In the Lap of Luxury



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. 

Photo Courtesy of Trey Griffith, cheftreygourmet

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. 

Photo Courtesy of The Sweet Shoppe of the South

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.

Photo Courtesy of Yoga Over Blue Ridge

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. 

Photo Courtesy of Out of the Blue

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.

Photo Courtesy of Crawford Collections

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.

Photo Courtesy of High Country Art

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.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company

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.

Photo Courtesy of Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill

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.

Photo Courtesy of Wing N It Seaplane Adventures

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!

Photo Courtesy of Cabin Concierge

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.

Your Furkids are Welcome Here



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

Let’s Get Our 20,000 Steps In

Photo Courtesy of @celine_celeste_great_danes

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

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

Shopping is GRRRRReat

Watson greeting customers at Blue Ridge Cotton Company

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

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

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

Drinking out of a bowl, frosted mug or goblet

Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards & Winery

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

This Movie Rates 5 Bones

Photo Courtesy of Kaysi and Grey Darrah

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

French Fries to Fine Dining

Photo Courtesy of The Black Sheep

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

Photo Courtesy of Toccoa Riverside Restaurant

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

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

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

Did someone say walk?

High Class in the High Hills²



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

Outdoor Fun and Entertainment (Including Spirits)

“Wine is the only artwork you can drink” 


Luis Fernando Oliverri
Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

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

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

Mountain High

Photo Courtesy of Wing-N-It Seasplane Tours

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

Par!

Photo Courtesy of Old Toccoa Farm

Is it the trails or the links for your vacation? Old Toccoa Farm , in neighboring Mineral Bluff, GA, is one of the courses that has shaped the golf world in 2019. This 18 hole course is the most attractive and challenging course in the North Georgia Mountains and selected as the 4th Best Golf Course in Georgia by Golf Advisor! The course winds through 125 acres of ridges and meadows, featuring over 280 feet of elevation change with spectacular views of the Chattahoochee and Cherokee National Forests and surrounding valleys. You’ll be more than smitten with the spectacular views, lush fairways and the immaculate condition of the greens and bunkers. Oh, and did we mention we have a cabin rental located between the 6th and 7th holes? Ambleside is a 5-bedroom cabin that looks like the elegant homes in “Southern Living” magazine!

Trail

Photo Courtesy of Appalachian Trail Rides at S&T Stables

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

Epicurean Fantasies Become Reality

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


Ruth Reichl
Photo Courtesy of Treo

When the sign suggests “steaks, seafood and pasta served here”, in a small downtown underground tuck-away, one doesn’t expect too much more than average. Treo is anything but average! Though they say they are casual dining, you might want to dress in something that makes you feel as special as the wait staff is going to treat you. There’s your choice of seating in the main dining room, outside patio, or the old cellar. Even if you don’t choose the cellar, be sure to ask for a tour, for here is where the finest wines and the most amazing bourbons are kept, waiting for the next indulgent guest to order up. A bourbon flight includes a choice of three from a list of 35 of the world’s best bourbons.  Wine flights are four samplings, with a choice from an international wine list you’ll be hard-pressed to find at most five-star restaurants. Sit back and enjoy your flights with a charcuterie and artisan cheese board while you contemplate your next move. Will it be the Lobster Mac and Cheese?

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

Concierge Services at Your Fingertips

Part of our amazing Escape to Blue Ridge team

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

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

Football & Festivals



It’s nice that the Super Bowl starts the month of February off with a reason to get out, get away, get inspired, and get involved in all the wonderful things going on in Blue Ridge mid-winter. There’s no telling what the weather may bring. Temperatures are known to surprise us with mid-60s in January, to a more typical mid-40s during the day and chillier as the sun sets in the evening. It’s part of the fun of a Blue Ridge escape! Be assured, however, that festivals like Fire and Ice, dynamic live music in various venues, and a hot new film festival making its Blue Ridge debut, will keep you warm, or guarantee that you’re cool (as in groovy), all month long!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Wine About Winter
February 1 – 3
LOCATION: Multiple Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Pick Ellijay

Head to Ellijay for their Wine about Winter weekend event. Enjoy fun Groundhog games and events at Chateau Meichtry, Cartecay Vineyards, Engelheim Vineyards, Fainting Goat Vineyards & Sharp Mountain Vineyards.

Coloring and Smoothies!
February 1
LOCATION: Blend Superfood Cafe

Photo Courtesy of Blend

A new café in town, completely organic and delicious, also hosts a fun time for kids of all ages. Coloring! A lost art, right? And this time you don’t even have to stay inside the lines! Let your free spirit soar! Then turn to your healthy blend of fruits and veggies in a glass and take a sip of sunshine. The event is appropriate for young children (ages 2-5), but is open to older children and even adults. You’re never too old to color.

Alice In Wonderland
February 1 – 9
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater

Follow Alice through the rabbit hole and into Wonderland in this beautiful staging of the famous novel by Lewis Carroll. Filled with all of the beloved characters you cherish, like the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Queen of Hearts and many more, the youth of the Blue Ridge Community Theater have prepared an outstanding show for you!

Music & Hops
February 1 – 29
LOCATION: Misty Mountain Hops

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Hops

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

February 1 – The Orange Walls
February 7 – Travis Bowlin
February 8 – Dr. Paul Constantine
February 14 – Quinn Leach
February 15 – Lindsay Beth Harper
February 21 – Jess Goggins
February 22 – Daisy Chain
February 28 – Travis Bowlin
February 29 – Gabe Myers

Music at The Blue Coyote
February 1 – 29
LOCATION: The Blue Coyote

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Coyote

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

February 1 – Slickfoot
February 8 – Gregg Erwin
February 14 – Topper
February 15 – Breaking Point
February 21 – Mind the Step Children
February 22 – Donnie Hammonds Band
February 28 – Rick Stone & The Band of Brothers
February 29 – Disciples of Sound

Grumpy Old Men Brewing
February 7 – 28
LOCATION: Grumpy Old Men Brewing

Photo Courtesy of Grumpy Old Men

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!

February 7 – Dr. Paul
February 15 – Gerry Herndon
February 21 – Gregg Erwin
February 28 – High Beams Music

10th Annual Blue Ridge Fire and Ice Cook Off Festival
February 15
LOCATION: Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of the Fire & Ice Festival

This popular annual event will happen between 11am to 5pm come rain, shine or snow! Mark your calendars for live music, ice sculptures and amazing chili! Buy a $10 Tasting Card to sample the competition and vote for the People’s Choice Award. Featuring Live Music and entertainment from the Blue Ridge Community Theater actors. Check out the amazing displays of individual and unique ice sculptures from the award-winning National Ice Carving Champion “Rock on Ice” including several ice carving demonstrations.

Amazing Alcohol Inks: Paint on Silk or Acrylic Art Pouring: Express Yourself
February 22
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Even those of us who don’t consider art as a strength can appreciate art classes that encourage that you come “come dressed for a messy, fun time”. That’s our kind of art! Acrylic Art Pouring is an exciting, yet relaxing form of intuitive art with infinite outcomes. Alcohol inks is a form of art that involves art you can wear, when all is said and done. Inks are being applied to a silk scarf and you select the colors, apply the ink and set the colors. No experience necessary and all supplies are provided.

Loose Shoes Duo
February 22
LOCATION: Bin 322

Photo Courtesy of Bin 322

Unique and different is fine, but there’s something comfortable about hearing songs you know. The Loose Shoes Duo, comprised of Ric and Pam Cushenan, have their complement of original songs, but their bread and butter is songs along familiar genres that include The Beatles, Cheryl Crow, Bob Seger, Eric Clapton, The Eagles, Janis Joplin and others. It’s easy to tap your feet when you know the beat. And it’s especially fun, when the backdrop is the elegant environment of the Bin 322 Wine and Tapas Bar.

Bringing the Blues to Blue Ridge
February 22
LOCATION: Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Snack in a Backpack

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

Joe Gransden, Jazz Trumpetist and Vocalist
February 22
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

Photo Courtesy of joegransden.com

Let it be known far and wide, trumpeted, if you will, that Joe Gransden plays a mean horn. His vocals have been compared to Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra and even Clint Eastwood. Yes, THAT Clint Eastwood. He says “Joe is a young man with an old soul and a classic voice.”

Youth Art Month
February 27 – March 26
LOCATION: The Art Center – Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

It’s a leap year, so we get an extra day of Youth Art Month this year, starting in February. This is a nationally celebrated event, supporting young and talented emerging artists, who display their artwork inside the Richard Low Evans Gallery. The theme this year is “Take a Journey Through Art” and there’s sure to be images of places seen and places you want to see. Opening reception is February 27.

Blue Ridge Film Festival
February 21 – March 1
LOCATION: Swan Drive-In, Blue Ridge Community Theater, Blue Ridge Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Film Festival

Talk about a great place for a film festival! What better than a community with one of the few remaining classic outdoor movie drive-ins! Perfect! And this first time out, the Blue Ridge Film Festival will take advantage, showing independent films at a variety of locations, including the Swan Drive-In, weather permitting. The film festival will include events and workshops throughout and entries will be judged and prizes awarded.

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. It’s the perfect setting in which to relax, unwind and detach from the stresses of daily life in the company of family and friends.

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!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

365 opportunities await you to get out and explore the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Here are a few of our favorite ideas to enjoy your 2020 Escape to Blue Ridge!

Top 20 Things to Do In Blue Ridge for 2020

Hello 2020!



We made it! Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve festivities. Now it’s time to make good on those New Year’s resolutions, cut back on the carbs, observe that old adage “everything in moderation”, right? Live within our means…. Naw! Welcome to the excitement of a Brand. New. Decade!

Now’s the time to take a winter hike, enjoy hot beverages beside a roaring fire, take in some live music, go ice skating, drink wine, maybe even commit to a craft. Last time these times were called the “Roaring 20s” — who knows what awaits us this time around in 2020!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Travis Bowlin Returns to Misty Mountain Hops
January 3
LOCATION: Misty Mountain Hops

Photo Courtesy of Travis Bowlin

Here come the 2020 concerts. Right out of the gate. No pause to reflect. Travis Bowlin’s play ranges from Motown to Southern Gospel to straight-on Rock & Roll. His energy and his stories of heartache and happiness will help to define the New Year for you.

Loose Shoes Duo
January 4
LOCATION: Bin 322

Photo Courtesy of Loose Shoes Duo

It’s two perfect duos, actually. The pairing of Ric Cushenan and his (now wife) Pam and their music paired with Blue Ridge’s newest wine and tapas bar, located in front of Blue Ridge Station on West Main Street. If you like contemporary pop, mixed with original songs, this two-person band is perfect for you!

Just Roxie
January 18
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater

What better way to kick off the new year than with a concert that re-energizes, renews and invigorates. This one will. Just Roxie is a three-woman band, whose music speaks to the soul. An intimate setting, music with passion and energy, it’s a pretty good recipe for a really nice evening!

Paint a Winter Landscape
January 25
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Even if we don’t have a winter landscape by January 25, you can make one up. And if we do, just paint what you see. You’ll get guidance step by step, so you don’t end up with that classic polar bear-in-a-snowstorm image on an off-white canvas. The class doesn’t require previous painting or drawing experience, just a desire to learn.

Winter is a Great Time for a Hike
Anytime
Location: All around Blue Ridge

The great thing about leaves being off trees in the winter is that it opens up some pretty spectacular views, which makes for a wonderful time of year to take a hike, long or short, easy, moderate or difficult. Some of the best hiking trails around include the 6-mile Flat Creek Loop (easy); the 6.1-mile Blood Mountain and Freeman Loop Trail (hard); the 4.80-mile Raven Cliff Falls Trail (moderate) and the 3.20 Benton Falls Trail (easy).

A Great Time of Year to Discover Waterfalls
All Year Long
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Area

Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend (Jan. 18 – 20) is a great time to discover and enjoy the dozens of waterfalls in this area! The hikes to waterfalls are usually pretty easy – and sometimes you can even drive to them, as with Amicalola Falls, the tallest cascading waterfalls on the East Coast. You can enjoy Amicalola from the top of the falls or from the bottom. Several waterfalls are located inside regional or state parks, and the trails are maintained by trained guides or rangers. Desoto Falls, near Blairsville, features two waterfalls within a couple hundred yards of each other, both with well-maintained viewing stands.

Winter Wineries
January and Beyond
LOCATION: Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Blairsville and Dahlonega

Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

Wine trails are prepared or random as you prefer. You can wait for the Georgia Wine Producers’ Wine Trail package in the spring – or you can pull up a map and make up your own. A couple dozen wineries, cideries and even a meadery or two, are in the North Georgia region. This is a blossoming winery area these days and it’s even getting to be known as “the Napa of the South”. The wines are exceptional, and the ambiance at vineyards and wineries is welcoming, with live music some days, great views, and even an alpaca or donkeys at one or two. Discover North Georgia wineries, cideries and meaderies!

SAVE THE DATE

This is going to be a 2020 to remember in Blue Ridge and we don’t want you to miss a thing! Along with great shopping, dining, and an abundance of outdoor activities, there are tremendous festivals and events that make a perfect reason for you to Escape to Blue Ridge!

10th Annual Fire & Ice Festival
February 15
LOCATION: Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

This popular annual event will happen between 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM come rain, shine or snow! Mark your calendars for live music, ice sculptures and amazing chili! Buy a $10 Tasting Card to sample the competition and vote for the People’s Choice Award. Featuring Live Music and entertainment from the Blue Ridge Community Theater actors. Check out the amazing displays of individual and unique ice sculptures from the award-winning National Ice Carving Champion “Rock on Ice” including several ice carving demonstrations.

NEW HOME ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM

Imagine waking up in the morning and opening your eyes to the most magnificent mountain view you’ve ever seen, right from your bed. That fantasy is a reality at My Mountain Lookout. Perched high on a hillside, this gorgeous property is situated to maximize that view on every level, inside and out. The tri-level cabin is bright, warm, and welcoming, with enormous windows to showcase the view. Rich woods, updated décor with comfortable new furniture and bedding, and a mountain wildlife theme make it extra cozy. My Mountain Lookout will give you a vacation experience full of magical sunrises, glorious sunsets, family time you’ll treasure forever!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

6 CHARMING CABINS FOR TWO

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

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

TOP 20 THINGS TO DO IN BLUE RIDGE FOR 2020



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

1. EAT BLACK-EYED PEAS & COLLARD GREENS

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

2. WALK THE LINE

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

3. HIT THE LINKS

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

4. ENJOY LIFE ON THE LAKE

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

5. SADDLE UP & RIDE

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

6. TAKE IN A FESTIVAL OR 5

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

7. FLY FISH IN THE TROUT CAPITAL OF GEORGIA

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

8. WALK IN THE WOODS

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

9. GET IN THE “SPIRIT”

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

10. HUNT FOR BIG FOOT

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

11. SWING INTO THE NEW YEAR

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

12. CHASE WATERFALLS

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

13. CHOO CHOO

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

14. DRIVE IN

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

15. FAIRY CROSS & TRAIL TREES

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

16. HIT THE RAPIDS

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

17. RELAX

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

18. TAKE IN A SHOW

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

19. SCENIC DRIVES

Mother Nature’s landscape specialist (shall we call her Flora?) takes a particular interest in altering our mountainscape on a quarterly basis, cloaking it in very different hues, depths of foliage, and fragrances. Drive the 41 miles of Georgia’s only national scenic drive, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway as it circles around the Chattahoochee National Forest.

20. BOOK AN ESCAPE TO BLUE RIDGE

Eagles Landing

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

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

A Blue Ridge Holiday



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

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

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

Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

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

Colonial Christmas
December 1 – 31
LOCATION: Inola Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of INOLA Blue Ridge

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

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

Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Google images

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Hops

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

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

December 27 – Steve Baskin
December 28 – Travis Bowlin

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

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Coyote

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge First Baptist

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

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

Photo Courtesy of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Ringers

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

Kiwanis Christmas Parade
December 7
LOCATION: Downtown McCaysville/Copperhill

Photo Courtesy of Copperhill Kiwanis

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

Cartecay Vineyards
December 7 – 31
LOCATION: Cartecay Vineyards

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

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

Christmas Tour of Homes
December 8
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Area

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Chateau Meichtry

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

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

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater

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

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

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

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

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

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

NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM

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

In real estate location is everything, and you won’t find a better one than this wooded waterfront property on Lake Blue Ridge, with spectacular lake and mountain views, the best dock on the lake, and proximity to downtown and all the vacation activities you crave. Lodge on the Lake is perfectly situated on the very desirable Horse Pointe Road just four miles from Blue Ridge’s shops and restaurants and custom designed, built and decorated and with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the view, Lodge on the Lake truly has the wow factor!

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

In Case You Missed It

Move Over Napa, Georgia Is For Wine Lovers!


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

Move over Napa, Georgia is for Wine Lovers!



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

1st Place Winners

Photo Courtesy of Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery

Surprisingly enough, it turns out North Georgia wines also are winning quality competitions in California’s very own backyard which is causing quite the “Bottleshock” to all the more seasoned western vineyards. So quality-wise, the wine is not a concern. Which makes another good reason to stay close to home!

Country Drive

Starting in Blue Ridge, it doesn’t take long to feel like you’re in wine country. Within an hour’s drive you might swear you just caught a glimpse of Tuscany, or around the corner there’s what looks like Oregon, California, or Upstate New York. North Georgia looks like a lot of other states in the beauty department. That’s why Hollywood likes Georgia, and especially North Georgia, so much. It could look like the Midwest, inland Oregon, or maybe even New England.

Photo Courtesy of Kaya Vineyards

For wine production purposes in these parts, the secret lies in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, which provide ideal weather, geography and geology for successful vinifera grape growing due to its long springs, hot, dry summers, and elevations between 1,300 – 1,800 feet.

It’s All About The Grapes

Photo Courtesy of House of Wine

The trail of six farm wineries that lead from Dahlonega north and east into White County and Helen is a great example of how terrain changes dictate grape production and variety of purpose. Designated as the “Dahlonega Plateau”, an AVA (American Viticultural Area), on July 20, 2018, the area encompasses 133 square miles with the same climate, soil, elevation and physical features creating conditions that are ideal for growing grape varietals such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot.

Passport to Wine

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

The Wine Highway

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery is tucked in the hills just 45 minutes from Blue Ridge and a five-minute drive from downtown Dahlonega. Wolf Mountain is elegant, with spectacular views, the perfect wedding and event venue, but also the ideal place for Sunday brunch, or fun gatherings with friends. A lot of the North Georgia wineries multi-task that way.


Photo Courtesy of Melissa Prosser Photography

Montaluce Winery and Restaurant, with its elegant, ivy-covered walls, and its porches with views to the vineyard, conjures up images of Italy, but is also the site of bike races that have featured the likes of Lance Armstrong and Georgia Hincapie. This breathtaking destination offers a spectacular brunch on Sunday and lunch and dinner Monday through Sunday.

Kaya Vineyard & Winery, in White County, makes the best of the perfect perch, with 360 degree views of Blue Ridge scenery. Wines produced from Kaya’s vines have received over fifty awards and most recently, the vineyard was recognized for producing grapes for one of the “Top 50 Wines of the Year” reviewed by the Wine Report.

Photo Courtesy of The Cottage Vineyard & Winery

The Cottage Vineyard & Winery, one of the earliest Georgia farm wineries on the scene, founded in the late 1990s, actually has church services on Sunday mornings, with inspiring views of the vineyard. Paying homage to all military men and women is a North Georgia Honor Wall that features the 5 service flags of the US Armed Forces: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corp., and Navy as well as the POW and U.S. Flags.

The wineries of all three – Dahlonega, White County and Gilmer make for a pleasant mix of wine trail possibilities – from upscale to downhome; and from farm to fancy. At Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery you can even pet donkeys and alpacas. It’s a local favorite, especially on Friday nights, and live music is always a draw, as it is at most wineries on the weekends.

You’d guess by the name, that Three Sisters Vineyards was a family winery started by siblings – good guess, but wrong. It is indeed a family winery, but the name refers to the three Blue Ridge Mountain ridges that form the perfect backdrop for wedding and special events.

Photo Courtesy of Frogtown Wine

Frogtown Wine, a perennial winner of prestigious national and international wine competitions, offers dramatic 50-mile views, but the ambiance is decidedly California casual, especially the bright white main lodge with  deck seating. There are 23,000 grape vines in Frogtown’s North Georgia vineyards capable of producing up to 180 tons of premium wine grapes each year. This tonnage equates to over ten thousand cases of Estate grown wine per year!

The Foothills

Photo Courtesy of Chateau Meichtry

On the Ellijay side of Blue Ridge, Fainting Goat Vineyards (yes, they actually have fainting goats), and Cartecay Vineyards, with its distinctive fireplace and iconic chimney, both make for fine outdoor enjoyment most times during the year. Chateau Meichtry specializes in combining wine tasting with learning a lot about the wines, and the entire process of wine production. All three feature live music most weekends.

Local Favs

Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

Right here in Blue Ridge we are lucky to have two great wineries: Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards. Bear Claw Vineyards is welcoming for every member of the family, both two legged and four. Well behaved pets are welcome and there are plenty of games to keep the kids busy while you catch up with your friends and family while you sip their delicious wines. At Serenberry, you are invited to savor the day by relaxing in a beautiful mountain setting while tasting delicious wines!

So, who needs Napa? With the broad variety of wines, and the expanse of experiences, plus the proximity and easy scenic drives (be sure to stop along the way at Amicalola Falls, the highest cascading waterfall on the East Coast), or at charming farmers markets, orchards and food stands – that is indeed the question.

Fall for Blue Ridge



As the season changes from summer to fall, make sure you don’t miss out on the crisp weather, changing leaves and fun fall festivals in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia! Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year so don’t miss your chance to create memorable traditions with your loved ones! Check out the events below and Escape To Blue Ridge!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Habitat for Humanity Wine and Dine at Blue Jeans Pizza and Pasta
October 1
LOCATION: Blue Jeans Pizza and Pasta

Photo Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Fannin & Gilmer Counties

There’s nothing better than excellent wine and food, unless it’s consuming both for a good cause. Enjoy wine pairings with a selection of salmon, chicken cordon bleu, lamb chops, or lasagna with all proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Gilmer and Fannin County. Live entertainment and a silent auction round out the event.

Firefly Summer Jazz Concert – Nate Najar & Daniela Soledade
October 3
LOCATION: Undisclosed Location

Photo Courtesy of Firefly Summer Jazz Concert Series

House concerts are an old concept made new, and they are growing in popularity. It’s a new/old way of helping to sustain music arts in a radically changing music industry landscape. For the audience it provides exceptional acoustics in an intimate environment, where you can meet neighbors and new friends, and get to know the performers personally. Najar and Soledade are accomplished jazz and acoustical guitar performers with an international following.

Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall
October 3 – 7
LOCATION: Behind Fannin County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo Courtesy of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall

For those who haven’t had a chance to visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, the traveling version provides a scaled version of the same thing, and it brings it to your hometown. In October it’s coming to Blue Ridge. The display, a 3/5 scale, stands as a reminder of the sacrifices made during the Vietnam War. The Wall travels to help heal the emotional wounds of that war, and to rekindle friendships of that era.

Grumpy Old Men Brewing
October 4 – 25
LOCATION: Grumpy Old Men Brewing

Photo Courtesy of Grumpy Old Men Brewing

Visit Grumpy Old Men Brewing for great live music and delicious beer! Eighteen beers are currently on tap, and new brews are added frequently! Open Tuesday through Saturday. Dogs are welcome and people are tolerated!

October 4 – Mike Bohnam
October 6 – Barktoberfest
October 18 – Steve Baskin
October 25 – Greg Erwin

Music at The Blue Coyote
October 4 – 26
LOCATION: The Blue Coyote

Photo Courtesy of The Blue Coyote

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

October 4 – Natti Lovejoys
October 5 – Slickfoot
October 11 – Southern Vantage
October 12 – Breaking Point
October 18 – BEATS Workin’
October 19 – Mind the Stepchildren
October 25 – Fiction
October 26 – Gregg Erwin Band

Namaste and Cabernet
October 5
LOCATION: Bear Claw Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Yoga Over Blue Ridge

Here’s your monthly opportunity to drink wine with no guilt. A yoga workout – then drink wine. Easy. The guided yoga lasts about an hour – the wine tasting and wine drinking has no set time parameters. Enjoy!

Georgia Marble Festival
October 5 – 6
LOCATION: Jasper, GA

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Marble Festival

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

John C. Campbell Fall Festival
October 5 – 6
LOCATION: John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC

Photo Courtesy of John C. Campbell Folk School

One of the best ways to enjoy fall is with others who enjoy it just as much as you do! You can do that at the John C. Campbell Fall festival, in the company of a couple hundred of your closest, new friends, and among nearly 300 art and crafts vendors from throughout the region. Traditional and contemporary crafts; bluegrass, gospel, folk, and Celtic music on both days. Tap your toes to clogging demonstrations or just listen to the music. It all takes place on the Brasstown, NC campus, home to hiking trails, and winding wooded paths.

Woof and then Woof again!
October 5 – 6
LOCATION:
Pours for Pups (Willowcreek Falls and Vineyard) & Barktoberfest (Grumpy Old Men Brewing)

Photo Courtesy of Humane Society of Blue Ridge

Two separate events, two separate places, on two different days – both benefiting local pet rescues. The first, a football party at a vineyard, with raffles, live music and football on large screens, will take place October 5 (Pours for Pups benefits Tri-State Pet Rescue). The second, innovatively called “Barktoberfest” on October 6, also will feature live music, a silent auction and raffles, to benefit the Humane Society of Blue Ridge. Not surprisingly, Grumpy Old Men Brewing is dog-friendly.

Southern Appalachian Artists Guild (SAAG) Juried Art Show
October 5 – 9
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Art Association, Downtown Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (The Art Center)‎

Artists from a large number of states, and perhaps even a few foreign countries, will compete for cash prizes in this 12th annual juried art show. The entries, including show winners, will be on display in the Arts Center in Downtown Blue Ridge from October 5th – 9th. Opening reception is October 5th from 5pm – 7pm.

Paradise Hills Vineyard and Winery
October 5 – 26
LOCATION: Paradise Hills, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of Paradise Hills

Paradise Hills is a boutique farm with vineyards, featuring handcrafted wines, live music on weekends, and a charming, laid-back tasting room.

October 5 – Scott Stambaugh
October 12 – Troy Underwood
October 19 – Dr. Paul
October 26 – Curtis Jones

Cartecay Vineyards
October 5 – 27
LOCATION: Cartecay Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Cartecay Vineyards

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

October 5 – Craig Hendricks
October 6 – Scott Stambaugh
October 12 – Timothy O’Donovan
October 13 – Man Bites Dog
October 19 – Gregg Erwin
October 20 – Adrian Stover
October 20 – Surrender Hill
October 26 – Adrian Stover
October 27 – Johnny Summers

Cherry Log Fall Festival
October 6 – 20
LOCATION: Cherry Log Community Club House

Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

What’s even more fun than a town called Cherry Log? Why, a festival in a town called Cherry Log, of course! And this one goes on for three straight weekends in October! Homemade everything (cakes, pies, canned goods, crafts, breakfast, lunch, etc.) and some good old fashioned bluegrass, gospel and country music. Festival hours are 9am – 5pm each weekend day.

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
October 11 – 19
LOCATION: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, Hiawassee

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

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

Blue Ridge Ultra Marathon Race
October 12
LOCATION: Chattahoochee National Forest

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Adventure Race

Anytime there’s an adjective in front of a race, you should pay attention. It’s usually a pretty clear indicator that there’s going to be something different, challenging, or outrageous about this race. In the case of the Blue Ridge Ultra Race, the Ultra means a 50 mile running race, including six miles of hidden trails and nine miles of Forest Service road, with creek crossings, steep ascents, even steeper descents, jumping over logs and sometimes quite, as they say, “technical” spots throughout this 50 mile race. Needless to say, this race challenges the most expert racer, but 50 miles is not required; there are also 30 and 15 mile options over the same terrain. Whew!

Blue Ridge Marching Band Festival
October 12
LOCATION: Fannin County High School Football Field


Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

More than two dozen bands will compete, with bands ranging in size from 40 members to more than 150 members, for regional honors.

Fall Arts in the Park Festival
October 12 – 13
LOCATION: Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (The Art Center)‎

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

Sorghum Festival
October 12 – 13; 19 – 20
LOCATION: Meeks Park, Blairsville

Photo Courtesy of Blairsville Sorghum Festival

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

Georgia Apple Festival
October 12 – 13; 19 – 20
LOCATION: Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Apple Festival

For 46 years, apples have brought folks together in Ellijay, East Ellijay and Gilmer County. These days, people come from all over for the apples, the parade, the antique car show, the arts and crafts, and almost everything you can imagine (or eat) made from apples!

Heritage Days Festival
October 19 – 20
LOCATION: Talking Rock, GA

Photo Courtesy of Talking Rock Heritage Days Festival

Spoiler alert: the rock doesn’t actually talk! But this is a cute event in a charming town with everything you’d expect of North Georgia autumn beauty in small town America. Antiques, bluegrass and Southern gospel music, and plenty of food.

NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM

Like the private treehouse retreat you loved as a kid but a thousand times more spectacular, Little Bird Landing is a hillside oasis that elevates the idea of living in the woods to a whole new level. With a wraparound deck, soaring vaulted ceilings and enormous windows that showcase the magnificent long-range mountain views from every angle, this rustic yet modern showplace has everything you desire in a Blue Ridge vacation hideaway. The cabin can accommodate eight guests in its three comfortable bedrooms plus a queen-size pullout sofa in the game room. Whether you’re planning a family vacation, a couples’ weekend, or a getaway with your best friends, Little Bird Landing offers you fun, peace and quiet, and all the comforts of an exclusive resort in a breathtaking mountain setting.

Located on a mountaintop in Morganton, GA, and named for the deer you’re likely to see nearby, the custom-built, beautifully designed and decorated cabin has wraparound decks that showcase long-range mountain views from sunrise to sunset. Deer Haven Hideaway has three comfortable bedrooms, one per floor and featuring hand-carved queen beds, and luxurious bedding designed to create a cozy, warm, and inviting setting. Each has access to the covered decks through French Doors. At this magnificent mountain oasis, it’s all about relaxation, with an ambiance that encourages you to exhale, unwind, and de-stress while enjoying time with family and friends.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Photo Courtesy of Old Toccoa Farm

THE ART OF FINE GOLF

Just as with restaurants, we all have a wide variety of choices in the world of golf experiences. In North Georgia, you can easily find a golf course to suit your basic needs, then spend a couple of hours chasing the small ball, in high traffic, over unremarkable terrain, or you can be more discerning and decide to play a more sophisticated and truly exceptional track. When you Escape to Blue Ridge, you have many choices within a short driving distance from you cabin. Let’s take a look at a few great options. Keep Reading.

Shining the Spotlight on Mercier Orchards



Farmers in the state of Georgia produce more than 26 million pounds of apples annually with nearly all the orchards concentrated in the North Georgia Mountains. Distinguishing oneself from the other apple orchards might be a large task for some. But Adele Mercier was never easily daunted by the business challenges of competition presented to her and her husband Bill and their 27-acre family orchard they started together in 1943. She had big plans for this little orchard in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Little did she know that it would take her to the dawn of the next century to execute her plan.

In 1999, Adele presented her vision for the Mercier Orchards to the regional tourism association. She shared with them her dream that Mercier’s was going to become an international tourist attraction, right along with her friends from the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway who had just started running scenic excursions to McCaysville and back. That afternoon, the tourism professionals chuckled at the naiveté of this eighty-year-old with such outlandish pipe dreams. Over the past two decades since, many of those in attendance that day have eaten their fair share of humble pie (or maybe apple fried pies?).

Mercier Orchards has grown ten times its original size, with 300 acres of apples, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. The farm market that once boasted just bins of apples from July till December is now open seven days a week from 7 am till 6 pm, 361 days a year.  The Market Store has enlarged to several thousand square feet with outstanding food products, fresh, frozen and canned, with the majority locally sourced. If you are planning on preparing meals during your cabin stay with us, you must visit Merciers. Don’t bother with a shopping list. Every item will take you on a new culinary journey.

The Market has also grown to include a bakery boasting several varieties of fried pies, as well as apple cider donuts, and a large variety of bread, cookies and many other delectable baked goods.  The bakery also supplies the recently enlarged Market Café (open 7am-6pm daily) with award-winning biscuits, bread and rolls served at breakfast each day till 11 am. Breakfast buffet on Saturdays and Sundays is a great place to gather with family and friends, with buffet hours extended to noon.  After a morning in the orchards, picking your own fruit, lunch at the Market is the best place to hydrate, chill and nourish.

Yes, part of Adele’s dream was to bring multi-generational families in to enjoy the seasonal harvests of the orchards. Adults of all ages will enjoy the memories of their childhood days while picking apples, and the children will enjoy every moment, from the wagon ride out to the u-pick them area to delighting as they fill their buckets with berries, peaches or over 30 varieties of apples. U-Pick is subject to availability and the weather. For current picking dates, click here.

Maybe choosing your fruit at the Market is more to your liking than picking your own in the field. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the Orchard experience. From 10 am till 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, indulge yourself with a $5 tractor ride and tour of the 300-acre orchard. The Mercier family loves to share all there is to see and know about their orchard with their guests.

The fruits of the orchard are best enjoyed fresh, but for some, pressed and fermented fruit has as much allure. Mercier’s knows this first hand and would like to invite you to their Tasting Room at the Market. A variety of delicious hard ciders and wines, made with all “Georgia Grown” fruits can be sampled and purchased. “We are currently the only apple orchard in Georgia that can say they grow, press, ferment, and bottle their own product.” avowals their website.

As for Adele’s vision? Late last November, this writer visited the orchard with a friend to purchase a couple of bags of apples. It was late on a Sunday afternoon, three weeks past the high volume tourist season and we expected to be able to run in and out with our fruit purchase. We found the enormous parking lot to be nearly full. Walking into the Market, we discovered every cash register manned and customers were five plus deep waiting in those lines. My friend and I counted six different languages being spoken around us while we patiently waited our turn to pay for our purchases.

Adele Mercier passed away in 2013, leaving her internationally known Market in the very capable hands of second, third and fourth generations of the Mercier Family. They strive to bring to every visitor an experience that they will soon not forget. To learn more about Mercier Orchards and to see their event calendar, visit them at www.mercier-orchards.com.