Blue Ridge: The Perfect Family Get-Away

  • Gem mining at Lilly Pad

Attention families everywhere: it’s time to trek to Blue Ridge, Georgia


View from cabin.
View from cabin.

Just under two hours north of Atlanta, my family of four savored a recent getaway at Mountain Top Cabin Rental’s Five Star View cabin, overlooking Blue Ridge Lake, in Blue Ridge, Georgia. With all the modern luxuries a family could yearn for, one look around had us wanting to extend our stay.

We fueled up at nearby Iron Bridge Cafe, a roadside restaurant along Aska Road offering views of the Toccoa River and serving lunch staples like BBQ and grilled cheese sandwiches with no-frill sides.

Next, it was off to The Lilly Pad, where mining for gems set us back only $15 while creating priceless memories. Onsite mini golf and fishing are unlimited.

Blue Ridge boasts miles of trails through the Aska and Benton MacKaye Trail system. Take U.S. Forestry Road 816 three miles off Highway 60 to a 260-foot suspension bridge, a “tickle-your-ears bumpy drive” (in the words of a two-year-old) that is worth the bumps, if just for the view and peaceful ripple of the Toccoa River.

Joe's BBQ
Joe's BBQ

Evening hunger pangs were satiated at Joe’s BBQ, where a sign on the door sets the tone with instruction to ring the bell if the door is locked but Joe’s truck is out front. Fall-off-the-bone pork and chicken, coupled with sides like macaroni and cheese, mean stick to your ribs eats that can’t be beat. Joe took our order, asked about our stay, and left us feeling stuffed and like less of a tourist with his thorough welcome.

A must-experience attraction for kids and kids at heart is the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which sent us choo-chooing over 26 miles of scenic countryside, most alongside the Toccoa River before laying over in McCaysville, Georgia, and then returning us to Downtown Blue Ridge. After chugga-chugging down the rails, we perused Downtown Blue Ridge boutiques.

Apple cider donuts from Mercier Orchards.
Apple cider donuts from Mercier Orchards.

Just before beginning plans for a return visit, we ended the weekend with a visit to Mercier Orchards – a chance to show the young ones where food really comes from. Check their Facebook page to find seasonal U-pick options for apples, strawberries and more.




Katie Reeder

Mom-on-the-go and Laurie Rowe Communications PR pro Katie Reeder graduated at the top of her class from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University with a degree in Communication Studies. Katie resides in Cumming, Georgia – between the beautiful mountains of North Georgia and the lights and action of nearby Atlanta.

Mentioned in this Post