There's much more to do at Mercier Orchards at Blue Ridge, Ga., than just pick up apples and peaches.
There's the fried pie section, the antique tractor and station wagon, the wine tasting room, the sample section, the jams and jellies, the apple and peach cider, the deli, the spectacular view of the lake, the orchard and the far mountains . . .
There are U-Pick events and tractor rides from the spacious parking area.
Mercier features musical groups by the front door from time to time, and it has just started hosting weddings. One couple rode in a covered wagon from one part of the orchard to the deck. There are cooking classes.
Four generations of the family have been involved in the operation that started in 1943. They tend to 300 acres of apples, peaches and other fruit trees.
Bill Mercier was an agricultural extension agent when he bought the first 27 acres. The orchards have expanded to be the largest in the state.
Mercier has gift baskets and now offers online shopping.
From Chattanooga go through the Ocoee Gorge to Copperhill, then turn right on Highway 68. At McCaysville, Ga., just below Copperhill, take another right on Highway 5 and go 12 miles. it will be on the right at the top of a hill.
It is open all year and every day of the week except New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Phone 706 632-3411