Not outdoorsy? The Blue Ridge mountains have plenty of other entertainment options

Not outdoorsy? The Blue Ridge mountains have plenty of other entertainment options

Laughter and conversation reverberate on East Main Street each time the wooden door to Chester Brunnenmeyer’s opens. It’s the place to be at 6 p.m. in the North Georgia mountain town, Blue Ridge.

With rustic decor and modern lines, the restaurant has a creative menu and sports playing on the television framed by heavy wooden beams. It’s a place for everyone and it shows. Not a single seat is open.

“Allowing alcohol to be served transformed this entire area,” said owner, Stuart Arp.

Until 2008, both Gilmer and Fannin Counties were dry — meaning no beer, wine or alcohol could be served in restaurants. When voters agreed to change the entrenched “Blue Laws,” it was as though downtown Blue Ridge and Ellijay received a jolt of adrenaline.

Bars opened up, craft breweries, wineries and restaurants with unique concoctions, like an IPA and peach cider mix at Chester’s, all aimed to serve an eager public, every day but Sunday.

“It was hard as a business owner for economic growth if you can’t serve alcohol,” said Rick Lucas who co-owns The Martyn House with JoAnne Antonelli in downtown Ellijay.

They’re located next to a Baptists church struggled with the no alcohol laws, until recently.

But an alcohol-friendly scene isn’t just growing in the downtown areas, Gilmer County is home to three wineries, and soon, two more will be joining the burgeoning wine country of North Georgia.

One, Cartecay Vineyards, is located less than a mile from Patten Companies new development, Summit at Clear Creek. It was first planted in 2008 with only two varietals, Vidal Blanc and Merlot and now have four more: Traminette (delicious and refreshing!) Norton, Catawba and Cabernet Sauvignon, which really has a depth unexpected from a young winery.

Among the rolling vines resting on western facing slopes at 1750 feet, visitors can enchant their palette with five tastings for 10 bucks.

The excitement doesn’t end there, in fact, the main buzz about town isn’t coming from a day at the winery, it’s the anticipation of Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River casino that opened on Sept. 15 in  Murphy, N.C., just across the Georgia border.

According to the Times Free Press, “the new, $110 million Murphy casino will have 50,000 square feet of gaming space with 1,050 slot machines and 70 traditional table games, a five-outlet food court and a 300-room, full-service hotel.”

But if that’s not for you, the guys at Chester’s are always willing to make a seat for you.

For more on living near this growing, but peaceful mountain town, contact Patten Companies at 888-707-9365 or email [email protected]

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