3 Hours in Downtown Blue Ridge

You’ve got three hours in Downtown Blue Ridge; how do you spend them? Whether you want to take in the eateries, see the local artists, sample your way through regional honey and beer, or adventure with the kids - we can help. Pick your passion, and then use our suggestions to plan your itinerary.

EAT HERE

If you’re visiting during mealtime then we recommend a stop at Hook & Eye. Grab a wagyu burger and clever cocktail at Blue Ridge’s only Downtown rooftop restaurant. The views are sensational, and they will help you get your bearings on the town before you head off for some shopping and exploring.

Pro Tip: End your evening here on Saturdays and Mondays with a beer and live tunes.

Harvest on Main is a fantastic option for a more traditional lunch or dinner. The dark wood furniture and roaring fireplace set the tone for your mountain adventure. Share a charcuterie board, go easy with soup and salad, or fuel up for a hike with meatloaf, salmon or a sirloin steak.

DRINK HERE

Hitting the town early in the day? Das Kaffee House is going to be your BFF. Batdorf & Bronson is their go-to bean choice, so you know the quality is on-point. A breve cappuccino is my choice here, but they also make a delicious cold brew for those warm days. And don’t skip the pastries.

Angry Hops is the patio you want to find if you’re looking for something a little harder than coffee. They usually have about 15 brews on tap. Yes, you’ll find the typical round of IPAs, but I love them because they also have great sours, pilsners and whites. There is not a restaurant here, but a food truck is regularly parked on the side. Bringing the minions? They also have soda and chips.

BUY GIFTS HERE

I make a habit of driving up to visit Blue Ridge Cotton Company once or twice a year to grab gifts for Christmas and birthdays. The t-shirts are not your typical “souvenir” wears - they are really great quality. There is an extensive section for Fido-fiends, and unique tchotchkes for the kitchen and home. Even better? 1% of every purchase goes straight to a local charity.

Almost everyone in my circle of friends has a gift from the Cotton Company, but those I really love also have something from Canoe. Why? Because when you purchase one of the exquisite bags and jewelry pieces  made here, it’s almost too hard to give away. These locally made pieces are a bit of a splurge (and worth every penny), but there are a number of gift-options available for every budget.

TAKE A SELFIE HERE

It’s hard to get the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad into a 3-hour trip, but you still have to celebrate her. The train runs smack thru the middle of Downtown, so you’ll have an opportunity to see it up close and grab a selfie. Sometimes you’re even lucky enough to see the conductor. One summer we watched a group of over 50 Santa's boarding in their Hawaiian shirts!

Not too far from here, on Mountain Street between Main St and E 1st St, you’ll want to grab another photo to commemorate your visit. A large postcard-looking Blue Ridge mural is a “picture perfect” Downtown stop. Go ahead–snap that selfie and tag us with #loveblueridgega 

SHOP FOR YOURSELF HERE

Oh, I’m sure you picked up something for yourself at the gift stops we mentioned above, but High Country Art is a place you want to visit with your home and your tastes in mind. One-of-a-kind paintings, jewelry and sculptures from local artists will have you mesmerized for hours. The eclectic collection is sure to please, regardless of your style.

The Pasta Market is the dream of an Italophile who has brought that love to the mountains. Find authentic dried pastas or all the gadgets you need to make it at home, including olive wood utensils and ravioli stamps. You’ll also want a bottle of Ralph’s Sauce (an 80 year old recipe!) And if you just can’t wait, there is a cute little cafe in the back to sample the pasta of the day or a delicious flatbread.

Pro Tip: Picking up a to-go charcuterie board before heading to your cabin makes dinner a breeze on check-in day - and pairs well with any of the local beers...

TAKE THE KIDS HERE

Kids of all ages will love Huck’s General Store, but the young ones especially love the “penny candy” on display as you walk in the door. Airheads, Smarties, Bit-O-Honey, Charleston Chews…nearly 50 kids of old-school and new-fangled treats fill bulk barrels and await their journey into your paper bag - all in a combination unique to you. This is always our first stop after lunch, and it makes shopping with the kids a little easier the rest of the day.

Once the kids are filled with sugar treats and have had their fair-share of art galleries and smiling into the camera, head over to City Park to let them play. Between E Main and W Main, in front of the train engine, you’ll find the perfect playground to work out the wiggles. Shade and picnic tables round out the ideal break time.

FIND SAMPLES HERE

Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company offers 65 varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegars from around the world, and you have the opportunity to taste them. I love the red cayenne chili fusedoil for dipping bread, and the fig balsamic on a summer salad. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just ask for a pairing sheet to match the best oils and vinegars together.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, stop by Honey on the Hill. They offer locally-sourced from their own hives, as well as honey from other sources in different regions  - all beekeepers they personally know and trust. Sample multiple flavors of honey to find the one you love. You’ll also want to pick up honeycomb candies, super-food honey whips, fruit-infused honey, bee pollen and more.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

How do you stitch these places together? Here’s a sample itinerary for a fun-filled afternoon: 

  • Arrive and park off East Main and Mountain.Head to Angry Hops for a beer and a bit of relaxing.
  • Make your way over to The Pasta Market for a few items you’ll want to use for tomorrow’s dinner with friends.
  • Follow Mountain Street down and grab a photo in front of the Blue Ridge Mural.
  • Head up the east side of East Main Street, with sample stops at Blue Ridge Olive Oil and Honey on the Hill. Then keep heading down for a visit to High Country Art - don’t skip this one!
  • Cross the street and resist the urge to see the train until you order a caffeine-shot from Das Kaffee House. With it, cross the flower-filled alley over to the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway; get a few photos!
  • Back on E. Main St., stop into Canoe for a bit of shopping, then off to Blue Ridge Cotton Company. Stop into Hucks and fill a brown-bag with candy for later.
  • You’ve got about an hour left…backtrack a few buildings to nosh at Harvest on Main or cross over West Main for dinner at Hook & Eye, especially if it’s a Saturday or Monday when they offer music to match the views.

However you choose to pair these Blue Ridge favorites, it’s bound to be an adventure you’ll want to repeat again and again. Bring the kids, plan an escape with your girlfriends, pack up family visiting from out-of-town, or enjoy a few hours of solitude. Blue Ridge is always the answer. Download their app to make it even easier!

About the Author

Lesli Peterson
365AtlantaTraveler

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