Dahlonega Day Trip- Blue Ridge: Beer and Trains

blue ridge train

Where can you go in the North Georgia mountains and drink craft beer in three different breweries? Or hop a vintage train and ride through the mountains to Tennessee and have craft beer at two breweries? You can do both in Blue Ridge, GA, just a little over an hour (1 hour, 9 minutes) day trip from our inn in Dahlonega. Check out more below on this Blue Ridge day trip.

Blue Ridge has long been known for its train offering a scenic 4 hour 26 mile round trip through the mountains north of town to McCaysville, Ga and Copperhill, Tennessee. The downtown Blue Ridge area has grown in recent years offering numerous shops and restaurants. There also three craft breweries in town as well which is amazing for a town of about 1,400 (2017 census).

For driving directions to Blue Ridge from our inn check out the map at the bottom of the page.

For locations of the breweries mentioned visit our map https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Vw2kKH6VEAtTq3fLrgx0PSHbOjsYH4Ip&usp=sharing

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

The train station/boarding area is at the center of downtown Blue Ridge. Originally the train started from Marietta in the late 1800’s with track laid to Blue Ridge. The last passenger travel of that era was in 1950. In 1998 the railway started up again with the trip from Blue Ridge to McCaysville, Georgia. Currently serving around 78,000 annual passengers the train follows the original route along the Toccoa River offering scenic views for its riders.

The Fall season tends to be the busiest with guests enjoying the ride and the seasonal colors. It is suggested to purchase tickets in advance and arrive an hour before departure since seating is not reserved. Web site: https://brscenic.com/

The train’s first stop is McCaysville, GA and you will have some time to visit the town and walk across the bridge to Copperhill, Tennessee. There are two craft breweries, Copper Hill Brewery and Buck Bald Brewery. Their web sites are listed below.

Copperhill Brewery: https://www.copperhillbrewery.com/

Buck Bald Brewery: https://buckbaldbrewing.com/

After your visit to the towns and breweries you will head back to Blue Ridge on the train.

Blue Ridge, Georgia Breweries

If you decide not to take the train ride you will have more time to visit the three Blue Ridge breweries and shops downtown.

Fannin Brewing Company started in 2012 is open Thursday through Sunday and has its beers on tap or you can get a flight of four 5 oz pours to try them all. Their beers can be purchased in parts of Tennessee, Atlanta and North Georgia. Check out their web site for beers on tap and special events. Fannin Brewing web site: https://www.fanninbrewingcompany.com/home

Grumpy Old Men Brewery is a microbrewery started in October 2012 with a large selection (9 to choose from). They are also open Thursday through Sunday. Visit their web site: https://grumpyoldmenbrewing.com/

Blue Ridge Brewery is the first brewery to open in downtown Blue Ridge. They are open every day except Tuesdays. Besides the craft beers they produce they also serve food and have a gastropub menu. Live music is available during certain times. Check out their web site: https://blueridgebrewery.com/

For more things to do in the area visit https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/dahlonega-attractions/

Gibbs Gardens & Edge of the World Trail Day Trip

gibbs gardens

One of the greatest reasons to stay in Dahlonega is that there is so much to do and see. If you want to explore outside the area it also makes a convenient and centralized base camp for day trips to places like Gibbs Gardens. The gardens are 52 minutes away from the inn. After visiting the gardens you may want to visit the Edge of the World trail on the way back to the inn (more info and map to both destinations below).

The gardens were started by Atlanta horticularist and landscaper Jim Gibbs who also founded Gibbs Landscape Company. Mr. Gibbs searched the area for the ideal place to build his gardens and found some beautiful rolling property with water (streams and springs) near Ball Ground.

The gardens he built on the 295 acre property comprise 220 acres and is one of the largest residential estate gardens in the country. Over the years he has built 24 ponds, 32 bridges and 19 waterfalls to add beauty and interest to his many native plantings, exotic plants, perennials and annuals. Gibbs Gardens consists of 16 gardens including three feature gardens called the Manor House Gardens, Japanese and Waterlily Gardens. Unique and interesting sculptures are also in the gardens. A large Manor House of European architecture is also a centerpiece on the property.

It takes around 3.5 to 4 hours to see everything. Check their web site below to see what is featured throughout the season and what is “in bloom” when you plan to visit.

Guests are not permitted to bring food or drink onto the property except for bottled water. Since you might get hungry while on the property you can purchase food at the Arbor Cafe. The cafe features seasonal food offerings from fresh salads, to wraps and sandwiches. Sorry no wine on the menu.

The gardens are open from 2/16-5/31 from 9-4 Tuesday through Sunday and 6/1-12/8 from 9-4 Wednesday through Sunday. It’s highly recommended to purchase tickets in advance from their web site to avoid a wait.

They also have art exhibits by visiting artists at various times throughout the year and an annual art festival on the Manor House lawn in September. For more information visit https://gibbsgardens.com

After spending most of your day at Gibbs Gardens you will be ready to head back to the inn. On the way back you might want to stop by the “Edge of the World” trail located on the Amicalola River (a 2.9 mile loop). We have shown the location on our map below. A link below gives more information on the hike. The area is popular with kayakers since it has class IV whitewater. For more information visit http://www.georgiatrails.com/gt/Amicalola_River_Trail

For more things to do in the area visit https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/dahlonega-attractions/

gibbs gardens

Day Trip to Tallulah Gorge, Wineries & More

tallulah gorge

For guests staying with us for two or more nights there are countless things to do and see in the North Georgia mountains. Waterfalls, wineries, hiking trails, rivers, small towns and more are theirs to explore. Some of our guests ask if there are any Dahlonega day trips that they should consider. One of the best things about Dahlonega is it’s proximity to so many other great North Georgia places just waiting to be explored and just a day trip away.

If you travel east from Dahlonega you will take one of our favorite day trips. Your destination for hiking and enjoying the great outdoors will begin at Tallulah Gorge followed by a visit to a distillery, quaint Clayton, Georgia, two wineries, beautiful lakes, pottery shops and a brewery. The map at the bottom of the page shows the route.

Tallulah Gorge offers beautiful views from top to bottom. The granite sided gorge is about 2 miles long and 1,000 feet deep with the Tallulah river at the bottom. After descending 750 steps you arrive at a neat suspension bridge that crosses the gorge 80 feet above the river (picture at bottom of page). An additional 450 steps take you to the bottom. The gorge floor also has six major waterfalls ranging from 16 to 46 feet. If you arrive early the park issues 100 permits per day that allow you to hike the gorge floor depending on weather and water conditions. There are several great views of the gorge from the rim (picture above) if you don’t want to take all the steps to the bottom. In Early April and November they release water from the dam for professional kayakers to navigate through the gorge while spectators watch from the rim. The gorge is one of our favorite Georgia destinations because its rugged beauty reminds us of Colorado where we once lived and roamed.

After enjoying Tallulah Gorge you may want to head north toward Clayton for lunch. Before you reach Clayton you can visit Moonrise Distillery on the right for a tour and tasting. Clayton is a cute mountain town with unique shops and some nice restaurants many boasting farm to table fare.

From Clayton head southwest to Tiger, Georgia and visit two wineries: Tiger Winery and Stonewall Creek Winery. Tiger Winery serves lunch and dinner on Saturdays and brunch on Sundays at their Red Barn Cafe. Stonewall Creek is farther west of Tiger Winery.

From Stonewall Creek you will head towards Lake Burton. You can take a left at Lake Seed road and make a short drive to see Lake Seed and Lake Rabun. Lake Rabun is beautiful with trees and million dollar homes lining the shores with impressive boathouses for the homeowners wooden Chris Craft vintage boats.

Head back west to where you turned off for Seed Lake and take a left to head back towards the inn. If you have time on the way back you can stop at the Batesville General Store for a bite to eat (known for homemade biscuits). The Mark of the Potter is less than 2 miles from the Batesville store on highway 197 and takes you off the route shown on the map below. The shop is located in an old mill on the Soquee River and has artists making and showing their art.

Closer to Helen you will pass Tantrum Brewery for a good craft beer while looking at Yonah Mountain. Tantrum is not that far from the inn so if time does not allow a stop on this day trip you can always head back later.

Links to destinations mentioned above:

Tallulah Gorge info: https://gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge

Moonrise Distillery info: https://moonrisedistillery.com/

Tiger Winery info: http://www.tigerwine.com/

Stonewall Creek Winery : https://stonewallcreek.com/

Mark of the Potter Pottery Shop: https://www.markofthepotter.com/

Tantrum Brewery: https://tantrumbeer.com/

For more things to do in the area visit https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/dahlonega-attractions/

Tallulah Gorge Bridge, Dahlonega Day Trip
Tallulah Gorge Suspension Bridge