DILLARD, Ga. — What’s your favorite thing about fall in Georgia? Is it the crisp air? Is it the return of high school and college football? Is it the leaves changing colors? Is it all of the great fall festivals?
Fall arrives on Sept. 22 this year, and promises plenty of warm days and cool nights.
It’s also the perfect time for a quick getaway. With school back in session, many of the larger crowds are gone, but there’s still plenty of fun things to do, particularly in the mountains.
Here are 11 things to enjoy right now on a getaway to Dillard in the North Georgia mountains.
1. See the leaves changing
What makes the colored canopy of the treetops such an experience to witness? It’s hard to describe, but enjoying the incredible scenery has been a popular activity in the mountains for years. The leaves are starting to change colors now, with the peak expected in a couple of weeks.
2. Weekday or weekend stay at the Dillard House
Now is a great time to take a night or weekend to relax, unwind and enjoy the cool breezes, tranquil front porches and all that the famous Dillard House offers. Choose from rooms at the Dillard House Inn, quaint cottages, secluded chalets or the original Rock House rooms. No matter the choice, you’ll experience comfort and style surrounded by natural beauty.
3. A meal at the farm-to-table capital of Georgia
Rabun County has been designated as the farm-to-table capital of Georgia. The county offers numerous spots to enjoy a farm-to-table experience, including award-winning southern cuisine at The Dillard House.
“(The Dillard House was) founded in 1917 by my husband’s grandmother, whose name was Carrie Edwards Dillard,” The Dillard House owner Louise Dillard said. “She started a boardinghouse. She had her own garden. She grew all of her vegetables. She (raised) chickens. She had a cow for milk. She raised pigs and made her own sausage and bacon. And (she) started taking in boarders. And that’s how The Dillard House began in 1917.”
Southern Living named The Dillard House the best breakfast and brunch restaurant and the best southern restaurant.
4. Explore three Georgia state parks
Spend an afternoon exploring each of the state parks in the area. Each offers a unique experience. At Tallulah Gorge State Park, descend 1,062 steps from the park’s visitors center to the base of Hurricane Falls. Known as one of Georgia’s most rugged parks, Tallulah Gorge ranks as one of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S. The gorge stretches two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. It features stunning waterfalls and cliffs.
Moccasin Creek State Park on the shores of Lake Burton is Georgia’s smallest state park, but what it lacks in acreage, it makes up for in activities. Fishing is the biggest attraction. There’s a stream to fish for kids 11 years old and under, as well as seniors 65 and over. Here’s a nice bonus: it’s stocked with fish. The lake offers plenty of other fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages. There’s kayaking and boating, too. The National Forest is nearby, so hiking opportunities abound.
Black Rock Mountain State Park reaches over 3,600 feet of elevation, features incredible views and offers visitors hiking trails and fishing adventures.
5. Horseback riding at the Dillard House Stables
Enjoy a scenic farm ride, a children’s ride or a river ride through the Little Tennessee River on an outing with the Dillard House Stables. Owner Pam Thompson has been carrying guests on rides through the North Georgia mountains for 33 years at the stables. There’s a free petting zoo on the property, too.
“About half the ride is actually in the water when the weather permits,” Thompson said. “It’s just something fun for everybody. It’s an easy ride for beginners but advanced riders enjoy it, too.”
6. Whitewater rafting
The Chattooga River bears the national designation of a Wild and Scenic River. As such, whitewater rafters will experience a day in nature. There are no homes along the banks, rafters will see few other people and a trip offers a chance to truly get away from it all.
7. Hike (or drive) to a waterfall
Adventure seekers will find more than 30 waterfalls in and around Dillard. An awesome adventure comes with a trip to each. From the suspension bridge and great views at Tallulah Gorge to the kid-friendly half-mile hike to Minnehaha Falls, to dozens of others, discover great adventure on a hike and a day at a north Georgia waterfall.
8. Antique shopping
Within a two-block area, Dillard boasts 40,000 square feet of antiques to explore from more than 100 dealers. From Victorian furniture to Coca-Cola collectibles to discontinued china, there are hidden treasures around every turn.
Dillard encompasses 148,000 acres of national forest. That means there are plenty of hiking opportunities. From the state parks to Rabun Bald, the second-highest peak in Georgia, to the Bartram Trail, to spots like Warwoman Dell Recreation Area, there are numerous hiking trails that cater to everyone from beginners to experts.
10. Enjoy an adult beverage
Do you enjoy wine? Head to 12 Spies Wineries. Prefer something with a little more kick? Head to R.M. Rose Distillery for some whiskey. The area offers several wineries and distilleries, many that offer tours and tastings.
It’s been a Dillard landmark for almost 30 years. From Department 56 Villages, to Jim Shore figurines and Willow Tree angels, to college–themed merchandise, visitors will find all kinds of holiday-themed merchandise.
Dillard is about a 1 1/2-hour drive north of the Atlanta area, on the North Carolina state line.
This story is sponsored by the city of Dillard.
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