Why Live in Ellijay?

Vast forests, diverse wildlife, clean earthy air, and sparkling rivers, lakes, and streams make Ellijay home to The Hammock. We are located in the heart of North Georgia, which offers country comfort a little over an hour due north from metro Atlanta off Highway 515. There’s always something to do with the charming Ellijay downtown and an abundance of nature.

History of Ellijay

The name Ellijay comes from the Cherokee language. It means “new ground,” and there is plenty of new ground for you to discover here. The history of Ellijay is complex but essential as it was home to the Cherokee people who were indigenous to North Georgia. 

During the 1830s, the new settlers lived side-by-side with the Cherokee. Still, by 1834, Ellijay became incorporated and designated the county seat of Gilmer County. Then in 1838, the Cherokee were forcibly removed. The Tabor House Museum has preserved the history of this event. After that, the community stayed pretty isolated until 1854; due to the construction of the railroad, Ellijay began to grow.

John W. Clayton changed the landscape of Gilmer County forever in 1903 with the introduction of the first apples to the area. Clayton, from Gilmer County, receives the credit for this introduction that has led to Ellijay becoming the apple capital of Georgia with over 30 varieties of apples.

By 1910 when the town started acquiring many of the new modern conveniences, the population grew again. In the 1920s, as the apples continued growing, so did the population, and they began shipping apples from Gilmer County. This growth has encouraged Ellijay to expand by upgrading infrastructure without losing the small-town charm.

These changes have made Ellijay a popular destination at the base of the Appalachian mountains. The historic downtown is the perfect way to understand the complete history of Ellijay as you discover exciting places to shop and delicious places to eat. Walking through this area shows you a home unlike any other.

Annual Events in Ellijay

Small town living doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. Throughout the year, you’ll discover all of the wonderful annual events that bring your Ellijay neighbors and people from all over Georgia.

Georgia Apple Blossom Festival

With apples being a major part of life in Ellijay, be sure to attend the Georgia Apple Blossom Festival the first full weekend in May. This free, family-friendly, and pet-friendly event is held in the spring as the apple orchards change color with blooms. You’ll also find regional vendors offering arts, crafts, and food.  

Taste of Ellijay 

Try the Taste of Ellijay for a nearby culinary event like no other. It features the best food from Ellijay and is held downtown. While it’s free to attend on Memorial Day, tastings do cost, but there is live music and other entertainment as well.  

Plein Art - Art in the Mountains

Plein Art - Art in the Mountains does not disappoint despite being a newer annual event. In June, the event takes place to celebrate open-air painting in scenic locations from Ellijay and throughout Gilmer County. On top of the stunning art, they have quick draw competitions, reception and auction, and awards.

Gilmer County Fair

Ellijay hosts the Gilmer County Fair at the Lions Club Fairgrounds in August. This family-friendly event has Peachtree Rides, food, and live entertainment. They also have county fair staples, including quilts, crafts, needlework, sewing, flowers, photography, baking, canning, and more.

Georgia Apple Festival (Ellijay Apple Festival)

On the second and third weekends of October, enjoy the Georgia Apple Festival. This is the biggest event of the year in Ellijay. With over 300 hundred vendors and live entertainment at the Lions Club Fairgrounds, the Georgia Apple Festival will become a new yearly tradition.

Apple Arts on the Square

Before or after attending the Georgia Apple Festival, head to downtown Ellijay for the Apple Arts on the Square. This is an extension of the larger apple festival, just with more of a focus on arts and crafts. Don’t worry, there are apples at Apple Art on the Square too! On the second weekend, one of the largest parades in Georgia goes through downtown.


Food, Wine, and Beer in Ellijay

Satisfying your appetite and whetting your whistle is easy to do in Ellijay. The only tricky part is the number of options to calm your craving. Below is a list of a few of the tasty choices available in Ellijay. 


  • Ellijay Coffeehouse is more than a basic coffee shop; they have lounges and outdoor courtyards as well as specialty coffee drinks and food.
  • Back Porch Bistro is a hidden gem in downtown Ellijay offering first-class sandwiches, paninis, and soups.
  • The Shack of Ellijay has a passion for fresh ingredients and creative presentation to give you a unique Asian fusion experience.
  • The Roof Ellijay offers beautiful views of downtown Ellijay with southern eats and drinks supporting local farmers.
  • Canterberry in downtown Ellijay offers simple, homemade, delicious Americana cuisine (including desserts) for lunch and dinner.  
  • Raspados Celeste has shaved ice made from all-natural syrup flavors, fresh fruit, and authentic Mexican snacks and treats.

Wineries and Breweries

  • Engelheim Vineyards’ outstanding wine lineup has won 20+ awards, and their tasting room is open 7 days a week.
  • Cartecay Vineyards grows their grapes and makes their wines on farmland dating back to 1890, where they also host events and music while you soak in picturesque views.
  • Ott Farms and Vineyard not only has award-winning wine and 180-degree mountain views but also live music and other events. 
  • Grapes & Ladders Winery rolling grassy hills and peaceful view make this family-owned winery a great place to spend the day.
  • Cartecay River Brewing Co. combines their love of the Appalachian Mountains and rivers flowing through Ellijay to craft beer highlighting the best of Georgia.

Georgia Mountain Living

This North Georgia mountain town has the charm of small-town living with quick access to the great outdoors. From enjoying a variety of water sports at a nearby river or lake to leaving no trace on hiking trails to traversing the terrain on your mountain bike, Ellijay is near it all.

Water Sports

Whether you’re into the adrenaline rush of whitewater rafting, a lazy day floating down a river, or anything in between, you can find it near Ellijay. The Cartecay River, Ellijay River, and Coosawattee are the most popular rivers for kayaking, fishing, tubing, and river rafting. A short drive away is Carters Lake Marina and Resort, where you can enjoy fishing, wakeboarding, and more with boat rentals or bring your own. 

Hiking & Mountain Biking

Ellijay is also known as the Mountain Bike Capital of Georgia. However, the hiking in this region is some of the best, with the Cohutta and the Blue Ridge Mountains nearby and being located at the base of the Appalachian Mountains. There is also the Chattahoochee National Forest to wander through. With so many hiking and biking trails, you’ll never run out of beauty to explore.

Downtown Ellijay and Other Attractions That Make Ellijay Home

Downtown Ellijay places you in the heart of Ellijay. As of April 21, 2008, a portion of downtown became designated a historical district by Mayor Al Hoyle and the Ellijay City Council. So, the historical character of Ellijay is preserved for generations to come. Below you’ll find adventure waiting for you as you explore downtown or any other attractions that make Ellijay home.

  • There is antique and vintage shopping galore to satisfy any treasure hunter.
  • Take in a show at the George Link Jr. Gilmer Arts Playhouse.
  • Chow down at restaurants with unique eats from all over. 
  • Fantastic shopping at boutique shops with the latest trends and fashions.
  • Shops feature beautiful art, hand-crafted items, homemade soap, and other home goods.
  • Five miles north of Ellijay, take a swing at Whitepath Golf Course to enjoy stunning rolling terrain and views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountain and Cohutta Wilderness.
  • Thirteen minutes outside Ellijay is the family attraction Expedition: Bigfoot, where entertainment meets education.
  • There are so many apple orchards around Ellijay to spend the day at. Some are only open during apple season, while others are open year-round.

Kick Back at The Hammock

The Hammock is small-town living at its best. Being nestled in the green foothills of the Chattahoochee National Forest at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, The Hammock is the height of Georgia mountain living in beautiful Ellijay. Contact us to discover one of the 60 homesites that you can call home or come by for a visit at the corner of Sunset Cove and Linger Longer Drive.

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