My family and I spent a weekend in Blue Ridge recently, and I fell in love with this mountain town. No, really. It is probably my favorite place in the south. Yup, I said it! I can’t wait to take you on an adventure this week!
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway – A ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is the trip of a lifetime. Our family (with two young boys, almost 6 yrs and almost 2 yrs) stepped aboard the historical rail one lovely spring morning. We had waited months for this adventure on a real, full-sized diesel locomotive, and our experience was even better than we envisioned. Don’t miss this adventure! If you are in Blue Ridge, or anywhere near the area, you cannot skip this train ride. Regardless of the age of your kids – or maybe you are visiting without kids – no matter. Don’t overlook a visit on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad. I highly recommend a ride in the open-air car. You can feel the breeze and smell the honeysuckle. I’m already saving up to bring the grandparents on the Fall Color ride! Follow the link to see my full review on Trekaroo.
Where you’re visiting the mountains, “where to stay” is just as important as “what to do.” I highly recommend a cabin from Mountain Top Cabin Rental. We secured a three bedroom/three bath house, with a gorgeous wrap-around porch, spectacular views, a hot tub, WiFi, magnificent windows, and a great number of other creature comforts. Mountain Top lists about 50 luxury cabins for rent, sleeping 2 – 12 people. There are pet-friendly cabins, cabins with hot tubs and/or fire pits, and cabins on the water or with majestic mountain views. You pick what is best for your family.
Our cabin experience was surreal. It is difficult to “one-up” the magic of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but it happened for us. Sitting on the deck, taking in the morning view with a cup of coffee….enjoying the family in the hot tub, after a long hike…grilling steaks with the mountains in the background….it was unmitigated delight. The “extras” here also helped create a relaxing vacation – the WiFi, the comfy feeling of the cabin with woods and leathers…a king size bed that felt more like my bed at home than an “hotel” bed…the glamorous master bath…the pool table….on and on. Our family fell in love with Blue Ridge. We vowed to return several times a year. We *might* try a camping adventure on one of those weekends away, but if we’re not roughing-it, we’ll be using Mountain Top Cabin Rentals again. Click through to read more about the cabin in my Trekaroo review.
Do you and your family pick your own fruit? Strawberries, blueberries, apples….Our family spent one beautiful morning in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains exploring Mercier Orchards. We had breakfast, picked fruit, and shopped for dinner at the store. We’ve been berry picking in the past…we’d heard that Mercier was great…but could it really be *that* much better than the other places? Yes. Yes, it is! It was a whirlwind of adventure, and a new annual event for our family!
Mercier Orchards is a Georgia Blue Ridge Mountain staple with a rich family history, sustainable farming practices, activities-galore for the family, and delicious berries and market items. All of this is served in an atmosphere that makes you feel welcome and at home. Our family had an exciting time, full of new adventures that we committed to making into a family tradition. You haven’t been berry picking in Georgia until you visit Mercier Orchards.
The Lilly Pad Village – The Lilly Pad Village is an haven in the mountains of Blue Ridge where kids can engage in several nature activities just right for them. We enjoyed gem mining and mini-golf. We will be back to The Lilly Pad Village, especially for the gem mining. I highly recommend it for families visiting Blue Ridge. Kids as young as two, and as old as 200, will have a fun time there. Click through to read my full Trekaroo review.
Fall Branch Falls – Fall Branch Falls is a fun hike with the kids. We went in spring after visiting Lilly Pad Village, which is just right down the road (mentioned above.) I was able to do it with my 6 yr old and 2 yr old, easily. It is a very peaceful hike, without a nearby road or neighborhood. The trees are towering, creating shade and lush scapes of fern and moss along the sides of the trail. The creek is filled with large rocks, as well, creating a rushing sound as the water runs down, adding to the tranquil nature of the hike. This hike is not a flat terrain, smooth surface walk, but it is a relatively easy hike – and short – to the base of the falls (which are about 30 ft.) It’s fun for kids because of the rocks and roots along the way, and the special waterfall “destination” at the end. I like that it is shady and peaceful, and somewhat remote.
Where to eat in Blue Ridge – I believe in being real with my readers. I’m going to tell you what I like, what I hate, and what I LOVE. I LOVE Blue Ridge…I mean really love it. And in Blue Ridge, I am all over the grits and lattes at L&L Beanery. They are the best grits in the world (sorry to my Grandma.) The best. Really. I mean, “drive up from Atlanta just for the grits” good. Serenity Garden Cafe is where you want to eat when you take the layover on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Looking for great Blue Ridge trout (plus more) sitting right on the river? Toccoa River Restaurant is the place!
Another great outdoor adventure for the family is Toccoa River Swinging Bridge. We went for a short hike, and a little water play. We could have stayed all day, fishing, hiking, and wading in the river. Camping here is most definitely on our to-do list!