As the days shorten, and frosty mornings greet those of us who find ourselves in the mountains of North Georgia, late autumn is a wonderful time to take in those last trips to the apple orchards that dot this unique landscape. From farm to table, scrumptious family recipes made with genuinely fresh apples are never beyond reach, as numerous varieties are still coming into harvest…a sweet reward of life in this region. The breathtaking landscape of the North Georgia Mountains warrants a drive on any given afternoon, whether to stop and pick apples for use in baking pies, or to sip the ready-made cider many establishments offer the cold passerby. Early fall in North Georgia welcomes numerous tourists, drawn to the area, eager to attend the plethora of annual fall festivals, choose pumpkins and delight in the novelty of picking apples. It is this time of the season, as autumn wanes, that locals can relish the benefits of living in this relaxed and awe-inspiring part of America. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, and fiery foliage just past, many people have retreated to the warmth and comfort of the indoors. Those of us in and around Big Canoe, who relish the invigorating change of seasons, however, embrace this opportunity to enjoy such local excursions as a brisk hike up to Springer Mountain, or a visit to the nature center and well-groomed trails of Amicalola Falls State Park. A candlelight dinner at the Oar House restaurant in Dahlonega offers a chance to experience the cool evenings and ambience of nature while dining in an intimate setting along the Chestatee River. Take a weekend, with tourist season on hiatus, to visit and see what North Georgia has to offer, and why so many who have come as tourists, have stayed on as residents.