Welcome to Blue Ridge, Georgia, located 90 miles north of Atlanta and nestled in North Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Blue Ridge is the county seat of Fannin County and is known for its unspoiled mountain beauty, outdoor activities, and thriving downtown area. Filled with great restaurants, stylish and eclectic shops, farm wineries and breweries, and art galleries, historic downtown Blue Ridge has a unique suburban-rural feel. The Georgia Council of the Arts recognized Blue Ridge as one of the top five art towns in the state for creative and performing arts. There are seemingly endless outdoor activities to choose from including hiking, trout fish, golfing, picking apples, and water sports. At the center of town, people board the vintage train at the Blue Ridge Depot to be transported away on a scenic four hour train ride. Crisp, clean mountain air, scenic mountain vistas, friendly people and a variety of urban-to-rural activities make Blue Ridge, Georgia a great place to visit…or to stay for a lifetime.
Blue Ridge, named after the Blue Ridge Mountains, was first established as a railroad stop. Originally inhabited by the Cherokee, in the 1860’s the Blue Ridge area started being populated by Scottish immigrants working their way south from North Carolina. In 1886 the Marietta and North Georgia Railroad extended to connect the mountains with Atlanta, resulting in a boom in Blue Ridge’s economic development. Blue Ridge was incorporated in 1887 and in 1895 the Fannin County seat was transferred to Blue Ridge from Morganton.
Blue Ridge is one of the few places in the world with staurolite crystals or “Fairy Crosses.” Legend has it the one-of-a-kind stones were formed from either tears wept by fairies upon hearing of Christ’s crucifixion or when the Cherokee wept along the tragic Trail of Tears.
Fannin County is Georgia’s gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountain Range. More than 40% of the county’s land (106,000 acres) is in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Blue Ridge, the county seat, encompasses 2.14 square miles at an elevation of 1,762 feet. Blue Ridge is near key water features, such as the 3,290 acre fresh-water Blue Ridge Lake, the Toccoa River, the Jacks/Conasuaga River and the Ellijay River, plus additional mountain streams. There are 4 popular waterfalls in Fannin County with 12 waterfalls within 30 miles of downtown Blue Ridge. The climate is temperate for year-round living with evenly distributed, annual average precipitation of 60.15 Inches. Temperatures range from 60°- 85°F in the summer and 26°- 51°F in the winter.
Home to the University of North Georgia (satellite campus), Fannin Regional Hospital and a strong manufacturing industry, Blue Ridge has an estimated population of 1,600 people with 85.03% White, 8.43% two or more races and 3.63% Native American. Conveniently located 90 miles north of Atlanta, Blue Ridge is within one day’s drive to the five states bordering Georgia.
Activities and Attractions
With an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities, year-round annual festivals, art galleries and one-of-a-kind excursions, there is always something fun to do in Blue Ridge! Agritourism is popular, with farmer’s markets, farm-to-table restaurants, vineyards, farm tours and U-pick farms. Water features prominently in outdoor activities. Lake Blue Ridge, 12 waterfalls within 30 miles of downtown, and over 100 miles of rivers, streams and creeks give ample opportunity for boating, kayaking, tubing, swimming, canoeing and jet skiing. A fishing enthusiast’s paradise, Fannin County is known as the “Trout Capital of Georgia.” Hiking, ziplining and horseback riding are also popular.
A scenic ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway leaving from downtown’s historic railroad depot is a “must-do” as is browsing through the eclectic shops or eating in the gourmet restaurants lining the streets of downtown. There are several local wineries and breweries, often with live music on the weekends. The creative arts thrive with an active community theater and one of North Georgia’s largest galleries.
Popular Attractions include Mercier Orchards, the largest and oldest-operating orchard in the Southeast; Swann Drive-In, one of only three remaining drive-in theaters in Georgia; Bill Oyster’s bamboo fly rod workshop, with attendees from around the world, and the nearby Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, a 270-foot-long suspension bridge that is the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi.