Apple picking in Ellijay

Apple picking in Ellijay

3 Reasons to Visit Ellijay: Georgia’s Apple Capital

Just over an hour’s drive from downtown Atlanta, Ellijay is a quaint hamlet that holds the title of Georgia’s Apple Capital. From festivals to orchards brimming with fresh fruit and restaurants featuring apple delicacies, there’s something a-peeling about Ellijay for everyone.

Ellijay Apple Festival

Ellijay Apple Festival. Credit: Outlive Creative

Apple Events

Georgia Apple Festival

Considered one of the best arts and crafts festivals in the state, start your visit by taste-testing different apple varieties. Oct. 8–9 and 15­–16, 2022, in Gilmer County, area apple houses serve apple-themed goodies like fried pies, fritters and ciders. Shop more than 300 vendors selling crafts, pottery, baskets, toys, soaps and candles. Check out the parade, classic car show, and 5k while you’re there.

Georgia Apple Blossom Festival

As light-pink flowers bloom on the trees of Ellijay, this festival kicks off. With more than 100 handpicked vendors from North Georgia, May 7–8, 2022, you can snack on regional foods, purchase locally made arts and crafts, and let the kiddos run wild on the bounce houses. There is no cost for admission, and you can bring Fido along, too!

Apple Orchard in Ellijay

Apple Orchard. Credit: Gilmer Chamber, Outlive Creative

Apple Houses

Most apple houses are open seasonally, and those dates change with the crops. Contact each business individually to find their hours.

Penland’s Apple House

Since 1936, this family-owned farm has grown apples, peaches and veggies. At either of their locations, you can snap up ciders, jams and baked goods (including homemade fried pies, apple cider doughnuts and apple fritters). Caramel apples, candy apples, frozen cider slushies and apple bread round out the menu of goodies.

B.J. Reece Orchards

Get your apple baskets and pick your own Crimson Crisp, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and Evercrisp apples. Since the 1960s, this dog-friendly farm has been creating family fun. Pet some cute animals, watch pigs race, learn how to milk a cow and take a trip down the giant slide while you’re there, too!

Panorama Farm Market

More than 20 varieties of apples have been grown at Panorama since the 1920s. Pick up a bushel of just-off-the-tree apples, an apple brandy cake and a box of apple cider doughnuts. If it’s still warm out, get a cone of homemade ice cream (they make 12 flavors in-house).

Red Apple Barn

Each year, this giant red barn has apple picking with tractor rides, apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, flowers, pumpkin painting and cornhole. Snap a photo on the covered bridge, bring a picnic, and take a walk in the hayfield after a glorious day collecting Gala, Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples.

R&A Orchards

What began as a few trees in 1947 has grown into a massive attraction. Go on a farm tour, U-pick apples and take a tractor ride under the Georgia sun. Back in the store, wash down a hot, fried-apple hand pie with a cold cider slushie. Purchase some homemade salsa, cider and other fresh veg, too.

Hillcrest Orchards

When you walk into the farm market, make a beeline for the famous apple fritters — they are covered in a thick sugar coating that will make dreams come true. On weekends, the farm hosts the “Apple Pickin’ Jubilee,” where you can pick apples, cheer at swimming-pig races, listen to live music and watch classic cloggers.

Aaron Family Orchards

Detroit Red, Ozark Gold, Jonathan, Cameo, Pink Lady, Mutsu, Jonagold, Stayman Winesap are just a few varieties that grow at Aaron Family Orchards. They also produce pickled peaches, sorghum syrup, pecan-apple butter, wild-crabapple jelly and apple cider that will make your mouth water.

Apple snacks in Ellijay

Credit: Gilmer Chamber, Outlive Creative

Apple Snacks

Back Porch Bistro

Homemade on-site, Back Porch’s fresh apple slaw is something everyone should try at least once. The pinkish-red mixture is crunchy, sweet and a little sour.

Abby’s Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt

Made seasonally, the spiced apple pie flavor at this self-serve store is perfect when topped with praline pecans, granola and hot caramel sauce.

Cantaberry Restaurant

Order an apple pecan salad as it comes topped with thin, freshly picked Macintosh apples and candied pecans. It’s dressed with a raspberry vinaigrette that adds a nice punch.

Cornerstone Cafe

On certain days throughout the year Cornerstone dishes up French toast with a sticky, caramel-apple-pecan sauce that is epic.

Poole’s Bar-B-Q

Over in East Ellijay, you’ll smell the sweet scent of fried apple pies drifting through the parking lot, calling your name. They are molten hot and glorious.

Explore even more apple fun in Ellijay.

Published: April 2022

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