Rejuvenate with spa treatments, sips and suds and exceptional bites
Escape with your special someone to Blue Ridge, Georgia, about 90 minutes north of Atlanta via I-575, and sooth the soul with spa treatments, food, vineyard and brewery tours.
Start your tour
- Coming in Fall 2017, Bear Claw Vineyard’s will offer Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, White Riesling and Cayuga. BearClawVineyards.com
- Mercier Orchards is the only apple orchard in Georgia that grows, presses, ferments and bottles their own hard apple cider and farm wines. Mercier Orchards is also the first producer of hard cider in the state. Visit their 400-acre farm and enjoy a round of tasting; hard ciders include Grumpy Granny, Rock Steady Red, Adele’s Choice, Pearody, Black Bee, Lone Tree, Old #3 and Just Peachy. Their farm wines include Fall Harvest Apple, Blackberry Winter and Summer Sweet Peach wines. Mercier Orchards also has tastings of regional wines produced in the Georgia Mountains. Open: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Hard cider and wine tastings are offered 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday, 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m., Sunday; 706-632-3411or www.Mercier-Orchards.com.
- Serenberry is a charming farm winery just a few country miles from downtown Blue Ridge. The farm winery has seven to eight wines in the bottle, including Railroad Red and Blue Ridge Red. Relax on the open air patio in a beautiful setting while savoring sips. Tasting room hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Call 706-623-8463; www.SerenberryVineyards.com.
- Grumpy Old Men Brewing, A “Nano Brewery,” is home of sought-after beers like Moon Over Blue Ridge Wheat, Aska Pale Ale, Devils Den IPA and Hells Holler Porter. Established in 2012 by two “old retired guys” who were home brewing in an outdoor shower and graduated to their brewery on East Main in Blue Ridge, Grumpy Old Men Brewing’s corporate mission is simple: “If we don’t like it, we don’t drink it. If we don’t drink it, we don’t sell it.” Open for tastings from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursday; 1 to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on most Sundays. Call 770-331-8870or 404-966-2665; www.GrumpyOldMenBrewing.com.
- Blue Ridge Brewery, “The Brewery,” is Blue Ridge’s brewpub, with the capacity to pour six house brews and eight beers from other craft breweries. The Brewery also serves food and offers live acoustic music on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 6 p.m. Open Wednesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Call 706-632-6611; www.BlueRidgeBrewery.com.
- Fannin Brewing Company’s Tom Fennell brought his brewing skills to Fannin County for two simple reasons: Fresh air and fresh water make for fresh beer. Being local is important to Fannin Brewing; it’s in the name of their beers: Hiawassee Golden Ale, Toccoa Brown and Blue Ridge Lager. The brewery often features live music and also sources local ingredients in many of their beers. Their Tasting Room is open Thursday and Friday from 4-8 p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Call 706-258-2762; www.FanninBrewingCompany.com.
Blue Ridge’s pubs pair locally made brews with delicious food. Create your own ‘pub crawl’ using the route on the Chamber of Commerce’s digital Blue Ridge Brews and Wineries map, which highlights places to grab a bite to eat and a drink, including:
- Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill–733 E. Main Street: A rustic American bar and grill with an extensive wine list, signature cocktails and regionally crafted beer.
- Fightingtown Tavern–511 E. Main Street: A rock-themed tavern offering scratch made eats and cool brews.
- The Last Stop–500 E. Main Street, #105: Beer, burgers and wings in a laid-back hangout with sports on TV, weekly trivia nights and live bands.
- Boro Inn Irish Pub & Restaurant–150 W. Main Street: An authentic Irish pub.
TIP: Not into DIY when it comes to a pub crawl? Book a guided three hour Blue Ridge Mountain Food Tour or Brew House Tour at www.BlueRidgeMountainFoodTours.com, 678-697-1120.
Sip Blue Ridge local flavors at these haunts:
- Relax and unwind at Black Sheep, serving Southern comfort food–including cocktails featuring their house-produced moonshine and desserts like the bread pudding–in a historic residence once visited by Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone with the Wind.” 480 W. Main Street
- Masseria–Kitchen & Bar embodies a Mediterranean concept, serving fresh vegetables, seafood, hand-made pastas and pizza alongside cocktails featuring crafted syrups. 67 Roberts Way
- The Vine Wine Bar offers a Georgia Wine Tasting which you can pair with chocolates to complement sips, all against the backdrop of live entertainment on the weekends. 632 E. Main Street
Be sure to drink responsibly. Always have a designated driver or call one of Blue Ridge’s local cab and transportation companies:
- A2B Transit, 844-354-6622
- Howard Jabaley Taxi Service, 706-455-0082; 706-492-3244
- Mountain Transportation, LLC, 706-851-9465
Save the Date
Take romance to a new level, August 21, with a Solar Eclipse Ride aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon lines up between the earth and the sun–an extremely rare and beautiful event. The next total solar eclipse is expected on August 21–for the first time in 38 years. The total solar eclipse will be visible along a thin, roughly 100 mile-wide path that runs diagonally across America from Oregon to South Carolina. The town of Blue Ridge is on the southern edge of the shadow, so totality, when the moon’s shadow fully blocks the sun’s light, will last up to a minute, depending on location. (Read more about the eclipse, here: http://BlueRidgeExperience.blogspot.com/2017/04/where-will-you-be-on-august-21.html.) The train will depart at 11 a.m. with a three hour, 15 minute layover and will return to Blue Ridge at 4:15 p.m. Viewing glasses will be provided. Tickets are $58 for adults. Cars are assigned; seats are not. Limited seating for this excursion. Guests are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket for the viewing. Reserve tickets, here: www.BRScenic.com/event/a787699c19b4ba357d338f133a8edf79.
If you go
At Serenity in the Mountains, reignite romance with an all-inclusive package featuring a two-night stay suite stay, a 90 minute couples massage, daily continental breakfast and wine, cheese and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival. For additional options, find links to rental companies for mountain cabins with lake-views and room for 20 (hot tub included!) at www.BlueRidgeMountains.com, 1-800-899-MTNS.