This article was written in 2013 so stores may have changed.

It’s that time of year again, when family members come to visit and you want to explore other cities and get out of your neighborhood. For both indoor and outdoor activities, the beautiful city of Blue Ridge is worth the drive. The historic feel of downtown is quaint, but the city offers a unique and diverse variety of shopping, activities, and restaurants. You can find yourself easily wandering around for hours.

Downtown-Blue-Ridge-GARecently, I went up for a girl’s day outing. Some of my favorite stores were Gatewood Hall Gracious Home, Tomorrow’s Antiques Today (aka the bear store), Burnt Mountain Trading Company and more. I made some unique purchases varying from an old fashioned sling shot to a beautiful scarf, which initially was going to be a gift, but then I got cold and used it!

In addition to the traditional jewelry and antique stores, there area a lot of new trendy stores like Paula’s Wardrobe that had fun clothes and accessories, and the Owl’s Nest that had unique finds.

We ate at the southern restaurant Harvest on Main and it was delicious. Blue Ridge also has a multitude of fudge and dessert shops including The Sweet Shoppe, the winner from the TV series Cupcake Wars, so your sweet tooth will be happy.

Note: for 2015 the ice skating rink, Blue Ridge on Ice, has moved to Downtown Marietta.

Or check out the great Santa trains on the Blue Ridge scenic railway. They start November 29. Click here for reservations. The fall foliage tours are just ending, and I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of all the leaves on our drive, but that will be on my list to do next year.trainxmas

They also have several fly fishing trips and zip-line experiences in Blue Ridge now. Let us know the Scoop if you have been!

You can make Blue Ridge a day trip, or rent a cabin and explore for a few days. We have stayed in Blue Ridge several times and enjoy the outdoor mountain air hiking, tubing in the warmer weather, and trout fishing. And off the beaten path of downtown is another great restaurant recommendation on the river called the Toccoa River Riverside Restaurant.

That’s the Scoop!