Hiking out the Back Door



When you come to the mountains, you come to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and get out in nature. So it’s important that you’re close to all the trails and outdoor adventures that Blue Ridge has to offer; www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/seven-blue-ridge-hikes.

But what if these trails were right outside your cabin doors? Step outside and start on the trails, no driving necessary! Immerse yourself in the great outdoors and get moving with access to miles worth of trails, right in your backyard.  These 6 cabins are the perfect retreat for all the outdoor lovers and hikers out there! 

Aska Adventure Lodge

This beautiful cabin is right in the heart of the Aska Adventure Area and less than 5 minutes from Toccoa River, Lake Blue Ridge, and town. Just off of the vast, wraparound porch, you’ll find yourself just steps from The Benton MacKaye Trail. Along the trail, you might run into Fall Branch Falls, Long Creek Falls, Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, and even Springer Mountain. You’re also close to many great tubing and canoeing opportunities.

After a long day on the trails, lay back and soak in the hot tub or play a game of pool in the game room. Even inside you won’t feel far from the outdoors, with themed rooms like “Trout Camp”, a bear room, and an all-around rustic, natural look throughout. Aska Adventure Lodge sleeps up to 10 people, so grab a group of your favorite hikers and get ready to adventure! 

TreeTops

Perched high on the mountain overlooking the Aska Adventure Area, this classic mountain cabin is close by to a variety of great outdoor activities! Tube down the Toccoa River, catch fish in Lake Blue Ridge, or walk down the driveway to Long Mountain Trail which connects to both the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Aska Adventure Trail, where all kinds of beautiful hikes await you!

Even enjoy a long, scenic ride on the winding Aska Road to Highway 60 and take in all the mountain views. TreeTops also has a hot tub and game room; perfect for unwinding after a busy day. You can even bring your furry friend along to join in all the fun! 

Sanctuary Summit

For a relaxing escape to the wilderness, Sanctuary Summit is your place! This newly constructed cabin, built-in 2020, sits high on a hillside overlooking the National Forest. You’ll have stunning mountain views all around and can see Lake Blue Ridge off in the distance.

Located in the Aska Adventure Area, you’ll be just steps away from all kinds of fun outdoor activities. With access to dozens of hiking trails, the beautiful Toccoa River, and so much more, you’ll basically be living outdoors for a week! And Sanctuary Summit is pet friendly as well, so be sure to bring your pup along with you on the trails

Even when you’re inside the cabin you can enjoy the great outdoors with multiple wrap-around decks and enormous windows where you can sit to watch the sunset. In the evening, you can grill out on the deck and cuddle up next to the wood-burning fireplace. And of course, this cabin has both a hot tub and a game room as well so you can unwind however you choose! Hike, relax, and escape at this wonderful cabin!

Lake View Retreat

Perfect for a small group of nature lovers, Lake View Retreat is built right into the side of the mountain with an amazing view of Lake Blue Ridge framed by the trees. Since it’s located right next to Lake Blue Ridge it’s the perfect getaway for those who’d rather be on the lake. Boat and kayak on the lake, catch lots of fish, and if it’s summertime enjoy a nice swim.

Not only is Lake View Retreat close to Lake Blue Ridge but it’s also nearby countless hiking trails and the Toccoa River, where more outdoor adventures await! After a long day at the lake or on the trails soak into one of the comfy leather couches and watch some TV by the fire. It’s also pet friendly, and has a hot tub and game room as well! Grab your closest friends and go live a week by the lake! 

Take a Hike

As its name implies Take a Hike is perfect for all the hikers out there! Located in the Cohutta Wilderness and on Mt. Pisgah, you’ll experience stunning mountain views from any of the cabin’s 3 decks and be fully immersed in nature. Right from your cabin, step on the trails and enjoy an easy hike to a waterfall, cave, and even Colonel Magnum’s memorial. Or take a quick drive to get to any of the major trails in the Cohutta Wilderness like Daily Gap, Jacks River, Benton MacKaye, and Hemptop.

Also enjoy fantastic mountain biking trails around the mountain base. And within just 20 minutes from the cabin, you’ll find fishing, boating, and rafting adventures at the Ocoee River, Lake Blue Ridge, and Fighting Town Creek. You’ll have a full day of fun and adventure in store with so many great outdoor opportunities so close by.

When your day of hiking, biking, fishing, and boating is done enjoy dinner with a view at the picnic table and rocking chairs on the back deck. You’ll get cozy by the outdoor fireplace and watch the sunset. Then after dinner is done and the sun has set, step on down to the yard for s’mores by the fire or a dip in the hot tub. This cabin was truly made for outdoor lovers and adventurers! 

The Overlook 

Last but not least on our list is the beautiful and secluded cabin, The Overlook. It gets it’s name because it overlooks the Aska Adventure Area, Lake Blue Ridge, and has panoramic mountain views. And lucky for you outdoor lovers, it’s in short walking distance to the Benton McKaye trail, which takes you to past numerous falls, rivers, and mountain hikes. Its prime location and easy access to the trails makes this cabin the ideal escape for hikers.

Even while at the cabin you can take full advantage of the great outdoors by sitting out on the deck in a rocking chair and taking in the views. Or soak in the hot tub to warm up and relax after a long day on the trails. You’ll absolutely love having your own private and secluded oasis, far away from the rest of the world! 

Schoolcation



With times being what they are many of us are working from home and doing virtual school as well. We know that constantly being cooped up in the house can get old really fast, so we invite you and the family to come escape with us!

Since everything is online anyways, who says you have to do it at your home? Bring your work and virtual school with you and come to your Blue Ridge home away from home for a change of scenery. You can still get everything accomplished but you can do it while looking at beautiful mountains or relaxing by the fire! Then after the work is finished unwind with fun activities all around Blue Ridge!

Change of Scenery 

All About the View Cabin

With over a year in these crazy times, we can all agree that we are pretty tired of being cooped up in the house all day looking at the same four walls. Plus, there is not much variation in our everyday routines. Wake up, virtual school, homework, dinner, and bedtime. It can be hard for adults to keep focused when you’re doing the same thing over and over, and it’s especially challenging for kids.

In fact, many adults and kids alike have developed mental health issues being isolated from the rest of the world and not having our regular socialization opportunities. And always trying to find new and wild ideas to keep yourself and the kids entertained is a chore in itself. We know that you and the kids still have work to do but why not do it somewhere else, like in Blue Ridge? The fresh change of scenery will be just what your family needs to feel renewed and focused once more. Getting out of the house and somewhere new can also help with mental health. It’ll be a much-needed getaway for the whole family!

Spacious Cabins

Eagles Landing Cabin

At Escape to Blue Ridge we pride ourselves on our spacious cabins that are stocked with all the best amenities. Everyone will have their own space to spread out and get their work done during the day.

Work on the back porch overlooking the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains or inside by the cozy fire or even lounging on one of the cabin’s many comfy beds. Wherever you choose to work you can be sure you won’t be distracted and will be able to fully focus on the task at hand. After school is finished, have the kids take advantage of the game room where they can play foosball, air hockey, and board games to their heart’s content. Then enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal in the beautiful, spacious kitchen. After dinner head outside for a bonfire and eat lots of s’mores! With amenities just like this and more, you and the family will be set for your stay! 

Get Outdoors 

One of the great parts about Blue Ridge, especially in these times, is it’s easy access to so many wonderful outdoor activities! After being cooped up in the house for months you’ll love a chance to get outside and breathe in the fresh mountain air.

During breaks and after school grab the family to explore countless hiking trails, rivers and streams, waterfalls, mountain peaks, and more! The possibilities are endless! Though one thing is for sure, whatever your outdoor adventures entail, you’ll enjoy escaping the world and being one with nature. That’s just the way life was meant to be lived!

After School Fun 

When the school day is done there’s lots of fun to be had in Blue Ridge for kids of all ages! Unwind and have a blast with fun activities the whole family will enjoy!

-Expedition Bigfoot
Photo Courtesy of @littlebitty87

Let the kids come face to face with none other than Bigfoot himself at Expedition BigFoot: The Sasquatch Museum.  Explore the museum to find all sorts of artifacts, life sized exhibits, photos and maps of Bigfoot sightings, the Bigfoot research and Tech Vehicle, and so much more! Not only is the museum a blast for kids but it’s educational too. It’s the perfect place for a fun filled, family outing!

-Hikes to Waterfalls & Swinging Bridge 
Photo Courtesy of @ancole78

Take advantage of the outdoors and go for a hike to one of Blue Ridge’s waterfalls or the Toccoa Swinging Bridge. They’ll love getting a chance to go outside and explore. With so many kids nowadays attached at the hip to electronics this will be the perfect opportunity to get them out and enjoying nature. Be sure to take some great family photos while you’re out hiking as well!

-Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Photo Courtesy of @chushon

Most kids simply adore trains, it’s just in their nature. So why not fulfill that love by taking them on a scenic train ride through the beautiful Blue Ridge? They’ll have an absolute blast choo-chooing along with the train as it rolls down the tracks. And if you’re visiting during the Christmas season you and the kids can even hop on a special “Santa Express” ride. There’s a reason people from far and wide love riding on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway; it’s a great experience the whole family can enjoy. 

-Lilly Pad Village 
Photo Courtesy of @ashleywilliams1224

Kids love to interact and use their hands, so the Lily Pad Village is just the place for them. There’s something for kids of all ages like gem mining, fishing, mini golf, and more! The gem mining experience is fun, interactive, and educational. Dig through the trays to find beautiful gemstones and the staff will even provide you with educational information on what you’ve found.  Your kids will come home with a full stash of rocks and gemstones!

-Mercier Orchards 

Mercier Orchards is by far one of our visitors favorite attractions. Famous for their U-Pick events your kids will get a chance to roam the orchard finding the best apples. And Mercier doesn’t just grow apples; they grow strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and peaches as well, so there’s always something tasty to pick. Also enjoy some of their delicious baked goods and meals from the bakery and market cafe. There’s nothing like a warm, fried apple pie to end the day and we dare you to not indulge on their apple cider donuts!  

-Horseback 

Another thing that kids love is horses! Not only does it teach them horsemanship, but horseback riding is a great way to build up self confidence and see the world from a new perspective. So take the kids on a horseback riding excursion through the forest, past lakes and rivers, and gaze up at the stunning mountains all around you. It’s the perfect adventure the whole family will love!

-Sweets 
Photo Courtesy of The Sweet Shoppe of the South

And every kid of course has a sweet tooth, so be sure to take them for the best desserts in town! Enjoy cakes and cookies at The Sweet Shoppe or Mona Lisa’s Dessert House. Or fudge and ice cream at The Chocolate Express. The sugar possibilities are endless and this writer’s mouth is watering just thinking about all the local sweets!

-Activity Book

Another great way to get the kids out of the house is with our Kids Activity Book! Send them on a scavenger hunt to find all kinds of outdoor items. Or have them check off a bingo box for each place they’ve visited. And even have them help Ricky the Raccoon with identifying forest creatures, counting, and more. It’s a great way to get kids learning and having fun while they do it! Stop by our Property Management offices to pick up a copy or download your own copy: www.escapetoblueridge.com/blue-ridge-georgia-activity-booklet.pdf 

10 Best Blue Ridge Photo Ops



Who doesn’t love a good photo-op? On a family trip? Take a photo. On an exciting adventure? Take a photo. An outing with your friends? Take a photo. In this modern age of social media and iPhones, photo-ops and selfies have become a part of everyday life.

Being a small town, tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains sure has its benefits. We have so many fun and unique places that you can’t find anywhere else, which make for amazing photo ops! So, we’ve comprised a list of the 10 best selfie/photo-op spots here in Blue Ridge!

Next time you escape to Blue Ridge be sure to stop by some of these famous sites and take some great photos. Be sure to share anything you take with us, we love to see how much fun you’re having and which places are your favorite!

  • Cover Photo Courtesy of @k4fish

The Wall

Photo Courtesy of Gabrielle Perlman

When visiting the area it’s a MUST to take pictures in front of the Blue Ridge wall in Downtown Blue Ridge. Located on the corner of Mountain and East First Street, this is the perfect backdrop for all your fun photo-ops! This backdrop is a fantastic representation of Blue Ridge and a great way to start off your trip. After you take the picture be sure to explore all Downtown Blue Ridge has to offer from its fantastic shops, great art scene, and its delicious restaurants!

The Bears

Photo Courtesy of Chanel Josephson

How cute are these friendly bears? Located at the entrance of the Blue Ridge Mountain Mall, this welcoming bear is a perfect addition to your photo. And after you grab the picture check out the Mountain Mall for all things antiques and collectibles!

The Bridge

Photo Courtesy of Mari Ortiz

Not only is this iconic bridge a perfect place to explore while hiking or kayaking but it’s also a great location for a photo-op! It’s become a staple of the most liked photo spots in Blue Ridge and it’s not hard to see why. The bridge over the Toccoa River is the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River, spanning 270 feet long! It’s surrounded by the beautiful Chattahoochee National Forest so there are trees all around, and at this time of year, the trees are sure to be at peak color. And with the beautiful river flowing freely down below, it really is a fantastic spot. Located on the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail in Fannin County, make sure to put this experience on your list of must-sees!

The Falls

Photo Courtesy of @ancole78

In Blue Ridge we are lucky enough to have 4 stunning waterfalls nearby; Amicalola Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Fall Branch Falls, and Long Branch Falls.  Any of these breathtaking and beautiful waterfalls are fantastic spots to take a great photo.

Amicalola Falls is the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River at 729 feet! Located in Amicalola Falls State Park, it may be a hike to get there but I promise the views are worth the trip to see this huge waterfall up close! 

Helton Creek Falls is a series of two beautiful waterfalls in the Chattahoochee National Forest of close-by Blairsville. Luckily, getting to this waterfall is a fairly easy and short hike. This gorgeous double waterfall that flows into the creek below is a sight you won’t want to miss.

Fall Branch Falls, on the Benton MacKaye Trail, is another stunning double waterfall. With a 30+ foot drop, the water drops into a deep pool at the base of the waterfall; perfect for swimming in warm weather. It’s another short hike to this waterfall but is also fairly steep, the views are worth the uphill battle though!

And last but not least we have Long Branch Falls on the Appalachian/Benton MacKaye Trail. This beautiful waterfall rushes over the surrounding boulders and cliffs and drops about 50 feet. This is another fairly easy hike, only 30 minutes uphill. 

The Bald

Courtesy of Brasstown Bald

The views from on top of Brasstown Bald are completely out of this world beautiful! It’s the highest mountain peak in all of Georgia, and from the observation tower, you can see 4 different states at once! It truly is a sight to behold. Since the elevation is so high, you can even see the clouds over the mountains, which always takes my breath away!

Coke & a Smile

Another great backdrop for your pictures is the Coca-Cola wall, which is also located in Downtown Blue Ridge. Located at the end of East Main Street on the side of the Fly Fishing shop, it’s the perfect backdrop for both Coke and Blue Ridge lovers alike. Get a couple of friends, grab the shot, and share a coke with Blue Ridge!

The Orchard 

Photo Courtesy of Kendra Mae

Mercier Orchard is the largest apple orchard in the southeast and one of the most popular places to visit while in Blue Ridge. With so much fun to be had from picking fruit, to shopping, and gobbling up their delish bakery treats, it’s a great place to take the family! Throughout the orchard, there are so many places to take awesome pictures, but by far the most popular spot is the entrance. Nothing screams Blue Ridge like standing in front of the sign of one its most popular attractions! 

For Husbands 

Photo Courtesy of @Ancole78

How funny is this!? Having the husband take a photo in front of this sign would be a hilarious and fun memory. The “Husband Daycare Center” is actually the Black Bear Bier Garten, which is a German bar and pub. Take a fantastic photo in front of the sign and then head inside for some great German fare! 

The Tree & The Train

We couldn’t possibly leave the famous “tree” off the list! Located at the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, this tree shows off its stunning colors every fall. It’s become one of the most photographed things in Blue Ridge during the fall season because you just can’t beat those stunning colors! After you take a photo (or 10) in front of Blue Ridge’s famous tree, be sure to snap some of the train before you hitch a ride on the scenic railway for even more beautiful sights!

GA/TN Line

Photo Courtesy of Dan Blankowski

How many times can you say you’ve been in two places at once? Or even two states at once? Probably not very often! But you CAN be in two places at once and snag a great picture if you visit the twin cities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN. Here is the sign between the two states that is sure to provide you with all kinds of fun photos!

Escape To Blue Ridge

Our property management offices located at 1844 Old Hwy 76 is a perfect place to stop in, pick up a Kid’s Activity Book and get your photo taken with our holiday trees! Who says trees are just for Christmas anyway? We love celebrating all the holidays with our seasonal tree!

2021 Blue Ridge Bucket List



To say that 2020 has been a hard year would be an understatement. This year has been so incredibly hard on many families all over the world. That’s why we want to help make 2021 the best year yet! We all deserve a little happiness and fun after a year like this. So we’ve created a 2021 bucket list of 10 activities to do in Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas. Let’s make 2021 the best year, mountain style! 

Explore a Waterfall

Photo Courtesy of @willsbeenhere

Fall Branch Falls, and Long Branch Falls are located here in Blue Ridge and Amicalola Falls and Helton Creek Falls are pretty close by! Just the hike to these falls alone is a great experience, but when you finally arrive you’ll be blown away by the beauty of it all. The whole family (dogs included) will love exploring around the falls and relaxing by the waterside. And be sure to grab a couple of great photos before you head back! Each of the Blue Ridge area waterfalls are so unique and beautiful it will be hard to pick just one, so we won’t blame you if you need to explore all of them! 

Jump on the Swinging Bridge 

Photo Courtesy of Audrey Dre Spears

The Swinging Bridge over the Tococca River has become a kind of landmark for Blue Ridge. Located on the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail in Fannin County, this bridge is an experience you won’t want to miss. Spanning 270 feet long, this makes it the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi. When you walk the bridge look down below and keep an eye out for kayakers floating down the peaceful river. 

Eat Local

Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill

Downtown Blue Ridge is home to many fantastic local restaurants. The whole street is filled with shops and restaurants, so it’s the perfect place to go for a afternoon or night out. Spend the day shopping and then stop by a restaurant for a bite to eat after a long day. Try the Black Sheep and get their famous “Black Sheep Burger” or stop by Bin 322 for wine and tapas. Then there’s Chester’s serving rustic American food or the Rum Cake Lady serving Cuban style food. And if you have a sweet tooth check out Mona Lisa’s Dessert House for everything from cakes and pies to cookies and dessert martinis. With so many dining options to chose from it might be hard to pick just one, but we assure you they are all delicious. And no one said you have to only chose one, right? 

Ride the Mountain Coaster

Have you ever ridden a rollercoaster through the mountains? Well, now you can! Take a little road trip to our friends in Helen, Georgia, and hop on the Georgia Mountain Coaster, the first alpine coaster in Georgia. Whizz past beautiful mountains and forests at whatever speed you’d like because YOU control the speed! You’ll even pass by ruins that are over 100 years old! It’s not often you can say that you went on an alpine coaster and that you even controlled the speed, so what are you waiting for? Stop by for a once in a lifetime, family fun experience! 

Hike to the Highest Peak in Georgia

Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Bald

The views from the top of Brasstown Bald are a must see! You can see 3 different states all at once, from the observation tower at the top. Brasstown Bald is the highest mountain peak in Georgia so it’s quite the hike but the views at the top are so worth it! And think of how accomplished you’ll feel knowing you made the hike. When you push yourself the rewards are all the greater!

Hunt Big Foot

To many in this neck of the woods, Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch, Yowie and Yedi) isn’t just a 20th-century folk legend. The first recorded sighting of him here in Fannin County was June 26, 1873. Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest has long been known as a hotbed for Bigfoot activity amongst the Bigfoot research community. If taking a hike out into the forest after the sun sets, night vision glasses in place, to snap your photo op with Bigfoot is too much effort, don’t let that deter you from finding out all you can about him. While here in Blue Ridge, plan to visit EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum, located just east of the city. This museum may have you giggling on the way in the door, but you will leave with a new appreciation for your next walk in the woods. You’ll discover why Bigfooters from around the globe make the pilgrimage to Blue Ridge just to explore this museum and its many relics.

Cheers to Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge is home to some amazing wineries, breweries, and distilleries. So grab your friends and drink your way around town! For wineries check out Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards, both right here in Blue Ridge. If you’re up for more of a road trip than be sure to check out Cartecay Vineyards in Ellijay and Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris. All of these wineries have not only delicious wines but beautiful mountain views as well.

For beer try Grumpy Old Men Brewing, Fannin Brewing Company, Copperhill Brewery, and Buck Bald Brewing. Any of these breweries will provide you with excellent and delicious craft brews. And for hard liquors try out Grandaddy Mimm’s Moonshine Distillery. The moonshine is crafted from Jack Mimm McClure’s original 1930’s recipe. Every place is filled with great drinks, great service, and a relaxing environment so you can’t go wrong. Bring your friends and you’ll be sure to have a blast! 

Take a Helicopter Tour 

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Helicopter Tours

How often can you say that you took a helicopter tour over the North Georgia Mountains of Blue Ridge? Drop by Blue Ridge Helicopter Tours to get your tickets to soar above the mountains and clouds. The scenic views you will get from up above are out of this world beautiful! There’s absolutely nothing like it. 

Zip Through the Mountains

Photo Courtesy of Explore Georgia

If you’re the adventurous type than look no further than Blue Ridge Adventure Park. Clip in and find yourself way above the ground as you navigate through ropes courses and zipline. It will challenge you both mentally and physically as you try to make your way through the course. With 3 levels of suspended bridges and tightropes ranging from 15 to 50 feet in the air, you’re sure to be in for an exciting challenge. Blue Ridge Adventure Park is the perfect destination for all you thrill seekers out there! 

Book the Perfect Mountain Escape 

Leatherwood Lodge

After a year like 2020 we all need to getaway and get out of our house! There’s no better place to escape than Blue Ridge. Get outside, enjoy the fresh mountain air, and go on the adventure of a lifetime! Grab your favorite people and book your Escape to Blue Ridge for the most perfect mountain escape! We all need a little escape every now and then! 

It’s time to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021! Watch 2020 disappear in your rearview mirror and look forward to all that lies ahead in 2021. A big thank you to everyone who helped make 2020 a great year for us, despite the circumstances. We’re so grateful for each and every one of you! Now let’s head into the new year and make it the best one yet! From all of us at Escape to Blue Ridge, have a very Happy New Year! 

Top 5 Scenic Fall Drives



Fall is finally here! And that means taking the more scenic route, to enjoy all the beautiful fall foliage that Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas have to offer. Here are our 5 favorite scenic roads to drive this fall that will provide you with the best views and a variety of fun stops along the way that the whole family will enjoy!

Suches

Preachers Rock courtesy of The Hobson Homestead

A drive through Suches, on Highway 60, has to be one of the most beautiful drives through Blue Ridge’s countryside!  It is one of the most elevated areas in the state of Georgia, approaching 3,000 feet above sea level, which is why many people call it “The Valley Above the Clouds”.  It’s such a beautiful place that, up until recent years, the Tour of Georgia bicycle race went directly through Suches and onto Dahlongea. Suches is completely surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest so there are many fantastic hiking trails and pit stops to make. If you’re up for a little adventure there’s the Swinging Bridge over the Toccoa River. It’s the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River at 270 feet long! It’s the perfect place to hike or even kayak down the river. Nearby is also Preacher’s Rock, a great place to hike and catch some stunning views. 

Cohutta Wilderness

Jacks River Falls Trail in the Cohutta Wilderness courtesy of Atlanta Trails

We couldn’t make this list without a trip through the beautiful Cohutta Wilderness! The Cohutta Wilderness is the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi taking up over 40,000 acres of land. They also make up a part of the oldest mountain chain in the world, running all the way from Fannin County to the Tennessee and North Carolina borders. For the best views take Highway 5, which will lead you through the Cohuttas and be surrounded by fall beauty all around! Make sure to take a pitstop at Mercier Orchards to pick up some fresh apples and enjoy fun for the whole family. And be sure to check out the historic site of Prater’s Mill, a pre-civil war building and continued working mill.  

Cherohala Skyway

Cherohala Skyway photograph by Mike Waller

Cherohala Skyway passes through Tennessee and parts of North Carolina, but we assure you it’s worth the drive. It’s a 43 mile long National Scenic Byway and National Forest Scenic Byway, passing through both Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests which gives the road its name Chero-Hala. While on the drive be sure to make a stop at Bald River Falls. It’s a beautiful, 90-foot waterfall and a great place to take some awesome pictures. Another great stop is located in Tellico Plains, TN; The Charles Hall Museum and Visitor Center. The museum features many antiques from Charles Hall who was a local businessman and resident of Tellico Plains. From old photographs, guns, telephone equipment, and other historic artifacts there’s sure to be something fun and interesting for the whole family!

Ocoee Scenic Byway

Chilhowee view courtesy of Jim Caldwell

Ocoee Scenic Byway is another Tennessee road filled with stunning mountain views, rock peaks, Lake Ocoee, and the Cherokee National Forest. The area is also filled to the brim with Civil War and Cherokee Indian historic sites. One historic site to check out on your drive is the Old Copper Road. Originally, the road was used to transport copper ore from Copperhill and Ducktown to Clevland, TN. They moved the copper by horse-drawn wagons and once they reached Cleveland the copper was then transported by train all the way to Richmond, VA and Birmingham, AL. The copper transported here was the main source of copper for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The original Old Copper Road has now been rehabilitated into a hiking trail at Ocoee Whitewater Center. The river at the Ocoee Whitewater Center was even the site of the canoe and kayak competition in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games!

Highway 180

Hwy 180 courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Highway 180 connects with Georgia’s only national scenic drive, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Drive. You’ll circle around the Chattahoochee National Forest on this road and have a front row seat to all the trees changing colors.  If you follow highway 180 for about 12 miles you’ll reach Brasstown Bald, which has the highest elevation in the whole state of Georgia. Make sure to check out the observation tower where you’ll have a view of 3 different states at once! Hop back on 180 and pass through Helen, GA where you can stop at Habersham Vineyards & Winery, one of Georgia’s oldest and largest wineries. Relax for a bit and enjoy a refreshing glass of one of their award winning wines. Also in Helen, GA be sure to check out The Georgia Mountain Coaster. It’s the first alpine roller coaster in Georgia and a quick ride on it will be sure to be a thrilling experience!

These roads are the perfect trip to enjoy the views and the vibrant colors that the mountains have to offer. So grab your family, fill up your tank, and keep the windows rolled down for an awesome trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains this fall! And please share your photos with us. We love to see them!

TOP 20 THINGS TO DO IN BLUE RIDGE FOR 2020



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

1. EAT BLACK-EYED PEAS & COLLARD GREENS

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

2. WALK THE LINE

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

3. HIT THE LINKS

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

4. ENJOY LIFE ON THE LAKE

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

5. SADDLE UP & RIDE

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

6. TAKE IN A FESTIVAL OR 5

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

7. FLY FISH IN THE TROUT CAPITAL OF GEORGIA

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

8. WALK IN THE WOODS

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

9. GET IN THE “SPIRIT”

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

10. HUNT FOR BIG FOOT

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

11. SWING INTO THE NEW YEAR

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

12. CHASE WATERFALLS

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

13. CHOO CHOO

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

14. DRIVE IN

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

15. FAIRY CROSS & TRAIL TREES

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

16. HIT THE RAPIDS

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

17. RELAX

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

18. TAKE IN A SHOW

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

19. SCENIC DRIVES

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

20. BOOK AN ESCAPE TO BLUE RIDGE

Eagles Landing

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

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

Blue Ridge Bucket List



Top 10 Things To Do In Blue Ridge For 2019

As we ring in the New Year, 365 opportunities await you to get out and explore the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Here are a few of our favorite ideas to enjoy your 2019 Escape to Blue Ridge!

1. Eat Collard Greens & Black-Eyed Peas

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

2. Experience the Lake Life

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.

3. Take in a Festival or 5

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

4. Fly fish in the Trout Capital of Georgia

Brown trout, rainbow trout, and native trout are abundant in our freshwater mountain streams. Stop by and see 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.

5. Wine, Beer and Hard Cider, Oh My!

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

6. Jump on the Swinging Bridge

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!

7. Get wet at Fall Branch Falls

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.

8. Come on Ride That Train

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

9. Find a Fairy Cross

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.

10. Book an Escape to Blue Ridge

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!

Fall in Love with Blue Ridge



Fall took a little longer than usual to arrive this year, but as soon as we had our first frost, BAM, the colors started popping! Now everywhere you look you can find brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows. So, grab your favorite boots and cozy sweater and Escape to Blue Ridge for leaf peeping at its best!

3 Falls and a Car

The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a nationally designated Scenic Byway that is 40.64 miles in length and makes a loop through the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest.  Beginning in Blairsville take Hwy 129 South towards Blood Mountain. Turn left on Hwy 180 then right onto Hwy 348 – The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway. Along the way, you will pass Hatchet Creek Road that leads to Helton Creek Falls. Stop and enjoy both the Upper and Lower falls. The hike is short and easy, less than a mile long and super rewarding!

Continue up the mountain passing Tesnatee Gap, home to the original Old Logan Turnpike Trail. Just around the bend you’ll find Hogpen Gap which has an amazing overlook and picture-perfect opportunities. If you are up for a more challenging waterfall hike, Hwy 348 passes right by the trail-head for Raven Cliff Falls. While Raven Cliff is one of Georgia’s most popular waterfalls, be prepared to take a 2.5-mile journey through the woods.

The last waterfall opportunity on your travels down the Russell-Brasstown Byway is at Dukes Creek Falls. A happy medium between Helton Creek and Raven Cliff, Dukes Creek Falls is a two mile round-trip hike. Passing several small falls along the way, you’ll be rewarded at the end of the trail with a 150 foot, multi-tiered waterfall.  The Russell-Brasstown byway dead ends into Hwy 75 which will take you into the Alpine Village of Helen, Georgia.

See 4 States

The Southern Highroads Trail can be traveled in its entirety or in sections.  This very scenic route travels through four national forests (Chattahoochee, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Sumter) and four states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia).  Enjoy shopping, dining, entertainment and outdoor activities in all 13 counties the route passes through.

Another way to see four states without all the mileage is to visit the top of Brasstown Bald. The approach to the Bald is worth the car ride alone. Turning onto Hwy 180 from Hwy 129 South in Blairsville, travel approx. 9 miles to Spur 180. Wind yourself up the mountain and be cautious of the hairpin turns, they’re liable to take your breath. Once you get to the top parking area, you still have another mile to go to reach the highest peak in Georgia at 4,784 feet above sea level! You can choose to hike the steep summit trail or take a shuttle bus up to the top. Either way, you will enjoy a breathtaking 360 degree view of four states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia) from the observation deck. Inside you’ll find a museum featuring Georgia and Native American History. It is even said that you can see the Atlanta skyline on a clear day from the top of the Bald!

An Adventure

Just on the other side of downtown Blue Ridge, you’ll find the outdoor adventure area of the Aska Trail Systems. Here you can hike, fish, bike, and leaf peep. Being that Blue Ridge is the Trout Capital of Georgia, access to the Toccoa River is just off Aska Road. If you get hungry the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is ready to serve you fresh trout, a top sirloin or a plethora of sandwich and salad options. They even have a full Pooch Porch Goodies menu featuring canine cuisines for Fido!

Whether you are biking or hiking, you can choose from strenuous to moderate trails. Our favorite is the hike down to Fall Branch Falls. This is a short half mile, family friendly hike that follows the Benton MacKaye Trail and ends at one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Georgia. The trail is mildly challenging, and the path is mostly uphill, but it is definitely worth the effort! As you approach you will hear the roar of the falls get louder as you near the multi-tiered falls. Notice a short side trail and take this down to the observation deck.

Pinnacle of Beauty

If you really want a mountain experience, you need to take the back roads and experience the simple life we enjoy here in the mountains. Take Highway 60 towards Dahlonega. Start your trip off right with a wine tasting at the picturesque Serenberry Vineyards. When you’ve built up your nerves of steel you can test your balance on the Swinging Bridge. This 270-foot-long suspension bridge is the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River!

Continue down highway 60 to Georgia’s best secret, Suches, or the Valley Above the Clouds. At 3k feet above sea level, the Suches area provides a stunning view of picture perfect landscapes and glorious mountain views. Here you’ll also find the smallest public school in Georgia educating children from Kindergarten through 12th grade all in one building.

Take Hwy 180 to Lake Winfield Scott. This secret hideaway is a recreation area in the Chattahoochee National Forest. With a beautiful lake as the centerpiece, Winfield Scott beckons you to get out of the car, stretch your legs and take in the untouched beauty of this special part of Georgia. Continue down Hwy 180 with its hairpin turns and lush forest to Vogel State Park, Gerogia’s most beloved State Park. Here you can enjoy the beauty of Lake Trahlyta and take a short walk down to Trahlyta Falls.

Legend Has It

So interesting fact, Lake Trahlyta was named after a Cherokee Indian Princess.  Vogel State Park is located at the base of Blood Mountain where the Native Americans fought many years ago. They say that Slaughter Creek, which runs adjacent to Blood Mountain ran red for 3 days with all the blood that was shed. Lake Winfield Scott, just above, Vogel and Lake Trahlyta, was named after the General that led the Indians out on the Trail of Tears. You can take the full Suches loop around and pass by Trahlyta’s grave which is the rock pile at Stonepile Gap. Legend has it that if you stop and place a rock on Trahlyta’s grave, you too can be as young and happy as she once was.

Photo of Lake Winfield Scott courtesy of Gene Crawford.