Right location, perfect house

Their second home may be a brand-new purchase, but Alison and Rodney Turner have been vacationing in the Blue Ridge area for almost 10 years. The couple and their children Laurel, Reeves and Griffin, love the area, enjoying canoeing, hiking and mountain biking, especially in the Cohutta Wilderness Area.

They had been looking for a second home for more than a year but never found the perfect house. A family vacation reignited the search and when they connected with Rachel Callihan of Harry Norman Realtors, they finally found the right home.

Rustic with high-end materials: What seems to have sold the Turners on this house is its unique combination of rough and fine. Distressed-finish barn wood floors and 4- to 6-inch beams of wood contrast with polished natural stone countertops and copper sinks. "Builder Keith Sumner added custom touches like the trees stripped of bark and sawed in half that frame the front and back entries, and the mountain laurel branches woven into the stair rail satisfied our desire for something different from the usual mountain cabin," Rodney Turner said.

The creek was another deciding factor: The house sits on a trout stream, Fightingtown Creek. The family has more than 200 feet of creek frontage, and access is so good they can launch a canoe from their property.

Adding onto the house: The Turners wanted a little more space, so they're constructing a two-story detached garage. The upper floor will be a game room with a pool table, fireplace and wet bar. They plan to furnish it with bunk beds and add a deck.

Spending summers in the mountains: The Turners say they'll spend most of their summers on the creek, enjoying the horseback riding in the area and riding four-wheelers through the wilderness areas. For the rest of the year, the house is close enough to their home in Lilburn that they can drive up after their son's Saturday morning basketball games and spend the rest of the weekend.

Work vs. relax: Rodney is president of Layer 3 Communications, specializing in voice and data networks, but the house isn't wired for Internet access. "I don't know that we're going to put it in up there," he said with a laugh. Alison just received her landscape design certification and is talking with their builder about doing some work on his projects.

At a glance

The Turners’ home, a one-story A-frame on 1.36 acres, was built for entertaining with a 25- by- 25-foot party pavilion off the main deck featuring a wood-burning fireplace, grill and big-screen TV. There’s a master suite with wet bar and a deck on the lower level; the main level has another master suite with Jacuzzi tub, a sunken family room with fireplace, another full bath, kitchen, dining area and laundry room.

Community information

The Turners’ agent, Rachel Callihan, said many people looking for a mountain property have fishing in mind. Her Harry Norman Realtors colleague Linda Clement is also a fishing guide and Clement notes that the Toccoa River and its tributaries are rapidly becoming some of the premier fishing spots in the Southeast. For more information, www.buyin thenorthgeorgiamountains .com or 706-632-7211.

Getting there

Take I-75 north to I-575/Ga. 5 north. This will turn into Ga. 515 and U.S. 76. Follow U.S. 76 into Blue Ridge.

For sale

$189,000: 577 Blackberry Drive, Mineral Bluff. A 1.78-acre lot on the Toccoa River with well and septic in place. Property line goes to the middle of the river.

$139,000: Lots 2, 5, 7 and 9 Woodpecker River, Suches. Lots from 1.09 to 1.16 acres, each with at least 100 feet of river frontage.

Recent sale

$170,000: 177 Blackberry Drive, Mineral Bluff. A 1.03-acre wooded lot on the Toccoa River tailwater with 125 feet of river frontage. Lot approved for a three-bedroom home within 50 feet of river, well and septic already in place, phone and power lines on site. Sold in November 2009.