By Haven Glascock and Kim Glascock
If you are looking for a mountain getaway, consider spending the day exploring the quaint town of Blue Ridge, Ga. Only two hours away, this town has a wonderful apple orchard, unique shops, good restaurants, and the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.
Located on Blue Ridge Drive, Mercier Orchards has been in business since 1943. The family-owned business not only sells apples but also offers free samples, so you can choose the perfect variety for your taste buds. Fresh, homemade fried pies, apple cider donuts, and breads are baked daily. You’ll find a variety of ciders, as well as other local produce. You can also find many gift items at this spot. We made a few purchases and nothing disappointed.
The town of Blue Ridge is delightful. The main street offers over 30 shops and 10 restaurants. One of the more unique shops (and there are many!) includes Canoe. All of its goods are made in Georgia by local artisans. You’ll find original designer jewelry and leather goods, among other things.
Heading down the street, we stopped at a family-owned shop called Qinti. The owner is from Peru and offers all things Peruvian, ranging from Alpaca sweaters to woven scarves, ponchos, and purses. Kim bought a unique sweater at an affordable price. This shop also carries a special line of sterling jewelry that is 950 grade, the highest available in sterling.
A special shop for all ages is Huck’s General Store. Barrels are filled with old time favorites such as Cow Tales, Double Bubble, and Peanut Butter Bars, those little striped bars we remember from our childhoods. The cooler is stocked with Nesbit, Orange Crush, and just about any soft drink produced in the 50’s and 60’s. Huck’s offers a large selection of jigsaw puzzles, as well as gift items and toys. The owner told us that each year, Blue Ridge becomes more and more popular. In fact, a Hampton Inn will be opening there in the near future.
After all of our shopping, lunch was in order. We headed to Harvest on Main, which is known for using local farmers and suppliers whenever possible. Danny Mellman, one of the founders, spent 25 years at the Greenhouse Grill on Captiva Island, Fla., before becoming a “halfback” and settling in North Georgia with his partner, Michele Moran. The menu features soups, salads, sandwiches and plates. We tried the three-onion and apple soup with croutons and smoked Gouda, a French onion soup with a twist. The apples gave it a lighter taste. We will likely order it again!
Blue Ridge also is the home of the Scenic Railway, which follows the Toccoa River. The relaxing ride winds along the beautiful river for an hour, with a two-hour layover in the quaint sister towns of McCaysville, Ga., and Copperhill, Tenn. Folks on the train have a chance to stretch their legs, have a wonderful lunch, peruse antiques or walk across the old bridge in town to view the river. Check out the website for schedule and details at www.brscenic.com, or call (877) 413-8724.
You will find plenty of outdoor activities, as well. The Toccoa River is considered by many to be the best trout fishing spot in all of Georgia. You can hire a guide for a float trip or wade trip. There is also a canoe trail.
Check out Blue Ridge on one of your day trips. If you like it, consider renting a cabin and staying for a night or two. It is a great mountain town!