Spending a 'fruitful' morning exploring Gilmer County

It’s a fruitful time to visit Gilmer County, with grape harvesting and apple picking topping the list of activities for both local farmers and visitors. And for those looking to do a little exploring right here in North Georgia, we found some delicious reasons to add Ellijay to your list.

Our day started at Ott Farms and Vineyard, located on more than seven scenic Ellijay acres, more than half of which are planted with French-American hybrid grapes. Ott Farms and Vineyard was created by Michael Ott and his fiance, Lee Delk; Ott previously helped build several other area vineyards before deciding to own and operate one of his own, where he could not only make wines but also welcome visitors for events and tastings. Wines available include the Golden Promise (a 100% Georgia-grown white blend) and Intrigue (a red blend with 60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Merlot).

Next up, we drove to nearby Chateau Meichtry Family Vineyard and Winery in Talking Rock, a family-owned vineyard and winery which also offers tours and tastings.  Family members say the vineyard’s story stretches back to 1921 when Stephan Meichtry came to America from Switzerland and brought with him a love of winemaking. Now, his daughter Doris and granddaughter Karin keep the tradition alive, producing wines including the Shooter Ray Red (a sweet red blend), a classic Chardonnay, and La Fleur (a Traminette & Symphony blend).

Finally, you can’t visit Ellijay without picking some apples, and we picked plenty at Hillcrest Orchards. Chances are you’ve stopped by the popular orchard and farm market, known for apple picking and a store filled with delicious baked goods including apple pies, apple fritters, and cider doughnuts. Hillcrest Orchards is welcoming visitors, but requires masks for indoor shopping and checking temperatures at entry due to the ongoing pandemic. 

For more information on things to do in Ellijay and Gilmer County, click over to the Gilmer County Chamber website here. And click the video player in this article to check out our morning adventure in North Georgia!