Just 90 minutes north of Atlanta off Interstate-575, Blue Ridge, Georgia, is at once outdoorsy, earthy, upscale, contemporary and historic. Centered around the Blue Ridge Depot, downtown’s restored buildings blend perfectly with modern industrial and mountain architecture, showcasing the arts, galleries, antiques, unique shopping and dining. It’s no wonder that Blue Ridge has been named one of the Top Ten Towns for Craft Lovers in the country. Yet 40 percent of the county is located within the Chattahoochee National Forest, sweeping visitors a million miles away. Photo-ops are all around. Trek across the 270 foot-long Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, the longest east of the Mississippi. Hikes to five refreshing waterfalls range from just .1 mile to 9.5 miles. Two bucket-list hiking adventures, the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail begin in southern Fannin County at Springer Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Intown, secluded overnight options are possible, ranging from chic lofts overlooking the town to an 1890’s B&B or in the new, upscale Hampton Inn Blue Ridge featuring balcony rooms and the city’s only rooftop bar/restaurant, Hook & Eye. In surrounding Fannin County choices include lodging with stunning mountain views, creekside retreats, riverfront lodges, cabins on the lake and much more. Indulge in a one-of-a-kind escape in a romantic treehouse at Bear Claw Vineyard built by “The Treehouse Guys” on DIY network, complete with a galley kitchen and bath. Serenity in the Mountains offers spa and suite packages that include a 90-minute couples massage and much more. To search for the perfect in-town hideaway or mountain retreat, go to https://www.blueridgemountains.com/where-to-stay.
For dinner, romantic options abound. Black Sheep, featuring a 200-year-old oak tree and covered patio fronting the historic residence once visited by Southern writer Margaret Mitchell. The locally sourced, chef-inspired New Americana menu and Wine Spectator-recognized wine list is complemented with cocktails featuring house-produced moonshine. Ambiance meets unforgettable eats at The General Ledger, located in a beautiful 1920s bank building where you can even be seated in the vault. Menu items include local favorite Blackened Pork Chops, Fried Chicken Paillard, Pecan Crusted Trout and a not-to-miss 16-ounce hand cut Ribeye, along with inventive main-course salads and sandwiches. Look for new specialty drinks featured daily at the bar. At Ferraro’s Kitchen Blue Ridge, Sommelier/Chef/Owner Igor Ferraro has brought his highly regarded Miami concept to the Georgia mountains, with a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list. A native of Venice, he was introduced to the world of food and wines by his father, a wine producer in the area of Bassano del Grappa. Chef Ferraro serves his customers a passionate experience as if they were transported to Italy.
Blue Ridge is also known for its appealing wineries, breweries brewpubs and taverns. Create your own wine trail or pub crawl using the route on the Fannin County Chamber’s digital Blue Ridge Brews and Wineries map. For more ideas, visit www.BlueRidgeMountains.com
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