By mid-January, the excitement from the holidays is dwindling, New Year’s resolutions are already getting fuzzy and a cold blanket of gray covers most of the state. Most of us Gwinnettians are itching for a plane ticket far, far away from here. While we can’t help you with that plane ticket, we can guide you as you explore one of our favorite little mountain towns that feels awfully far away from the hustling and bustling lives we live.
If you’re anything like us, you agree that winter just isn’t the same without a dusting of snow to mask our dead and dreary surroundings. While we can’t guarantee it, we can assure you will have a much better chance of witnessing snow in Georgia’s quintessential mountain town, Ellijay. Just 20 minutes outside of Blue Ridge, Ellijay is a wonderland of picturesque treks, eye-popping sights and cozy cabins.
Just a little under two hours from Gwinnett, you’ll drive into downtown Ellijay. With an array of local shops and an “everybody knows everybody” vibe, you’ll feel like you stepped straight into a Hallmark movie. Once you arrive, head directly to the Ellijay Coffeehouse, a landmark of coziness in town. Enjoy a warm drink and pastry before heading out for a morning of shopping and strolling. Be sure to stop by Mountain Treasures for clothes and some boozy treats. Then head to Mountain Valley Farm Store, a shop filled with goodies sourced from local artisans.
Before leaving downtown, stop at Cantaberry for a cup of North Georgia-famous soup! We recommend the tomato basil. If you’re looking for more coziness, Ellijay is known for its vast selection of vineyards, most of which have a big fireplace with crackling flames burning through the winter. We recommend Engelheim Vineyards, Cartecay Vineyards or Chateau Meichtry.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, brave the cold or snow and embark on one of Ellijay’s many scenic trails. Check out the Big Acorn Trail for a short and sweet hike with sweeping lake views. Try the Tumbling Waters Trail for waterfall views or the Talking Rock Nature Trail. Try the Amadahy Trail, which loops around the lake for a long but beautiful stroll.
Whether you spent the afternoon exploring Ellijay’s wines or pines, there’s only one spot to end your day trip. Back downtown, head to the top of The Roof, the town’s very own rooftop bar, for a delicious bite and the best views. We couldn’t think of anything cozier than a meal overlooking mountain peaks.
At the end of the day, we hope you can take some of the charms of this mountain town back home with you. And if you can’t bring yourself to leave quite yet, nothing is cozier than a cabin and a hot tub under the stars. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!