I haven’t had a chance to finish up about our trip to the mountains. I will probably do this in several posts as I have a lot of pictures I want to post. I wrote earlier about our getting stuck Friday night in the bottom part of the driveway but despite the little mishap there Saturday morning dawned beautiful with memories of that awful situation fading fast from memory. The intoxicating views made that little incident seem so insignificant.
We had decided on Friday night that Saturday would be kind of leisurely with no firm plans other than seeing the mountains and trying to make a trip to Mercier’s Orchards and maybe the Pink Pig restaurant for lunch or dinner. Everything in between was kind of up for grabs. Oh, and we knew we needed to try to find a “starter” log for the fireplace as we had no paper or proper kindling and it’s hard to start a fire with fireplace matches that aren’t working and actual logs.
We had parked at the turn around at the curve/rut from hell and didn’t have too much problem getting out. The car did kind of spin at one point in the driveway but I was determined NOT to slow down because we probably wouldn’t be able to get all the way up if I stopped at all. I’m not sure what scared hubby more, how fast I drove up the driveway or the thought of sliding back down the mountain if we didn’t make it up there.
We weren’t really sure where Mercier’s Orchard was but we knew it was going towards Blue Ridge so we headed that way. The views were absolutely gorgeous! Breathtaking really but in most of the places the stupid electrical wires/telephone poles/traffic lights got in the way of the picture taking and really cut down on the affect after I cropped them but you can get the gist of them.
First a little about Mercier’s… Another family had started a small orchard at the site way back when… I think it was 1913 and it was acquired by the Mercier family in 1943. They have expanded it to be the massive orchards that they now are. They have over 100,000 trees with over 50 varieties of apples. They even have a “pick your own” during certain times of the year according to what varieties are in season.
In addition to apples they also grow Sweet cherries, Blueberries, Peaches, Blackberries, Strawberries, Nectarines and Plums. Can’t get any fresher than straight off the vine or tree limb, now can you? We didn’t pick our own but we did pick up a bag of Granny Smiths and Pink Ladys. They are so good. Even Chorizo loves them!
I tell you just walking through their store brought back so many memories of childhood and riding through the apple orchards with my daddy and picking apples not only in the orchards that my dad worked in but also at my grandparents as they had several fruit trees always growing in their yard and fields. Just walking through and looking at the varieties Rome, Crispin (called Mutzu in this area), Stayman, Braebun, York, Yale and Granny Smith… All evoked those old memories and emotions of walking through those orchards in my youth and hearing my daddy talking about all the different varieties that he was overseeing in “his” orchards. He still talks about those times with love and wistfulness as we just had a long conversation about just that the last time I was home.
Walking through their shops was almost sensory overload. As you walk in the door they have their “sale” items from their bakery assaulting your senses, but assaulting in a good way. You can smell the fresh fruits that have been lovingly baked into their breads and fritters and pies. And don’t forget the “fried pies” which is sort of like a mini pie or tart that can be held in your hand to eat. Sort of like McDonalds fruit pies but on a MUCH better scale.
They even have a deli tucked into the corner where you can sit and eat and they serve Black Forest meats and they have a wonderful selection of cheeses. Many of the products that they use in their deli and some that they sell in the store come from Amish farms not too far away in Tennessee. The gentleman we talked to and the lady standing with him couldn’t agree whether the Amish farms were 25 or 60 miles away but I’ll just say, not too far.
They have the biggest selection of ciders I think I’ve ever seen, from apple to peach to blueberry and more. They also sell them “regular” or for those health and/or diet conscious they also have sugar free varieties in both the ciders and most of their jams, jellies, preserves and candies. And the selection of the jams, jellies and fruit spreads and preserves was mind boggling. They not only carried their own “brand” but also varieties from several other companies. I ended up buying some apple caramels which are round apple flavored candy coated balls of caramel that literally melt in your mouth. Succulent and delicious, almost sinful they are so good.
They also have decorations and home décor and even their own little “Christmas shop” from which to choose ornaments and knick knacks. You can also order from them direct from their website for personal use or you can even have their items shipped for gifts. Their website is www. Mercier-orchards.com and in case you are ever in the area and want to visit, their contact info is:
P O Box 425
8660 Blue Ridge Drive
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
(706)632-3411 FAX: (706) 632-2685
Or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anything they have would make great Christmas gifts! More on our trip tomorrow but in the meantime enjoy the following pictures from the trip.