When my husband informed me that he had a Friday morning meeting in downtown Atlanta last month, I decided to tag along and transform his business trip into a long weekend getaway for the two of us. I began by booking a long-time Atlanta B&B favorite of ours, The Gaslight Inn, for the night before my husband's meeting in downtown Atlanta. Not only does The Gaslight Inn cater to business travelers, but its close proximity to the heart of Atlanta's business area/convention center provides urban convenience with the added appeal of being situated in a vibrant neighborhood (The Virginia Highlands District) with boutique shops and fine dining within walking distance. While in Atlanta, we enjoyed having dinner at Atkins Park Tavern, a Virginia Highlands eatery with the distinction of being Atlanta's oldest continuously licensed tavern in addition to being a restaurant which offers something for everyone.
I was pleased to find that the hospitality at The Gaslight Inn remains warm and gracious, breakfast at this charming inn is still delicious, and the accommodations include spacious rooms with kitchenettes to luxurious suites with a whirlpool and fireplace. It does not surprise me that impressive accolades for The Gaslight Inn have been proclaimed by so many highly acclaimed publications and that it continues to be noted as Atlanta's top-rated bed and breakfast inn.
After leaving The Gaslight Inn, we headed toward Blue Ridge--which, we discovered, has become a destination spot in the North Georgia mountains. About halfway between Atlanta and Blue Ridge (approximately a two-hour drive), we spent some time watching kangaroos at The Kangaroo Conservation Center near Dawsonville, GA. We were impressed with the facilities and its offerings and encourage anyone traveling in the area to make a point to stop by.
Our destination B&B in Blue Ridge was The Aska Lodge, a recently opened inn which has already received special recognition from BedandBreakfast.com as a "An Editor's Pick for Viewing Fall Foliage." Even though the leaves had not begun changing when we were there in late August, it was easy to envision how spectacular the area will be when the trees begin wearing their fall wardrobe. We stayed in the Rachel Victoria room and spent time relaxing on our private balcony while watching flocks of hummingbirds whizzing about and feeding. There is also a wonderful wrap-around porch, decked with rocking chairs, which provides another excellent vantage point for bird or butterfly observation; a new butterfly garden is one of Aska Lodge's latest additions. Another unique outdoor feature is a bonfire area available for guests to gather, roast marshmallows, or watch fireflies flickering through the night sky.
The owners and resident innkeepers, Mary Jo and Bob Stamper, are warm and welcoming hosts who specialize in making their guests feel special. Each morning the Stampers serve a tasty and attractively presented breakfast at a table embellished by candlelight. Complimentary beverages, homemade cookies, and a variety of other snacks are always available for guests to enjoy.
In addition to a a variety of unique shops, there is also a scenic train ride (Blue Ridge Scenic Railway) available for seeing the area, and there are several outstanding regional restaurants. The two places we selected for dinner were totally different from each other, but we enjoyed and highly recommend each: Toccoa Riverside Restaurant (providing excellent views of The Toccoa River) and The Victorian House Restaurant (recommended by Southern Living--and by me!).
For a relaxing mountain getaway, The Aska Lodge is an excellent choice and a place I would love to visit again.