Travel

Blue Ridge, Ga., is home to hiking trails, scenic railroad

The quaint town of Blue Ridge, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia, along the Toccoa River, is blessed with nature and a wide range of pursuits that make relaxation a year-round reward for visitors.

Distance

From Charlotte, it’s about 240 miles and about a 4 1/4-hour drive, one way.

To see and do

Blue Ridge came into existence came just over 125 years ago when a railroad was constructed through the area. Today, that rail route is used by the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which offers excursions March through December along a beautiful stretch of the Toccoa River. In addition to several daily trips each week, the railway has special seasonal events suitable for all ages.

This time of year, there’s a 3 1/2- to 4-hour winter trip (through Dec. 31) and a 4-hour and a 1-hour Santa-themed ride (through Dec. 20 and Dec. 24, respectively).

Blue Ridge itself is perfectly picturesque. Its main streets are home to a wide range of eateries from fine dining to Southern casual.

This area of north Georgia is known for antiques, and you’ll certainly have a lot of shops to choose from. Galleries, specialty stores and an outfitter make window shopping interesting. There’s a nice park near the center of town, as well as several other places you can sit for a bit.

Those who enjoy an active lifestyle have a lot to choose from. Opportunities for zip lines, whitewater rafting, helicopter tours, horseback trail rides, hiking, camping and fishing are nearby.

Hikers are especially blessed. Among the hundreds of miles of trails in the area, portions of the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail pass near Blue Ridge. Ridgetop views can be exceptional in the cooler months. If you choose wisely, you may just pass a nice waterfall or two.

You will find several lodging options. Cabin rentals are very popular and many companies offer this. Several B&Bs are in the area, as well as some traditional motels.

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