For the last three years we have planned a “friendcation” to Blue Ridge, Georgia with our friends from Atlanta. (You can read about last year’s trip here, though I never got around to finishing my recap.) Every year we’ve used the same cabin rental company – Mountain Top Cabin Rentals – to book our cabin. Mountain Top Cabin Rentals offers luxury cabins to accommodate every occasion from cozy romantic getaways to large family reunions. Each year we’ve been thoroughly pleased with our accommodations as well as the customer service from Mountain Top Cabin Rentals.
This year we booked our trip very last minute due to Adam’s deployment for hurricane relief. We were lucky to even get a cabin considering we were only a couple weeks away from our desired time. We had an additional couple joining us which meant we needed a place that would sleep at least six adults. We ended up booking a cabin that was nice but probably wouldn’t have been our first choice had we not planned our trip last minute. Mountain Top Cabin Rentals gave us a 10% discount for being repeat customers (they also offer a 10% military discount) and they even offered to work with us should Adam be sent out to sea again last minute. (Thankfully that didn’t happen.)
Blue Ridge is located in the North Georgia mountains and offers small town charm with city sophistication. Downtown Blue Ridge provides a unique shopping experience with antique, boutique, and specialty stores, art galleries, and handmade wares. The food scene in Blue Ridge combines earthy fare with upscale cuisine. There are also numerous outdoor activities to do in Blue Ridge including hiking, rafting, fishing, and horseback riding.
Here are some of our tips and tricks for making the most out of your visit to Blue Ridge.
Split the bill.
The cabins vary in price and have higher rates during peak season. But depending on how many people your cabin will sleep, being able to split the bill always helps keep the cost down. Mountain Top Cabin Rentals offers cabins to sleep anywhere from 2 to 11 people. This year we were able to split our cabin three ways which made our vacation very affordable. Plus, more people means more fun!
This year we stayed in Big Sky View. (I took the photo above from our cabin driveway. Can you spot the deer?) This three bedroom cabin offers a screened in porch with full view of the mountainscape. The open kitchen was nice for our cooperative cooking. We stayed in the upstairs master suite which featured a screened in balcony, garden tub, and loft that was perfect for Emme. We had a few complaints about this cabin, like the second floor tub didn’t drain, it was missing tools for the fireplace, the sheets on the downstairs bed were dirty, and kitchen needed some better supplies. But we also have been so spoiled by the previous years that this cabin just didn’t seem as on par.
Last year we stayed in Blue Sky Lodge which was a beautiful cabin perched high in the mountains. The road to Blue Sky Lodge was gravel, winding, and steep; if we had not been traveling in an all-wheel-drive car, we would have struggled to make it to the top. (The cabin description includes the disclaimer that a 4×4/AWD vehicle is necessary to make it to the top and they weren’t joking!) But the view from the cabin was stunning and well worth the drive. We spent every night wrapped up in blankets sipping cocktails by the outside fireplace. The kitchen featured state of the art appliances and a gas range. Our only complaint about the cabin was the hard beds. Otherwise, it was perfect.
The first year we stayed in Bear Retreat. This cabin has a very similar layout to the one we stayed in this year, featuring a bedroom on each floor. That year we stayed in the downstairs bedroom which had an amazingly comfortable king sized bed, sitting area, wet bar, and private balcony with hammock (where I spent every morning admiring the mountains).
All three of the cabins we’ve stayed in have provided amenities like a hot tub, grill, pool table, and indoor fireplace. Upon checking out this year, we asked for recommendations on the best cabins. Without skipping a beat, both customer service representatives suggested Amazing Grace as their most popular cabin. They also let us know they would be adding two new cabins to their properties.
Eat at “home.”
One of our favorite things about staying in a cabin is having access to a full kitchen. We always stop at the local grocery store after checking into the cabin and buy everything we want to eat during our stay. This year we ended up eating all of our meals (three per day) in the cabin except for one day when we went out for lunch. We take turns cooking and cleaning up. I made up my signature dish – chicken with bacon and white wine sauce – for dinner one night. The guys fired up the grill and cooked burgers and steaks. Eating at “home” not only saves us money in the long run but we can enjoy each other’s company without feeling rushed. (And was extra convenient this year since we had Emme with us.)
The cabins come stocked with basic kitchen tools but if you have any specialty tools or gadgets that you like using, bring those with you. Our friends are coffee snobs so they always bring their own coffee maker and electric kettle. This year we all agreed that we wish we would have brought a sharp kitchen knife and a cast iron skillet. Spices and condiments are also good to bring. And don’t forget anything you might need for your little ones.
Bring a little bit of home with you.
The whole point of vacationing in the mountains is to relax. We enjoy sleeping in, lounging around, eating meals together, and finishing off the day either in the hot tub or by the fire. Make sure to pack anything that makes you feel at home – comfy clothes, your own pillow, a cozy blanket, board and card games, a good book, etc. The cabins offer wifi so this year we took our Roku and watched movies together every night. (Somehow we ended up watching “kids” movies like Trolls, Moana, and Fantastic Beasts, which we tried to blame on Emme but really, it was all us adults.)
Be a tourist.
We spent most of our time relaxing in our cabin but we still made time to see some of the sites. Every year we make a stop by Mercier Orchards for everything apple related. (The apple cider slushies are my favorite!) The mountain landscape offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and geocaching. There are also numerous breweries and wineries in Blue Ridge and surrounding towns. This year we hiked to Fall Branch Falls and tasted wine at Serenberry Vineyards, which I plan to recap in their own posts. If nothing else, get out and go for a drive to enjoy the beautiful views.
Visit downtown Blue Ridge during the week.
Parking is a bear in downtown Blue Ridge, especially on the weekends. This year we went on a Friday and even had a hard time finding places to park. We would highly recommend planning your visit downtown during the week when it’s less busy. If you’re looking for places to eat, check out Fightingtown Tavern for gourmet burgers and scratchmade comfort food (the Georgia’s Pride was a hit amongst our party), Harvest on Main for Southern inspired global cuisine (try the grilled chicken sandwich with pimento cheese and onion-bacon jam, yum!), and Blue Ridge Brewery for upscale pub fare and local beer (the shrimp mac n’ cheese is A+).
I hope we continue to make our annual friendcation to Blue Ridge. We have made some fond memories in those cabins and look forward to the trip every year. Blueridgemountains.com is packed with information to help plan your trip to Blue Ridge. And for more information on cabins or rates, visit mountaintopcabinrentals.com. We hope you enjoy your trip to Blue Ridge as much as we have!