Delights in Dahlonega
I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. Why was Dahlonega on so many "Best Small Southern Towns" or "Best Christmas Towns in the South" lists? Hallmark had already found it and filmed "Christmas in Homestead" there in 2016. "Christmas in the Smokies" and "Beacon Point" are two other recent movies filmed in the small town.
We had reservations to visit in December of 2020 but talked ourselves out of it because of Covid and crowds. This year we each had 2 vaccinations and a booster under our belts, and the North Georgia mountains were beckoning us. In early November, we didn't have to contend with crowds, and the surrounding mountains were ablaze with color.
Since I always like to stay in unique places, we found The Smith House which proudly claims to have been established in 1898. There is also a very cool story about the vein of gold found under the foundation that has never been mined. I had read that the location was good, but it was actually exceptionally good. We could easily walk one block to the town square for dinner and for browsing the shops.
Our room was comfortable with stained glass windows, high ceilings, and vintage light fixtures, along with free WiFi, a flatscreen TV with HULU, and plenty of hot water.
A surprise to us was the fact that the Dahlonega campus of University of North Georgia is adjacent to The Smith House property. UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the nation. A cannon is shot at 0700 and at 1700 every day, and a bugle plays "Reveille" in the morning. Neat traditions.
Two restaurants we enjoyed for dinner were Shenanigan's and 19-degrees North Seafood & Grill. The shepherd's pie and hot sausage dip were really good at Shenanigan's, and we shared a seafood platter at 19-degrees North.
Probably our favorite eatery in Dahlonega was Papa's Place, a couple of miles down South Chestatee Street from The Smith House. (You should definitely drive there). Think good Southern breakfast, pancakes as big as a dinner plate, homemade cinnamon rolls. Get the idea? Even though the staff was very shorthanded, our service was great.
You'll find a variety of shops and boutiques around the Dahlonega Gold Museum which has a prominent place in the center of town. Chocolate shops, tea and spice shops, country-style home decor, blown glass ornaments, clothing, etc. The Visitors Center is a very helpful place if you have questions or need directions.
I hope you'll find an opportunity to visit this pretty town soon. Just one fair warning. There's no straight shot to get there, especially from North Alabama. You WILL be traveling some curvy roads. Allow plenty of time and WATCH OUT FOR THE DEER!!