah River and lends its name from the popular Amicalola Falls. This site offers walking trails, stunning sights of the water rapids, and a swimming hole. With its sandy beaches, there are multiple places alongside this stream to enjoy an outdoor picnic! After your adventure, head over to Amicalola Falls State Park to catch the 729-foot cascading falls. You can then watch the sunset fall behind the mountains at the Amicalola Falls Lodge and grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink!
Horseshoe Bend Park
This park offers a full day of fun! Located in McCaysville, it is a wonderful place to bring the entire family. The Toccoa River flows alongside the Horseshoe Bend Park offering non-stop views. Picnic tables, volleyball nets, and playgrounds are all available for use at this park. Horseshoe Bend Park is also the location of ‘Pickin’ In the Park’. ‘Pickin’ In the Park’ is an event with live music from local artists. It occurs every Thursday, May- September, from 6pm to dusk and is a relaxing place to enjoy a summer’s evening!
The Hiwassee River
The Hiwassee River begins in Towns County and flows through the spectacular North Georgia Mountains, into North Carolina, and eventually merging into the Tennessee River. Activities at the Hiwassee River include walking, fly-fishing, kayaking, or tubing. There are plenty of sights and plenty of opportunities for adventure!
Waterfalls are one of nature’s most beautiful sights and the surrounding areas around Blue Ridge have plenty to explore. These waterfalls offer views that appeal to all ages and the anticipation leading up to the waterfall can be an enjoyable experience of its own. Nature is calling and it’s waiting for you to explore these falls on your next Escape to Blue Ridge!
Located right on the edge of the North Georgia Mountains, Amicalola Falls State Park is one of the most visited parks in Georgia. The 729-foot falls, south of Ellijay, make it the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The forest and mossy terrain surrounding the waterfall truly complete the picturesque scene.
The ease of access to Amicalola Falls is another factor that contributes to the visit. The top part of the falls can be viewed by a drive through the State Park and looking down. Another popular option is to park your car at the State Park parking lot and access the falls by climbing the lengthy staircase with viewing platforms leading up to the cascading water. The 600 stairs are well worth the effort and offer views of Amicalola Falls throughout its mildly steep course. The waterfall can also be viewed by a 7.5-mile hike starting at Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. All three options offer breathtaking scenery along the way and the Amicalola Falls Lodge is an ideal spot for a refreshing drink or meal to complete your day!
Only 20 minutes from Blue Ridge, Fall Branch Falls is a location where you can spend a half-hour or a half-day! The adventure begins with only a 0.5-mile shaded path that leads visitors to a series of cascading waterfalls reaching 30 feet. The area below the falls is great for a picnic or water break. The mist from the side of the cliff and the water at the base of the falls make for a perfect place to cool down from a hot summer’s day. But watch your step because the rocks can sure be slippery! The observation deck at the falls can be used to snap a picture or to admire nature’s beauty.
This pair of waterfalls can be found near Blairsville and by following a brief 0.3-mile trail. The trail consisting of wildlife and greenery brings visitors to the smaller Lower Helton Creek Falls first. The trail continues ahead to the Upper Helton Creek Falls, where the 50-foot rush of water can be seen. If you make the short journey up to Helton Creek Falls on a sunny afternoon, we promise you won’t regret it!
Long Creek Falls
With towering trees and a 50-foot double-tiered waterfall, Long Creek Falls is easily one of Fannin County’s most treasured sights. The falls are only a short drive from downtown Blue Ridge and can be found at the intersection of the Appalachian and the Benton MacKaye trails. This makes Long Creek Falls a beautiful stop for a variety of travelers and explorers. The hike to admire the waterfall is under a mile and the boulders along the edge of the falls offer visitors a peaceful spot for a water break or a nature-filled conversation!
Sea Creek Falls
Most breathtaking after a summer rain, Sea Creek Falls can be accessed after only a 0.1-mile walk. A trip to see the double cascading falls at Sea Creek Falls, located outside of Blairsville, can be appreciated by skill levels of all ages. The falls displaying 30 feet of mountain water offer sounds, views, and relaxation for any visitor. The water flowing at the base of Sea Creek Falls is available for feet or paws to splash around in while enjoying a break from the Southern heat.
Remarkable in any season, North Georgia is lucky to claim these waterfalls. A breath of fresh air, a cooling mist from the cliffs, and a leisurely mountain walk are all waiting for you at these five waterfalls just a short drive away from Blue Ridge.
embark on your next waterfall adventure, be sure to share your trip with us on
our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @escapetobr. We can’t wait for you to
experience these stunning falls for yourself!
The sun is just starting to drop, and the skies above the surrounding mountains are showing off their blushing color palette. The pink hues deepen and then you see the first blaze of fire orange streak across your sky high view. Your helicopter lands on the private helipad at Spyglass, the 5 million dollar private lodge you’ve rented for the week. Welcome to this luxurious escape from your crazy everyday urban existence!
Our Escape to Blue Ridge concierge service has seen to the details as you’ve requested. You and your guests are greeted at the entrance by Chef Trey Griffith. So many of the finest award-winning international chefs have found their way to these mountains, tired of the hassle of metropolitan restaurant life. They choose to come here to share their talents. Chef Griffith came back “home” to Blue Ridge and now serves as a personal chef to guests just like you. Passionate about sharing the experience of fine dining with his clients, his services include initial client consultation, a customized menu plan, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and kitchen clean up. He takes into consideration all dietary and discretionary food choices. He will cook you one special meal, help you host a party or he’ll manage your nourishment during your entire stay.
Tonight Chef Griffith serves cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in front of the massive fireplace, giving you plenty of time to shake off the day and begin to relax in the lap of luxury. The evening ends with a brandy and plate of hand dipped chocolate truffles procured from The Sweet Shoppe in downtown Blue Ridge, one of many premier food provision establishments to choose from in town and the surrounding area.
The next morning, as the mist subsides and the full view of the mountains emerges, you sip your joe on the veranda, contemplating only your breathing. As you requested, you’ll be moving into this respite slowly, so today we begin with a visit from your yoga guru. Yoga Over Blue Ridge brings their instructor right to your lodge door.
After a private poolside lunch, watching the eagles soar above you, it’s time to take a stroll downtown to see what this little “berg” has to offer. Your first stop on historic East Main St. is Out of the Blue, North Georgia’s opulent gourmet shop offering fine wines, international and local gourmet foods; beautiful linens, ceramics and unique glassware.
A few doors down, you peek into a store window. No, this isn’t Worth Ave in the Palm Beaches, but it sure feels like that when you enter this upscale chic establishment. Welcome to Crawford Collections, where they cater to the “A” list clientele that visit and reside in these hillside enclaves. Shop their impressive collection of luxury handbags and custom jewelry. Experience exceptional personal service and their uncompromising commitment to quality.
Along this Main street thoroughfare you’ll continue to find treasures behind so many doors. New Blue Home and Gift features accessories and furnishings that are rich and distinctive. High Country Art and Antiques offers an outstanding selection of traditional and impressionist fine art, folk art, photography, ceramics, pottery, jewelry, sculptures, antiques and collectibles.
When looking for unique provisions, Blue Ridge Olive Oil Co. and Tupelo Tea are must visits. Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company’s inviting cucina-style store offers you 65 varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegars and the opportunity to taste these remarkable innovations from around the world. There are so many pairing suggestions you find time has slipped by. Their “sibling” store is just next door. Tupelo Tea was formed with a mission to bring premium tea blends from around the world and quality honey to tea lovers who are always exploring new flavors. They offer an impressive honey and tea tasting bar for those looking to explore new tea blends and local & artesian honeys. You make a note to stop to check them out before the week ends.
Before you head back to your private vacation estate, you stop at Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill, for dinner and signature drinks. Chester’s Provisions is located next door and has unique and hard to find food, beverage, gifts, and entertaining items.
The next few days are a mix of adventure, rest and rejuvenation, with the entire itinerary raising the bar on distinction and premier services. With VIP Southern Tours, you’ll visit the regions foremost wineries in your private touring car. When we mentioned that one of the best ways to see the amazing topography of this region was from the sky, upon your request we scheduled you for a seaplane ride with Wingin’ It Adventures. You’ll embark on a private chartered fishing adventure with Sea Captian Joe. We’ve even booked you for the premier class car on Blue Ridge’s famous train ride through the mountains. When you asked us to make this a storybook fantasy vacation, we took you seriously, and scheduled Rhiannon of Zolu Photography to capture this week on film and create a memory book just for you.
We hope that you’ll look to us to assist you in bringing the lap of luxury to all of your holiday festivities you choose to celebrate in the mountains. As Valentine’s Day, your anniversary or the night you propose marriage approaches we can arrange for your rental to be ready with fresh flowers, candy and wine or champagne. The scattering of rose petals from the door to the bedroom or on the bed (Only silk ones) is a service we offer.
If you would just love to arrive and settle into your cabin without having to make a trip to the grocery store we can do your grocery shopping for you, delivering it to you and stocking the fridge and pantry just in time for your arrival!
Winter holidays celebrations in the mountains are exceptional when the family gathers and meets to celebrate. We will deliver you a Christmas tree, trim it and even come back after the holiday to remove the tree. Whether it’s a birthday festivity or a retirement party, we are available to bring in what you need to enhance the celebration. Call us anytime to discuss our services fee schedule: 1-866-618-2521.
Ready to Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy the lap of luxury? We offer a variety of premier properties available for your vacation needs:
Not every Georgia mountain cabin rental looks like the elegant homes in “Southern Living” magazine, but Ambleside is that kind of place, exquisitely appointed yet roomy enough to accommodate 14 guests in comfort and style. Add magnificent mountain and river views from every window and fun things to do right on the property and nearby, and you have the makings of a magical vacation.
Take in the breathtaking beauty of natural surroundings and the serenity of a lodge situated against the National Forrest. This custom home captures your attention and your heart before you even step through the front door. Eagles Landing promises a unique and memorable vacation experience. Discover why so many visitors have commented that this vacation spot has been their favorite, for relaxing and enjoying lake living.
From here, everything good cascades, where new dreams are inspired and your arrival says “I’ve arrived.” Falling Waters sits at the pinnacle of luxury in every way. The home’s location is at one of the highest points in the Aska Adventure Area. The expansive decking provides the best seat in the house as you become the ultimate spectator at nature’s most majestic scenic views
Staying at Legend is like having an entire five-star resort all to yourself. This luxury log cabin is truly in a class of its own. It’s built from handcrafted Douglas-fir logs and each spacious room presents incredible attention to detail with cathedral ceilings, arched doorways, sumptuous furnishings, stylish fixtures, and every amenity you desire to relax in complete luxury.
SpyGlass is the name, the view will explain. The largest of our Blue Ridge GA cabin rentals, seize the opportunity to stay in this $5 million custom resort lodge with its own private pool and spa, where you can come and go by helicopter, and treat the entire family to 8,000 sq. ft. of pure luxury and decadence.
High atop Crockett Mountain on five pristine acres in a gated community in the Blue Ridge/Cherry Log area, a one-of-a-kind property with stunning long-range, year-round mountain views provides the backdrop for a magical vacation. It’s called Unforgettable for a reason, and you’ll know why from the moment you arrive, take in that view, and step inside.
Rise above the noise of everyday life and rest in the majesty and luxury of Waterfall Lodge. Here, there are more than 50 miles of unobstructed short and long-range Blue Ridge Mountain vistas that surround the home 180 degrees. There is no shortage of views as the day’s shifting light presents show-stopping displays against the mountain range that change hourly. Enjoy a spot at the outdoor gazebo or by the fire pit to take in this spectacle, the symphony of nature’s soothing sounds and the calm rush of water from the home’s beautiful waterfall feature.
There is truly nothing like spending summer in the mountains. While admittedly, 2020 has not been traditional in any sense, the traditions of local community, lively events, and friendly people is still the foundation of beautiful Blue Ridge! Summer has heated up and if you haven’t already made plans to spend your time exploring our vast mountains or relaxing on Lake Blue Ridge or nearby refreshing streams, what are you waiting for? Book your Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy the hot summer days and cool mountain nights making memories with your loved ones!
Hop on the train in Blue Ridge to enjoy the great Copper Basin Fireworks display just after dark! The train will head out of Blue Ridge at 7:00 pm and return back by 11:00 pm. You can bring your lawn chair & sit outside the train to watch the fireworks display. There will be vendors & activities for the whole family once you arrive in downtown McCaysville/Copperhill.
Great beer (18 beers on tap), a fun atmosphere and a stellar philosophy – delicious beer, dog-friendly, people tolerated. Plenty of craft beers, including those brewed in the brewery, and lots of live music. It’s one of those places that locals like! July 3 – High Beams Music July 4 – DaisyChain July 10 – Travis Bowlin July 17 – Michael Mann July 24 – David Flowers
Hike part of the Benton MacKaye Trail & the Appalachian Trail and learn about local history and about the Civilian Conservation Corp Camp. The History & Hike series is part of the Smithsonian Crossroads Exhibit Events. The event begins at 10am and is limited to 15 participants. Pre-Registration is required and closes June 30, 2020. Once you have registered, you will receive information about meeting location, supply list & additional details. The 6-mile trail is easy to moderate and will take you about 5 hours to complete the hike. This series is sponsored by Blue Ridge Adventure Wear, Benton MacKaye Trail Association, and Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
The annual Independence Day Boat Parade on Lake Nottely is on July 4th from 12pm- 2pm. Anyone with a boat is welcome to line up at the marina beginning at 10:30 am. Boats can be decorated in any theme and it is free to participate or view. Visitors can watch the parade from areas around the marina.
Fireworks begin at dusk from about 8:30pm to 9:30pm. Places to view the fireworks include Morganton Point Recreation Area, by boat in Lake Blue Ridge near the Lake Blue Ridge Dam, Lake Blue Ridge Dam, and The Lake Blue Ridge Marina. Fireworks are being put on by the Lake Blue Ridge Civic Association.
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!
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 consists 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. July 4 – Surrender Hill July 5 – Craig Hendricks July 11 – Gregg Erwin July 12 – Lindsay Beth Harper July 18 – April Rooks July 19 – Scott Stambaugh July 25 – Adrian Stover July 26 – Tommy Joe Conner
Pickin’ in Horseshoe Bend Park every Thursday, 6:00 PM to dusk, May – Sept. Live music jams & pickin’ on the banks of the Toccoa River at the Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville. Free Admission. (park is wheelchair accessible). Bring the whole family to enjoy the experience. Picnic tables available and a nice grassy lawn but you are also welcome to bring a blanket or chair.
The event features a Marketplace with a variety of Fiber Vendors, Classes taught by top-notch instructors, space to sit with your yarn projects and craft with your new fiber friends, and this year local food trucks will be available! There is an entrance fee of $5 for anyone ages 11 and older. This fee covers admission for the whole weekend. Come and shop as many days as you like and register to attend a new class each day!
The Appalachian ladies are back for their favorite cooking class of the year! Summer is when the garden is in full swing and they will be cooking up the natural and organic bounty found within. Fried squash, fried okra, fresh green beans, mashed taters, fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, cornbread, and a delicious peach cobbler. Vegetarians rejoice…at this time of year, the garden produces so much bounty, meat is rarely needed. As always, they will prepare, cook, and share cooking secrets and recipes before sitting down and breaking bread together.
Spend an evening as true stories are told about life, customs and traditions of Southern Appalachian life in the North Georgia mountains. This theatrical event is based on the collected interviews, stories, and folk traditions by Foxfire. Seating is limited, pre- REGISTRATION required. This event is free to the public but donations are appreciated and all proceeds go to the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association and Foxfire Fund, Inc.
Stand-up comedy with Comedy Central’s hilarious Eric Hunter, great music by the amazing Adrian Stover and a catered meal in the new barn venue at Stewart’s Farm. All to help free dogs from life on a chain! A fundraiser to support Freedom For Fido, a 501c3 non-profit who builds free fences for low-income families who keep their dogs on a chain. Come out for a great night of laughter, music, and food while helping Free some Fido’s in our area!
Enjoy three fun filled days of good ole mountain hillbilly fun. See a Pioneer village, real moonshine still in the works, mountain crafts, and plenty of hot classic cars, trucks, bikes, rat rods and more!
New Homes Added To Our Program
High atop Crockett Mountain on three pristine acres in a gated community in Cherry Log, a one-of-a-kind property with stunning long-range, year-round mountain views provides the backdrop for a magical vacation. It’s called Unforgettable for a reason, and you’ll know why from the moment you arrive, take in that view, and step inside.
If your dream mountain vacation has the luxury, privacy and high-end amenities of an exclusive resort, but none of the crowds, lines, and noise, you’ll find it and much more at Falcon’s Lair. Boasting phenomenal 180-degree long-range multilayered mountain views stretching from Georgia to North Carolina and Tennessee, with cathedral ceilings and enormous windows to frame them, this tri-level showplace truly has the wow factor!
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.
Bringing your dog with you on your Blue Ridge mountain vacation can enrich a trip in so many ways. You’ll meet and talk to dog-loving strangers who otherwise would have passed right by you. You’ll travel to dog-friendly parks and other places that wouldn’t ordinarily be on your itinerary. You’ll have a built-in reason to go outside, exercise and have fun. Most meaningfully, you’ll have your best friend at your side. We are glad that you and your four legged pooch have decided to stay with us, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of Blue Ridge’s favorite canine and people friendly spots. Keep Reading.
There’s no denying it, the craft beer market has grown substantially over the past few years. In 2019 it’s estimated there were over 8,000 independent craft breweries in the United States. Blue Ridge and the Copper Basin are home to a few of the best!
Taking home a growler to drink while sitting in front of the TV and screaming at the umpire was a favorite pastime for many before the 2020 sports season was pre-empted. Now, visiting craft beer taprooms has become a favorite diversion for many aficionado hopsters. But many more of us barley know the yeast of what goes into a good brew. So before we take you beer hunting in this region, let’s do a very quick primer.
Craft Beer 101
Where does beer come from?
Barley – mainly used for beer, this is the base ingredient for beer.
Malt – barley by itself won’t make beer. Barley seeds need to be sprigged to life by malt extract and then roasted and toasted to achieve their distinctive flavors.
Hops – Without hops, beer would be pretty boring. Hops are the spices of the beer world creating bitter, tropical, and citrus flavors that balance out the sweetness of the beer. Grown as bines or long vines, you might have passed a hops crop along the roadside and mistaken it for a vineyard.
Yeast – You can’t make beer without yeast, and the yeast plays maybe the biggest part in the whole beer equation. Pitch too little, your beer is sweet. If the yeast is not healthy, it will throw off a strange and unpalatable flavor.
Brewing – Oh yeah, that part. Brewing takes on a lot more than simply boiling the beer. There is milling the grain to get it just the way you want. Then there’s the constant cleaning and maintenance of all the equipment, hoses, and fittings to make sure there is no contamination. Someone must carefully monitor the production to hit all of the right “checkpoints” to ensure that the proper alcohol levels are achieved. And then there’s carbonating it just right for the style you are brewing.
Ale – It’s typically fermented warm, using a strain of yeast that rises to the top of the brew. It ferments faster than lager and is more strongly flavored. Esters produced during fermentation lend a slightly fruity and floral taste. Hefeweizen is a wheat beer. IPA stands for India Pale Ale, which long ago was high in hops and alcohol content, to survive a voyage from Britain to India. It still tends to have an intense hop flavor.
Lager – This is another basic type of beer. It’s usually fermented cold, using yeast that sinks to the bottom during fermentation and works slowly. Long, cold fermentation inhibits the production of esters, and lagers have a cleaner, crisper taste than ales.
Hard Cider – Whoa! Where did cider fit into this primer? Well, not everyone likes beer, but they still like the low alcohol content compared to liquor. On a warm summer’s day, hard cider is a great and healthier alternative to beer, especially for those who have to avoid wheat and other grains.
Cliff Notes on Style:
The best ales have intense, complex, and balanced flavors.
The best lagers are very tasty but they generally aren’t as complex or intense as ales.
Beer vs Cider – If you are someone who enjoys the distinctive bitterness of beer and enjoys a sugar-free drink made of barley, then beer is the drink for you. If you are looking for a gluten-free, sweeter option, but still want the bubbles and the buzz, look to the craft hard ciders.
You are now ready for our North Georgia Beer Hunt!
3758 East First Street, Blue Ridge, GA | 706-258-2762 | Hours: Friday & Saturday 12pm-8pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm
This brewing company was founded by someone passionate about starting a winery in Blue Ridge. Plans change. He meets a guy passionate about German beers. They combine their passions and voila! They now have one of the most highly respected craft breweries in the South. Tours of the plant are available on Fridays and Saturdays. BYOP– Bring your own pup. Yes, your canine friends are welcome throughout the brewery.
1315 East Main Street, Blue Ridge, GA | 706-946-2739 | Hours: Monday – Wednesday 12pm-6pm, Thursday – Saturday 12pm-8pm, Sunday 12:30pm-5pm
This is a great hangout for any age brewster. Family friendly, kids will love the GIANT JENGA outside and the games inside, plus there’s craft soda on tap. Open seven days a week. Big screen TV’s throughout. Thursday night is Karoake night and it is well attended and lots of fun. Always 18 different craft beers on tap. On Friday, Saturdays and Sunday’s check out their hot dog stand.
8660 Blue Ridge Dr., Blue Ridge, GA | 706-632-3411 | Hours: Sunday – Thursday 8am-4pm, Friday & Saturday 8am-6pm
Mercier’s is the only apple orchard in Georgia that can say they grow, press, ferment, and bottle their product. Their full line of cider seasonally takes advantage of most of the fruits that are grown year-round at the orchard. The tasting room is part of the gigantic market, restaurant, and bakery. You may visit with the intent to pick out your favorite hard cider, but be prepared to spend additional time foraging the whole market.
Visit this brewery and you won’t know if you are in Tennesee or Georgia. Located in Copperhill, just outside their tasting room door, you can have one foot in Tennessee and the other foot in Georgia. It’s very cool to straddle the state line! Sample their brews and you’ll wonder if you haven’t traveled to Scotland or Germany. This brewery takes craft beer way, way serious. It’s not a passion for them. It’s an art form. Some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable staff this side of the Mason Dixon line.
This brewey is a converted gas station with a great tasting room, but an even better outdoor area that, when the weather permits, is just hopping with folks having fun, listening to great music, and some amazing beer choices. You can join the Mug Club and have your picture painted on a mug that’s yours to keep fillin’up with their vast and ever-changing selections. Great fun for the whole family. It’s where the white water rafting crews call “home”.
Our Tasting Room Choice: Berry My Heart at the Trailer Park
500 East Main Street, Blue Ridge, GA | 706-946-4440
Best known as Blue Ridge’s “Husband Day Care Center”, the Black Bear Bier Garten offers great local music and 19 local, craft & imported draft beers. Pare your brewski with one of 9 varieties of wild game sausages and you’ll be pretty happy you stopped in!
733 East Main Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia | 706-258-2539
Set in a historic Blue Ridge building, Chester Brunnenmeyer’s delivers not only an elevated food selection, but their adult beverage menu is most robust with signature cocktails like the ESCAPE TO BLUE RIDGE (Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, macerated blueberries, lemonade), an impressive wine list, and regionally crafted beer!
Throughout the South, BBQ reigns as the premier cuisine. Though Texas waves their 10 Gallon hats boasting that they are the king of the Que, few know that Georgia is where smokin’ meats all evolved. The word “barbecue” comes from the Caribbean word “barbacoa.” Originally, barbacoa wasn’t a way of cooking food, but the name of a wooden structure used by Taino Indians to smoke their food. In 1540 Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto’s expedition through Georgia came upon a deserted Taino camp and discovered meat left roasting on a barbacoa, the embers of the fire still warm.
Originally, usage of the verb barbecue meant “to preserve (meat) by drying or slowly roasting”; the meaning became closer to that of its modern usage as a specific cooking technique by the time Georgia was colonized. But barbecue isn’t just a verb, it’s also a noun. It’s something you attend, and going to a barbecue is one of the gatherings we Southenerners just can’t resist. So it’s not surprising that when one vacations here in the north Georgia mountains, BBQ is the cuisine most sought out.
Rembrandt, Picasso, and Warhol are all celebrated master artists, putting paint to canvas, yet yielding a different effect. Barbeque in the South is more than just the slow burn of meat, it’s a subculture with wide variations of techniques, seasonings, textures, and sauces. With well over a dozen BBQ joints in a twenty-mile radius of Blue Ridge, we’ve chosen to highlight three different experiences, much like the three artists we mentioned. They are masters at the Que, but they are different.
If you agree that what makes the best restaurant experience is great food, atmosphere, and service, then Mike’s has you eating off his black checkered lined metal trays. With only 5 tables inside and 4 more on the porch, this tiny place packs a huge punch! Let’s talk about the atmosphere first. It starts with that 1939 Chevy pick up truck parked outside. Walk around it and imagine hauling around the dirt mountain roads of eighty years ago in this prize jalopy. This is just the beginning of your museum tour. The porch and the whole indoors is covered ceiling to floor with tons of fun historical memorabilia.
If you can manage to take your attention away from the décor and turn it to the menu, you might find it difficult to decide what to order before they close. With their meats selection, they more than have you covered. There’s the traditional smoked brisket, pulled pork and baby back ribs. Add smoked chicken wings, smoked sirloin, pulled chicken breast, and their famous all-beef “Kiolbassa” and your decision becomes even tougher.
Though the protein is usually the main event at a good BBQ, the sides complement the fare, and Mike’s has some very noteworthy offerings. We recommend the Mountain Dew stewed apples with walnuts, an old fashion fresh-squeezed lemonade, and the Texas toast. Yes, even their Texas Toast is called out as the best in Trip advisor reviews. All this is served up with a friendly, helpful staff, and if you decide to get it to-go (check out these picnic spots) you’ll find it will be packed up with TLC and everything you need to dig right in once you get to your destination.
Mike’s Trackside BBQ Open Monday through Thursday 11-6 and Friday-Saturday 11-7. Closed Sundays. 3950 E First St, Blue Ridge, GA |(706) 258-2533
Up the hill and across from the Blue Ridge Post Office is a small, unassuming strip center. On the facia, in large block letters, it reads “ Carroll’s Barbeue”. The size of the letters matches the Que experience diners get here. Walk inside and you’ll get the old country jive. Not only are the optics there, but you’ll get that smell of smoke rendering the fat that emanates from the real wood-fired pit, and the hunger pains spike the brain and you gotta have everything on the menu.
This is some of the most tender and tasty of briskets you’ll find in these parts. The ribs are “fall off the bone” good! They have pulled pork, pulled chicken, and smoked wings. But the one meat that they are legendary for is their smoked turkey, available on a plate, stuffed in a large sandwich or covering up a fresh salad for those who eat just a little lighter. They also have a few unique items on the menu that, when dining with a group, are great sharing treats. The BBQ Burrito (baked beans & shredded cheese in a flour tortilla, topped with Brunswick stew) is stuffed with your choice of pulled pork or pulled chicken. Then there’s “Tater Hill”. Carroll’s takes a large, classic baked potato, covers it in their white sauce, pile it mountain high with pulled pork, mac & cheese, baked beans, and coleslaw and then drizzles it with mild & sweet sauce.
All servings are generous, as is the hospitality at Carroll’s. Only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for lunch and dinner, you want to plan a trip here with plenty of time to chow down your main plate, and then rest up a little before you indulge in a couple of their famous desserts, including homemade banana pudding served warm with a meringue topping or their show stopper, the Skillet Brownie Sundae.
Carroll’s Barbeque Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11am – 8pm 39 Lance St., Blue Ridge, | GA 706-946-1126
This smokehouse has been an institution in these mountains for over 50 years, and it is still cared for daily by the family of Granddaddy Holloway who first manned the smokers. Just down the road from Blue Ridge, in Cherry Log, GA, The Pink Pig stands out from the roadside. The Pink is not a subtle hue, but then every artist has its shade. And speaking of shade, The Pink Pig is one of our favorite places to outdoor dine, especially with kids. Lots of places to spread out as a family while eating succulent ribs with sauce all of your face and fingers.
The Pink Pig’s menu has some twists to it that you won’t find at many other Que’s. They receive five-star reviews every day for their garlic salad (it’s the garlic brine the lettuce is soaked in- yet stays crunchy- they keep coming back to devour). You can get this salad veggie style or top it with grilled chicken, fried chicken, smoked pork, or brisket. Signature offerings like Bubba’s Brisket Nachos and SJ’s Brisket Tacos are the distinguishing brushstrokes that make this a Picasso of fine BBQ dining. The entrée menu includes a mouth-watering Ribeye cooked perfectly on the grill. Sandwiches and burgers can be topped with peppers, mushrooms, and onions. We like that you have a choice in the size of your sandwich, too. Those with a hearty appetite won’t be disappointed.
You might want to leave room for dessert because the Holloway family has a way with a cobbler that is served warm with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream all cuddled up next to that fresh seasonal fruit and topping. And note: they are open on Sundays and also stay open till 9 pm.
The Pink Pig Open Thursday through Sunday 11am – 9pm 824 Cherry Log St. Cherry Log, GA | 706-276-3311
The Blue Ridge Mountains provide the terrain, views, and challenge that all mountain bikers search for. The back country trails and systems will have bikers pedaling through a series of rocks, roots, and jumps. Pick from the variety of trails near Blue Ridge and the adrenaline rush will quickly follow! Grab your bike and helmet and get ready to experience the easy to rigorous trails in North Georgia for an adventure that will keep you itching to return!
If you are looking for a nice easy intro trail, the wide singletrack of Longbranch Loop is a great starting point. A staple in the Aska Adventure Area Trail System, the shady trail keeps obstacles limited and the fun rolling! (Easy)
Beautiful and fun, the Amadahy Trail in Ellijay is perfect to take your kids out for a ride and develop their passion for mountain biking. Wrapping around the edge of Carters Lake, this loop is extremely picturesque, but still offers a few easy uphill and downhill sections. (Easy-Intermediate)
If you’re a beginner to mountain biking and hoping to have an easy ride, this is a great spot to start. The 15-mile trail system at Jackrabbit Mountain offers stunning views of Lake Chatuge throughout. There are simple inclines and declines throughout this scenic trail system. It’s located on the North Carolina/Georgia border, making it accessible for visitors near and far. (Easy – Intermediate)
This 350-mile stretch of trails that venture from Georgia to Alabama makes it one of the most popular trail systems in the southeast for a series of reasons. With access points throughout its length, the entry near Dalton takes bikers along a mountainous journey with paved sections as well. The Mountaintown Creek Trail, part of the Pinhoti Trail System, is 11 miles out-and-back with rushing waterfalls and backcountry views that make it perfect for a day trip. (Intermediate)
This system in the Tennessee River Valley has over 30 miles of rushing trails that bikers of all skill levels can enjoy. Only a half-hour from Blue Ridge, this well-maintained set of trails provides captivating overlooks of the Ocoee River and secluded vistas of the Tennessee wilderness. This year-round trail system is filled with advanced climbs, thrilling jumps, and short bridges to keep the adventure going. (Intermediate)
Located only 2 hours away from our cabins in Blairsville, this is a must-ride trail system that is unforgettable for all those who cross it. There are four intermediate to moderate loops within this 40-mile trail system and each provides a unique encounter with nature. Bikers can expect jaw-dropping views of Lake Fontana and the Smokey Mountains while on these Western North Carolina trails. Its reputation still stands as one of the best mountain bike trails in the Southeast! (Intermediate)
While on this 8-mile loop, riders can expect rewarding descents with an assortment of tough climbs, switchbacks, and berms. This trail is not too crowded and is suitable for mountain bikers of any kind. Located on the outskirts of Helen, Unicoi State Park offers lake views and challenging paths for an exhilarating day of adventure! (Intermediate-Difficult)
The view at this trail’s peak is what makes the climb on this pathway all worth the travel. Bear Creek Trail, located in Ellijay, offers beautiful views of Fort Mountain and has several switchbacks to keep the adventure interesting. There are several creeks along the 10-mile loop that offer a change in scenery and help bikers cross through. (Intermediate-Difficult)
If you’re looking to go downhill fast, the trails at Stanley Gap can provide that experience for you! This intermediate trail in Blue Ridge is 10 miles out and back, and lets bikers have plenty of opportunities to ride through the trees. With steady inclines and sections suitable for a rest stop, the Stanley Gap trail does not disappoint. (Difficult)
This connecting system only a few miles from Dahlonega offers fast descents, wildlife sightings, and plenty of ground to uncover! The Jake Mountain Trail System and the Bull Mountain Trail System merge to form over 30 miles of trails for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. The picturesque sights make this trail system for intermediate and advanced bikers hard to forget. (Difficult)
With 2,500 feet of climbing, this trail is for serious mountain bikers only. The 19-mile loop in Helen features multiple obstacles including falling rocks, a steep uphill trek, and speedy descents. This blood rushing trail will test, stretch, and grow your mountain biking limits! (Very Difficult)
Whether you’ve been biking for years or hoping to begin a new hobby, these trails are only a short drive away from Blue Ridge. One of the few activities that combines exercise with breath-taking views, the southeast mountain ranges make mountain biking accessible for all ages. Take a risk and experience what mountain biking can do for you while conquering these trails. We’ll see you out there!
Bringing your dog with you on your Blue Ridge mountain vacation can enrich a trip in so many ways. You’ll meet and talk to dog-loving strangers who otherwise would have passed right by you. You’ll travel to dog-friendly parks and other places that wouldn’t ordinarily be on your itinerary. You’ll have a built-in reason to go outside, exercise and have fun. Most meaningfully, you’ll have your best friend at your side. We are glad that you and your four legged pooch have decided to stay with us, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of Blue Ridge’s favorite canine and people friendly spots.
Let’s Get Our 20,000 Steps In
Fido isn’t wearing a Fitbit, but he does have twice as many legs that welcome the fresh air and exercise that come as a vacation bonus here in the foothills of the Appalachians. The Chattahoochee National Forest is dog-friendly. When combined with the Oconee National Forest, the Chattahoochee National Forest spans nearly 867,000 acres across 26 counties and features thousands of miles of clear streams and rivers, 850 miles of recreation trails, picnic areas, and areas rich in natural scenery, history, and culture. Hikers bringing their dogs on the trails must keep them under verbal or physical restraint at all times—using a leash in crowded areas is highly encouraged.
If your dog loves to socialize with her canine counterparts, then a visit to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge Dog Park is a must. An off leash park there offers both Big dog and Small Dog areas. There are toys to play with or you are welcome to bring your furkids favorite fetch toy. Clean up bags are provided, but you need to do the heavy lifting and disposal into the litter cans. The park is open sun-up till sun-down, 7 days a week.
Shopping is GRRRRReat
Blue Ridge Cotton Company is a dog-friendly clothing store, located in downtown Blue Ridge. Inside the store, you’ll find an extensive pet section, including gifts, books, leashes in a variety of colors, treats, and more. There’s even more irresistible human stuff, too. Additionally, Blue Ridge Cotton Company donates one percent of every purchase to a number of animal charities in the local area.
If it’s a girls day out, then the two of you need to head over to Humble Pie Ladies Boutique. A pet-friendly ladies outfitter in Blue Ridge, the clothing they stock is Bohemian-style, unique, affordable and comfortable. Dogs are welcome to join you in the dressing room as you decide which flowing dress or headband best suits you.
Love Dogs and Cats Too is a pet-friendly store full of items for Fido and Fluffy. They stock everything from healthy treats and snazzy leashes to plush toys and comfy beds. Dogs are welcome inside to sniff out their birthday gift or drop some hints as to their favorite kind of toy to take home.
Drinking out of a bowl, frosted mug or goblet
Eventually you and your pet are going to get thirsty. Though your four legged friend isn’t old enough to legally indulge in liquid spirits, he/she will still love to socialize with you as you test out some of the finest in craft beers and wines produced in our region. Hanging out on the patio seating at Grumpy Old Men’s Brewing will actually put you all in a good mood. Fannin Brewing Company is another favorite for Fido travelers and the Ale beer connoisseur on the other end of the leash. Just up the road from downtown Blue Ridge is Bear Claw Vineyards & Winery, a boutique farm winery with vineyards where production of handcrafted wines are offered in the tasting room which also includes a dog friendly patio. Salud!
This Movie Rates 5 Bones
When was the last time you took your pooch to the movies? Here in Blue Ridge you can bring Chunky with you to catch Call of the Wild (or Lady and the Tramp if she’s into chick flicks) on the biggest screen she’s ever seen – at the Swan Drive-in Theater. Screening since 1955, this drive-in features 1st run blockbusters & an old-school snack bar with burgers. You’ll love the nostalgia, your pet will dig the burger bar outdoor patio and you’ll both enjoy the movie.
French Fries to Fine Dining
It’s vacation, and McDonalds isn’t going to do for either of you. It’s time to try new gourmet delights, something that didn’t come out of a can. Toccoa Riverside Restaurant, located in Blue Ridge, GA, is a casual eatery that serves up a variety of delicious American fare. Best known for their local trout dishes, it’s best not to mention to your pet that there is also catfish on the menu. Spot is welcome to join you at one of their pet-friendly outdoor tables while you enjoy your meal. (They even offer a special menu just for pups with options like hot dogs, burgers, chicken, rice, and more!) And there is live entertainment for your pet too, as they quack up watching the ducks waddling along the river bed.
You don’t have to be a Polish Greyhound to enjoy the patio dining at Margo’s Gourmet Polish Kitchen. Margo makes everything fresh daily, and Cuddles will appreciate that she refers to her famous steamed weiners as sausages, not hot dogs. If you are both preferring something more like a pizza than a pierogi, upstairs from Margo’s is where Blue Jeans Pizza is located. Rated #1 Blue Ridge Pizza on Trip Advisor, this Italian-American eatery also serves up menu options like appetizers, salads, burgers, pizza, strombolis, calzones, subs, pasta, wraps, and more. And your furry bambino is welcome to join you at their outdoor patio seating.
When the palate calls for something more upscale or a certain date night ambience, then be sure to sniff out these two places. Harvest on Main has comfortable seating on their patio under the porch for both you and your furkid. Don’t share the menu though. Cuddles will have you ordering the Smoked Duroc Bone-In Pork Chop served with Red Skinned Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Pork Collard Greens, topped with Mushroom Ragout. Guess who wants the bone?
And talk about the right canine atmosphere to indulge in culinary perfection, check out the 200 year old tree that Cuddles can rest under while you indulge in what’s been voted the best weekend brunch in Blue Ridge at The Black Sheep, just a short walk down Main Street.
Nestled only a few miles outside of downtown Blue Ridge, the Aska Adventure Area is packed with plenty of activities for visitors. Whether you are hoping to explore the serene North Georgia Mountains or grab a bite to eat at a mom-and-pop restaurant, you’ll have a blast in the Aska region of Blue Ridge. The Toccoa River, Appalachian Trail, and the Benton Mackaye Trail all intersect through the Aska Trail System. When you are ready to make your Escape to Blue Ridge, don’t forget to pack your hiking boots, load up the bicycle and get ready to have some great outdoor fun!
Eat Off Aska
If you’re looking for a tasty meal without breaking the bank, Van Zandt’s Riverwalk Grill & Grocery is a country diner serving breakfast and lunch. Their shelves are stocked with basic groceries and a gift shop with goods crafted by local artisans.
Channel your inner child and get ready for a day full of fun and adventure at the Lilly Pad Village. Explore the two acres of picturesque land and choose to go gem mining, fishing, and mini-golfing! You are sure to get lots of smiles out of your little ones, and who knows, you might end up having more fun playing along with them!
Roll up your sleeves and get ready for an entertaining and educational gem mining experience. Once you’ve discovered some shiny treasure, head over to the fishing pond for some peaceful relaxation. The fishing hole, sitting on one-third of an acre, is stocked with catfish, bream, and bass. Fishing tickets and rental equipment are offered on-site. End your trip at Lilly Pad Village with a competitive game of mountainside mini-golf. The nine-hole mini-golf course takes players through tall trees with sounds from a variety of birds and frogs at the lily pond. The best part about Lilly Pad Village is that your activity ticket lasts all day so you can stay as long as you would like!
Because of its mountainous terrain, hiking is one of the main reasons that travelers add Aska to their must-visit list. The Aska Trails Area consists of a 17-mile trail system where hikers and mountain bikers of all skill levels can explore. This trail system highlights the landscapes of North Georgia by revealing mountain peaks, shorelines of Lake Blue Ridge, and a series of hardwood trees among thickets of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendrons.
A few of our favorite hiking and mountain biking trails include:
The Toccoa River flows parallel to Aska Road and is at the heart of outdoor activities in this idyllic mountain region. The 93-mile-long river journeys through the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Ocoee River Basin and is one of the South’s few north-flowing rivers. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful Toccoa by their choice of tubing, kayaking, rafting, or fishing.
A tubing trip down the Toccoa River is a popular activity that allows visitors a simple way to capture the river’s beauty. Depending on the drop-off site, you can float on your river tube for an hour or close to four hours. The Toccoa Valley Campground, Shallowford Bridge Tubing, and Van Zandt’s each offer tube rentals, life vests, and a shuttle trip.
Rafting and kayaking allow you to embark along the Toccoa River at your own pace. If you’re looking for a route alone or with a guide, both options are available in Aska. Pack a lunch and enjoy cruising along the mountain waters. Kayaks and rafts can be rented at the Jon Ron Toccoa Outfitters.
Fishing in the surrounding Aska areas provides peace and relaxation for all outdoor enthusiasts. Sandy Bottoms is an excellent spot to splash in the swimming hole or catch fish on a hot summer day. Another great fishing location is at the Shallowford Bridge. Underneath the steel one-lane bridge, fishermen (and women) can set up their line and patiently wait for a bite. Private guided trout fishing tours are also available through companies like Cohutta Fishing Company.
The breathtaking scenery and endless adventures are waiting to be explored off Aska. This adventure area is rich in history and wildlife, and it will be a trip that you won’t forget. Hop in the car and Escape to Blue Ridge to explore the Aska Adventure Area!