This Southern Mountain Town Has Vineyards, Waterfalls, and Relaxation
From beautiful local vineyards to scenic waterfalls, these attractions will have you craving a day trip to Blue Ridge.
While big city living has its perks, sometimes it's good to get away from the business of it all and relax for a bit. Just 90 miles north of Atlanta, Blue Ridge offers just that kind of safe haven. Filled with luxury cabins, stunning views, hiking trails, waterfalls, wineries and craft breweries, galleries, and friendly community, this place has become a frequent destination for people not just statewide, but across the country. What was once known as a railroad town near the Georgia-Tennessee-North Carolina border, has emerged as an exciting area where you can experience art and the outdoors all in one.
During the warmer months, you whitewater raft, fish on the tailwaters of the Toccoa River, or golf at Fannin County’s first and only golf course. As the weather cools down, things like riding on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and horseback riding become more popular. Either way, this town is prime for a visit no matter the time of year. Here are eight reasons to drive to Blue Ridge, Georgia as soon as you can.
It has a second-to-none live music scene
You can tell a lot about the spirit of an area by hearing its music, and fortunately, there is no shortage of live music in Blue Ridge. Every Thursday evening between Memorial Day weekend and the end of September, there’s a weekly outdoor jam session series called Pickin in the Park at Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville, making for a great free nearby activity if you visit during the late spring or the summer. And if you’re hoping to make that drive to Blue Ridge sooner rather than later, you can find live music at The Dogwood and Misty Mountain Hops.
Even though Blue Ridge is a mountain town, the area still has plenty of exciting events happening year-round, from Presidents Day weekend festivities to holiday parades in December. This spring, however, Blue Ridge visitors can look forward to a myriad of annual festivals, including the Spring Plein Air Festival, and the Trout & Outdoor Adventures Festival on April 29. For an even more memorable trip to Blue Ridge, plan your trip around its popular annual festivities.
The city of Blue Ridge has much more to offer than its beautiful atmosphere, it also has a vibrant arts community, plenty of galleries like High Country Art and Art House, along with an active public theater that will deliver visitors and locals alike an unforgettable experience. Over Memorial Day weekend, the Spring Arts Festival is the place to be for any enthusiast or supporter of visual art.
There’s no shortage of waterfall viewing opportunities in the Blue Ridge area. You’ll have to hike to get to many of them, but trust us, it’s worth it! If you’re not sure which one to start with, try Long Creek Falls, but there’s also Fall Branch and Sea Creek Falls if one just isn’t enough.
Mercier grows many fruits, but what matters most is that they grow apples, and you get to enjoy them. The orchard typically has a U-pick experience, but it is currently unavailable until further notice. That said, you can still don your finest sweater and boots — even though the temperature’s finally starting to warm up, we won’t judge)— and enjoy everything that Mercier Orchards has to offer, from fishing at its pond to strolling through the orchard. Mercier also sells boxed lunches if you wish to have a picnic. Take home some hard apple cider as a souvenir.
Come aboard the train… and ride down to McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee (each on the state line). This historic line starts in Blue Ridge and heads down for one hour along the Toccoa River. When you reach the towns you’ll have about two hours to explore the area before heading back. In addition to being a really great way to take in Georgia’s springtime beauty, you’ll be able to tell all your friends that you hit two different states in one weekend getaway.
Downtown has fantastic food and views
Downtown Blue Ridge is enough of a reason to make the trek. Harvest on Main offers seasonally driven fare in an atmospheric setting while Rum Cake Lady Cuban Food has Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, and more. Stroll around and check out the historic architecture as well as the sweeping views of the mountains.
You can indulge in some local wine
Just a few miles from downtown Blue Ridge is Serenberry Vineyards. Catch some fresh air in the vineyard and sip some Georgia-grown wine. They have it all: dry white, reds, and sweet dessert wine. If you get hungry, they have some locally-produced snacks on hand (yum, cheese straws), but you can also bring your own food and enjoy an al fresco meal with your purchased wine.
Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @roshrisky.
Okla Jones is an Atlanta-based journalist who writes about food, fine arts, and entertainment. His work also appears in ESSENCE,Creative Loafing Atlanta, and Consequence of Sound. Follow him on Instagram at @coolhandoak.