For most families, weekends are covered up in sports practices and games, birthday parties and other regularly occurring activities that somehow manage to clutter their calendar, even on the weekends.
However, if you do get a break and have a chance to do something more slower-paced, a trip back in time to one of Georgia’s many farms can be a fun, relaxing weekend treat.
One of the local farms you don’t want to miss is Mercier Orchards, in Blue Ridge, Georgia. It bills itself as an apple orchard, but it is so much more.
The Treasure: When you first arrive at Mercier Orchards, you know you are experiencing something special. The parking lot overlooks a beautiful mountain scene that no photograph can do justice. The beauty of the landscape is worth the trip, no matter where in Georgia you are coming from.
Once you’ve caught your breath from the view, you will soon realize that there is more to do here than just one day will allow. In fact, when you consider all of the farm’s seasonal activities, there is no way you could do everything there is to do here in one trip.
Mercier is an apple orchard, but it is also a farmer’s market, with a cafe’ that serves breakfast and lunch. They have a winery that specializes in hard apple cider, but apples aren’t the only game in town here. Depending on the season, you can participate in the farm’s U-Pick events, and pick Strawberries, blueberries, apples or blackberries. You can also pick peaches, but not this season. Due to the light winter, the farm’s peaches are only going to stores this year. You pay per person and buy a basket to go down on the farm to pick the fruit that is in season, and once you’re down there you can pick and eat as much as your basket or stomach can hold.
The farmer’s market is bigger than a grocery store and has all kinds of products, most of which come from some aspect of the farm’s operations. You can also buy one of the farm’s popular fruit smoothies.
Mercier is also a wedding venue, and you would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful setting for such an important occasion.
Background: Mercier Orchards was founded by Bill and Adele Mercier in 1943 and has been family owned and operated for four generations. The farm is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is only closed four days out of the year. U-Pick is available only on the weekends.
Where to find it: If you’re coming from Atlanta or south of Atlanta, follow I-575 north to Blue Ridge. The farm is at 8660 Blue Ridge Dr, Blue Ridge, GA 30513.