First Visit to Blue Ridge

There’s almost too much to do in the Blue Ridge area, but here are a few suggestions.

Many people who visit our area rent a cabin for the week or weekend, which allows you to get a real feel for our lifestyle.

Our restored downtown, with its shops, boutiques, and restaurants, is one of the major charms of the entire area. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway brings thousands to Blue Ridge every year.

If you have both outdoors people and people who would rather shop or hang out, split up for the day and agree to meet at a downtown restaurant for dinner. The outdoor people can go hiking or fishing, and the shopping people can hit the shops in downtown Blue Ridge. There are fishing and hunting guides available, or you can explore on your own. This website also has good information on outdoor activities.

Good choices for dinner include the Black Sheep, Harvest on Main, and Christy Lee’s Courtyard Grill. For a more casual experience, and maybe a few local microbrews, there’s Chester’s and Masseria, which specializes in pizza. There’s an Irish pub, the Boro Inn, run by a genuine Irishman. The Black Sheep and Harvest are more on the fine dine end while Christy Lee’s specializes in Italian and seafood, usually with entertainment.

In addition to the Blue Ridge Brewery, there are two craft breweries in town, Grumpy Old Men and the Fannin Brewing Company. Both have weekend tastings on a regular schedule.

The Arts Center on West Main, next to the courthouse, is well worth a visit. The Arts Association is on a mission to make Blue Ridge one of the top art communities in the country, and they seem in a fair way to do it.

If there’s a festival going on, by all means give it a try. Festivals are a great mountain tradition. Our best known festivals are Arts in the Park, the Blues & BBQ Festival, Fire & Ice, and Fall Arts in the Park.

If it’s summer, visit a farmer’s market. The one across from the courthouse is a favorite on Saturday mornings. The Union County Farmer’s Market in Blairsville is also good.

Or, go old school, as we often do. Take a long walk in the woods. Then sit on the porch or in front of the fire all day, depending on the weather. In the evening, do something no one does any more, called “watching it get dark.” Our area is still one of the darkest in the southeast, so go outside and look at the stars. Listen to the katydids and tree frogs. We all need to slow down occasionally and Blue Ridge is a perfect place to do it. You may be surprised by what you start thinking, and by how rewarding it can be just to be mindful of the weather and your thoughts.