From Blue Ridge to Brasstown Bald: Take Highway 515 east to the town of Hiawassee (about a ½ hour drive). On the east side of Hiawassee take Highway 17. Follow the signs to Brasstown Bald. There is a shuttle bus or you can choose between 4 hiking trails ranging in length from ½ to 6 miles to get to the observation area at the top of the mountain. Open from Memorial Day through October. Observation area may be open earlier in Spring and later in Fall depending on weather conditions. Viewing and exhibit areas are handicap accessible.
Mercier’s Orchards – the largest apple orchard in Georgia. A wide selection of many varieties of apples are available in the fall. Juicy peaches are abundant in the summer. In addition to the locally grown fruit, you can purchase jams, jellies, pickles and other items that make a perfect gift or souvenir for the folks back home. Located on Georgia Highway 5 just 2 miles north of Highway 515 and the McDonalds intersection.
Tallulah Gorge State Park – this state park features one of the most spectacular gorges in the eastern United States. The chasm is 2 miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. The park has an interpretive center which features a movie that takes viewers on a dramatic journey through the gorge. The park has more than 20 miles of hiking and biking trails with beautiful gorge overlooks. There is also a very nice swimming lake with beach.
It is about 1½ hours from Blue Ridge. The drive is very beautiful: Take Highway 515/76 east. Near the town of Hiawassee 515 will turn left. Stay on US Hwy 76 at that point and continue east to the town of Clayton, Georgia (you will pass a trail head for the Appalachian Trail). In Clayton, turn right onto Highway 441 and follow the signs to the park. Park hours 8am until dark.
Alpine Helen – The small town of Helen, Georgia is a replica of a German village. All of the buildings are required to follow this theme. Many shopkeepers dress in appropriate costumes. Bavarian food is served in many of the town’s eateries. There are shops featuring crafts and souvenir items as well as several outlet stores. Horse drawn carriage rides and tubing on the river are popular pastimes. From Blue Ridge take 515/76 east to Hiawassee. On the east side of Hiawassee, take Highway 17 and follow the signs to Helen. Take your camera as this is a beautiful drive and you will pass a trailhead for the Appalachian Trail along the way. Be sure to walk a few steps on the trail and get a picture so you can tell the folks back home you hiked on the famous Appalachian Trail!
Dahlonega, Georgia – sight of Georgia’s gold rush. Visit the shops on the town square and the gold museum in the center of the square. There is a great old time general store, candy shop, a year round Christmas store, quilt shop, and many other shops on the square. One block off the square is the Smith House Restaurant with delicious country cooking. About a one hour drive from Blue Ridge. Take Highway 515 west toward the town of Ellijay. Just before Ellijay you will take Highway 52 and follow the signs to Dahlonega. This route takes you through apple country…there will be several apple orchards on both sides of the roads were you can purchase apples during the season.
Amicalola Falls – Follow the directions to Dahlonega above. Before you reach Dahlonega, Amicalola Falls will be on the left. This is a beautiful, large waterfall so be sure to bring your camera.
Burt’s Pumpkin Farm – If you are visiting in the Fall, you must stop by Burt’s Pumpkin Farm and take the kids on a hayride. Pick out a pumpkin to take home. At Christmas the farm is decorated with millions of lights and you can take a night time hayride to enjoy the light display. Follow the directions to Dahlonega and just before Amicalola Falls you will see Burt’s Pumpkin Farm on the right.