Blue Ridge: By Rail or by River—The Story of Blue Ridge and McCaysville, Georgia

The seemingly opposed character of two North Georgia mountain towns is much more appreciated when seen via the connecting route along the Toccoa River

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway between Blue Ridge and McCaysville, GA

BLUE RIDGE, GEORGIA—SEPTEMBER 2020—Blue Ridge, Georgia’s Trout Capital, offers a sweet look at two fabulous communities nestled in the mountains of the Peach State, generously complementing one another with character and charm distinctively their own. Blue Ridge and McCaysville couldn’t be more different at their core yet share some similarities. Blue Ridge is centered around the historic Blue Ridge Depot and showcases a walkable downtown district loaded with unique shopping, antiques, art and galleries as well as scrumptious restaurants. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a big draw for tourists thanks to a lovely journey along the Toccoa River and the bonus of connecting Blue Ridge to McCaysville by way of train. McCaysville juxtaposes the artsy setting of Blue Ridge with tons of outdoor frolic in a river-town atmosphere where rafting, tubing and fishing offer the best kept secrets in these parts. 

Blue Ridge—The Railtown

Blue Ridge is a bustling town about 90 minutes north of Atlanta off Interstate 575 on the Georgia-Tennessee-North Carolina line. Named by Southern Living Magazine as one of the “2020 South’s Best Mountain Towns” and perfect for long weekend getaways, romantic indulgences and chasing waterfalls, this Georgia gem packs rail-centered history into many aspects of tourism. 

  • Blue Ridge offers an arts scene that oozes charm through local art galleries and fantastic community theater. Toss in three craft breweries and lots of live music for a vibrant experience in the North Georgia Mountains. But, did you know that Blue Ridge was originally founded in 1886 following the arrival of the Marietta and North Georgia Railroad? With a handful of hotels and many more local boarding houses, Blue Ridge became an attractive destination labeled as the “Switzerland of the South.”
  • Although the town’s first depot burned, the present-day station was built in 1906 and currently is home to the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, the central focus of downtown. Most days folks can watch the train depart the station at 11 a.m.
  • Today’s visitor loves to take the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to nearby McCaysville for exploring more of Fannin County.

McCaysville—The Rivertown

McCaysville has much to offer the traveler who is fond of the great outdoors and ready to tackle water recreation at its best. Trout fishing is popular in McCaysville and people quickly catch on to the evolution of this quaint river-town. Garnering notice, thanks to the Toccoa River, many vacationers return year after year to this unforgettable piece of paradise.

  • McCaysville and twin city Copperhill, Tennessee, converge at the Blue Line that runs from Hometown Foods IGA grocery store parking lot across Toccoa/Ocoee Street and details where Georgia ends, and Tennessee begins. It’s a fun selfie spot while standing in two states at once and is also where the Toccoa River becomes the Ocoee River as it flows north into Tennessee. 
  • Discover the Copper Basin—the tale of two rivers, two bridges, two towns and two states—McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee. Together these towns are exploding with growth from new shops and restaurants to parks and marketplaces. 
  • A river runs through McCaysville, giving additional meaning to the term “river-town.” The Toccoa River has always been an attraction for Fannin County as well as surrounding parts of the state.
  • The water constitutes so much fun for visitors. Brave the Ocoee River on a whitewater rafting trip that can be scheduled through several local outfitters or relax on the river with a more subtle kayak or tubing trip on the Toccoa River. 
  • The McCaysville Visitor Center is a wealth of information and features old photos as well as memorabilia from the mining heritage of the Basin (currently on loan from the Ducktown Basin Museum).
  • McCaysville is a great home base when visiting nearby Chattahoochee National Forest (about half an hour away) or the Ocoee Whitewater Center less than 10 minutes away. 

No matter what you’re looking for in a destination, the lure of the great outdoors or the upscale amenities of a thriving downtown district, you’ll find your sweet spot in Fannin County, Georgia. For more information and to plan your getaway, visit BlueRidgeMountains.com

About the Author

Katie Reeder
LRC Media

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