There’s no better time to hit the trails than on a beautiful spring day! The weather is absolutely perfect this time of year for a stroll through nature. Temperatures are mild, the forests are lush with greenery and flowers, and the water may be a little chilly but it can be a refreshing way to cool off after a long day of hiking. From trails just a little over a mile to challenging, multi-mile hikes there’s the perfect route for everyone.
And what do you hope to see on your journey? Peaceful babbling brooks, a tall rushing waterfall, a unique swinging bridge that dangles over the waters of the Toccoa River, or views as far as the eye can see? Blue Ridge has miles and miles of trails with everything and more to offer! So bring along your friends, family, and your favorite pup too, and get ready to explore the great outdoors! Discover the best trail for your group here: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/8-blue-ridge-hiking-trails/
Ride the Rails
Spring means that train rides are back at Blue Ridge Scenic Railway! Running from March 5th to late December the train is a favorite Blue Ridge activity. You’ll fly past mountains, rivers, and farmlands as you ride through the beautiful countryside of North Georgia. For a short and sweet adventure, take the 2-hour scenic ride but if you are looking to make the trip an all-day event why not go for the 4-hour ride? On the longer ride you’ll have a 2-hour layover in the charming sister cities McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN. Stand in two states at once on the Georgia/Tennessee border that lies between the two cities. Go for a quick shopping spree or grab a bite to eat. Then hop back on the train for another scenic journey back to Blue Ridge. Tickets are available online: https://brscenic.com/tickets/
Family-Friendly Outdoor Fun
The kids are off of school for spring break and there’s no better way to celebrate than with some family fun in the great outdoors! One of our favorite spots for family-friendly activities is at The Lily Pad Village. One of their biggest attractions is their gem mining experience. The kiddos will love sifting through the dirt to find their own beautiful gemstones. The staff is friendly and are always ready to explain to the little ones what they’ve discovered. Not only is this experience educational but it’s also fun & rewarding because the kids can leave with a bag full of goodies.
On top of gem mining, Lily Pad Village also has fishing and mini-golf, so the fun times can last all day long! Another great outdoor activity the whole family will enjoy is horseback riding! You can go on a relaxing trail ride through the forests of North Georgia and become best friends with your horse along the way. Cowgirl Up Stables is great for new riders and Appalachian Trail Rides is always a wonderful choice as well. Giddy on up and bring the whole family along to explore Georgia on horseback!
Spring at the Orchards
Mercier Orchards may be known for their apples but there’s more to them than that! The orchards are incredibly beautiful during the spring because the peach and apple blossoms are in full bloom! On weekends, you can take a farm tour to learn more about Merciers and see the blossoms up close, it really is quite a sight. Pay them a visit in May for strawberry season! Pick the biggest strawberries you can find and turn them into your own delicious strawberry pie or eat them straight from the plant! Recover from your strawberry hunting with a refreshing glass of hard cider or wine, made right at Merciers. And before you leave, shop in the market for all kinds of goodies to bring home with you, and be sure to pick yourself up a fried pie from the cafe too!
Sometimes you need a heart-pumping adventure! If you like to be dozens of feet in the air then we have just the thing for you! Navigate a challenging ropes course high up in the air at Blue Ridge Adventure Park. You’ll have 4 aerial courses to choose from with obstacles and challenges that range from moderate to extremely difficult. Make your way back to solid ground on the 125+ foot long zipline! Are you up for the challenge?
If you are all about the zipline and would rather skip the ropes course then check out Zip Line Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge. You’ll zip through the trees on over 6,000 feet of cables. You’ll feel like you’re flying as your soar past the Blue Ridge Mountains. Get ready for an adventure like no other at these two great spots!
If you’re into mountain biking Blue Ridge is just the place for it! Weave through the winding mountain trails, with the wind in your face, and the trees zipping past. A few of our favorite trails for a ride are Jackrabbit Mountain, Bear Creek Trail, and Stanley Gap. Learn more about mountain biking in Blue Ridge here: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/11-memorable-mountain-biking-trails/
In Blue Ridge, we are known as the trout capital of Georgia so you’d be remiss not to head to the waters with a fishing pole in hand! Not only is the weather perfect for a day on the water but the trout supply is abundant in the spring. Our favorite spots to fish are on the Toccoa River or at the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery.
If you’re an experienced fisher then, by all means, get out on the water and do your thing but if you need a little extra assistance that’s no problem we’ve got you covered! A few of our favorite fish-loving teams are Cohutta Fishing Company, Blue Ridge Fly Fishing School, and Noontootla Creek Farms. Take your pick but all of these teams will give you the proper guidance and techniques to help you become a fishing expert! Looking for more fishing fun? Don’t miss the Blue Ridge Trout Festival on April 30th!
Nothing says spring like a delicious picnic with your family! We think one of the most beautiful spots for a picnic is at Morganton Point beside Lake Blue Ridge. Set up at one of the picnic tables or spread your blanket out on the grass and enjoy your feast as you gaze out on the waters of Lake Blue Ridge.
For more waterside spots check out the Toccoa River Park to listen to the calming sounds of the river rushing by. You can even picnic in our Downtown City Park, just pick up some to-go from one of your favorite restaurants downtown and enjoy it in the warm sunshine. Or have your picnic premade for you and eat among the apple trees with Deep Roots Orchard’s picnic special at $27 a person. Wherever you choose to picnic you’ll be in the great outdoors and able to enjoy the beautiful spring weather!
Take in a Festival
Spring in Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas have so many great events worth checking out! Here’s just a few of our favorites:
The Blue Ridge Trout and Outdoor Adventures Festival: This year’s annual event takes place April 30th in our Downtown City Park. With all-new tents and exhibits, this year will be the best one yet! You can learn all about fishing, hiking, paddling, rock climbing, and more. Plus there will be plenty of craft beer, food, and music.
Easter Egg Hunt: Easter weekend will have lots of holiday activities happening around town. On Saturday, April 16th pay Deep Roots Orchard a visit for a day of Easter fun! There will be picnics, soup bean tastings, live music, blossom tours, food, a professional photographer for family portraits at the orchard, and of course an Egg Hunt! Also on Saturday is the Zoo Groovy Yard Art Easter Egg Hunt! With over 1,000 eggs hidden there will be plenty to go around! Mercier Orchards also typically hosts an Easter Egg Hunt as well. And stay tuned to our social media pages for more Easter events happening around the area!
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds events: Take a day trip over to Hiawassee, GA where they have a great line-up of events happening all spring long! They will have concerts featuring country artists Justin Moore, Chris Janson, Josh Turner, and Scotty McCreery. Every weekend from April 22nd-May 22nd you can be one with nature at the Rhododendron Festival. Stock up on all kinds of goodies at the Mile Long Yard Sale or admire cool cars at the Memory Lane Classic Car Show. Drink wine in the gardens at the 1st ever Hiawassee Highlands Wine Festival. And end your spring with a Rodeo on Memorial Day weekend. Learn more about Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds great upcoming spring events & get your tickets here: https://georgiamountainfairgrounds.com/localevents
Spring Arts in the Park: Finish out your spring Memorial Day weekend (May 28th & 29th) by admiring beautiful art in Downtown Blue Ridge featuring over 175+ artists. This is the 46th year that Spring Arts in the Park has brought so many talented artists to Blue Ridge for such a great event!
No matter your spring break plans we’re happy to provide you with the perfect cabin to call home for a few days. Our cabins are not only comfortable and accommodating, but there’s fun for everyone with game rooms, hot tubs, fire pits, and more. Let us be your home base for all your spring adventures!
With Independence Day nearly here and other summer events on the way, July is shaping up to be a fun-filled month! Get out on the water, see some live bands, or watch some fireworks; whatever your July plans are be sure to enjoy the summer with all your loved ones and as always Escape to Blue Ridge for the best mountain getaway!
Picnic beneath the apple trees all through spring and summer at Deep Roots Orchard! Bring your closest friends and family to relax under the trees. Deep Root’s will provide you with everything you need; the picnic basket, blanket, and food. All you need to bring is your wonderful self! Be sure to check out Deep Roots other group experiences like the “Special Occasion Picnic” and “Food, Folic, and Flow”. Prices start at $27 per person; call 706-492-7753 to book your picnic today!
If you love a great glass of bourbon, a plate full of barbecue and awesome music then Fightingtown Tavern has just what you need! From 5pm – 9pm enjoy bourbon tastings of 8 different, delicious bourbons. And enjoy some great BBQ and Blues music. It’s $50 per person and all the proceeds go to Freedom for Fido. It’ll be a wonderful night and for a wonderful cause!
Partake in a fun run every Thursday night at 6pm from now till July 29th. You’ll leave from the Burra Burra, and the 3.1 mile run will take you by the Toccoa river and through town. You’ll get to run through 2 states and cross the famous steel bridge! After the run stay for drinks at the Burra Burra overlooking the Toccoa River. Don’t walk, RUN to this great event!
Every Thursday night at 6:00pm, May-September visit Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville, GA for live music and picnicking by the Toccoa River. Picnic tables are available but feel free to bring a picnic blanket and lawn chair as well. Admission is free so bring the whole family to enjoy!
Looking for something to keep your kids busy and entertained this summer? Sign them up for the Summer Youth Arts Camp! The Art Center offers three weeks of full day camp with wonderful art classes like clay, painting, and much more! Chose to sign your child up for one week or all three! Your creative and artistic child will come home with new skills and techniques and an even greater love for art in no time!
For award winning wine, live music, and food truck Bear Claw Vineyards is the place for you! Join them every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for live music and food trucks. Kids and dogs are welcome too! The live music schedule for each weekend is shared on their website each Thursday so be sure to check back!
Head on over to to Tooney’s Music & Bar in McCaysville, GA right by the Ocoee River for a night of fun! Select Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm – 11pm you can enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer and listen to some of the best live music that McCaysville has to offer! Want to do some of your own singing? Every Thursday night is open mic night from 6pm – 10pm; so, grab the mic and show off those singing chops! And for a 4th of July special event enjoy an all day Woolybooger Album Release Party from 12pm – 10pm. Nights are always filled with good drinks and music at Tooney’s Music & Bar!
July 2nd: Jess Goggans Band with Woolybooger and the Ragtime Drifters July 3rd: Hayden Coffman with special guest Mason Parker July 4th: Woolybooger Album Release Party July 9th: Jadie Lee & Gabe Myers July 24th: Throttle 21 July 31st: ShuffleJunkies
Where else can you find regional wines from all over the world, tapas and other delicious international platters, and live music!? At Bin 322 Wine & Tapas Bar! Drop by Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm – 9pm to enjoy live music from local artists and choose from their great wine selection. And on Monday nights from 6pm – 8pm join in on SINGO, music style bingo! There’s always fun to be had at Bin 322!
July 2nd: Loose Shoes Duo July 3rd: Vibe July 9th: Second Helping July 10th: Robbie Litt July 16th: Rusted Melody July 17th: Heidi Pollyea and Johanna Millin July 23rd: Gabe Myers and Jadie Lee July 30th: Surrender Hill July 31st: Gypsy Mountain Music
Relax on the shores of Lake Blue Ridge from the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at Lake Blue Ridge Marina. There you’ll have a beautiful view of the lake, delicious entrees and cocktails, and live music on the weekends! Live music is 6pm – 9pm Fridays and Saturday and 1pm – 4pm Sundays. You’ll feel relaxed and renewed in no time!
July 2nd: Barefoot Boone July 4th: Our Way Band July 9th: Danny Rhea July 10th: Travis Bowlin July 11th: Lindsay Beth Harper July 16th: Travis Bowlin July 17th: Buck & Oz July 18th: David Welch July 23rd: Danny Rhea July 24th: Gregg Erwin July 25th: Gerry Herndon
Visit the winery at the beautiful Paradise Hills hidden in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The tasting room offers Paradise Hills wine, a selection of craft beers, hard cider, and wine slushies as well as cheese and charcuterie boards, tapas, and shared platters. You can enjoy your drinks and snacks as you listen to local artists perform select Fridays from 4pm – 8pm and select Saturdays from 1pm – 5pm.
Misty Mountain Hops is a music-centric restaurant and pub so it’s only fitting that they bring in live music. Stop on by Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm – 9pm now till July 10th for great food and great live music from local artists!
July 2nd: The Orange Walls Duo July 3rd: Mattie Lane July 9th: Paul Constantine July 10th: Quinn Leach
Blue Coyote is officially back open and ready to be back with events! Stop by July 2nd from 7:30pm – 10:30pm for live music from Slickfoot. As always enjoy some great food while you listen in. And karaoke is every Tuesday from 7:30pm – 10:30pm.
Spend time with some cute alpacas at Lasso the Moon Alpaca farm. There will also be snacks and fiber arts demonstrations. Lasso Moon is offering 3 tours a day and to register for a time slot visit their event page here: https://farmfeltandglass.com/farm-studio-open-house/
Bring the family to Hiawassee, GA for the night for an open-air night artisan market. The market goes from 5pm – 10pm and will be filled with live music, food trucks, fresh produce, games, and art. This monthly market is great for some outdoor family fun!
Check out the Bulletproof band at Crane Creek Vineyards from 7pm – 10:30pm. They’re a dance/party band so be ready to dance the night away! Admission is free and there will also be some great food options as well!
Walk the Line 5K is America’s only 5K that crosses two states! Starting at 6:30pm you’ll run through the charming twin cities of Copperhill,TN and McCaysville, GA, pass by the Toccoa River, and cross the steel bridge! Before and after the run stay for food, drinks, and music at the Riverwalk Shops. The stick around for the Copper Basin fireworks later that night!
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is offering a Firework Special train. The train will depart from Blue Ridge at 7:00pm and make it’s way to the twin cities of Copperhill,TN and McCaysville, GA for a fireworks display. Sit outside the train and watch the beautiful fireworks light up the night sky. After the show hop back on the train and return to Blue Ridge by 11pm. You won’t want to miss out on this special train event.
Food, fun, and fireworks await you at the Copper Basin Fireworks show. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and the whole family to join in the fun! The fireworks start at promptly 9:30pm and go till around 10:30pm. You can see the fireworks from anywhere downtown. Come on out for a special night to celebrate America’s birthday!
Drop by the Historic L&N Depot for a fundraiser to benefit the Tri-State Model Railroaders and the Historic Mineral Bluff Depot! You’ll embark on a 5-mile round-trip ride by Railroad Motor Car. When you’re done you can even take a ride on a genuine Railroad Hand Car. And there’s plenty of fun activities for children of all ages to enjoy as well! Be sure to check out the inside of the Depot before you leave to learn all about L&N railroads. Donations are welcome!
Stop on by and enjoy a selection of Appalachian grown or made fresh vegetables and goods! Every Saturday from 8:30am – 1:00pm now till September 25th!
Downtown Market Blue Ridge July 3rd – July 31st Location: 400 West Main Street
Enjoy this wonderful market every Saturday from 8:00am – 12:00pm now till November (weather permitting) right in the heart of Downtown Blue Ridge! There will be all kinds of vendors offering food, artisan goods, arts & crafts, furniture, and more!
On Sundays from 11am – 3pm enjoy live music and a delicious brunch at The Black Sheep in Downtown Blue Ridge. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere that is dog friendly and take advantage of the brunch drink specials!
Sip on delicious wine surrounded by the North Georgia Mountains! Enjoy live music Saturdays & Sundays from 1:30pm – 5:30pm. Listen to the music of local artists while enjoying your wine outside either on the Chimney Patio or the Tasting Barn’s covered porch. Live music, good wine, and beautiful mountain scenery; it doesn’t get much better than that!
July 3rd: Timothy O’Donovan July 4th: Travis Bowlin July 10th: Brett Cantrell July 11th: Rick Stone July 17th: Rusted Melody July 18th: Sarah Forde July 24th: Lindsay Beth Harper July 25th: Ryan LittleEagle July 31st: Jorge Valenzuela
Stop by Grumpy Old Men Brewery Fridays from 3pm – 6pm and Saturdays 4pm – 7pm for great drinks, great music, and a great time. With indoor and outdoor seating available you can even bring your dog to join in the fun! Enjoy a delicious hotdog from Jeff’s Hotdog’s while you listen to some fantastic local artists!
July 3rd: The Orange Walls Duo July 9th: Lindsay Beth Harper July 16th: Doctor Paul July 18th: Sean Bulow July 24th: Hayden Miles
Bring your family, friends and pets to Hiawassee Square ever Saturday night at 7pm for some great live music! There will be chips, hot dogs, and sodas available to purchase as well. Relax for the evening and listen to some incredible local artists!
Head on over to the Lake Nottely Marina in Blairsville for their annual Independence Day Boat Parade. Have a boat? Join in the lineup starting at 10:30am. There’s no charge to enter your boat and you may decorate it however you’d like! Then at 11:30am the boats will pass by and all can enjoy in the beautiful parade!
Join us at Lake Blue Ridge for the annual fireworks show! The fireworks start at 9:30pm and last till about 10:30pm. The best places to view the show are from the Morganton Point Recreation Area, from a boat in Lake Blue Ridge near the Lake Blue Ridge Dam, from the Lake Blue Ridge Marina, or from the Lake Blue Ridge Dam. It’s sure to be a great and festive night!
Head over to Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee for great music and fireworks! The Vintage Vixens will be performing from 6pm – 8:30pm and the firework show will start at 9:45pm. It’s a family friendly event and there’s plenty of room for everyone!
Be at peace on Old Toccoa Farm for a yoga class by the river! Christie Gribble will be teaching an all levels vinyasa flow class at 9am on a flat grassy area, tucked away from the golf course. Bring any mat and props you’d like and if you don’t have any email Christie at email@example.com.
Throughout summer be sure to visit the Riverwalk Shops in McCaysville on the second Saturday of each month. The shops will be open late that night! There will be fun shopping, great dining, free gifts, and special offers. For a fun late night shopping experience this event is for you!
The Odd Couple July 15th – July 31st Location: Blue Ridge Community Theater
Blue Ridge Community Theater is putting on the classic comedy The Odd Couple! The play follows a clean freak and a slob who decide to live together with hilarious results. Shows are Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. The show runs now till August 8th, call the box office at 706-632-9191 for tickets!
Watch a free movie under the stars at Deep Root Orchard. The movie is “The Princess Bride” and starts at 8:30pm. Bring blankets and pillows and get comfy as you enjoy your movie. And if you’re in the need for movie snacks concessions will be sold as well!
This two day art festival is one of the finest in the Southeast! You’ll see craftsmen specializing in basketry, fine art, fabric art, decorative painting, photography, pottery, and so much more! The event runs Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm & admission is free!
Come on out to the Art Center now through August 28th to see beautiful digital media from local artists. Enjoy photography or videography? Submit your work and see if you can win Best in Show! Artists and art lovers alike are welcome!
Head on over to Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds for a great day of fun! You’ll find all kinds of works of art like pottery, paintings, jewlery, signs, crochet, knitting, candles, soap, and so much more! The event runs Thursday-Saturday, 10am – 5pm daily and tickets are $5 a person!
Are you a car lover? Then this event is for you! There will be over 100 classic cars displayed as well as food vendors, music, arts and crafts, prizes and more! The event runs Friday and Saturday from 10am – 4pm. Admission is $10 a person and children 12 & under are free!
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
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!
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!
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!
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
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
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
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 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!
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!
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!
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
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
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!
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!
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!
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 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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Guest Blog by Blake Guthrie as written for the AJC (Atlanta Journal & Constitution).
Cloud Nine. It’s the type of name one would expect for a mountain vacation rental home. It’s one of those places that if you try and follow GPS directions you’ll get lost. The rental agency sent a confirmation that stressed the importance of following the turn-by-turn directions provided in the email, including detail you wouldn’t get from a GPS such as “go right when you see a bunch of mailboxes.”
What it didn’t mention was the very steep and winding one-lane road. After putting my Honda into its lowest gear for the first time ever and having to navigate past an approaching vehicle, I came to the crest of Sunrock Mountain four miles west of Blue Ridge. I saw that Cloud Nine was the type of place I might want to hole-up for a while, but, having never been to Blue Ridge or nearby Ellijay before, I came to do some exploring, to find the most beautiful scenery and the best outdoor spots to experience the autumnal ambiance.
It turned out the back porch of the cabin was one of those places. In the morning I could see how the cabin got its name. It was literally in the clouds, the surrounding mountain peaks sticking up through a thick white blanket covering the valleys below. Still, I had to venture out. First on my itinerary was the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. The major attraction in town, the railway has been in operation as a sightseeing excursion train since 1998 along tracks that have a history going back as far as 1886. The tracks follow the route of the winding Toccoa River through the Chattahoochee National Forest to the twin towns of McCaysville and Copperhill, Tennessee. They’re essentially the same town with the state line running through the middle. Like a running joke, the line is demarcated by a blue stripe painted on sidewalks, roadways and running through the middle of businesses.
The train rolls at a leisurely pace and the open-air windows are large, making it a prime fall sightseeing adventure with a good dose of history thrown in. Along the way, you’ll see a Native American fish trap in the middle of the river that experts believe is 500 years old, and the old telegraph poles that used to be the fastest form of communication in a bygone era. The trip takes four hours, with two spent in McCaysville/Copperhill for exploring the towns.
If hunger strikes, Burra Burra on the River in McCaysville is near the train station and serves pub fare and local brews. Be sure to ask for outside seating, weather permitting. The real selling point here is the covered deck that overlooks the clear waters of the Toccoa River flowing past the state line where it becomes the Ocoee River after crossing into Tennessee.
Back in Blue Ridge, the largest patio bar in town can be found at Black Sheep Restaurant, where the seasonal menu leans heavily on seafood. Housed in a historic home shaded by a 200-year-old oak tree, the patio overlooks the center of town. It’s a popular place, so make reservations for dinner. Or just have a drink at the bar.
The craft beer scene is surprisingly good in Blue Ridge for such a small town that was dry not too long ago. Two breweries — Fannin Brewing Company and Grumpy Old Men Brewing — both have large, inviting outdoor beer gardens where you can play cornhole, meet the locals and catch some live music. Wine drinkers have no shortage of options either, as wineries have been opening at a fast clip in this area over the last few years.
Near Ellijay, Chateau Meichtry (pronounced “my-tree”) stands out not only for its wine but also its patio outside the barn tasting room where the rolling vineyards reveal a long-range view of the mountains to the north.At Bear Claw Vineyards visitors can spend the night in the Blue Ridge Treehouse, featured on the DIY Network show “The Treehouse Guys.” The treehouse overlooks the vineyards and contains all the amenities one would expect when staying in a hotel.
No trip to the North Georgia mountains during the fall harvest season would be complete without taking advantage of apple country. The pull of a roadside farm store backed by endless acres of fruit orchards is undeniable. Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge and R&A Orchards outside Ellijay both have roadside markets selling freshly picked apples and other fruits, fresh-baked goods, local foodstuffs and offer pick-your-own days as well as plenty of free samples.
Welcome to the Mountains!
Lake Blue Ridge is the centerpiece of a scenic drive worth exploring. Stop at the Blue Ridge Welcome Center to pick up a detailed map. Ringed by mountains, the lake has clear, emerald-hued water and a pristine, forested shoreline. The route also runs alongside the tumbling rapids of the Toccoa River, rolling farmland, historic houses, and has many side hikes to cascading waterfalls and other pastoral pleasures. Bring comfortable hiking shoes and make an afternoon of it if you plan to visit all the stops listed on the map. On my last morning at Cloud Nine, I got up early enough to see the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains and stayed on the porch until checkout. Sometimes where you are is the best place to be.
There has been quite the buzz of late regarding the revitalization happening in the twin cities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN. Word is there is an investor that has been helping to spur along the progress where the state lines meet. So, we decided to go check it out. And Wow! What a turnaround! Things are definitely changing for the better in these two little towns, but our favorite stop of the trip was this obscure little shop, right on the corner as you come into McCaysville called Weird Oh!
Weird Oh! is not a product of the fancy investor. Weird Oh! is the brainchild of a very special lady with a gigantic heart. Once upon a time, proprietor Erin Hawley, earned a living as a comedian on the coast of North Carolina. Her favorite destination to vacation was in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. As her life progressed and her three children grew in age, she decided it was time for a change and she relocated to her vacation spot.
Since there were no comedy clubs in Blue Ridge, she thought maybe that would be a great business venture. However, space in downtown Blue Ridge is hard to come by. One day Erin and her eight-year-old son were walking around the McCaysville area and she thought “what do children do here for fun?” So, for the next few days, they walked the area, mother and son, back and forth, thinking and talking. Then one day on their regular walk, a for sale signed appeared in the window of the ugliest building you have ever seen. It was red and orange and just an eye sore.
As a creative artist, Erin saw a diamond in the rough and contacted the owner. For weeks she single handedly, with only the help of her youngest child, worked tirelessly to give a major facelift to this corner building. There may have been some gawking of townsfolk as Erin worked. You see, Ms. Hawley does not look like your typical business owner. Tall and gorgeous? Yes! Conservative and formal? No! Erin loves her makeup, her fashion, and it is very unlikely to catch her in any shoe other than high heels. And since she is an artist, you should expect that her body has been used as a canvas so don’t be surprised by her colorful expressions.
So, what exactly is Weird Oh!? Well, it’s a magical emporium of fun! Better known as an unusual place for unusual people, inside you will find peculiar treasures and trinkets. It’s a place where kids can be kids and adults can be kids too! Everything can be touched, moved, and you can even write on the walls and not get in trouble! The only rule that you will encounter is that laughter is a must! No matter what. Laugh, have fun, pick up a toy, purchase a gag gift that will make someone laugh. Giggle a little, chuckle a lot, let out a guffaw if something strikes your funny bone. You won’t be judged, because Weird Oh is all about fun!
Like we told you in the beginning, Erin has a very big heart. Her whole purpose in opening Weird Oh! was to have a place for kids to come in and be kids. She gives gifts to almost every little one that opens the “Alice in Wonderland” door. Additionally, she supports Shop with a Cop, little league teams, and every opportunity for a child to get a toy that makes them happy. Being called a weirdo her whole life, Erin embraces her uniqueness and uses it in a way to positively impact the youth of the area.
Stop in next time you ride the Blue Ridge train or when you just find yourself exploring the twin cities of Georgia and Tennessee. Bonus tip: If you yell out “Dang, You’re Beautiful!” you get 10% off your whole order!