Lesli has been on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad several times with her young boys in Spring, Fall, and Winter. I ventured to North Georgia during the Summer months to take in the lush greenery via the rails.
Here’s why you want to consider going in the summer months too.
Blue Ridge. Believe it or not, I have never been to the gorgeous mountain town of Blue Ridge, and our short day trip wasn’t nearly long enough to explore. We did sample some hand-dipped ice cream at Moo Bears after our ride and had a few laughs wandering through the Expedition Bigfoot shop. My cousin even bought a unique birthday present for her daughter in one of the boutiques. If you are coming for the train, plan to spend some extra time in this special mountain town.
The Blue Ridge Railroad. Our train left at 11 am, but the recommendation was to get there at 10. Do that. The train cars are assigned, the seats are not and if you don’t board as soon as possible, you won’t get to sit together. Even in the summer, this is a popular attraction.
Open Car vs. Air Conditioned Coach. You might think summer in Georgia means you MUST get the air-conditioned coach. I actually preferred the open car. With the train moving there was plenty of air and it wasn’t too hot, plus the view just seemed better from the open cars. It is noisy, but I loved that too. All your senses were engaged in riding the rails.
Get the River Side. Especially if you are in the open cars, which are bench seating on each side, make sure you sit on the ’river side’, it’s a prettier view.
Your Train Host. Our train host Sam was super friendly, funny, told great stories about the area, and the railroad. He was also a huge help in getting my 90-year-old dad up and down from the train. In fact, every person we met on the train was amazingly friendly and hospitable. It adds tremendously to the experience.
Joes’ BBQ. It’s rated the best in the US by TripAdvisor magazine, and located right off the ramp where the train stops for an almost two hour layover. This is a small place and fills up quickly. Get here immediately from the train, or if you want a more relaxed experience, walk around McKaysville/Copper Hill a bit first and end your visit here. If you run out of time, you can always take your meal to go. And you might want a t-shirt too, it says “I like Pig Butts and I cannot lie.” That always makes me laugh.
Copper Hill Grille. This is the other great lunch spot on the train stop. If you don’t want BBQ, get burgers, chicken tenders and salads here.
Handicap Access. As I mentioned, my 90-year-old dad came with me on this trip. I figuring it would be a great way to see the mountains without walking. There is a handicap loading area where they took him up to the car.
If you do this, make sure your seating car is the handicap car or near it. Ours was a bit away and my dad can walk, so it wasn’t a huge deal, but you can’t get a wheelchair through all the cars.
Truth be told, the train was fine, but there was a bit more walking in Blue Ridge and in McKaysville/Copper Hill. They are not the easiest places for a wheelchair (especially with the train crowds), but it IS doable and everyone from the guests to the train employees were friendly and helpful.
Now we’ve covered every season aboard the train…which is YOUR favorite? We love them all so much – don’t ask us to pick!
365 Daily posts are short and sweet, designed to highlight the discoveries we unearth on a daily basis as we explore Atlanta, the South, and the world!