High Class in the High Hills



Even though you love the fresh air, starlit nights, breathtaking scenery and u-pick-em apples, like many luxury vacationers, you can only imagine visiting the mountains of North Georgia for no more than a long weekend.  The idea of dining out on cornbread, fried okra, country ham and banana pudding more than once doesn’t appeal at all to your taste buds. You most likely see the shopping opportunities limited to a multitude of fudge emporiums and tourist trap museum shops that sell brown bears painted on black velvet and handmade Davy Crockett raccoon caps in adult sizes. You envision a cabin shared with three blind mice and one badly chipped Teflon pan to cook the trout you caught with a bamboo pole at a stocked trout pond the size of your kid’s wading pool. All this while foreseeing the issues with trying to keep contact with the office all week without state of the art cellular service and high-speed internet. It’s enough to send you packing the suntan lotion and heading for a week or more to your favorite pampering luxury beach resort once again. 

STOP! You have been misled by the media that overexposes Bavarian town wannabees, the virtues of “meat and three dining” and the Bob Ross painting shows you watch on the nights when your Ambien isn’t working. We’re here to tell you that luxury abounds in the high hills. Allow us to elaborate.

Accommodations

Bear Claw Cabin

With each of our over 200 rentals, we strive for the Escape to Blue Ridge difference. This includes complimentary concierge services to help you plan the perfect vacation. With every rental home we provide hotel-style linens with spa-quality bath towels for each guest and exquisite bath soaps and shampoos from William Roam

You will appreciate the convenience of our keyless entry system and express check-in for all arrivals. And just to get your visit to the Mountains started, our exclusive Escape to Blue Ridge welcome basket is waiting for you when you arrive at your rental. 

We know that you’ve come to escape to the mountains, but sometimes we still need to be connected to the world and to assure you that connection, high-speed internet is also included with every one of our homes.

Let’s Get Pampered

There are many opportunities to have that spa experience you are used to at the elegant resorts. You can relax, restore and renew with an incredible hour in the Himilayan Salt Caves at Serenity In the Mountains Spa.  The Couple’s massage in the Salt Cave is worthy of your consideration. There’s also the magical experience of getting a massage in one of their exquisitely decorated treehouses at the top of the Serenity In The Mountains grounds. 

TeaTrees Boutique Spa in Downtown Blue Ridge caters to a more individualized approach to your spa and massage needs. And though we highly recommend a visit to their boutique, if you would like to stay in, enjoying your rental cabin while being pampered by professionals, TeaTree’s therapists are available to make cabin calls so you can relax in the privacy of your elegant cabin while enjoying the beautiful mountain views.

Indulgent  Adventure

Photo Courtesy of Outback Guide Service

If you are in anticipation of hiking the trails, visiting the area’s many spectacular waterfalls or finding the most impressive views for your photography you can peruse the many brochures and maps available at Blue Ridge’s Visitor’s Center to help you on your way.  Or you can also contact Outback Guide Service to have a personized itinerary with a private guide and even transportation on those point to point hikes. Outback Guide Services designs your hike based on your time, interests, skillset and from easy to challenging trips. Besides vista and hike tours, they also will create tours of waterfalls, historic trails and tours, and even photo safaris. Your experienced tour guide and naturalist is a life long resident of the area and well versed in North Georgia’s wildlife, birds, flowers, geology, local history, and so much more.

Photo Courtesy of Noontootla Creek Farm

If the sportsman in you needs to be released, then there is no one better to enlist than the folks at Noontootla Creek Farms to give you the optimal mountain hunting and fishing adventure. There’s no need to schlep all your gear, for this Blue Ridge 1,000 acre sportsman’s paradise has everything you need.  Noontootla Creek Farms (NCF) offers guided fly fishing on the most picturesque private trophy trout waters in North Georgia. Because of the cooler temperatures on the side of the mountains, there’s usually good trout fishing at NCF year-round.  Rainbow and Brown trout fishing has catches averaging 20 inches but often upwards of 30 inches. If you would like to bird hunt, then join your guide and their Brittanny or Setter and head out to capture Bob White Quail and Red- Neck Pheasant with wing shooting season open from November 1st until the last day of March. NCF also boasts a challenging 12 station clay shooting course, complete with golf carts.

By Land or By Sea

Photo Courtesy of Visit Blue Ridge

Visitors year-round enjoy the many recreational opportunities around the 3,290 acres of the crystal blue waters of Lake Blue Ridge. Capt’n Joe’s Lake Adventures offers private charters to guests looking to fish, swim or just enjoy an evening cruise. Their motto is to “relax, enjoy, and be happy”, which is much easier to do when you have Captian Joe at the helm.  Private charters are an amazing way to experience Lake Blue Ridge in style.

Photo Courtesy of Pedego Electric Bikes Blue Ridge

If you would enjoy a more modern touring land vessel,  then renting a Segway or a Pedego electric bike might be just the escapade you’ve been looking for and more. Pedego Bike Shop in downtown Blue Ridge offers electric bike tours of Fall Branch Falls, the Ocoee Whitewater/ Tanasi Trail and the picturesque Shallowford  Bridge River. Rent a Segway and tour all of downtown Blue Ridge, never having to be concerned about finding a parking place.

There’s so much more to share with you about our ideas for a resort style experience here in these magnificent mountains. We haven’t begun to talk about the fine dining and exceptional outdoor entertainment opportunities. Please be sure to visit our Part II blog on “High Class in the High Hills” posting soon.

Conferring with Cupid



I’m often referred to as the “ Santa Claus for Lovers”. I have a little bit of a problem with that. See, the big guy gets to wear a full suit, hat, gloves, boots, and the whole bit on December 25th. I get to fly around, shooting arrows to connect the hearts of couples, which isn’t a bad gig if I didn’t have to perform it wearing barely a loincloth, my chubby body exposed to the elements, in the second week of February. 

This is one of the reasons I’m going to encourage you to cuddle up around the fire in your cabin on Valentine’s weekend.  Yes, the big day falls on a Friday this year, so you and the person you love most in this world get to spend the whole weekend together. And if you’ve chosen to be here in one of the comfy, cozy and romantic cabins in Blue Ridge, you’ve already set the tone for a weekend to remember. So, get the checklist ready.

Majestic Peace Cabin

Plenty of firewood.  Check.

Now we need something intoxicating. That could be wine. Out Of The Blue has you covered. They have an extraordinary selection of the finest wines, beers, and artisan cheeses from around the world. Chocolates are also intoxicating. Try the delectable hand-dipped chocolates at Chocolate Express. They are sure to win any heart. 

Photo Courtesy of Out of the Blue

Intoxicating. Check.

Let’s face it. You aren’t the only romantic out there. It’s a busy weekend and though spontaneity is great in the boudoir, some of the other activities just might need reservations.  I’m going to suggest you make arrangements with a private chef to have that quixotic feast for two, right there at your cabin. Chef Trey Griffith or Chef Jeff Servin can serve up a luscious feast, but they need fair warning. There are also very intimate dining experiences even in public eateries. The porch at The Black Sheep, with it’s towering flame heaters, is a place I’ve noticed lovers getting very starry-eyed over a plate of cold water select oysters.

Photo Courtesy of Chef Trey Griffith

Nourishment. Check

It has been my experience  (my parents are Mars and Venus, so I’ve been around the block a few times) that occasionally destressing from the cacophony of everyday life needs an assist. A Salt Cave Couples Massage at Serenity In the Mountains is an experience neither of you will soon forget. And it might just be your favorite activity away from home, ever. There’s also an opportunity to engage in public intoxication without being unlawful. Imagine indulging in wine with chocolates that have been paired by the connoisseurs at The Vine Wine Bar on Main St. in Blue Ridge.  This only happens on Friday evenings, so call for your reservations quickly. 

Photo Courtesy of Serenity in the Mountains

Destressing mode.  Check

Now. Maybe you’ve been together a very long time, like most of your adult life, and there needs to be more than a spark added to your relationship. You need an eight-cylinder rev to throw complacency out of neutral and into drive. That usually means you need to find a way to depend on one another again. Be a team. Find a new challenge. Like maybe drive a military tank together. 

No, seriously. 

And, why just drive a tank when you can crush a car with one? Get your heart pumping with 25+ minutes of driving excitement which starts with Tank Town USA’s exciting tank driving course and finishes with smashing a car. Yes, they have a couple’s package.  And if that’s a little over the top, you could be locked in a room together for one hour, with only clues as to how to escape. Sound like fun? Make your reservation with Escape Blue Ridge and see if the two of you can figure out how to outfox your captures.

Photo courtesy of Heather Drones

Team challenge mode. Check

If the two of you love these mountains, almost as much as you love each other, why not merge the two and enlist a professional photographer to help? The professional shutterbugs at ZoLu Photography know these landscapes well. They will take you to beautiful places to capture your love in natural light, to be viewed for many years to come. 

Photo Courtesy of ZoLu Photography

Photo memories.  Check

Before I mention the Hot Tub stuff, let’s be sure to talk about the one big event that takes these mountains by storm every February, that happens to fall on Valentine’s Weekend this year!  It’s the 10th Annual Fire & Ice Chili Cook-Off being held Saturday, February 15 from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, in downtown Blue Ridge. The cook-off will happen come rain, snow or shine. You’ll enjoy live music, ice sculptures and amazing chili. You can purchase a $10 Tasting Card to sample the competition and vote for the People™s Choice Award. There will also be live entertainment from the Blue Ridge Community Theater actors. You’ll love strolling through an amazing display of individual and unique ice sculptures from the award-winning, National Ice Carving Champion Rock on Ice including several ice carving demonstrations. 

Photo Courtesy of the Fire & Ice Chili Cook Off

Fire and Ice Festival. Check.

Now let’s talk about the hot tub. Well…..

No, I think you already know enough about the hot tub.

The Overlook Cabin

Hot tub. Check.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Spa-cial Mountain Treatment



When you visit a new area, don’t you wonder where the “locals” choose to eat, shop and play? After all, they have the benefit of experience and “word of mouth” before they spend their hard earned dollars. If you are vacationing with us here in the North Georgia Mountains, and you want to know where the “locals” go to be pampered, we’ve already scoped it out for you. Today we shine the spotlight on Serenity in the Mountains.

Himalayan Salt Cave

If after a few days here you need a great change of pace to all the outdoor activities you’ve indulged, then may we suggest a session in Serenity’s Himalayan Salt Cave. During your 45 minute session, you can relax in one of the zero-gravity chairs, lay back and take a nap, or sit and enjoy the soft music and stress-free environment while benefiting from the Cave’s healing salt atmosphere. Serenity’s Cave was built by hand with pure Himalayan salt boulders, rocks, bricks and sand.

Spa Services

If you are looking for a new hair style, a total manicure and pedicure, body scrub 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.

Hey Fellas

Gentlemen, pay attention. Spas are not just for women. We know that you have bought countless numbers of pampering gift certificates for your Mom, wife and daughters over the years. And when you walk in to purchase it and you feel like a fish out of water, swiping your credit card on high speed just to get out of the girlie palace. Trust us. You won’t feel that way at Serenity in the Mountains’ Gentleman Spa. Serenity offers a gentlemen’s locker room with steam and sauna as well as a relaxation area.  While almost all of the spa treatments are personalized, they are tailored for their male clientele, including facials, manicures, hair styles and hair colors.

Ladies, maybe it’s time to treat your man to an awesome experience he won’t soon forget. Serenity has a treehouse massage room. Yes, built very high in the clouds, this childhood fantasy style treehouse is equipped with the finest equipment and therapists.

Massage

One of the most popular services vacationers take advantage of at Serenity in the Mountains is the Couples Massage. With cozy, heated tables, in beautifully appointed private rooms, two therapists will give you the massage style you each prefer. Then afterwards, you both can relax alone in front of the fireplace, making this a total romantic experience.

If you are looking for a fun indulgence for your bridal party or best friend weekend, then look no further. Serenity’s staff wants to help you create the perfect memory. They will help you craft the ideal signature spa experience. And be sure to let them know that you want ample time to enjoy the sauna and steam rooms.

5 Stars

The reviews are all five star, with lots of mentions of “warm cozy atmosphere”, “friendly professional staff”, and “reasonable prices” as the most commented remarks. Many note that just arriving in the rustic relaxation lounge with its comfortable chaises and leather sofas is a charming experience, and we can whole-heartedly vouch for that!

Serenity in the Mountains makes it easy to book an appointment online or you can call them at 706-258-2244. We recommend that you book early. This is one very popular pampering destination! Their services are offered Monday and Tuesday from 9am-5pm and Wednesday – Saturday from 9am to 7pm. They are closed on Sundays, but if you are here during the week, be sure to ask about the mid-week specials.

We humans are very much like diamonds. We are created through the pressures of our lives, and very much like these precious stones, we can be massaged, buffed and polished to our full beauty. You came to the mountains to relax and renew. Let Serenity in the Mountains pamper you to a new brilliance. Don’t be surprised when this spa experience becomes one of your fondest vacation memories!

Calgon, Take Me to the Mountains…What Moms Really Want



What Mom really wants for Mother’s Day might surprise you. It rarely has to do with those lovely wrapped little boxes from the jewelry store. And it has less to do with gift certificates to get body maintenance done, like massages and manicures.

It was 50 years ago that this iconic ad first ran. “Calgon, take me away”.  It still epitomizes what every Mom wants and needs – time away from the daily grind, if even for just time for a private, quiet bath. So, this Mother’s Day we think we can help you with giving Mom that Calgon moment she’ll remember for many years to come.

Mom with Little Ones

Daddy Daycare!

Mom is rising close to noon and not hearing a peep. As she clears the cobwebs from her sleep, she realizes that she woke in the cabin they came to last night. Oh, the bed felt so luxurious, and somehow, she was the only one in it. Next to the bed is a note from hubby. “The kids and I are gone for the day. White wine in the fridge with brie, apple, and crackers. The hot tub is waiting for you. Don’t forget your book at the bottom of the suitcase.  We’ll see you at 6. Bringing dinner with us. Relax and enjoy the solitude.  You deserve this. You’re the best Mom in the world. We love you.”  She looks out over the magnificent view of the mountains from her bedroom window. This is the best gift I could ever imagine, she thought. Six hours later the gang rolls in, running into her arms to tell her all about their visit to Lilly Pad Village, where they gem mined and went trout fishing.  After a great boxed dinner from Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ was consumed, they all packed up to head to the Swan Drive-in Theater for a nostalgic experience watching the 21st-century Avengers on the outdoor screen. (Did you know that you can choose from 177 of our properties that have at least two bedrooms and a hot tub?)

Mom with Teen-agers

Growing up too fast!

Mom marvels at how they are growing and maturing. She realizes that in just a few short years they will be leaving the nest. She wants to make these times away to the mountains something special for them all to remember.  They all agree that ziplining had been on their bucket list. But first, while the day was still cool, they’d challenge themselves to trek on the swinging bridge across the Toccoa River.  After an afternoon of adventure, they pull up to the Rum Cake Lady’s outdoor dining. Mom loves Cuban food, and they sit at the picnic tables all sharing their menu picks, joyful and tired. When they get back to the cabin, the fire pit is lit, the oldest son brings out his guitar, the youngest starts to make S’mores. Mom gazes at her family in the glow of the fire and wonders how she got to be the luckiest Mom in the whole world. (Thirty-eight of our rentals have either fire pits or outdoor fireplaces. Which one would your family choose?)

Mom with Grown Daughter

No matter how old you are, you’ll always be my baby.

Every Mom feels the same way once their chicks have grown and flown the coop. They yearn for one on one time with them again. When her daughter texts her to ask if she’d like to spend the weekend with her in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Mom searches to find an emoji that can express her excitement. She ends up sending 10 happy faces, and the words, “yes, yes, YES!”.  Saturday it’s a quick, trouble free keyless entry into their little lakefront cabin and off to the Himalayan Salt Caves for a 45-minute session of pure bliss, relaxing in zero gravity chairs, listening to soft music in a stress-free environment.  After, they head into downtown Blue Ridge and make a stop at Blue Ridge Booksellers. As different as they can be in many respects, Mom and daughter share a love for vintage bookstores. With just enough time, they make their reservation at Harvest on Main for a relaxing evening of fine dining. Back to the cottage, another glass of wine to top off the evening and a wonderful heart to heart chat on the porch overlooking the moonlit lake. They sleep in late, pack up their things, close the door behind them and take a lovely drive out to Mercier’s Orchards for brunch and then to pick strawberries together, a memory they share from a Mother’s Day trip 20 years before. Now, they head home and banter back in forth as to whether it’s biscuits or pound cake that will host these sweet, juicy berries.

We think everyday should be Mother’s Day! Thank you to all the wonderful Moms who celebrate their families with us throughout the year. We hope your Mother’s Day is a Calgon day for you!