Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Events in Georgia's Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge, GA

Lighting of the Great Tree -- Light Up Blue Ridge
November 18-21, 25, 26-28
Nunsensations,” The Nunsense Vegas Review, Blue Ridge Community Theater, Friday and Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 2 p.m. Special Thanksgiving evening performance! Call for reservations 706-632-9223.

Saturday, November 20
Holiday Show & Sale, Opening Reception from 6 to 8 p.m., The Art Center, Historic Courthouse, Downtown Blue Ridge. Show runs thru December 23.

November 22 – 27
Festival of Trees, The Art Center, Historic Fannin County Courthouse. Reception & Silent Auction Nov. 26th at 6.

Thanksgiving Day
Blue Ridge Turkey Trot 5K race/walk. Downtown Blue Ridge. 7 a.m. registration and 8 a.m. start. Call 727-458-8556 for more information.

Thanksgiving Feast at the Martyn House. Back by popular demand Author and Chef Heather Antonelli returns. Come feast on traditional and global delicacies. Thanksgiving day from 3 to 6 p.m. Call for reservations, 706-635-4759.

Friday, November 26
Blue Friday in Downtown Blue Ridge, all-day entertainment, including Toast of Christmas Past" "Blue Ridge Bones" (Brass Band) and "Holiday Classics." Shopping Specials and other treats. Shops open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Light up the Basin, Downtown McCaysville/Copperhill. 6 p.m. in downtown McCaysville. Carolers, tree lighting and lighting of the old iron bridge.

Illuminate Aska, Lilly Pad Village in Blue Ridge. 50,000 lights, floating Christmas tree - meet Santa, enjoy roasting marshmallows, sing along, Christmas carols, enjoy a great hay ride and much more!

November 26 – Dec. 24th
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Christmas Express. Featuring Mr. and Mrs. Santa and the elves! Day trips or Evening excursions to Santa’s Village in McCaysville. Call for info 800-934-1898.

Saturday November 27
Light Up Blue Ridge, Downtown Blue Ridge. All day entertainment. Santa arrives at noon on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway! Photos with Santa. Live reindeer, childrens trackless train rides and much more. Parade at 5:30 and the lighting of the "Great Tree" at dusk.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Culinary Adventures in Georgia's Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge, GA
Wow! In 2010 the food scene in Georgia’s Blue Ridge went from good to great. We already had lots of local eateries that we still love, from down home cookin' to riverside dining. Now, with the addition of some wonderful new restaurants, the choices of dining spots are simply amazing. To download a free restaurant guide that's great to print out and bring along, just click here.

Harvest on Main

Extraordinary Dining Experiences
Blue Ridge Brewery – White table cloth dinners + microbrew tastings
Christy Lee’s Courtyard Grille – Courtyard seating, live music, fresh seafood & great steaks
Cucina Rustica – Fine Italian dining in the mountains
Harvest on Main – Chef Danny Mellman’s imaginative New American Cuisine
Toccoa Riverside – Riverside dining & local mountain trout
VH/Blue Orleans Bistro – Blue Orleans Cajun in the Blue Ridge Mtns

Fun Eateries
L & L Beanery Café – Local favorite for breakfast, lunch, coffee and just hanging out with a cappuccino and a laptop
Angelina’s – Yummy panini’s, huge desserts and takeout dinners
Blue Jean’s Pizza & Pasta – Great Pizza, huge portions of pasta, big screen TV and more
Cucina Pizzeria – Real oven fired pizza and microbrew on tap Danielle’s – French dinners & deli lunches at this popular spot
Serenity Garden – New location – same great food for breakfast, lunch & dinner
Sue’s – Best hamburger in Blue Ridge according to Facebook poll
Whistle Stop Grill – Wings, cold beer and Jack Morton’s Mama’s Sloppy Joes

Breakfast at Mercier's
Good Food with Southern Roots Bumblebee’s Café – Breakfast all day and good homestyle lunches at this casual new cafe’
Blue Ridge B-B-Q – Authentic wood-smoked barbecue – try the smoked chicken salad!
Circle J Steak House – Family steak house with Southern style buffet as well
Mercier Orchards Deli – Local sausage and gravy breakfast, deli lunch and fried pie for dessert! Yum Yum.
Plus plenty of take-home goodies for later.
Pete’s Place – Popular local restaurant reminiscent of the old Fannin Inn, open for lunch & dinner
The Village Restaurant – “Where the locals eat,” breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet
The Yellow Jacket – Family restaurant offering delicious country style food for 50 years

Gourmet Take-Out
Anthony’s Bakery – Real Italian baked treats (try the cannolis)
Boo Bear’s – Baked goodies & Bar-B-Q ribs – what a combo!
Buck’s of Blue Ridge – Gourmet meats, cheeses and wines for a cozy cabin dinner
Meyer’s Breads & Bagels – Old world German pastries, breads and bagels, homemade German specialties for lunch or take-out
Out of The Blue – Wine shop plus – gourmet snacks, local goat cheese,
all perfect for a relaxed dinner or picnic
Taste of Amish – Large selection of Amish goods, including Amish butter, deli meats and freshly cut steaks.

Christy Lee's Courtyard
 Culinary Adventures
Chef Douglas’ Cabin Cuisine – Gourmet meals prepared just for you at your mountain cabin, or ready for your arrival.
The Martyn House – Seasonal Farm to Table dinners in relaxed country setting.
U-Pick Mercier Orchards – Pick your own locally grown fruit at Mercier Orchards, strawberries, sweet cherries, blueberries, apples in season.
Appalachian Fresh Market & Blue Ridge Farmer’s Market – Fresh eggs and produce in season.

Ethnic Food Spots
El Rio Mexican Restaurant – Copperhill’s authentic Mexican restaurant. Mariachi band on special occasions.
Monte Alban Mexican Restaurant – Local favorite for delicious dishes, incredible Mexican chicken soup.
Meyer’s Bread & Bagels – Real German lunches and baked goods in Blue Ridge with lots of regulars – go early!
Tin Loong of Blue Ridge – Japanese, Chinese, Thai and American buffet in a Blue Ridge setting

Insider Tips: All around Blue Ridge are hidden treasures, just ask any local. What other small Southern town has an Amish deli, German Bakery, fresh seafood market and the largest apple orchard in the Southeast? You’ll find your dining experience at our new restaurants equal or better than any you might have in a much larger city. What makes us different is also what makes us special.

During your visit, try to find Natalie's Hotdog Cart when she is on a corner in downtown Blue Ridge. Come on down to L&L Beanery for a laptop cappuccino or a delicious breakfast and strike up a conversation with a local or another visitor.

People are nice here. Stop by our Welcome Center and ask a local what there is to do and where to eat. In season our local farmers markets offer the best in fresh locally grown produce at Appalachian Fresh Farmers Market and the Downtown Blue Ridge Farmers market.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spooky Stuff in Georgia's Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge, GA
Lots of spooky stuff is going on in Blue Ridge and McCaysville for Halloween this weekend! 

Mercier's Halloween S.P.O.O.F. (spooky pumpkin old orchard fest)
October 29 and 30th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
Kids spooky house, duck pond, bon fire, s'mores and lots of other fun stuff.  $6 for a tractor ride to the old apple house where you can select a pumpkin, participate in activities and have some hot apple cider!  Call 800-361-7731 for more info.
U-Select Pumpkins Take a tractor ride into the orchard and pick your pumpkin without the SPOOF!  Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

Halloween Horror Putt Putt - The Lilly Pad Village on Aska Road
Every night 7 p.m. through 10 p.m. through October 31st. 
Menacing ghouls, scary creatures of the night, eerie music, creepy fog and so much more at the second annual Halloween Horror Putt Putt at Lilly Pad Village.  Also come to the Third Annual Halloween Party on Saturday.  For more information, call The Lilly Pad at 706-534,1317.

SCARY Haunted House at Blue Ridge Community Theater
A Terrible Way to Die!!
For kids 13 years and older ONLY!  October 28, 29 and 30 from 7 p.m. to midnight.  $10 at the door.  Right accross from the Swan Drive In on East First Street.  Call 706-632-9223.
Enter at your own risk!
Blue Ridge Ghost Tours
Weekly tours of local ghosts and folklore, including the Ghosts of Downtown Blue Ridge, Ghost of Tilly Bend Church, local legends and stories.  For reservations call 706-455-9866 or see

Halloween Safety Zone in McCaysville/Copperhill, Tenn.
Friday, October 29th from 5 to 8 p.m.  Halloween Costume Contest at the First Baptist Church parking lot beginning at 4:15 to 4:50 p.m.  Halloween Parade begins at 5 p.m. and UCBI Scream Contest at 6 p.m.  For more information, call 706-492-6014.

Halloween Safety Zone in Downtown Blue Ridge
Saturday, October 30th from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Hundreds of costumed kids and grown-up kids plus your pets are welcome gather in downtown Blue Ridge to celebrate. Fun begins at 6:00 and runs until 8:30. Costume contest begins at 6:15, with a pet contest at 7:30. Halloween Movies in the park beginning at dusk.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fabulous Fall in Georgia's Blue Ridge

Fabulous color in years past near the Depot in Downtown Blue Ridge. 
 Blue Ridge, GA 
It's finally Fall in Georgia's Blue Ridge and time to celebrate the harvest! Now showing -- rapidly changing colors in the hills -- brilliant red dogwoods and sourwoods and early golds on display. Goldenrod and fall wildflowers, red sumac berries, hay bales and corn shucks along the roadsides. Locals especially watch the trees near the Depot in Downtown Blue Ridge for early changes in color; they are sure signs that Fall is here.

  The best way to experience the Georgia Mountains in the fall is by simply taking a driving tour.  Driving tour suggestions?  There are three great choices on our Fannin Chamber website,, select Self Guided Tours.  Driving Tour Number One is a loop through the mountains and countryside, Driving Tour takes you on an adventure in the Cohutta Wilderness, and Driving Tour Number Three is a day trip to Dahlonega and Ellijay's Apple Alley.

Fall is the season of festivals in the Georgia Mountains, and Blue Ridge celebrates the season each year with the Mountain Harvest Fair on the last two weekends of October; this year beginning on Saturday, October 16th. But festivals aren't the only way to celebrate the bounty of fall in Blue Ridge. Help harvest the apples yourself at Mercier Orchards and Mountainview Orchards by picking your own! Load up on mountain honey, apple butter, fried pies and apple fritters.

You can't beat the view from the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway anytime during Fall as it travels along the Toccoa River between Blue Ridge and McCaysville.  But kids especially enjoy the Punkin' Pickin' Special, this year on October 24th.
The train visits the "great pumpkin patch" of Farmer Brown and kids pick their own special pumpkins.

Mercier Orchards has its own "SPOOF," Spooky Pumpkin Old Orchard Fest beginning October 22, with lots of fun activities.  More info on their Facebook Page.  Become a fan while you're there!

Paws in the Park is a fun new fall celebration on October 23rd in Downtown Blue Ridge.  Bring your pet for a parade, pet costume contest and more, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For more information, call 706-632-7311.

More to come soon on a Fabulous Fall 2010 in Blue Ridge, GA.  If you haven't booked your cabin yet for Fall, Thanksgiving or Christmas, hurry up!  See cozy cabin specials on our website before it's too late!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Staying Cool in Georgia's Blue Ridge

Rafting the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge, Ga
Blue Ridge GA
It's mid-August in Blue Ridge and temperatures are beginning to shift downward a little this week.  That being said, folks are still looking for cool ways to stay cool, since Lake Blue Ridge has become somewhat inaccessible due to repairs on the dam.  There are still plenty of ways to stay cool, with miles and miles of chilly mountain water in area rivers and streams.  The coolest way to stay cool, according to our Facebook Poll is tubing the Toccoa River, both above the Lake Blue Ridge dam on Aska Road and below the dam in McCaysville.

Tubing the Toccoa River above the Dam.
Tubing above the dam is a slow and easy ride for those who want to take in the beautiful scenery. Trips can
be booked with Toccoa Valley Campground, 706-838-4317. Famous for its pink tubes, Toccoa Valley will put you in the water at its campground and pick you up at the Shallowford Bridge two to three hours later downstream.

For a shorter (and sometimes faster) trip, try tubing the Toccoa in McCaysville.  One-hour trips are offered by Rolling Thunder River Company, 800-408-7238, and by Toccoa River Adventures.  Both companies also rent funyaks and rafts.

Also don't forget the coolest adventure in Georgia's Blue Ridge, whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River or the Nantahala River in North Carolina.  Professional guides offer trips from March to October, plenty of time to plan a trip.  Find a list of whitewater rafting guides on our website.  Another very cool adventure is playing in the cool pools of water at the Ocoee Whitewater Center (currently on Thursdays and Fridays).  There are lots of great swimming holes, but watch out for slippery rocks.  The Whitewater Center also offers hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and snack bar.

Toccoa River at the Swinging Bridge
But perhaps the coolest thing of all is to find a clear mountain stream and simply enjoy the sound the water makes as it rushes by.  Suggested spots ... Horseshoe Bend Park, Tammen Park or the Swinging Bridge on the Toccoa River, Noontootla or Rock Creek in the Chattahoochee National Forest, Jacks River in the Cohuttas.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lake Blue Ridge Dam Repairs Underway

Blue Ridge, GA
The summer months have been been busier than ever in Georgia's Blue Ridge and school is starting back much too soon. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Valley Authority has started to draw down Lake Blue Ridge for repairs to the penstock and rehabilitation of the dam, a project which will take one year for the lake side and another for the Toccoa River side of the dam.  Old Highway 76 over the dam has been closed for the duration.

When it comes to the Lake Blue Ridge dam rehabilitation, there's bad news and good news. The bad news is we lose our lake for about one year, and access over the dam for two years. Good news is the dam will be safer and once we get the lake back, we won't lose it every five years for deep drawdowns.

The lake drawdown has record numbers of visitors tubing the Toccoa River in the brisk, fast moving waters created as TVA withdraws water from Lake Blue Ridge at record speed. It is expected that the water will continue to be drawn down 24-hours every day until about the middle of August, when withdrawals will be reduced from seven feet per week to three feet per week. Meanwhile, trout fishing is best in areas above the dam in the higher elevations. Lake Blue Ridge is still open for fishing and all of our boat ramps are still accessible at this time.

Although people are still swimming at Morganton Point, every day, as the water recedes, the hike to the water's edge gets longer and longer. As of August 1, Old Highway 76 over the Lake Blue Ridge dam has been closed and will remain so until the repair of the penstock and the dam is complete about two years from now. TVA hopes to complete work on the penstock and dam rehabilitation on the lake side by Spring 2011; the refill will depend on the rain. For current lake elevations and release times, see the TVA website.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Surfing in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge, GA 

How do you surf in Georgia's Blue Ridge mountains?  Stand-up paddling -- via surfboard and long paddle, is all the rage across the country.  Now you can actually stand-up paddle surf on the lakes and rivers of the Blue Ridge area, "bringing the Hawaiian spirit of Aloha and Surfing to North Georgia."  Surf Blue Ridge provides lessons and rentals for this new sport.

Established by Chris Tilghman and his wife, Rhonda, Surf Blue Ridge's stand-up paddling experiences can offer peaceful enjoyment of nature, power paddling or a downriver rush. The sport provides core strengthening, endurance, balance and "oneness with the water and nature," according to Chris.

Lake Blue Ridge (pictured above) has been the setting for a number of sunset paddling trips this summer, but the local rivers can offer a totally different experience.  It's hard to imagine a whitewater stand-up paddling trip, but Chris says it's the area's newest sport.

Surf Blue Ridge is located in downtown Blue Ridge at 500 East Main St., 706-889-8747.  Give them a call to try out this new Blue Ridge mountain adventure.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Experience the Blue Ridge Farmers Market

On Saturday mornings, the place to be is the Blue Ridge Farmer's Market, from 8 a.m. to noon on West Main Street in Downtown Blue Ridge City Park (across the street from the Fannin County Courthouse and the Art Center).  A trip this past Saturday was way beyond expectations, with both the number and quality of vendors.The poster above was designed by Ande Cook, who brought her art, veggies and herbs to market in her own pick-up.  Ande has a beautiful blog at:

We bought wonderful Amish bread and banana bread, homemade "Blue Ridge Stew," peach preserves, green beans and potatoes.  But there were lots and lots of other things, including handmade bird houses, crafts, fresh flowers, plants and herbs, baked goods, pickles, apple butter, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash, just to name a few.  Thanks so much to the organizers of the Blue Ridge Farmer's Market, and thanks for bringing it back to downtown Blue Ridge. Check out the market blog at

Farmer's Market folks at first day of market in Downtown Blue Ridge.

At the same time as the farmer's market, there was lots of activity in Downtown Blue Ridge, including the park.  Kids were dancing at the bandstand near the market, playing at the playground and generally having fun in the park.  The Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Center is now open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and had a beautiful quilt show going on in addition to the regular exhibits.  The gift shop is also open on Saturdays.  See what's coming next at
Quilt featured at The Art Center Quilt Show.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Remembering the Good Times in Blue Ridge

A ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway brings back
simpler times and sweet memories to many who remember
when the railroad was the way to travel.

Blue Ridge, Ga.
A wonderful blog on a first time rider's experience on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway brought to mind some of the things we take for granted here in Blue Ridge.  People like Lana, who wrote the blog and took wonderful pictures of her experience, love the railroad and other small town pleasures here, because they bring to mind a simpler time.  We sometimes forget that the small town "Mayberry-ness" of Blue Ridge brings back some very poignant memories for those who come here and experience small town life once again.  For Lana, the railway brought back thoughts of her childhood, her parents and grandparents, and the way they lived back "in the day."

One of three remaining drive-in theaters in
Georgia, the Swan plays first run movies.

There are those of us who spent lots of nights at the drive-in movie as kids and teenagers (maybe in the back seat or hiding in the trunk to sneak in?)  Yesterday in our Fannin County Chamber Welcome Center, one of our visitors got really excited because we have a drive-in movie theater called The Swan here in Blue Ridge.  Well, it's pretty special to have a drive-in movie theater that plays the top movies every week, and those of us who live here probably don't appreciate it enough.  People take their picnics and lawn chairs and really enjoy an evening under the stars, not to mention the funnel cakes.  It's an experience you simply can't have anywhere else.  This weekend "Toy Story Three" and "Prince of Persia" are playing on the double-feature.  Adults are $6 and kids are $3. So pack the kids in the car and head over to The Swan about "dark-thirty" for a little nostalgia under the stars.

 Sometimes it's just a simple view, a country church or a field of cattle, that can bring us a connection with the past and a feeling of quiet joy.
Sometimes the simplest sights, like a field of cattle, can stir up the most powerful sense of well-being.  We take for granted that these soothing and beautiful sights are ours to see every day, and keep forever.  If you come to Blue Ridge, be sure to take the time for a scenic drive along our rural countryside. The beautiful landscape and the peace and quiet will remind you of what matters in life.

People bring their kids to the
mountains, because they want them
to experience the outdoors, catch a fish
or pick an apple. 

These days kids are raised in subdivisions and spend their play time with scheduled activities 9 to 5.  People bring their kids here to hike in the woods, catch a fish, pick a strawberry or an apple -- things we take for granted are very special for kids with very little unstructured time at home.  A family trip to the mountains gives new meaning to the term "quality time."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Trout Fishing & Gourmet Lunch in Blue Ridge, GA

Blue Ridge, Ga
How do you get a beautiful day of trout fishing the tailwaters of the Toccoa River and a fabulous gourmet lunch at the same time?  The answer: go fishing with Natalie Sharp at Sharper Bites in Blue Ridge, Ga.  Our Welcome Center staff had a blast on a recent flyfishing excursion with Natalie and her sidekick, Joe DePietro.  Kristy Lindstrom, Press Secretary for Speaker David Ralston, and Mike Holloway, president of the Blue Ridge Chapter of Trout Unltd, went along to celebrate Blue Ridge as the Trout Capital of Georgia!
Pictured:  Kristy, Jan, Joe, Natalie, Elaine and Jode

The setting was a gorgeous mountain home on the Toccoa River below the Lake Blue Ridge Dam.  The tailwaters of the Toccoa are stocked for year-round fishing, and have become one of the five best places to fish for trout in the Southeast.

Let me tell you about the "Big Daddy" that got away!!  No really.  The fish I caught might have been a little on the small side, but you should have seen the one that got away! It was at least 27 inches long - don't know why my husband doesn't believe it :)

Although we all didn't catch fish,(not our experienced guides' fault) it was enough being on the Toccoa River on a beautiful spring day in the mountains. Wait til next time -- Big Daddy here I come!

The perfect end of a perfect day, a wonderful alfresco  lunch prepared by Natalie.  Trout dip appetizer, summer salad, shrimp pasta alfredo, followed by a yummy strawberry dessert.  It just doesn't get better than that.

Pictured from left/front:  Natalie, Mike, Kristy, Jan, Jode and Elaine.

Thank You Natalie and Joe!!
See more about Sharper Bites at

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What's New in Downtown Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge, Ga. 
Three great new events are beginning in Downtown Blue Ridge, GA during the month of June.  First is the Blue Ridge Farmer's Market, which kicks off its 2010 season on June 12.  The market will be held each Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, across from the Fannin County Courthouse on West Main Street.  Fresh produce, farm fresh eggs, herbs, flowers and locally made arts and crafts will be available at the market. New this year will be classes on using local herbs, cooking with fresh herbs and vegetables and more...  You can find more info on the Blue Ridge Farmers Market at

Fishbone Studio participates in the West Side Block Party

The Downtown Blue Ridge West Side Block Party will take place every second Saturday through December, beginning on June 12 from 6 to 9 p.m.  Store owners and restaurants along the way sponsor entertainment, refreshments, prizes, evening shopping and an art show.  They include The Gnarly Bear, Just Judy, Kristina Lee's Boutique, L & L Beanery, Blue Ridge Brewery, Gatewood Hall and Fishbone Studio.

High Country Art & Antiques is open late for The Art Walk

A brand new event is The Art Walk, which will take place the third Saturday of the month from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Gallery sponsors include Multitudes Gallery, High Country Art & Antiques, Turning Leaf Wood Art and Abreu Fine Art Gallery, all located on East Main Street in Downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia. 

Eclectic shops, galleries and fabulous restaurants and attractions like the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway make Downtown Blue Ridge a great place to visit, shop, eat and play.  Special events make it even more special. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blue Ridge Ga -- A Top Art City

Blue Ridge Ga
Blue Ridge Georgia -- one of America's Top Art Cities?  That's the goal of the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association in Blue Ridge.  Located in the historic Fannin County Courthouse downtown, the Art Center is absolutely the best in the Georgia Mountains, with a permanent Richard Lowe Evans exhibit, artist in residence program and gift shop offering the work of our local artisans.  Coming soon -- beginning Memorial Day weekend, an exhibit by the Southern Appalachian Artists Guild (SAAG).  The folks at the Art Center have used their limited resources in amazing ways, bringing the historic Courthouse to life and adding a layer of richness to the Blue Ridge Experience.

Fabulous Festivals
Next on the calendar is Arts in the Park, sponsored by the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association every Memorial Day Weekend in Downtown Blue Ridge City Park.  More than 240 artists are participating this year.  The festival has become an official kick-off of warmer summer days in Georgia's Blue Ridge and attracts more than 10,000 every year.

The Arts are Alive in Downtown Blue Ridge
Artists love living, painting, creating in the Georgia Mountains, because there's a perfect pallette around every bend in the road.  More artists means more galleries and downtown Blue Ridge is an eclectic mix of shops and art galleries as a result.  Soon the galleries will begin a new "Art Walk" and recently the Shops on East Main started a block party one evening each month.  Pictured is High Country Art and Antiques on West Main, one of Blue Ridge's oldest and best galleries.  Next time you're in downtown Blue Ridge, take your own "art walk" and don't miss The Art Center in the 400 block of East Main.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Family Hike to Long Creek Falls on the Appalachian Trail

Blue Ridge, Ga
If you want to impress your kids or grandkids, take them on a hike on the Appalachian Trail to beautiful Long Creek Falls, just outside of Blue Ridge, Georgia.  Many folks don't know that the southern terminus to the Appalachian Trail actually begins in Fannin County, near Blue Ridge, and there's a beautiful waterfall near Three Forks, where the Appalachian and Benton MacKaye Trails join.  A weekday just before Easter found an interesting mix of people on the short 1 mile trail from Forest Service Road 58 to Long Creek Falls.  Early on the hike, Lewis, age 9, was proud to get his picture taken in front of an Appalachian Trail sign.

Lewis on the Appalachian Trail

Lewis also loved the Appalachian Trail map we got at the Fannin County Welcome Center in Blue Ridge. 

On the way up to the falls, we met some members of the Appalachian Trail Club who were cleaning up sections of the trail.  There were thru hikers who hiked over from Springer Mountain.  And there were people like us, just enjoying a lovely spring day in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains.  The hike is a gentle incline upward to the falls.  There are three short ascents before reaching the blue blazed side trail to the falls at 1.1 miles.  At the falls, there were several guys cooking their lunch beside the stream.  They had enough gear for a thru hike to Maine, but they were just having a weekend hikeout with all their gear!

Lew and  Eliza at Long Creek Falls

The road to Three Forks is also gorgeous, with Noontootla Creek forming several smaller waterfalls along the way.  We had a picnic near the parking area at Three Forks.  To get directions to Long Creek Falls from Blue Ridge, see and click on Self-Guided Tours. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race

By Ron Zadroga
Blue Ridge, Ga.  The 13th annual Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race in Blue Ridge, Georgia last Saturday, April 10, began with 77 of the 79 registered teams. It was a perfect day starting at 32 degrees with frost on the ground, and rising to the low 70’s – sunny and clear all day. The unusual start put one of the three team-members on a bicycle (6.7 miles) in a North Carolina cow pasture where the three states of GA, NC, and TN come together. A second began in a canoe (3.7 miles) in Georgia. The third began on foot (3.4 miles) from a Tennessee location. All three racers joined up at Checkpoint (CP) 1, which was ultimately the finish line. The best strategy for this prologue section was to use individual strengths to have all three team-members arrive at CP1 as close to the same time as possible. Leaving from there, the team began a 9.5-mile paddle plus a ¾ mile portage to the bike staging area. The race course led the teams into three states, two rivers, a lake, and two national forests.

CP3 on the canoe route proved to be elusive – only 30 of the teams, including the top 10, were able to find it. And by the way, CP3 was the exact same location as one of the CP’s in the 2008 USARA National Championship event, where every team found it, also by canoe. From there, things heated up. CP’s 5 through 10 of this rogaine-style race challenged the thinking and creativity of the teams. Every imaginable route was selected by various teams. Some rode bikes, some hike-a-biked, some dropped their bikes and went on foot. There seemed to be no end to the order in which CP’s were retrieved, routes selected, and mode of transportation utilized. Keeping their bikes with them, even when on foot, proved to be the better choice, as roads and trails appeared that were not on the map. The shortest distance between points was not always a straight line. Teams were required to stay together as a team. On numerous occasions at remote locations, one member would set off alone to retrieve a CP only to unexpectedly find a volunteer who was there to keep them honest. They would then silently retreat to gather their team and return to punch their passport.

The top four teams swapped position throughout the day, using different approaches to the various CP’s. Eight teams retrieved a bonus punch that gave them a one-hour time reduction, which proved to be of little value to the top finishers, as all of them got it. This bonus punch helped only one team, moving them from 40th to 37th place.

Heading home after CP16, Checkpoint Zero had a 20-minute lead over their sister team, Checkpoint Zero-Masters, and an additional 15 minutes over Rare Form, followed closely by Taint So Bad and Enduraventure/Outspokin’ Bikes. These five teams maintained their relative positions through CP’s 17 and 18 on the bike ride to the finish, but enroute encountered a mile and a quarter railroad track ride and a knee-to-waist high wet crossing, carrying their bikes. Checkpoint Zero, held onto top position and finished in 7:09:47.

Only 48 of the 77 starting teams crossed the finish line in the allotted time of 10 hours, 30 minutes, and 59 seconds. The balance were unofficial, but completed the long and difficult course, and enjoyed a well-deserved welcome from the large and enthusiastic crowd gathered at the finish line in Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville.

For more detail and a complete list of the teams and finishing times, go to  Lots of photos on our Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race Facebook page at!/pages/Blue-Ridge-GA/Blue-Ridge-Mountain-Adventure-Race/140564044050

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race

It's time once again for the Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race this Saturday, April 10, with 80 plus teams of three competing.  The Blue Ridge Ga race, one of Georgia's first adventure races, started in April of 1998 with 15 teams, expanded to 48 teams in 1999 and has averaged 75 teams every year since.  This year promises to be especially exciting, because teams will compete in a Three State Challenge including Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.  They will run, mountain bike and canoe, navigating their way through parts of the Chattahoochee and Cherokee National Forests.

Finish line festivities will take place in Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville between 12 noon and 6 p.m., with food, exhibits, activities for kids and music by the reggae band, the Natti Lovejoys.  Bring your own lawn chair or quilt and plan to spend the day enjoying this beautiful park on the Toccoa River. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blue Ridge is the Trout Capital of Georgia

Blue Ridge
Great news!  Blue Ridge is now the Trout Capital of Georgia after the Georgia Legislature passed HR 1773 this week.  The designation was proposed by the Blue Ridge Chapter of Trout Unltd and sponsored by Rep. and Speaker David Ralston.  According to the resolution, Fannin County is home to 13 bodies of water that have been designated by the Georgia DNR as trout waters -- actually over 550 miles of pristine streams, including The Toccoa River's diverse tailwater, which can be fished all year.  Fannin County is also home to the federal trout hatchery in the Chattahoochee National Forest. 

The Blue Ridge area is known as one of the top five places to fish for trout in the southeastern U.S., according to Trout Unltd.  How fitting that the Georgia House recognize Fannin County as the Trout Capital of Georgia for its abundance of trout fishing opportunities!

Monday, March 22, 2010

What Makes Blue Ridge Special?

Blue Ridge Georgia - What makes Blue Ridge Ga special?  It's the people who live here and the small town, "Mayberry" feeling you get when you visit here (and live here).  Consider a few of the things that make our little town special.  We still have hometown pharmacies, like Blue Ridge Pharmacy, on our Main Street.  The First United Methodist Church downtown chimes on the hour.  The folks at Royal Cleaners or the Blue Ridge Post Office know you by name.  The Swan Drive-In is one of Georgia's three remaining drive-in theaters, and the Swan has first run movies every weekend in the winter and daily in summer.  We have our own fresh seafood market, Highland Seafood, and real butcher at Enchanted Mountain in Morganton.  The Village Restaurant serves food like grandma use to make, and Sue's diner has old fashioned milkshakes, sundaes and the best hamburger in town.  Just a few reasons Blue Ridge is the real deal -- and Georgia's favorite mountain town.

Some folks have to go to Disney to get the feel of Main Street, but we get that feeling every day right here at home in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

Friday, March 19, 2010

More Places to Eat and Meet in Blue Ridge GA

Two more new area restaurants are the Blue Ridge Brewery, 187 Depot Street, and Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, 588 East Main Street.  Both are in Downtown Blue Ridge.  What's special about these new ones?  Not only great food but outdoor spaces to enjoy in this beautiful weather.  The Brewery has a back deck for outdoor lunches and dinners.  Christy Lee's, which is right next to Harvest on Main, has a lighted courtyard for romantic dinners (date night out). See  There are also many other restaurants that make eating out in Georgia's Blue Ridge a better and better experience.  Downtown Blue Ridge Victorian House and Serenity Gardens for example.  Serenity is expanding into a new space, but is temporarily next door to Wrapsody in Blue on East Main Street.  Don't forget L & L Beanery's breakfast and lunches!  Friday is free cookie day.  Coming next -- more restaurants outside of downtown Blue Ridge.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What's New? Lots of Places to Eat & Hang Out

The talk of the town in Blue Ridge Ga --  all the new restaurants and fun places to meet.  Just last weekend, sampled two:  Pizzeria at Cucina Rustica on Friday night and Harvest on Main on Saturday.  What a great feeling!  Cucina Rustica is our fabulous Italian restaurant on Forge Mill Road east of town toward Blairsville.  It's hard to imagine a better place to eat than "Cucina", and the Pizzeria is just as good only laid back, with big screen TVs wonderful pizza from the woodfire oven and cold beer on tap. We had a Parma Pizza and Caesar salad.
Harvest on Main is at 576 East Main Street in a gorgeous rustic dining room with Danny Mellman's imaginative cuisine.  For the last two weekends there has been entertainment upstairs at Harvest on weekend nights, Lisa Jacobi's Steel String Session bluegrass band on Friday and a wonderful acoustic guitar player on Saturday night.  Friday, we sat at the bar and had appetizers before going to the Blue Ridge Community Theater's great play "Leading Ladies."

Soon -- much more about eating out and hanging out in Georgia's Blue Ridge.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter Wonderland in Blue Ridge GA

The cold temperatures and some precip resulted in an inch or two of snow that covered the mountains and lasted for days. It's so scenic... crystal clear blue skies and mountain vistas made for days of awesome photography backdrops.

There is so much depth in the Appalachian mountain culture around here and it really comes out in Winter. Surrounded by long range views, ancient barns and farmsteads standing austere across a snowy expanse, rosy cheeks and smiles from locals and that ever persistent 'how ya doin' wave of the finger as you drive the back country roads.