With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time for romance. And we have the best date ideas for you to treat your special someone. A Blue Ridge vacation is the perfect romantic getaway for all those love birds out there. The small, charming town and beautiful mountain views will transport you to another world and help to enhance all the romantic feelings. It’s sure to be a trip of a lifetime; so grab your love and come escape with us!
You can never go wrong with a romantic dinner for two at any of Blue Ridge’s superb restaurants. Some of our favorites for a special date night out are The Black Sheep or Harvest on Main. Both of which are located in Downtown Blue Ridge. You could go for a stroll along Main Street together, admiring all the trendy shops, before stopping in for a delicious dinner.
At The Black Sheep, you can sip on a cocktail while enjoying a wonderfully handcrafted meal made with fresh, local ingredients. Put your worries to rest, relax, and enjoy an upscale dining experience with an atmosphere that will put you at ease. And the food is simply amazing, no matter what you get; they don’t call it the best dining in Blue Ridge for nothing!
Harvest on Main is another great restaurant for your perfect date night. They serve southern inspired global cuisine; and who doesn’t love a little southern flair, especially when you’re in the mountains. From steaks to fish to soup and salad, there’s a little something for everyone. These restaurants are meant to bring out the romance.
How about a romantic horseback ride through the wilderness? That’s like something you’d see in a romance movie but you can actually do it here! Check out Appalachian Trail Rides for this great opportunity. You can book a private trial ride for you and your “hon-neigh” to ensure everything goes exactly as planned. You’ll take a peaceful ride through the woods and see babbling brooks and maybe even some wildlife. And if this date is an extra special one and you want to pop the question, there’s a special proposal ride which takes you to a secluded romantic gazebo by the lake where you can spill all your heart’s desires. And there will even be sparkling cider! Doing something new and different like a trail ride together will be sure to bring the two of you even closer.
Not much can inspire your love more than the natural beauty of the outdoors. So get outside and enjoy a beautiful hike to one of our stunning waterfalls. You’ll feel completely at peace as you listen to the water rushing down the rocks and see the beauty all around you. Relax on the rocks while the cool mist of the falls hits your face. Soak it all in and find yourself feeling 10 times calmer than before you arrived. Even snap a few cute couple photos while you’re there.
It doesn’t get much more romantic than cuddling up with your love and gazing up at the starry night sky. Grab a blanket and a bottle of champagne for a relaxing and romantic night under the stars. The stars go on for miles and you will get to enjoy a front row seat. So grab a glass and cheers to you and your love, lay back, cuddle up, and take it all in.
For the ultimate relaxation and stress relief, there’s nothing like a spa day. Drop on by Serenity in the Mountains to get the full works. You and your love can unwind together with a romantic couples massage. Feel an undeniable calm wash over you as you drift to a place of pure bliss. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and finally getting treated will have you and your honey living on a high.
Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas are home to so many wonderful wineries. In Blue Ridge check out Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards, in Ellijay try Cartecay Vineyards, and in Young Harris visit Crane Creek Vineyards. All have a wide variety of wines, beautiful mountain views, and a relaxing atmosphere. Sit in the tasting room or on the patio and unwind with a glass of wine. On weekends you can also enjoy the sounds of local musical artists who will serenade you and your sweetie while you sip and snack. Any of these wineries will provide you with a perfect afternoon date.
Maybe instead of a day or night out you can enjoy a night in your cozy Escape to Blue Ridge cabin. With all the amenities you could need you’ll be all set for your night in. Cook a fancy dinner in the kitchen or order in. Then relax in the hot tub to completely unwind. Afterward, come inside to escape the cold and cuddle by the fireplace while you enjoy a nice glass of wine and a movie. Our cabins will provide you with everything you need to enjoy a perfect, romantic night together in your warm, cozy cabin.
Watch the Sunset
Take a seat on your spacious deck and watch the sunset below the mountains. Every Blue Ridge sunset is simply gorgeous and will leave you breathless. It’s hard not to get swept up in the beauty and romance of it all, so don’t fight it. Soak it in and curl up together in the twin rocking chairs. Or for an even more relaxing spot why not watch the sunset from your hot tub? Now that’s what I call a romantic getaway!
To say that 2020 has been a hard year would be an understatement. This year has been so incredibly hard on many families all over the world. That’s why we want to help make 2021 the best year yet! We all deserve a little happiness and fun after a year like this. So we’ve created a 2021 bucket list of 10 activities to do in Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas. Let’s make 2021 the best year, mountain style!
Explore a Waterfall
Fall Branch Falls, and Long Branch Falls are located here in Blue Ridge and Amicalola Falls and Helton Creek Falls are pretty close by! Just the hike to these falls alone is a great experience, but when you finally arrive you’ll be blown away by the beauty of it all. The whole family (dogs included) will love exploring around the falls and relaxing by the waterside. And be sure to grab a couple of great photos before you head back! Each of the Blue Ridge area waterfalls are so unique and beautiful it will be hard to pick just one, so we won’t blame you if you need to explore all of them!
Jump on the Swinging Bridge
The Swinging Bridge over the Tococca River has become a kind of landmark for Blue Ridge. Located on the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail in Fannin County, this bridge is an experience you won’t want to miss. Spanning 270 feet long, this makes it the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi. When you walk the bridge look down below and keep an eye out for kayakers floating down the peaceful river.
Downtown Blue Ridge is home to many fantastic local restaurants. The whole street is filled with shops and restaurants, so it’s the perfect place to go for a afternoon or night out. Spend the day shopping and then stop by a restaurant for a bite to eat after a long day. Try the Black Sheep and get their famous “Black Sheep Burger” or stop by Bin 322 for wine and tapas. Then there’s Chester’s serving rustic American food or the Rum Cake Lady serving Cuban style food. And if you have a sweet tooth check out Mona Lisa’s Dessert House for everything from cakes and pies to cookies and dessert martinis. With so many dining options to chose from it might be hard to pick just one, but we assure you they are all delicious. And no one said you have to only chose one, right?
Ride the Mountain Coaster
Have you ever ridden a rollercoaster through the mountains? Well, now you can! Take a little road trip to our friends in Helen, Georgia, and hop on the Georgia Mountain Coaster, the first alpine coaster in Georgia. Whizz past beautiful mountains and forests at whatever speed you’d like because YOU control the speed! You’ll even pass by ruins that are over 100 years old! It’s not often you can say that you went on an alpine coaster and that you even controlled the speed, so what are you waiting for? Stop by for a once in a lifetime, family fun experience!
Hike to the Highest Peak in Georgia
The views from the top of Brasstown Bald are a must see! You can see 3 different states all at once, from the observation tower at the top. Brasstown Bald is the highest mountain peak in Georgia so it’s quite the hike but the views at the top are so worth it! And think of how accomplished you’ll feel knowing you made the hike. When you push yourself the rewards are all the greater!
Hunt Big Foot
To many in this neck of the woods, Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch, Yowie and Yedi) isn’t just a 20th-century folk legend. The first recorded sighting of him here in Fannin County was June 26, 1873. Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest has long been known as a hotbed for Bigfoot activity amongst the Bigfoot research community. If taking a hike out into the forest after the sun sets, night vision glasses in place, to snap your photo op with Bigfoot is too much effort, don’t let that deter you from finding out all you can about him. While here in Blue Ridge, plan to visit EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum, located just east of the city. This museum may have you giggling on the way in the door, but you will leave with a new appreciation for your next walk in the woods. You’ll discover why Bigfooters from around the globe make the pilgrimage to Blue Ridge just to explore this museum and its many relics.
Cheers to Blue Ridge
Blue Ridge is home to some amazing wineries, breweries, and distilleries. So grab your friends and drink your way around town! For wineries check out Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards, both right here in Blue Ridge. If you’re up for more of a road trip than be sure to check out Cartecay Vineyards in Ellijay and Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris. All of these wineries have not only delicious wines but beautiful mountain views as well.
For beer try Grumpy Old Men Brewing, Fannin Brewing Company, Copperhill Brewery, and Buck Bald Brewing. Any of these breweries will provide you with excellent and delicious craft brews. And for hard liquors try out Grandaddy Mimm’s Moonshine Distillery. The moonshine is crafted from Jack Mimm McClure’s original 1930’s recipe. Every place is filled with great drinks, great service, and a relaxing environment so you can’t go wrong. Bring your friends and you’ll be sure to have a blast!
Take a Helicopter Tour
How often can you say that you took a helicopter tour over the North Georgia Mountains of Blue Ridge? Drop by Blue Ridge Helicopter Tours to get your tickets to soar above the mountains and clouds. The scenic views you will get from up above are out of this world beautiful! There’s absolutely nothing like it.
Zip Through the Mountains
If you’re the adventurous type than look no further than Blue Ridge Adventure Park. Clip in and find yourself way above the ground as you navigate through ropes courses and zipline. It will challenge you both mentally and physically as you try to make your way through the course. With 3 levels of suspended bridges and tightropes ranging from 15 to 50 feet in the air, you’re sure to be in for an exciting challenge. Blue Ridge Adventure Park is the perfect destination for all you thrill seekers out there!
Book the Perfect Mountain Escape
After a year like 2020 we all need to getaway and get out of our house! There’s no better place to escape than Blue Ridge. Get outside, enjoy the fresh mountain air, and go on the adventure of a lifetime! Grab your favorite people and book your Escape to Blue Ridge for the most perfect mountain escape! We all need a little escape every now and then!
It’s time to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021! Watch 2020 disappear in your rearview mirror and look forward to all that lies ahead in 2021. A big thank you to everyone who helped make 2020 a great year for us, despite the circumstances. We’re so grateful for each and every one of you! Now let’s head into the new year and make it the best one yet! From all of us at Escape to Blue Ridge, have a very Happy New Year!
The sun is just starting to drop, and the skies above the surrounding mountains are showing off their blushing color palette. The pink hues deepen and then you see the first blaze of fire orange streak across your sky high view. Your helicopter lands on the private helipad at Spyglass, the 5 million dollar private lodge you’ve rented for the week. Welcome to this luxurious escape from your crazy everyday urban existence!
Our Escape to Blue Ridge concierge service has seen to the details as you’ve requested. You and your guests are greeted at the entrance by Chef Trey Griffith. So many of the finest award-winning international chefs have found their way to these mountains, tired of the hassle of metropolitan restaurant life. They choose to come here to share their talents. Chef Griffith came back “home” to Blue Ridge and now serves as a personal chef to guests just like you. Passionate about sharing the experience of fine dining with his clients, his services include initial client consultation, a customized menu plan, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and kitchen clean up. He takes into consideration all dietary and discretionary food choices. He will cook you one special meal, help you host a party or he’ll manage your nourishment during your entire stay.
Tonight Chef Griffith serves cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in front of the massive fireplace, giving you plenty of time to shake off the day and begin to relax in the lap of luxury. The evening ends with a brandy and plate of hand dipped chocolate truffles procured from The Sweet Shoppe in downtown Blue Ridge, one of many premier food provision establishments to choose from in town and the surrounding area.
The next morning, as the mist subsides and the full view of the mountains emerges, you sip your joe on the veranda, contemplating only your breathing. As you requested, you’ll be moving into this respite slowly, so today we begin with a visit from your yoga guru. Yoga Over Blue Ridge brings their instructor right to your lodge door.
After a private poolside lunch, watching the eagles soar above you, it’s time to take a stroll downtown to see what this little “berg” has to offer. Your first stop on historic East Main St. is Out of the Blue, North Georgia’s opulent gourmet shop offering fine wines, international and local gourmet foods; beautiful linens, ceramics and unique glassware.
A few doors down, you peek into a store window. No, this isn’t Worth Ave in the Palm Beaches, but it sure feels like that when you enter this upscale chic establishment. Welcome to Crawford Collections, where they cater to the “A” list clientele that visit and reside in these hillside enclaves. Shop their impressive collection of luxury handbags and custom jewelry. Experience exceptional personal service and their uncompromising commitment to quality.
Along this Main street thoroughfare you’ll continue to find treasures behind so many doors. New Blue Home and Gift features accessories and furnishings that are rich and distinctive. High Country Art and Antiques offers an outstanding selection of traditional and impressionist fine art, folk art, photography, ceramics, pottery, jewelry, sculptures, antiques and collectibles.
When looking for unique provisions, Blue Ridge Olive Oil Co. and Tupelo Tea are must visits. Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company’s inviting cucina-style store offers you 65 varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegars and the opportunity to taste these remarkable innovations from around the world. There are so many pairing suggestions you find time has slipped by. Their “sibling” store is just next door. Tupelo Tea was formed with a mission to bring premium tea blends from around the world and quality honey to tea lovers who are always exploring new flavors. They offer an impressive honey and tea tasting bar for those looking to explore new tea blends and local & artesian honeys. You make a note to stop to check them out before the week ends.
Before you head back to your private vacation estate, you stop at Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill, for dinner and signature drinks. Chester’s Provisions is located next door and has unique and hard to find food, beverage, gifts, and entertaining items.
The next few days are a mix of adventure, rest and rejuvenation, with the entire itinerary raising the bar on distinction and premier services. With VIP Southern Tours, you’ll visit the regions foremost wineries in your private touring car. When we mentioned that one of the best ways to see the amazing topography of this region was from the sky, upon your request we scheduled you for a seaplane ride with Wingin’ It Adventures. You’ll embark on a private chartered fishing adventure with Sea Captian Joe. We’ve even booked you for the premier class car on Blue Ridge’s famous train ride through the mountains. When you asked us to make this a storybook fantasy vacation, we took you seriously, and scheduled Rhiannon of Zolu Photography to capture this week on film and create a memory book just for you.
We hope that you’ll look to us to assist you in bringing the lap of luxury to all of your holiday festivities you choose to celebrate in the mountains. As Valentine’s Day, your anniversary or the night you propose marriage approaches we can arrange for your rental to be ready with fresh flowers, candy and wine or champagne. The scattering of rose petals from the door to the bedroom or on the bed (Only silk ones) is a service we offer.
If you would just love to arrive and settle into your cabin without having to make a trip to the grocery store we can do your grocery shopping for you, delivering it to you and stocking the fridge and pantry just in time for your arrival!
Winter holidays celebrations in the mountains are exceptional when the family gathers and meets to celebrate. We will deliver you a Christmas tree, trim it and even come back after the holiday to remove the tree. Whether it’s a birthday festivity or a retirement party, we are available to bring in what you need to enhance the celebration. Call us anytime to discuss our services fee schedule: 1-866-618-2521.
Ready to Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy the lap of luxury? We offer a variety of premier properties available for your vacation needs:
Not every Georgia mountain cabin rental looks like the elegant homes in “Southern Living” magazine, but Ambleside is that kind of place, exquisitely appointed yet roomy enough to accommodate 14 guests in comfort and style. Add magnificent mountain and river views from every window and fun things to do right on the property and nearby, and you have the makings of a magical vacation.
Take in the breathtaking beauty of natural surroundings and the serenity of a lodge situated against the National Forrest. This custom home captures your attention and your heart before you even step through the front door. Eagles Landing promises a unique and memorable vacation experience. Discover why so many visitors have commented that this vacation spot has been their favorite, for relaxing and enjoying lake living.
From here, everything good cascades, where new dreams are inspired and your arrival says “I’ve arrived.” Falling Waters sits at the pinnacle of luxury in every way. The home’s location is at one of the highest points in the Aska Adventure Area. The expansive decking provides the best seat in the house as you become the ultimate spectator at nature’s most majestic scenic views
Staying at Legend is like having an entire five-star resort all to yourself. This luxury log cabin is truly in a class of its own. It’s built from handcrafted Douglas-fir logs and each spacious room presents incredible attention to detail with cathedral ceilings, arched doorways, sumptuous furnishings, stylish fixtures, and every amenity you desire to relax in complete luxury.
SpyGlass is the name, the view will explain. The largest of our Blue Ridge GA cabin rentals, seize the opportunity to stay in this $5 million custom resort lodge with its own private pool and spa, where you can come and go by helicopter, and treat the entire family to 8,000 sq. ft. of pure luxury and decadence.
High atop Crockett Mountain on five pristine acres in a gated community in the Blue Ridge/Cherry Log area, a one-of-a-kind property with stunning long-range, year-round mountain views provides the backdrop for a magical vacation. It’s called Unforgettable for a reason, and you’ll know why from the moment you arrive, take in that view, and step inside.
Rise above the noise of everyday life and rest in the majesty and luxury of Waterfall Lodge. Here, there are more than 50 miles of unobstructed short and long-range Blue Ridge Mountain vistas that surround the home 180 degrees. There is no shortage of views as the day’s shifting light presents show-stopping displays against the mountain range that change hourly. Enjoy a spot at the outdoor gazebo or by the fire pit to take in this spectacle, the symphony of nature’s soothing sounds and the calm rush of water from the home’s beautiful waterfall feature.
Bringing your dog with you on your Blue Ridge mountain vacation can enrich a trip in so many ways. You’ll meet and talk to dog-loving strangers who otherwise would have passed right by you. You’ll travel to dog-friendly parks and other places that wouldn’t ordinarily be on your itinerary. You’ll have a built-in reason to go outside, exercise and have fun. Most meaningfully, you’ll have your best friend at your side. We are glad that you and your four legged pooch have decided to stay with us, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of Blue Ridge’s favorite canine and people friendly spots.
Let’s Get Our 20,000 Steps In
Fido isn’t wearing a Fitbit, but he does have twice as many legs that welcome the fresh air and exercise that come as a vacation bonus here in the foothills of the Appalachians. The Chattahoochee National Forest is dog-friendly. When combined with the Oconee National Forest, the Chattahoochee National Forest spans nearly 867,000 acres across 26 counties and features thousands of miles of clear streams and rivers, 850 miles of recreation trails, picnic areas, and areas rich in natural scenery, history, and culture. Hikers bringing their dogs on the trails must keep them under verbal or physical restraint at all times—using a leash in crowded areas is highly encouraged.
If your dog loves to socialize with her canine counterparts, then a visit to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge Dog Park is a must. An off leash park there offers both Big dog and Small Dog areas. There are toys to play with or you are welcome to bring your furkids favorite fetch toy. Clean up bags are provided, but you need to do the heavy lifting and disposal into the litter cans. The park is open sun-up till sun-down, 7 days a week.
Shopping is GRRRRReat
Blue Ridge Cotton Company is a dog-friendly clothing store, located in downtown Blue Ridge. Inside the store, you’ll find an extensive pet section, including gifts, books, leashes in a variety of colors, treats, and more. There’s even more irresistible human stuff, too. Additionally, Blue Ridge Cotton Company donates one percent of every purchase to a number of animal charities in the local area.
If it’s a girls day out, then the two of you need to head over to Humble Pie Ladies Boutique. A pet-friendly ladies outfitter in Blue Ridge, the clothing they stock is Bohemian-style, unique, affordable and comfortable. Dogs are welcome to join you in the dressing room as you decide which flowing dress or headband best suits you.
Love Dogs and Cats Too is a pet-friendly store full of items for Fido and Fluffy. They stock everything from healthy treats and snazzy leashes to plush toys and comfy beds. Dogs are welcome inside to sniff out their birthday gift or drop some hints as to their favorite kind of toy to take home.
Drinking out of a bowl, frosted mug or goblet
Eventually you and your pet are going to get thirsty. Though your four legged friend isn’t old enough to legally indulge in liquid spirits, he/she will still love to socialize with you as you test out some of the finest in craft beers and wines produced in our region. Hanging out on the patio seating at Grumpy Old Men’s Brewing will actually put you all in a good mood. Fannin Brewing Company is another favorite for Fido travelers and the Ale beer connoisseur on the other end of the leash. Just up the road from downtown Blue Ridge is Bear Claw Vineyards & Winery, a boutique farm winery with vineyards where production of handcrafted wines are offered in the tasting room which also includes a dog friendly patio. Salud!
This Movie Rates 5 Bones
When was the last time you took your pooch to the movies? Here in Blue Ridge you can bring Chunky with you to catch Call of the Wild (or Lady and the Tramp if she’s into chick flicks) on the biggest screen she’s ever seen – at the Swan Drive-in Theater. Screening since 1955, this drive-in features 1st run blockbusters & an old-school snack bar with burgers. You’ll love the nostalgia, your pet will dig the burger bar outdoor patio and you’ll both enjoy the movie.
French Fries to Fine Dining
It’s vacation, and McDonalds isn’t going to do for either of you. It’s time to try new gourmet delights, something that didn’t come out of a can. Toccoa Riverside Restaurant, located in Blue Ridge, GA, is a casual eatery that serves up a variety of delicious American fare. Best known for their local trout dishes, it’s best not to mention to your pet that there is also catfish on the menu. Spot is welcome to join you at one of their pet-friendly outdoor tables while you enjoy your meal. (They even offer a special menu just for pups with options like hot dogs, burgers, chicken, rice, and more!) And there is live entertainment for your pet too, as they quack up watching the ducks waddling along the river bed.
You don’t have to be a Polish Greyhound to enjoy the patio dining at Margo’s Gourmet Polish Kitchen. Margo makes everything fresh daily, and Cuddles will appreciate that she refers to her famous steamed weiners as sausages, not hot dogs. If you are both preferring something more like a pizza than a pierogi, upstairs from Margo’s is where Blue Jeans Pizza is located. Rated #1 Blue Ridge Pizza on Trip Advisor, this Italian-American eatery also serves up menu options like appetizers, salads, burgers, pizza, strombolis, calzones, subs, pasta, wraps, and more. And your furry bambino is welcome to join you at their outdoor patio seating.
When the palate calls for something more upscale or a certain date night ambience, then be sure to sniff out these two places. Harvest on Main has comfortable seating on their patio under the porch for both you and your furkid. Don’t share the menu though. Cuddles will have you ordering the Smoked Duroc Bone-In Pork Chop served with Red Skinned Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Pork Collard Greens, topped with Mushroom Ragout. Guess who wants the bone?
And talk about the right canine atmosphere to indulge in culinary perfection, check out the 200 year old tree that Cuddles can rest under while you indulge in what’s been voted the best weekend brunch in Blue Ridge at The Black Sheep, just a short walk down Main Street.
March is when things start to come alive in North Georgia. After a winter that’s been warmer than normal, then colder than normal, then wetter than normal, and finally, just … normal! Now we have buds and early flowers, parades and green beer, and of course the wineries and brewpubs are waking up with tastings and special events. What a great time of year! Let us help you plan your next getaway. Check out the events below and come stay with us this month!
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!
March 3 – Open Mic Night Hosted By Danny Rhea March 6 – The Orange Walls (duo) March 7 – Paul Constantine March 13 – Quinn Leach March 14 – Gopher Broke March 20 – Travis Bowlin March 21 – Danny Rhea March 27 – Dave Dale March 28 – Rivertown Road
Forgive the name, but enjoy the play! This is one of those plays where the setting could be anywhere, like “Our Town”, but when you localize it (in this case, Helen, Georgia), it makes it all the more fun for those who know the places and the sometimes obscure references. For those who are not familiar with North Georgia’s little slice of Bavaria, just sit back and relax, you’ll get it soon enough!
Starting from a historic rail station in downtown Blue Ridge, this classic ride of 26 miles, or about four hours, winds its way along the scenic Toccoa River, through small towns and along pastoral and dramatic topography. You have your choice of vintage, climate controlled or open-air cars, and there’s even time built in for lunch and shopping for unique gifts.
Pizza, beer, tunes. It’s a perfect combination for relaxing, refreshing, rejuvenating. And it’s simply fun. The atmosphere in Mystic Mountain allows you to dine and delight with food, beverages, and live music! Every member of the family will enjoy this, and they serve soft drinks too!
March 6 – Gopher Broke March 24 – The Foothill Brothers
You don’t have to be crafty to make crafts, especially when you have the care and guidance of accomplished artists. In this case, you’ll have a chance to make three macramé bracelets, and you choose your own focal pieces. Then take it easy, maintain attention to detail, get into a rhythm, and complete your piece at your own pace. It’s fun, and rewarding.
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!
March 6 – Travis Bowlin March 13 – Captain John March 14 – Steve Baskin March 20 – Hunter Lyons March 27 – Trailer Hippies
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!
March 6 – Bad Ju Ju and the Ems March 7 – Adrian Stover March 13 – Natti Lovejoys March 14 – Gregg Erwin March 20 – Topper March 21 – Mind the Stepchildren March 27 – Donnie Hammonds March 28 – Breaking Point
It’s hard to beat a relaxed setting for live music and Bin 322 Tasting room and Tapas Bar has managed to accomplish that with comfy, family style furniture in a restaurant so you don’t have to cook or even walk to the fridge. Relax. Take your shoes off. Well…at least relax!
March 7 – Chip McCain March 14 – Robbie Litt March 20 – Loose Shoes Duo
This should be obvious – cork=wine; canvas=art. Put the two together and you have the perfect combination for some fun and fundraising. Wine, a silent auction, a count-the-corks raffle, live music and tasty delectables all contribute to a fine event each year.
It’s not like there’s any shortage of kudzu. So, what do you do with it? Well, it’s rumored that goats eat it, but what fun is that? Much better to get all crafty and artistic with it. Weave it, along with some nice green ribbon, into a kudzu vine shamrock! A perfect gift for your favorite leprechaun.
A beautiful vineyard and winery set in pastoral farmlands in the heart of the Southern Appalachians. Cartacay’s wine history dates to 2007, but it’s heritage is comprised of Cherokee roots (in fact, Cartecay translates to “bread valley”). The winery features plenty of locally sourced wines, tastings and special events, plus live music on most weekends.
March 7 – Craig Hendricks March 8 – Camille Rae March 14 – Gregg Erwin March 15 – Cagle Pitts Duo Review March 21 – April Cummings March 22 – Thomas Hinds March 28 – Adrian Stover March 29 – Travis Bowlin
This is a day when you’re encouraged to act a little nuts! Dress up in green, maybe even dress your dog up in green. Starting at about 11 am, put on funny hats, pants and shoes, maybe some green sunglasses, and join in a parade down Main Street in Blue Ridge with a couple hundred of your new best friends. Then stay in costume if you like, do a little shopping, eat some cabbage, and maybe drink a bit of green beer. It’s a party, ya’ll!
There are discernable differences in how different towns celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in these parts. For Ellijay, it includes all the usual green stuff. Dress in green, eat green muffins, drink green beer, but add to that, green pets. A pet parade is a big part of Ellijay’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. So, get your dog, or cat, or turtle ready to have fun!
Forget Green Eggs and Ham! Despite the urgings of “Sam I Am, this unique event is a chance to eat green stuff that tastes GREAT! It’s mostly for kids, but, as always, adults get drawn into the fun, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself combining colors to make various shades of green cakes, cookies and frostings. And it’s highly likely you’ll be eating more than you take home!
Here’s a simple concept: 1. Love wine 2. Get passport for wine tastings 3. Taste wine all over North Georgia during an entire week! Several of the participating wineries are located central to Blue Ridge, Ellijay, and Blairsville, so you don’t have to go far. But if you decide to venture further, you can use the Blue Ridge Region as home base for hub-and-spoke forays into WineLand. It’s a fun and fruitful way to explore new wineries, enjoy different wine venues, music, entertainment and tasting varieties. One piece of advice: don’t overdo it in a single day. After all, you’ve got all week. Take your time; sip and enjoy!
Here’s a chance to enjoy wine and do something truly good for the local community. Purchase a piece of local pottery and a contribution will be made to the Fannin area food banks. You also get to sample local soups (use your new bowl!), breads and desserts from local restaurants.
If all those sound like kitchen and living room amenities, you probably missed the 1950’s and 60’s the first time around. You’re young. Be happy. But if you remember the Drifters, Coasters and Platters, or you found them among the nostalgic music on YouTube, dig out your dancing shoes and come join the fun!
Randall Blamblett is quite simply a wonder. He’s like a musical encyclopedia (remember those?) of the last thirty years, having played with, and written music for, the likes of Bonnie Raitt, The Allman Brothers, The band, Widespread Panic, and he and his band effortlessly cover iconic bands like Hot Tuna, Delbert and dozens of recognizable others. As part of the Live Music is Better series, all attention is on Bramblett – his skills, diversity and variety.
NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM
This 4-bedroom, 3-bath cabin is the epitome of beauty and class! Aska Easy Day features incredible views of both the Blue Ridge mountains and Lake Blue Ridge, once you check in, you’ll never want to leave! The best part about this gorgeous cabin is that you can bring your 4-legged family members with you on your escape!
Perched on a mountaintop more than 3,000 feet above the trees with dramatic, sweeping long-range mountain vistas in the distance, The Owl’s Perch is like a magnificent picture postcard come to life. Located northeast of Lake Blue Ridge on a large lot in Morganton that borders unspoiled U.S. Forest Service land, it’s a calm oasis far removed from stressful city life, but just a short drive away from the shops and dining of downtown Blue Ridge.
Spring Break is just around the corner and now is a great time to start planning your end-of-winter getaway. Afterall, we only get 18 school years with our kids, so we should make each and every school vacation count! Because if we’re being truthful, you are dying for a reason to escape from the stresses of work and Spring Break is the perfect guilt-free excuse for a fun family trip! KEEP READING.
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
3. HIT THE LINKS
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
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,
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
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
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!
Who needs Napa Valley, when you have North Georgia?In fact, North Georgia, and specifically Dahlonega, has been called the Napa of the East. So, what’s the point of hopping on a plane, enduring crazy traffic, and dealing with stifling crowds? Right here in North Georgia you will be better served, remain relaxed, and meander the charming and scenic back roads of Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Dahlonega, Blairsville, and Helen to enjoy a wine experience that’s even better than what the wild west can offer!
1st Place Winners
Surprisingly enough, it turns out North Georgia wines also are winning quality competitions in California’s very own backyard which is causing quite the “Bottleshock” to all the more seasoned western vineyards. So quality-wise, the wine is not a concern. Which makes another good reason to stay close to home!
Starting in Blue Ridge, it doesn’t take long to feel like you’re in wine country. Within an hour’s drive you might swear you just caught a glimpse of Tuscany, or around the corner there’s what looks like Oregon, California, or Upstate New York. North Georgia looks like a lot of other states in the beauty department. That’s why Hollywood likes Georgia, and especially North Georgia, so much. It could look like the Midwest, inland Oregon, or maybe even New England.
For wine production purposes in these parts, the secret lies in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, which provide ideal weather, geography and geology for successful vinifera grape growing due to its long springs, hot, dry summers, and elevations between 1,300 – 1,800 feet.
It’s All About The Grapes
The trail of six farm wineries that lead from Dahlonega north and east into White County and Helen is a great example of how terrain changes dictate grape production and variety of purpose. Designated as the “Dahlonega Plateau”, an AVA (American Viticultural Area), on July 20, 2018, the area encompasses 133 square miles with the same climate, soil, elevation and physical features creating conditions that are ideal for growing grape varietals such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot.
Passport to Wine
2020 Wine Highway Week is now a MONTH long! Enjoy touring 24 participating vineyards in the beautiful mountains while you discover Georgia wines! There will be a $50.00 fee for each participant which will be collected at the first winery visited. Travelers will receive a “Wine Highway Week” collectors’ glass and Passport which will give them admission to ALL participating wineries at no additional charge. Be sure to keep you Passport and Collectors glass with you at all wineries visited! You can purchase your Passport on line at: www.georgiawineproducers.org/shop
The Wine Highway
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery is tucked in the hills just 45 minutes from Blue Ridge and a five-minute drive from downtown Dahlonega. Wolf Mountain is elegant, with spectacular views, the perfect wedding and event venue, but also the ideal place for Sunday brunch, or fun gatherings with friends. A lot of the North Georgia wineries multi-task that way.
Montaluce Winery and Restaurant, with its elegant, ivy-covered walls, and its porches with views to the vineyard, conjures up images of Italy, but is also the site of bike races that have featured the likes of Lance Armstrong and Georgia Hincapie. This breathtaking destination offers a spectacular brunch on Sunday and lunch and dinner Monday through Sunday.
Kaya Vineyard & Winery, in White County, makes the best of the perfect perch, with 360 degree views of Blue Ridge scenery. Wines produced from Kaya’s vines have received over fifty awards and most recently, the vineyard was recognized for producing grapes for one of the “Top 50 Wines of the Year” reviewed by the Wine Report.
The Cottage Vineyard & Winery, one of the earliest Georgia farm wineries on the scene, founded in the late 1990s, actually has church services on Sunday mornings, with inspiring views of the vineyard. Paying homage to all military men and women is a North Georgia Honor Wall that features the 5 service flags of the US Armed Forces: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corp., and Navy as well as the POW and U.S. Flags.
The wineries of all three – Dahlonega, White County and Gilmer make for a pleasant mix of wine trail possibilities – from upscale to downhome; and from farm to fancy. At Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery you can even pet donkeys and alpacas. It’s a local favorite, especially on Friday nights, and live music is always a draw, as it is at most wineries on the weekends.
You’d guess by the name, that Three Sisters Vineyards was a family winery started by siblings – good guess, but wrong. It is indeed a family winery, but the name refers to the three Blue Ridge Mountain ridges that form the perfect backdrop for wedding and special events.
Frogtown Wine, a perennial winner of prestigious national and international wine competitions, offers dramatic 50-mile views, but the ambiance is decidedly California casual, especially the bright white main lodge with deck seating. There are 23,000 grape vines in Frogtown’s North Georgia vineyards capable of producing up to 180 tons of premium wine grapes each year. This tonnage equates to over ten thousand cases of Estate grown wine per year!
On the Ellijay side of Blue Ridge, Fainting Goat Vineyards (yes, they actually have fainting goats), and Cartecay Vineyards, with its distinctive fireplace and iconic chimney, both make for fine outdoor enjoyment most times during the year. Chateau Meichtry specializes in combining wine tasting with learning a lot about the wines, and the entire process of wine production. All three feature live music most weekends.
Right here in Blue Ridge we are lucky to have two great wineries: Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards. Bear Claw Vineyards is welcoming for every member of the family, both two legged and four. Well behaved pets are welcome and there are plenty of games to keep the kids busy while you catch up with your friends and family while you sip their delicious wines. At Serenberry, you are invited to savor the day by relaxing in a beautiful mountain setting while tasting delicious wines!
So, who needs Napa? With the broad variety of wines, and the expanse of experiences, plus the proximity and easy scenic drives (be sure to stop along the way at Amicalola Falls, the highest cascading waterfall on the East Coast), or at charming farmers markets, orchards and food stands – that is indeed the question.
These are the times when things start falling from the trees, unless you pick them first! That especially applies to apples, plums, and persimmons (as sometimes the fun is in the pickin’). As for the leaves, just let them fall. They’re pretty, and crunchy, and they add to the overall ambiance of this wonderful season!
It’s that time of year when fall colors lead to a true change toward cooler temps. Indian Summer is over, and now you can haul out those long pants, hiking boots, and sweaters for the cooler times. It’s also time for art shows, visits to vineyards, gathering with friends & family, honoring our Veterans, and fishing for autumn trout, just to name a few.
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!
November 1 Slickfoot November 2 Disciples of sound November 8 Topper! November 9 Bottoms up November 15 Fiction at The Blue Coyote November 16 Breaking point November 22 Taylor Hughes November 23 BEATS Workin’s Ridge Rock in November November 29 The Nati Lovejoys Reggae Band November 30 Mind the Stepchildren
The distances sound daunting, 30k is no 10 and 11k is no 5 – but when you consider that this run will be managed for a maximum of 250 participants and the terrain will be all dirt trails through dense forest, you quickly understand that this is not your typical run around the block. The beauty of this part of Georgia, especially in the National Forest, and especially at this time of year, is breathtaking. Register soon – space is limited.
Veterans Day is a solemn occasion, when we recognize those who sacrificed to keep America safe and secure, but somehow, with brass bands, flags waving, color guards leading a parade, and burgers on the grill, it’s also a cause for celebrating the strength of a nation! Thanks to those who have given so much. Celebrate and commemorate Veterans Day in Downtown Blue Ridge, but save the solemn for Memorial Park.
Here is your monthly opportunity to drink wine with no guilt. A yoga workout, then drink wine. Easy! The guided yoga lasts about an hour. The wine tasting and wine drinking has no set time parameters. Enjoy!
There’s the blues … then there’s the Tullie Brae BLUES! This contemporary blues/rock-infused contemporary blues musician is a magician when it comes to setting tone and tenor for a fabulous night of jazzy swing. Her shows have been described as pure energy, a Louisiana Delta meets Memphis Belle kind of tribute to all the best of the genre. She has appeared with BB King and Bonnie Raitt among others and she captivates all she comes in contact with. It’s gonna be quite a concert!
Unique handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings, and gifts of all description are about to go on sale…let the holidays begin! This is just what artists have been working for and what customers of custom crafts have been waiting for, and it’s not just a weekend fling. This holiday show and sale begins just before Thanksgiving and lasts into January!
The WhoDunIt Mystery Art Fundraiser includes original art pieces, food, live music and lots of fun!
But… but … but … It’s not YOUR town, Mr. Potter! Thank you, Jimmy Stewart for your one-of-a-kind interpretation of this Christmas classic, which will be ringing in your ears as you ring in the season with “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The Blue Ridge Community Theater’s performance of this memorable, and inspirational, timeless holiday story will be sure to delight young and young at heart!
An early entry in the holiday crafts bazaar scene, about a week before all the Black Friday craziness. You can choose to be more civilized picking and choosing of your holiday-themed local crafts and creations in jewelry, pottery, soap-making and wood crafts. Plus the local artisans are fascinating to talk to and learn about.
You’ve just gotta trust a fishing company to teach you how to fish. It’s what they do. This class covers all the basics and the advanced stuff you really need to know to catch fish plus descriptions of local waters (aka, fishing where the fish are), knots, rods, reels and casting techniques.
We are thankful for all of our past and future cabin guests. It’s our absolute pleasure to provide you luxury accommodations in the North Georgia Mountains. Our sincere wish this holiday season is that you and yours can come together, eat some delicious food, and be thankful for all we have been given in this life.
It is a day of sharing good things, including a Thanksgiving meal, with neighbors and friends as well as anyone in need. It’s also a fundraiser to support future good deeds. Take out meals are available.
Black Friday, the all-out dash for discounts, just got softened a bit by Blue Ridge’s very appropriate “Blue Friday”, with special emphasis on fun, a parade, community caroling, Santa’s arrival, and the lighting of a 27-foot tall tree! Also be on the lookout for strolling characters, food vendors and entertainment in the park on Saturday, November 30th and every Saturday through December. Make your escape memorable and join us as Blue Ridge ushers in and celebrates the holiday season!
NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM
A unique cabin retreat built to become the backdrop for large families to gather and create lasting memories. If you’ve had your heart set on a North Georgia mountain family vacation but haven’t found a rental large enough for your big family, group of friends, or church retreats Serenity Cove is the perfect cabin for you. With ample room for 16 guests, Serenity Cove is a magnificent private retreat that offers you all the amenities of a high-end resort, and so much more!
If the stress and hustle and bustle of daily life in the city has you yearning for peace, quiet and the beauty of nature, it’s time to escape to the Blue Ridge mountains, and Getaway is the perfect place to do it. On a hillside surrounded by towering trees, this tri-level cabin offers you the ultimate in privacy and relaxation, with a world of fun activities and adventure just a short drive away. You can walk down and hike back the half mile to the Toccoa River, and it’s four miles to tubing and whitewater rafting, five miles to Mercier Orchards, seven miles to downtown Blue Ridge and three miles to Copperhill and McCaysville.
What’s on your checklist when considering a North Georgia cabin rental? Chances are you want privacy, a great view, all the comforts of a home away from home and close proximity to downtown Blue Ridge. At Cloud Top Cabin, you’ll find that and so much more. This uniquely constructed mountain retreat, built of wood from Montana and decorated in rustic-chic style with brand new, custom-made furniture, is ideal for a large family or friends’ getaway—it can accommodate 10 guests in its four master bedroom suites. And the view? Step onto the wraparound decks to take in long-range mountain vistas that are especially spectacular at sunset.
When you escape to the mountains, you look forward to being able to explore the great outdoors, to take scenic rides through the Blue Ridge foothills and highlands, seek out a waterfall and enjoy an evening around the fire pit, sipping wine while the kids gorge on toasted marshmallows. Sometimes Mother Nature plays havoc with your plans, aiming her watering hose right at your coveted vacation spot. When this occurs, don’t let it keep you from enjoying what Blue Ridge has to offer. Lots of our best activities are under roof. Keep Reading.
When you escape to the mountains, you look forward to being able to explore the great outdoors, to take scenic rides through the Blue Ridge foothills and highlands, seek out a waterfall and enjoy an evening around the fire pit, sipping wine while the kids gorge on toasted marshmallows. Sometimes Mother Nature plays havoc with your plans, aiming her watering hose right at your coveted vacation spot. When this occurs, don’t let it keep you from enjoying what Blue Ridge has to offer. Lots of our best activities are under roof.
OK, we do not have internationally renowned art museums like NYC and Paris, but we do have one of the largest selections of local and regional fine artists works located at the Blue Ridge Art Association Center in downtown Blue Ridge. There are two stories of art to peruse, in a beautiful setting, the restored old Fannin County Courthouse. On exhibit this fall will be two shows not to be missed. From Oct. 5th through November 9th, the 12th Annual SAAG National Juried Art Show will be on exhibit, with artists entries from 25 states. And Oct 5th through January 4th, the Photography of Jerry Mucklow, Artist In Residence will be showcased. Half of the works of Mr. Mucklow’s show will be the many frames he’s captured of the Blue Ridge area, and the other half will feature the Coastal South.
If art isn’t your thing, but legendary mountain men are more your interest, then take a quick ride just east of the city to visit EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum. This museum may have you giggling on the way in the door, but you will leave with a new appreciation for your next walk in the woods. You’ll discover why Bigfooters from around the globe make the pilgrimage to Blue Ridge just to explore this museum and its many relics.
Let the “Spirits” Move You
It’s always fun to meet folks around a local tavern and Grumpy Old Men Brewery is a great place to make some new friends and enjoy some amazing craft beer. TV’s are on and there are game tables to play, but nothing can compare to imbibing in a few flights of microbrew, shooting the bull with locals and a great bartending staff at Trip Advisor’s #5 Top Attraction in Blue Ridge. Kids are welcome, too. They have a great root beer on tap for those too young or the designated driver of the group. They open at noon Tuesday thru Sunday and are located at 1315 E. Main St. in Downtown Blue Ridge.
If you prefer grape to a hop, then a taste testing at Serenberry Vineyards is perfect on a day of drizzle. Located in sister city Morganton GA, the tasting room is situated in a restored 1920’s barn. You’ll enjoy tasting the fine wines grown on this 3rd generation family farm and hear some interesting stories of this region. A kickback afternoon we highly recommend.
Let’s Play Games
Remember when you were kids and the best Sunday afternoon was when you went bowling with your family? If you want to go back to those days, before the time where digital light shows flashed blinding lights and wild music drowned out the family laughter over a barrage of gutter balls thrown by Dad, then you want to visit Fannin Lanes. This classic bowling center has twelve wooden lanes,all kept in excellent condition. There are automatic bumper rails for the kids. They are a non-smoking, family entertainment facility, reasonably priced and just the ideal way to wait out the rain. And they are open seven days a week and holidays.
If tossing a 12 lb polyester ball down a lane doesn’t excite the family, then maybe they want to take on Escape Room: Blue Ridge. An escape room is an adventure game in which players are “locked” in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit (60 minutes). The games are physical versions of “escape the room” video games. It’s fun for the whole family, or if you and a friend are just a duo, they will find you new friends to take on the challenge. It’s a unique, fun way to kill an hour that you’ll be talking about for many more hours, many more days, and many more years to come.
Now, we’ve pretty much helped you fill in several rainy days, though we hope the sun shines bright on you during your stay with us. All of these activities are enjoyable on sunny days, too. Welcome to Blue Ridge, where we always know how to have fun!
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.