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Day #2 of our Blue Ridge Mountains Vacation was exciting because I happily crossed off another bucket list adventure – apple picking at Mercier Orchards! Who doesn’t love the thought of frolicking throughout a legit, family-owned orchard? Picking a peck of apples to take home, strolling through their old-fashioned general store, and tasting their homemade samples and cafe food gave us a happy, nostalgic feeling that we won’t soon forget. Here’s a must-do list and family-friendly things to do nearby. Don’t miss the fun videos and important info at the end!
APPLE PICKING & MORE
Y’all. I was tickled like a kid on Christmas morning to finally experience the Blue Ridge Georgia apples, fun, and nostalgia of this region! If you missed it, check out Blue Ridge Mountains Day #1 of our mountain adventure!
This fourth-generation, 300-acre orchard nestled in the North Georgia Mountains blew us away with its seasonal U-Pick options year-round, fresh bakery pies and pastries, restaurant, and the enormous shop.
The tractor ride out to the apple orchard was a hoot. A friendly staff member took the tractor ride with us to share the history and details about the farm and the family that started it. When we reached the orchard hill, another staffer explained a smidgen about the 52 apple varieties grown on the farm and how to have the best experience.
So. much. fun!!
We frolicked from row to row, trying to decide which variety I wanted for munching, baking, and giving as gifts!
It was such a beautiful area of green, rolling hills against a woodsy mountain backdrop that I considered spinning around and around while belting out Julie Andrews’ Sound of Music song.
A little dramatic, I know, but this was a big bucket list item that I was so thrilled to experience with my family. The fun didn’t end there. Afterward, we strolled through another of my favorites: an old-fashioned general market.
The Mercier Orchards Market feels like a old-timey general store, gift shop, bakery, and souvenir shop all in one. Oh, and it’s huge. There are fresh-baked samples in the back and photo-ops in this adorable space. You can find:
- fresh pies
- pastries, seasonal fruit
- apple cider
- apple butter
- packaged meats
- local honey
Insider tip: check the table near the bakery for the discounted treats! And don’t miss the fresh, hot samples of pie in the very back.
The typical schedule is to be open from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day of the week. Be sure to check the website or call to be sure!
Gather fruit at the U-Pick farm, shop at the Market, Eat at the Cafe, Sample some fresh pastries, Ride a tractor tour to the orchard, and/or Try the Family Adventure Course.
A wonderful restaurant cafe is on-site at the farm. There is also a Dunkin Donuts shop about four miles away and many restaurants on the main street of downtown Blue Ridge.
Bring the pup if you plan to use the outdoor patio. The staff are happy to bring your fur baby some a bowl of water if you’d like
Long Creek Falls, Downtown Blue Ridge shops & restaurants, Springer Mountain, Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad, and Toccoa River Swinging Bridge.
Although we didn’t review any of these, there are three lodging choices nearby: Aska Lodge B&B, Horse Creek Stable Bed and Breakfast, and Blue Ridge Inn Bed & Breakfast. We opted for a charming Airbnb nearby in Morganton, Ga (details in next posts).
LUNCH AT MERCIER ORCHARDS
It worked out perfectly for us to ramble around the general store, sampling some treats before it was time for our apple orchard tour. As soon as the tour was over, we moseyed over to the cafe for a southern lunch.
The cafe’s menu is full of so many great southern choices that we had a hard time choosing. The hubs got a chicken salad sandwich and the kids and I opted for fried pimento sandwiches and free applesauce.
DOWNTOWN SHOP & CAFE
All of the fun of the apple orchard, U-Pick farm, general store, and cafe are located at the original location. The family opened an extension of the original called Mercier Orchards Downtown and is located in Downtown Blue Ridge where you can shop and enjoy breakfast, lunch, or pastries in the cafe.
On the wall of the Mercier Orchards Downtown store, there is a charming story of how the 2nd location came to be…
“Once upon a time in Blue Ridge, Georgia, Bill and Adele Mercier wanted to buy an apple orchard. They had this crazy dream to grow and sell apples to folks near and far. They figured on raisin’ their children on this farm and so…”
Insider tip: look for the chalkboard sign to read the rest of the story — you can’t miss it!
ATTRACTIONS NEAR MERCIER ORCHARDS
Downtown Blue Ridge – charming shops and Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad, put that at the top of your list. I looked up the route that the scenic railroad took and we decided to follow it – by car.
That led us to McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. We walked around these two side-by-side towns, one in Georgia and the other in Tennessee, visiting shops and talking with locals. Of course, we had to get selfies at the infamous line.
Toccoa River Swinging Bridge – part of the Nantahala National Forest and the longest suspension bridge east of the Mississippi. Travel via a steep, three-mile gravel USFS road that winds up to to parking area. There was a small waterfall past the bridge.
Directions: To find the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge from the intersection of Highway 515 and Highway 5 (McDonalds) in Blue Ridge, follow Highway 515 East approximately 4 miles to the traffic light at Highway 60. Turn right and go to the stop sign; then turn left on Highway 60. Go 1.5 miles into Morganton, then turn right on Highway 60 South toward Dahlonega for 11.3 miles passing Skeenah Mill. Another .7 miles on the right is FS 816, turn right there and follow ROUGH gravel road about 3 miles to the parking area. Short hike down to the Toccoa River & Swinging Bridge.
Insider tip: I suggest visiting Toccoa River Suspension hike for couples and those with slightly older children. Print out or screenshot directions to the bridge as there is NO cell service or available GPS in this remote area!
BEFORE YOU VISIT BLUE RIDGE
It can get very busy during the weekend and on holidays, and the orchard is located just off the highway. There is easy access with plenty of parking. I called a day in advance to find out the best time to visit. Typically, the cost is $5/per person, and children under 2 years old are free.
No matter which area you decide to explore in this gorgeous region, I guarantee you’ll have fun with your people. You can’t go wrong with the beauty, the people and the extensive nature that can be enjoyed.
Mercier Orchards: 8660 Blue Ridge Dr, Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Station: 241 Depot St, Blue Ridge, GA
Toccoa River Suspension Bridge: Hwy 60, Blue Ridge, GA