This week we’ve been sharing new and exciting finds from Blue Ridge, McCaysville, and The Copper Basin. Today, I want to share with you a few quirky and oh-so-cool places in these mountain towns. These are the type of places that drawn me in and keep me coming back again and again – I hope you feel that way, too!
Pic N Vine
Pic N Vine in McCaysville is so much fun for SO MANY reasons! First, the blue line delineating Georgia and Tennessee runs smack-dab through the shop!! Take hold of the “I walked the line” sign you see above, with one foot in each state, and the owner will snap your photo! Everyone will love this – from the kids to the grandparents!
Next, take in the art from the owner, Melissa Winstead. She uses kudzu to create gorgeous baskets – and you can too. Either sign up for one of her premium classes or take her mini-class right on the spot. She’ll teach you how to make the mini basket pictured above for only $5…and you get to take it home with you!
Head over to Aska Road and walk across the Shallowford Bridge. This steel truss bridge that crosses the Toccoa was built in 1918. I think this is the coolest thing, because the bridge forms part of the Benton MacKaye Trail!
Not only can you go over the bridge…you can go under it, too. Check out Shallowford Bridge Tube Rental for the details.
Blue Ridge Brewery Mugs
We always head to Blue Ridge Brewery when we’re in town. It’s a really fun bar, and we love the patio (especially when we’re with the kids.) But the “quirky” here is not on the patio…it’s on the walls inside.
Head past the tables into the bar, and take note of the shelves lining the walls….each of them houses unique mugs handcrafted by Betty Wassmer with Fishbone Gallery. A closer look reveals there are names on the bottom of each mug…staking claim to an owner who comes regularly to fill it with a cold brew and chat with friends.
The Boro Inn
A piano, a banjo and a guitar walk into a bar…The Boro Inn as an authentic Irish pub located in the heart of Downtown. An Irish pub in the mountains of Blue Ridge? Yes, indeed!
The owner is a former Irish Catholic Priest…and oh the stories he can tell. There is no room for pretense here. The lighting is dark, the pours are generous, and the tales from behind the bar will have you belly rolling. Don’t miss the paintings and artifacts lining the walls…there’s even a Confessional.
They also host the Blue Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade — which you can attend this Saturday, the 16th. It is fantastic, hilarious and informal…people just show up and join the parade! The owner and a couple of his friends (The Ne’er Do Wells – lol) bring surprises every year, like the inaugural year when they walked with a lime green Shamrock Septic Service tank and threw out tootsie rolls!
Mystic Mountain Pizza
If you’re looking for a quirky dinner option for your quirky tour of Blue Ridge, then head into Mystic Mountain Pizza. The vibe is straight out of Woodstock (New York – not Georgia) and you’ll find yourself wishing you had donned your tie-dye duds. No worries – check out the gift shop up front.
As for the food – there is nothing quirky going on here. It is down-right delish! The salads are perfect and huge…the pizza is amazing. The Mystic Pizza is my fave, but she always has specials going on, too. Also – unexpectedly – the hot dogs are DIVINE. She makes a Chicago dog, a New York dog, a Deep South dog…and more. Finally, the cannolis. Yum – don’t skip dessert.
Lake Blue Ridge Marina
Even without a boat or jet ski, there are two reasons to head to the Lake Blue Ridge Marina. First, you can’t miss the great views and laid-back lake vibe of Boat Dock Bar and Grill. Grab some lunch or dinner and a few beers…it exudes everything that summer on the lake is all about.
Second, peek inside the Marina (above) and see some gems that look like they came right off an episode of American Pickers. Life-size (real, but stuffed) bears, a huge Big Boy, Ronald McDonald…and if the owner has her office door open, ask for a look inside. She collects oversized, gorgeous old-fashioned cash registers. Seriously, they will blow your mind!
Toccoa River Swinging Bridge
The USFS built a 270-ft long swinging bridge in the 1970s, spanning the Toccoa. It is the longest swinging bridge this side of the Mississippi. You can take a short walk to the bridge to explore and play in the water, or if you’re a little more adventurous, plan the gorgeous 7 mile hike that originates here. Finally, our family’s favorite way to enjoy this location is by camping here along the water’s edge. There’s no fee, and it’s first-come, first pick for your camp spots.
Blue Ridge Booksellers
Last but not least, head into Blue Ridge Booksellers on Main Street. This unassuming used bookstore is filled with unique finds. They are known for their rare historical military books, and they showcase that specialty with a display housing medals, head gear, weapons, and other 20th century war relics. The bookstore also boasts a wine collection (bottles – not just books) with dozens of vinos from around the world.
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.
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