If you don’t have friends with houses in places you’d like to visit, make some! I’ve hosted loads of visitors in my life, and thankfully, I have friends who reciprocate. I’m always happy to trade lovely housewarming gifts for their hospitality and company. My friend and I flew into Chattanooga, rented a car and drove east along the Tennessee Georgia line toward Copperhill, TN before dipping down into northern Georgia to the bucolic mountain and lake town of Blue Ridge. The scenic drive is about two hours, and best done during daylight.
This is whitewater country. The Toccoa River and Ocoee River are form a single 93-mile-long river that flows through the southern Appalachian Mountains. Located in the Cherokee National Forest, the Ocoee flows through a beautiful gorge surrounded by scenic wildlife. With Class III-IV rapids its one of the best whitewater rivers in the south. There are loads of hiking trails and companies that rent gear for enjoying the river.
This little town has some big personality. We met our friend at her favorite watering hole, Buck Bald Brewery [160 Ocoee Street]. Stop for a pint, stay for Monday night BINGO, fill your growler and relax on the outdoor patio. There are a host of small shops and restaurants lining the main drag. Pop into Pic N Vine [114 South Grand Avenue] to learn all about the uses of kudzu from owner and weaver Melissa!
Blue Ridge, GA
As the name suggests, Blue Ridge is a mountain town in northern Georgia which also boasts a lake, a thriving artist community, hundreds of miles of hiking trails and 106,000 acres of Chattahoochee National Forest, it’s no wonder it’s been voted one of the south’s best mountain towns. There’s so much to enjoy!
If you are into hiking, spectacular options await. Check out the waterfall hikes in particular.
Bear Claw Vineyards [2281 Tennis Court Road] is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Check the website for hours, live music and events schedule. The day we visited food truck Cheez’d and Confuzed was serving its yummy and decadent craft grilled cheeses!
Another favorite watering hold Grumpy Old Men Taproom [1315 East Main Street] has terrific craft brews, tastings, growlers, beer to go, live music, outdoor seating, fun merch and dogs welcome!
Main Street, Downtown Blue Ridge
Eating and Drinking
- Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill [733 East Main]
- The Black Sheep [480 West Main] – Divine Bloody Mary’s and brunch
- Harvest on Main [576 East Main]
- The Vine & Eatery [632 East Main] – Small family-owned wine bar for tasting, flights & bites
- Chester’s Provisions [733 East Main] – Fun stuff and gift ideas
- Multitudes Gallery [723East Main] – Ask for Tina!
- Wrapsody in Blue [652East Main] – Home furnishings and accessories
- High Country Art [715East Main] – Ask for Sara!
- Out of the Blue [647 East Main] – Wine, eats and more
- High Country Art & Antique [715 East Main] – I bought a beautiful oil painting here by local artist Mary Jane Huegel