Apples Grown in Ellijay
Absolutely the best! That’s what you get when you pick Ellijay for apples. Nestled in the mighty Appalachian Mountains, Ellijay is the heart of Georgia’s apple country, From late August to December, roadside stands abound with the tastiest, tree-ripened mountain apples available. And by buying direct from the growers, you are assured of getting better tasting, fresher, less expensive apples amidst some of the state’s most breathtaking scenery.
The Annual Georgia Apple Festival. From the mountains of North Georgia. Arts and Crafts Fair. North Georgia’s premier mountain event will be held on the second and third “full” weekends in October at the Ellijay Lions Club Fairground South of Ellijay off Highway 5. Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day rain or shine! Downtown Ellijay will feature antique and gift shops brimming with merchandise plus additional vendors on the square. Be on hand the first Sat. of the festival for the downtown parade with Grand Marshall. Fun, food and a festival with something for everyone!
Great mountain biking! Dedicated cycling lanes on GA Hwy. 52 E. The Georgia Tour de Force has come through downtown Ellijay for the second year in a row led in 2004 by Lance Armstrong. Visit the Cartecay Bike Shop in historic downtown Ellijay at 131 North Main St (1.5 blocks off the square), supplies and a full time mechanic. 706-635-BIKE (2453) Toll Free: 888-276-BIKE (2453). Mon – Sat. 12:00 – 6:00 pm
East Ellijay Offers
Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce Information Center
696 1st Ave, East Ellijay, GA 30540 (706-635-7400)
Movie theater, movie rentals, Super Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, barbeque, Sushi, Mexican, Chinese, local and franchise restaurants, good grocery stores, a fresh seafood market and package store.
Ellijay Shopping and Historic Sites
Downtown Ellijay – The quaint square is lined with historic buildings, antique, craft, & gift shops, as well as eateries of all kinds. Don’t miss historical buildings including the Apple Country Station, (The Teems Bldg.), 2 Northside Square, 1908, the Times Courier Office, 47 River St.,1916, and The Christmas House, 88 River St., late 1800’s.
Chieftain’s Trail – A tour of local Native American sites; call Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce for information, 706-635-7400.
Ellijay City Cemetery – Best panoramic views of the city, valley and mountains; South of the Square, Ellijay.
Old Cartecay United Methodist Church – est. 1834, oldest Methodist Church in North Georgia, call (706) 276-3703 to arrange a tour; Highway 52 East & Roy Road.
Kell Farm – Built in 1867 by James Kell, the farm is occupied by his descendants. A marker in the cemetery commemorates Kell’s Revolutionary War exploits.
Georgia State Parks
Amicalola Falls, 20 miles south east of Ellijay on GA Hwy. 52 E. Its easy to see why this is one of Georgia’s most popular state parks. Amicalola, a Cherokee Indian word meaning tumbling waters, is an appropriate name for these 729-foot falls the tallest east of the Mississippi River. An eight-mile approach trail leads from the park to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the 2,150-mile Appalachian Trail. However, numerous other trails are available for shorter journeys.
On the road to Amicalola – Burt’s Pumpkin Farm. Burt’s has pumpkins that range from an eye popping 150 lbs. to a modest 1 lb. in every variety imaginable. Burt’s also offer hayrides and fieldtrips that take you through a winding trail filled with nature and beauty. Hayride Hours: Sept. 12pm-5:30pm Sat. & Sun., Oct. 10am-5:30 pm daily, Nov. 1st-15th 10am-4:30pm Sat/Sun.
Fort Mountain State Park, 18 miles north of Ellijay on GA Hwy. 52 W. Prehistoric rock formations. Fort Mountain derives its name from an ancient 855-foot-long rock wall which stands on the highest point of the mountain. The mysterious wall is thought to have been built by Indians as fortification against other more hostile Indians or for ancient ceremonies. Situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest close to the Cohutta Wilderness area, this park offers a variety of outdoor activities. Hikes wind through hardwood forest and blueberry thickets, occasionally crossing streams and providing spectacular vistas. Great picnic area.
Whitepath Golf Course, 1156 Shenandoah Dr., Ellijay, GA 30540, Phone: (706)276-3080. Greens Fees: $20-$49; Carts available. Course Type: 18 hole, semi-private; Dress Code: No tank tops or cutoffs; Season: Open all year
Appalachian Trail – The usual approach is to start at Amicalola Falls State Park off paved GA Hwy. 52 and walk the 8.3 mile blue-blazed Approach Trail to Springer Mountain. A shorter approach is to intercept the Approach Trail at Nimblewill Gap on USFS Road #28 and walk 2.5 miles north to Springer. NOTE: This section of USFS Road #28 is usually very rough, particularly after storms in the spring. The shortest approach involves driving north of Springer to where the A.T. crosses USFS Road #42, then hiking south on the white-blazed A.T. one mile to the summit of Springer Mountain.
Directions: From GA Hwy. 52, 9.5 miles east of Amicalola Falls State Park or 8.5 miles west of Dahlonega, turn north at Grizzle’s old store (closed, sign for store is damaged). Go 2.0 miles and turn right on USFS Road #28 (look for sign that points to Georgia Wildlife Management Area on left and sign to Jones Creek Road on right). After 2.2 miles, bear left at fork onto USFS Road #77 and go 5.1 miles. Take hard left onto USFS Road #42 and go 2.7 miles to A.T., passing a Benton MacKaye Trail crossing (diamond blazes) along the way. There is a large parking area along north side of road. Alternate directions: >From GA Hwy. 52 in Cartecay (12.1 miles west of Amicalola Falls State Park or 7.4 miles east of Ellijay), turn north on Roy Road between Methodist Church and Stanley’s Grocery and go 9.7 miles to end of road. Turn right and go 2.2 miles to Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church (these are paved roads). Turn right onto gravel USFS Road #42 and go 6.8 miles to the parking area on north side of road. NOTE: These Forest Service roads can be quite rough, and may be impassable by car or van in winter or very wet weather. Contact the Chattahoochee National Forest Toccoa Ranger District in Blue Ridge, Georgia (706) 632-3031 for current road conditions.
Benton MacKaye Trail – The Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) is probably what the Appalachian Trail was like many decades ago a lesser-tamed path, steep in places, rough in spots, and still evolving. It is mostly well marked, less so in some locales a mixture of occasional road walks and single-track footpaths treading along ridgelines and streams. Many sections of the BMT have permanently fixed routes, while other sections are still being rerouted. The trail’s namesake, Benton MacKaye, was the man who actually conceived the idea of an “Appalachian Trail.” The BMT starts at the same place as the AT, Springer Mountain in Georgia. It heads north through the Chattahoochee National Forest, like the AT, and crosses its more famous cousin a few times early during the 93-mile journey to its current terminus at the Ocoee River in Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest. Go 11 miles North of Hardees in Ellijay on Hwy 515 to just past mile marker 21. Look for a sign with Hikers on the right. However the best entrance is on the South bound side. Make a U-Turn and look for the Hikers sign on the right.
Adventure Trail Rides, near Blue Ridge. 706-258-BARN. Rachel Callihan, founder. Beautiful scenic trails. Come share Rachel’s dream. Experienced guides. Hourly rates. Double D Trail Rides, 1474 Pack Creek Road, Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513, 706-632-6975 or call David Butler, 770-957-7053 or David Haley, 770-954-1037. Together they have over fifty years of equestrian experience. Double D are outfitters with a permit from the National Forest Service that allows them to offer guided trail rides in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Carters Lake, Located near Ellijay off GA Hwy. 136. Carters Lake embraces a spectacular tract of mountain-and-valley scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. Its sparkling waters and rugged shoreline provide a beautiful surrounding for a variety of recreational opportunities which include fishing, picnicking, boating, mountain biking and hunting. Launch ramps by fee.
Fishing at the River Park – Ellijay, Old Hwy. 5, Great fishing from the banks of the Coosawattee River all along the park area. Enjoy the 1 mile walking tract along the river and great picnic and playground area.
River Tubing, Canoeing, Kayaking
Cartecay Watershed Tube and Kayak Rentals, (706) 698-7655
Cooawattee River Tubing, (706) 635-1609, Kayak & Tube Rentals
Scenic Train Ride
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, 15 minute drive from Ellijay to Blue Ridge, 241 Depot St.1-800-934-1898, 1-706-632-9833. Embark on a 3.5 hour trip from Blue Ridge, GA, with a layover in picturesque McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN. Prices vary per time of year. Excursions Friday, Saturday and Monday at 11:00am; 1:00pm on Sunday.
River Park – Ellijay, Old Hwy. 5. Lighted courts. No charge. One hour time limit if someone is waiting.
The Pink Pig Barbecue Restaurant, Cherry Log, GA (7 miles north of E. Ellijay) Jimmy and Roslyn Carter’s favorite barbecue in Ellijay offers delicious food & unique atmosphere with photos of the famous & not-so-famous interspersed among pig memorabilia. Highway 515 North, Cherry Log, just off of 515 10 minutes from East Ellijay.
Colonel Pools Barbeque & The Pig Hill of Fame – Call for hours (706) 635-4100, 164 Craig St., East Ellijay
Lasso the Moon Alpaca Farm
Felting classes available all year around. 706.835.1837 www.alpacamoon.com
Rainbow Nation of North Georgia Reservations: 706.265.4278, south of Dahlonega. An animal refuge and sanctuary located in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains. See exotic deer, llamas, ostrich, emus, goats, pigs, turkey, ducks, exotic birds and more.