BLUE RIDGE, Ga. -- The pride in Mark Jernigan's voice shines through as he tours his acre of new grapes.

"It's very rewarding," he said. "You spend your day out here, and at the end of the day you can really see the fruit of your labor."

PHOTOS | One Tank Trip to Blue Ridge

The journey to grow roots in Blue Ridge started generations ago for Mark and Janice Jernigan.

"My husband's grandparents came up here looking for a place to fish back in the late 50's or early 60's, and they purchased this structure and it was a barn. They ended up turning this into what has been known ever since as the little house," Janice said.

The little house is now the anchor for the Serenberry Vineyards, just outside of Blue Ridge. They are the newest stop on North Georgia's growing wine trail.

"There are quite a few vineyards, and the community it creates is quite amazing," Mark told 11Alive on our One Tank trip to Blue Ridge. "We are firm believers the more that are up here, they more we'll all flourish."

They're already flourishing thanks to Mother Nature. The cool nighttime temperate, early rain, and dry summers help grapes develop until they're harvested in early fall.

As the small vineyard makes plans to grow, they remained focused on the little house that started it all.

"We're not about being big and acting big, we're more about the simple connections with people and being approachable, that's more what the little house it all about," Janice said.

The attitude of that little house stretches into downtown Blue Ridge. Tucked in the cluster of shops and boutiques you'll find Nikki Gribble and Susan Catron.

"People were coming in from all over, and the cool thing is, they would say, they were coming in just to see y'all. And we were like, really?" Nikki and Susan said.

Yes, really. The women are Food Network stars, champions of Cupcake Wars. That might bring people into the Sweet Shoppe, but that's not what brings them back.

"These are family recipes. They are tried and true through the years, and you can taste that," Susan said.

The eighty flavors of cupcakes have created such a big following; the women were forced to start publishing a cupcake schedule on Facebook to avoid cupcake disappointment.

"They want them every single time, and I think people's actually gotten mad because we didn't have them," Nikki said, laughing.

They took Julie Wolfe to their kitchen where the magic happens. Two thousand cupcakes come out of this kitchen on an average Saturday. But these cupcakes are not average. Not even close.

A sweet story of success, a sip of a new beginning. Hard work and history. That's Blue Ridge.

Susan explains it: "What I love most about Blue Ridge is it doesn't matter what you do, who you are, where you're at, when you cross that Fanin County line, and you're in the mountains, the suits come off, and you put on your hiking shoes and your shorts and you just enjoy this fabulous area."

* Pine Mountain Gold Museum
* Athens
* Ga. Aquarium Sea Otter Encounter
*River City Rush
*Historic Banning Mills
*Consolidated Mine

Read or Share this story: http://on.11alive.com/Nxlwu6