Things to do in Atlanta includes food, events, places, and adventurers!

The fall season presents some the best weather for unique outdoor experiences at one of the apple orchards in Georgia . Around September and October is the best opportunity for hayrides through orchards and apple picking.

In Georgia, there are numerous farms and orchards that capture the Autumn ambiance while enjoying apple treats and festivals. Below is a list of some of our favorite places to go during the fall!

Hillcrest Orchards

Apple Orchards in Georgia to visit

A seasonal business and is only open during the months of September, October & November. Hillcrest is family owned and operated and has been cultivating apples as well as wholesome experiences for children, adults and seniors since 1946.

Hillcrest annual event

The annual event is held on the weekends during September and October in Ellijay, GA at one of the main Apple Orchards in Georgia. Hillcrest’s dwarf trees with apples hanging well within reach, are the perfect height for small children. They, in addition to the whole family, can pick a variety of apples including Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Granny Smith, Yates and more.

Apple Pickin’ Jubilee

The “Apple Pickin’ Jubilee” is this orchard’s apple picking festival. Enjoy a wide range of activities including swimming pig races, an apple tree maze, mini golf, wagon rides through the orchard, cow milking,  bluegrass bands, clogging groups, museums, pony rides, multiple playgrounds, a jumping pillow, and other farm festivities. After all the games, enjoy samples of Hillcrest’s delicious treats. Afterwards, buy fresh produce from the market, swing by the grill for lunch and the bakery for apple fritters and apple pies, and more.

B.J. Reece Apple House

A variety of apples in season: Rome Beauty, Pink Ladies, Fuji and September Wonder. They are tucked away in the North Georgia mountains and are a family-owned and operated farm since the early 1960s. They grow 20 different varieties of apples on 120 acres. The orchards are also pet-friendly, so bring your four-legged best friend, too.

Weekend activities

On weekends, petting zoo, orchard zip line, jumping pillow, cow train and apple shooting cannon. Additionally, the bakery has plenty of apple treats: fresh cider, fried apple pies, apple bread and cider doughnuts. These activities operate every Saturday and Sunday while the you-pick orchards are open.

Mercier Orchards

One of The state’s largest apple orchards in Georgia , Mercier offers more than 50 varieties of apples, as well as peaches, nectarines, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, blackberries and more. The do it yourself apple events (September through November), starts with a tractor ride to the orchards and a brief talk about Mercier’s history.

Hard Apple Cider

Mercier Orchards also has the only apple orchards in Georgia that grow, press, ferment and bottle their own hard apple cider. Enjoy the farm winery tasting room alongside the bakery, deli, and market store any of them are worth the drive north.

Red Apple Barn

Roots go back to the family of William Tobe (W.T.). Specifically In 1965, his son Marven planted the first orchard of 100 trees across the street from Liberty Church in Gilmer County and the next year he planted 500 more trees on Tail Creek on a farm adjoining his father’s land. By 1971 the Red Apple Barn was built to start the business that continues today. Enjoy a visit with your family to the barn near Ellijay in the North Georgia mountains.

Pumpkins

Not only can you pick apples, you can also pick pumpkins and wild flowers. Visitors can enjoy the tractor ride to and from the orchard as well as tour the farm. School groups or field trips of 15 or more can book Farm Tours, even on weekdays by calling ahead. In the farm store, you have to try the apple pies, fritters, bread, caramel and candied apples, jams and jellies, honey and apple cider.

Wedding Venue

There is also The Orchard Barn Wedding Venue which is  located within the mountain sites of the original terraced orchard from 1965. Red Apple Barn love to share their farm with anyone who enjoys the rustic beauty of the property. Social functions such as family reunions, parties, business events, weddings and receptions are often accommodated by the barn’s hospitable staff.

R&A Orchards

A three generation strong family business since when the first trees were planted in 1947. This orchard has farm tours and you pick apples every weekend in September. R&A Orchard has approximately 60 acres of apple trees and approximately 10 acres of peaches and nectarines.

Jaemor Farms

is a 350-acre farm has been in the Jaemor family since 1912, with a roadside market that has been open for 35 years. Jaemor Farms is one of the largest roadside markets in the country, specializing in a variety of homegrown produce.

Festivals

Every year Georgia host these and other business at the festivals in North Georgia. Moreover, the Big Red Apple Festival is held in downtown Cornelia, GA. This year’s festival will be on Saturday, September 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

They will have Artisan Arts and Crafts, a kids’ zone, a classic car show, Anything Apple Competition, live and local entertainment, great food vendors, corn hole tournament, tours in the Train Museum, hayrides to Chenocetah Tower, and more.

Georgia Apple Festival

Apple Orchards in Georgia

Another annual event is The Georgia Apple Festival is a two weekend event in Ellijay, GA. With the local host including The Ellijay Lions Club, the Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce, the cities of Ellijay and East Ellijay, and Gilmer County.

2019 festival

The 2019 festival will be on the 12th and 13th of October for the first weekend, as well as the following weekend on the 19th and 20th. This will be the 48th year of the Georgia Apple Festival. There are over 300 vendors with handmade, hand-crafted items, as well as many on-site demonstrations of how selected types of crafts are made. This year promises many new crafts as well as favorites from past festivals.

Parade

Finally, there is a parade and antique car show each year. The antique car show is held at the Civic Center on October 12th. Previously, the parade is on October 19th and begins at 10 AM in historic downtown Ellijay.

Apple Recipe

All in all, need a new recipe to try with your apples? Make this galette that will impress even your foodie friends with your culinary skills.

Apple, Cranberry and Pecan Galette

This free-formed tart, also known as a French Galette, is as easy to make as it is elegant to serve. *Yields 8 servings

Pastry Dough

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

3 tablespoon cold water 1 large egg, beaten + 1 tablespoon water

Filling

1 cup dark brown sugar

4-5 medium apples, like Honey Crisp, Gala, and Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup water

Garnish

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 7 – 10 minutes and enjoy!

Out of all of the attractions and events that are available to do in Atlanta, none of them have the combination of experiences that the Atlanta Botanical Garden can provide.

It’s ability to provide to provide educational, recreational, and relaxing memories is something that is unique to the gardens. This makes the Atlanta Botanical Gardens a staple experience for both visitors, lifelong residents of Atlanta and all that fall between. Here is everything you need to know before you give the Botanical Gardens a visit.

Atlanta Botanical Garden Hours and Location

The lush and storied Atlanta Botanical Gardens were incorporated in the year 1976. They are located at 1345 Piedmont Ave NE which is in midtown Atlanta, Georgia.

The 30 acre gardens are adjacent to Piedmont Park, which itself is a major source of activities in the city. It’s hours of operation are from 9am to 5pm Tuesday through Sunday. Monday the gardens close. The Garden’s mission is to “develop and maintain plant collections for the purposes of display, education, conservation, research and enjoyment.”

Atlanta Botanical Gardens Ticket Prices

Obviously, before even thinking about paying the Gardens a visit, it’s important to figure out the logistics of the potential trip. Luckily, we have you covered. The ticket pricing is broken up into two brackets, adults and children between the ages of 3-12. Children under 3 years old have free admission. One adult ticket cost usually $21.95, while the children’s ticket price is normally $18.95.

If you end up falling in love with gardens and want to come back for more there are membership options for individuals (1 year for $75.00, 2 years $135.00), couples (1 year for $99.00, 2 years $178.00), and families (1 year $139.00, 2 years for $250.00). The membership contains value as it provides:

  • A free pass for the duration of membership length
  • A free guest pass, a discount on parking passes, free or discounted admission  to events and concerts
  • Access to members only events
  • Reciprocal privileges with more than 300 gardens, arboretum and conservatories across the country.

Atlanta Botanical Garden Parking

Uber and Lyft

The next phase in planning your trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is figuring out travel there. If you plan on getting an uber or lyft then you will have no fee in terms of parking.

Parking

If you plan on driving there with your own vehicle, then the Botanical Gardens provide on site parking via the SAGE parking facility on levels 4,5,6 through the Piedmont Ave entrance. The lower 3 levels are reserved for visitors of Piedmont Park. Parking on the SAGE facility will cost $2 for periods between 30 minutes and 1 hour. Each additional half hour past 1 hour will cost an additional $1 up to $15. During special events a flat rate of $10 may be charged with a $5 discount given to carpools with 4 or more people.

Parking Pass

Should you be interested in a multi visit parking pass they are available as well for a initial fee of $6 and be can be bought and reloaded at the Garden shop located within the Botanical Garden. The passes start at $20 and will give you 5 parks. The $40 pass gives 11 parks, the $60 pass gives 21 parks, the $80 pass gives 31 parks and the $100 pass gives 41 parks. The Garden Membership gives additional parks per pass depending on the on the pass.

Marta

Finally, if you plan on commuting to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens from Marta, then you should plan on catching Bus #27. It stops right in front of the main entrance. Anyone can board at either Lindbergh or Midtown station. It will also take you from the Botanical Gardens back to either Marta station

Garden Tour

If you plan on visiting in a large group of 10 or more people, or if you are trying to plan a field trip for children, then self guided and guided tours are available. The self guided tour for adults in groups of 10 or more people are available for $18.95 per person. In addition, the guided tours are available for $22.95 per person.

Tour Limits

These tours have a limit of 60 people per group. They are an excellent choice for you if your have family from out of town to whom you are trying to show the city to. The children’s self guided tours are $8 per child and the guided tours are 10$ per child. Per 8 children, a chaperon gets free admission. Additional chaperones pay the children’s rate.

Atlanta Botanical Garden Lights

Aside from taking in the  natural splendour of the Botanical Gardens, there are a host of other events that keep the experience of visiting the Gardens fresh and unique every time you pay them a visit.

Holiday Lights

The most notable of these is the Holiday Lights. This event is much more than a simple light show. It is a re-imagining of Botanical Gardens through the use of an array of different colors, exhibits and sounds. From the Christmas Carolers, to the different exhibits like the Ice Goddess, the Orchestral Orbs, or the Tunnels of lights,the Holiday Light show is definitely an event you want to catch if you can. Other than the Holiday Light show, the gardens serve host to various events and concerts throughout the year. Pricing for admission to these events may vary from the normal pricing.

Dining

Longleaf Cafe

Specifically, the Gardens serve host to the Longleaf Cafe. A two level dining experience that is located in the center of the Botanical Gardens. It provides either a view of the beauty of the garden from the inside out, or a view of the Atlanta skyline from the 2nd level.

The menu provides options for both plant and meat eaters alike while maintaining the theme of Gardens by including a variety of different plants used in the meals.

Alternatively, there are a variety of different restaurants in the Piedmont avenue area if Longleaf doesn’t suit your tastes.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

In summary, you have everything thing you need to plan your trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Whether you are looking for an exciting night time light experience during the holidays or a relaxing day with nature and loved ones on a lazy Sunday, the Atlanta Botanical will suit your needs.

Visit the Botanical Gardens to treat yourself with a great experience. Given that by visiting, you will contribute to the conservation and research that the Botanical Gardens were made for. Remember, do yourself and nature a favor and visit here to buy your tickets today.

If you need a longer get away, check out our article on visiting Helen, GA!

If you have been thinking about a trip to Helen for tubing, winetasting, or simply a fun get-away from busy everyday life, then you need to know the best times to visit Helen, GA! Below we are going to discuss our top three times of the year that visitors need to know about!

In the Summer

To begin with, we have the summer months which is arguably one of the best times to visit Helen, GA. With tubing and hiking trails being such an extreme attraction in Helen visitors need to know the most optimal times of the year to plan their vacation.

The tubing season typically starts in May around Memorial Day weekend and can last until Mid-October depending on weather.  

Additionally, the busiest times will be Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. It would not be a great idea to hit the main summer crowd and float down the river with hundreds of people disturbing your relaxing afternoon.

June and July

The main summer crowd will last through June and July can get quite busy as there will be people everywhere. Alternatively, there are amazing hikes, restaurants and scenic spots to enjoy as well if the river seems to have a few too many tubes in it.

August and September

August and early September are probably the best times to go visit Helen in the summer months when kids are starting up school again and the weather is just warm enough to compensate for the cool river.

We recommend these months for many reasons, but the main one being that less people will mean a more relaxing trip.

We recommend staying for at least 2-3 days when visiting Helen in the summer months to make sure you hit several hiking trails and tube down the river at least once or twice.

In the Fall

The Fall season in Helen is centered around epic hikes through the canopy of multi colored trees, and the city festival of Oktoberfest which has been the longest running Oktoberfest in the US!

The leaves start to change color in mid-October and can occasionally still be seen through late November. Hikes are highly recommended during this period as nature will be at its most beautiful moment!

For instance, if you are a photographer or simply love taking photos of nature, this will be the most opportune time to capture some breathe taking nature shots.

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest, which is the main attraction in the fall, is hosted by Helen Festhalle. The entire festival typically kicks off in September and will last until the 27th of October. This festival has everything including beer, brats, bands, parades, and plenty of drinks for all.

The event is scheduled out below for every weekend during September and almost everyday in October. The best times to visit Helen, GA for Oktoberfest are listed below:

Celebration days

  • 5th – 8th September (Thursday – Sunday)
  • 12th – 15th September (Thursday – Sunday)
  • 19th – 22nd September (Thursday – Sunday)
  • September 26th – October 27th (Everyday)

The Price of Admission for adults:

  • $8 Monday – Friday
  • $10 on Saturdays
  • Free on Sundays

The Times of daily events:

  • Weekdays 6:00 – 10:30
  • Friday 6:00 – 12:00
  • Saturdays 1:00 – 12:00
  • Sundays 1:00 – 7:00

Kids under the age of 6 are free and kids ages 6-12 are half price as the adult prices above.

  • $4 Monday – Friday
  • $5 on Saturdays
  • Free on Sundays

Oktoberfest is the best time of year to see Helen for couples and adults that are looking to get a real authentic German October feel. If you like beer, festivals, community and nature, then I am pretty sure this is the perfect time for you to come to Helen!

In the Winter

In the Winter, you do not have tubing or festivals, but what you do have is Christmas events and winter hiking!

Beginning at the end of November, the winter season starts to take hold. Many of the towns in north Georgia, including Helen, become magical Christmas villages. There is even an annual Christkindlmarkt (which is a fancy word for Christmas market). In addition, there is a Christmas Parade that attracts hundreds of visitors every year.

Christmas Parade

The Christmas parade is usually the first or second Friday of December around 2pm in the afternoon.  The parade has Christmas elves, characters, and Santa that walk downtown and greet people.

Christkindlmarkt

The Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) is usually held in the first two weekends of December on Saturdays and Sundays. The aim is to bring the German tradition for food, music and entertainment to Helen in order to promote culture! Markets will have imported and local Christmas specialties for people to purchase and enjoy! We recommend this as one of the best times to visit Helen, GA.

Both of these events are a great way to kick start your holiday season and get everyone in the festive mood! If you do end up going to either of these events, remember it will be quite chilly in the mountainous air, so it is best to layer up!

Winter Hiking

Meanwhile for the winter hiking, all the trails remain open that are open in the summer and fall seasons. Getting out of the house in the winter is a great rejuvenator for anyone as it is easy to get down and feel stuck at home all the time.

Our favorite path for hiking in the winter is Anna Ruby Falls. It is less than a mile, but it offers 2 gorgeous waterfalls that will make any photo savvy hiker ecstatic. To get there, drive 5 mile north of Helen.

This makes for a great 2-3 hour trip depending on how long it takes you to hike and take photos. There are numerous hikes that can be taken, and most will be decently short, so we suggest taking advantage of the convivence while in Helen.

Dahlonega

Afterward, if you are looking for another awesome location to check out in a day, then definitely check out Dahlonega after seeing all that Helen has to offer! It is a town about 25 miles away has an awesome light display throughout the town. There is also plenty of time for caroling, carriage rides, horse riding, and plenty of eggnog.

For more things to do in Helen, please check out our other article: 5 Things to do in Helen Georgia. Thanks for reading our article on the best times to visit Helen, GA!