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LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to Ellijay, GA

Gay Ellijay GA
Photo by Abigail Ducote from Unsplash

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As the Apple Capital of Georgia, Ellijay, feels like a little slice of apple pie, with its small-town charm and friendly faces. For the queer traveler, it is refreshingly chilI, where anyone in the LGBTQ+ community can just be themselves. It’s like stepping into a storybook town, where life moves at a leisurely pace, and there’s no rush to be anywhere. The streets are lined with shops and cafes where everyone seems to greet you with a smile, making you feel right at home. Check out our guide to find the most welcoming places and LGBTQ+ friendly experiences in Ellijay.

How to Get There: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

No matter how you choose to travel, the journey to Ellijay is part of the fun. And once you arrive, all the travel will be worth it when you’re wandering through its streets, breathing in the mountain air, and maybe munching on a delicious apple!

Planes: The nearest major airport to Ellijay is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). It’s about a 90-minute drive from there. Once you land in Atlanta, you can rent a car to make the scenic drive north.

Trains: While there isn’t a direct train service to Ellijay, you can take a train to Atlanta and then drive or take a bus from there. 

Automobiles: If you’re up for a road trip, driving to Ellijay can be an adventure. From the north or south, you can take Interstate 75 (I-75), and from the east or west, Interstate 20 (I-20) is your best bet. The drive is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing colors.

Buses: For those who prefer not to drive, there are bus services that run through Georgia. You can catch a bus to one of the larger cities nearby, like Atlanta or Chattanooga, and then rent a car or take a local bus to Ellijay.

How LGBTQ+ Welcoming Is Ellijay

As you wander through the charming streets of Ellijay, you feel like the town’s giving you a friendly nod, saying, “Hey, glad you’re here!” There’s this sweet, laid-back air about the place that whispers, “Just relax and be yourself.” Ellijay’s got this easygoing, “everyone’s welcome” kind of vibe, where you’re met with smiles and neighborly kindness. You get the sense that people are more interested in what kind of pie you like than whose hand you’re holding. It’s a community where folks are just folks, no matter who they love, where inclusivity is woven into the simple, everyday interactions that make you feel like part of the Ellijay family.

Pride Events in Ellijay

While Ellijay doesn’t host its own pride festival or parade, you can check out all of the pride events near and around Ellijay in our Georgia Pride Guide.

History Of Ellijay

Ellijay, Georgia, with its deep roots in Cherokee heritage, has evolved from a lush “new ground” treasured by native populations into the “Apple Capital of Georgia.” Incorporated in 1834 as the county seat of Gilmer County, Ellijay has weathered the complexities of the 19th century, including the displacement of its original Cherokee residents and the turmoil of the Civil War. Over time, it’s balanced its agricultural legacy with modern developments, weaving together its historic charm and contemporary rural lifestyle. Today, this town continues to draw visitors with its landscapes, historic downtown, and welcoming community vibe.

Ellijay Georgia
Photo by Abigail Ducote from Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Friendly Places to Stay in Ellijay

Ellijay has plenty of gay-friendly accommodations, from quaint landmarks to contemporary boutique hotels. Choose between staying close to the downtown action or a more secluded spot with scenic views. Whether you prefer historic charm or modern luxury, Ellijay has something for every traveler’s style. Check out some of our favorites. 

Ellijay River House – This cozy bed and breakfast along the Ellijay River, is a blend of comfort and elegance. Each room is uniquely decorated and has river views. Guests can enjoy a hearty breakfast each morning and relax on the spacious porch overlooking the river.

Best Western Mountain View Inn – As its name suggests, the Mountain View Inn located in East Ellijay, has rooms with spectacular mountain views. The hotel is pet-friendly and has free parking. It’s located near local vineyards and outdoor recreational activities.

Gingershack Farms – This unique accommodation offers a rustic farm experience. Guests can stay in beautifully crafted cabins surrounded by nature. The farm includes access to walking trails and a pond for fishing.

Recommended Restaurants In Ellijay

You can find classic American fare, with everything from juicy burgers to satisfying breakfasts. There’s also a mix of international flavors with Mexican, Italian, and Asian eateries with everything from tacos to pasta to sushi. Barbecue joints in Ellijay are a must-try. And if you’re looking for something more down-home, there are diners and family-style restaurants, too.

Pooles Bar-B-Q – A local favorite, serving some of the best barbecue in the area, Poole’s Bar-B-Q is like sitting down with family for a meal. With dishes like their signature Brunswick stew, along with all of the traditional smoked meats and sides, and their outdoor seating area, Poole’s is a don’t-miss spot.

Cantaberry Restaurant – They’ve got a menu that hits the spot whether you’re into wraps, salads, or just looking for a sweet treat. Try their turkey bacon avocado sandwich and tomato basil soup, both are epic. If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or need gluten-free options, they have those, too.

Kasei Sushi & Sake – Serving both lunch and dinner, Kasei Sushi & Sake is the place to go for either. With over 35 sake selections, and sushi rolls that are not only a feast for the eyes but also an explosion of flavors, it’s the perfect spot for sushi veterans or curious newcomers. 

Things To Do & See In Ellijay

Whatever you’re looking to experience, you can probably find it in Ellijay. You can explore art galleries, museums, parks, and botanical gardens. The city is loaded with Mediterranean Revival architecture that you can take in through walking tours. And, if you’re up for sporting activities, there’s bowling, golf, swimming, boating, and hiking. 

B J Reece Orchards – You absolutely cannot visit the “Apple Capital of Georgia” without a day of apple picking at one of Ellijay’s best apple orchards. So, head on over to B.J. Reece Orchards where along with picking apples, they often have other activities like hayrides and a petting zoo.

Gilmer Arts – Where the arts come to life in Ellijay, Gilmer Arts has everything from eye-catching art exhibits to classes that let you unleash your inner artist. It’s also a creative hotspot for live concert performances and theatrical plays.

Cartecay River Experience – The Cartecay River Experience is a laid-back and scenic way to enjoy Ellijay’s natural beauty with its river tubing and kayak adventures. Float or paddle down the Cartecay River, soak in the sun, and maybe even splash around a bit for a relaxing day out.

Camping in Ellijay GA
Photo by Cari Dobbins from Pixabay

Where To Shop & Stroll In Ellijay

In Ellijay, a leisurely stroll takes you through a world where its small-town vibe comes alive. As you wander, there are boutiques, artisan shops, and cafes to explore as well as parks, historic buildings, and green spaces to take in. Here are a few don’t-miss places.

Downtown Ellijay A great spot for those who love to wander and window-shop, Downtown Ellijay’s streets are lined with stores, where you can find everything from handmade goods to local souvenirs. Its relaxed vibe invites you to spend the day going from shop to shop. 

Ellijay Farmers & Artisans Market – The Ellijay Farmers & Artisans Market is where local vendors put their fresh produce and handmade crafts forward. Open on weekends, it’s a great place to pick up fresh fruits and veggies, artisan bread, homemade jams, and crafts.

Black Bear Antiques & Interiors – Black Bear Antiques & Interiors is a treasure trove for anyone who loves anything antique as well as one-of-a-kind home decor. This “mall” of vendor stalls is packed with an eclectic mix of vintage finds, from furniture and art to knick-knacks and textiles.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Bars, Clubs and Nightlife In Ellijay

While most, if not all bars and clubs in Ellijay are LGBTQ+ friendly, there are no exclusively gay bars here.

The Roof – Come for the view and stay for some great cocktails. The Roof is a southern rooftop bar and kitchen serving upscale pub food that’s all about quality, creativity, and a fun twist. With both indoor and outdoor seating, it’s a great spot to chill with a drink in hand under the southern sky.

The Pub – It’s the local go-to when you’re looking for a night of fun, good food, a pint (or two), or just to watch a game. Whatever you’re there for, whether it’s trivia night, live music, or just to hang with the locals, The Pub is definitely the place to be.

Annual Events and Festivals in Ellijay

Each of these annual events brings its own flavor, creating memories and experiences that are both fun and refreshingly local! Here are some of the best.

Georgia Apple Festival – This is the big one! Ellijay’s Georgia Apple Festival is two weekends in October packed with more than 300 vendors. It’s a carnival-like atmosphere of arts, crafts, and mouth-watering apple treats.

St PETrick’s Day Parade – Come March, Ellijay goes green, but not with envy! The St. PETrick’s Day Parade is a furry and fun-filled celebration. Bring your four-legged pals and join in the excitement with costumes, treats, live music, food, vendors, and activities for the entire family.

Gilmer County Fair – Each September, the Gilmer County Fair rolls into town, bringing with it the twinkling lights, thrilling rides, and delicious food under the cool night sky. There’s something for everyone, from live entertainment to a showcase of local talents in quilting, baking, and more.

Georgia Amicalola Falls State Park Waterfall in Ellijay
Photo by Sweetsavvysarah from Pixabay

Ellijay is the Apple of Our Collective LGBTQ+ Eye

Ellijay extends an open invitation to queer travelers looking for both adventure and tranquility. It’s where one can freely express themselves, find acceptance when attending local events, and enjoy the serenity of natural beauty, all within a supportive and open-minded community. A visit here is not just a chance to explore a new destination, but an opportunity to experience a community where diversity is woven into everyday life. Amidst the rolling orchards and scenic trails, the LGBTQ+ traveler can create lasting memories in a mountain escape, where queer culture is both acknowledged and celebrated.


**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida and beyond, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.

ChatGPT or another AI writing platform may have contributed to the writing of this article.

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