A September to Remember



September is a time of transition, when summer is coming to an end, but the crisp nights promise something even better! As the season changes to fall, make sure you don’t miss out on the cool mountain weather and fun fall traditions in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Artist in Residence: Colleen Sterling, Plein Air International Paint-Out, & Blackberry Creek Artists
September 1 – September 30
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of The Art Center

Spend the day at the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association! Previously a historic courthouse, you will now find a creative place to view art, take classes, pick up art supplies, and mingle with fellow artisans.

This September, the Art Center will be hosting a Plein Air Paint-Out, an art display by the Blackberry Creek Artisans, plus this month’s Artist in Residence, Colleen Sterling! Note: The winner Of the Plein Air Paint-Out will receive a $500 gift certificate for a cabin of their choice!

Pickin’ in the Park
September 1 – September 24
LOCATION: Horseshoe Bend Park

Photo Courtesy of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Enjoy a trip out to the twin cities of Mcaysville & Copperhill to shop and dine for the day. If you’re there on a Thursday, stop by Horseshoe Bend Park and enjoy the appalachian sounds. No cost to attend, and you are welcome to bring blankets or chairs.

Wine Themed Movie Nights & Live Music
September 1 – September 30
LOCATION: bin322 Wine & Tapas Bar

Photo Courtesy of bin322

Kick back and relax with your favorite glass of wine at Blue Ridge’s wine bar. Along with tasty tapas options you can also enjoy live music and wine themed movie nights!

September 5th – Robert Ferguson
September 10th – Special Wine Tasting Event
September 11th – Surrender Hill
September 12th – Topper Unplugged
September 16th – Trivia Night
September 19th – Loose Shoes Duo
September 23rd – Shannon York & Rob Harper
September 26th – Danny Rhea

Music at The Blue Coyote
September 1 – September 30
LOCATION: The Blue Coyote

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Coyote

The Blue Coyote is known for their live music and entertainment. While you’re there you can enjoy their tasty bar food and a whole bunch of beer! They even have a dog-friendly patio! Stop by, check it out, and enjoy the music!

September 4th – Hughes Taylor
September 5th – Gregg Erwin Band
September 11th – Fish and Grits
September 12th – Donny Hammonds Band
September 18th – Disciples of Sound
September 19th – Breaking Point
September 25th – Topper
September 26th – Mind the Stepchildren

Brunch & Live Music
September 1 – September 30
LOCATION: The Black Sheep

Photo Courtesy of the Black Sheep

The Black Sheep added new outdoor pet friendly patio area and feature live music on Sundays to go with their incredible brunch!

Live Music at Grumpy Old Men Brewing
September 1 – 30
LOCATION: Grumpy Old Men Brewing

Great beer (18 beers on tap), a fun atmosphere and a stellar philosophy – delicious beer, dog-friendly, people tolerated. Plenty of craft beers, including those brewed in the brewery, and lots of live music. It’s one of those places that locals like!

Photo Courtesy of Grumpy Old Men Brewing

September 4th – The Orange Walls
September 11th – Barefoot Boon
September 18th – Radio Rangers
September 25th – Travis Bowlin

Appalachian Cookery
September 11
LOCATION: The Folk Apothic

Photo Courtesy of the Folk Apothic

The Appalachian ladies are back in the midst of harvest season to share some of their favorite Autumn recipes. As always, they will prepare, cook, and share cooking secrets and recipes before sitting down and breaking bread together.

The Outsider
September 17 – 30
LOCATION: Blue Ridge Community Theater

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater

Live theater is back! Take in a show at the Blue Ridge Community Theater and just in time for the election, this comedy will have you laughing all the way to the polls!

Discovery Days at Project Chimp
September 26 – 27
LOCATION: Project Chimps

Kids and kids at heart will enjoy this special day of art and discovery at the Project Chimps sanctuary for former research chimpanzees. Spend a few hours with the chimps to see their forever home. Tour the sanctuary and learn about the lives of the chimps!

NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but to truly appreciate the magnificence of Star Mountain you have to see it in person. High on a hilltop and nestled in the trees on three wooded acres, it makes a great first impression, with stunning long-range mountain vistas that will take your breath away. Spacious enough to accommodate large families or a group of friends yet cozy and intimate, Star Mountain will make you feel relaxed, at peace, and at home as you disconnect from life’s stresses and reconnect with nature.

Entering Fireside Retreat you can’t help but feel a comfortable inviting vibe with its soaring ceiling, exposed beams and floor to ceiling stone fireplace greeting you! Featuring two great rooms, on the lower and upper level, each has a stone gas fireplace with 55” Smart TV outfitted with DirecTV and Apple TV. The lower level modeled after a late 1800s English pub is an experience of itself and has been dubbed The Green Dragon. It features a foosball table, electronic dart board, an array of family games as well as some captivating décor that is better seen than described! The Green Dragon also features a full bar area with a full size refrigerator, sink and microwave.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

EXTREME OUTDOORS FOR THE BRAVE AT HEART

The moments when we conquer our fears are the moments when we feel most alive! Extreme activities in the great outdoors allow you to capture the place we all call home from an entirely different perspective. You’ll be chasing the adrenaline rush for days to come! And what better place to try out a new and unusual outdoor activity than in the Blue Ridge Mountains?
These 7 extreme activities will swipe you off your feet…literally!

HOW DID THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS FORM?

When we say the old Blue Ridge mountains, we mean it! As part of the Appalachian mountain range, the Blue Ridge mountains are the second oldest range in the whole world. Over 1 BILLION years ago, shifts in our Earth’s tectonic plates caused the Blue Ridge mountains to form in a system of peaks and valleys that span eight states! Learn more about how the Blue Ridge Mountains formed.

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 Friday Deals For YOU!

Ladies Shopping in Downtown Blue Ridge

If you are lucky enough to be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in the mountains, we have an extra special treat for you this year! Not only do you get to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the comfort of your luxury cabin rental, but you also get to adventure out into the most quintessential little town. From our abundance of natural resources like hiking trails, waterfalls, and soaring mountains, we are also proud to share with you the heartbeat of our community – Downtown Blue Ridge.

Of course, anytime is a fantastic time to Escape to Blue Ridge, but when you plan a visit during the holiday season, you will feel like you are stepping into a Hallmark Movie. The town is beautifully decorated and festive from every streetlight to each of the shopkeeper’s windows. The crispness of the mountain air and the excitement for the possibility of snow heightens your exhilaration and desire to explore every corner.

We could list one thousand plus reasons why you should visit Downtown Blue Ridge and of course shopping would be included on that very long list just as dining in our restaurants, meeting our residents, and experiencing the specialness of our beloved mountain community. This year you have ten more reasons to shop here because we have arranged for special Blue Friday savings to all of our Escape to Blue Ridge fans!

What? You don’t know what Blue Friday is? Well, allow me to explain. Blue Friday is Blue Ridge’s version of Black Friday, but it goes far beyond shopping and it is really the local kick-off to the entire holiday season! Let’s look at all the fun things there are to do and before we wrap this up, we’ll share your 10 special savings! Promise.

Blue Ridge Turkey Trot

Thursday, November 28th

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Turkey Trot

The Blue Ridge Turkey Trot is a family event for all ages and abilities from walkers to competitive runners. Kick off the Thanksgiving Day at 8am with a 5K race/walk. Registration starts at 7am and you are encouraged to bring a canned food item for the Good Samaritans food pantry. You’ll be able to enjoy all the holiday food guilt free after completing this run/walk and be back to the cabin in time to put on the turkey. Registration is $30 in advance or $40 on race day. Money raised will be donated to Blue Ridge charities.

Light up Copper Basin

Friday, November 29th

Photo Courtesy of Copper Basin Business Association & Riverwalk Shops

Help light up the twin cities of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. Enjoy live holiday music, hot cocoa, and cookies. Donation are welcome to support Christmas for Kids. The music begins at 4pm and the tree lighting is a 7pm.

Christmas Market

Saturday, November 30th

Photo Courtesy of Downtown Market Blue Ridge

Local produce, handmade arts and crafts, baked goods and more! The Christmas Market opens at 7am and will stay open until dark.

Light Up Blue Ridge

Saturday, November 30th

Photo Courtesy of Light Up Blue Ridge

Light up Blue Ridge is a festive event for children and adults alike. A full day of fun begins when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway where they will then be available in the town gazebo for pictures. There will be performances all day. Santa and Mrs. Claus will then be in the holiday parade at 5:30pm. Food vendors will surround the park, winners of the window decorating contest will be announced, and then the lighting of the 27 foot “Great Tree” takes place at 7:00pm.

Even More Holiday Events!

We covered all the BIG events, but there is so much more fun to be had in this great little town. Our November Events Newsletter features the play It’s A Wonderful Life at the Blue Ridge Community Theater, live music, and a community Thanksgiving event! Our December Events Newsletter features Santa Trains, a Tour of Homes, and Ice Skating!

Blue Friday Specials

Now for your special treat! Some of our favorite shops and downtown Blue Ridge have decided to offer YOU special savings beginning on Blue Friday and lasting all weekend long! (November 29-December 1) All you have to do is let the proprietor know that you are a fan of Escape to Blue Ridge!

Appalachian Trail Rides at S & T Stables

Photo Courtesy of Appalachian Trail Rides at S & T Stables

Appalachian Trail Rides offers guided horseback trail riding from beginner to advanced through the Blue Ridge Mountains on 250 acres located minutes from downtown Blue Ridge GA. On your ride take in beautiful views, wildlife, and creek crossings on customized rides with experienced guides. From family outings to corporate events and private rides to proposal rides, Appalachian Trail Rides will make your time in the Appalachian Mountains as memorable as possible.

Deal: 10% Off Trail Rides

Canoe

Photo Courtesy of Canoe

Canoe is a lifestyle brand of bags and jewelry made right here in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Their unique collection of bags and jewelry effortlessly marry rustic charm with contemporary sophistication. Utilizing natural materials with enduring appeal, every piece you purchase from Canoe will be your new favorite for years to come!

Deal: Free gift with purchase (Friday Only)

Blue Ridge Cotton Company

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Cotton Company

Blue Ridge Cotton Company is a thoughtful store with a big heart. Here you will find quality apparel at affordable prices for the entire family. They are also your source for inspirational gifts, books and journals, home accessories, unique gifts, and so much more.

Deal: 10% off your Entire Purchase!

Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association

The Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (the Art Center) has been fostering the creative process in these mountains in excess of 32 years. The Art Center endeavors to promote art, artists & art experiences across the Southern Appalachian Region.

Deal:

  1. 15% off ALL Art Supply Station supplies and items
  2. Receive $5 off Holiday Gift Memberships!
  3. All active BRMAA Members will receive 10% off all purchases

Blue Ridge Mountain Outfitters

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountain Outfitters

This full-service outfitter represents the premier outdoor brands including The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, YETI, Chaco and much more. They are also authorized Trek and Cannondale bike dealers and offer service of all makes.

Deal: Receive 10% off all North Face purchases

Fly Shop Co

Photo Courtesy of Fly Shop Co

Fly Shop Co specializes in locally tied flies, apparel, gear, and a large selection of made in the USA items. Here you can also book guided fly fishing trips and specialized instruction.

Deal: 10% discount on Guided Fly Fishing trips with Will

Pedego Bikes Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Pedego Bikes Blue Ridge

If you are looking for a fun experience you need to tour Blue Ridge by bike! Pedego Electric Bikes sells & rents the most fun electric bikes in the world. They even offer guided tours that include waterfall and swinging bridge adventures!

Deal: 20% off all Tours & Rentals

Misty Mountain Hops

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Hops

If you love eating and music then you will love the laid back vibes of Misty Mountain Hops. Good food and sweet tunes make this Vinyl Pub a must!

Deal: 10% off all Food Orders

Mystic Mountain Pizza

Mystic Mountain Pizza is a family owned and operated pizza restaurant with fantastic food and an inviting atmosphere! They have a passion for crafting fresh salads, all-beef gourmet hot dogs, wings, desserts, and specialty pizzas in their oak-fired brick ovens.

Deal: 10% Off Meal

Escape to Blue Ridge

Cloud Nine Cabin

If you’ve never experienced a Thanksgiving weekend in the mountains, you should discuss it with your friends and family this year and make your plans early because we book up fast!

Deal: For every $100 Escape to Blue Ridge gift certificate purchase, get an extra $10 credit! Please use promo code “Gift10” when booking.

Blue Ridge Unplugged



In today’s world, we spend more time staring at screens than with each other. It’s important to take a break every now and then and reconnect with the ones you love most, especially the youngest members of your family. One of the benefits of getting away for vacation on an Escape To Blue Ridge you can take the time to enjoy each other’s company, tell stories, and laugh a lot. 

Whether you are playing board games, going on a hiking adventure, or roasting marshmallows by the fire pit, when you make an effort to unplug and spend quality time together, you will make memories to last a lifetime!

Get Adventurous

Long Creek Falls

Getting kids outdoors and into nature is one of the best things you can do for them. Not only is it good for their health, and yours, but it will also help build their confidence. What better feeling is there than to look back at how far you’ve come and be proud of that journey? Whether your taking the stairs at Amicalola State Park, bouncing along the swinging bridge, or taking a hike down to Long Creek Falls, your kids will feel so proud when they get to your destination. The best part? Since cell service rarely works out in the woods, you get to talk and observe nature along your route!

Learn Something Together

Children’s brains are like little sponges. They absorb absolutely everything they can from everywhere they can. One way to help encourage knowledge through learning is taking in a museum or two. Who knows, you might even learn something! For a light hearted and fun afternoon, you and your mini-me’s can try to determine whether the legendary Big Foot is indeed fiction or non-fiction at EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Tourism

For a more classic approach, there is plenty to see and do at the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association. Their gallery features a plethora of art pieces in various mediums. Each month a new Artist in Residence is featured, and their art exhibits are switched out every four to six weeks so there is always something new to see. The Arts Center also offers classes for both adults and children alike to encourage your creativity and hone your artistic skills. Like scavenger hunts? The Art Center has been instrumental in creating the one and only Trout Art Trail! Take a stroll around town and find each of the colorful trout placed throughout town. After  you’ve found them all, head to the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center for a prize!

Rainy Day Fun

2nd Story Entertainment

Oh, we know, sometimes rainy days are the most challenging days to be locked up with your kids with nothing to do. Fortunately, there is a great solution right in Downtown Blue Ridge – 2nd Story Entertainment. This kid friendly and fun business is located upstairs, on the second floor, from Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill. Inside you find a full eighteen holes of challenging putt putt obstacles and fun games to play in between golf rounds. The course is spread out through nine different rooms with each featuring its own theme like a red-carpet room with movie stars, a western room, and a throw back to classic games room.

Channel Your Inner Child

Photo Courtesy of Weird Oh!

The communities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN have recently seen a great revitalization which means there are some great new shops to explore and restaurant to try. We highly recommend you channeling your inner child and checking out a fun little shop called “Weird Oh!”. 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!

What trip is complete without a little something to satisfy your sweet tooth? At Sweet & Southern Sugar Company you will be delighted with all the fun treats from delicious ice cream to decadent desserts. You will definitely feel like a kid again trying to pick out a treat. We highly recommend the Sin Shakes and their to-die-for cinnamon buns! Just across the street, you absolutely MUST take a selfie while standing in two states. That’s right. You can stand in Georgia and Tennessee at the same exact time!

If you really want to feel like a kid again, you should plan your trip to McCaysville via the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Who doesn’t love a train ride? Come on, admit it, we’ve all played “conductor” with our best sounding “All Aboard” and attempts at a train whistle. This relaxing and enjoyable ride begins in downtown Blue Ridge and the tracks meander through the countryside on a twenty-six-mile round trip journey. There is a two hour layover in McCaysville which gives you plenty of time to check out all the shops and load up on sweets!

Be Nostalgic

Swan 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. Plan to arrive early and have a little picnic while you wait on the movie to begin. Trust us, it fills up fast, so you’ll want to be there early! There is a grassy knoll to throw a football, play some corn hole, or just enjoy an old-fashioned game of tag. Whether you choose to watch the show in camp chairs behind your car or on blankets in the bed of your truck, there will be no shortage of smiles from every member of the family. Local tip – bring a portable radio/boombox. You don’t want to be the one who’s battery dies from running the radio!

Keep It Simple

Photo Courtesy of Huck’s General Store

Kids don’t need anything to entertain them except for your attention. Well, maybe a little ice cream! Seriously though, keep it simple, unplug, and give them your undivided attention. Take a stroll through downtown Blue Ridge. There are some adorable shops that both you and your children will find interesting like Huck’s General Store. There are plenty of places along the strip to stop and grab a scoop or two like The Chocolate Express. At the end of Main Street there is an awesome playground (and restrooms) for the kids to burn off some energy before you decide on a fabulous restaurant for dinner.

Back at the cabin go on a family stick hunt to get kindling for the fire. Once the sun sets, and the fire is lit, break out the marshmallows and show them how to roast them. Do you like your marshmallows burnt too? Better yet, add graham crackers and chocolate for some campfire s’mores! The firepit is a good time to tell stories about when you were young or when your kids were young. This writer must have told her child the story of her birth no less than a million times! Break out the guitar, sing some songs, make wishes on stars, and enjoy every moment you have together. Regardless how you spend your time in Blue Ridge, be content in knowing that you are creating memories your children will hold on to and cherish forever. After all, that’s what life is all about.

Salsa or Sushi?



Even though a trip to the mountains hints at a hankering for sausage gravy slathered over big fluffy biscuits, with a side of smoked baby backs and a dish of collards with ham hocks, you will find lots of exceptional cuisines that aren’t best washed down with sweet tea and a to-go container of banana pudding.

Here are some of the restaurants that are within a 35 mile drive of Blue Ridge that will more than satisfy your craving for either salsa or sushi:

The Rum Cake Lady Cuban Café

Photo Courtesy of the Rum Cake Lady

Yes, Miss Elizabeth is best known for her four different varieties of Rum Cakes which she ships all across the globe from her mountain bakery. But those who are fortunate enough to have eaten at one of her two café establishments know that it’s just as much about the true Cuban cuisine, not just the cakes. With two locations to serve you, the downtown Blue Ridge Café is similar to a Cuban walk-up window, or “La Ventanita”. When after a morning of hiking or tubing, you are hungry and you don’t want to shower before a hearty lunch – this is the ideal place to visit. They offer fresh, authentic Cuban sandwiches, tamales, empanadas, plantains, rice, and beans.

Their Copperhill location includes indoor seating, dinner hours, the same great menu plus a Cuban grocery. Both locations boast the best Cuban coffee in the mountains. A guava and cheese pastelitos or a caramel flan with a café con leche is not a problem on your diet. After all,  you are on vacation. Oh, and grab a couple of rum cakes for those you left back at home. Located at: 205 First St. Blue Ridge GA & 111 Ocoee St. Copperhill TN.

Asiano

Images courtesy of Asiano

When the urge for Asian cuisine hits, there always seems to be an issue with which style will you treat yourself tonight. Will it be sushi or Thai? Japanese Steakhouse or Chinese? And rarely will two people agree, much less a family of four. This is when to head straight up the 515 corridor to the beautiful lakeside town of Hiawassee.

For the past two decades, Koo and his family have been serving great food and even entertainment, as the personable hibachi chefs show off their superior knife skills around the large griddles of the Japanese Steakhouse side of the restaurant. The menu for each style of Asian fare is quite extensive, with all food fresh and sauces made in house. Whether it’s their traditional sweet and sour soup or their untraditional Philly cheesesteak eggroll, you won’t be disappointed with the number of options to satisfy that Asian craving.  Located at 1382 Hwy 76 (515) Hiawassee, GA.

Las 2 Hustecas

Photo Courtesy of Las 2 Hustecas

You won’t need your passport, but this Mexican food is so authentic, you’ll have wondered if you crossed the border and stumbled into a small village cantina. There are often two sure signs that a Mexican restaurant serves top-notch authentic cuisine. Yes to both at Las 2 Hustecas. A good percentage of the clientele is Hispanic and the best chefs in the region are often seen eating here on their nights off.

Rated nearly five stars on every online review service, the reviewers consistently mention that they were served the BEST guacamole, the biggest burritos, the smallest seating (so expect to wait or opt for takeout) and the highest quality fresh food, all at ridiculously low prices (there’s a breakfast menu, too). In fact, the main complaint from out of town visitors is they don’t have Mexican food this good when they go back home. Located in a little strip center, no frills 4114 E. Main St.  Blue Ridge, GA.

Kizuna Sushi & Noodle

Photo Courtesy of Kizuna Sushi & Noodle

The newest restaurant to join the Blue Ridge culinary scene has opened to rave reviews. An authentic Japanese and Sushi House, Kizuna is an elegant restaurant that serves what one reviewer called “Japanese street food”. The sushi is raw and skillfully crafted. No California rolls here. This is true sashimi. Then they turn your idea of ramen noodles upside down with so many options to choose from for your Japanese bowls. The tempura is light with a variety of vegetables and seafood to tempt you to order fried. The pork dumplings have also won critical reviews.

Check out their menu before deciding to order take-out. The freshest items like sushi and Udon noodles will only be served in-house. Kizuna serves beer, wine and a nice selection of sake. Located at 140 Progress Cr. Suite 3 Blue Ridge GA

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!