Happy Fourth of July from Wilderness View and Ellijay Cabin Rentals!

ImageLooking for the best fireworks in the North Georgia area? Well, luckily for our guests, they don’t have to go far. Just down the mountain, in downtown Ellijay, an exciting amount of activities are planned, and of course, fireworks afterwards!

Festivities start at 6:00 (including the parade) but be sure to get there early to ensure you get parking! Many of the shops around the square will be open later than normal and there will be a variety of booths set up that include local foods, crafts, activities, and information about the area.

Looking for something with a little more music and full of entertainment?

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With Mustang Sally performing, and Darryl Rhoades with his comedy routine, there is sure to be plenty of entertainment going on! Great views of the fireworks, too! Buy tickets ahead of time and save $5.00!

Summer is the Best Season at Fort Mountain State Park!

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Whether you are staying at Wilderness View Cabins or Ellijay Cabin Rentals to enjoy a vacation or visiting the area to look at buying property, everyone should visit Fort Mountain State Park in the North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains. During the Summer and Fall, the park is full of activities for adults and children!

Scavenger Hunt: Saturdays 10AM-11AM through October 25th, 2014

Find interesting information about nature on the mile-Long Lake Trail. Closed toe shoes are required.  Hunt starts at the Naturalist Area.

Guided Hike: Saturdays 11AM-2PM through October 25th, 2014

Explore a trail with a knowledgeable guide of Fort Mountain State Park. Closed toed shoes are required. Sign up in office.

Kid’s Activities: Saturdays 1:30PM-2:30PM through October 25th, 2014

Meet in the Naturalist’s Room where kids can participate in a variety of activities involving the outdoors and nature.

Guided Wagon Ride: Saturdays 3:00PM-4:00 PM through October 25th, 2014 AND Sundays 2:00PM-3:00PM through October 26th

Join the staff of Fort Mountain State Park for a guided tour around the park. Pick-Up and Drop-Off will be located at Pavilion #1. Register and pick-up tickets at the front office.

Campfire Cooking: Saturdays 7PM-8PM through October 25th

Learn how to make a variety of tasty treats around the campfire! Sign-up in office.

Morning Meditation: Saturdays 9AM-9:30AM through October 25th

Morning Meditation at the concession stand. Meet at Shelter #2 at 9 AM. Variety of choice CD’s let by an ordained minister.

Sunday Afternoon Hike: Sundays 3PM-4PM through October 26th

Explore one of the many trails located in the park. Closed toe shoes are required. Sign up in office.

During Summer, visitors can cool off on a lakeside beach after visiting the mysterious 855-foot wall, hiking the trails, or biking on the mountain!

Is volunteering more your speed? Georgia State Parks are always looking for volunteers for a variety of jobs! Visit Friends of Georgia State Parks to read more!

Cartecay Vineyards

Cartecay Vineyards

Looking for live music? Wine tasting? Beautiful views of the North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains? ! Among the many activities to take part in around the area, Cartecay Vineyards should be on everyone’s list! Whether you are a wine lover or trying to find just the right taste, visit Cartecay Vineyards and you won’t be disappointed!

It wasn’t easy getting Northwest Georgia designated as the Mountain Bike Capital of Georgia. But Mike Palmeri is a hard man to discourage. He set out on a mission. Every time anyone would come into his Ellijay store, the Cartecay Bike Shop, Mike would ask them to sign the visitor’s log – and people came there from all over the country.

Thousands upon thousands of bikers – stating the trails around Fort Mountain State Park were the best they’ve ever cycled. Mike hand delivered the document to then-Governor Sonny Perdue (R-GA) and Speaker of the House David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge), and Northwest Georgia became the crown jewel of the nation’s biking community.

It didn’t happen overnight. The mountain bike trails people enjoy today have been at least 30 years in the making. A team of land managers, consisting of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Georgia, the U.S. National Park Service-Georgia, the National Forest Service-Georgia and the Department of Natural Resources have worked in tandem to build and maintain the trails since the 1990’s. Today, there are numerous trails to challenge every cyclist’s skill level. Mike suggests Stanley Gap for the most advanced riders; Woodring Branch for intermediate and Bear Creek for intermediate to beginners. He also suggests the Pinhouti Trail, Sections I, II, III and IV. You’ll find a more detailed description of each below, courtesy of Cartecay Bike Shop.

Stanley Gap – 16 miles; Skill level: Intermediate/Advanced
We like to ride this trail from the Stanley Gap (not Aska Road) side and add Flat Creek for some more miles. This trail has steep ridge lines, narrow tree openings, more spectacular scenery, narrow, off-camber technical down hills and did I forget to mention the extremely difficult climbing? What a great trail!
Directions to trail: Take Hwy 515 north from Ellijay to Rock Creek Road; turn right and follow road approx. 3 miles (past the game check station) to the Stanley Gap parking lot.
Bear Creek – 14 miles Skill level: Intermediate/Beginner
This trail has technical single track, a few stream crossings, the Gennett Poplar tree (400 years old) and a spectacular view from the overlook. The ride is 7 miles uphill (not too steep) to the overlook, and a killer 7 mile descent back to the car!
Directions to trail: From the shop, take Hwy 52 west to mile marker 8 (on left side of the road); turn right onto Gates Chapel; go 5.4 miles to small bridge; park on the side of the road.
From the parking area, ride up the gravel road, bearing left at the sign for the Bear Creek trail approx. 1 1/2 miles to the trailhead (there is a small parking area at the trailhead, but we always ride the gravel road as a warm-up). Follow the sign at the trailhead onto the single-track. After crossing a small, rocky creek, stay left at the sign for the Bear Creek Loop trail. After climbing two short whoops right beside the creek, follow the hard left switchback uphill (do NOT cross the logs and continue straight). Continue up the single-track to the forest service gate. At the grassy clearing, continue to the LEFT, uphill on the double track. After crossing through a wide but shallow creek, go left downhill to the gate and onto the gravel road. Turn right on the gravel road and continue up approx. 1/2 mile to the overlook. Enjoy the view! Continue to ride up the gravel road another couple hundred yards to the sign for the upper parking lot. Turn into the lot and follow the single-track trail downhill. There are several hard switchbacks and the trail will dump you out back at the wide shallow creek. Continue the ride back downhill the same way you climbed up! Whooo … isn’t this what you signed up for?
The Woodring Branch Trail-Three miles Skill Level: Beginner
The Woodring Branch Trail is a 3.5 mile loop that is of easy to moderate difficulty. Walking time to complete the trail is approximately 1 hour. Trailhead parking is located on a short dead end spur road approximately 3.2 miles after turning into the Woodring Branch Recreation Area off Hwy 282/76. Good lake views and two small streams are found along the trail The trail is open to hiking and mountain bikes. For more information, click here.

This trail is short and sweet. The front half is fast single-track with a few short quick hills to climb. The back half is a series of slow climbs that closes with a nice leg burner at the end. Great trail to loop a few times while camping at Carter’s Lake with Ridgeway close by for variety.
Pinhoti – Cohutta Sections I, II, III – 140 miles (About 100 miles is off road; the remaining 40 are blazed road routes Skill Level: Varies
Think of it as a “Super Epic.” The Pinhoti Trail covers about 140 miles of prime terrain in northern Georgia — nearly 100 miles of this is off-road, the other 40 are blazed road routes. The Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association (GPTA), in conjunction with the Conservation Fund, is continually acquiring land and easements to move as much of the trail to off-road status as possible.
The Pinhoti crosses the Blue Ridge fault line south of Chatsworth. East of that you will find the big mountain climbs of the Cohutta. Head west for the Ridge and Valley sections, with numerous ridge climbs and long stretches of ridge-top riding. On the west side there is a current project to build 20 miles of multi-use trail on the Pinhoti at Dry Creek. There’s an 8-mile loop in the Pocket area between Horn and John’s Mountain; on the east side the MTB community recognizes 4 major loop rides between Fort Mountain and Bear Creek. In short, the Pinhoti is a unique, long and extremely varied trail that could keep any mountain biker entertained for several riding seasons.
Features:
• Long distance trail
• Point to point
• Out and back
• Loops
• Varying terrain
• Various skill levels
• SORBA/IMBA involvement
• Various user groups
• Various governments
• Beautiful
• Easy access
• Sustainable trail bed

NW Georgia’s Newest Festival Blooms In May

Spring is one of the best times of the year to visit the North Georgia Mountains. We not only celebrate the apples in the Fall in Gilmer County, we celebrate the beauty of the blossoms in the Spring.

Apple Blossoms at Red Apple Barn Ellijay, GA.

Gilmer County is well-known for its Apple Festival in the Fall. It’s about the only time of the year traffic is bumper-to-bumper on 515 between Jasper and Ellijay!! And while the apples taste great and are truly something to celebrate – the apple blossoms deserve a little ballyhoo, too. Enter Northwest Georgia’s newest festival.

The Georgia Apple Blossom Festival will be held May 3 & 4, 2014 in East Ellijay on Craig Street parallel to Highway 515. The event will feature some of the best arts, craft and food vendors in the region. It’s pet-friendly and there’s no cost for admission. Also, plenty of free parking will be available and a number of great restaurants are within walking distance of where the Georgia Apple Blossom Festival will be taking place. For those visiting the area, you’ll get a taste of Gilmer County that in the past only locals have enjoyed. For area residents, please come out and have some fun, while supporting your community. If you’re interested in being a vendor, or learning more about the festival, go to The Georgia Apple Blossom Festival website for additional information.

The Train Ride You’ll Never Forget

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It’s the inevitable question. That one query that creeps into our conversations with guests a few times a day: what’s a fun way to spend an afternoon around here? On cue, we reel off a list of adventures and couch potato neutralizers that would make the staff at the chamber of commerce pound their chest with pride.

There’s horseback riding, white water rafting, trout fishing, hiking, biking, the Georgia Wine Highway and my personal favorite: shopping! After that, there’s shopping. But hence I digress.

Perhaps the one thing this area has to offer that you can’t find anywhere else is … wait for it .. yep, it’s the area itself. Even the most on-point descriptions of the Blue Ridge foothills fail to capture the area’s history, mystic and allure. You truly do just have to see it and take it all in. And when you come here, immerse yourself in the area. A great way to do that is a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

The train route careens along the scenic Toccoa River, with a two-hour stop at the Georgia-Tennessee line. The railway features open-air cars as well as enclosed, with snacks and beverages available to buy on the train. The history of the railway is interesting as well, and there’s even a book available, Along The Way Blue Ridge Scenic, which details how the railway came to pass – and how BRSR is able to still oeprate today. For tickets and departure times, go to

Wilderness View Cabins: Owners Retool Company

ImageIt happens at least five times a day. Someone will ask about one of our cabins, and when we tell them we also operate a bed and breakfast – they seem surprised. They often comment how ‘that’s a lot.’ These days, the owner of Ellijay Cabin Rentals, Robert Coleman, agrees. Fifteen years is a long time to own, develop and manage a luxury cabin rental business and an upscale, six-room bed and breakfast. For years, Robert and his wife, Liz, have been juggling family obligations with the fierce demands of running a successful property management business. Their daughter just turned six and with the business, Robert and Liz are on call 24/7. They have a strong work ethic and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Several years ago, Robert began revising his business plan. Selling everything and leaving was never an option. Robert and Liz have worked too hard to build their company. But, like all of us aspire, they’re ready to step into the next phase of their success and have more time to enjoy –life-. Here’s what they’ve decided: over the course of the next few years, they will sell two cabins a year, until they no longer own any of the rental property offered by Wilderness View Cabins, a subsidiary of Ellijay Cabin Rentals. They’ll still manage the cabin rental property, but the cabins will belong to a new group of owners. It’s a sound investment.  The cabins have remained profitable and held their value even through the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Plus, the properties are among the most prestigious and bankable in the North Georgia cabin rental industry. Coleman has also priced the properties to sell, which affords him the luxury of being selective when it comes to choosing a buyer. It’s an interesting plan.

It will be up to the buyer to pick which cabin they want to buy. But just as the buyer will choose the property, Robert is looking for certain attributes in a buyer. Primarily, he wants someone who isn’t solely looking for some quick cash flow from an investment property, but a new owner who loves the area and will put his or her own unique stamp on their cabin. In a nutshell, he’s looking for someone who wants to make the property even better than it is today. The ripple effect is that more tourists will visit the area for at least one to two nights. The longer they stay, the more money they will spend shopping and dining in the area. But it all starts with lodging. Wilderness View Cabins have provided luxury accommodations for years. The business is already established with a mile-long list of repeat customers.

If you are interested in learning more, call Robert Coleman at: (706) 517.8810. To get a detailed description of each property and to learn about land for sale, go to http://www.georgia-mountain-property.com. In the meantime, here’s a short list of available cabins:

  • Grandview Lodge         5.38 acres        $269,000         4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, hot tub
  • Coyote Bluff                 5.02 acres        $199,000         2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, hot tub
  • Raccoon Lodge           5.20 acres        $249,000         2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, hot tub
  • Shanty Creek              1.34 acres        $119,000         1 bedroom, 1 full bath, hot tub
  • Sassafras Ridge          1.83 acres        $139,000         1 bedroom, 1 full bath, hot tub
  • Laurels Rest                5.73 acres        $139,000         1 bedroom, 1 full bath, hot tub
  • Ananda                        3.43 acres        $139,000         1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1 hydrotherapy tub, 1 dry sauna