Thinking about planning a trip to Blairsville, GA? This small Georgia town is full of fun things to do, amazing restaurants and beautiful scenery. Kidding Around Contributor Melanie Coblentz was recently invited to spend a few days in the northern Georgia town of Blairsville. Check out all her recommendations for where to stay, what to eat and things to do in Blairsville, GA!
If you’re looking for an off the beaten path destination with the perfect mix of southern charm and amenities, this is it. At just about 3 hours from the Upstate, Blairsville makes the a perfect weekend destination, and we have all the details of Melanie’s time there to help you plan your own trip to this beautiful destination.
I’ll admit, I’d never heard of this town until they reached out to us to come spend some time there. A quick internet search revealed that it was about thirty minutes north of Helen, Georgia. I packed my bags for Georgia knowing nothing of this small town.
First Impressions of Blairsville, Georgia
The drive to Blairsville takes you through national forests and state parks. It was a peaceful, beautiful drive and if I’d been able to leave earlier in the day, a roadside picnic would have made a perfect lunch.
Once I arrived, the first thing I wanted to do was take photos of all the beautiful mountain views I saw while driving. You’ll be glad know I abstained, for safety reasons. Plus there would be plenty more opportunities for photos in the coming days.
Where To Stay in Blairsville, Georgia
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My accommodations for this trip were just outside of Blairsville in a neighboring town called Hiawassee. Shady Rest is a rental home on Chatuge Lake, owned Barry and Tricia White. The story behind this home and how this couple came to own it is a beautiful and touching tale of high school sweethearts who were blessed by the generosity of loving friends.
The house is beautifully decorated and has all the things you would need to be comfortable away from home. The rental has three bedrooms with three king size beds, each with their own master bathroom. The walkout basement floor-plan includes one of the bedroom/bathroom combos and a private living room area. This would be perfect for a multi-generational trip, when giving grandparents the privacy of the ground floor accommodations. Shady Rest also includes a fully equipped modern kitchen, dining room, washer and dryer and private boat dock. The views of the mountain of the back porch are incredible, no matter the time of day.
50 Lakeview Circle
Hiawassee, Georgia 30546
The Ridges Resort
I also got to tour The Ridges Resort, located in Young Harris. The resort is located on Chatuge Lake, with boat rentals and an inflatable obstacle course located next to the resort. With an on site restaurant, saltwater pool, fire pits and nightly S’mores by the fire – this option is a better fit for when you want to kick back and let someone else do everything for you.
The Ridges Resort and Marina
Young Harris, Georgia 30582
Places To Eat in Blairsville, GA
I was very pleasantly surprised to so many delicious and unique dining options in Blairsville. I definitely did not think that the options in this small town were typical. A BBQ place that could have very easily been part of this year’s Sunday Brunch at Euphoria, a home cooking restaurant that has a seasonal menu, and gets most if not all of its ingredients locally. I could go on and on, but I’ll just say this would definitely make for a fun foodie couples weekend get-away!
The Sawmill Place
1150 Pat Haralson Drive
If I had to choose a favorite dining option in Blairsville, which would be no small feat, this would be it.
Owners Shawn and Amy Kight have created something really special here with The Sawmill Place. The way Chef Shawn Kight lovingly showed off the locally procured hydroponic lettuce they use, I thought he had gotten in his start in LA or Atlanta. The Sawmill Place takes pride in everything they send out of the kitchen, and it shows. I got a VIP tour of the walk in cooler, to see the fresh seasonal produce they receive and how it’s processed. It was impressive to see a farm to table restaurant like this thriving in such a small town.
Their menu offers salads, wraps, sandwiches, locally raised beef burgers, meat and three options, a kids menu and an extensive breakfast menu. They even have a coffee bar located in the attached market. I’d be doing readers a disfavor if I didn’t mention the morning glory muffins they make. They are freshly made and incredible, just like everything else served. Chef Shawn saw how much I liked them and ran back to throw some in a box for me take on the road.
Thought and concern even goes into the items offered that aren’t made in the kitchen, like the drink offerings. They serve Coke brand fountain drinks, for those that favor more traditional flavors. However, I discovered a craft brand of soda there, that I just realized, I never sought out once I returned to the Upstate (I need to get on that ASAP). Grape Waynesville Soda was the perfect thing to go along with my Southwestern salad at lunch. It was made from real grape juice and, there were also other seasonal flavors that looked interesting!
I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant, and I hope you decide to visit the Kights when you make your way to Blairsville.
Jim’s Smokin’ Que
4971 Gainsville Highway
People are always saying what a small world it is. I don’t think that ever felt more true until I met the owners of Jim’s Smokin’ Que. In talking to them while I was there, they mentioned they had moved to Blairsville from the same place in Florida that I grew up in. Ok, plenty of people have moved away from Florida, no big deal. The reason this is even noteworthy, is because Jim Guess worked about a mile from my childhood home and for a business that I would frequently ride my bicycle past. It has nothing to do with how the food tastes (Spoiler-it’s awesome!), but I think it’s a fun example of how funny the world works.
Back to the reason I was there, the food.
One of the first things the Guess’ will tell people is that things sell out, and you should call ahead to reserve what you want or risk not getting it. I’m here to tell you it’s true. But in my opinion, that’s just a testament to how well received the food is by guests, and that everything is fresh. Two hours before closing and all that we had left to order was the pulled pork. It was amazing, and only made me upset I couldn’t try everything else. The sides are all made in house, and I opted for the coleslaw. The macaroni salad looked really good, and I’m still lobbying for places to do side dish flights, so I can try a little of everything.
If you go during the warmer months, leave time to play mini golf across the street. Pigs Gone Amok is open May through October, and is $5 per person.
The View Grill
129 Union Co Recreation Road
Overlooking the beautiful Union County golf course, the View Grill offers everything from sandwiches to steaks on its menu, along with a full bar. We enjoyed a dinner at sunset on the outdoor patio and it was picture perfect. The chicken salad croissant sandwich with onion rings hit the spot, with a drink from the bar.
The desserts are made by a local bakery and the cake slices they brought out could easily be shared by two people. If you enjoy golf, this course should be on your itinerary. If not, it’s OK you can still enjoy a meal at The View Grill.
Hole In The Wall
12B Town Square
Wrapped around the historical society are a handful of restaurants and shops that make up the town square. One of the dining options with the most history is Hole In The Wall. There’s so much history, in fact, that a book has been written about it. Rumors of hauntings and more are included in the history of the nearly 100 year old building partially occupied by the restaurant.
While I do love myself a good ghost tale, do you know what I love more?
Cheesecake for breakfast.
Yup, you heard me correctly.
The Hole In The Wall serves up a stuffed french toast. They take two slices of bread and stuff it with fruit and cheesecake. It is glorious. If for some unknown reason cheesecake for breakfast isn’t your cup of tea, they have more traditional menu items, too. Eggs Benedict, banana nut pancakes and steak and eggs are just some of the savory options on the menu. But, I’m guessing you’ll just want the cheesecake for breakfast.
417 Blue Ridge Street, Suite F
If you are looking for an indulgent treat while in Blairsville or you are celebrating a special event, you need to make your way to Dixie Confexions. They have breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads, pastries and gorgeous cakes.
We were treated to a delicious breakfast while visiting, and highly recommend a trip to the bakery any time of day!
Cabin Coffee Company
44 Town Square
Located in the re-purposed Chevron gas station on the square, this coffee shop is where locals get the fuel they need to get through the day. Fresh roasted beans translate into some really great cups of coffee. They have all the traditional coffee drinks you are used to, along with frappes that are insanely good. Lets just be honest, they are more like a caffeinated dessert in a cup.
I enjoyed the most indulgent of the bunch, the Mississippi Mud Frappe. A mixture of Chilled espresso, Ghiradelli dark chocolate, hazelnut flavor blended with ice, and topped with MORE chocolate and espresso powder.
You can pair one of their drink offerings with a breakfast sandwich, bakery item, sandwich or soup. I chose the breakfast bagel sandwich and enjoyed it a lot! You can even purchase the house roasted coffee to bring back home with you.
Michaelee’s Italian Life Caffe
6C Town Square
This mother and son run restaurant is the perfect place for a date night while in Blairsville. Michaelee’s imports ingredients from Italy, like olive oil and coffee. The Isle of Capri appetizer included fresh burrata mozzarella and roma tomato slices on a bed of arugula with basil pesto. It is served with sliced warm crusty bread and an aged balsamic vinegar. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
A menu item that owner Lisa Collins said took locals a while to warm up to, is the Chocolate Shrimp appetizer. Pan sauteed shrimp are encrusted with shaved white chocolate, served with a chocolate balsamic sauce. My travel companions were raving about this dish!
That shrimp dish isn’t the only place that chocolate shows up on the menu! The chocolate chicken salad includes a chocolate encrusted chicken breast drizzled with the same chocolate balsamic sauce used on the shrimp.
I enjoyed Pasta Sorrento as my main course and it was so good, I continued to eat it way after I was full. Be sure to save room for the dessert, like the cheesecake we enjoyed.
Places to Grab a Drink in Blairsville, GA
Paradise Hills Winery, Resort and Spa
366 Paradise Road
Secluded on a mountainside sits the husband and wife run Vineyard of Paradise Hills. Among the award winning varietals here is something unique that I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else. “Jacked Up Red” is aged in barrels straight from the Jack Daniels Distillery after the whiskey has been emptied out.
You can visit the distillery and enjoy a tasting accompanied by live music on the weekends or have it shipped to your home via the website. Paradise Hills offers more than just a glass of wine to visitors. You can enjoy a relaxing spa treatment there, and even stay the night in one of their rental cabins.
Enjoying a glass of wine overlooking the vineyard was the first stop on our trip, and I highly recommend enjoying the view and a glass of wine there.
Grandaddy Mimm’s Moonshine Distillery
161 Pappy’s Plaza
Tommy Townsend, a Grandson of Grandaddy Mimm aka Jack McClure, began commercially producing corn whiskey in 2012. Jack McClure was a Moonshiner from 1930, until the day he succumbed to cancer in 1969. Not being raised in the deep south, Moonshine is a new experience for me. Nothing like jumping into the deep end of the pool right off the bat! My very first taste of moonshine was straight out of the still at Grandaddy Mimm’s. In retrospect, I probably should have worked my way up to the 160 something proof stuff that was dripping out of the still. But, you only live once right?
For the less adventurous drinker with $5 to spend, you can step up to the tasting bar and sample their retail offerings. The moonshine they offer ranges from stronger unflavored corn whiskeys (140 proof – 100 proof), to lower proof flavored moonshines in fruit flavors (96 proof – 40 proof). That bar that your leaning on just happens to be from the movie “Coyote Ugly”, and no, sadly they don’t allow you to hop up and dance on it.
The Wine Shoppe
6 Town Square
The nice thing about shopping a small business, is that the people working there are very familiar with the items on the shelves. That’s important when you are looking at buying a bottle of wine. The Wine shoppe has a great selection of wines and the knowledge about each of them to help you find something you’re going to love.
We were treated to a wine tasting and I highly recommend it if you are making the trip to Blairsville sans kids. A wine tasting there and then dinner at Michalee’s Italian Life Caffe would make for a perfect date night. You can even purchase a bottle of your favorite to bring next door to Michaelee’s.
Places To Shop in Blairsville, GA
Sunrise Country Store
This little county store located on the side of the highway, has been there for almost a century. The owners keep it stocked with local produce, jam and more. Do yourself a favor and buy more than one of those locally made hand-pies located by the register. They are delicious and you’ll wish you had more when you come to the last bite.
I love bringing home a locally made item as a souvenir, and this trip I chose a bar from the Wick And Wash collection of handmade soaps in the store. Jessica Clemmon’s is one of the owners and her line of soaps greets customers as they enter the building.
Outside the store you will find huge bubbling pots full of peanuts for sale, along with fresh local produce.
From Me 2 U
This little shop is in the town square is chock full of cute souvenir options. They have a really nice selection of children’s books that would make the little person in your life very happy! Grab a piece of jewelry, a soy candle or home décor to remember your trip with.
Things To Do in Blairsville, GA
Lake Chatuge provides all different types of fun during the warmer months. Boat rentals, swimming, aquatic obstacle courses and more. Blairsville offers so much more than lake life for visitors though.
I was excited and scared to see horse back riding on my itinerary this trip. It’s been more years than I care to admit since I regularly rode a horse. So long in fact that I checked off “novice” on the waiver form. I asked my horse to be “a good boy” and I climbed into the saddle. I immediately remembered what I loved about riding, and it was just like they say about riding a bicycle. It all came rushing back to me.
Everyone at Trackrock was so patient and nice, it helped to ease everyone’s jitters about hopping on a horse. Our hour long ride stretched way longer than planned because we were just enjoying the view on the trail. At the point where you double back, the trail opens in to a field that overlooks the mountain range. It’s a breathtaking view and a great spot to stop for photos. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, you’ll have a great time at Trackrock Stables.
Trackrock Petroglyphs (temporarily closed)
The local national forest is home to more than just trees. Among the trees of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest hides the ancient Trackrock Petroglyphs. These patterns are carved into the soapstone. We passed this trail head on the way to the stables. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to stop but I plan to put it at the top of my list the next time I visit Blairsville.
Lasso The Moon Alpaca Farm
Lasso The Moon is a unique experience where you can spend time with some cute and fluffy alpacas and see what artist Holly Williams does with the wool the alpacas provide.
If you are a regular fan of Kidding Around, you know we have a weakness for cute and fluffy animals. All these cute alpacas in one place was almost too much to handle! We got to spend time with, pet and feed the animals, then we headed upstairs to the artist workshop. Holly makes beautiful things from the wool, and you can even take a class to learn how to create things like she does.
Meeks Park and the Appalachian Sculpture Project
This small town is blessed to have such a beautiful park at it’s disposal. It has everything you could want in a park! Hiking trails, a playground, batting cages, skateboard park, swimming pool, tennis courts, a dog park and the beautiful Butternit Creek and Nottley River. This park is also host to the Scottish Festival in June and the Sorghum Festival in October.
Al Garnto, the artist responsible for the Appalachian Sculpture project chose Meeks park to place several of his kinetic sculptures in. His sculptures are made from reclaimed and recycled materials, that he sources locally. His sculptures can be found all over town, and you can arrange a tour of his studio through his website contact info.
I can not wait to return to this unique little town in the North Georgia Mountains, to re-visit the places from this trip and explore new places. If you are looking for a place to escape and explore, this is it!
Looking for more places to spend the day with your family? Here’s our list of Day Trip Towns, just a short drive from the Upstate.
I’m very happy you visited our area. I’ve lived here for 7 years and haven’t been to all the places you have. Lol. I found the people to be so nice in this little town, but the beauty of our mostly forested land is the best! It’s an outdoorsman or nature lovers dream. Take care
OMG! That’s funny! Well Tina, I do like to really go all out exploring new places! I agree about the natural beauty of Blairsville. Meeks park, and Trackrock are worthy of the drive from SC all by themselves. All the other cool things just make it all the more alluring! Hopefully you’ve done a wee bit more exploring of your own, since this.
Let me know if I missed something I should see on my next trip!
Me and my sister planning for Blairsville trip. Your post is help us lot..
I’m so glad to hear it! I’ve heard back from a lot of people that have gone to visit Blairsville after the article and loved it! It’s an honor to have everyone’s trust, and definitely not something I take for granted. What was your favorite thing there Seattle?
Thank you for highlighting our unspoiled community. Come back soon!
It was my pleasure Renee! You are lucky to live in such a beautiful little town! I’ve told people that Blairsville is like the “Cheers” of towns. Everyone knows your name, and they’re always glad you came! Speaking of names….those morning glory muffins that Shawn at The Sawmill Place makes are calling my name!
I might have to make a muffin run soon!
Did you not get to Sleepy Hollow?? It is one of the most unique places in Blairsville! Handmade by Disney Imagineer, Art Milligan, the whimsical “houses” are a peaceful delight for adults, and a fabulous “just my size” playground for young children. He makes small houses that will fit in your car to take home. When you come back, don’t miss it!
I think that was on our Itinerary, and something came up. I will definitely check it out next time we go! I’ve already been back a few times, I love it there. Thanks for letting me know Rebecca!