Top Things to do in Ellijay



Not far from Blue Ridge surrounded by the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the beautiful Ellijay, GA. Known as the apple capital of Georgia, Ellijay, has many apple orchards perfect for visiting in the fall; as well as awesome mountain biking trails, charming wineries, and a trendy Downtown area with great shops and amazing food. See what Ellijay has to offer: 

Cover photo courtesy of @pickellijay & @droneguynab

Mountain Biking Trails

Photo Courtesy of Gary Johnson

Not only is Ellijay known as the Apple Capital of Georgia but it is also known as the Mountain Biking Capital of Georgia because it has more than 100 miles of mountain biking trails to explore! Ellijay offers many challenging courses to really test your mountain biking skills and some beginner level trails as well. Some of our favorites include; Cartecay Loop, Mulberry Gap, Pinhoti Trail, and the oldest mountain biking trail in the state: River Loop. Have a blast on miles and miles of winding trails through the beautiful mountains. 

Want to get into biking but need a mountain bike for your adventure? Cartecay Bike Shop is the place to go! Not only do they offer the best bike brands in the industry and service/repairs but they also offer classes for the newest of riders. You can even download mountain biking trails & maps from their website to take with you on your journey. So what are you waiting for? Hop on your bike & ride! 

Winery Hopping 

Photo Courtesy of Engleheim Vineyards

Ellijay is home to some of the finest wineries in all of North Georgia. Sip on high quality wines surrounded by the beautiful mountains at Engelheim Vineyards, voted the 2018 Georgia Winery of the Year. Not only did they win for best winery in 2018 but Engelheim Vineyards have also won over 20 awards for their amazing wines. Come on out for a great time and even better wines! Dogs are welcome & there’s live music at the vineyards every weekend. 

Another favorite winery of ours is Cartecay Vineyards. Cartecay is a popular spot among all of our guests; so popular they even opened a Blue Ridge location downtown. At the Vineyards you’ll fall in love with the picturesque views and delicious wines. Relax in the tasting barn or in one of their outdoor venues. 

Other honorable mentions to check out are Ellijay River Vineyards, Grapes and Ladders Vineyards and Winery, Ott Farms and Vineyards, and Reece’s Cider Company. Make a day out of visiting all the local wineries and sip to your heart’s content! 

Apples Galore

Photo Courtesy of BJ Reece Orchards

Ellijay has many great apple orchards and each fall they host the Georgia Apple Festival. The festival usually takes place in mid October and is an event filled with live music, hundreds of vendors, a parade, and lots of apples! Pick apples all autumn long at any of Ellijay’s wonderful local orchards. There’s Hillcrest Orchards and Farms, who’ve been in business for over 70 years. Not only can you pick apples here but you can also have fun on the farm with pony rides, cow milking, pig racing and more. Be sure to stop by the bakery as well for one of their famous apple fritters!  And every weekend in September & October they host their Apple Pickin’ Jubilee where you can enjoy live music, cloggers, and carnival style food. 

We also love B.J. Reece Orchards. The mountain views here are stunning and you’ll be in awe of row after row of apple trees spread out on over 120 acres. They even grow over 20 types of apples! B.J. Reece Orchards also has farm fun on the weekends with a petting farm, apple cannons, farm tours, and more! 

Want to make a weekend out of apple picking? Check out these other great Ellijay orchards; R & A Orchards, Red Apple Barn, and Panorama Orchards & Farm Market

Lake Time

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Carter’s Lake offers fun times spent on the water or admiring its beauty from the shore. The lake covers 3,200 surface acres and is more than 450 feet deep. And the Carter’s Dam is the tallest earthen dam east of the Mississippi. You’ll have plenty to do and experience on this beautiful lake. Head to Carter’s Lake Marina & Resort for boat rentals and docks to cast off from. Rent a pontoon and bring all your family and friends along for a day on the water. Prefer to stay close to the shore? Do some fishing or have a picnic by the lake. Then when you need a break you can cool off by taking a quick dip in the water. You can even hike and do some bird watching at Carter’s Lake. It’s the perfect place to spend the summer! 

Find the Tallest Waterfall

Photo Courtesy of @ancole78

Amicalola waterfall is located between Ellijay and Dawsonville, and is just 20 minutes away. This stunning waterfall is truly a sight to behold, standing 729 feet tall, making it the tallest waterfall in Georgia! If you’re up for a short but steep hike to the top of the falls and then back down, it will be well worth it. People come from all over to see these tall & mesmerizing falls in person, so it’s definitely something to put on your list of things to see! 

Explore a State Park

Photo Courtesy of Fort Mountain State Park

The beautiful Fort Mountain State Park is also nearby, sitting between Chatsworth and Ellijay. Here you can explore over 50 miles of trails and the old stone fire tower. Climb the stairs to the top of the tower for an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. Or make your way to the peak of Fort Mountain where the views are incredible; the sunsets here are particularly beautiful. You can also mountain bike, horseback ride, or kayak on the lake at Fort Mountain. It’s truly a nature lover’s dream here! You might even come across a mysterious 855 foot long wall at the park, which was said to have been built by the American Indians who called the Blue Ridge Mountains their home long ago. And if you want to leave all the work for the younger folks or just have a relaxing day admiring the views instead, you can take a scenic drive on Highway 52 where you can admire all the beauty of Fort Mountain from the comfort of your own car! 

The Art Scene 

Photo Courtesy of Gilmer Arts

Gilmer Arts and Heritage Association creates an amazing art scene for Downtown Ellijay. They offer everything from literary to visual arts to performing arts as well. Their building holds a lovely art gallery, a small stage for plays and musical performances, classrooms, and meeting spaces. Artists and art lovers alike are welcome here! 

Shop & Dine

Photo Courtesy of @pickellijay & @droneguynab

Downtown Ellijay is the place to be! With many fun & trendy places to shop and amazing places to dine you could spend all day here just enjoying what the downtown has to offer!

Ladies stock your closet with trendy clothes from Belle’s Boutique or 28 Main. For something new, Live the Trail offers a little bit of everything from books, jewelry, outdoor inspired apparel & gear, and so much more. At Live the Trail general store you can bring back awesome souvenirs or pick up the perfect gift for someone special back at home. And for something old check out Main Street Antiques & Collectibles. Discover beautiful & unique items from the store’s 2 floors filled with goodies! Mountain Treasures is another great spot to explore. They offer rustic furniture, ladies apparel, specialty gifts and even olive oil & wine tastings! 

Once you’ve had your fill of shopping treat yourself to a nice meal at one of these great downtown restaurants. Open for both lunch & dinner, Cantaberry Restaurant offers homemade soups and gourmet sandwiches; they even have a sister restaurant in Blue Ridge. The Roof Ellijay is a southern rooftop kitchen and bar, with awesome views of the downtown streets below. Dinner here offers a fun & energetic environment and plenty of southern hospitality. Enjoy a delicious Appalchian inspired meal and pair it with one of their amazing craft cocktails. You’ll love the food, drinks, and atmosphere here! For Asian Fusion dishes The Shack of Ellijay has got you covered! They serve delicious poke bowls and hot noodle bowls that will make your mouth water. For more culture and more great food options check out the Cajun Depot Grill. Feel like you’ve left North Georgia for the night and ended up in New Orleans, feasting on delicious Cajun & Creole inspired eats. Need some comfort food? You can’t go wrong with Ellijay Wood Fired Pizza! They offer delicious neapolitan style, wood fired pizzas and amazing pasta dishes. 

Ellijay Cabins

After a night on the town or a day spent exploring the great outdoors come back to a warm & cozy cabin and admire the views! At River Dreams cabin you’ll fall in love with the amazing outdoor amenities and cozy interior. Stargaze outside or cuddle up in the Yurt. Play skeeball and fun arcade games in the game room or create an amazing home cooked meal in the beautiful kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.River Dreams is even pet-friendly!  

The Ridge Carlton offers luxury like no other. Gaze at the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, roast marshmallows at the firepit, and relax in the 6 person hot tub. Even better? The Ridge Carlton is just 15 minutes from both the heart of Ellijay and Downtown Blue Ridge, so you’ll have easy access to everything here. 

And at Legend there’s plenty of space for the whole family to spread out, because this amazing cabin sleeps up to 13 guests! A stay here is like staying in a 5 star resort. You are close to so many great activities and have awesome amenities right from the comfort of the cabin. Catch a fish in the stocked trout stream right outside your door, explore the hiking trails on the property or enjoy the views from the covered porch. Then head inside for dinner made in the huge gourmet kitchen and a movie night in the theater room! This truly is a “legendary” cabin! 

Ellijay is a great place to stay! Not only are you surrounded by wonderful parks, biking trails, wineries, orchards and more but you are just 15 minutes away from Blue Ridge as well! You can explore all the fun of both towns and then come back to your quiet & peaceful cabin in Ellijay for a good night’s sleep, for your next day of adventures.

The Blue Ridge Experience: Fall Edition



Fall is by far one of our favorite times in Blue Ridge. The weather is crisp and comfortable, the leaves are bright and colorful, it’s sweater weather and pumpkin spice time! We encourage you to take some time to soak in the fall beauty of Blue Ridge. Enjoy taking a scenic drive through the mountains, go apple picking, explore a waterfall, or simply relax in your luxurious mountain cabin sitting by the fire and enjoying the views! Find the perfect cabin for all your fall adventures and Escape to Blue Ridge this season! 

A Bushel or A Peck of Apples

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

Nothing says fall like a trip to the apple orchard! Take a trip to Mercier Orchards where you can pick out your own apples and sweet goodies from the market & bakery. Their fried apple pies and apple cider donuts are a MUST! And be sure to sample their selection of wines and ciders while you’re there as well.

Want to pick your own apples straight from the tree? Pay a visit to Deep Roots Orchard where you can pick your own delicious apples. Then take the kiddos on a wagon ride through the orchard and even a barn tour! Our wonderful, local orchards always have something going on in the fall! 

Hit The Road

Photo Courtesy of @hiketheridge

When the leaves reach their peak color in late October it’s the absolute perfect time to go on a scenic drive around the Blue Ridge mountains. 

  • Grab the whole gang and drive around the surrounding mountains and forests to take in the views. Some of our favorite routes include The Russel-Brasstown Scenic Drive and Highway 60 through Suches. Check out our fall driving guide for more routes & pitstops: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/5-scenic-fall-drives/
  • Want to lay back and relax while someone else drives? Take a ride on The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway! You’ll pass by the rushing waters of The Toccoa River and the North Georgia Countryside. You can admire all the fall foliage from the comfort of the train as the trees zoom by!
  • Or you can feel one with nature and view the beautiful leaves on horseback. The weather is perfect for a trail ride past the mountains and forests of North Georgia. We rounded up a list of our favorite equestrian barns: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/horseback-riding-in-blue-ridge/

Take a Hike

Fall is also a great time to put on your boots and hit the trails! The weather is perfect, not too hot and not too cold; just the right temperature and very few bugs! You’ll love exploring the forests of Blue Ridge as you watch the wind rustle the colorful leaves in the trees surrounding you. Hike to a waterfall like Long Creek Falls or Helton Creek Falls, or up a mountain like Springer Mountain or Brasstown Bald, or even cross the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi. The journey is yours to decide!  Our hiking guide: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/seven-blue-ridge-hikes/

Go to a Coffee Shop

Photo Courtesy of Das Kaffee

Stay warm and cozy this fall and visit a coffee shop! Pay a visit to Das Kaffee Haus in Downtown Blue Ridge for a delicious cup of your favorite coffee or a European classic. And don’t forget to pick up a dessert as well; choose from cakes, truffles, and more!

Visiting the twin cities of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN? Then check out Yellow Bird Coffee Shop! Sip espresso by the Ocoee River or if you’re in a hurry go through the drive-thru and take your coffee to-go! We know fall and coffee shops go hand in hand; so don’t forget to get yourself one of those pumpkin spice lattes! 😉

Have a Bonfire

Bonfire at Higher Ground cabin

There’s nothing quite like a bonfire on a cool fall evening. Roast s’mores by the fire, swap ghost stories, and gaze up at the stars in the clear night sky. You’ll feel relaxed and cozy in no time curled up by the fire with your favorites! 

Visit Local Breweries & Wineries

Photo Courtesy of Grumpy Old Men Brewing

Relaxing out on the patio, admiring the mountain views with a glass of wine or a cold beer in your hand; there’s nothing quite like it! There are several local breweries and wineries all ready to serve you this fall. You will also often find live music on most weekends to enjoy while you savor your flight! Some of our favorite spots include; Bear Claw Vineyards, Grumpy Old Men Brewing, Whiskey & Water – Seafood and Bourbon Bar, and Fannin Brewing Co

Experience a Fall Festival

Fall Festival courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Fall in the mountains is filled with many great festivals and events in and around the Blue Ridge area! 

  • Take a quick drive to Cherry Log, GA for their fall festival, the first 2 weekends of October! There will be arts and crafts, homemade goodies and treats, bluegrass, country, and gospel music and of course lots of fall fun in Downtown Cherry Log
  • In Hiawassee, GA you can join in the fun at their week-long Georgia Mountain Fall Festival! There will craft vendors, delicious food, musical performances, educational demonstrations, and so much more! You won’t want to miss out on the fun, daily October 8th-16th! 
  • You can’t have fall without apples so head over to Ellijay, GA for The Georgia Apple Festival! With over 300+ vendors, an antique car show, a parade, and so much more it’s sure to be a blast! Visit the Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds on weekends October 9th-17th to have an “apple”achian good time! 
  • The 52nd Annual Sorghum Festival is one of the longest-running festivals in North Georgia. The event kicks off with a parade and then there will be crafters, cloggers, bluegrass music and more! Visit Meeks Park in Blairsville, GA Saturdays & Sundays October 9th-17th to take part! 
  • Calling all art lovers! The popular Arts in the Park event is back this fall! Beautiful art, great live musical performances, and delicious food. Plus you’ll get a chance to admire the stunning and colorful fall trees that surround the park! The event takes place October 9th-10th in Downtown Blue Ridge and Veterans Memorial Park. 
  • Celebrate Dahlonega’s 1828 discovery of gold at Gold Rush Days Festival, October 16th-17th in downtown Dahlonega. Take in 300+ food and art vendors all weekend long! This HUGE event always features amazing craftsmen, fantastic musicians, and has been voted as one of the Top 20 Events in the southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.
  • Pay a visit to Talking Rock, GA for the 2021 Heritage Day Festival. Arts & crafts, antiques, live music, great food, and interesting demonstrations await you October 16th-17th. 
  • And craft brew lovers will flock to Hiawassee, GA for the Appalachian Brew, Stew, and Que Festival at Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds. If the name didn’t give it away, there’ll be 60+ breweries, delicious food, and awesome Appalachian Music all happening on October 23rd! 

Get Spooky

Photo Courtesy of Deep Roots Orchard

We’ve many a haunted spot around just in time for Halloween! 

  • Check out the Haunted Copper Plant Rides on the grounds of the old historic Tennessee Copper Company October 16th-31st for a perfectly scary time! Go beyond the gates of historic copper mining company and go for a 45-minute ride with 6 scare scenes! 
  • Join the master of Horror himself as Edgar Allen Poe guides you through a frightful evening of his most terrifying and popular works. Love & Death by Poe will be on stage October 28 – 31. Don’t miss this frightful night of terror at the Blue Ridge Community Theater!
  • And visit Deep Roots Orchards, October 30th for a night of horror movies! The double-feature will be Blair Witch Project and Halloween. Grab your popcorn! 

Trick or Treat

Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Rhoads

Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a bag full of candy and a great costume! Head to Downtown Blue Ridge or the twin cities of McCaysville and Copperhill on October 30th for an evening of trick or treating! The kids will love dressing up and trick or treating from shop to shop. There will also be the Big Foot Boogie 5k, pumpkin carving, costume contests, food, and entertainment!

Looking for something a little more non-traditional for your tricks and treats this year? Dress up and head to Project Chimps October 30th-31st for “Chimp or Treat”. Not only will kids get a goodie bag full of treats but they’ll also get a close-up look of the chimpanzees in their habitat!

Gather Together

Thanksgiving at Noontootla Cottage

Spend your Thanksgiving in the mountains with the friends and family who mean the most to you! Select a fabulous cabin, cook up a delicious meal in our fully-stocked kitchens, take in the mountain views, and gather around the table for a great meal made with lots of love!

Take full advantage of the beautiful weather and great events happening this fall in Blue Ridge! There’s nothing quite like fall in the mountains!