Combine a shopping experience with a getaway in Blue Ridge, Ga., a charming North Georgia mountain town about 90 minutes north of Atlanta via I-575. From fresh air and scenic views to shopping, dining and relaxing places to stay, this chic and casual vacation spot was named by Southern Living Magazine as one of the “South’s Best Mountain Towns, 2021.”
Of all the towns in North Georgia, Blue Ridge has the largest array of specialty shops, boutiques and galleries for fine furnishings, art, antiques, clothing and jewelry.
These locally owned shops offer out-of-the-ordinary items that make perfect gifts and are perfect for yourself. This town boasts more than 120 shops, from children and pet boutiques to international wares worthy of a bazaar to clothing, outdoor outfitters, Peruvian, Middle Eastern and African shops, outdoor art, flea markets and even not-for-profit thrift stores that donate to favorite causes.
Crafted in Blue Ridge
Looking for unique artisan-crafted items? Blue Ridge has been named one of the “Top 10 Towns for Craft Lovers” in the country. For fly fishers, Bill Oyster, of Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods
has created handcrafted bamboo fly rods for Presidents and for buyers across the globe. Each masterpiece rod takes about 50 hours to make. His fly rod crafting classes are in high demand. Either would make a treasured gift.
gallery's collection of exquisite minerals; fossils and carved wildlife driftwood, teak furniture; petrified wood sinks and tables; custom fireplace mantels and more. 524 East Main Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513; (706) 632-6036
Creative entrepreneur Lynn Kemp, owner of Canoe
, has turned her creativity from designing handbags to her love of painting. Large abstract statement paintings and small, from oil and acrylic to inks are for sale, along with handcrafted jewelry, luxury candles, coffee table books and books on entertaining. Hand-crafted furniture, live edge tables and accessories can be found in more than a few stores throughout the area. Christmas is Here!
features hand-made and American-made artists' work. Enjoy a range of Christmas and other gift items. 100 Blue Ridge Drive, Suite 115 McCaysville, Georgia; (706) 964-1166
Shop ‘til You snack
Fortify yourself for a shopping marathon and shop while you snack. In Hampton Square in the heart of downtown, The Pasta Market—Blue Ridge
offers a colorful and welcoming artisanal market, has a secret wine bar and offers wine tastings and tapas-style plates. Wines from Italy, Napa Valley, and Sonoma are sold by the bottle and exceptional pre-made and custom gift baskets are available, along with kitchen and home accessories such as ceramics, cheese boards and candles. The Sweet Shoppe of Blue Ridge
is a winner of Food Network's "Cupcake Wars," and some of their items can also be shipped. Post-shopping, relax with a beer, glass of wine or a hand-crafted cocktail and peruse the menu at Hook & Eye Rooftop Bar
at the new Hampton Inn Blue Ridge, The Vine and Eatery
or The General Ledger
For gifts that showcase the bounty of the harvest (and to enjoy yourself) head just a little farther to Mercier Orchards
. The largest apple orchard in the southeast, known as Southern Living Magazine's "favorite roadside apple market," has been in the family since 1942. The kitchens make irresistible fried pies, fritters, cider and apple butter, not to mention caramel apples, fudge, brittle and more. Have them wrapped up into deliciously unique gift baskets. 8660 Blue Ridge Drive, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513; (706) 632-3411
Blue Ridge is a true North Georgia foodie destination, with a cornucopia of casual, fine and late-night restaurants located throughout the downtown area. Don’t miss out on some memorable meals. Here’s a list of where to eat www.BlueRidgeMountains.com/restaurants
and a map of area dining
Art galleries, antiques and uniques
Where to stay
With so much browsing and shopping, plan on staying awhile. Intown, secluded overnight options are possible, ranging from chic lofts overlooking the town to an 1890s B&B or in the new, stylish Hampton Inn Blue Ridge featuring balcony rooms and the city’s only rooftop bar/restaurant, Hook & Eye. Follow this link to discover all intown Blue Ridge lodging
Looking for a mountain retreat? Because 40 percent of Fannin County is located within the Chattahoochee National Forest, sweeping views can be enjoyed from windows and decks or on a close-by hike in the woods to a waterfall. Choices include mountain hideaways, creekside retreats, riverfront lodges, cabins on the lake and much more. Indulge in a one-of-a-kind escape in a romantic treehouse
at Bear Claw Vineyard built by “The Treehouse Guys” on DIY network, complete with a galley kitchen and bath. Serenity in the Mountains
offers spa and suite packages that include a 90-minute couples massage and much more. To search for the perfect accommodations, go to www.BlueRidgeMountains.com/where-to-stay