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In the Appalachian Foothills of North Georgia, Cozy Little Ellijay is the "Apple Capital of Georgia" and Has an Apple Festival, Wineries and Antique Stores
About 80 miles from Atlanta, where the Cartecay River and the Ellijay River meet in the lush Appalachian foothills of North Georgia, quiet Ellijay makes its home. This is a rural town, and it is known as the "Apple Capital of Georgia."
In fact, Ellijay is the leading producer of apples and apple related products in the entire state. Every year the town hosts October's Apple Festival, a celebration of all things apple that draws people from around the region. Along with apples, and a historic downtown, Ellijay has antique shops, eateries, bars, wineries and a "tasting barn" (some people call Ellijay a quaint little drinking town with an antiques problem). More restaurants, box stores and other retailers are located on State Route 515, which runs through town and heads south to Atlanta. The surrounding hills lend themselves to hiking, biking and camping, drawing locals and tourists alike. In the spring, whip-poor-wills whistle, and in the fall, the leaves burst with breathtaking color.
Population: 1,900 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 42%
Cost of Living: Meets the national average
Median Home Price: $400,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives 60 inches of rain and 3 inches of snow per year. The elevation is 1,357 feet above sea level.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but North Georgia Medical Center is accredited by DNV Healthcare.
Public Transit: None
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 29%
Is Georgia Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The poverty rate is above the national average. Much of this is due to the low wage migrant farm worker population that comes to work in the apple orchards. The tornado risk is 105% above the national average.
Notes: Atlantans come to rent cabins for the weekend, and former President Jimmy Carter has a second home here. Residents seem to like Ellijay and remark on its friendly atmosphere and peaceful setting. The population goes up and down according to how many folks come to work in the apple orchards each year but has generally increased 12% during the last 10 years. Home prices have remained steady since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
The Peach State ratified the Constitution on January 2, 1788, becoming the fourth state to enter the Union. By the mid-19th century, Georgia was rich in plantations and deeply dependent on the slave economy. During the Civil War, General Sherman captured Atlanta and set about destroying much of the state's plantation culture.
The largest state east of the Mississippi River, Georgia has five major geographical regions that descend from the Appalachian Mountains in the north down to the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeast. The climate is surprisingly uniform. Most of the state experiences a mild winter and a hot summer.
Although Georgia is the nation's number one producer of peaches, peanuts, and pecans, agriculture is not its major employer. Trade, service industries, textile manufacturing, and federal organizations like the CDC and Fort Benning supply a larger number of jobs.
Georgia was the first state to lower the voting age to 18. Its Wesleyan College was the first chartered college in the world to grant degrees to women.
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