Ellijay, GA Travel Guide: A Weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains

We had the privilege of being invited to stay in this Airbnb in Ellijay, Ga. this past weekend. Before the invitation we had never even heard of Ellijay. We did a little research on the area and didn't find a ton of information, so honestly I was a little unsure about going. We ultimately decided to go because you can't ever go wrong staying in the mountains for a nice getaway. Little did I know that the town + area was going to be such a treasure. And when all was said and done, I really wish we had at least another day there.

We were there in prime fall season so the leaves were changing and it was gorgeous. We would also like to return during the summer so we can partake in all the water activities like kayaking + whitewater rafting. Next time we need to stay at least 3 full day so we have more time to walk around Ellijay + Blue Ridge and to do more shopping and hiking.

I grew up in the Nashville area and we always went to the Gatlinburg area, and so do most people around here. But I'm going to be really honest with you, if you live in the south and your go-to mountain escape is Gatlinburg, you're missing out. I know a lot of people love Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains are beautiful, but it's overcrowded and a little cheesy for my taste. Definitely give the Blue Ridge Mountains a try instead.

The little towns around the mountains are like Stars Hollow (Gilmore Girls reference if you didn't know :) ). They are adorable and have character and I just don't think you get that in Smoky Mountains area. So if you are looking for a mountain getaway look no further than the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Where to Eat:

Cantaberry Restaurant, Ellijay + Blue Ridge- We ate a late lunch here and it was so delicious. They have gluten free bread which is always such a gift. Savannah had chicken + wild rice soup that she cannot stop talking about. She actually tried to recreate it at home. I had a shiitake mushroom soup that was gluten free and I liked it a lot more than I expected. We both got the turkey club sandwich and gobbled it right up.

Rum Cake Lady, Blue Ridge + Copperhill-  This is an authentic cuban restaurant that had gluten free options. They even have gluten free rum cake and it was so good. Even my mom + Savannah liked it as much as I did. It was really moist which is rare for gluten free cakes. We all had a Cuban sandwich and I had mine with gluten free bread. The bread was really good and different than most gluten free breads. We all throughly enjoyed our sandwiches. None of us could eat all of ours though so we had the rest of our sandwiches later.

Mercier Orchards, Blue Ridge- We ate breakfast here on our last morning, and I really wish we had more time to spend here. When you eat here, they give you apple cider donut holes. Yummy! They weren't gluten free but Savannah enjoyed them :) They have a winery and make hard apple cider. They actually just have a lot to see + do but unfortunately we had a train to catch.

Kaffee Haus, Blue Ridge- So we technically didn't eat here, but I did have a delicious latte. I had to put it on the list because we all need good coffee shop recommendations.

Where to Shop:

There were a ton of antique shops in the area that we didn't even go into. I could spend hours in an antique shop and we simply didn't have the time. I definitely need to go back so I can leisurely stroll through the many antique shops they have.

The Loving Bull- Savannah + I both bought a few things here and then immediately put them on. We are wearing them in the picture above. They had some cute Ellijay tees that I was tempted to buy. A lot of souvenir tees are tacky or cheesy but they had a really good selection!

Artful Ellijay- This is a lovely home decor place. We love to go into stores like this even if we aren't in the market to buy anything. It's a great way to stay inspired. This is definitely worth a visit.

Mountain Treasures, Ellijay- This store had a little bit of everything. Clothing, gifts, antiques, and best of all the do wine tastings and sell wine. My mom bought a bottle of red wine that we all really loved. What's better than sipping on wine while you are shopping?

Posh + The Weekender, Ellijay- This is a hair salon + boutique. They have higher end items like Johnny Was and a shoe brand I cannot remember. It's nicely curated, just expect to pay a little more for items.

Juliana's Boutique, Ellijay + Blue Ridge - They had a ton of cute fleece pullovers that I was tempted to buy but we had literally just bought some for this trip. We did pick up 2 pairs of cute sunglasses.

Painted Pony, Copperhill - I got a mid length tan coat that I have already worn several times. They have a lot of Native American inspired jewelry here.

What to do:

Hike- There are endless hiking options in the area. We hiked a part of the Appalachian Trail where it meets up with the Benton Mackaye trail at Three Forks. We also hiked to a swinging bridge, and we had quite the adventure getting there. My mom was with us on this trip and I had to take over driving because she was having a mini nervous breakdown. And I don't think my driving made it any better. Hahaha!

The scenery is beautiful and the terrain is challenging but it wasn't something you needed to be in shape for. We ran into a guy who was 4 miles away from finishing the Appalachian Trail which is a 2,181 mile journey. I wish we had time to visit Springer Mountain which is either the start or the finish of the AT depending on which route is taken.

Here are some photos from our hike:

Side note, we all have the same hiking boots. My mom decided to buy the ones we had after she took a little tumble on our last hike together. All that to say, we love them! They are waterproof, tough, support your ankles well, and we like the way they look too. You can get some for yourself here. We HIGHLY recommend having the right hiking boot when you are hiking/adventuring around these parts. Some places it's not necessary, but here it is!

Visit an Apple Orchard- As mentioned earlier, we ate at Mercier Orchard, and the day before we visited the BJ Reece orchard. We hoped to pick our own apples but we were too late in the season for that. We did pick up approximately 100 apples thought. I think I got a little over zealous because I've really been into making apple things- apple sauce, apple butter, and apple cider. I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach. We've been churning out apple things but still have a lot left. They have a several activities that would be great for children. They also have a store with jams + jellies and a zillion flavors of fried pies and donuts.

Visit a Winery- I put this on here because there so many wineries. We sadly did not get to visit one, but you should go if you have time.

Take a scenic train ride- We took a train from Blue Ridge to Copperhill, Tn. It's an hour train ride there and then you have 2 hours in Copperhill. There are several restaurants and shops that you can walk to. The train ride gives you the beautiful mountain scenery and a view of the Toccoa River. Full disclosure: the tickets were around $50, so if you are on a tight budget, I would skip this. We enjoyed the train ride, but honestly I felt like I got to experience the views just by hiking and walking around. It was nice and peaceful to be able to just sit, ride, and to be immersed in the fall leaves.

Where to stay:

Magnolia House- This was the whole reason we came and we absolutely loved this house! Kim was the perfect host and we are so happy she reached out to us. The house is immaculate and if you love the Chip + Jo decor style, this place is for you. The hardwood floors are drool worthy. The house is located 5 minutes from downtown Ellijay. There is also a fire pit outback which we were happy to use. Kim left us farm fresh eggs and fresh fruit which was such a nice touch. I am sad to say that we never had a chance to take our own pictures of this beautiful space. The picture here is from the listing. Also, check out this link to get $40 off your first Airbnb stay.

So the next time you are thinking of visiting the mountains, think about the ole Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia. And if you get the chance to go when the leaves are changing- do it!


  1. Glad you enjoyed our little town. Next time you visit ellijay i hope you get to come to The Gilmer Arts Playhouse. Check it out for evening entertainment.

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