DISTANCE: 70 MILES, ONE-HOUR DRIVE
Dive into experiences that capture autumn’s true essence—all while making memories that last in Blue Ridge, Georgia, about 90 minutes north of Atlanta via I-575.
Grab a backpack and hit the hills to get your heart pounding along the collection of trails which make Blue Ridge a true hiker’s paradise. Fannin County includes some of the most notable hiking trails in the United States, such as the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail, which begin in Fannin County at the top of Springer Mountain. Choose from trails that range from easy to difficult to find the right hike for the whole crew.
www. BlueRidgeMountains.com/outdoor_adventure. html
FARM FRESH ADVENTURE
For ultimate fall fun, take a farm tour of the 400-acre Mercier Orchards and stock up on fried pies, fresh veggies and fruits. Mercier is a family-owned and operated, primarily apple, orchard. Mercier Orchards is the only apple orchard in Georgia that grows, presses, ferments and bottles their own hard apple cider and farm wines. 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, 12:30-6 p.m., Sunday; 706-632-3411 or www. Mercier-Orchards.com.
TAKE A ROADTRIP
Capture breath-taking scenery alight with blazing fall color during a drive along self-guided tours that highlight the best of the area. Download detailed directions at BlueRidgeMountains.com/selfguidedtours. html.
RIDE THE TRAIN
Chugga-chug down the 13-miles of rails comprising the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. The 45-minute (each way) excursion is a generation-bonding adventure that starts at the historic 1905 depot in Downtown. Vintage, climate-controlled rail cars, along with open-air rail cars, host more than 70,000 passengers each year for a ride that winds alongside the Toccoa River, with a stop in the twin border towns of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. Copperhill/McCaysville is one town with two names because it is split by the GA/ TN state line, where visitors have a two hour layover, plenty of time to eat lunch, shop for unique crafts and antiques, snack on ice cream or walk around. Capture the essence of the season and savor the brilliant autumn colors during special Fall Foliage Trail Rides throughout October and early November.
IF YOU GO
Find links to rental companies for mountain cabins with lake-views and room for 20 (hot tub included!) at www.BlueRidgeMountains.com or 1-800-899-MTNS.