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Once dubbed “Switzerland of the South”, Blue Ridge’s mountainous setting makes for an unforgettable weekend, no matter the season. But aside from its beauty, there’s great food, shopping and other activities right within the town—now the outskirts, that’s just opening another can of worms! There’s much to do in this North Georgia escape, and if you want to go beyond the buildings and activities on this list, the sky is the limit.
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Historic Blue Ridge Depot, complete with a fun gift shop, is where the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway departs. Hop on the train and head for neighboring towns to explore and shop. Along the ride, the train chugs over rivers and through colorful foliage—it’s one of the best ways to really see Georgia nature if you’re not up for a hike. The open cart seating is best on a cool, crisp fall day. Hands down, it’s the coolest Blue Ridge excursion.
Set in a rustic cabin, Teatrees Boutique Spa offers the best massages, going beyond a superficial rub down, straight to the deep, pain relieving stuff. Fireside couples massages are highly romantic–champagne and chocolate await after the session. From the incredible back porch views of downtown to the ultra cleansing infrared spa, Teatrees takes mountain relaxation to another level.
It’s your average park in the heart of downtown, but more uncommon is the pool and water slides available to the public. It gets hot in the summer, so the park’s water oasis is a great addition to the town. Baseball fields, tennis courts and a playground offer plenty of opportunities to get out and play with the family, and convenient picnic areas are onsite to host your mid-day meal.
Several galleries and shops grace the streets of Blue Ridge, creating an unexpectedly rich art vibe. High end to handcrafted treasures can be found amongst the many galleries and stores–Gartrell Gallery is elegantly beautiful and even hosts parties and events. High Country Art and Antiques, Multitudes Gallery and Turning Leaf feature highly talented artists–one could spend all day losing themselves in it all.
Set in a restored 120-year-old home, with plenty of southern elegance, the Blue Ridge Inn Bed and Breakfast is the most hospitable place to say in town. A southern breakfast is served every morning, with buttery biscuits and warm fruit muffins. Main dishes vary day to day– creamy fruit and yogurt crepes, eggs benedict, toasty waffles, quiche and indulgent strawberry French toast are longstanding favorites. All around, it’s a cozy, intimate experience with the right amount of privacy.
Georgia has an incredible wine, beer and hard cider scene, which can be sampled at Blue Ridge Cellars. In a simplistic tasting room downtown, guests can learn a lot about the local varieties without traveling the entire region. With a vast selection, you’ll leave a bit more educated about Georgia’s fantastic booze inventory.
Eclectic shops line the streets of downtown– find lovely candles at Blush 809, local goodies at Blue Ridge Cotton Company, and Peruvian treasures at Quinti. You’ll notice shops are somewhat artsy, with lots of pleasantly unusual items, making Blue Ridge an essential destination to acquire unusual gifts, and even treats for yourself.
Blue Ridge has great food, and Southern Charm fills the slot for authentic country cooking. Fried chicken, collards, fried green tomatoes, okra and mashed potatoes compliment the star of the menu, hot, fluffy, melt in your mouth biscuits with dreamy apple butter! North Georgia trout is, of course, available as well. Inside is accented with traditional wood floors, fireplaces and other homey accents.
Sip German Heffeweisen, American Brown Ale, Vienna Lager and other frothy brews can be found at Blue Ridge Brewery, situated within an earthy, brick building. The food nearly outshines the handcrafted beer—the House Burger with blue cheese and caramelized onion, crab dip and lamb sliders are local favorites.
Aka, The Sweet Shoppe of the South, many homemade desserts like macarons and pies draw visitors into the rustic shop on Main Street. But given that the cupcakes have won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars competition, they must be tasted as well. Strawberry Milkshake, Moose Tracks, Thin Mint, Cookie Dough and Chocolate Cream Pie are only a few of the indulgent flavors. Make a pit stop and you’ll quickly know why they are number one.