Ellijay, Northern Georgia, a True Appalachia Experience

The former logging village of Ellijay, of Northern Georgia, rests in the foothills of the great Chattahoochee National Forest, which is nestled within the western region of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The communities of Ellijay, and right beside it, East Ellijay exhibit the culture of "Appalachia" at its best.

The rich natural beauty of this mountainous area provides numerous opportunities for outdoor adventures. Specifically, the climate is ideal. The area experiences an annual rainfall of over 60 inches a year, keeping the forest and all foliage vibrant. The average summer temperature is in the 80's, while in winter the temperature may dip down into the 30's.

The climate and the fertile ground, work together to create luscious apple orchards in the area. Eighteen orchards reside in the region. Late August through December is the time when roadside stands heap over with Red and Golden Delicious apples as well as others. Visitors can also delight in the homemade apple butter, apple pies and old-fashioned cider available.

Both of the Ellijay communities reside in Gilmer County, which proudly promotes the honor of Apple Capital of Georgia. The annual Apple Festival takes place yearly in mid October when apples can be hand picked amongst vivid fall colors. In the spring, the apple trees blossom and inspire local festivals that celebrate this season.

Ellijay and East Ellijay are located at the point where the Ellijay and Cartecay Rivers come together at the Coosawatte River. The Coosawatte then runs into Carter's Lake. Summer is the time to take the 12-mile trek from town to Carter's Lake. This lake is ideal for boating, fishing, and camping. Canoeing and kayaking are also popular here. Take a wild water-ski ride or just relax by the lake as the sun sets in the west.

Fort Mountain State Park can be found 20 miles outside of Ellijay. This diverse park promotes hiking trails from purely scenic to rugged. Mountain biking is also welcome in designated areas. Hikers can witness prehistoric writings on rocks from numerous trails. Many designated wildlife management and forest recreation areas are marked throughout the park.

The surrounding forest can be experienced on horseback as well. Trail rides and cookouts provide an intimate glimpse of the gleaming streams and dense forest. To cool off, white water rafting is available. However, the magnificent Amicalola Falls should only be ventured from below. This is the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River.

When it's time to leave the rustic woods, the charming downtown area of Ellijay, dating back to the early 1800's, can be enjoyed. Shopping opportunities for antiques and popular arts and crafts of Appalachia are abundant. Cheerful and scrumptious restaurants that embrace local cuisine, like barbecued pork and beef, are at hand as well.

The small-town atmosphere is enchanting. With a population of around 1,600 in Ellijay itself and 24,000 in Gilmer County, the feeling is lighthearted and tranquil. The velvety-green richness of the surrounding elevated landscape, with all of its offerings, culminates nicely into the easygoing towns of Ellijay and East Ellijay in Georgia.

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