Spring has sprung, the temperatures are climbing, and
everything is blooming! The last weekend in May, Memorial Day Weekend, is an
excellent time to get away from the hub bub of daily life and Escape to the Blue
Ridge Mountains to enjoy the beauty that is bursting all around us!
Extreme or Serene
There is no shortage of fun to be had around town, but if just relaxing with your favorite people (and pups) in a fabulous cabin is your idea of a good time, we totally get it. Many of our cabins are equipped with game rooms, hot tubs, fire pits, and wooded trails to explore. There is also horseback riding stables, zip lines, and whitewater rafting close by for added immersion into the wonders of Mother Nature.
Downtown Blue Ridge
In downtown Blue Ridge you’ll enjoy attending the 47th Annual Spring Arts in the Park event on Saturday and Sunday, May 27th & 28th. This Southern tradition features more than two hundred arts, crafts, and food booths for you to admire fine arts and mountain crafts. You’ll also be able to see artist’s demonstrations, hear some great music, and support the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association! The event is held rain or shine, and well-behaved leashed pets are welcome. Admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free!
About thirty minutes East of Blue Ridge in the town of Blairsville, you’ll encounter their annual Spring Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival. Saturday morning begins with a Memorial Day Parade and the rest of the day and all-day Sunday you can enjoy more than 200 local and regional artists. Many musicians will also be on site to entertain you and your family. There is no charge to attend, but plenty of family fun is sure to be had!
If you’ve never experienced a trip on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, you should definitely consider boarding in downtown Blue Ridge and taking an enjoyable two hour ride to the revitalized cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, Tn. Yep, this is your chance to stand in two states at one time! Grab an ice cream or sweet treat at Happy Bear Ice Cream & Treats. Maybe Cuban is more your style and you prefer a Cuban coffee and empanada at the Rum Cake Lady for an afternoon treat. Pick up the latest record at Deaf Man Vinyl or a new treat for your bestfriend at Mainstreet Mutt. There is so much to explore in the Copper Basin’s twin cities!
Whatever plans you make for the holiday weekend, we hope
that you are spending it with all the ones you love creating memories and enjoying
the freedom that we get to enjoy in the great United States of America. As we
approach Memorial Day Weekend, we want to take a moment to thank all of the men
and women that have so courageously given their lives to defend this beautiful
country in which we are so fortunate to live. There is no greater sacrifice one
can make and the patriotism that these honorable souls displayed deserves our
recognition and gratitude, not just one weekend a year, but all year long. Thank
you for your service.
Shop like nobody’s business in all the wonderful shops located in Downtown Blue Ridge! Pick up something to use in the cabin or something extra special to remember your mountain trip always. We know that Blue Ridge is known for its beautiful mountains and outdoor excursions; but it’s also home to countless shops most of which are located right in the Downtown area. Here you’ll find a variety of unique and trendy shops like antique shops, art galleries, artisan goods, clothing, outdoor gear, and so much more. It’s the perfect place to pick up a souvenir or ten from your Escape to Blue Ridge because not only is there something for everyone, but it’s a great way to remember your North Georgia trip! Downtown Blue Ridge has every type of shop you can imagine so the only question is where are you going first? Let us help with our guide of favorite shops.
For the Family
The whole family will love all that Huck’s General Store has to offer! Here, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back into a time of small mountain town shops complete with old school candies, artisan goods, canned & pickled fruits and vegetables, soaps, and more. The kids will love picking out their favorite candies and games; while the adults stock up on snacks, funny signs, and nostalgic gifts. This is also a great place to pick up a Blue Ridge hat or t-shirt! Once you’re finished shopping grab your goodies, an ice cold drink, and relax on the back porch rockers while you watch the train pass by.
For the Art Lover
Are you an art lover or just looking for something beautiful to take home with you? Look no further than High Country Art Gallery. The walls and shelves are stocked with paintings, sculptures, jewelry, pottery, and other beautiful crafts. A majority of the art is crafted by local artists from Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And many of the artists are willing to create a personal piece of your choosing, so you can bring home something extra special. There’s always something beautiful and unique to find here.
For the Collector
Blue Ridge Antique Mall & Consignment is the place to be for antique lovers! They have a large selection of vintage and unique items; you never know just what you’ll find! Deck out your home with everything from furniture to collectibles, textiles to glassware, ceramics to art; they have it all! They also have locally made products, perfect for a mountain souvenir or gift for a special someone back home.
For the Kids
Lily + Coco is a magical & colorful shop that the kids will absolutely love! What fun toys will the kiddos find? How about unicorn themed gifts for your favorite little girl? A slingshot with felt ammo for the boys? Or unique, one-of-a-kind décor for the holidays? Lily + Coco is truly a one of a kind shop filled with “fanciful finds & whimsical whatnots”. The kids and you won’t be able to get enough of this colorful and super fun shop!
For the Fisherman
Stock up on your gear and apparel for your next fishing excursion at Cohutta Fishing Company! They don’t coin the phrase “Your Local Fly Fish Shop” for nothing; they have everything you’ll need to get out on the water like fly rods and reels, packs and luggage, fishing vests, boots, apparel and more. Pick up your gear and then book a guided fishing trip on the Toccoa River! Cohutta Fishing Company’s excellent staff provides great service both in the shop and on the water.
For the Ladies
If you’re looking for cute accessories and apparel for you next night out then check out The Owl’s Nest of Blue Ridge. They have everything from jewelry, gemstones, purses, shoes, t-shirts, and more. With all kinds of beautiful bling and accessories your new look is sure to be the talk of every get together!
For the Men
The guys like to look good too! So men be sure to check out OAR Finer Goods, an accessory shop for modern gentlemen. They have everything from men’s jewelry, ties, socks, books, fun trinkets, novelty gifts, and more. Some of their brands include Fulton & Roark, Brackish Bowties, Studebaker Metals, and OAR leather goods. Dress to impress at your next special occasion!
For the Foodie
The Pasta Market has everything you could possibly imagine from pasta, sauces, wines, seasonings, baked goods, candles, kitchen & home items and so much more! They even have a secret wine bar where they offer wine tastings and tapas-style platters. And they also now offer charcuterie boards and cannolis to enjoy in the shop or on the go! Pick up something amazing to use in a family dinner at the cabin or bring it home to remember your special trip.
For the Furry Friends
Not only does Blue Ridge Adventure Wear have plenty of apparel and outdoor gear for the whole family but they also have treats and toys for your favorite furry friends! They’ve got everything your dog could need from toys, treats, collars and leashes, fun dog themed shirts for you, and even dog friendly donuts! Your dog will love exploring the mountain trails near our dog friendly cabins and the gifts you so thoughtfully picked out for them at Blue Ridge Adventure Wear!
As animal lovers ourselves, we
understand that when you plan a vacation to Blue Ridge, Georgia that you want
your four-legged family members to accompany you. Just as you love the fresh
mountain air and seeing new places, so do pooches! There are so many new smells
they’ve never sniffed, creeks to splash in, and they would much rather be with
you than be kenneled!
Here at Escape to Blue Ridge we have over 100 cabins that are pet friendly! You can choose cabins by the lake or near a river. There are also pet friendly cabins in the middle of the woods with acres and acres for your puppers to run to their little heart’s content. Some properties are even fenced in like Black Dog of Blue Ridge.
Blue Ridge is a very pet friendly
community. Whether you are bringing Fido with you or just want to bring home a souvenir
for your best friend, Blue
Ridge Cotton Company is both a pet and human friendly store! Here you will
find great apparel, gifts, and of course doggie approved décor! The owner’s own
pup, Watson Agee, can often
be seen “working” at one of their two locations in Blue Ridge or Blairsville.
Stop in, give him a pet on the head, and enjoy browsing all of their unique
outdoorsy canines, head to Blue
Ridge Adventure Gear for the hottest trends, most delicious treats, and all
the outdoor gear you might possibly need. Keep Rufus safe out on Lake Blue
Ridge with life jackets, play fetch at Morganton Point with glow in the dark
balls, or keep them safe in your car with a dog hammock. Oh, did we mention the
treats? Well, they have plenty along with their sister store, Blue Ridge Adventure Wear. Your
pup is going to get pawsitively excited when you buy him some of their most
scrumptious looking doggie donut treats!
Love Dogs and Cats Too
is a holistic pet supply shop that has everything you could ever need for your
favorite family member. They carry collars, leashes, food, toys, and treats.
Here you’ll find natural flea and tick soaps, pet friendly cbd oils, and even
puppy clothes! Stop on in if you Love Dogs, they’ll be happy to see you!
It’s true. We have some incredible restaurants here in Blue Ridge. The best part is some of them allow pets to join their owners for delicious meals. Right in the heart of downtown Blue Ridge, you can sit on the inviting patio of The Black Sheep and enjoy an outstanding meal. This fine dining establishment features southern cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Their steaks are to-die-for, but really you’ll enjoy anything Chef Brandon prepares!
Relax on the largest pet friendly deck in Georgia & Tennessee. In the Twin Cities of McCaysville, Ga & Copperhill, Tn you and your furry BFF can dine at either Burra Burra on the River or The Twisted Tomato! Overlooking the famous steel bridge and the Toccoa River, here you’ll get beautiful scenery, delicious food, and lots of pets and love for your 4-legged buddy!
How can you not love a business that broadcasts “Dogs are welcome, and people are tolerated!” Grumpy Old Men Brewing is a laid back, fun microbrewery is open Tuesday through Saturday and offers 18 beers on tap. They often have live music and they stand by their motto: If we don’t like it, we don’t drink it. If we don’t drink it, we don’t sell it. So, come out and feel like a local, have fun, and drink good beer!
If you don’t already have a best friend
or are looking to grow your furfamily, stop by the Humane Society of Blue Ridge.
This no kill shelter often partners with local businesses to encourage pet adoptions
and to support their non-profit work of supporting sick, injured, or abandoned
animals. They run a Thrift Store to help offset operational costs, and they
even have a dog park that’s open 24/7 that all are welcome to use!
A lot of times our guests will make
day trips from the cabin and not all towns are as pet friendly as Blue Ridge. If
your planning an adventure and you can’t take Benji with you, make an appointment
at Violet’s Doggy Daycare. Here
your pup will be able to make friends, run around, and be safe and secure until
you come retrieve them. While there you can even get your pooch a peticure or a
full grooming session. Violet’s also offers homemade pet treats and jerky
While you are on vacation, sometimes things
can happen. Maybe Rufus counter surfed and gobbled down some grapes and now he feels
under the weather or maybe while he was out exploring in the yard, he tried to eat
some berries that he shouldn’t have. We don’t like to think about these things happening
and when you are away from home you don’t know who to use or where to go to
when emergency services are needed. Fortunately, right here in Blue Ridge we
have a highly rated and extremely respected emergency veterinary service that
is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Mountain Emergency Animal Center provides
comprehensive emergency and urgent care and work closely with your primary
veterinarian to provide the most complete care possible for your family pet. We
hope that you won’t need to utilize their services, but in the event that you
need to, know that you are in great hands!
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! Here are some of our favorite trails: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/dog-friendly-hikes-blue-ridge-georgia/
The holidays can be a very expensive time of the year, so we understand needing to save money where you can. If you’re planning on taking a trip to Blue Ridge after the holidays but need to be a little more money savvy than usual, there are still lots of budget-friendly activities for you to experience! We’ve comprised a list of 6 activities for you and your family to take part in, for your wonderful Budget Friendly Blue Ridge Vacation!
One thing Blue Ridge has plenty of is outdoor experiences. Hiking is one of our most popular outdoor activities because we have mountain trails galore! Climb to the peak of some of Georgia’s tallest mountains with the hike to Brasstown Bald near Blairsville or Fort Mountain in Chatsworth. Both of these hikes will provide you with breathtaking views from all around and a great workout! You could also hike to one of our four local waterfalls; Amicalola Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Fall Branch Falls, or Long Branch Falls. All four of these waterfalls are simply stunning, so you can’t go wrong with whichever you chose! And of course, you can always enjoy a hike on any of the trails through the Chattahoochee National Forest. With over 850 miles of recreational trails throughout the forest, there’s no way you’ll run out of fun!
With mountains all around, Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas have plenty of beautiful scenic drives you can take. Even though most of the trees will not have leaves since it’s wintertime, the mountain views and exploring the countryside are what make the drive. Hop on Highway 60 through Suches and find yourself high above the clouds, at 3,000 feet above sea level! Check out Highway 5 as well for a relaxing drive through the Cohutta Wilderness. And if you’re up for a little bit more of a road trip then hop on either the Cherohala Skyway or Ocoee Scenic Byway both of which will take you through parts of Tennessee. Spending the afternoon cruising around the countryside is an incredibly relaxing experience after the chaos of the holidays. So pile in the car, grab the wheel (and some snacks), and cruise!
One of the most fun parts of shopping is looking at everything. It’s great to get a chance to scope out all of your options and Downtown Blue Ridge is the perfect place to window shop. Check out different oils from all over the world at Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company or check out all the outdoor accessories at Blue Ridge Adventure Wear. With so much to see and do around town, and a variety of different stores, you could window shop all day if you wanted! But if you do end up seeing something in the shop that’s an absolute MUST have and need to spend just a little, we promise we won’t tell if you don’t. Shhh!
Who doesn’t love free live music? Many of Blue Ridge’s restaurants, bars, breweries, and wineries have free live music on the weekends. Stop by Grumpy Old Men Brewery on a Friday or Sunday afternoon for great music and great drinks. The Blue Coyote Bar in Downtown Blue Ridge is known for their live music and entertainment every Friday and Saturday night. At the delicious The Black Sheep restaurant, enjoy a yummy Sunday brunch all while listening to local artists perform. Bin 322 also has live music every Friday and Saturday night. And many of our local wineries offer live music on the weekends as well including; Cartecay Vineyards, Engleheim Vineyards, Crane Creek Vineyards and Chateau Meichtry Family Vineyard and Winery. Music makes you feel good. Simple as that. And in Blue Ridge we have an abundance of options!
Over the years tourists have loved coming to Blue Ridge and exploring all we have to offer. So of course, they started to find some of our wonderful hidden gems and turned them into the great tourist attractions they are today. And it costs exactly nothing to explore and find them all! First on the list is the Swinging Bridge over Toccoa River, which has turned into one of tourists favorite spots. The bridge is over 270 feet long and the perfect place to take a great photo! Next on the list is the bears welcome sign located at the entrance to Blue Ridge Mountain Mall. This cute welcoming bear has become such a fun part of the Blue Ridge experience. After you visit with the bear be sure to go into the to the Mountain Mall to check out all kinds of antiques and collectables. Did you know that the Statue of Liberty is in Blue Ridge? No, not the one you’re thinking of; but we do have our own mini Statue of Liberty in front of the Fannin County Courthouse in Downtown Blue Ridge. Though, instead of a torch our Statue of Liberty holds a lamp globe to help light the streets at night. It’s such fun surprise to see! If you take a little road trip over to the twin cities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN then you can actually stand in two states at once! There’s a sign that sits in between the two states, that’s a perfect place to take a photo. Have fun jumping back and forth between states. And last but certainly not least, the Blue Ridge mural in Downtown Blue Ridge is a must see! You can’t complete your Blue Ridge vacation without making a stop to see it!
Our cabins have so many incredible amenities that will make it hard for you to leave; from hot tubs and game rooms, to beautiful fireplaces and firepits, to large kitchens with all the appliances you need and wrap around porches with stunning views; Escape to Blue Ridge cabins have a little something for everyone! While our little town has so much to explore we won’t blame you if you want to stay curled up inside your cabin instead. Lounge around the cabin or in the hot tub all day, then eat a delicious home cooked meal, watch the sunset from your porch, and then end the night with a cozy movie marathon by the fire. Sounds perfect doesn’t it? There’s nothing wrong with a little rest and relaxation every once and a while; after all that’s what vacations are all about!
However you chose to see our little town, there’s plenty of ways to do it without breaking the bank. Make it a vacation to remember while still saving for anything life might throw your way. Whatever way you escape, we’re happy you chose to do it with us!
The leaves are gone, the air is getting chilly, and the days are shorter; winter is here! While some may dread the winter months there’s nothing to be upset about while you’re in Blue Ridge. So much winter fun can be had at your cabin or nearby in town! Here’s a list of 12 cool things to do when you Escape to Blue Ridge this winter.
Grab your favorite hot beverage, head outside, lay down a blanket, and look up at the stars all around you. Being in a small mountain town we don’t get any light pollution so you can see stars for miles. In fact, you don’t even need to travel far, you can stargaze right from your own cabin!
Bring a blanket and lay it on the ground, then curl up with friends or your loved one to enjoy the beauty of the night sky. Maybe even bring some fun snacks! It may be chilly but with the right people, blankets, and warm beverages you won’t even notice the cold. You’ll feel far away from the rest of the world as you gaze up into the beautiful starry sky, that seems to never end. We promise it’ll take your breath away!
Game Night or Movie Night
Get the family and friends together for a night in. Curl up by the fireplace with some warm blankets and delicious snacks and have a movie night. For festive fun make it a Christmas movie night! Everyone will enjoy how cozy and relaxed they feel while still having plenty of room to stretch out. You can never go wrong with a bunch of great people and great movies to binge.
If you want some more social interaction have a fun-filled game night instead. Grab your favorite board games and show your family just how good you really are! Put your brain to the test and guess that it was Mrs. Scarlet, in the study with a rope in Clue, or make your family go bankrupt in Monopoly. Whatever you do on your cozy night in, make sure to bring the snacks!
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Hitch a ride on Blue Ridge Scenic Railway for some gorgeous views and winter fun! Enjoy a peaceful winter ride past the Appalachian foothills while you sip on a cup of hot chocolate. Or if you’re looking for a more festive experience get a ticket for the Santa Express. You can enjoy a Christmas themed ride through North Georgia. Children even receive Christmas bells and candy canes! And on select days in December you can take the train to Santa Pavilion in the sister towns of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus. No matter what ride you chose stunning views await you!
Relax and treat yourself to a spa day with our friends at Serenity in the Mountains! Get pampered with massages, facials, skin care and body treatments. You can even get a manicure or pedicure and a new hair -do while you’re there! You’ll be refreshed and glowing for the holiday season by the time you leave.
Be sure to try out their famous Salt Cave for ultimate relaxation. Lay back and soak in the complete feeling of calm you’ll get while you listen to soft music and breathe in the salt particles. Inhaling these salt particles can help to reduce inflammation in the entire respiratory tract, widen the airway passages, eliminate mucous and allergens, and give you an overall improved immune system. It’s even good for your skin! For a calming escape from the stress of holiday planning stop by Serenity in the Mountains to get your relax on!
Hike the Trails
Being in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains you can, of course, always hike the trails. Breathe in that crisp mountain air and work up a sweat while exploring all Blue Ridge has to offer. With dozens of trails to chose from explore waterfalls, rivers, mountain peaks, forests, and lakes alike. It wouldn’t be a trip to the mountains without getting outside and taking it all in.
Get in the Christmas spirit with some local theater! Blue Ridge Community Theater is putting on Elf the Musical from November 19th-December 13th. What could be more Christmasy then such a beloved holiday film but in musical form? Remember what Buddy says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” Or enjoy Gift of the Magi 2.0 also at Blue Ridge Community Theater running November 27th- December 13th. The show takes place in Atlanta in the 1950’s, during the Atlanta Transit strike. A man and his beloved wife try to find one another the perfect Christmas gift to show their love. It’s a touching show that will leave you feeling good inside.
For more holiday shows check out Annie at the Sunny D Children’s Theater running December 17th-20th. Nothing can put a smile on your face more than listening to children sing. And afterall, Annie is such a beloved and timeless musical everyone can enjoy!
Everyone loves a good shopping trip, especially if it involves getting everyone on your list Christmas gifts! Pop into the shops at Downtown Blue Ridge for a variety of fun and different Christmas gift ideas. Grab something for your outdoorsy dad at Blue Ridge Adventure Wear and then mosey on over to Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company to grab some delicious and unique oils for moms cooking. Pick up some art to go in that blank space above your TV at High Country Art or take a little bit of Blue Ridge home with you and grab a shirt from Blue Ridge Cotton Company.
When you need a snack break from all your shopping stop by Black Sheep or Chester’s for some delicious food. Even enjoy looking at all the shops windows decorated for Christmas. You’ll be sure to find something great for everyone on your list at Downtown Blue Ridge and maybe even a couple of things to spoil yourself with as well!
Polar Bear Plunge
If you’re feeling especially adventurous you could always take a dip in the freezing water and take the Polar Bear Plunge. Jump into the Toccoa River or Lake Blue Ridge if you really want to; just make sure to have something warm to bundle up with when you get out. And then maybe head back to your cabin and soak in a warm bath afterwards too! A Polar Bear Plunge certainly isn’t for everyone, but hey if that’s you, go for it and have some fun!
Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas have so many wonderful places to enjoy Christmas lights! Head over to Hiawassee and the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds for their Mountain Country Christmas celebration. Running every night Thursday-Saturday from November 26th-December 26th, enjoy seeing the Fairgrounds all lit up with lights reflecting off of Lake Chatuge. There will also be art and craft vendors, food vendors, music, and Santa himself!
If you are in town on November 27th, stop in McCaysville to see the town fully decorated and lit up. Also enjoy the shops and restaurants McCaysville has to offer. And at 7:30 make sure you don’t miss the annual tree and bridge lighting! You could even drive around the Blue Ridge area with your family and look at all the local Christmas decorations and lights.
On cold chilly nights bonfires always hit the spot! Imagine sitting around the fire roasting marshmallows, telling stories, and breathing in the fresh mountain air. How cozy does that sound? Make a night out of it and bring the hot dogs too for a simple yet delicious and timeless dinner. If things start to get a little chilly but you’re not quite ready to go in for the night, grab some blankets and hot chocolate to warm yourself up and enjoy!
Make cookies and gingerbread houses
The holidays are all about baking and eating, and what better things to bake than cookies!? Get everyone together to make the perfect cookies; snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, sugar, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, or all of them! It’s never a problem to have too many cookies, they’ll get eaten one way or the another.
Use cookie cutters to make your cookies into fun shapes if you want. Then crank up the Christmas music and dance around the kitchen while you wait for them to bake. When the cookies are finished decorate them if you want! Put that green frosting on to make the perfect tree or that red frosting to make Santa’s hat just right. Then eat to your hearts content, but don’t forget the milk!
For more fun Christmas food activities and snacking, buy a gingerbread house kit and assemble it. You can even make it from scratch if you feel like you’re a master gingerbread house architect. If you’re more successful with gingerbread house construction than me, and your walls actually stick together and your roof doesn’t cave in, then enter your gingerbread house in Blue Ridge’s own Gingerbread House Contest. Your masterpiece will be on display from November 27th- December 13th!
Decorate your cabin
If you’re staying with us for Christmas you might as well bring the Christmas with you! Put up a tree (ask about our tree service) and decorate the cabin, nothing will have you feeling more in the Christmas spirit than being surrounded by Christmas décor in your home away from home! We want you to get the full Christmas experience when you stay with us so have fun dolling the place up, just make sure you (pretty please) clean up when you leave. Blast the Christmas music, put on little Ralphie Parker on the tv in the background, and deck the cabin out!
Whether you’re in Blue Ridge for the winter season or the holidays there’s so much fun to be had while you’re here! Experience all we have to offer and really enjoy your time soaking it all in. You deserve it after the year we’ve had! So spread some Christmas cheer and have some winter fun, and most importantly have a great time on you Escape to Blue Ridge!
Bringing your dog with you on your Blue Ridge mountain vacation can enrich a trip in so many ways. You’ll meet and talk to dog-loving strangers who otherwise would have passed right by you. You’ll travel to dog-friendly parks and other places that wouldn’t ordinarily be on your itinerary. You’ll have a built-in reason to go outside, exercise and have fun. Most meaningfully, you’ll have your best friend at your side. We are glad that you and your four legged pooch have decided to stay with us, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of Blue Ridge’s favorite canine and people friendly spots.
Let’s Get Our 20,000 Steps In
Fido isn’t wearing a Fitbit, but he does have twice as many legs that welcome the fresh air and exercise that come as a vacation bonus here in the foothills of the Appalachians. The Chattahoochee National Forest is dog-friendly. When combined with the Oconee National Forest, the Chattahoochee National Forest spans nearly 867,000 acres across 26 counties and features thousands of miles of clear streams and rivers, 850 miles of recreation trails, picnic areas, and areas rich in natural scenery, history, and culture. Hikers bringing their dogs on the trails must keep them under verbal or physical restraint at all times—using a leash in crowded areas is highly encouraged.
If your dog loves to socialize with her canine counterparts, then a visit to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge Dog Park is a must. An off leash park there offers both Big dog and Small Dog areas. There are toys to play with or you are welcome to bring your furkids favorite fetch toy. Clean up bags are provided, but you need to do the heavy lifting and disposal into the litter cans. The park is open sun-up till sun-down, 7 days a week.
Shopping is GRRRRReat
Blue Ridge Cotton Company is a dog-friendly clothing store, located in downtown Blue Ridge. Inside the store, you’ll find an extensive pet section, including gifts, books, leashes in a variety of colors, treats, and more. There’s even more irresistible human stuff, too. Additionally, Blue Ridge Cotton Company donates one percent of every purchase to a number of animal charities in the local area.
If it’s a girls day out, then the two of you need to head over to Humble Pie Ladies Boutique. A pet-friendly ladies outfitter in Blue Ridge, the clothing they stock is Bohemian-style, unique, affordable and comfortable. Dogs are welcome to join you in the dressing room as you decide which flowing dress or headband best suits you.
Love Dogs and Cats Too is a pet-friendly store full of items for Fido and Fluffy. They stock everything from healthy treats and snazzy leashes to plush toys and comfy beds. Dogs are welcome inside to sniff out their birthday gift or drop some hints as to their favorite kind of toy to take home.
Drinking out of a bowl, frosted mug or goblet
Eventually you and your pet are going to get thirsty. Though your four legged friend isn’t old enough to legally indulge in liquid spirits, he/she will still love to socialize with you as you test out some of the finest in craft beers and wines produced in our region. Hanging out on the patio seating at Grumpy Old Men’s Brewing will actually put you all in a good mood. Fannin Brewing Company is another favorite for Fido travelers and the Ale beer connoisseur on the other end of the leash. Just up the road from downtown Blue Ridge is Bear Claw Vineyards & Winery, a boutique farm winery with vineyards where production of handcrafted wines are offered in the tasting room which also includes a dog friendly patio. Salud!
This Movie Rates 5 Bones
When was the last time you took your pooch to the movies? Here in Blue Ridge you can bring Chunky with you to catch Call of the Wild (or Lady and the Tramp if she’s into chick flicks) on the biggest screen she’s ever seen – at the Swan Drive-in Theater. Screening since 1955, this drive-in features 1st run blockbusters & an old-school snack bar with burgers. You’ll love the nostalgia, your pet will dig the burger bar outdoor patio and you’ll both enjoy the movie.
French Fries to Fine Dining
It’s vacation, and McDonalds isn’t going to do for either of you. It’s time to try new gourmet delights, something that didn’t come out of a can. Toccoa Riverside Restaurant, located in Blue Ridge, GA, is a casual eatery that serves up a variety of delicious American fare. Best known for their local trout dishes, it’s best not to mention to your pet that there is also catfish on the menu. Spot is welcome to join you at one of their pet-friendly outdoor tables while you enjoy your meal. (They even offer a special menu just for pups with options like hot dogs, burgers, chicken, rice, and more!) And there is live entertainment for your pet too, as they quack up watching the ducks waddling along the river bed.
You don’t have to be a Polish Greyhound to enjoy the patio dining at Margo’s Gourmet Polish Kitchen. Margo makes everything fresh daily, and Cuddles will appreciate that she refers to her famous steamed weiners as sausages, not hot dogs. If you are both preferring something more like a pizza than a pierogi, upstairs from Margo’s is where Blue Jeans Pizza is located. Rated #1 Blue Ridge Pizza on Trip Advisor, this Italian-American eatery also serves up menu options like appetizers, salads, burgers, pizza, strombolis, calzones, subs, pasta, wraps, and more. And your furry bambino is welcome to join you at their outdoor patio seating.
When the palate calls for something more upscale or a certain date night ambience, then be sure to sniff out these two places. Harvest on Main has comfortable seating on their patio under the porch for both you and your furkid. Don’t share the menu though. Cuddles will have you ordering the Smoked Duroc Bone-In Pork Chop served with Red Skinned Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Pork Collard Greens, topped with Mushroom Ragout. Guess who wants the bone?
And talk about the right canine atmosphere to indulge in culinary perfection, check out the 200 year old tree that Cuddles can rest under while you indulge in what’s been voted the best weekend brunch in Blue Ridge at The Black Sheep, just a short walk down Main Street.
If you are lucky enough to be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in the mountains, we have an extra special treat for you this year! Not only do you get to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the comfort of your luxury cabin rental, but you also get to adventure out into the most quintessential little town. From our abundance of natural resources like hiking trails, waterfalls, and soaring mountains, we are also proud to share with you the heartbeat of our community – Downtown Blue Ridge.
Of course, anytime is a fantastic time to Escape to Blue Ridge, but when you plan a visit during the holiday season, you will feel like you are stepping into a Hallmark Movie. The town is beautifully decorated and festive from every streetlight to each of the shopkeeper’s windows. The crispness of the mountain air and the excitement for the possibility of snow heightens your exhilaration and desire to explore every corner.
We could list one thousand plus reasons why you should visit Downtown Blue Ridge and of course shopping would be included on that very long list just as dining in our restaurants, meeting our residents, and experiencing the specialness of our beloved mountain community. This year you have ten more reasons to shop here because we have arranged for special Blue Friday savings to all of our Escape to Blue Ridge fans!
What? You don’t know what Blue Friday is? Well, allow me to explain. Blue Friday is Blue Ridge’s version of Black Friday, but it goes far beyond shopping and it is really the local kick-off to the entire holiday season! Let’s look at all the fun things there are to do and before we wrap this up, we’ll share your 10 special savings! Promise.
The Blue Ridge Turkey Trot is a family event for all ages
and abilities from walkers to competitive runners. Kick off the Thanksgiving
Day at 8am with a 5K race/walk. Registration starts at 7am and you are
encouraged to bring a canned food item for the Good Samaritans food pantry.
You’ll be able to enjoy all the holiday food guilt free after completing this
run/walk and be back to the cabin in time to put on the turkey. Registration is
$30 in advance or $40 on race day. Money raised will be donated to Blue Ridge charities.
Help light up the twin cities of McCaysville, Georgia and
Copperhill, Tennessee. Enjoy live holiday music, hot cocoa, and cookies.
Donation are welcome to support Christmas for Kids. The music begins at 4pm and
the tree lighting is a 7pm.
Light up Blue Ridge is a festive event for children and
adults alike. A full day of fun begins when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on The
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway where they will then be available in the town gazebo
for pictures. There will be performances all day. Santa and Mrs. Claus will
then be in the holiday parade at 5:30pm. Food vendors will surround the park,
winners of the window decorating contest will be announced, and then the
lighting of the 27 foot “Great Tree” takes place at 7:00pm.
Even More Holiday Events!
We covered all the BIG events, but there is so much more fun
to be had in this great little town. Our November Events
Newsletter features the play It’s A Wonderful Life at the Blue Ridge
Community Theater, live music, and a community Thanksgiving event! Our December Events
Newsletter features Santa Trains, a Tour of Homes, and Ice Skating!
Blue Friday Specials
Now for your special treat! Some of our favorite shops and
downtown Blue Ridge have decided to offer YOU special savings beginning on Blue
Friday and lasting all weekend long! (November 29-December 1) All you have to
do is let the proprietor know that you are a fan of Escape to Blue Ridge!
Appalachian Trail Rides offers guided horseback trail riding from beginner to advanced through the Blue Ridge Mountains on 250 acres located minutes from downtown Blue Ridge GA. On your ride take in beautiful views, wildlife, and creek crossings on customized rides with experienced guides. From family outings to corporate events and private rides to proposal rides, Appalachian Trail Rides will make your time in the Appalachian Mountains as memorable as possible.
Canoe is a lifestyle brand of bags and jewelry made right
here in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Their unique collection of bags and jewelry
effortlessly marry rustic charm with contemporary sophistication. Utilizing
natural materials with enduring appeal, every piece you purchase from Canoe
will be your new favorite for years to come!
Blue Ridge Cotton Company is a thoughtful store with a big
heart. Here you will find quality apparel at affordable prices for the entire
family. They are also your source for inspirational gifts, books and journals,
home accessories, unique gifts, and so much more.
The Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (the Art Center) has been fostering the creative process in these mountains in excess of 32 years. The Art Center endeavors to promote art, artists & art experiences across the Southern Appalachian Region.
15% off ALL Art Supply Station supplies and items
Receive $5 off Holiday Gift Memberships!
All active BRMAA Members will receive 10% off all purchases
This full-service outfitter represents the premier outdoor
brands including The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, YETI, Chaco and
much more. They are also authorized Trek and Cannondale bike dealers and offer
service of all makes.
If you are looking for a fun experience you need to tour
Blue Ridge by bike! Pedego Electric Bikes sells & rents the most fun
electric bikes in the world. They even offer guided tours that include
waterfall and swinging bridge adventures!
Mystic Mountain Pizza is a family owned and operated pizza restaurant with fantastic food and an inviting atmosphere! They have a passion for crafting fresh salads, all-beef gourmet hot dogs, wings, desserts, and specialty pizzas in their oak-fired brick ovens.
For most American kids, our first introduction to the concept of trail markers is Hansel and Gretel’s attempt at leaving crumbs on their venture into the woods. The birds thwarted their efforts and that’s where their fictional journey begins. First published in 1812, their story was read to children in Germany at the same time the Cherokee Indians were creating their own trail markers here in the North Georgia Mountains. Or are Trail trees just folklore?
Trail Marker Trees
Trail trees, trail marker trees, crooked trees, prayer trees, thong trees, or culturally modified trees are hardwood trees throughout North America. One unique characteristic of the trail marker tree is a horizontal bend several feet off the ground, which makes it visible at greater distances, even in snow. These distinctive characteristics convey that the tree was shaped by human activity rather than deformed by nature or disease. The legend is that Native Americans intentionally shaped these trees for navigational purposes or to mark important places, such as sacred burial grounds.
Throughout the North Georgia Mountains, a day of hiking can find you encountering one or more of these gentle bent giants in our forests. As you hike through one of the twenty four top forests in our area you’ll stumble upon some of the most incredible shaped trees and wonder if they are the work of Mother Nature or did an American Indians walk these same trails 200 years ago. It is both highly possible and very likely that the tree was there marking a specific direction or possibly an area where a plant grew at its base that was used for healing.
For many, a hike in the woods is an adventure you remember from your childhood days. It is a child’s foray into uncharted territory, a field or a wooded area close to home where they might discover an old unidentifiable bone, a creek filled with crayfish, or a cluster of butterflies on a floral bush they’ve never seen the likes of before. They come back from these walking expeditions with pockets filled with pretty leaves, unusual shaped stones and always a bird feather or two. As adults we reawaken that lust for exploration and here on these mountain trails, there seems to be one treasure that many are hunting: Fairy Crosses.
The Legend of the Fairy Cross derives from the Cherokee Indians and thought to be over 2000 years old! It is said that long, long, ago fairies inhabited a certain quiet and remote region in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The fairies roamed freely, enjoying the beauty and serenity of that enchanted place. One day, the fairies were playing in a sunny dell when an elfin courier arrived from a far-away city bearing the sad news of Christ’s death. When they heard the terrible details of the crucifixion, the fairies wept. As their tears fell to the earth, they crystallized into little stone crosses. Though the fairies have long since disappeared, the little stone crosses, known as “fairy stones,” still remain as vestiges in that enchanted spot. There was a belief among the Cherokee that the crosses had the power to reduce the owner invisible at will. In some instances, the tiny crosses were supposed to give the owner the power of diving into the ground and coming up again among the enemy to scalp and kill with unexpected terror.
The Scientific Side
Fairy crosses (aka fairy stones) are small bricks originally formed seven miles underground of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Staurolite crystals form into little tiny “bricks” that, under pressure, twist in 60 degree or 90 degree angles, forming crosses. As they push their way up to the earth’s surface, the action of wind and rain dissolve the softer surrounding stone called schist to reveal the precious cross-shaped minerals within.
The good fortune of finding fairy stones is best after a heavy rain. Dig with your hands along the soft dirt at the base of the trees. The cross stones are the same color as the dirt, so use your hands to sift the stones from the soil until you find a cross shaped stone about the size of a small marble, usually less than an inch in length. They are wonderful keepsakes when found, and can be polished and used as a lucky pocket token, or designed into a necklace, bracelet, or earrings.
If you haven’t had the good fortune to find a fairy stone on your hiking trip, you can still find a wonderful collection of fairy crosses at Pezrok in downtown Blue Ridge, a gallery full of artistic creations of exquisite minerals, fossils, gems and carved driftwood.
There are countless numbers of adventures to be had on your visit to these mountains. You’ll want to capture many of your explorations in pictures to take home and share with us, your family, and your friends. Oh, and while you are taking a cell phone selfie at one of the bent trees you are likely to encounter, remember your phone is also equipped with GPS, which will assure your chances of getting back to your car in the parking lot. As we already know from 19th century literature, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs will not suffice.
This is often the toughest chore on any vacation. There will be someone who was left at home that wishes they had been able to escape to the mountains with you. Bringing them home a little something special might just take the sting out of having been left behind. Here are a few downtown shops that make this task a pleasure, though they can’t be held responsible if you should purchase trinkets for yourself, as well!
Shopping for the Outdoor Enthusiast?
If a river runs through the heart of your special someone, then they might be (or wish they were) a fly fisherman. Fly Shop Co. of Blue Ridge has a sizeable collection of locally tied flies, as well as all the enviable apparel and gear. This shop knows how to bait you, now it is up to you to decide what you want to net. Visit their retail shop at 11 Mountain St. #4.
The art of bladesmithing was developed thousands of centuries ago. The Egyptians used wrought iron in the production of swords and knife blades as early as 3000 BC. Blue Ridge Knife Company has one of the largest and finest selections of artisan and utility knives that can be found in the southeastern United States. Whether you are shopping for a hunter or fisherman, a steak lover, a bread baker or a savvy collector, you must not miss a visit to this shop located at 497 East Main St.
What to Buy the Artist or Art Connoisseur….
There are art galleries that display breathtaking works that go far beyond your souvenir budget, but Multitudes Gallery is not one of them. This eclectic shop, at 723 E. Main St., retails the works of many local and regional award-winning and collectible artists, yet everything you begin to covet is actually affordable. A hand-blown wine glass, a mosaic serving plate, a fabric covered lamp, a giant metal sculptured red ant or an antique jeweled photo frame are part of an incredible collection of works that will have you asking what their shipping policy might be, for you may not have enough trunk space to take all these works of art back home with you.
So many of the artists featured in the local galleries are members and contributors to the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association, located at 420 W. Main St. The Arts Center has a wonderful collection of original works for sale, as well as prints, cards, and an art book library. If you are shopping for an aspiring artist, the center also has a wonderful selection of fine art supplies, the ideal gift to encourage someone to pursue their talents.
Shopping for the Porch Sitters can be a challenge.
Not everyone in your life wants to paint like Monet or fish for Moby Dick. Some of them just like to sit on the porch and observe Mother Nature at her finest, or read about the wonders of the world and the people who have evolved around it.
Blue Ridge Booksellers is what book stores should always be about. Allow yourself plenty of time to peruse this remarkable inventory of collectible, rare and antiquarian books for sale. In addition, there are great books that kids will love. The Booksellers, at 691 E. Main St., also has a unique inventory of militaria and maps.
One doesn’t have to be a life long member of the Audubon Society to enjoy birdwatching. When doing it from the porch, it does help to entice these feathered friends with food, lodging and a place to bathe. Blue Ridge Bird Seed Company is second to no other mercantile in this region when it comes to such an inventory. You can visit the Bird Seed Company at 611 E Main St. They are open 7 days a week.
And for the “just bring me a t-shirt” person on your list…
Well, not just any t-shirt will do, right? If you want it to say, Blue Ridge, you want to make a trip to The Blue Ridge Cotton Co. There you will be surrounded by high-quality cotton items including sweatshirts, hats, home accessories, and unique gifts. They also donate 1% of every purchase, every day, to a local charity. They are conveniently located at 550 East Main Street.
One of the first questions everyone will ask you when you return home from your cabin stay is, “did you see a bear?” We hope you have experienced a sighting or two, but to ensure that you don’t disappoint anyone, visit The Bear Store, (601 E. Main St. Suite 1) where everything is about the bears. Cute, friendly adorable and wearable ones, of course.
When you get home with your souvenir stash, we are sure you’ll be greeted with hugs of appreciation. They may also suggest you plan to bring them with you on your next visit. Here is a link to our larger cabins!