The Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the southern chain of the Appalachians, begin in north Georgia. The area is filled with beautiful vistas of the rising mountains and all of their tree-covered peaks, wrinkles, and valleys. This mountainous area is home to several quaint towns with local shops, cafes, and restaurants. One of these is Blue Ridge, set near the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina. Blue Ridge offers beautiful views of the mountains as they spread out before you to the east, with ridges upon ridges fading into the horizon.
The town of Blue Ridge has a wide variety of places to visit. As you go into the town, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the train depot, the home of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, a historic train that now offers visitors a chance to ride through the mountains. On either side of train depot are cafes, restaurants, and a variety of shops, ranging from outdoor supplies to art stores. There is also a bookstore, a music store, a number of boutiques, a soy candle shop, and several others. There are also lots of options at which to grab a bite to eat. We’ll feature a few of these here.
If you’re looking for a quick treat to sip while you stroll the streets of Blue Ridge, you have several options. The Vault is a new coffee shop that features a clean and modern atmosphere. As the name implies, the coffee shop is located in an old bank, and the old vault is still visible within. The Vault also has a bar and grill next door for those who would like something more than just a coffee.
Another coffee shop is Das Kaffee Haus, a small coffee shop on the opposite side of the train tracks. The interior is cozy and features both modern elements and old world style. For example, the lighting above the coffee bar is made from old ship rigging. Das Kaffee Haus features a local coffee roaster and concentrates on the artisan aspect of coffee.
If coffee isn’t your thing, there is also a tea shop in Blue Ridge that is worth a visit called Tupelo Tea. The interior is bright with lots of bold but warm colors. In the center of the shop there are dozens of tea spices in jars which visitors can smell in order to find a tea flavor that they would like. Once they have picked what they would like, visitors can order at the bar. Patrons can watch the baristas brew their tea in front of them before receiving their hot or cold tea. Tupelo Tea is a unique experience that allows visitors to explore a variety of teas before ordering, rather than blindly picking what may or may not sound good.
If you would rather have something else to drink, there are three breweries, a winery, and several other pubs and eateries in Blue Ridge. Blue Ridge Brewery is a brewpub that offers several beer options and a nice menu of food options. Blue Ridge Brewery had four beers of its own while we were there, a pilsner, a blonde ale, an IPA, and a brown ale, as well as six beers from other breweries. We enjoyed each of the breweries own beers, finding each drinkable and a nice companion to our food that we ordered. Blue Ridge Brewery’s food menu was small, but they offered several salad, burgers, and entrees. We ordered a salad and a burger and enjoyed both.
Fannin Brewing Company is a more traditional brewery with a tasting room just a few blocks from Blue Ridge’s main shopping area. Fannin offered eight different beers while we were there, featuring both standard styles and specialty beers. We had a fun time tasting Fannin’s beers and found several that we enjoyed and would happily have again.
There is a third brewery in Blue Ridge called Grumpy Old Men. We didn’t get a chance to visit their tasting room, but we did get to try one of their beers at Fightingtown Tavern, a local pub. We tried a wheat beer from Grumpy Old Men that we enjoyed, and we would encourage you to visit their tasting room (we plan on it on a future trip). Fightingtown was a typical pub that featured a bar with lots of drink options and a full menu, with plenty of TVs to check out a game.
If you would like to try some local wine rather than beer, we recommend going to Blue Ridge Cellars, a wine bar that features local wine, including the owners’ own wine. The wine bar is eclectically decorated and offers both bar seating and some cozy armchairs if you’ve been walking around all day. In addition to wine, Blue Ridge Cellars offers beer (both in store and to go in growlers) and a few food options, including small plates and flatbread pizza. We tried the house Cabernet Sauvignon and a flatbread pizza, both of which were tasty and really hit the spot after an afternoon of exploring Blue Ridge.
The north Georgia mountains seem to us to be a well-kept secret, despite the fact that the area offers such beautiful views, great wine and hiking, and quaint towns. Blue Ridge is the perfect location to go on hikes and taste some wines at nearby wineries, such as Odom Springs Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards, but is also a great place to visit in its own right. We had such a nice and relaxing time just strolling the streets of Blue Ridge, walking in and out of shops, and trying different drinks and food. We highly recommend visiting Blue Ridge, along with some of the other great mountain towns in North Georgia, such as Dahlonega, Helen, and Ellijay.