Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, Downtown Blue Ridge. All aboard the
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, a 3 ½ hour ride along the Toccoa River
from Blue Ridge to McCaysville. Call 1-800-934-1898 or visit www.brscenic.com.
2. Mercier Orchards, Blue Ridge. Southern Living Magazine’s favorite roadside apple market and more – best fried pies and apple cider anywhere. (706) 632-3411 or www.mercier-orchards.com.
5. Ocoee Whitewater Center, Ducktown,
Tenn. Built for the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Slalom Races, the center includes
the Olympic race course, native gardens, paved walkways, hiking and biking
trails, pools of water for wading or feeding fish and more.
7. Southern Tree Plantation, Blairsville. Blairsville's Southern Tree Plantation has lots more than Christmas trees. Visit during October for Fun on the Farm, with pumpkins, hayrides, a petting farm, marshmallow roasting, kid's train and pony rides and much more. (706) 745-0601, www.southerntreeplantation.com
9. Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site, Dahlonega. Located in the old county courthouse, this museum tells the story of America’s first gold rush. Also in Dahlonega, pan for gold at the Consolidated or Crisson Gold Mine. (706) 864-2257
10. Northeast Georgia Wine Trail. Crane Creek Vineyard, Young Harris; Frogtown, Three Sisters & Wolf Mountain Vineyards, Dahlonega; Habersham Winery, Helen. Explore the wines of North Georgia from Young Harris to Helen.
11. John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, N.C. A national resource for traditional mountain music, dance, art, crafts, nature, gardening and folk lore. John C. Campbell is “A School to Bring Folks Together,” with classes, concerts, contra dances and an annual Fall Festival. (828) 837-2775, www.folkschool.org.
13. Nantahala Outdoor Center, Nantahala, N.C. Observe kayaking, rafting and canoeing on the Nantahala River at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Also a stop for the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad (Bryson City, N.C.)
14. Georgia Mountain Fair, Hiawassee, GA. Home of the Fred Hamilton Rhododendron Garden, annual Bluegrass Festival, Georgia Mountain Fair and many other concerts throughout the year. The fairgrounds and campground are located on beautiful Lake Chatuge in Towns County Georgia in the north Georgia mountains. (706) 896-4191, www.georgia-mountain-fair.com
15. Crystal River Ranch – Llama Treks, Hiawassee. Lunch with Llamas in the Chattahoochee National Forest. (706) 896-5005, www.crystalriver-ranch.com
16. Helen Alpine Village, Helen. Re-creation of an alpine village, nestled in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, Helen features over 200 specialty shops. Visit during Oktoberfest in September-October. (800) 858-8027, www.helenga.org
17. Burt’s Farm, Dawsonville. Pick a pumpkin and take a hayride from September to November each year. (800) 600-BURT, www.burtsfarm.com
18. Kangaroo Conservation Center, Dawsonville. Wildlife conservation and exotic-animals breeding facility with the largest kangaroo collection outside of Australia. Guided tours Tues – Sat. by reservation only. Call (706) 265-6100, www.kangaroocenter.com.