Sunday, November 30, 2014

All Aboard The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

If you had visited Blue Ridge, Georgia thirty years ago, things sure would have looked different.
Between the areas earliest European settlement in 1790, the founding of the town in 1886, and the boom in domestic tourism in the 1950s, Blue Ridge and surrounding Fannin County had been a sleepy mountain locale, a village subsisting on agriculture, lumber, and mining. The arrival of the railroad around the time of the town's founding had livened up the place a bit, but by the middle of the 20th century, passenger travel had all but petered out, taking the tourists by and large with it.

In 1986, the Georgia Mountain Parkway started bringing cars packed with vacationers looking to escape the heat of the city back into the picturesque hills and valleys of Fannin County, but it was the vision of a group of investors who purchased the old Marietta & North Georgia line and formulated a plan to continue the rail service in the North Georgia mountains. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway has been running excursion trips between Blue Ridge and McCaysville/Copper Hill, Tennessee, since 1998, and has infused new life into the tiny village of Blue Ridge, drawing artists, craftsmen, epicureans, and other creatives who in turn attract visitors and new residents alike.

The rail adventure is a two hour, 26-mile round trip, with a two hour layover for exploring. The train runs from March through December, on weekends until June 13th, and then daily through July. In the peak month of October, trips are daily beginning on October 3rd.

In the winter, the Railway has two unique rides: The Santa Express, and The Night Train to Santa's Pavilion. The Santa Express is a daytime excursion with Christmas carols, holiday characters (including, of course, Santa Claus), and souvenirs for each child. On The Night Train to Santa's Pavilion, Santa visits with the children in each car, and presents them with a BRSR memento and a candy cane. A two-hour layover at Santa's Pavilion in McCaysville provides ample time for photos, shopping, and exploring town.

This year, The Santa Express runs December 5-7, December 12-14, and December 18-24. Tickets are $40 for adults and seniors, $24 for children ages 2-12.

The Night Train to Santa's Pavilion will take place on December 5 and 6, December 13, and December 19 and 20. Tickets are $48 for adults and seniors, $27 for children ages 2-12.

Check our calendar of events to verify dates and times. These train trips regularly sell out, so be sure to buy tickets in advance of your trip! All aboard!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Plan A Cozy Getaway On a Budget

Autumn is definitely our favorite time of year, and autumn is more beautiful in the mountains than anywhere else. Now that the weather has turned crisp, we'll be looking forward to welcoming lots of guests looking for a cozy mountain retreat, and we've got all kinds of options for the most
comfortable cabin rentals on our specials page.

Blue Ridge Luxury Cabin is offering a free seventh night in the Solitude cabin with a six-night rental. Solitude is surrounded by woods and long mountain views, and will make visitors feel like they're alone in the world. 

Above The Rest Luxury Cabins is offering 10% off a stay of three nights or longer if you mention the phrase "chamber10" when making your reservation. Check out the pet-friendly Whispering Winds, and the incredible views from Misty Pines! 

Cuddle up to the one you love in a comfy cabin by Cuddle Up Cabin Rentals -- when you rent a cabin for 5 or more nights, you get an additional night for free. Spend it in front of a roaring fire with a cup of cider and your sweetie!

If you've ever rented in the past from Mountain Top Cabin Rentals, you'll get 10% when you come back as a repeat customer. Check out their website for galleries of all their available rentals. 

We can't wait to see you and your loved ones when you come to visit us! Don't forget to check out specials page for the complete listing of all the available specials on rentals and room rates. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall for Autumn Splendor in Georgia's Blue Ridge

It technically isn't quite Autumn yet, but you can already see the beginnings of gorgeous color and even more magnificent vistas all over Blue Ridge! Fall is one of our favorite times to be in Blue Ridge, when jeans and boots and sweaters are extra-appropriate, and mugs of hot cider or coffee keep hands warm on porches.

The end of summer and early fall are also when apples come into season! Mercier Orchards' famous
U-Pick events open the orchards to hayrides and family fun, picking all different varieties of apples as they come into season, while surrounded by the incredible views all around. Can you imagine getting to see a view like that from your workplace every day? Stock up on apples, as well as fried pies and homemade cider at the orchard that produces more than any other.

Feel like you're traveling through an autumn fairyland, when you embark on one of our Fall Leaf Drives! We have three pre-mapped driving tours throughout the countryside and forest nearby, which you can view, download, and print by clicking below:

Finally, get the best view possible of the changing scenery and get
an amazing deal when you check our Specials and Promotions page for cabin rentals. There's nothing like opening your eyes to a crisp, crimson and gold morning through your bedroom window or having your coffee by a cozy outdoor fireplace with the view to calm you. You can find deals on individual cabin rates, discounts on multi-night stays, and even nights for free with a minimum stay. Whatever you're looking for, you're sure to find the cabin to fit your needs. 

For more autumn inspiration, check out the video below!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Soak Up the Last Few Weeks of Summer in Georgia's Blue Ridge

Summer is winding down, and soon the kids will be back in school and the weather will be crisp. Take these last couple weeks of the season and spend it doing all the summertime things you and your family love best!

The Blue Ridge Brewery offers some of the
best burgers and beers around!
When we think of the summertime, we think of hot burgers, smoky barbecue, starry nights at the drive-in and camping under the moon. You can do all those things and more in Blue Ridge, home of numerous award-winning restaurants, like C-Bolts Restaurant, The Blue Ridge Brewery, and Sue’s Cafeteria and Ice Cream Parlor, all named by Garden & Gun Magazine as some of the best burger spots in the South (not many other places had more than one restaurant on the list, we’re proud to say!).

If down home barbecue is more your style, we can fix you up with that, too. Trip Advisor users recently named Georgia the best state for barbecue, and can you guess where the number one restaurant is? Right here in beautiful Blue Ridge, Georgia, of course! We’re proud to say that our own Joe’s BBQ is Trip Advisor’s top barbecue restaurant, and we know why.

If you prefer not to get your hands messy, visit Harvest on Main for a culinary experience to knock
Harvest on Main's welcoming front porch
your socks off. They make awesome burgers, but they’re known for their upscale versions of down-home comfort food like the “hot brown,” an open-faced turkey sandwich with gravy, that will knock your socks off. It sure knocked the socks off of the Thrillist editors who listed Harvest on Main among the 11 best Georgia restaurants outside of Atlanta.

After you eat, take the family to enjoy a first-run flick under the stars at the Swan Drive-In, one of the 10 best drive-in theaters in the country! A movie under the night sky in the warm summer air is fun enough, but the concession stand is renowned for its funnel cakes, deep fried Oreo cookies, and other scrumptious goodies! What a way to watch a movie!

We cherish our memories of childhood camping under the stars, and if you do too, or just want to make some of your own, Blue Ridge has several campground options to choose from. Visit our Campgrounds page on our website to select the one that’s right for your family. One thing’s for sure – whatever your favorite end-of-summer activity, you can find it going on in Georgia’s Blue Ridge!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Outdoor Summertime Adventures Abound in Blue Ridge, Georgia!

We love being outdoors as much as we can when the weather is as nice as it is during the summertime in Blue Ridge. While the kids are still out of school and we’re squeezing as much time as we can into the last remaining weeks of school vacation, we try to have as many outdoor adventures as we can! That’s why when the kids start to get hungry, we like to take our families to places we can enjoy the cool mountain evenings. Black Sheep and Fightingtown Tavern have great outdoor spaces, and Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is well-known for its tree-covered patio and beautiful view of the river. You can check out all the dining options in Blue Ridge by viewing our Dining Guide.

Create your own breeze in a treetop adventure at one of our several options for zip lining and
canopy tours! Whether you choose Zip Line Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge, The Blue Ridge Canopy Adventure, or Oconee River Basin Canopy Tours, you’re sure to get a thrill and cool off at the same time!

If you really want excitement, Blue Ridge Helicopter Tours and Tank Town USA afford you time outside from their own unique perspectives. Get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Smoky Mountains and Lake Blue Ridge, or rent some seriously heavy equipment and get down and dirty crushing some cars (your kids, and probably your husband, will definitely thank you).

After you’re all adventured-out, relax and enjoy a flick under the summer stars at the Swan Drive-In. Originally established in 1955, this theater is open year-round with the first-run movies your family has been dying to see, and is the perfect end to a perfect summer day full of outdoor excitement.

You can learn more about any of the above adventures here. Sign up for our seasonal newsletter to get all the information on what’s new in Georgia’s Blue Ridge!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Wet and Wild Adventures This Summer in Georgia's Blue Ridge

Now that summertime is officially in full-swing, it’s the perfect time to dive in to all the water-
related adventures to be had in Blue Ridge and Fannin County! The Toccoa River, one of Georgia’s most pristine trout streams, has its headwaters in Union County, flows into Fannin County and becomes the major feeder stream for Blue Ridge Lake. It resumes its flow below the Blue Ridge dam and travels north into Tennessee, where it is known as the Ocoee River. Water quality is good and trout fishing is excellent! Add beautiful scenery and mild rapids and you have the perfect environment for canoeing, tubing, fishing, camping and all kinds of outdoor recreation.

We’re known for many things in Blue Ridge, and our superior fishing is one of them. Lake Blue Ridge is the only small-mouth bass lake in Georgia and the only lake in the state where you can
catch a Muskie, a game fish of the Pike family. Lake Blue Ridge is 3,290-acres, providing over 100 miles of mostly public shoreline. The surrounding area has National Forest campsites, several boat ramps, a full service marina and public swimming and picnic areas, including Morganton Point and Lake Blue Ridge Recreation areas. All kind of water adventures are available on Lake Blue Ridge from fishing to pontoon boating, waterskiing, kayaking or just picnicking and relaxing on the shores of this gorgeous mountain lake. Get more information on water adventures in Lake Blue Ridge and on the Toccoa River by checking out our downloadable guide.

Whether you’re a fan of riding the bubbling rapids or just viewing the awesome power of mountain waterfalls, you can sate your thirst right here in Georgia’s Blue Ridge! Home to the 1996 Olympic whitewater events, the Ocoee River Rapids are world-class water. This is a great place to bring a picnic, do advanced paddling, go hiking or biking. If you prefer to stay dry, we have miles and miles of trails to beautiful and pristine waterfalls in the area, including Amicalola Falls, Fall Branch Falls, Long Creek Falls, and many more! View our Whitewater andWaterfalls guide, color-coded with information about difficulty and accessibility.

The coast is nice and all, but sometimes you’d just rather spend the hotter months of the year dipping your toes in cool, crystal mountain water! And if you’re looking for a place to cool off this summer, Blue Ridge, Georgia has got you covered.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's Springtime in Blue Ridge, Georgia!

Spring may be coming to a close, but the wildflowers are still blooming and there’s still plenty of springtime sunshine left to enjoy for the heat of summer rolls in! In other parts of the south, the official beginning of summer on June 21 seems only technical, as by the beginning of June they can already fry eggs on their sidewalks, but not us! We’ll retain some mountain shade and cool lakeside breezes for a few more weeks.

If you’re looking to beat the heat this Memorial Day weekend, travel to Georgia’s Blue Ridge to
experience our 38th Annual Spring Arts in the Park Festival, one of our signature events. With over 185 fine arts, crafts and food booths, the festival has something for everyone. There are always activities for the children, along with special events for the big kids. Being in downtown Blue Ridge will also offer the chance to explore your favorite shops, galleries and restaurants and find out what's new! We’ve got plenty of new offerings to tempt your palate (and some to tempt your wallet too – have you seen our beautiful galleries and home stores downtown?).

Before you book your accommodations, be sure to check out the page on our website dedicated to our Spring Cabin Specials – there are over
fifty specials and promotions provided by our lodging partners to make your stay more thrifty and allow you to carry more into those new downtown offerings, including some of our most sought-after cabins and rental companies. Beat the crowds and beat the heat, and spend a relaxing weekend in the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia!

For more information on what’s going on in Fannin County in the springtime, check out our spring newsletter.