About Us

Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide was founded in 2019 by Bret Love (a veteran journalist/editor with more than 20 years experience managing magazines and newspapers) and his wife Mary Gabbett (a photographer/videographer with 20 years of experience in managing small businesses).

Together they built Green Global Travel, an award-winning ecotourism/conservation website that is consistently ranked among the Top 40 travel blogs in the world. Their work has been featured in hundreds of major media outlets, including the BBC, Forbes, Frommers, The Guardian, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Travel Channel, USA Today, Washington Post, and more.

In recent years Bret and Mary have emerged as thought leaders and popular speakers on responsible travel, sustainability, blogging, and business topics, advising companies like International Expeditions, Zegrahm Expeditions, Discover Corps, and the Adventure Collection. Their international travels have taken them around the world, to more than 50 countries on 6 continents. 

After becoming empty nesters in 2019, the North Georgia-based couple yearned to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains, where Bret’s Scottish ancestors originally settled in the late 1700s, and where he had spent a lot of time with his parents’ church youth group as a boy. As they explore this picturesque part of the Appalachian region, they’re also searching for a slice of mountain paradise to call home… 

Our team

Bret Love

Born and raised in Atlanta, Editor In Chief Bret Love grew up hiking and camping the Blue Ridge Mountains with his family. A writer & editor since 1995, he's covered travel for nearly 100 publications, including American Way, Destination Marriott, Georgia Travel Guide, National Geographic, Southbound, and Yahoo Travel. In 2010 he co-founded the award-winning ecotourism website, Green Global Travel, which is ranked among the world's top travel blogs. He loves exploring with his wife Mary and their dogs, and is currently looking for a home in the Blue Ridge region.

Mary Gabbett

Though she lived the first 14 years of her life in New York, photographer/Business Manager Mary Gabbett has fond memories of spending weekends at her aunt's Blue Ridge mountain cabin. After moving to Atlanta in 1989, she spent many days hiking north Georgia, picking apples in Ellijay, and rafting the Ocoee River. In 2010 she co-founded Green Global Travel, and has since traveled to more than 40 countries on six continents. But now that she and Bret are empty nesters, she's looking forward to finding a mountain cabin of her own... just like her aunt's! ​

Jonathon Engels on Connestee Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains NC

Jonathon Engels

After visiting Western North Carolina for the first time, Jonathon Engels and his wife Emma spent two years looking for a few acres of property there to establish a permaculture homestead. During that search, he explored the Blue Ridge Parkway, surrounding towns, and parks. He has taught at both Blue Ridge Community College and Surry Community College, is a member of a long-established land conservation community near the town of Dobson, volunteers at the Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, and continues to explore the Blue Ridge region, a place he now lovingly calls home.

Christina Maggitas

Christina Maggitas

Growing up in rural south Georgia, Christina Maggitas developed a love for nature at a young age and spent the majority of her formative years outdoors. Since first visiting the Great Smoky Mountains with her family as a child, she has always admired the beauty of the Blue Ridge region and spends as much time as she can hiking north Georgia. She has a passion for writing and storytelling with the hopes of inspiring others to enjoy the great outdoors. Christina is a recent graduate at Kennesaw State University, where she is studied Journalism and Emerging Media.