Escape to the mountains for meditation, locally-sourced food and wine, homemade products and outdoor adventure
Wellness getaways aren’t just for the jet set anymore. Only a 90-minute drive from Atlanta up I-575, Ellijay and Gilmer County, Georgia, embody a relaxing, total-wellness experience a million miles from all that wears you down.
Gilmer County is Georgia’s apple country. If there is a “taste” to the North Georgia Mountains, it’s the tart, crisp bite of a locally-grown apple. For generations, farmers have cultivated the land in Gilmer County to grow the most delicious apples around. Some are sold wholesale, but more are sold direct to consumers as either fruit or in one of the many delicious treats, jams, jellies or ciders available at apple houses dotting the countryside. Stop for a crisp bite at one of Ellijay’s orchards, many offering u-pick options.
Ellijay’s #1 attraction according to Trip Advisor, Mountain Valley Farms (2026 Homer Wright Rd.), has been in the Wright family since 1840. In 2009, the Wrights decided to open Mountain Valley Farms, selling grass-fed beef and grain-fed pork direct to market. Open seven days a week, the Farm Store offers various cuts of meat, unpasteurized milk for pets and an opportunity to know just where your food comes from. See real farm animals in a natural setting.
Find pastured poultry at the Holden Creek Farms (59 New Liberty Trail) farm store, located in the Big Creek Community and dedicated to learning and preserving the traditions, skills and values associated with rural farm life.
The Bear Creek Cattle Company farm is located in Bear Creek valley, on the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest outside of Ellijay, and is a family-owned farm that has been in continuous operation since the Cherokee Indians walked the same creek banks that flow through the valley. Purchase premium, dry-aged, all natural beef at area retailers like New Ground Market (118 North Main St.) or direct from the farm, by appointment, (706) 636-2333.
Sample local sips at area vineyards like Chateau Meichtry (1862 Orchard Lane Talking Rock), Cartecay Vineyards (5704 Clear Creek Road) or Engelheim Vineyards (127 Lakeview Road). Feel stress melt away as you enjoy a sparkling white or rich red in any of these vineyards’ tasting rooms, which are tucked in the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Local vineyards provide the ideal location for growing quality wine grapes.
Shop for other farm fresh and handmade treats at local farm markets and shops like Green Willow Soap (52 North Main St.). Try mountain-made personal care creations like country rose bath bombs or carrot and goat’s milk soaps. Pick up the rest of the items on your grocery list at New Ground Market (118 North Main St.), offering pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb and chicken, grass-fed cow and goat cheeses, regional honey varieties, home-canned pickled vegetables and jellies, local art, textiles, candles and more.
Learn the art of meditation at Heart Chan Eastern Regional Retreat Center (987 Shenendoa Dr.), which frequently hosts guest instructors. Workshops at Heart Chan are available offering instruction in calligraphy, traditional ink painting, contemplative walking, Tai Chi, flower arranging and other activities to help the practitioner focus on finding peace and calmness. Extended stays or private retreats are also available.
Reconnect with nature in the idyllic North Georgia Mountains with trail hiking, kayaking, biking and other outdoor activities. Lush valleys provide ample opportunity for walks in the woods and paddle trips on the Cartecay River. Getting outside is easy with Stay Active Ellijay’s organized activities like Beginner Mountain Bike Rides on Saturdays and Hump Day Hikes on Wednesdays. If a day on the links is more your style, Whitepath Golf Club (1156 Shenendoa Dr.) offers beautiful rolling terrain with long-range views of the surrounding mountains and small, fast bent grass greens meticulously maintained for the best possible golfing.
Harrison Park of Ellijay (75 McCutchen St.) is a 26-acre parcel of land stretching along the Ellijay River just a half mile from historic downtown Ellijay, featuring a preserved natural ecosystem along the river’s banks. Originally the Pinson family farm, Pinson Barn still stands on the property and will soon become event space for weddings, business events and other gatherings. Nearby River Park is located south of town on the banks of the Coosawattee River, and features four lighted tennis courts, a paved walking trail, a community swimming pool, batting cages, soccer fields and more than enough space to spread out a picnic.
If you go
The Blue Ridge Mountains originate in Gilmer County and rental cabins of all sizes dot the countryside, each unique and offering peaceful surroundings. Or, try sleeping in a vintage Airstream or glamping in a geodesic dome at Elatse’yi (589 Berean Church Rd.). Whether you’re looking for a night under the stars at one of the area’s many campsites, a hotel room or a charming bed and breakfast, Ellijay, Georgia, can accommodate every overnight need.