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.
September is a time of transition, when summer is coming to an end, but the crisp nights promise something even better! Life at the lake goes on, the rivers are flowing with enough intensity to host a kayak championship, apples are ripe and ready for picking, and weekend festivals feature live music, BBQ and brews! Check out the events below and come stay with us this month.
Every small town has an Opal. She’s a middle-age recluse who lives in an old, falling down mansion on the edge of town. She’s quirky, to say the least and she collects things, hauling them through town to her house in a little red wagon. She’s harmless, she’s also a target, but she’s oblivious and those trying to do her harm end up getting theirs in the end. Familiar story and funny. Check it out!
A fun and beautiful run for all ages, sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of North Georgia. Awards presented for the top three runners in 5-year incremental age groups, as well as overall firsts for male and female. Welcome the first fall weekend with an exercise activity and some spirited encouragement!
It’s a tradition each Labor Day Weekend in Blairsville to celebrate local history and heritage at the place where it all began. Focused on the restored 1861 Payne family log cabin, the Mauney family barn, the Duncan family cabin and other structures from the area’s past, music and craft activities will be very much in evidence, providing entertainment as well as education!
Mountains and sea meet with some Lowcountry cooking, local brews from Grumpy Old Men Brewery and a bit of New Orleans thrown in for good measure. This is a a little bit country Cajun and a little bit charming Charleston. Diversity for sure. The culinary team from Cucina Rustica monitors the fusion to make sure there’s no- con-fusion!
Apple U-Pick September 1 – 30 LOCATION: Mercier Orchards and Area Orchards in Blue Ridge & Ellijay
It’s apple-pickin’ time! Which means it’s also time for tractor rides through the orchards, corn mazes, and definitely time to enjoy breathtaking mountain views from the top of an apple pickin’ ladder (why is it, by the way, that the best apples always seem to be at the top of the tree?!). Mercier Orchards is in its 76th year of operation, and Labor Day Weekend has always been the time to kick off the season. It’s also time to drive slowly through the lovely stretch of highway near Ellijay, watching for just the right orchard to catch your attention. Look for apple signs all over!
Yes, barbecue and gospel music do go together! In fact, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of voices harmonizing, with a bit of sauce on the side. In addition to music and “cue”, there’s also an ice cream social and a chance to discover local churches in the area.
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.
Live Music at Cartecay Vineyards: September 1 – Downtown Roy September 7 – Gopher Broke Band September 8 – Tommy Joe Connor September 14 – Gregg Erwin September 15 – Surrender Hill September 21 – Timothy O’Donovan September 22 – Ricky Byers September 28 – Man Bites Dog September 29 – Cagle & Pitts Duo Review
Be on the lookout for artists painting everything everywhere in Fannin County during this four-day international event. You may see artists in parks, in farm fields, even alongside the road – wherever the spirit has moved them to sit, or stand, and capture the beauty and uniqueness of this region on canvas. This is a judged show with various events surrounding it, including opportunities to meet the artists and purchase their work. Art will be on exhibit at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association from September 10 through October 13.
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!
Live Music at Grumpy’s: September 6 – Doctor Paul September 13 – Travis Bowlin September 27 – Gregg Erwin
The perfect combination – yoga, followed by wine tasting at a vineyard with a view. Ashlee Lofton leads the yoga class, beginning at 10:45am and then there’s a moment of reflection before moving on to Bear Claw’s Grizzly Tasting. OMMM & AHHH. Nothing better!
Diane Durret, who has performed with Sting, Gregg Allman, the Indigo Girls, Chuck Leavell and countless others will perform at the Blue Ridge Community Theater with her blend of raw soulful vocals, sultry tones and strong original songs!
World class whitewater and a bunch of folks who know how to navigate it, it’ll be like watching the Olympics in your own backyard, because these are truly Olympic-level competitors! This three-day event on the Upper Ocoee will feature raft, canoe and kayak competitions in formats ranging from slalom racing to freestyle, set against a spectacular backdrop! During down times you can enjoy the live music and regional vendor booths.
They used to say “let food be your medicine”…and how many times are diets based on a simple change of what you eat? In this class you will learn how to make and set up an herbal first aide kit, discover poultices, and try out some compresses. Each participant will be given a packet describing how to create your own herbal preparations along with a lot of lecture time and hands on, a small herbal profile, and all materials will be furnished for you to make your own concoctions.
For these bored seniors living at the “Home”, life is a monotonous cycle of pills, old movies and 7pm bedtimes, all while overseen by the killjoy nurse. But when a new arrival shakes things up, this geriatric group of grandparents hatch a scheme to break all the rules and rediscover their purpose and dignity.
There’s nothing like some cool blues riffs. And, there’s nothing like some tasty, mouth-watering barbecue. Hmmm – put those two together on the same day and you have a sure-fire winner of a fall festival! Which is what the Blues and BBQ Music Festival is, just a beautiful way to spend a day with friends, family, good sounds, and good smells!
The Boat Dock Bar and Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina has one of the best views of Lake Blue Ridge around. The restaurant features a full kitchen, outdoor seating, a beachy atmosphere, and it’s dog-friendly (if your dog is dog friendly).
Live Music at the Boat Dock: September 27 – Gerry Herndon
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!
Mudcat September 28 LOCATION: Mystic Mountain Pizza
Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck is an internationally known gospel and bluesman continuing the traditions of the early blues pioneers while adding his own Mudcat edge, resulting in one of Atlanta’s greatest treasures. Don’t miss this show. At Mystic Mountain Pizza you’ll enjoy good food, cold beer, and an inviting atmosphere!
Live Music at the Blue Coyote: September 27 – Bone Daddy
First of all, there are no guarantees that these goats really will dance, but you can probably count on them to eat, and provide pretty good backdrops for a great folk festival. Mostly, it’s a pretty snappy name that catches your attention. Once captivated by the possibility of goat dancing, you can settle into a celebration of regional culture and local traditions, including talented artisans plying their crafts, storytelling, and showcases of true folk art. Well worth the trip.
You’ve seen ‘em, you just don’t know you’ve seen ‘em. They’re sometimes called Railroad Hand Cars, and sometimes you have to pump them to get around, an exercise best accomplished with two. Operating one of these is just a part of a weekend’s worth of tribute to the world of railroads – hosted, of course, in a train depot, where you can also enjoy a large “HO Scale” model railroad based on the L & N Railroad’s Old Line from Atlanta to Etowah, Tennessee.
NEW HOMES ADDED TO OUR PROGRAM
What matters most to you in a mountain vacation? Whether it’s a wide range of great activities nearby, a magnificent setting that brings you closer to nature, or the chance to relax, unwind and leave everything in your ‘real life’ behind, you’ll find it all at My Mountain Retreat. Perched on a hillside in a forest clearing overlooking a verdant canopy, with spectacular long-range mountain views, this spacious tri-level showplace is the ideal getaway retreat.
Escape to a mountaintop in Blue Ridge to a home with some of North Georgia’s best views that extend out to two more states. Summit Escape is in the wonderful community of Sun Rock Mountain, and is easily accessible off of paved roads. This property is adjacent to 100 acres of pristine, undisturbed wilderness, yet is convenient to downtown Blue Ridge and McCaysville. There is no better place than this cabin’s expansive wraparound deck or beautiful screened in porch to watch the area’s abounding wildlife from wild turkeys, to deer and hummingbirds.
There are new owners as of 2019, and with the new owners, there are numerous updates! All new kitchen stainless steel appliances, new granite countertops and refinished hardwood floors. The main and downstairs bedrooms have new premium queen pillow top mattresses/boxsprings and there’s new bedding on all levels. Even the basement has a brand new look, with an all new ceiling!
When you plan an escape to Blue Ridge there is nothing better than spending time with friends and family while taking in the sights and sounds of natures’ majestic beauty. When you add in stunning mountain and lake views to your cabin selection, you’ve just taken your vacation to a whole new level! These eight amazing cabins with picture perfect postcard views are all located in the desirable Aska Adventure Area. KEEP READING.
Labor Day weekend is typically summer’s last hurrah. Visitors flock to the mountains to escape the southern city heat, hoping to “chill” before the final quarter of the year kicks into full gear. (Yikes, only 12 weeks till Christmas? Say it isn’t so!)
Whether you came to be entertained, experience the great outdoors or just eat and drink your way through these three days, we wanted to give you a heads up on what’s happening over this holiday weekend. If the event is kid-friendly we’ve noted it with a KF seal.
Grape Stomp Festival
One of the most iconic episodes of the I Love Lucy Show was the show where Lucy and Ethel take a job in a vineyard stomping grapes. It is impossible not to belly laugh your way through this episode, and Paradise Hills Winery Resort in Blairsville, offers you an opportunity to experience this adventure at their 6th Annual Grape Fest, Saturday, August 31st.
Join the fun staff at this mountain top winery for live music all day, grape stomping at 2pm & 4pm, a kid’s craft corner, local craft vendors and delicious wine & craft beer, too. Local BBQ food will be available for purchase. They’ll be having an “I LOVE LUCY – Look-alike Contest” at 2pm and 4pm. Wine Prizes for best costume! You don’t want to miss this fun time (KF). Admission is just $25 per person includes a souvenir glass and a basic tasting. Click here for tickets.
Everybody Loves Opal
It’s not just Lucy that everyone loves. Opal is a middle-aged recluse living in a tumbledown mansion in the edge of a municipal dump. Enter three vagabonds who try to swindle this kind-hearted optimist. The laughs are plenty and the joyfulness of this cast will make for one of your fondest theatrical experiences. Presented all weekend long at the Blue Ridge Community Theater, Blue Ridge GA. Click here for tickets.
Enjoying the fresh air and summer breezes in the mountains is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Labor Day Weekend is the start of one of our annual visitors favorite family traditions and outdoor activities, Mercier’s Orchards U Pick Apple season. For more details, visit their website here. (KF)
5K & Fun Run
If you are looking for a more challenging outdoor time before the summer ends, than you might want to rise very early on Labor Day and participate in the 3rd Annual River Run 5K and Fun Run at Horseshoe Bend Park in Mineral Bluff, GA. Sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of North Georgia, Race Day Registration and Packet Pickup begins at 7am with the 5K race starting at 8am and the fun race at 8:30am. Bring the kids to participate, too! Awards will be presented to Overall Male/Female and top three male/female runners in 5 year age groups beginning at 10 years old and under through 75 and over. Click here for registration information. (KF)
If you like your outdoor entertainment to be loud and dirty, then you might want to head over to the Blue Ridge MotorsportsParkon Saturday night, Aug 31 for the UCRA 3K to Win. A night at the racetrack is fun for the whole family! (KF)
If you love live music then you have some exceptional options this long weekend. Saturday night the Copperhead Lodge in Blairsville is throwing a party and they’ve invited Southern Vantage to headline. Join this amazing southern rock cover band on the huge veranda/porch at the lodge for drinks, grub, and dance. They cover a variety of genres and hit songs from artists like Haggard, Cash, Waylon, Willie, Skynyrd, CCR, Seger, Blackberry Smoke, Hank Jr., Brooks and Dunn, Garth Brooks, Toby Kieth, Alan Jackson, Chris Stapleton, Luke Combs, Stone Temple Pilots, Sublime, Uncle Cracker and much more. Music begins at 7 pm. Come early, grab a seat and some great grub from the Lodge’s award-winning restaurant, The Flying Trout.
BBQ & Gospel Music
Though Southern BBQ is good twelve months a year, there’s something special about smellin’ that smoker cooking some tender butts for hours on end. If it’s BBQ and good southern gospel that you are yearnin’ for, then head into the heart of Blue Ridge for the39th Annual Labor Day BBQ & Gospel Music Show. If it has thrived for nearly four decades, you know it has to offer the best in music and in BBQ. It’s a 3-day event and the public is invited to enjoy all or part of it. On Monday, Sept. 2 from 11:30-6, enjoy the annual Labor Day Bar-B-Q with all the fixings served with Gospel and Blue Grass by tri-state area groups. Presale tickets are available from participating churches, Fannin Chamber of Commerce, and American Wholesale Print Shop. (KF)
Mountain Heritage Festival
Every Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend downtown Blairsville hosts, the Mountain Heritage Festival. Presented by the Union County Historical Society, the festival celebrates the history and mountain culture of these hills and valleys. Mountain arts/crafts, music, living history activities, demonstrations on quilting, spinning, basket making, chair caning, farm animals, and gold panning, along with activities for children. The activities will be centered around the restored 1861 Payne family log cabin, the Mauney family barn, the Duncan family cabin, and other structures from Union County’s past. Festival hours are 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free and there’s plenty of free parking around the Square. (KF)
Summer’s Last Hurrah
William Shakespeare penned “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” We couldn’t agree more. We look forward to seeing you here in the mountains this Labor Day weekend for summer’s last hurrah!
Spring has sprung, the temperatures are climbing, and
everything is blooming! The last weekend in May, Memorial Day Weekend, is an
excellent time to get away from the hub bub of daily life and Escape to the Blue
Ridge Mountains to enjoy the beauty that is bursting all around us!
Extreme or Serene
There is no shortage of fun to be had around town, but if just relaxing with your favorite people (and pups) in a fabulous cabin is your idea of a good time, we totally get it. Many of our cabins are equipped with game rooms, hot tubs, fire pits, and wooded trails to explore. There is also horseback riding stables, zip lines, and whitewater rafting close by for added immersion into the wonders of Mother Nature.
Downtown Blue Ridge
In downtown Blue Ridge you’ll enjoy attending the 44th Annual
Spring Arts in the Park event on Saturday and Sunday, May 25th
& 26th. This Southern
tradition features more than two hundred arts, crafts, and food booths for you
to admire fine arts and mountain crafts. You’ll also be able to see artist’s
demonstrations, hear some great music, and support the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts
Association! The event is held rain or shine, and well-behaved leashed pets are
welcome. Admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free!
Music will be abundant in the Downtown area as well. The Blue Ridge Brewery will welcome Gopher Broke on Saturday and Travis Bowlin on Sunday. At Grumpy Old Men Brewery you’ll get to see Highbeams on Saturday and the Copperhill Brewery will host Gerry Herndon on Sunday. You won’t want to miss Travis Bowlin at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill, which by the way, did you know, they are a sunny spot for shady people? Check them out. They offer great views of Lake Blue Ridge, delicious food, and fantastic drinks! Last but not least, The Blue Coyote will be jamming on Saturday with the Breaking Point Band and a local favorite, Gregg Erwin on Sunday.
About thirty minutes East of Blue Ridge in the town of Blairsville,
you’ll encounter their annual Spring Arts, Crafts, &
Music Festival. Saturday morning begins with a Memorial Day Parade and the
rest of the day and all-day Sunday you can enjoy more than 200 local and
regional artists. Many musicians will also be on site to entertain you and your
family. There is no charge to attend, but plenty of family fun is sure to be
If you’ve never experienced a trip on the Blue Ridge Railway, you should definitely consider boarding in downtown Blue Ridge and taking an enjoyable two hour ride to the revitalized cities of McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, Tn. Yep, this is your chance to stand in two states at one time! Grab a sinful shake or decadent donuts at Sweet & Southern Sugar Company. Maybe Cuban is more your style and you prefer a Cuban coffee and empanada at the Rum Cake Lady for an afternoon treat. For a good giggle and unique gifts, head over to 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.
Whatever plans you make for the holiday weekend, we hope
that you are spending it with all the ones you love creating memories and enjoying
the freedom that we get to enjoy in the great United States of America. As we
approach Memorial Day Weekend, we want to take a moment to thank all of the men
and women that have so courageously given their lives to defend this beautiful
country in which we are so fortunate to live. There is no greater sacrifice one
can make and the patriotism that these honorable souls displayed deserves our
recognition and gratitude, not just one weekend a year, but all year long. Thank
you for your service.
Spring is in full bloom and this is an ideal time to come visit the North Georgia Mountains! Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy a vibrant downtown, great restaurants, unique shops, rushing waterfalls, a sparkling blue lake, and mountain views that will take your breath away!
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!
May 3 – Slickfoot Band Live May 4 – Southern Vantage Band May 10 – Apollo Band May 11 – Mind the Stepchildren May 17 – Shadow Ape Band May 18 – Topper/Voices of Rock May 24 – Breaking Point Band May 25 – Gregg Erwin May 31 – Rocket Band
Australian and on tour, Achison is a guitar master as well as a song writer. His music has been compared to the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton and JJ Cale. He has a solid foundation in blues while also embracing varied musical styles.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn the art of watercolor painting, now’s the
time. This three-day retreat covers techniques like layering, blending,
accenting and various other aspects of watercolor painting. Crafters at all
levels from beginners to advanced are welcome.
You can’t get a better venue or greater acoustics than right on the
lake. With delicious food and jamming tunes, you’ll love the atmosphere and
entertainment at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina.
May 3 – Shannon York and Rob Harper May 4 – Lindsay Beth Harper May 5 – Buck & Oz Return May 10 – Danny Rhea Live May 11 – Gopher Broke May 18 – David Welch Unplugged May 24 – Gopher Broke
On Friday meet all the biggies – Bigfoot, Avenger, Brutus, Gunslinger and more. Plus you get to meet the guys who drive these monster trucks and eat a bit of barbecue while you’re at it. On Saturday the trucks and their drivers are in full stomp mode. Choose either event or both.
Ellijay is apple country so no wonder an apple festival is a huge springtime
attraction! Artists, crafters, music, entertainment, and children’s activities
will all be there to kick off the spring season! Pet friendly and FREE
It’s a tradition at wineries to help grapes wake up in the spring – it takes more than a nudge, and alarm clocks are worthless with grapes. So, cuttings from cold weather prunings fuel the bonfire and grapevines are perked up by folks drinking wine and listening to live music. It’s a tradition. It’s necessary. And it’s fun!
This will be the 12th annual Taste of Blue Ridge, benefiting the Humane Society of Blue Ridge. More than 30 restaurants from around the Blue Ridge area will participate – plenty to eat, plus live and silent auctions and live music!
Being out your creative side at Mercier’s and create a beautiful painting of an apple tree. The cost is $40/per person and includes a tractor ride up to the pavilion overlooking the orchard, a lunch consisting of a variety of sandwiches, fruits, and desserts, all the art supplies you will need, and a skilled artist to help you! All skill levels are welcome!
Back in Blue Ridge, American Idol winner Kris Allen is ready to rock the mountains in a special live intimate acoustic show in a private cabin! Tickets are seriously limited, so get them as soon as you can!
Rule of thumb – do anything (whether it’s art, a demolition derby or a golf outing) whenever the first two words describing the event are “rusty trucks”. In this case, it’s an art event – so sign up soon and you’ll be painting your very own rusty truck before you know it. The cost is $25 and all art supplies are included plus instruction by Becca.
It’s the swinging 60’s and it was okay to call flight attendants “stewardesses”. Dating practices also were a tad different in those days, like three fiances! Life gets a little bumpy when his lies catch up to him and his friend Robert comes to stay!
Not your usual 5k or 10k – that’s for sure. This Adventure Race features a 24-hour race and an 8-hour race complete with secret locations and a variety of skill sets like trekking, biking, paddling, navigation and orienteering.
An Eggfest is a gathering of Big Green Egg fans and experienced cooks from
all across the country and Canada. The cooks will be showcasing their skills
and talents and will be preparing their specialty recipes all day long!
Travis Tritt and The Cadillac Three will be live in Hiawassee on May 18!
Grab your best boots and sing along to some of your favorite Country songs like
“It’s a great day to be alive”, “Here’s a quarter”,
“T.R.O.U.B.L.E” and “I’m gonna be somebody”!
The 44th Annual Spring Arts in the Park is a Southern tradition in these parts. Enjoy more than 200 arts, crafts and food booths, featuring the best in mountain crafts and fine arts, demonstrations, music and dancing!
Blairsville’s Downtown comes alive Memorial Day Weekend with talented artists, musicians, and food. The weekend begins with a concert at the Old Courthouse Friday evening, a Memorial Day parade at 10am on Saturday, an outdoor concert on the Square Saturday evening and of course the festival! FREE and family-friendly!
New Homes Added to Our Program
Do you dream of a private mountain getaway where you can leave the stresses of daily life behind and relax with family and friends in a magnificent setting? That dream can become a reality at Just Bluffing. This beautifully designed Blue Ridge cabin rental is a tri-level showplace situated on a bluff amid the trees, with a glorious view of the mountains from sunrise to sunset. Secluded and serene but just six miles from the shops and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge and fun activities like apple picking at Mercier’s Orchard, it’s the perfect place for a well-deserved vacation.
Aska Adventure Lodge
The Aska Adventure Lodge is located in the sought after Aska Adventure area and is conveniently located less than five minutes from the quaint town of Blue Ridge, Georgia, the Toccoa River and Lake Blue Ridge. It is close to everything you’d want, but tucked away with all the privacy you’d expect from a mountain vacation retreat. Aska is the Cherokee Native American word for “winter retreat,” however, this cabin is perfect in every season. Hike right from the expansive wraparound porch, up the hill and connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail. Or, take advantage of the many popular area waterfalls and great tubing and canoeing activities.
In Case You Missed It
Dog Friendly Hikes
Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone! While we’d all love to be able to take our dogs with us on every trail we venture down, we can’t always do that. Sometimes the trails are too steep or the terrain is too rough for our four-legged friends to maneuver, or sometimes they simply aren’t allowed in that area because of other critters that may be dangerous for our dogs to encounter. To make things a little easier for you and your furry companion, here’s a list of a few trails around the Blue Ridge area that are sure to bring tons of fun for both and your favorite adventure buddy! Keep Reading.
Just off the holiday season is a perfect time to talk about the best places to get married or propose in 2019. More engagements take place around Christmas and New Year’s than any other time of the year. If you were one of the lucky ones, congratulations! If your New Year resolution was to make an honest man or woman out of your other half, here are a few of our favorite most romantic places in North Georgia.
The Ring is the Thing
Ridge Scenic Railway – Getting on board the marriage track can be as simple
as getting aboard a train. Because of who they are and what they do, the folks
who operate the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway know what it takes to make an
engagement extra special. Yes, it’s been done before, but popping the question
aboard a train – with that lonesome whistle crooning romantically in the
background – is guaranteed to melt a heart – maybe even two.
Bald – Elevation can lead to exhilaration – plus fantastic 360 degree views!
There’s nothing more exciting than anticipation…and the climb up Brasstown Bald,
to the highest point in Georgia, can leave you both breathless. Whether you
choose an engagement here or to
set your wedding among the tall pines, you can’t go wrong in this memorable
Knot Tying Made Memorable
Mercier Orchards – Memorable is
the goal of a destination wedding, and setting your wedding against a backdrop
of apple and peach trees in a rustic farmland is definitely memorable. Mercier Orchards
is a year-round venue for weddings, complete with lovely ponds, old barns, and
apple sheds — a true and genuine setting — and there are plenty of perfect
spots to get down on one knee and ask “will you” or stand up to say “I do”.
Old Toccoa Farm – Old Toccoa Farm is rooted in simplicity, quality and natural beauty. Trout streams boarder the golf course providing a relaxed and casual atmosphere with an emphasis on the outdoors. The farm is what it says it is – agricultural, rural and peaceful – and the perfect place for a simple or formal wedding.
Bear Claw Vineyards – It’s hard to
get much more romantic than a vineyard and winery. After all, all the elements
for a successful event are built in. Vines and wine. What more do you
need? This vineyard and winery was
actually built with romantic visits in mind – a unique treehouse, a wedding
venue, and a delightful tasting room ideal for receptions. The owners
themselves call this a “soothing and relaxing aesthetic” – what better place to
take first steps toward an everlasting life together?
Classic and Classy
Aska Farms – There is a reason why Wedding Wire has consistently identified Aska Farms as a top choice of couples for wedding venues in North Georgia. The majestic mountain background is truly jaw dropping and makes for some amazing pictures. The venue can be low key, or it can be an extravagant and awe-inspiring location! With a house and grounds that sets up ideally for brides (including a bridal party preparation suite) and a groom’s party space that encourages guys to just relax, there’s something for everyone.
At Escape To Blue Ridge, we offer many cabin options that are perfect for out of town guests or for a romantic honeymoon. We hope that regardless of the location that you choose, that love fills your life from the beginning and follows you all through your lives together! Share your happy memories with us and let us see the joy from your happiest days!
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
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.
There is always something happening in
these here mountains. Festival season begins in February and ends in October, plus
holiday activities are abundant in November and December. You will be blown
away with the ice sculpting that takes place at the annual Fire and Ice Chili
Cookoff. If music is more your style, you can shake your groove thing at both
the Blue Ridge Wine & Jazz
Festival and Blue
Ridge Blues & Barbeque Festival. Blue Ridge festivals are family
friendly, pet friendly, and extraordinarily fun!
Brown trout, rainbow trout, and native
trout are abundant in our freshwater mountain streams. Stop by and see Will
Taylor at the Fly Shop Co. for
some flies and a pole. Then head out to the headwaters of the Toccoa River, Noontootla
Creek, or Rock Creek for premier trout fishing.
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!
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.
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
Legend has is that as the Native Americans embarked
on the Trail of Tears, they shed tears of sorrow that fell to the ground and
formed tiny crosses of stone. Commonly known as staurolite crystals, these
minerals are abundant in Fannin County.
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!
Sometimes it’s challenging to motivate for outdoor fun when it is so chilly outside. However, being active outdoors is a great way to enjoy the mountains in a whole new way. Not only is it less crowded, but there are no bugs to contend with! To make the most of your outdoor adventure and not be cold and uncomfortable, layer your clothing so you don’t wimp out and head back for the cabin. Here are a few inspiring North Georgia cabin rentals to keep you active in and around Blue Ridge.
A River Runs Through It
The Aska Adventure Lodge is located in the much sought after Aska Adventure area. Did you know Aska is the Cherokee Native American word for “winter retreat”? However, this cabin is perfect in every season. The Lodge has three bedrooms and three bathrooms and can easily accommodate ten people with king beds in the two master suits, a queen bed in the guest room, and two futons in the loft and game room.
This retreat is conveniently located less than five minutes from the quaint town of Blue Ridge, Georgia. Nearby access to the Toccoa River and Lake Blue Ridge is easily accessible. Our friend, Dell Neighbors, at Fly Fishing North Georgia would be happy to take you on a guided fly-fishing trip to the area’s many cold-water streams and rivers. When you return from a great day of fishing, you can throw your freshly caught trout on the grill of your expansive deck and reflect on the successes of the day. Cap off your evening by lighting the outdoor fireplace and relax on the deck as the sun sets behind the expansive Blue Ridge Mountains.
A Gallop and a Trot
Vista Ridge is a distinctive Georgia mountain cabin rental that offers the peaceful get away from your everyday life that you are craving. Named for the spectacular view that overlooks the Toccoa River and stretches all the way to Tennessee and North Carolina, this four-bedroom, three bath home is your perfect base camp to explore the Blue Ridge area. To get a better feel for the view, saddle up a horse with our friends at Blanche Manor and go on an adventure through the unspoiled beauty of the mountain wilderness.
After a long day on the trails, soothe your sore muscles in the hot tub and watch the sun set behind the mountains. Back inside, turn on the gas fireplace and snuggle into the leather couches. Before your weekend is over, challenge your partner to a game of pool in the game room and make the looser take you out to a fabulous dinner at Harvest on Main.
Fly Like an Eagle
Eagles Landing is as bold, majestic and unique lodge that is the epitome of rustic elegance. This spacious custom home has seven bedrooms to accommodate nineteen guests. Situated directly on Lake Blue Ridge, this spectacular showplace has incomparable views of the surrounding mountains. The hand-carved spiral staircase spans four floors, from the unique loft down to the terrace level where you will find the “grown-ups’ game room”. There are three decks spanning the length of the home, a hot tub, swings, and a picnic table to enjoy views and privacy that cannot be found anywhere else.
Close by you can channel your inner eagle and zip through 165 acres of beautiful North Georgia mountain property with our friends at Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge. Here, you’ll experience the mountains from the treetops, you’ll zip into the valley, soar over pastures, and cross over Fighting Town Creek. From 75’ in the air you can squeal with delight take off on 6,000 feet of cable, crossing thirteen platforms and three walking bridges.
A Walk in the Woods
It’s impossible to walk in the woods and be in a bad mood at the same time. Fortunately, the mountains are rich with hiking trails to explore and Take a Hike cabin is the perfect home base. Beautifully situated on Mt. Pisgah, this cabin overlooks absolutely fantastic mountain views. It also has three massive decks to enjoy them and from where you’ll be inspired to plan the many and nearby open-air activities that surround you. This home has great sleeping accommodations for up to 7 people and is a perfect set up for two families vacationing together or a good-sized group.
Explore the Cohutta Wilderness just off of your back porch where you can pick from delicious blueberry and blackberry bushes for snacking along your easy hike to a waterfall, cave or to Colonel Magnum’s memorial. A quick ten-minute drive will get you to major hiking trailheads including Dally Gap, Jacks River, Benton Mackaye and Hemptop. Whichever route you choose, you will find peace and tranquility both in the woods and back at the cabin.
A Winery, Why Not
You have a lot of choices in Blue Ridge cabin rentals, but if you’re looking for comfort, privacy, and great views, Wine Down is the perfect vacation destination. This beautifully appointed mountain retreat is the kind of place that invites you to settle in, wind down and relax with a glass of wine, like its name suggests. The cabin’s four roomy bedrooms beckon you with comfort, but the real appeal is outside. Wine Down’s covered outdoor living room on the main deck has a gas grill, table for eight, plenty of seating, and a 60” TV above the wood burning fireplace.
Wine down is located on Aska Road less than four miles from the shopping and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge. A short drive will take you to the nearby winery at Serenberry Vineyards. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a mountain wine tasting. Their Skeenah Red is a perfect Merlot-Cab blend, but if you prefer something sweeter, you should definitely try the Apple-lachian. Fruity and sweet, it’s like a little apple pie in a bottle!
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains you will find the most delightful winery to check out – Bear Claw Vineyards. Owned by Kevin & Michelle Swim, these Atlanta natives moved up to the mountains six years ago for a slower paced life. Little did they know that a whole new adventure was about to begin.
Interestingly enough, the temperate climate and the rich soil quality in the North Georgia Mountains are ideal for grape vines to prosper. So what better idea for the Swim’s than to begin planting a vineyard and prepare to open a tasting room. With the help of family and some close friends, Bear Claw Vineyards was born! Open seven days a week, you can sit back, relax, and drink wine Sunday through Thursday from 12-6pm and Friday & Saturday from 12-8pm.
Kevin heads up the winemaking and boy does he have a talent for producing quality blends. In fact, just recently, five Bear Claw wines were entered into a Georgia Wine competition. Each wine received a medal, and two of them were gold – the Vidal Blanc and Chardonnay (stainless). While these options are fabulous, we highly recommend you try the Dreamcatcher. This Cayuga White is a blend of Schuyler and Seyval Blanc. It is light and refreshing with fruity notes. If red wine is more your style try their Cabernet Sauvignon. As we type this, a new red is about to be bottled out of the barrel, so you will have to come try their new yield.
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. Soon, the kiddos will delight with the addition of gypsy vanner horses. The majestic animals will remind you of Clydesdales with their beauty but are much smaller in size. If you or your littles get hungry while enjoying the winery, light snacks like cheese, crackers, and chocolates are always available to purchase. On Fridays you can check out a food truck that they bring up for your dining pleasure.
Every Saturday and Sunday you can enjoy live music on the patio. Local talents like Chip McCain and Jeannie Caryn will add to your afternoon ambiance. Larger names like the Indigo Girls and the Marty Ray Project have also performed at the vineyard. Coming up on Saturday, October 27th you’ll be in for a real treat with Confederate Railroad. Opening for the CR are Steven Phillips & The Midnight Express and local favorite, the Gregg Erwin Band. Tickets are still available and are only $19!
Weddings & Events
There is not a much more stunning venue than a vineyard wedding. Small or large, Bear Claw can accommodate your weddings, birthdays, and anniversary celebrations. Intimate ceremonies can be held at the winery and elaborate ceremonies can take place at their newest venue – The Club at Bear Claw. Formerly known as the Blue Ridge Swim & Tennis Club, the property consists of a swimming pool, four tennis courts, and a large reception hall. Onsite event planner, Tonya Ross, is available to help you with all of your event coordination.