Blue Ridge, Georgia

Blue Ridge, Georgia

Nothing wrong with feeling blue

August 30th, 2015 by David Paschall in Glimpse 2015

In this undated photo, one of three vineyards at Tiger Mountain Winery in Tiger, Ga., is seen. Coming into this tiny Blue Ridge Mountain community of 350, you know exactly where you are. From the cool breeze that blows sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines in the surrounding Chattahoochee National Forest, to the UGA Dawgs signage hanging off seemingly every other car or storefront, it looks and feels unmistakably like Georgia here.

Photo by Jill Vejnoska

Blue Ridge is a gorgeous town nestled in the North Georgia mountains offering history and adventure. Drive-in theaters are still in operation, as well as a train station that has functioned for 110 years. There is no shortage of hiking trails or fishing opportunities in Blue Ridge, which is hailed as the Peach State's trout capital.

 

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Delicious Desserts

> The Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” Season 6 winner hails from Blue Ridge.The Sweet Shoppe serves up gourmet cupcakes at $2.75 a pop. The owners have baked cupcakes for country singer Zac Brown, politicians at the Georgia state capital and for the “Duck Dynasty” crew. In 2012, the Sweet Shoppe won the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” competition.

> In addition to cupcakes, the Sweet Shoppe also serves caramel- and chocolate-covered fruit, truffles, pretzels and cookies.

> Located at 576 E. Main St., The Sweet Shoppe is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

> For more information, visit thesweetsouth.com or call 706-632-6886.

Source: The Sweet Shoppe

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Gatherings Downtown

Blue Ridge’s downtown festivals are popular attractions.

Arts in the Park

Each spring and fall, the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association and Art Center produces a festival with more than 175 fine arts, crafts and food booths. In its 39th year, Arts in the Park attracts about 18,000 people. For more information, call 706-632-2144 or visit blueridgearts.net.

> When: Memorial Day weekend in May and Columbus Day weekend in October

> Where: Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

> Cost: $5

Blues and Barbecue

Tasty food and good music collide at this annual festival, held every September. Regional cooks provide the barbecue while blues bands play in the park.

> When: September

> Where: Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

> Cost: $5

Good Samaritan Barbecue

Residents and visitors of Blue Ridge get together every Labor Day for the Good Samaritan Barbecue, with food vendors, live music and family-style entertainment. Call 706-455-3818 for more information.

> When: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

> Where: Downtown Blue Ridge City Park

> Cost: $8-$10

Light Up Blue Ridge

Held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this Christmas holiday celebration contains entertainment, craft vendors, food vendors, Santa Claus and a parade. The evening ends with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree.

> When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

> Where: downtown Blue Ridge City Park

> Cost: Free

Source: City of Blue Ridge

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> Adjoined to the town of Blue Ridge is Lake Blue Ridge, this 11-mile-long lake is ideal for fishing, boating, swimming and picnicking. The 3,290-acre lake offers boat ramps, campsites, a full-service marina, public swimming and picnic areas.

> Visitors also can rent pontoons or personal watercraft from the Lake Blue Ridge Marina. Call 706-632-2618 for more information.

> The Chattahoochee National Forest borders roughly 80 percent of the lake’s 65 miles of shoreline.

> Lake Blue Ridge was created in 1930 when the Blue Ridge Dam was built on the Toccoa River by the Toccoa Electric Power Co. TVA purchased the lake in 1939.

Source: City of Blue Ridge, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center

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Taking in the Trout

> The Peach State’s trout capital delivers on the Toccoa River. Running next to Blue Ridge is the Toccoa River, which is filled with sizable trout. The Toccoa River is stocked above the Blue Ridge Dam every other week during trout season, which runs from late March to October.

> Pick up a comprehensive guide to trout fishing put out by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at the Fannin County Welcome Center, 152 Orvin Lance Drive.

> Located below the Blue Ridge Dam just off the Appalachian Highway in town, Tammen Park is a popular spot for fly fishermen. Call 800-238-2264 for advance water-release information. The park also includes a playground, picnic pavilion and restrooms.

Source: Fannin County Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center

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Travel by Train

> The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway provides a scenic trip through countryside.

> Starting at Blue Ridge’s 1905 train depot, this four-hour train adventure makes a stop in the twin border towns of McCaysville, Ga., and Copperhill, Tenn., before returning to Blue Ridge. The two-hour stop allows passengers to eat and shop.

> Ticket prices vary by season and ride, between $25 and $50. Call 877-413-TRAIN (8724) to make reservations. The ticket office is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

> There are special annual trips: the Easter Egg-Spress, July Fourth Firecracker Special, Fall Foliage Excursions, Pumpkin Express and Santa Express.

> Visit brscenic.com for more information.

Source: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

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Fast Facts

> Population: 1,290

> Biggest employers: Fannin County School System, The Home Depot

> Landmarks: The Swan Drive-In, 651 Summit St., is celebrating its 60th year. Movie tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 4-11.

> Date founded: 1886

> History: Originally nicknamed the “Switzerland of the South,” Blue Ridge was founded after the Marietta and North Georgia Railroad rolled through in 1886.

> Most famous resident: Country singer Mark Wills

> Unique traditions: Mercier Orchards, started in 1943, offers food, fruit-picking and tractor rides every weekend. Visit mercier-orchards.com for more information.