Apple-picking season is one of the best times of the year to travel to the mountains of Georgia for some amazing weather and time outdoors. Our friends and family loaded up the car in anticipation of our visit to Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay. There are also some other apple-picking places around Georgia we hope to check out one day.

A trip we thought would be just a few hours soon turned into a day trip. No complaints here as there was so much to see and do! Here are just a few activities we were able to experience on our apple orchard adventure.

We started our venture at the petting zoo. This place was awesome for my daughter, Micah (9 years old) and friend, Adrienne (10 years old); I thought we would never leave. From baby chicks to kittens and goats, they were all so adorable and friendly. We all had a great time holding the chicks and kittens and we fed the goats.

As the girls and I made our way over to the pedal cart rides, we took a quick detour and made an impromptu stop at the giant slide for some fun. Once the girls started on the pedal carts they had a blast! Adrienne said the carts were her favorite thing to do! Even though the carts were manual, that did not stop them from having a great time racing around the track.

Next, the girls were ready for some bungee jumping. For a modest fee, the girls jumped and flipped over and over again. This was definitely a hit. Micah would have done this all afternoon if we didn’t pull her away. We all decided to take a short break from jumping and visit the “Moonshine and Farmhouse Museum,” and we even milked Buttercup, the cow.

We made time to enjoy some funnel cake, sweet potatoes, roasted corn and fresh apple fritters. Then we were off to ride the ponies. Micah and Adrienne really enjoyed riding the ponies and even made up names for them. This was a great experience for a small fee. Once the girls told the ponies goodbye, they sped off for one of the most exciting reasons we came to Hillcrest Orchards… The Pig Races.

The event started with children in the audience being selected to cheer for one of the pigs in each race. Micah was selected to cheer on “Daffy Ruck” in the second pig race and she won. She even received a golden pig trophy.

As our day was drawing to a close, we hopped aboard the wagon to see more of the orchard. This led us towards the apple picking, where you can pick your own from a variety of apples. Two bag sizes are offered for you-pick, a 1/2 peck and peck (prices vary). After you enter the festival area, you can purchase your you-pick bags and fill them anytime during the day.

There are so many additional things that we didn’t do this time, but will make sure to do on our next trip to Hillcrest Orchards. There is a Children’s Museum, Mini Golf, Giant Jumping Pillow, a cow train and multiple playgrounds on the property. But for now, we leave with these fun memories.

–Caren Davis Lightfoot

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