How Far Away is Serenity? (A Quarter of a Tank)
Berlin Sylvestre, Staff Writer
A mere hour and a half north of Atlanta lies a quaint, clean, picturesque mountain town filled with tasteful boutiques, inviting eateries, riveting flora, and best of all: long, winding roads that lead to rustic, tranquil cabins high atop the darling little hamlet of Blue Ridge, Ga.
The trip to Blue Ridge is remarkably bereft of the stress that travel can sometimes present. Heading out, we aimed our car north on 575 and literally made zero turns until we pulled into Mountain Top Cabin Rentals’ office to grab our keys. Leaves smacked into our windshield as we closed in on the town, like fliers from the mountains themselves advertising a winsome wilderness just up the road.
The depth of relaxation that settles around you as the traffic and noise disappear can’t be overstated. Lanes get bigger and the claustrophobic choke of city congestion falls away as a languid company of trees sway lazily alongside your car. To locals, the changing of the leaves is considered a color show, but it could be more of a color competition with bursts of vermillion and sienna dominating the terrain while orange and canary grapple for second — a complaisant marigold affair. We wound up the mountain, anticipation sky-high, and pulled into a rocky driveway lined with Herculean evergreens. Trying to stay in the car long enough to park was an immediate challenge, but we managed not to botch that. To step out into the neighboring hinterland of Blue Ridge and hear no honking, no sirens, no ringtones, no barking, no engines, no loudspeakers, nothing but the whispering of thousands of trees and the concession of gravel crunching underfoot effects an instant mental massage for the weary. Achievement unlocked: Tranquility.
The moment we stepped into the cabin, our mouths fell open at how beautiful the place was. Every corner was masterfully crafted from hardwoods with spruce frames and white pine siding, as though the mountain itself fashioned us a nest from its stores, an homage to Mother Earth and a shrine to our repose. Our gasps echoed through the vaulted ceiling as we opened door after door of suites filled with expertly arranged furnishings and pre-emptively heated bathrooms. We marveled at the grandiosity of the landscape that unrolled before us from the balcony as one blue peak overtook the next in endless rounds, leaving no mystery to the town’s namesake. Being in the city for so long, we almost forgot what clean air smelled like.
With amenities that transients won’t find in a hotel, the cabins are stocked in the most thoughtful of ways that grants guests the luxury of packing light. Every cabinet in the kitchen was filled with all the necessary tools to entertain a full house for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Pots, pans, spatulas, flatware, mugs, saucers, plates, strainers, pot holders — all items a kitchen aficionado appreciates, well-organized and at the ready. So accommodating are Mountain Top’s cabins, that they left food and water bowls for our animals. (Many of their properties are pet-friendly, which makes planning that much easier.)
Interestingly enough, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s most recent census shows Fannin County (wherein Blue Ridge resides) is home to the third-largest population of gay couples in Georgia. As such, you don’t need to bring the “family” — they’re already there.
I have to admit: Having never been to the mountains for any longer than it took to drive over them on the way elsewhere, I was initially apprehensive that we’d have bears, raccoons, and possums barging onto the property to terrorize the camp. Not so. In fact, when we did hear the occasional rustle in the leaves far below the balcony, we all got a little giddy taking guesses as to what it could be. The place is just too gorgeous for anything but exhilaration. Without exaggeration, it’s one of the best ways to decompress a month’s worth of strife in a single weekend.
Contrary to life in the city, daybreak in the high country is worth waking for. The sun somehow rises gently in the mountains, its softened rays dipping down into the valleys and climbing sleepily up autumnal hillsides to slip quietly, courteously through cabin windows. The brisk mountain breeze ushers in more of those leafy fliers, the thrum of them on the porch like a ceremonious reminder that you’re still in heaven. To wake revived and realize there’s a whole new day of revelation ahead is something we lose, being the busy people in the big city that we are — but we can have that back. Right up the road in Blue Ridge, Ga. lies the majesty of nature, rest, and (perhaps best of all) silence.
Mountain Top Cabin Rental rates are extraordinarily affordable and the cabin phenomenonally versatile. Their office is located at 44 Boardtown Road Blue Ridge, GA 30513.
Visit http://www.mountaintopcabinrentals.com or give the friendly folks a ring at (866) 402 – 2246.
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BLUE RIDGE MUSTS
Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer
BLUE RIDGE OLIVE OIL COMPANY
You may not be aware of this, but the olive oil with which you’ve been cooking is swill.
For those of you familiar with great cooking and even better nutrition, you may also be aware of an astounding fact: 70% of the extra virgin olive oil sold is adulterated – cut with cheaper oils. With lots of oil options that have high polyphenols (these help lower your low density lipoprotein “LDL” levels and help ensure a long, healthy life) as well as delicious balsamic vinegar infusions like “Blood Orange,” “Dark Chocolate,” “Persian Lime,” and “Coconut” among many others, you’ll be more than impressed. Want a great gift for a friend or for yourself? Get a sampler pack of your favorites for an amazing $29.99 – made to order.
TASTINGS of BLUE RIDGE
A “must see and do” when visiting North Georgia, this fantastic little eatery offers some of the best of Georgia’s local wines paired with great service and delicious bites. Raise a glass of 100% Georgia-grown Chardonnay, or take a taste of great local wines like the Wolf Mountain white “Plenitude” or the reds “Instinct” or “Howling Wolf Red.” With tastings ranging from $15-$20 and artisan cheese boards as low as $14, you’ll be sure to enjoy a long afternoon here.