We provide expert
real estate assistance for individuals looking for a cabin, residential
property, lake home, or gorgeous lakefront acreage in the Blue Ridge
area, which covers Fannin, Gilmer, and Union counties in Georgia, along
with the neighboring areas of Tennessee and North Carolina. Our area
is easily accessed from Atlanta, with average travel times of about
an hour and a half.
The February 2002
issue of the Wall Street Journal's Smart Money magazine named Blue Ridge,
Georgia as one of the five best places to buy vacation homes in the
U.S. "Why is this town a choice retreat? Nor worries about overdevelopment
— 42% of Fannin County is owned by the National Forest Service.
After hiking the Appalachian mountain trails, head to the 100-year-old
downtown to furnish your new house at the antique stores and galleries"
most of us, it is the mix of accessibility, natural beauty, and outdoor
recreational opportunities that make the Blue Ridge area so desirable.
Because the four-lane highway was only completed in the last decade,
the area as a whole is less developed than other comparable resort areas
in Georgia. On the whole, development has also been more nicely done
in these areas than elsewhere in the Georgia mountains. Our wilderness
areas are really wild, and Fannin County continues to be 42% national
forest. Lake Blue Ridge has 100 miles of national forest shoreline,
and Lake Nottely also has beautiful, unspoiled areas.
The Blue Ridge/North
Georgia mountain area includes two distinct mountain chains, the Cohuttas
and the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as three major lakes, Carter’s,
Blue Ridge, and Nottely. It is home to five major rivers, the Toccoa/Ocoee,
the Nottely, the Cartecay, the Coosawatee, and the Ellijay, along with
one large creek especially beloved by trout fishermen, Fightingtown
Creek. It is home to two major wilderness areas, the Cohutta/Big Frog
and the Rich Mountain Wilderness, along with a number of Wildlife Management
Areas. According to the Georgia Conservancy’s Guide to the North
Georgia Mountains, the Blue Ridge region has the greatest mixture of
temperate climate plants in the world, except for eastern temperate
Asia, because it comprises the northernmost range of many southern species
and the southernmost range of many northern species.
these advantages, Blue Ridge is becoming a very popular area for second
homes (cabins and lakeside properties especially), weekend rentals,
and retirees. The area is secluded without being remote, and many people
find it possible to visit their mountain cabins on a weekly basis, year-round.
We also have a very strong weekend rental market, which allows buyers
to leverage their investment by realizing income on their properties.
Fannin vs. Gilmer vs. Union
Fannin County (Blue
Ridge) has become the preferred destination for second home buyers in
our area. Because of the river, the lake, and the Aska Adventure Area,
it probably has the best mix of outdoor recreational opportunities in
our area. The average cabin buyer is between the ages of 35 and 55.
Taken as a whole, Fannin probably has the best architectural conformity
of the three counties, and the highest average property values. Fightingtown
Creek is renowned for trout, and many people consider the Toccoa River
below the dam the best trout stream in Georgia. The southern terminus
of the Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain, is in Fannin County. Blue
Ridge also has a flourishing downtown, with antique shops, restaurants,
and specialty stores. The Blue Ridge Arts Association is particularly
strong; with over 900 members, it is the largest community organization
in the county.
Gilmer County has
the advantage of being fifteen minutes closer to Atlanta, and boasts
more upscale gated communities than Fannin County. Gilmer has three
rivers, and river property in Gilmer is typically priced somewhat lower
than in the same type of river property in Fannin. In general, comparable
cabin property in Gilmer is a bit cheaper than in Fannin. Gilmer includes
parts of the Rich Mountain and Cohutta Wilderness areas. Many local
real estate agents consider the downside of Gilmer County to be its
numerous chicken farms (they smell bad) and dubious conformity in some
Union County (Blairsville)
is twenty minutes further from Atlanta than Fannin County, placing it
beyond what many second home buyers consider the limit for a weekend
resort. Perhaps for this reason, Union is more of a retirement community.
One major advantage to Union is that property on Lake Nottely is currently
very reasonable compared to property on Lake Blue Ridge. Blairsville
is definitely more progressive politically than Fannin County, which
has an unenviable reputation for political infighting. Blairsville also
has that jewel of jewels, a Home Depot. Many local real estate agents
consider the downside of Union County to be the relatively poor conformity
in many subdivisions and especially the widespread use of vinyl siding.
Tennessee and North Carolina
The portion of Tennessee
that borders Fannin County is a growing area for second home buyers.
While it is at least twenty minutes further from Atlanta, cabin and
land prices in Tennessee are currently a bargain compared to comparable
property in Fannin. The town of Copperhill has undergone a renaissance
in the past few years, and it is now home to many interesting shops,
along with several worthwhile restaurants. There are also some charmingly
renovated homes in the town of Copperhill. At this time, Tennessee still
has no state income tax, and it may be a good choice for retirees who
have no need to commute to and from Atlanta. Aside from the greater
distance from Atlanta, the major downside of this part of Tennessee
is that to reach most properties in this area, it is necessary to pass
by the old copper plant, a major eyesore. Because of pollution from
the operation of the plant in former years, the Ocoee River north of
the plant does not support aquatic life, making it a lost cause for
The portion of North
Carolina that borders Fannin County is a viable option for buyers who
do not mind commuting further from Atlanta. In general, resort property
in North Carolina is higher than comparable property in Georgia, but
there are exceptions to this rule in our area. Average annual rainfall
is higher in eastern North Carolina than in our area. This area may
be a good choice for artists and others who want to be close to the
John C. Campbell Folk School and/or the Asheville market.