Start your trip with a visit to Mercier Orchards. No North Georgia mountain escape is complete without affordable fresh farm produce. The only apple orchard in Georgia that grows and makes their own hard apple cider and farm wines, including Fall Harvest Apple, Blackberry Winter and Summer Sweet Peach, Mercier's also has tastings of some of the best North Georgia regional wines. U-pick begins in May, followed by apple picking in August. For an authentic experience that's easy on the wallet, try rustic tent camping at Toccoa River Sandy Bottoms Recreation Area, offering a beautiful spot on the river that is ideal for fishing and wading. Toccoa Valley Campground, also on the Toccoa River, offers RV and tent camping. Expand the experience here and spend the day on the river by taking advantage of onsite rental options for tubes, rafts and kayaks.
Rent a pontoon or boat for exploring and fishing at Capt'n Joe's Lake Adventures on Lake Blue Ridge. Afterwards, fuel up at one of these favorite eateries: Chester Brunnenmeyer's Bar and Grill, with rustic décor, an extensive wine list, signature cocktails and regionally crafted beer; Masseria Kitchen and Bar's Mediterranean fare, with a nod toward southern Appalachian ingredients, includes fresh vegetables, roasted chicken and seafood, hand-made pastas and pizza, along with cocktails featuring crafted syrups. For accommodations complete with kitchens, choices include lodges with stunning mountain views, creek-side hideaways, riverfront fishing lodges, cabins on the lake, cozy cabins, hotels and resorts--which range in price from $100 to $1,000 per night. Visit www.BlueRidgeMountains.com/where-to-stay for a complete listing.
Blue Ridge has been named one of the "Top Ten Towns for Craft Lovers" in the country. Visit specialty shops, boutiques and galleries for fine furnishings, art, antiques and unique crafted items. Don't miss Canoe's wearable art--leather bags, totes, jewelry and accessories, all of which are handmade in Blue Ridge. Just over the river in Copperhill, Tennessee, find The Vault, a treasure trove of antiques. At the end of the day, indulge in a one of a kind escape in a romantic treehouse at Bear Claw Vineyard built by "The Treehouse Guys" on DIY network, complete with a galley kitchen and bath, for up to four people, currently starting at $229 per night.