Images from the Fish Trap Cabin in Blue Ridge Georgia

Dan on July 16th, 2012

The Appalachians stretch from Pennsylvania to North Georgia, and as seasoned mountaineers are well aware, the eastern portion of these mounded, rounded beauties is known as the Blue Ridge Mountains. This narrow band becomes not-so-narrow once it hits Georgia, where it blossoms into wide, sweeping, vacation-worthy phenomena like rushing rapids and hike-worthy hills. For a getaway unlike any other, head to the hills; head to Blue Ridge.

Northern Georgia might not be the first place you think of when you have an urge for adventure, escape, and supreme beauty. However, the long history of this place as a haven for tourists proves that there’s something worth noticing within the folds of the craggy terrain. In particular, nature lovers will find themselves surrounded by some of the richest displays of trees, streams, wildlife, and general splendor as they tour the area. Hopefully, you’ll be able to stay a while, as seeing all the hidden bounties available might take some time.

In particular, the Chattahoochee National Forestis a good place to start your journey. Not only is it fun to say, it’s fun to visit as well. Thousands of acres of untamed land, dozens of recreation areas, and miles and miles of trails will tempt you to get lost in the cool canopy of ancient trees that have amazed generations of people from near and far. Between the swimming beaches and picnic sites, you’ll be content to while away your days in the most leisurely way possible; by letting the rhythm of nature replace the quick-paced nonsense of your previous life.

If you consider no vacation to be complete without some time spent on the water, then be sure to dip your toes into Lake Blue Ridge. Boat ramps, marinas, and lots of public swimming areas will delight everyone in your traveling party, as will the inherent peacefulness of watching the sun glint from the aqua surface. Get some exercise by waterskiing, pump up your adrenaline by hopping on a tube, or paddle away to another state of mind within the cozy confines of a canoe.

If you like your water-time a bit more nontraditional, then take note of the fact that there are five distinctive waterfalls near Blue Ridge. By hiking the most popular trails, you’ll easily come across the hidden gems that will thrill you with the unfamiliar and exhilarating sounds of crashing and splashing. Long Creek, Falls Branch, and the other falls will plunge and cascade their way into your memory, and will certainly end up being standout pleasures of this trip.

And while we’re on the subject of thrills, don’t miss the opportunity to weave your way through the Blue Ridge Mountains by means of a raft equipped to speed through whitewater rapids. The Ocoee River makes a great venue for rafters and kayakers to test their skill and feel the exciting sensation of gut-wrenching drops and the spray of the world-class waves. March to October marks the perfect time to join the fun, so strap on a helmet and prepare to ignite your trip with this pulse-pounding diversion.

The wondrous scenery makes the perfect backdrop for many more activities, including horse back riding, golfing, and wandering through the ever-growing selection of antique and specialty shops. Breathe deeply as you enjoy the sight of the wide-open sky, and do whatever it is that will make you happy to be alive. Sometimes, this will end up being a mere walk or a simple meal with your loved ones, so don’t feel the need to craft elaborate plans in order to achieve a satisfying Blue Ridge vacation.

On this note, be sure to reserve accommodationsthat will allow you and yours to squeeze as much contentment as possible from this trip without squeezing each other out of your comfort zones. A vacation rental, lodge-styled and hidden behind a grove of tall trees, would be the perfect way to have some privacy and space. With activities near by, you won’t feel totally isolated, and a short car ride will take you to the town for dinner or a show after the sun goes down.

Having the amenities of home will allow you to truly feel comfortable while you’re away, so be sure to investigate the possibility of a a Blue Ridge Mountains Vacation Rental, and enjoy your stint as a mountain adventurer.

Tags: , , ,

Dan on May 18th, 2009

Fall in the North Georgia Mountains means mild temperatures, clear skies and changing restaurant menus. Though the city has much to offer, the fall season seems particularly lacking in entertainment. Gone are the summer street festivals that dotted greater Atlanta just a few short weeks ago. Outdoor movies in the park disappear as fall creeps in, much like the summertime farmers markets.

Perhaps, as the biggest city in the South, Atlanta doesn’t feel a need to participate in the often kitschy fall events usually full of scarecrows and pumpkins. Or perhaps the city simply knows it strengths. The quaint mountain towns of North Georgia are only 90 minutes from Atlanta and offer more than enough fall activities and festivals to help any family fill their weekends.

North Georgia, known for the Blue Ridge Mountains, offers far more than the outdoor activities the area is often known for. While the hiking, biking, boating and water activities are nothing to scoff at, Blue Ridge also offers a variety of festivals and special weekend events.

The events are spread out over September and October, which is a perfect time to visit the area. Fall leaves paint the town and mountains in hues of auburn, red and gold, and the crunch of them underfoot just screams fall. Cabin rentals in North Georgia are easy to come by, and much more centrally located and homey than a small hotel. Choosing one of the Blue Ridge mountain top vacation rentals takes a lot of guesswork out of planning the weekend, as the cabin management or owners will be able to answer any questions about the events and help with planning.

Kicking off the fall season is a Labor Day Barbecue, right in the heart of Blue Ridge. From morning to evening, everyone is invited to feast on barbecue ribs, smoked chicken and all the traditional sides for under $10, turning this event into an incredible value! Bluegrass, southern gospel and mountain music acts will provide entertainment and keep the party going. Blue Ridge Mountain cabins make it easy to enjoy the festivities without facing a night time drive back to the city.

Toward the end of September, the Blue Ridge park hosts the 9th Annual Wildlife & Nature Art Festival and Outdoor expo, a two-day affair. Well-known and local artists mingle as they showcase their nature-themed art. Painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture and wood, glass or metal material arts make for an exciting weekend of different styles. Festival goers can purchase and take home a little souvenir that might make their Atlanta home feel just a bit like a Blue Ridge Mountain cabin! Herding dog demonstrations, conservation groups and a blue grass/country band will add to the wildlife weekend and keep the fun coming.

Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the Family Fishing Festival held in September by the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery at Rock Creek. During the day-long event, the Hatchery will offer educational exhibits, casting and fly-tying demo classes, and environmental conservation information. There’s no charge for children to fish, just bring poles and bait- and maybe dinner at your North Georgia cabin rental will be locally caught trout!

When looking for traditional fall events in Georgia remember Blue Ridge Mountain cabin rentals in North Georgia make it easy to experience family fun.

Book your Family Mountain Vacation Home today…..

Dan on May 18th, 2009

While a metropolitan city like Atlanta has much to offer in the way of cosmopolitan pleasures, it can be a bit more difficult to track down the simpler things in life. Blue Ridge, Georgia is located in Fannin County and offers enough quaint experiences for a lifetime, only about 90 minutes outside of Atlanta.

Home to stunning natural attractions like waterfalls and breathtaking mountain views, the Blue Ridge area is accustomed to receiving city dwellers and welcomes them nicely.

For those interested in exerting energy, there are horseback riding trails, whitewater rafting opportunities and endless hiking options. For those looking to step back in time though, to enjoy homegrown delights and appreciate handmade crafts, the Blue Ridge Mountain area really shines.

To start the trip off right, consider staying in one of the many North Georgia cabin rentals available. More personal and comfortable than a small hotel, most Blue Ridge Mountain Top vacation rentals feature pleasant decks to encourage enjoying the wilderness and bubbling hot tubs to assist with unwinding. Luxurious linens and a stocked kitchen make holing up in a Blue Ridge Mountain North Georgia cabin a possibility… but there’s too much to see to do that!

Many of the cabin rentals in North Georgia will place you close enough to enjoy all that Blue Ridge Mountain has to offer. After a good night’s sleep and relaxing morning jacuzzi soak, shut the doors to the those Blue Ridge Mountain cabins and head to Main Street.

Check out The Art Center, located in the historic courthouse of Blue Ridge Mountain North Georgia, where crafts, pottery and paintings from local artists abound. For a further taste of the local artistic flavor, continue to the Blue Ridge Outfitter Mountain Mall to see locally handcrafted furniture, various arts and crafts, and the work of local artists in their individual booths. Continuing down Main St, prepare to see several quilting shops (consider enjoying a quilting class if time allows), as well as an antique store and art galleries. Almost all localized, the flavor of Blue Ridge Mountain North Georgia is evident in the quaint boutiques and their wares.

Don’t miss out of the amazing Hampton Square gallery featuring hand blown glass from over 75 highly respected local, national and international glass artists. This unique shop, not far from most Blue Ridge Mountain cabins, sparkles and glistens from all the delicate hand blown glass works of art. In a much sturdier vein, pay a visit to a local blacksmith gallery to take a peek at contemporary and traditional hand-forged ironwork.

After working up an appetite, refrain from heading back to one of the Blue Ridge Mountain Top vacation rentals and make a beeline for Mercer Orchards. Choose from among 20 different apple varieties, or locally grown peaches, cherries or blueberries, depending what’s in season. Their bakery is stocked with homemade pies, breads, fritters, jams and jellies- don’t forget to stock up and bring a bit of Blue Ridge Mountain North Georgia home! For something more substantial, a cafe inside the orchard offers regional food specialties, the ideal place to enjoy some Georgia grits.

This seemingly sleepy mountain town is home to many quaint delights, and is just the right cure for city-dwellers tired of city life.

Click here for more Thing To Do in the North Georgia Mountains

Dan on May 18th, 2009

History of the Swan Drive In Theatre

In 1949, Jack Jones, Sr., Bernice Kiker Tilley, and W.H. Tilley, Jr. (known as “H” Tilley) purchased the Rialto and Royal Theatres, Blue Ridge, Ga. from Willard and Betty Mowbray. Shortly after the purchase, Bernice sold her interest to Jack and “H”. The Rialto Theatre had been built in 1946 and 1947 and shortly after it was completed, the old Royal Theatre was closed and movies were shown only at the new Rialto. Mr. Mowbray had come to Blue Ridge in the late twenties or early thirties and had started showing movies in the brick building located on West Main Street where the fire department is now located. Mowbray showed movies in this building until he built the Royal Theatre on East Main Street, this theatre was small and could only seat around 200 people, as the area grew the seating capacity was too small and the new Rialto was built that could seat 500 people. The Rialto was built on East Main Street in the same block the old Royal theatre was located. At the time Jack and “H” purchased the theatres the Royal had been closed and only the Rialto  was in operation. There was no television in Blue Ridge at this time and the movie going crowd was so large they opened the Royal Theatre again and showed movies at both places. The price of a ticket was .32 for adults and .15 for children. At the Saturday matinees, adult tickets were .25 and .10 for children.

In 1955 Jack and “H” built the Swan Drive In Theatre that is located on 651 Summit Street, Blue Ridge, Ga. Building this drive-in was a real challenge. Locating a piece of property large enough that was suitable for a drive-in theatre would turn into a big problem. The first property purchased for the drive-in was on E. First Street where Blue Ridge Supply and several other buildings are now located. They would be forced to build a tall fence on the street side of this property to keep the car lights from shining on the screen, they were advised by engineers that the property was not suitable. The City Of Blue Ridge owned a large area of property known as the Willingham Circle and they were able to lease several acres from the City, on which, to build a drive-in theatre. The property they leased had large gullies, hills and valleys that had to be graded. The grading was much more than had been expected and several times they almost gave up. They considered quitting as it was such a large job, after they started the grading they hit slate rock and dynamite was the only thing that could move it. The grading was done by Mr. Raleigh Hembree, a local man that was an expert at his work whom encouraged them to keep on trying. After the land was graded, wired for the  speakers, paved, the concession stand and the box office built, there was another LARGE problem. The screen tower would have to built on the ground and then raised in parts. There was not a crane any nearer than Atlanta that was big and tall enough to lift the screen tower. A crane large enough to lift it was found at Atlanta Steel Erectors, many of the construction workers and ‘lookers-on” held their breath as this job was completed. The cost of the crane was one hundred dollars. This drive in theatre was the beginning of the real growth of Blue Ridge. People came from miles around to see movies on a large screen.


During World War 11, Mr. Tilley was stationed in England part of the time before being sent into The Omaha Beach Landing in the Normandy Invasion, while in England he admired the Swans swimming on the lakes and ponds. They were so beautiful and peaceful he suggested this name “Swan” for the new drive-in. Mr. Jones also liked the name as it was short and would be easy to use a neon sign with. This is why the drive-in was named “SWAN”. Mr. Jones served in the Marines before World War 11. During the first part of the World War 11, he was stationed in Panama helping build an Air Force Base, next he helped in the construction of an Air Force Base in West Palm Beach Florida.

Jack Jones Sr. and W.H. Tilley, jr. operated these theatres until 1959 when Mr. Tilley sold to Mr. Jones. The Swan Drive-In is still operating and is one of five Drive-In theatres left in the state of Georgia. The old Royal Theatre is still standing on East Main St., Blue Ridge, Ga. and has been converted into Doctor’s Offices. the Rialto Theatre was partially burned in 1963 and has been re-built as a Retail store.

Jack Jones, Sr. passed away in 1980. W. H. Tilley is retired and still resides in the City of Blue Ridge, Georgia.

History page written by Blanch Tilley and approved by Mrs. Jack Jones.

The Swan is one of five drive-in theatres in the state of Georgia that is still operating. The locations of the other four are Atlanta, Jessup, Tiger and Dewey Rose, Georgia. The Swan operates year round with first run movies.

So much to do at our

North Georgia Vacation Rental Home

Tags: , ,

Dan on May 18th, 2009

Wildwater Ltd

Offers a “Quality Service Guarantee”, so experience their “Silver Service” on the Ocoee River, Nantahala River or Chattooga River. The Ocoee River with big, closely spaced rapids makes it one of the most popular whitewater rivers in the nation. No other river in the Southeast offers the degree of challenge, safety and consistent water flow that is found here (min. age 12). Only 20 mins from Blue Ridge, located in Ducktown, TN.
Whitewater rafting the Nantahala – est. 90 minutes from Blue Ridge
Nantahala River Gorge is only 70 miles north of Blue Ridge, Georgia and offers another favorite white water rafting center. This feisty river is a favorite for families with young children (age limit is 7 years or 60 lbs). It has Class II rapids on an 8 mile journey through North Carolina’s gorgeous mountain terrain. Visit this Wildwater Ltd. for this particular river trip. The Chattooga River (located in Long Creek, SC and 80 miles from Blue Ridge, GA) is the only raftable river in the Southeast that has been designated “Wild and Scenic” by Congress. Join Wildwater Ltd for a full day or half day wilderness experience through the undeveloped Chattooga River Gorge. The white water trips range from milder “mini trips” (min. age 8 yrs old) and full day Section 3 trips (min. age 10) to some of the biggest and most exciting whitewater in the region (Section 4 – minimum age 13).

Pigeon River | Nantahala River | Chattooga River | Ocoee River | Cheoah River

Tags: ,

Dan on May 18th, 2009

Check out our new North Georgia Vacation Rental Cabin Video -

You can also check out our other videos and updated images at –

Tags: , ,

Dan on May 18th, 2009

Tucked into the charming mountain village of Blue Ridge, Georgia in the lush Chattahoochee National Forest, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is here to take you on the trip of a lifetime. The area is known as the “antique capital” of Georgia with friendly folks and an old time atmosphere.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Our regular 4 hour, 26 mile round trip winds along the beautiful Toccoa River for one hour in vintage climate controlled or open air railcars.

The relaxing ride starts at the historic depot, built in 1905 in downtown Blue Ridge, then stops for a layover in the quaint sister towns of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee.

Copperhill/McCaysville is one town with two names because it is split by the GA/TN State Line, where visitors have a two hour layover (except 1.5 hours on Sunday); plenty of time to eat lunch, shop for unique crafts and antiques, snack on ice cream, or walk across the old bridge in town to view the river. Then, reboard the train for the one hour return trip.

Riding the Railroad

We love a good train ride and The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway qualifies as one of the best. Although the engines are diesel (steam was never used on this portion of the track), it doesn’t detract from the ride, which follows existing track along the Toccoa River from Blue Ridge, Georgia through the McCaysville Basin to the city of the same name.

Blue Ridge is a small town in north-central Georgia that, until 1998, was most famous for its growing antique shopping area. Then a group of north Georgia residents decided to resurrect the railroad. Using an all volunteer work force, and trains brought or leased from such well-known places as the Southeastern Railway Museum, Duluth, Georgia, and the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway opened a ticket office in the restored Blue Ridge depot in June, 1998.

An immediate success, the train carried more than 17,000 passengers during the first year of operation. Supported by the local businessmen and government, the train has dramatically increased business in the downtown areas of both Blue Ridge and McCaysville. The Historic High Country Travel Association considers it one of four “must see” attractions in the northwest corner of the state.

Riding the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad

Train schedules vary depending on the day and time of season. We rode the train on a Saturday in early September and it was beautiful. A light fog covered the mountains on the trip to McCaysville, occasionally opening for a dramatic view of the nearby Toccoa River. During the trip highlights are pointed out over a speaker system that runs through all the cars. The open car’s conductor enhanced the presentation with his own enjoyable narrative. You’ll see the “Two Sisters,” gardeners who gladly wave at the train as it passes, or the old mule who awaits his carrot as the train passes. In McCaysville, the train comes to a stop at the depot and you get 45 minutes to visit the town on the Tennessee border. Local ladies were selling snacks by the depot, and all the great local shops were open. While it is possible to eat during this break we would recommend against it. By the time we got our food we were rushed to make it back to the train on time.

There are many photographic opportunites, and some interesting shops in the area of the train depot.

 Blue Ridge, Georgia is home to some of the best antique shops in the state and is a gateway city to the North Georgia Mountains. Its central location, plentiful accommodations and reputation for abundant outdoor recreation activities make it a great place to spend a few days or a lifetime!

Lots to do at –

Tags: , ,

Dan on May 18th, 2009

Blue Ridge Mountains

Scenic Byway

The Blue Ridge Mountains in northeast Georgia make up the state’s highest mountain range. The range of rugged ridges and rounded, weathered peaks varies in elevation from 1,600 to 4,700 feet and harbors spectacular mountain scenery, as well as some of the world’s richest biological diversity. In addition, the range contains Georgia’s wettest areas, with higher elevations getting more than eighty inches of rain annually on average.

The Blue Ridge, so named because its peaks and ridges often appear wrapped in a soft blue haze, consists of a nearly unbroken chain of mountains stretching from Virginia and North Carolina and extending nearly 100 miles into Georgia. It makes up the southernmost part of the Appalachian mountain chain, a vast complex of ranges that extends from north Georgia through New England.

Northwest Georgia consists of several smaller ranges—the Cohuttas, the Unakas, and the Cumberland Plateau. They are separated from the Blue Ridge by geologic formations known as the Hightower-Jasper Ridges and the McCaysville Basin in north central Georgia, along a boundary roughly marked by Georgia Highway 5. The Blue Ridge’s southern boundary is along the Brevard Fault, at an elevation of 1,700 feet, where the Piedmont province begins. The Blue Ridge occupies all or portions of eleven counties in Georgia: Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Habersham, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White.

The Blue Ridge Mountains’ crest, for much of its length, forms the drainage dividing line known as the Eastern Continental Divide, which separates rivers flowing eastward into the Atlantic Ocean from those flowing westward to the Gulf of Mexico. For instance, Georgia’s Chattahoochee River basin, whose waters flow into the gulf, rises near the borders of Union and Towns counties. The Etowah River, which also flows to the gulf, rises in Lumpkin County. The headwaters of the Savannah River, which flows to the Atlantic, are the Chattooga River, which rises in the Blue Ridge near the juncture of the Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina borders.

Natural Resources and Recreational Opportunities

Most of the Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the 750,000-acre Chattahoochee National Forest, managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Within its bounds are Georgia’s highest peaks. The highest, Brasstown Bald (4,784 feet), is partly in Towns County and partly in Union County. Instead of rising to a distinctive peak, Brasstown Bald is unusual in that it is a barely discernible rise in Wolfpen Ridge, which extends for miles to the north and south. Other tall peaks include Rabun Bald (4,694 feet) in Rabun County and Tray Mountain (4,430 feet) in Towns and White counties. The southern terminus of the famed Appalachian Trail is on Springer Mountain (3,782 feet) in Gilmer County; Blood Mountain (4,461 feet) in Union County is the highest peak on Georgia’s portion of the trail.

The Blue Ridge also has impressive gorges and canyons, the most notable of which is Tallulah Gorge, which spans the border between Habersham and Rabun counties and is one of the state’s most visited tourist destinations. Spectacular waterfalls include Amicalola (the tallest east of the Mississippi River), Anna Ruby, Hiawassee, and Toccoa. The Chattooga, Toccoa, Tugaloo, and other rivers in the region are popular recreation areas, particularly for whitewater rafters, canoers, and kayakers. These rivers provide the waters for a number of man-made lakes, including Lake Burton, Lake Chatuge, and Lake Rabun, that also enhance the recreational opportunities in the area. Two much larger lakes, Lanier and Hartwell, are situated in the foothills just south of the Blue Ridge.

Some of Georgia’s most-visited state parks are found in the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Amicalola Falls, Black Rock Mountain, Tallulah Gorge, Unicoi, and Vogel. The mountains also are home to most of Georgia’s pristine wilderness areas, including Blood Mountain, Brasstown Bald, Ellicott Rock, Mark Trail, Raven Cliff, and Tray Mountain.


Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains are part of a longer geologic system that forms an almost unbroken wall running down the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge province from Virginia. Rarely more than a few miles wide in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, the Blue Ridge mountain range turns to the west and widens up to sixty miles in some places within Georgia.

The geology and topography of the Blue Ridge are the results of mountain-building processes that began more than 500 million years ago. The processes include rock folding, faulting, upward thrusting, and a great collision that took place about 300 million years ago between the North American and African continents in a process called plate tectonics. The collision buckled the Earth’s surface and pushed huge masses of rocks westward, causing them to pile up. For the past 100 million years, erosion has carved away much of Georgia’s mountains, leaving only their cores standing. Erosion continues today and is constantly altering the landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the rest of the southern Appalachians. Geologic resources of the Blue Ridge include copper, gold, marble, talc, and other minerals. Gold was mined at Dahlonega in Lumpkin County in the early 1800s; a branch mint there produced gold coins from 1838 to 1861.

Natural Resources

Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains enjoy one of the world’s most botanically rich mixtures of temperate climate plants, with northern U.S. species mixing with their southern kin. Biologists contend that the Blue Ridge mountain range and its parent chain, the southern Appalachians, have the greatest mixture of temperate climate plants in the world, except for eastern temperate Asia, located at about the same latitude. Forests account for nearly 90 percent of the land cover in the Blue Ridge, a higher percentage than in any other region of the state. Agriculture and other land uses are limited primarily to the flat floodplains of creeks and rivers.

Examples of forest types found in the Blue Ridge include broadleaf deciduous cove forests on moist, cool north-facing slopes; stunted oak forests of ridges; and oak-hickory forests that comprise the bulk of the Appalachian slope forests. Shrub, grass, and heath balds, and hemlock and mixed oak-pine forests also are significant.

Black bear, grouse, songbirds, turkey, wild boar, whitetail deer, many species of amphibians and reptiles, thousands of species of invertebrates, and a variety of small mammals are found in the Blue Ridge. The area also is generally part of the Appalachian flyway for birds, especially tanagers, thrushes, vireos, and warblers.

This richness in flora and fauna is presumed to be the result of several factors, including rainfall, climate, and soil types. The common crystalline rock types include gneiss, quartzite, and schist, covered by well-drained, acidic, brownish, loamy soils. Many areas average more than 60 inches of rainfall a year; higher elevations may get as much as 80 inches. Temperatures in mountain valleys average six to eight degrees cooler than the nearby Piedmont in the summer months. At higher elevations the difference can be ten to twelve degrees.

Human History

The Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto was the first European to travel into the Blue Ridge Mountains, probably visiting the Nacoochee Valley and a site near Carters Lake. Naturalist William Bartram was introduced to the diverse plant life of the southern Appalachians by way of Georgia’s Blue Ridge on a well-chronicled trip he made through the area in 1775.

Bartram found few white settlers in the region, which was populated with Cherokee Indians. The Cherokees, or their predecessors, are believed to have settled in Georgia’s mountains as early as the mid-1400s, and they developed an agricultural society, raising crops of corn, beans, and melons. They also hunted deer and bear, and used many native plants for medicinal purposes. By the end of the eighteenth century, English, German, Scots-Irish, and other European settlers began arriving in Cherokee territory in significant numbers. The Cherokees were friendly at first but fought with settlers when provoked.

After gold was discovered in Lumpkin and White counties in the late 1820s, the ensuing gold rush of the 1830s, along with a more general western migration by land-hungry settlers, precipitated the eviction of the Cherokees and their forced migration to Oklahoma on the infamous Trail of Tears in 1838-39. The cooler climate and scenic beauty of the region led to the establishment of antebellum summer resorts in Clarkesville, Cleveland, and Tallulah Falls.

Many Blue Ridge communities, which were relatively removed from the market economy of Georgia’s plantation system and included very few slaves, were divided in their loyalties when the state seceded from the Union and the Civil War (1861-65) began. Parts of the region suffered from intense guerrilla warfare as a result of those divisions, as did other parts of southern Appalachia.

After the Civil War, the copper industry developed along the Tennessee-Georgia border, causing great damage to the forests because of the large amounts of timber needed to fuel copper smelters. Even greater forest damage resulted from the lumber industry that emerged at the end of the nineteenth century. Mountain forests were stripped bare of trees by major logging operations centered near the towns of Dahlonega, Ellijay, and Helen, as well as by numerous smaller sawmills.

Similar devastation of other forests around the nation prompted the creation of a national movement to restore and preserve forests. Georgia’s Blue Ridge mountain lands were some of the first acquired by the U.S. government for this purpose. The Chattahoochee National Forest was established in 1937. Since then, one of the most important benefits of the Chattahoochee forest has been a clean water source for metropolitan Atlanta.

It was also during the late nineteenth century that the production of illegal alcohol—particularly
corn whiskey and apple or peach brandy—generated moonshine “wars” throughout the southern mountains. These wars extended well into the twentieth century and were particularly intense in Georgia’s Blue Ridge, where Internal Revenue Service agents, or “revenuers,” did battle with mountain residents who resented and resisted paying federal taxes on this traditional staple of mountain agriculture.


Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains have a rich cultural heritage associated with the southern Appalachians. Out of that heritage came many varieties of folk art and music, including bluegrass. Bluegrass music is a unique sound that features mostly acoustic instruments and combines elements of both traditional Scottish and Irish folk music. Music and other aspects of mountain culture and folklife are celebrated at the Georgia Mountain Fair, held every August since 1950 in Hiawassee.

The Foxfire magazine and books, published by students since the late 1960s, first at Rabun Gap–Nacoochee School and today at Rabun County High School, have chronicled the history, culture, traditions, and daily life in Appalachia and the Blue Ridge Mountains. James Dickey’s novel, Deliverance, published in 1970, conveyed a very different, and far more negative, image of the region and its people.

Fish Trap Trial<br />River Vacation Home

Fish Trap Trial - River Vacation Home

Check out our Blue Ridge Vacation Home on the Toccoa River here –

Tags: , ,

Dan on February 11th, 2009

If you’ve traveled with children before, you’ve probably experienced the shortcomings of traditional hotel rooms when it comes to family vacations. Many families find that standard hotel rooms are too small and fail to meet their needs, especially if the children are quite young.

Fortunately for you, there are better options to choose from when you’re planning your family vacation and, depending upon the needs of your family, some of them may prove to be more cost effective than hotel rooms. Take the time to research what other kinds of accommodations are available in your destination area.

Look for extended-stay hotels and houses or condominiums for rent that provide you with more space, kitchens, laundry and other amenities. These accommodation options reduce the stress on family vacations that often comes from too many people sharing a small room—the less crowded you feel, the more likely you’ll able to fully relax.

Tags: , , , ,