If you haven’t already experienced the Blue Ridge mountains in Georgia, you should! Our families have been visiting this area for the last 4 years and each time we return it becomes even more special. There is something so incredibly quaint and peaceful about this town. Growing up in South Florida, we do not get to experience the amazing change in seasons. If you know us sisters, we are always talking about sweater weather and how badly we want to see the leaves change colors. Well, this year we were so fortunate to team up with Escape To Blue Ridge who helped us experience an incredible family trip in Blue Ridge! We are excited to share information about Escape to Blue Ridge, the company we rented the cabin from, as some of the best activities and spots to hit up on your journey. If you love a vacation with a small town feel and views to die for this is your type of trip. We can also lend you some pointers for traveling with 6 kids! There were plenty of tantrums, tears, accidents, and fights to go along with the fun, but we were well prepared and made it out in one piece.
Escape To Blue Ridge
For the past 4 years, we have reserved our mountain family cabin with Escape to Blue Ridge. The most amazing part about this company is that they have hundreds of homes you can reserve making it easy to choose the cabin that best suits the needs and preferences of your family. We wanted a cabin with mountain views, and a great outdoor space that was big enough for our three families. We could not believe our eyes when we arrived. The kids were in heaven and the views were spectacular! There are no words to describe this place. The name of our cabin was Falling Waters Lodge, named after the two small waterfalls running down the front yard. The house was spotless, at least for the moment when we all arrived, and the details and decor that went into creating this home was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The cabin had a large open kitchen with top of line appliances, and large windows to look out over the mountains while you cook. There was a hot tub on the downstairs patio to enjoy the few cold mountain nights we had. The bottom floor has a media room for movie nights with the kids, and a play room with ping pong, pool and air hockey. There is a large open fire pit in the front next to the waterfalls where we made s’mores every night. And even with all that, the most incredible part of this home was being able to wake up at 7am (before the kids) to enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the sunrise and seeing the most amazing fog spread across the mountain tops. That view was worth the entire trip for us!
THINGS TO DO:
We spent 6 event filled days in Blue Ridge, Georgia and we want to share some of our favorite activities from the trip. So here is Forever Freckled’s top must do activities when visiting Blue Ridge, GA!
Atlanta Aquarium: This is an amazing aquarium in Atlanta that the kids will love. Take some extra time after flying into Atlanta before heading to Blue Ridge, or before you head home to check out this great aquarium.
Mercier Orchards: This is one of the most memorable stops in Blue Ridge for us. There is something so special about visiting an orchard. We took a hay ride with the kiddos up to the orchard fields where they let you roam around picking and eating apples. The kids had a blast and Mason even lost a tooth biting into an apple! After picking apples, we walked around their enormous shop trying homemade foods and buying tons of their famous maple syrup and homemade fried apple pies. The fried apple pies seemed to have disappeared before we even made it back to the car to head back to the cabin!
Burt’s Farm: What is fall without a pumpkin patch? This was such a fun day. Besides a few major temper tantrums, we managed to have a really great time. The ride around their property on the tractor was so much fun and the kids had a blast. We got to see how the pumpkins grow, and some of the biggest pumpkins we have ever seen! And of course they had fun Halloween decorations which gave us some good decorating ideas for home!
Hiking: The parents decided that one afternoon the boys would get some alone time, and that the girls would get to do the same the next day. The boys went fly fishing in the Taccoa River (please see the hilariously yet handsome photo below) and the girls decided to go hiking. We spent our time making videos on toddler bathroom accidents and literally almost peed our pants laughing so hard. Everyone was in full hiking gear but we were probably the least prepared on our trail! We hiked at Springer Mountain, the location of the very beginning of the Appalachian trail that leads north all the way up to Maine. There are so many great hikes and waterfalls around Blue Ridge, even ones that are less challenging and more kid friendly.
Lily Pad Village: This is the cutest little fishing pond and gem mining spot that you ever did see! The kids loved spending the morning here. They got to sort through their rock buckets full of soil, mining for gems and keeping some of the cool rocks and gems they found. We spent some time fishing by the pond using live bait they supplied for us. They also have a mini-golf course built into the side of the mountain the property sits on.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway: This was a very cool trip for the kids, and great for the parents if you go during the fall when the leaves are changing. The scenery on the ride is beautiful. The hour-long train ride on Blue Ridge’s old train cars takes you to a small quaint town in Tennessee where you can shop the general stores and enjoy some southern food. The kids enjoyed riding the train and sitting in the open cart! Also, close to the train station in Blue Ridge there is an amazing public park for the kids. We spent a lot of time there, until one of the kids had an accident in his pants and we had to leave!
Three Sisters Fudge & Das Kauffee Haus: All day every day! We ate so much fudge and drank so much coffee and I am not upset about it! These are just two of the many perfect little shops you can stop at for fudge and coffee in downtown Blue Ridge. We were obsessed with walking around main street going in and out of all their great stores.
BBQ and S’mores: Do not miss out on BBQ and s’mores, you don’t even have to leave your cabin! Yes, going out to dinner is fun, but not with 6 kids. So, we cooked at the cabin and it made things a lot easier. We ate dinner outside and built a fire for the kids to make s’mores. Our best memories from this trip were made staying home at the cabin. Once the kids were in bed by 8:30pm, the parents could enjoy some alone time at the cabin, and maybe some of our own s’mores too!
Black Sheep Restaurant: Hands down, Black Sheep is the restaurant you want to visit in Blue Ridge. We were lucky enough to have one parent’s night out during the trip and decided to head to the main street of Blue Ridge and try this raved about dinner spot. This place was once a historical home that has been converted over to one of the coolest restaurants we have ever seen. In the past when we visited Blue Ridge, we heard about this place but we didn’t feel like it would be family friendly. Recently, Black Sheep was taken over by new owners who completely revamped the restaurant in the best way possible. The ambiance and atmosphere is comfortable and casual, but it still has that fine dining feel we were craving. We were lucky to be seated outside on the patio where the guys could watch their football during the meal. They even have an old-school movie night on the front lawn, which is such a great touch for bringing families and children to the restaurant! Our meal was amazing and the food is top notch. Seriously everything was delicious but we must say the crab cakes and the lamb bolognese were our favorites. For dessert, we had the most amazing pumpkin cheesecake ever…a slice of heaven.
TRAVELING WITH KIDS:
Oh man…before you do anything read this article Katie wrote on traveling with kids. Our first tip is simple- just don’t take the kids with you! Just kidding! We were all nervous before we left but I have to say, the kids were great. We had a few tantrums and one nasty cold that spread around fast, but we did well. The one thing that helped us immensely- preparation!
For the airport, make sure you are stocked with snacks, iPads, movies, games, and whatever you can stuff in your bag to keep those kids entertained and distracted. Stephen Joseph sent us some really fun travel games that the kids LOVED to play with. The looks we were getting boarding a plane with 6 kids were laughable. We always tell people never say you’re sorry as a mom. We found that we were apologizing for having kids on the plane…that’s ridiculous, right? This is life. Kids fly and we will do our very best to keep them happy. Luckily, they all behaved pretty well and we didn’t get too many dirty looks.
A great tip to keep your kid busy and interested- let your kids oversee their own suitcase. Each kid had their own personalized suitcase that they were responsible for. It was so cute how much they loved having matching luggage with their cousins and they were proud to show off their bags! We also brought nap mats which the kids used for movie nights in the media room. We are buying these for holiday presents because they are the cutest sleeping bags we’ve ever seen!
All we can say is that Blue Ridge his place is a magical escape that takes you to a different world. It’s a great place for families, or for couples. It has it all and we are so happy we discovered this amazing vacation spot so we can create more memories over the years. All the cabins from Escape to Blue Ridge are incredible. We have stayed in a few cabins now, but if you need a 4 bedroom plus home, and it is available, we highly recommend you book the cabin we stayed at, Falling Waters Lodge. It has a special warm feeling of home that you look for on these types of family vacations. We most certainly will go back!
Thanks Escape to Blue Ridge for having us and letting us experience this amazing trip with our families.
Carrie, Katie and Alison
*This trip was sponsored but all opinions are our own! We mean it!