The town of Blue Ridge was once considered an elite health resort because of its pure mineral waters. Blue Ridge was founded in 1886 as a result of the arrival of the Marietta and North Georgia Railroad. Because of the railroad, Blue Ridge developed as a center of business and in 1895 the county seat was moved from Morganton to Blue Ridge.
Historical sites in downtown Blue Ridge include the Baugh House, built by James Baugh in 1890. Baugh was a brick mason and the bricks were made out of clay from the back yard.
The Blue Ridge Inn Bed & Breakfast is a beautifully restored Victorian home (Kincaid House) and was built in 1890.
The Art Center, also known as the Historic Fannin County Courthouse, was built in 1937. The courthouse is now the home of the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association’s Arts Center where visitors can view the galleries.
The historical Main Street in Blue Ridge features shops and small eateries where visitors can sit a spell on the rockers and benches along the way. Spend a day exploring the many art galleries, antiques, and specialty shops that line the town.
The Blue Ridge Depot & Scenic Railway remains the central focus in downtown Blue Ridge in which you can enjoy a train 26 -mile scenic round trip from Blue Ridge to McCaysville as it passes through historic Murphy Junction along the beautiful Toccoa River.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway takes visitors to the Twin Cities of McCaysville, GA & Copperhill, TN where people can have both feet in each state as several places display the painted blue line that divides streets and the river of these two small towns.
McCaysville, was chartered in 1904 and was populated in 1899 from the creation of the Tennessee Copper Company that began smelting works near McCays, which was renamed in 1908 to Copperhill. The towns grew rapidly and the region employed over 3,300 people who produced copper, iron, sulfur, zinc, and small amounts of gold and silver. In 1942, a large sulfuric acid plant was built, making chemical production, along with mining continue until copper was imported cheaper than we could mine and in 1987 mining in the region ended.
Visitors are welcomed to stretch their legs at the stop of the rail line to explore the downtown communities of McCaysville and Copperhill. Two parks provide a nice setting for a peaceful picnic or play area with McCaysville City Park or Horseshoe Bend Park just on the outskirts of downtown. Cute specialty shops are lined with antique stores, gem shops, souvenir and art galleries. Eateries and pubs offer outdoor patio or dining on the Ocoee River for a relaxing day to enjoy the scenic “twin towns” in North Georgia.
The Toccoa River is wide and peaceful for a lazy afternoon of tubing and just a few miles beyond the bridge becomes a wild river of The Ocoee that is well known for kayaking and rafting; host to the 1996 Olympic Games.
Recreational opportunities are abundant with hiking, biking, horseback riding, golf, ziplines, and many water activities on Lake Blue Ridge.
Lake Blue Ridge was formed by the Toccoa and Ocoee River’s from the Blue Ridge Dam that is located 50 miles upstream. The Toccoa River feeds Lake Blue Ridge flowing soothingly for about 15 miles north of the dam and visitors can spend the day tubing, kayaking, or trout fishing. It is recommended that fishermen should only wade-fish the Toccoa River below the dam when TVA is not generating electricity as it can become hazardous when they release, so be sure to check the schedule before planning your trip. Tammen Park is a county managed recreation area on the Toccoa River below the Blue Ridge Dam. Access is at the bridge on Hwy. 515 and has picnic pavilions, playgrounds and ball fields.
The crystal clear aquamarine waters of Lake Blue Ridge make it one of Georgia’s most picturesque mountain lakes. The 3,290-acre lake and surrounding area offers boating, swimming, hiking camping, picnicking, water skiing and fishing. Eighty percent of the shoreline on Lake Blue Ridge is in the Chattahoochee National Forest, managed by the USDA Forest Service.
Many points around the lake offer a way to have an adventure for the day including, Lake Blue Ridge Recreation Area and Boat ramp is just off Hwy 76 and Aska Road.
Morganton Point Recreation Area is the place to take the kids to the “beach” on Lake Blue Ridge. Located off Hwy 60.
Spend some time exploring the Blue Ridge area and stay in a cabin, B& B, Inn, hotel or campground. The area has numerous accommodations to fit your family weekend or an extended stay and many cabin rentals offer additional services to help in arranging special activities
Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, peace of mind, or a little excitement, Fannin County provides a great small town atmosphere that will keep you coming back for your vacation!
For more information contact Fannin County Chamber of Commerce 1-800-899-6867 or go to www.BlueRidgeMountains.com