Guide to Blue Ridge
If the scenery alone doesn't draw you to Blue Ridge, you'll quickly find reasons to get away to this North Georgia town with these things to do, places to stay, great restaurants and events.
Blue Ridge, Georgia, is a beloved mountain getaway first settled in the 1800s as a railroad stop. Downtown features shops and art galleries, restaurants and breweries. Further afield, visitors can enjoy the outdoors, including hikes, whitewater rafting, trout fishing and wildlife spotting. Spend the night in one of the area's rental cabins or a traditional hotel.
Things to Do
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Downtown Blue Ridge has plenty to see, including antique stores, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and other attractions. Start with a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which winds through the Chattahoochee National Forest along the Toccoa River. The restored train takes passengers on a four-hour trip between north Georgia and Tennessee with a layover for lunch.
Mercier Orchards is a Blue Ridge landmark that grows more than 50 varieties of apples. Visit the orchard in the fall to go apple picking, and you'll also find cider (alcoholic and non), jam and baked goods. Other times of year, you'll find peaches, cherries and strawberries. The farm also has U pick and tractor rides.
Vineyards & Breweries
There’s no shortage of wineries and breweries around Blue Ridge. Bear Claw Vineyards offers mountain views to enjoy while sipping their red and white varieties, including the popular Cayuga White. They also have a treehouse where you can spend a night or longer. Another favorite is Serenberry Vineyards, which offers tastings of their sweet whites and rose. Sip on IPAs at Grumpy Old Men Brewing, a micro-brewery that has been open since 2012. Fannin Brewing started as a winery but pivoted to beer, where they found success with their pumpkin and brown ales.
Waterfall Hikes & Mountain Biking
Go chasing waterfalls at places like Fall Branch Falls or Long Creek Falls, which can be seen on a 30-minute hike. Download a PDF map guide to Blue Ridge waterfalls. Hiking and mountain biking are also popular activities, especially the Appalachian Trail approach trail to Springer Mountain.
Lake Blue Ridge
Spend time on the water, including Lake Blue Ridge, which was formed by a hydroelectric dam. Lake Blue Ridge Marina is a place to put in your boat or rent one, along with paddleboards and paddle boats.
Tubing, Kayaking & Rafting
Tubing, kayaking and rafting provide high octane excitement, which can be booked through local outfitters. Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters, Jon Ron Toccoa River Outfitters, and Rolling Thunder River Company run river trips and also rent kayaks.
Blue Ridge is also a place popular for trout fishing, which you can arrange through guides and outfitters like Blue Ridge Fly Fishing, Fly Fish Blue Ridge, Get Hooked Fishing Guides, Noontootla Creek Farms and Reel Angling Adventures.
Ziplining & Horseback Riding
Soar through the trees with the ziplines and aerial adventures in Blue Ridge. The aerial obstacle courses at Blue Ridge Adventure Park are in various difficulty levels, appropriate for beginners to advanced. There are two activities at Hell’s Hollow Adventure Outpost: ziplining and horseback riding. And Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge has 13 zips, including a 75-foot-high platform.
Places to Stay
Lay your head at one of Blue Ridge’s cozy accommodations.
Hotels & Inns
Comfort Inn & Suites has standard hotel amenities like a large fireplace in the lobby, free breakfast, a fitness center, laundry facilities, and a business center. Reid Ridge Lodge has in-room coffee makers and free WiFi. The four-room Cast & Blast Inn has unique furnishings and free WiFi.
Cabins are another popular option. Escape to Blue Ridge has luxurious hotel-style amenities including top-notch linens, free WiFi and cabins with hot tubs. All of the Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals are within 15 miles of downtown Blue Ridge, with friendly and responsive staff. Warm up near the gas fireplaces at Mountain Top Cabin Rentals. Mountain Laurel Cabin Rentals, Blue Sky Cabin Rentals, Cabin Rentals of Georgia and Georgia Mountain Cabin Rentals are other options.
Where to Eat
Settle into one of Blue Ridge’s beloved restaurants for just about any type of cuisine.
Black Sheep Restaurant Bar & Patio
Black Sheep Restaurant Bar & Patio is a full-service eatery that combines Southern fare and fuses it with other styles. Favorites include the Asian tuna nachos, elk chops and fresh pasta, which can be enjoyed on the outdoor patio.
Harvest on Main
Nationally recognized Harvest on Main incorporates the best of local ingredients in Southern dishes with global influences. They proudly list their vendors in dishes like the Georgia-caught shrimp and Logan Turnpike grits, pan-roasted Springer Mountain chicken and Bramlett Farms trout BBQ.
Old World Italian food is the draw at Cucina Rustica, covering many regions of the country. The menu includes wood-fired pizzas, seafood and pasta. Come on weekends for veal osso bucco, which has limited availability.
Masseria Kitchen & Bar
Another pizza hotspot is Masseria Kitchen & Bar, but it’s not all about the pies. They also serve house-made pasta, brisket and polenta, and salads.
Toccoa Riverside Restaurant
Come by Toccoa Riverside Restaurant for a glass of wine or beer on the river’s edge. Their menu features fresh local trout, steaks, seafood and pasta. They even have a menu for your four-legged friends!
Treo offers seasonal Southern fare with items like seared salmon, USDA prime steaks and pork chops. The restaurant also serves Georgia craft beers, bourbon and whiskey.
Opened in Blue Ridge in 2011, Joe’s BBQ moved to nearby McCaysville in April 2018, and offers pulled pork and ribs with sides like macaroni and cheese, Brunswick stew, potato salad and coleslaw. Enjoy it on your layover when you ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway or before a mountain biking tour with Blue Ridge Mountain Outfitters.
As the name implies, Southern Charm is all about hospitality with famous biscuits and apple butter, fried catfish and slow-roasted prime rib. Share a plate of fried green tomatoes with the table.
Chester Brunnenmeyer's Bar & Grill
Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill is a rustic American restaurant that serves wings, sandwiches and entrees like steak, pork chops and rainbow trout. It’s located inside a 1920s hotel.
A favorite local hangout, Fightingtown Tavern makes almost everything from scratch, down to the condiments. Sandwiches and burgers are enjoyed with craft beer and cocktails on the patio or in front of one of the flat-screen televisions, showing sports at all times.
There’s no shortage of events year-round in Blue Ridge.
Fire & Ice Chili Cook-off
In February, the Fire & Ice Chili Cook-off combines chili made by local organizations and restaurants along with ice sculpting by professional carvers. There’s also live music and entertainment.
Arts in the Park
More than 100 local artists and vendors come together at Spring & Fall Arts in the Park every spring and fall. There are also local food vendors, live entertainment, and proceeds benefit a local arts organization.
Troutfest & Outdoor Adventures
Every spring, Troutfest & Outdoor Adventures celebrates Blue Ridge’s great outdoors with conservation talks, local outfitters, vendors selling fishing gear and gifts, and fishing seminars. Fuel up at their Food Truck Alley and Beer Garden.
Blues & BBQ Festival
In September, the Blues & BBQ Festival has a lineup of local and regional blues bands. Regional restaurants serve up barbecue and sell craft beer.