Ellijay – the Apple Capital of Georgia

A gem for Apple Lovers…

Ellijay is a small city located in the North Georgia mountains about 90 minutes north of Atlanta. In 2018 it was voted one of the Nicest Places in America by Reader’s Digest. Ellijay is also known for the mountain home of President Jimmy Carter whose cabin is located close to Rich Mountain Wilderness

The name Ellijay is the anglicized form of the Cherokee name Elatseyi, meaning “new ground” or “green place”. When in 1832 Gilmer County was split from Cherokee County, the town remained a remote mountain community for many more years until in 1991 the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway was build and more tourists had access to the area and its beautiful orchards, vineyards, and mountain wilderness.

In the 1920th Georgia’s cotton crops were destroyed vastly by the boll weevil. The local apple orchards of Gilmer County bolstered the economy in this crisis and prevented Georgia’s citizen to starve the following season. Since then, the city of Ellijay honors the apple and its orchards, and was nicknamed the “Apple Capital of Georgia”. Ellijay is hosting since more than 48 years the annual Georgia Apple Festival on two weekends in autumn with hundreds of local vendors offering food, art, crafts, and more for visitors from all around the globe – and of course everything is about the apple! Ellijay and Gilmer County produce over 250,000 bushels of apples annually in more than 30 varieties harvested from late summer into early winter. So don’t miss to buy some fresh apples when in Ellijay!

It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.

Henry David Thoreau