"I SPEND a good deal of my time educating people about the nuances of a septic system," said Pat Trainor, an associate broker with Coldwell Banker High Country Realty in Blue Ridge, Ga. "Buying a log cabin in the southern Appalachians just isn't the same as buying a house in the suburbs near a good school."
About 80 percent of those who buy log cabins, the property style of choice in the Blue Ridge area of Fannin County, Ga., are second-home owners. About 40 percent of these buyers are from Atlanta, about 40 percent are from Florida and the rest come from elsewhere. The area’s greatest draws are the 3,290-acre Lake Blue Ridge, which is nestled in the mountains and surrounded mostly by Forest Service land, and the nearby Toccoa River, with its trout fishing, kayaking and trail systems.
The Blue Ridge area — which is where Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina meet — experienced significant growth beginning in about 2001.
“Route 515 was completed, and concerns about the stock market meant folks turned to real estate as an investment, rather than a discretionary expense,” Mr. Trainor said. “Blue Ridge went from one stoplight to six or seven in that time.”
This is not to say the national dip in real estate has not had an impact in the area. Pat said closings are down by about half since last year.
“Gas prices are making the area even more attractive than it was a year ago,” he said. “Atlanta is only about 60 minutes away, so costs for travel don’t have to be high. And for boomers from Atlanta, retiring to Blue Ridge means that theater, music and other urban attractions are only one hour away.”
North Georgia Stream
Prices in Fannin County are directly related to the land. “It’s not the fancy deck or big pool that drive a high price for a cabin here,” he said. “It’s the land. A lake view or a creek running through the property or a mountain view are going to trump some fancy kitchen countertop or a hot tub on the deck every time.”
Blue Ridge Mountains View
Properties on Lake Blue Ridge are the most expensive. They range from $900,000 to $2.5 million. The next most expensive are those on the Toccoa River, running about $450,000 to about $1 million. Cabins with mountain views list for $300,000 to $600,000, and similar dwellings in the woods without views range from about $175,000 to $300,000.
Of the 41 cabins for sale on Lake Blue Ridge, 21 are listed for over $1 million. But you don’t have to spend a million: there are currently some 300 cabins for sale priced at $150,000 to $300,000, Mr. Trainor said.
Lake Blue Ridge
“No matter what people spend, they’re bound to have to deal with that same old question: ‘You spent what on a cabin?’ ” Mr. Trainor said. “But only those who haven’t been here ask that question. Once you’ve seen what it’s like — the views, the conserved land, the sense of family and the cozy feeling of being inside a log cabin with the stars overhead — it couldn’t make more sense.”
This two-story, 4,500-square-foot house is on about one acre overlooking Lake Blue Ridge. The property has 235 feet of lake frontage that extends to the Toccoa River channel, which feeds the lake. The Forest Service owns the land on one side of the property as well as the land across the lake from the house. There is a deep-water dock with a 26-foot-wide boat slip. The house, which was built in 1998 and remodeled this year, has a loft in addition to its four bedrooms, an updated kitchen with granite counters, walls of windows, decks on several levels and an attached garage. There are two master suites. The great room has a stone fireplace and lake views. On the lower level, there is another reception room. There are four bathrooms. The house is being offered furnished, including dishes, bed linens, and other household goods. Taxes: $9,860. Contact Pat
This 1,050-square-foot cabin, constructed in authentic chink-log style, is on 1.47 wooded acres. The cabin, built in 1994, has an open living and dining area with an eat-in kitchen and a central wood-burning stone fireplace. Multipane windows, wide-plank pine floors and log interior walls give the cabin a rustic appearance. The Toccoa River is less than a mile away, and this property includes deeded access so owners can put a boat in. The cabin has a screened porch and one bathroom. It’s 15 minutes from the town of Blue Ridge. Taxes: $1,119. Contact Pat
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