The forecast was for 2-3 inches of snow above I-20 last Saturday..what better time to head to the mountains of north Georgia! Actually, by the time I left north Atlanta to drop my son off in Woodstock the forecast had changed to more snow below I-20 than above and travel didn't seem to be an issue as we made our way west.
The plan was to drop my son at a friend's house for the afternoon and head up to Ellijay for lunch and loitering on the square downtown. Ellijay is very accessible from Atlanta-my route was up I-75 to I-575 to drop the kid off-then back on 575 north which turns into the limited access, but still 4 lane, GA 515 aka The Zell Miller Georgia Mountain Parkway...which takes you through Jasper and Talking Rock right into Ellijay.
Snowfall had just about stopped by the time I parked on the square, very light flurries but enough on the ground to provide a great backdrop in the hills surrounding the city. My first stop was The Antique Hound, one of two side by side antique malls located in the old historic brick buildings that line the square.. I was impressed the moment I walked into the shop. There were real antiques all over. So many of the "antique" malls in north Georgia have been infiltrated by weekend crafters and people selling new Chinese pocktknives that you really have to search to find something that could be described as antique. This isn't the case at The Antique Hound. All booths were full of predominately old and vintage finds. everything from old local farm tools and pottery to 1960's glass Christmas ornaments still in the box with the original price tags (89 cents). The Antique Hound is also a Case knife dealer and had a very good selection.
Just next door to The Antique Hound is First Mercantile Antiques. I was equally impressed with the quality of merchandise there, but not as impressed with the selection. Hopefully business has been very good and they need to replace and restock. Both stores are worthy of a visit and being next to each other makes it very easy.to hit them both.
Normally I try to eat somewhere I haven't tried when I can...but the River Street Grill was giving away free coffee and it was 29 degrees outside..it didn't matter at the moment that I had dined there before. I ordered a "build it" burger all the way topped with some pepper jack cheese. The burger was well cooked, the coffee was hot and the service was excellent. The River Street Grill is a no-brainer if you are in downtown Ellijay for lunch. The lunch menu is quite extensive with offerings ranging from a selection of salads to Rainbow Trout or a Ribeye Steak.
I wish I had more time to spend, but the radio weather folks were talking about the roads freezing up as the sun went down, and I was 90 miles from home. I did make one more stop at Ellijay Outfitters, which is tucked into one of the corner buildings right on the square. Ellijay Outfitters has a good selection of kayaks and outdoor gear. The gentleman working the store also took the time to tell me about their place on the Cartecay River where they rent tubes and kayaks-I'll have to take him up on that later, I think...maybe 3-4 months from now..maybe June...