What started out as a quest to Tallulah Gorge suddenly turned into multiple side quests in what could only be described as The Great Exploration of North Georgia. The leaves haven’t started changing colors yet but that doesn’t mean the fall festivities hasn’t begun. Half way to Tallulah, my good friend Kevin and I decided to take a shorter trip to Amicalola. I have already completed that quest but this time it was a little different. As we were driving we took a wrong turn and suddenly before our eyes, the idyllic and ever beautiful Burt’s Pumpkin Farm appeared! We quickly turned into the parking lot and knew that this was going to be a great side quest. First, let me paint the scene of what you’ll see at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm. Families were picnicking along a small brook on blankets and the air was crisp yet still warm. If that doesn’t immediately get you then imagine strolling past the families, through a covered wooded bridge into what can only be described as Pumpkin Heaven. Hundreds upon hundreds of pumpkins ranging from massive 150 lbs to tiny little 1 lb babies lined perfectly as far as the eye can see. Still haven’t convinced you? They have white pumpkins. Yes, albino pumpkins are present at this farm. Also, food. Wonderful, fall food that you can’t deny once you’ve seen anyone walking around with it in their hands. And for you photographers out there, this is a spot that will keep you busy for at least an hour or more.
So off we go from Burts Pumpkin Farm to Amicalola. If you just hike the initial part of the falls it’s actually quite quick. It took about 30 minutes there and back including parking. Be forewarned that it cost $4 to park and you may have to do a walk from your parking spot to the falls. It was absolutely packed because all Georgians knew that a beautiful 75 degree weather on a Sunday in the fall should be spent in North Georgia. This park is run by Georgia so don’t worry! The Government Shutdown will not affect your quest. If you want information about the history behind Amicalola check out my post under the category of “waterfall”.
After working up an appetite we continued on what we thought was the direction of Dahlonega. Turns out we went the opposite way and ended up in Ellijay. I believe our noses is what convinced us to turn into Hillside Apple Orchard and Market. I have to warn you that resistance to the apple cider doughnuts, made right there in the market, is futile. They have multiple kinds of apple cider but I will tell you that regular apple cider and those doughnuts will make you feel like you’ve reach a higher state of consciousness. Here at Hillside you can go pick apples in the orchard, browse the market and drain your bank account buying all the delicious and fresh goods they have, and you can end the side quest at the petting zoo. The smell of apple cider doughnuts the moment you step out of your car is the most intoxicating smell ever. This is a must-see place as part of your North Georgia explorations.
Here are the links to these great side quests: