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Georgia's Blue Ridge and Cohutta Mountains

Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains, from the porch of a  Fannin County rental propertyFrom extreme south-central Pennsylvania the Blue Ridge Mountains run to the south and west, including land that ranges from high peaks (such as the Shenandoahs) to rolling hills like those throughout much of the southwest portion of Virginia. In North Carolina the geologically complex mountain range once again reaches lofty heights, with some individual mountain peaks over 6,000 feet, highest in the eastern United States.

In southern North Carolina this high eastern ridge turns west, and continues to Springer Mountain, in southern Fannin County, Georgia. While the Blue Ridge range does continue to the west, it is at this point that both the Benton MacKaye Hiking Trail and  the Appalachian Trail begin their northward trek along the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. The Benton MacKaye follows the western ridge of the Appalachians while the Appalachian Trail follows the eastern ridge.

The Blue Ridge Range comprises the majority of the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachians are a loose-knit series of mountain ranges that extend from Maine to Alabama and include portions of New Hampsire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticutt, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. These mountains formed the greatest barrier to the westward movement of European and American settlers until the 19th century.

No wonder they call them the Blue Ridge MountainsWest of the Blue Ridge range is a second series of mountains that runs from West Central North Carolina to Fannin County, Georgia. In Georgia, this range is known as the Cohuttas; further north they are called the Smoky Mountains. The Cohuttas and the Smokies are part of the Blue Ridge province, yet they are actually geologically distinct from the Blue Ridge Mountain Range and quite a bit older.

In Fannin County, Georgia, the Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Cohuttas rise in the west and the Blue Ridge to the south and east. The Cherokee consided the Cohuttas to be the "poles of the shed," holding up the sky in this, their "Enchanted Land." Many Cherokee would farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, leaving them during the winter and staying at the Cherokee village of Aska, or "winter home."

These mountains also held wealth for the early settlers. Although agriculture was the major industry in the area, lumber and mining in both the Cohuttas and Blue Ridge Mountains contributed significant income to the north Georgia settlers. Once the lumber had been harvested the federal government bought the mountain land and created the Chattahoochee National Forest.

During the 1930's the Civilian Conservation Corps worked to improve the environmental conditions of the mountains, reforesting areas all across Fannin County. There were two camps listed in Fannin County, Georgia, Camp Sea Creek and Camp Wilscot. Other camps outside Fannin County, specifically Camp Woody in Suches, did significant amounts of work within our county.

Today, more than 100,000 acres of land in Fannin County is managed by the United States Forest Service. The Fannin County Chamber of Commerce and local businesses work closely with the Forest Service in many aspects of the management of the land within our county.

Fannin County, Georgia is known as the Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains. People from Atlanta, Chattanooga and the entire Southeastern United States think of Fannin County, Georgia as the place to start their Blue Ridge Mountain vacation because of the multitude of outdoor recreational opportunites, the wide array of available lodging, excellent restaurants and easy access to the mountains thanks to the Georgia Mountain Parkway.

Local Chambers of Commerce

Fannin County Chamber of Commerce
Union County Chamber of Commerce
Towns County Chamber of Commerce
Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce
Pickens County Chamber of Commerce
Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
Clay County Chamber of Commerce

Guided Outdoor Recreational Activities

Ocoee Adventure Center
Ducktown, TN
Paddle down the world-famous Ocoee River in a guided raft -Class III and IV Rapids
1-888-RAFT-OAC

Endless River Adventures
Bryson City, NC
This is the place if you want to learn how to kayak! The owner of Endless River invented the C-2-C Roll and they've been on the Nantahala River for over 20 years.
800-224-7238

Appalachian Outdoor Adventures
Blue Ridge, GA
Learn how to Flyfish like the pros- Jerry Barnes, the wrestling coach at our High School, is a Fannin County native and knows every nook and bend in our local waters. Check out his web page or call to book a guided tour of some of our best fishing holes.
Jerry Barnes (706) 633-6303
E-mail- jerry.barnes@gilmerschools.com

Places to Stay
Stay in a secluded mountain cabin while your looking at real estate with RE/MAX Town and Country Realty. Call or visit these website today- space is limited!

Di's Mountain Getaway
Blue Ridge, GA
706-374-3043 or 1-877-237-1211 Toll Free

Avenair Cabins
Blue Ridge, GA
1 800 MTN CABINS

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals
Blue Ridge, GA
1866 4CABINS (866-422-2467)

Toccoa Valley Campgrounds
Aska Road, Blue Ridge, GA
Prefer to "rough it"? They've got some great camp sites along the Upper Toccoa River. While you're there, hop on a tube and float down the lazy river. But keep in mind, it's cold mountain water!
706-838-4317

Other Things To Do

Swan Drive-in
651 Summit Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513. One of the three remaining drive-in theaters in Georgia, the Swan offers first run movies year round. (This is my wife's and my favorite!) Call (706)632-5235 for information or visit the link above.

Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association
420 E. First Street.
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
Exhibits, classes, performances, concerts, festivals. Call for schedule of events, festivals, and exhibits at (706)632-2144.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
241 Depot Street
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
Excursion train ride from the Depot in downtown Blue Ridge to McCaysville along the scenic Toccoa River. Special seasonal events include the Halloween Haunted Express and Christmas Express. Call (706) 632-9833 or (800) 934-1898.

Burra, Burra Mine & Ducktown Basin Museum
Ducktown, TN
Historic site and museum dedicated to the mining history of the Copper Basin. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, (423) 496-5778

Blue Ridge Community Theater
Community theater at its best. The Blue Ridge Community Theater has a full calendar of drama, comedy and musical productions. For ticket information, call (706) 632-9223.

Places to Visit

Historic Downtown Blue Ridge
The town of Blue Ridge was once considered an elite health resort because of its pure mineral waters. Today, Blue Ridge's Main Street is lined with historic buildings, shops, galleries, and dining. At the center of town is a City Park, along with the historic Depot, now home of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

McCaysville, GA - Copperhill TN
The train stops here! You can walk across the Georgia-Tennessee line in this quaint downtown area; Toccoa Avenue (Georgia) turns into Ocoee Street (Tennessee), while the Toccoa River becomes the Ocoee River. Shop for antiques and local crafts and have lunch or dinner at a variety of eating places.

Mercier Orchards
GA Highway 5, Blue Ridge. One of the largest apple orchards in the Southeast, Mercier's offers more than 30 varieties of apples, jellies, fried pies and baked goods, farm-grown vegetables, custom gift baskets, (706)632-2685.

Sugar Creek Raceway
Late-model stock car racing every Friday night, April through September, (706)632-9083.

Fannin County Heritage Museum
411 W. First Street
Blue Ridge, GA
(706) 492-4250

 

Local Schools' Websites

 


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