Summer’s come and gone and, before you know it, you’ll be wrapping your presents and decorating for the holidays. But before you let the holiday season overcome you, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of the beautiful season of fall, with the colder weather and beautifully changing trees. And there is no better place to do that than a weekend escape to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, which sits in the lower Appalachian region, and crosses several states including Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Even if you can only spare a weekend between work and school and the obligations of life, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of the season and recharge in one of America’s most stunning locations. If you’re still on the fence, here are five reasons you should pack your bags and head to the gorgeous mountain scenery.
The already-mild temperatures in the Blue Ridge Mountains begin to drop in August, and by late October, leaves have turned from green to a rich potpourri of reds, browns, golds, and every shade in between. As you ease into November, the low humidity, infrequent rain, and falling leaves make November the best month to enjoy long-range mountain views, especially from the lovely Blue Ridge mountain cabins perched high among the trees. Imagine waking up to a brisk chill and cuddling up in front of a cozy fire with a cup of hot coffee and someone you love. It’s enough to book your cabin today.
While it may be too chilly for all but the heartiest adventurers to enjoy tubing or white water rafting during the fall, you can still enjoy the lovely rivers flowing throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Toccoa River winds its way through Georgia to become the Ocoee as it enters Tennessee. Known for its championship-quality rapids, the Ocoee played host to the whitewater slalom events of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. These rivers also boast several breathtaking waterfalls and provide a soothing backdrop for the many riverside trails.
Even though your Blue Ridge vacation might have been intended as an escape from daily drudgeries like shopping, a visit to any of the quaint and quirky shops that dot these small mountain towns is anything but a chore. Why not get a jump on checking off items from your Christmas shopping list with one-of-a-kind and handcrafted gifts from some of the Blue Ridge area’s favorite shopping destinations? These small boutiques and rustic storefronts offer a wide range of local specialties like homemade fudge, hand-poured candles, olive oils, antiques, cigars, fashion, and fishing flies.
Just like the shops, you’ll discover many of the restaurants in the Blue Ridge Mountains are unique and family-owned. From fine dining to comfort food, you can explore some best-kept culinary secrets, tucked away in the country roads and along valley parkways. Barbecue (or BBQ in local vernacular) is a mainstay of the mountains. You can find the enjoy the finest BBQ this region has to offer, including baby back ribs, pulled pork, or brisket, served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For a thoroughly authentic experience, try the fare that’s known as “Appalachian Soul Food.” This hearty cuisine, which has its roots in the Native American culture, is the original version of organic cooking, and incorporates root vegetables, cornbread, stews, and soups into its belly-filling plates.
Sure, you’ll find some traditional bars in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but why not enjoy some of the area’s famous local concoctions. From wineries to breweries to distilleries, local establishments allow visitors to experience the entire creation process across a variety of beverages from seed to sale — a fun and educational activity even for those who don’t drink alcohol. For those who do, however, most winery, brewery, and distillery tours offer tastings and sell their products so you can take a little bit of the mountains home with you for your enjoyment during the busy and chaotic holidays.