As if I needed the calendar to tell me that last week marked the first day of Fall. What gave it was away was the roar of the crowds at local High School football games, the leaves on my maple tree starting to turn from bright green to yellow, and of course the sweet smell of yeast and dough hitting the hot oil of a deep fryer when serving up Funnel Cakes at all the fall fairs! Oh yes ya’ll Fall is here! And there is more fun than you can shake a corn dog stick at. Whether you like apple and pumpkin picking, country fairs, or exploring the mountain leaves, you’ll have enough choices to make everyone in your caravan happy!
Apples, Pumpkins, and Corn- Oh My: Since fall is all about celebrating the harvest, you certainly can’t ring in this season without spending a little time with the bounty! North Georgia is brimming with farms full of fall’s harvest. Did you know that Ellijay is the apple capital of Georgia? So you know that they take their apple picking seriously! Hillcrest Orchards hosts the Apple Picking Jubilee throughout October. Not only do they have every type of apple imaginable for picking, but they have plenty of activities too like train rides, a petting zoo, live music, kid’s rides, and what else, pig races! Not far from the apples, you will find Burt’s Pumpkin Patch and Buck’s Corn Maze. Both are up near Amicolola Falls. Next to first day of school photos, I can honestly say that Burt’s is easily the most popular photo op currently trending on social media! Propping kids up on one of Burt’s huge pumpkins is a rite of passage! Not to mention running around picking out a pumpkin, and going on the hayride is fun too!. If you still need more fun with produce, check out Bucks corn maze which is approximately a 12 acre field of corn that has 4 miles of maze cut into it. They also offer hay rides, and on Saturday’s, when the farm is open till 9, they offer the Haunted Maze. Check websites for times and pricing. Don’t want to actually pick your produce? All of these farms have general stores where you can “shop” for favorites items including a funnel cake!
Fair Play—Where else do you get to see blue ribbon livestock, a bearded woman, a giant stuffed gorilla, and a nationally known country singer all while eating a turkey leg, and of course, a funnel cake? Why the country fair of course! Oh yes, fill up the car, turn on your favorite music cause we’re road trippin’ to the fair! I just love these short trips to small towns around North Georgia. Some of the must see fairs are Cumming Country Fair happening 10/3-10/13 and the Georgia State Fair at the Atlanta Motor Speedway 10/25-11/3. Although both of these fairs boast fun rides, carnival games, and fair food, the Cumming Country Fair will also be offering a Miss Cumming Beauty Pageant, bull riding, and a performance by Country singer Kelly Pickler. The Georgia Sate Fair will be hosting an array of attractions from “Freak Show Deluxe” to Grizzly and Sea Lion acts and don’t forget the Rhinestone Roper…Yeah C’mon!!. If you are more into taking in the natural surrounding and enjoying local food, beer, and crafts, check out 43rd annual Octoberfest in Helen Georgia for beer, brats, bands and Lederhosen! Or celebrate the discovery of gold 185 years at the Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega, Georgia 10/19-10/20 . Points of interest are a parade, children's activities, gold panning contest, and hog calling all with a black drop of Dahlonega’s spectacular fall colors.
Leaf it up to you- If heading up to the North Georgia Mountains makes you think of cameo, a banjo, and a jar of moonshine then think again. Some of the best fall colors will be on display this side of the Appalachian Trail. You don’t have to go far either. Just a short 40 minute drive from the city will land you at Red Top Mountain. But take the time to head further north because the views are spectacular. If you travel north of Dahlonega you will hit the beginning of the Appalachian Trail at Neel’s Gap- From there you can take in the views off of the landing behind the general store or travel one of the trails to Blood Mountain. Vogel State Park is in Blairsville just a short 2 hour drive from Atlanta. There is a short lake loop or a longer 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail that makes a nice day trip, offering great mountain color and a birds-eye view of the park’s lake. If mountain biking is more your speed, consider taking on the 7.5 mile bike trail of Unicoi State Park in addition to shorter foot trails. Check out this Leaf Watch Guide provided by the Georgia State Parks for more details directions and suggested trails. After a long hike, considering a little down time with a visit to one of the many North Georgia wineries. Get a complete of nearby wineries.
Georgia never looks better than she does in the fall. All dressed up in gold from the autumn sun and swaying her leaves to mountain music. All I can say is don’t miss the chance to take in all that North Georgia has to offer and experience, the best part of the season, a little Southern hospitality!