Murphy Casino

A casino is coming to town.

What is the next great attraction for a whole new group to come to the Blue Ridge, Georgia mountains, and rent Georgia Mountain Cabins?? A brand new casino is coming to Murphy, NC, yes we realize that it is not in Blue Ridge, GA, but that’s close enough. In April 2013, the Eastern Band of Cherokees announced their plans to build the casino. On October 15, 2013, the 500 tribes held the ground-breaking ceremony. They’ll officially open sometime in 2015, but they don’t have a specific date set yet. Their website says that they’ll keep you updated though. Here is a link to their website, click here to see if they’ve updated their info with a more specific date for completion.

The new Murphy, NC casino is on an 85-acre tract of land own by the Cherokee tribe. The new location is only two hours from Atlanta, Knoxville and Chattanooga, but it is only 30 minutes away from the great mountain town of Blue Ridge. It’ll include 60,000 square feet of gaming space. Let me say that again 60,000 square feet for gaming—just gaming. I can’t imagine how much for dining and other support. It will feature 1,200 slot machines and 40-50 live table games. Dining consists of a buffets and even a small restaurant. Caesar Entertainment has been contracted to manage this operation for the Cherokee in Murphy. The Cherokee Indians currently have another casino in Cherokee, NC, about 1 ½ hours away from Blue Ridge. So what exactly does this mean for Blue Ridge, and lodging in the Blue Ridge, GA area…..It will be at a higher demand. Experts, estimate that the general traffic count will increase on HWY 515 in Blue Ridge by 8000-10000 per month. Well, all of these folks will need a place to stay. Why not book a cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains? Blue Ridge Mountain Cabin Rentals, and Georgia Mountain Cabin Rentals are a leader in the industry already, but by adding several thousand more people to the area that need lodging, the North Georgia Cabin Rental business will increase.

At the new Murphy casino, there will be an approximate 300 room hotel, but the problem is that in Murphy, NC there are not a lot of other hotels that are in good enough shape to support a client of the nature that the new casino will be bringing in. Also, mixed with that, is that while you are in the mountains, wouldn’t you really want to fell like you are in the mountains? Renting cabins is an awesome way to experience the beauty of the entire Blue Ridge & North Georgia area, and yet only be about 30 minutes from the casino! This makes for a great opportunity to bring the entire family for a long weekend, one day worth of gaming, one day worth of mountain exploring, and two nights of exciting dining in Historic Downtown Blue Ridge.

The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation is the only federally recognized tribe in North Carolina. These Cherokee have their own government independent from the U.S. with executive, legislative, and judicial branches and are located in their traditional homelands of North Carolina. If you want to know more, their official tourism page is here.
You might want to head over to their casino web site as soon as possible. They’re offering daily deals. I wish I could offer different deals for each day! When I checked (27 March 2014) they were offering a free chip worth fifty bucks. Here’s the link again.

Take the time to check this out, this will be a huge boost to our area!!

Blue Ridge White Water Rafting

Whitewater rafting and tubing

            Whitewater rafting is on the most exciting adventures you can have up here in the Blue Ridge, GA area.

The OcoeeRiver, and white water center, is one the most popular whitewater rafting destination in the entire United States. And with over 20 continuous rapids, it’s not hard to see why. And one river rafting company—the creatively named Ocoee River Rafting—is located “just several miles from Blue Ridge, Georgia.” Here’s the link for more info.

I have personal experience rafting on two different rivers, but the most fun by far is the Ocoee. Once I had graduated to the boy scouts we went down the Ocoee.  The rapids are class III+ on the International Scale of River Difficulty created by the American Whitewater Association, meaning the rapids are for the intermediately skilled. However, there are some rapids on the OcoeeRiver that get up to class V level.

While rafting the river there are so many exciting times it is hard to describe just one.  However, there is one in particular that I remember from personal experience.  While in the Boy Scouts we rafted once on the Ocoee river.  About half way through our trip we found ourselves essentially in a whirlpool for several minutes, though it felt like an eternity. All of the sudden I noticed that the scout in front of me was just gone, then so was the adult leader next to him. In one of the pictures, we can see a leg of his sticking out of the river and nothing else. Then my brother fell into the river. According the pictures (I don’t have many memories of this), I tried to bring him back in raft. In the next picture, my brother’s in the river and I’m bear-hugging the raft, so as to not join him. My dad managed to pull me back in.

At one point, another raft came by and tried to push us out. The attempt was unsuccessful. I don’t know how but we eventually got out and had to land nearby to get over half of our passengers back in. Then we continued down to river and finished our awesome trip. All of the rapids on the river were fun to navigate but that’s the only one I remember.

I feel obliged to say this: you are completely safe on the Ocoee. All of the company guides are trained for obvious reasons. Accidents can still happen, as the water is a powerful force of nature.  But, as I said I rafted on the Ocoee at a young age and I rafted on another river at a younger age, nothing happened. The guides will do everything in their power to keep you safe. They have to. It is their job. The companies are liable for your safety. You just have to paddle when and where they tell you to.

If you have very young children, under the age of 12, do not bring them on the Ocoee. Luckily, we have an even closer alternative—tubing on the Toccoa River which is safe for kids over the age of 5. You can float down the river tube for 1.5 miles with the tubing offered by Rolling Thunder River. If the TVA isn’t releasing water, this’ll take a couple of hours, but if the dam is letting water through, then that time is reduced by 2/3rds. However, if you want to spend more than 20 minutes on the river, they offer a 3 mile trip, doubling the original distance.  Also, there is an alternative of tubing the UpperToccoaRiver, which is not controlled by the Lake Blue Ridge Dam.  The upper river is located up Aska Road, in the “Aska Adventure Area”.  There are several options for tubing the upper Toccoa.  Toccoa River Adventures, Toccoa Valley Campground and Tubing, Shallowford Bridge Tubing, and Jon/Ron are some of the recommended vendors.

Reservations are not necessary. If you want to more than float, they also offer canoeing and kayaking.

Here’s a link, provided by the Chamber of Commerce with all the possible info you want to have on your Blue Ridge water adventure.

My First Time Ever in Blue Ridge, from an outsiders standpoint

My first time ever in Blue Ridge, Georgia

I was hesitant to come up to the mountains.

Sure, I liked the outdoors but for some reason I can’t exactly put my hands on I did not want to come up the mountains. Regardless, my parents bought land up here, and we were going camping on that land.

Right off the bat, Dad and my brother Blake went off fishing. That isn’t something I’m interested in, so I stayed behind with Mom. That being said if you are interested in fishing, there are literally countless fishing holes up here. You can fish at Blue RidgeLake or the any streams. Follow this link for a list of the best ones.

Later, I heard their story. They were at a random fishing hole when an armed man in camo with a beard that was literally stuffed into his belt came up. Dad was about to hightail it out of there. When the guy starting feeding the fish in order to make them come to the top. He gave them advice on the best fishing holes in the county.

That is the character of the people up there. Want another example? There’s an old man that always walks around the road to our property. If you talk to him, he’s so nice. However, he can go on for literally hours about local history like how the Cherokee chief White Path fought alongside Andrew Jackson in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, how he protested white encroachment on traditional Cherokee lands, how he lobbied against Indian removal in the courts, and why he eventually went along with the Trail of Tears—which this road followed. Oh, and here’s why they call this place Devil’s Den ….

If you want to know more about our history, just read the local paper. The columnist Dale Dyer writes in entire articles on that.

Within a couple hours of camping, we knew all three of our neighbors. By the way if you want to just get away, then this is the perfect place for you. I have only three neighbors. Anyway, they just came up to introduce themselves and brought snacks with them.

Finally, the place to go in Blue Ridge is Mercier Apple Orchards. They sell apples in literally every from you could imagine—apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple fried pies, apple bread loaf, fudge covered apples. And no, they don’t just sell apples. They also grow strawberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches and plumbs. They offer an endless variety of snacks. Want a souvenir? They have the kind of gifts that you can find nowhere else.

The thing I remember most that first time in Blue Ridge is that night. Dad jumped at a pair of eyes—only to find out there were fireflies. In a few minutes, they were everywhere. I’ve camped out a lot, but never in my life have I seen so many fireflies.

Later that night we looked up into night sky. If you leave in town or in a city, many stars will be blotted out by the lights of civilization. In Blue Ridge, you can see them all. I even saw the Milky Way!