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.
Spring is in full bloom and this is an ideal time to come visit the North Georgia Mountains! Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy a vibrant downtown, great restaurants, unique shops, rushing waterfalls, a sparkling blue lake, and mountain views that will take your breath away!
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!
May 3 – Slickfoot Band Live May 4 – Southern Vantage Band May 10 – Apollo Band May 11 – Mind the Stepchildren May 17 – Shadow Ape Band May 18 – Topper/Voices of Rock May 24 – Breaking Point Band May 25 – Gregg Erwin May 31 – Rocket Band
Australian and on tour, Achison is a guitar master as well as a song writer. His music has been compared to the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton and JJ Cale. He has a solid foundation in blues while also embracing varied musical styles.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn the art of watercolor painting, now’s the
time. This three-day retreat covers techniques like layering, blending,
accenting and various other aspects of watercolor painting. Crafters at all
levels from beginners to advanced are welcome.
You can’t get a better venue or greater acoustics than right on the
lake. With delicious food and jamming tunes, you’ll love the atmosphere and
entertainment at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina.
May 3 – Shannon York and Rob Harper May 4 – Lindsay Beth Harper May 5 – Buck & Oz Return May 10 – Danny Rhea Live May 11 – Gopher Broke May 18 – David Welch Unplugged May 24 – Gopher Broke
On Friday meet all the biggies – Bigfoot, Avenger, Brutus, Gunslinger and more. Plus you get to meet the guys who drive these monster trucks and eat a bit of barbecue while you’re at it. On Saturday the trucks and their drivers are in full stomp mode. Choose either event or both.
Ellijay is apple country so no wonder an apple festival is a huge springtime
attraction! Artists, crafters, music, entertainment, and children’s activities
will all be there to kick off the spring season! Pet friendly and FREE
It’s a tradition at wineries to help grapes wake up in the spring – it takes more than a nudge, and alarm clocks are worthless with grapes. So, cuttings from cold weather prunings fuel the bonfire and grapevines are perked up by folks drinking wine and listening to live music. It’s a tradition. It’s necessary. And it’s fun!
This will be the 12th annual Taste of Blue Ridge, benefiting the Humane Society of Blue Ridge. More than 30 restaurants from around the Blue Ridge area will participate – plenty to eat, plus live and silent auctions and live music!
Being out your creative side at Mercier’s and create a beautiful painting of an apple tree. The cost is $40/per person and includes a tractor ride up to the pavilion overlooking the orchard, a lunch consisting of a variety of sandwiches, fruits, and desserts, all the art supplies you will need, and a skilled artist to help you! All skill levels are welcome!
Back in Blue Ridge, American Idol winner Kris Allen is ready to rock the mountains in a special live intimate acoustic show in a private cabin! Tickets are seriously limited, so get them as soon as you can!
Rule of thumb – do anything (whether it’s art, a demolition derby or a golf outing) whenever the first two words describing the event are “rusty trucks”. In this case, it’s an art event – so sign up soon and you’ll be painting your very own rusty truck before you know it. The cost is $25 and all art supplies are included plus instruction by Becca.
It’s the swinging 60’s and it was okay to call flight attendants “stewardesses”. Dating practices also were a tad different in those days, like three fiances! Life gets a little bumpy when his lies catch up to him and his friend Robert comes to stay!
Not your usual 5k or 10k – that’s for sure. This Adventure Race features a 24-hour race and an 8-hour race complete with secret locations and a variety of skill sets like trekking, biking, paddling, navigation and orienteering.
An Eggfest is a gathering of Big Green Egg fans and experienced cooks from
all across the country and Canada. The cooks will be showcasing their skills
and talents and will be preparing their specialty recipes all day long!
Travis Tritt and The Cadillac Three will be live in Hiawassee on May 18!
Grab your best boots and sing along to some of your favorite Country songs like
“It’s a great day to be alive”, “Here’s a quarter”,
“T.R.O.U.B.L.E” and “I’m gonna be somebody”!
The 44th Annual Spring Arts in the Park is a Southern tradition in these parts. Enjoy more than 200 arts, crafts and food booths, featuring the best in mountain crafts and fine arts, demonstrations, music and dancing!
Blairsville’s Downtown comes alive Memorial Day Weekend with talented artists, musicians, and food. The weekend begins with a concert at the Old Courthouse Friday evening, a Memorial Day parade at 10am on Saturday, an outdoor concert on the Square Saturday evening and of course the festival! FREE and family-friendly!
New Homes Added to Our Program
Do you dream of a private mountain getaway where you can leave the stresses of daily life behind and relax with family and friends in a magnificent setting? That dream can become a reality at Just Bluffing. This beautifully designed Blue Ridge cabin rental is a tri-level showplace situated on a bluff amid the trees, with a glorious view of the mountains from sunrise to sunset. Secluded and serene but just six miles from the shops and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge and fun activities like apple picking at Mercier’s Orchard, it’s the perfect place for a well-deserved vacation.
Aska Adventure Lodge
The Aska Adventure Lodge is located in the sought after Aska Adventure area and is conveniently located less than five minutes from the quaint town of Blue Ridge, Georgia, the Toccoa River and Lake Blue Ridge. It is close to everything you’d want, but tucked away with all the privacy you’d expect from a mountain vacation retreat. Aska is the Cherokee Native American word for “winter retreat,” however, this cabin is perfect in every season. Hike right from the expansive wraparound porch, up the hill and connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail. Or, take advantage of the many popular area waterfalls and great tubing and canoeing activities.
In Case You Missed It
Dog Friendly Hikes
Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone! While we’d all love to be able to take our dogs with us on every trail we venture down, we can’t always do that. Sometimes the trails are too steep or the terrain is too rough for our four-legged friends to maneuver, or sometimes they simply aren’t allowed in that area because of other critters that may be dangerous for our dogs to encounter. To make things a little easier for you and your furry companion, here’s a list of a few trails around the Blue Ridge area that are sure to bring tons of fun for both and your favorite adventure buddy! Keep Reading.
Just off the holiday season is a perfect time to talk about the best places to get married or propose in 2019. More engagements take place around Christmas and New Year’s than any other time of the year. If you were one of the lucky ones, congratulations! If your New Year resolution was to make an honest man or woman out of your other half, here are a few of our favorite most romantic places in North Georgia.
The Ring is the Thing
Ridge Scenic Railway – Getting on board the marriage track can be as simple
as getting aboard a train. Because of who they are and what they do, the folks
who operate the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway know what it takes to make an
engagement extra special. Yes, it’s been done before, but popping the question
aboard a train – with that lonesome whistle crooning romantically in the
background – is guaranteed to melt a heart – maybe even two.
Bald – Elevation can lead to exhilaration – plus fantastic 360 degree views!
There’s nothing more exciting than anticipation…and the climb up Brasstown Bald,
to the highest point in Georgia, can leave you both breathless. Whether you
choose an engagement here or to
set your wedding among the tall pines, you can’t go wrong in this memorable
Knot Tying Made Memorable
Mercier Orchards – Memorable is
the goal of a destination wedding, and setting your wedding against a backdrop
of apple and peach trees in a rustic farmland is definitely memorable. Mercier Orchards
is a year-round venue for weddings, complete with lovely ponds, old barns, and
apple sheds — a true and genuine setting — and there are plenty of perfect
spots to get down on one knee and ask “will you” or stand up to say “I do”.
Old Toccoa Farm – Old Toccoa Farm is rooted in simplicity, quality and natural beauty. Trout streams boarder the golf course providing a relaxed and casual atmosphere with an emphasis on the outdoors. The farm is what it says it is – agricultural, rural and peaceful – and the perfect place for a simple or formal wedding.
Bear Claw Vineyards – It’s hard to
get much more romantic than a vineyard and winery. After all, all the elements
for a successful event are built in. Vines and wine. What more do you
need? This vineyard and winery was
actually built with romantic visits in mind – a unique treehouse, a wedding
venue, and a delightful tasting room ideal for receptions. The owners
themselves call this a “soothing and relaxing aesthetic” – what better place to
take first steps toward an everlasting life together?
Classic and Classy
Aska Farms – There is a reason why Wedding Wire has consistently identified Aska Farms as a top choice of couples for wedding venues in North Georgia. The majestic mountain background is truly jaw dropping and makes for some amazing pictures. The venue can be low key, or it can be an extravagant and awe-inspiring location! With a house and grounds that sets up ideally for brides (including a bridal party preparation suite) and a groom’s party space that encourages guys to just relax, there’s something for everyone.
At Escape To Blue Ridge, we offer many cabin options that are perfect for out of town guests or for a romantic honeymoon. We hope that regardless of the location that you choose, that love fills your life from the beginning and follows you all through your lives together! Share your happy memories with us and let us see the joy from your happiest days!
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
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.
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. If music is more your style, you can shake your groove thing at both
the Blue Ridge Wine & Jazz
Festival and Blue
Ridge Blues & Barbeque Festival. Blue Ridge festivals are family
friendly, pet friendly, and extraordinarily fun!
Brown trout, rainbow trout, and native
trout are abundant in our freshwater mountain streams. Stop by and see Will
Taylor at the Fly Shop Co. 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.
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!
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.
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
Legend has is 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. Commonly known as staurolite crystals, these
minerals are abundant in Fannin County.
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!
Sometimes it’s challenging to motivate for outdoor fun when it is so chilly outside. However, being active outdoors is a great way to enjoy the mountains in a whole new way. Not only is it less crowded, but there are no bugs to contend with! To make the most of your outdoor adventure and not be cold and uncomfortable, layer your clothing so you don’t wimp out and head back for the cabin. Here are a few inspiring North Georgia cabin rentals to keep you active in and around Blue Ridge.
A River Runs Through It
The Aska Adventure Lodge is located in the much sought after Aska Adventure area. Did you know Aska is the Cherokee Native American word for “winter retreat”? However, this cabin is perfect in every season. The Lodge has three bedrooms and three bathrooms and can easily accommodate ten people with king beds in the two master suits, a queen bed in the guest room, and two futons in the loft and game room.
This retreat is conveniently located less than five minutes from the quaint town of Blue Ridge, Georgia. Nearby access to the Toccoa River and Lake Blue Ridge is easily accessible. Our friend, Dell Neighbors, at Fly Fishing North Georgia would be happy to take you on a guided fly-fishing trip to the area’s many cold-water streams and rivers. When you return from a great day of fishing, you can throw your freshly caught trout on the grill of your expansive deck and reflect on the successes of the day. Cap off your evening by lighting the outdoor fireplace and relax on the deck as the sun sets behind the expansive Blue Ridge Mountains.
A Gallop and a Trot
Vista Ridge is a distinctive Georgia mountain cabin rental that offers the peaceful get away from your everyday life that you are craving. Named for the spectacular view that overlooks the Toccoa River and stretches all the way to Tennessee and North Carolina, this four-bedroom, three bath home is your perfect base camp to explore the Blue Ridge area. To get a better feel for the view, saddle up a horse with our friends at Blanche Manor and go on an adventure through the unspoiled beauty of the mountain wilderness.
After a long day on the trails, soothe your sore muscles in the hot tub and watch the sun set behind the mountains. Back inside, turn on the gas fireplace and snuggle into the leather couches. Before your weekend is over, challenge your partner to a game of pool in the game room and make the looser take you out to a fabulous dinner at Harvest on Main.
Fly Like an Eagle
Eagles Landing is as bold, majestic and unique lodge that is the epitome of rustic elegance. This spacious custom home has seven bedrooms to accommodate nineteen guests. Situated directly on Lake Blue Ridge, this spectacular showplace has incomparable views of the surrounding mountains. The hand-carved spiral staircase spans four floors, from the unique loft down to the terrace level where you will find the “grown-ups’ game room”. There are three decks spanning the length of the home, a hot tub, swings, and a picnic table to enjoy views and privacy that cannot be found anywhere else.
Close by you can channel your inner eagle and zip through 165 acres of beautiful North Georgia mountain property with our friends at Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge. Here, you’ll experience the mountains from the treetops, you’ll zip into the valley, soar over pastures, and cross over Fighting Town Creek. From 75’ in the air you can squeal with delight take off on 6,000 feet of cable, crossing thirteen platforms and three walking bridges.
A Walk in the Woods
It’s impossible to walk in the woods and be in a bad mood at the same time. Fortunately, the mountains are rich with hiking trails to explore and Take a Hike cabin is the perfect home base. Beautifully situated on Mt. Pisgah, this cabin overlooks absolutely fantastic mountain views. It also has three massive decks to enjoy them and from where you’ll be inspired to plan the many and nearby open-air activities that surround you. This home has great sleeping accommodations for up to 7 people and is a perfect set up for two families vacationing together or a good-sized group.
Explore the Cohutta Wilderness just off of your back porch where you can pick from delicious blueberry and blackberry bushes for snacking along your easy hike to a waterfall, cave or to Colonel Magnum’s memorial. A quick ten-minute drive will get you to major hiking trailheads including Dally Gap, Jacks River, Benton Mackaye and Hemptop. Whichever route you choose, you will find peace and tranquility both in the woods and back at the cabin.
A Winery, Why Not
You have a lot of choices in Blue Ridge cabin rentals, but if you’re looking for comfort, privacy, and great views, Wine Down is the perfect vacation destination. This beautifully appointed mountain retreat is the kind of place that invites you to settle in, wind down and relax with a glass of wine, like its name suggests. The cabin’s four roomy bedrooms beckon you with comfort, but the real appeal is outside. Wine Down’s covered outdoor living room on the main deck has a gas grill, table for eight, plenty of seating, and a 60” TV above the wood burning fireplace.
Wine down is located on Aska Road less than four miles from the shopping and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge. A short drive will take you to the nearby winery at Serenberry Vineyards. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a mountain wine tasting. Their Skeenah Red is a perfect Merlot-Cab blend, but if you prefer something sweeter, you should definitely try the Apple-lachian. Fruity and sweet, it’s like a little apple pie in a bottle!
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains you will find the most delightful winery to check out – Bear Claw Vineyards. Owned by Kevin & Michelle Swim, these Atlanta natives moved up to the mountains six years ago for a slower paced life. Little did they know that a whole new adventure was about to begin.
Interestingly enough, the temperate climate and the rich soil quality in the North Georgia Mountains are ideal for grape vines to prosper. So what better idea for the Swim’s than to begin planting a vineyard and prepare to open a tasting room. With the help of family and some close friends, Bear Claw Vineyards was born! Open seven days a week, you can sit back, relax, and drink wine Sunday through Thursday from 12-6pm and Friday & Saturday from 12-8pm.
Kevin heads up the winemaking and boy does he have a talent for producing quality blends. In fact, just recently, five Bear Claw wines were entered into a Georgia Wine competition. Each wine received a medal, and two of them were gold – the Vidal Blanc and Chardonnay (stainless). While these options are fabulous, we highly recommend you try the Dreamcatcher. This Cayuga White is a blend of Schuyler and Seyval Blanc. It is light and refreshing with fruity notes. If red wine is more your style try their Cabernet Sauvignon. As we type this, a new red is about to be bottled out of the barrel, so you will have to come try their new yield.
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. Soon, the kiddos will delight with the addition of gypsy vanner horses. The majestic animals will remind you of Clydesdales with their beauty but are much smaller in size. If you or your littles get hungry while enjoying the winery, light snacks like cheese, crackers, and chocolates are always available to purchase. On Fridays you can check out a food truck that they bring up for your dining pleasure.
Every Saturday and Sunday you can enjoy live music on the patio. Local talents like Chip McCain and Jeannie Caryn will add to your afternoon ambiance. Larger names like the Indigo Girls and the Marty Ray Project have also performed at the vineyard. Coming up on Saturday, October 27th you’ll be in for a real treat with Confederate Railroad. Opening for the CR are Steven Phillips & The Midnight Express and local favorite, the Gregg Erwin Band. Tickets are still available and are only $19!
Weddings & Events
There is not a much more stunning venue than a vineyard wedding. Small or large, Bear Claw can accommodate your weddings, birthdays, and anniversary celebrations. Intimate ceremonies can be held at the winery and elaborate ceremonies can take place at their newest venue – The Club at Bear Claw. Formerly known as the Blue Ridge Swim & Tennis Club, the property consists of a swimming pool, four tennis courts, and a large reception hall. Onsite event planner, Tonya Ross, is available to help you with all of your event coordination.