The rain mostly held off on Saturday, and Fall Arts in the Park was very well attended.
Since Saturday, it’s basically poured rain off and on, many times raining just as hard as it can rain. The forecast was for strong winds last night, but we never got them where we are, about two miles southeast of Mineral Bluff. I didn’t see any storm damage in my travels to and from Blue Ridge today, but judging from the radar, there was a strong thunderstorm in southeastern Fannin County and the corresponding part of Gilmer County, around Cartecay. I haven’t gotten any first hand reports from that area, so I don’t know if they did any serious damage. I imagine that there was probably some damage done to the steeper gravel roads and driveways throughout the county, and there are a lot more leaves on the ground than there were before the rain.
We had a tornado watch last night as well. That’s something I don’t worry a great deal about, because over the past thirty years, I’ve noticed that very few of them ever make it through the elevations of the Cohutta Mountains to Blue Ridge. In fact, there’s only one I personally remember, and it did some damage to trees and outbuildings around the Hwy 5/Old Hwy 2 area, and a little further east along Hwy 60 at the higher points. But I wanted to mention again that there is a free alert service you can sign up for on the Internet called Nixle. They forward alerts from Fannin County 911 officials as text messages, and it can be a helpful thing when there’s bad weather or some other local emergency. I prefer relying on it rather than the old weather radio, because the alerts are narrowly focused by county, rather than on north Georgia as a whole. If you are interested, visit their website and sign up with your zip code.
Friday the 17th is the 5th anniversary of the opening of the Blue Ridge Brewery, and owner Patrick Walker is planning some festivities to celebrate the event. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long since beer and wine sales were approved. Harder still to believe that we now have Sunday sales and liquor by the drink – but not for sale by the bottle. I’m sure there are still some people who are grumpy about the loss of our small town atmosphere, but there’s no doubt that we wouldn’t have the quantity and quality of restaurants that we have now if they didn’t have the ability to serve alcohol. I also think it’s fair to say that there have been very few law enforcement problems. It used to be a bit depressing to regularly read articles written on tourism in our region that said, “We’d like to recommend Blue Ridge, but we can’t because of their antiquated liquor laws.” For better or worse, those days are gone, and I think for most folks, Blue Ridge is a more interesting place because of it.