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“A lot has changed over the years, for the worse. Overpriced! Animals not treated well!”
Review of Hillcrest Orchards

Hillcrest Orchards
Ranked #8 of 27 things to do in Ellijay
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: U-Pick apple orchard featuring festivals on fall weekends with agritourism activities including pig races, cow milking, wagon rides, petting farm, apple museum, moonshine museum, farmhouse museum, fairy tale walk, kiddie corn maze, jumping pillow, mini golf, cow train rides, pedal cart rides, trike track and Bluegrass Bands and Cloggers on the stage. Weekdays the large farm market is open as well as the petting farm and playgrounds. School tours available.SEASONAL!!! OPEN SEPT-NOV
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed October 9, 2013

We have been going to Hillcrest since my 23 year old granddaughter was around 3 years old. I could not believe the difference we experienced with our newest granddaughter, 2 years old. The price to go to the children's activities, even though scaled down during the week was $7.00 per person. There were kittens (unsupervised by staff being handled roughly), goats, 1 calf (you couldn't pet) a pig we never saw, chickens that looked sick, and baby chicks. There was chicken wire sticking out in the cages at children's height, VERY dangerous. There was a nursery rhyme path that was in disrepair, very run down. They had a run down playground. Very disappointing! NO MAINTENANCE here. We went during the week so there was no apple picking, which is fine, I get that. However, I would not buy the apples that were on the tables available for you to fill your own bags. There were flies everywhere (get it, it's open door place) but it was not clean, no apple tasting, many of the apples looked bruised & not fresh. The jars of apple butter, chow chow, etc were so dusty, I didn't want to touch them. We used to love this place but not anymore. My biggest concern, the animals. We actually had a conversation with someone that used to work there for 15 years but moved on because they didn't like how the animals were treated. Maintenance is critical in any business. Torn wire (chicken wire) is a walking time bomb for some small child to get severely cut or worse an eye injury! Compare them to the orchards down the street. We didn't even buy any apples from them this year. If you want activities for children that involve animals, seek them out somewhere else where the animals are protected and well taken care of.

6  Thank IrisRoswell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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71 - 75 of 102 reviews

Reviewed October 8, 2013

If you want to just go up there to enter the apple orchards to pick apples, which I assume is why people want to go there, be advised you will pay dearly. The price for the apples is fine - $7 or $11 bags -BUT it will cost you $7 per person as the cost of admission. This is a money-grabbing gimmick to entertain the kids with some side activity, Hey, times are tough and it costs a lot to maintain a big orchard but if I wanted a petting zoo I would GO to a petting zoo. Waiting on line for 20 minutes to get the bags and then be told it will be an additional $14 for the two of us - - I think NOT. Of course, one can buy bagged apples or bag one's own from the loose apple bins,. but why drive all the way there to do what one can do in Kroger Publix or Wal-Mart? To paraphrase Mick Jagger - this will (not may be) be the last time.

1  Thank Steven D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2013

Our kids love going here, not so much for the apples but for all the other activities. They have a "moonpillow," petting zoo, slides, short zip line for little kids, wagon rides, pedal carts, mini-golf, and music on the weekends. Be forewarned that it can get very crowded on the weekends. Over the years, we have learned to go in September rather than October. There are still apples on the trees in September (they are gone by October; this is the South so they ripen earlier than up north) and the crowds are not as bad as those in October. We go there more for the activities rather than the apple picking experience, so we are always happy with our experience there. If you do pick apples, do it at the end so you are not carrying around a bag of heavy apples while doing all the other activities. The doughnuts and apple cider are always delicious!

1  Thank Atlanta_Mom_to_2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2013

This started off as a great experience....until I got out of the car. I went on a day that was crowded. There were little children, along with their parents of course, EVERYWHERE! The lines were very long. I couldn't tell what the lines were for either. I was thinking the lines were for different things. I eventually found out, after standing in one line for what seemed like forever and then getting out of that line because I thought it was for children's activities only and then getting in another line, thinking they didn't accept credit cards. The line that was outside was worse because it was hot on this Sunday morning. When you get to the entrance there is an area where you have to pay and then get an admission sticker that goes around your wrist. After you pay the $7.00 entrance fee, you have to get in another line for the apple picking fee & bag. The bags are either $7.00 or $11.00. I actually thought that was a lot of money for picking apples. I did have a chance to sample the apples before I started picking. After I tasted the apples and knew what I wanted to pick, I thought, OK, this will be great. After dealing with the long lines and heat, all I wanted to do was just put any apple in my bag and get out of there. I'll have to admit though, after I started picking the apples, my emotions settled down. Long lines, people everywhere and pricey can make anybody a little agitated and it was hot outside! I can't believe they walked a cow past me either! The restroom lines were super long too. Going back to the tasting of the apples for a moment. The lady in that area had the nerve to say I could only taste one apple at time. Is she nuts? Maybe she just didn't want me to have 2 toothpicks for one apple. That's crazy too because I wasn't even trying to get 2 toothpicks. It just happened like that at that time. Well I did go into the ice cream parlor, which was a great experience. The fritters with ice cream was absolutely delicious!! To be honest, Hillcrest Orchards is a neat place to take small children. They have plenty of activities for them. There are other orchards in the area which I think I want to experience. I heard they don't have as many childrens activities. Overall I'll have to admit that I did enjoy the orchard and would go again,

2  Thank hapkido7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2013

Visited Hillcrest Orchards this past weekend. We had expectations of apple picking, wagon rides and a petting zoo. They delivered on all those, however the over the top corny "Moonshine Museum" was just totally weird. Strange heads put on stuffed bodies and they were creepy, smelled very musty. They can do away with this. Shorten it up, leave out the mutated bodies. I can follow a timeline or description of how moonshine is made. I think they would have been better served showing how apple cider/juice is made instead, or making it a hands on experience for their guests. Squeeze your own apples, bottle it up and take it home, etc. The pig races, while well attended, ended up being about 30 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

It cost $7.00 to have the privilege of entering the orchards, then they hit you with another $7 for a 1/2 bag and $11 for a full bag for pick your own. The full bag is no larger than your typical plastic grocery bag. You can get the same amount at the same price in their store, and they picked them for you. I didn't find any unique apples, that I can't find in my local store at any given time in Central FL.

They had all the fried and grilled foods you'd expect; sweet corn, hamburgers, and of course candied apples or apples with caramel sauce. It was very crowded, and stayed that way the entire time we were there (10am - 12:30pm). They seemed a bit unorganized.

Kids had a good time, bouncing on a giant air mattress, and at the petting zoo.

It was just OK, a bit hokie. If you just want to pick apples, find another orchard along the same route on HWY 52. There are plenty, without the "cheeseball" factor.

2  Thank Izzy2184
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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