This past weekend, my husband and I rented a cabin with a couple of friends in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
I’d never been to this part of Georgia before, but we’d been thinking about it since David bookmarked these luxurious cabin rentals a year or so ago. Blue Ridge is in the northern part of Georgia, in the Chattahoochee National Forest up near the Tennessee and North Carolina state lines. It’s about 90 minutes north of Atlanta, 90 minutes southeast of Chattanooga, and 5 hours from Tuscaloosa.
We stayed in Sanctuary, one of the smallest cabins on the site. It was luxurious and comfortable* with huge windows in the dining room, living room, and master bedroom facing the gorgeous view in the pictures above. Even better were the bright stars at night, more than I ever remember seeing before.
The nearest point of the Appalachian Trail is only a 45 minute drive from Blue Ridge. I was tempted to go, just so I could say I’d been! But we decided we’d rather spend that time doing things other than driving, so we hiked in the Aska Trail System instead. We did the Flat Creek Loop one day, which took about 100 minutes and left my legs feeling fantastic. The next day we did a shorter trail, the Long Branch Loop, which was much easier, more like a walk than a hike. It took about 50 minutes. Both trails were in woods with creeks and hills. Neither had a view of Blue Ridge Lake, but both were enjoyable, quiet, and peaceful.
Sitting on the cabin’s deck in the morning or evening, we frequently heard the noises of cows, roosters, and other farm animals. This particular one pictured above was a huge beast the color of a golden retriever. We couldn’t tell if it was a buffalo or a cow or some other species, but boy did we enjoy driving by it on our way from 515 up Loving Road to the cabin.
I can’t tell you about downtown Blue Ridge because we got so busy hiking, cooking, playing board games, napping, and building fires that we never made it there. But, there were plenty of necessities on Highway 515, so you don’t have to stress about not forgetting anything as you pack. We spotted at least two grocery stores, a CVS with a Redbox movie rental, a Starbucks, several restaurants, etc.
We drove through Atlanta on the way home so we could stop at Trader Joe’s and Cafe Sunflower in Sandy Springs. This route between Alabama and Blue Ridge seemed more direct and easier than the one we took through Chattanooga on Friday night (though Google maps says going through Atlanta takes longer).
Cafe Sunflower was a lovely respite from the car and just as satisfying as it was last time. I had the quinoa paella with a pleasing mix of broccoli, spinach, and artichoke hearts sauteed on top. Look at these amazing dairy-free carrot and chocolate cakes!
I don’t know how Cafe Sunflower does it, but their cakes are incredible: chewy, soft, substantial, not overly sweet. You’d never guess that they were dairy-free.
All in all, Blue Ridge was a nice destination for a long weekend. We enjoyed the beautiful natural setting, nearby hiking trails, conveniences of a large town, and easy drive to Atlanta. I’m not sure that it was worth the extra time in the car when compared to cabins we’ve rented before near Chattanooga or in Mentone, but it certainly didn’t disappoint.
*If you are considering renting Sanctuary, you may want to ask whether or not they’ve added a second hot water heater. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay, but the one disappointment was that the big bathtub in the master bedroom would only fill about 8 inches full of hot water before it turned cold (even though it was first thing in the morning and no one had showered or used any other water yet). The man we corresponded with was very nice and explained that the owner was aware of the problem, and that several of the other cabins on the site have two hot water heaters so that doesn’t happen in all of them. Wouldn’t want you to be chilly and disappointed! :)