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!

12 “Cool” Blue Ridge Activities



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. 

Stargaze

Photo Courtesy of JMC Artistic Photography

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! 

Spa Day

Photo Courtesy of Serenity in the Mountains

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. 

Christmas Shows

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Community Theater

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!

Shopping 

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!

Look at Holiday lights

Photo Courtesy of Crescent Moon Images

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.

Bonfire

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 Floen Family at “Panoramic Grace” cabin

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

Raccoon Retreat” 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! 

Fall is Prime Time to go to Blue Ridge



Guest Blog by Blake Guthrie as written for the AJC (Atlanta Journal & Constitution).

The Cabin

Photo Courtesy of Blake Guthrie

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.”

The Approach

Photo Courtesy of Blake Guthrie

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.

The Train

Photo courtesy of @chusion

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.

McCaysville

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.

Piano Bar

Photo Courtesy of The Black Sheep

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.

Breweries

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.

Photo Courtesy of Bear Claw Vineyards

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.

Apple Country

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

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!

Photo Courtesy of Blake Guthrie

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.

If You Go

Blue Ridge is 92 miles north of Atlanta.

What to see

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. $35 and up. 241 Depot St., Blue Ridge. 877-413-8724, brscenic.com

R&A Orchards. 5505 Hwy. 52 East, Ellijay. 706-273-3821, www.randaorchards.com

Where to stay

Escape to Blue Ridge. Cabins $140-$1,800 per night. 866-618-2521, www.escapetoblueridge.com.

Blue Ridge Treehouse. $234 and up. 2555 Tennis Court Road, Blue Ridge. 706-223-3750, blueridgetreehouse.com.

Where to Eat

Burra Burra on the River. $11 and up. 100 Blue Ridge Drive, McCaysville. 706-400-6660, www.burraburraontheriver.com.

Black Sheep Restaurant. $20 and up. 480 W. Main St., Blue Ridge 706-946-3663, www.blacksheepblueridge.com.

Visitor Info

Blue Ridge Welcome Center. 152 Orvin Lance Drive. 800-899-6867, www.blueridgemountains.com.

Ellijay Welcome Center. 10 Broad St. 706-635-7400, www.gilmerchamber.com.

Weird Oh!



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.

McCaysville, Ga

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.

The Deets

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!