Things 2 Do

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with waterfall hikes, unique shopping in Dillard, North Georgia mountains

DILLARD, Ga. — Do you need to do something special for that special someone in your life for Valentine’s Day?

This year, leave the chocolate and flowers behind and opt for an adventure through the North Georgia Mountains and the city of Dillard.

Between exquisite finds on a shopping escapade, incredible views of nature on a hiking expedition, exceptional food and drinks and romantic stays, this year’s Valentine’s Day will be the new standard all others will be measured against.

Start with shopping. With more than 40,000 square feet of antique malls lining both sides of Highway 441 in Dillard, the area is known regionally for offering unique items you can’t find anywhere else. One-of-a-kind gifts will always rank near the top of things to give.

“We’re not cookie cutters,” Liz Hopper from Yesterday’s Treasures said. “You won’t go from a store to a store or even a booth to a booth and say, ‘I just saw this in this other booth or this other store.’ We’re constantly changing our inventory. Our dealers live to go out and find more inventory.”

From signed pottery to antique quilts to Civil War artifacts to collectible coins to vintage lithographs to Coca-Cola collectibles, there is truly something for every interest.

If your lady likes jewelry, it’s a great time to visit. There’s estate jewelry for sale and custom designs just for that special person.

Next on our Valentine’s to-do list is a waterfall hike.

Dillard and surrounding Rabun County offer a multitude of waterfall hikes. And here’s the best part, there’s a waterfall hike for every skill level. If you’re a first-time hiker, the area features plenty of alluring waterfalls that only require a short walk over a paved trail to view.

But if you’re looking for something a little more rugged through the backcountry where the cascading sounds and sights of a hard-to-reach waterfall are your windfall for a full day of hiking, that’s an option, too.

Panther Creek Falls for instance is a 3.5-mile hike to the waterfall and then you’ve got to hike 3.5 miles out,” Casey Quarterman from the National Forest Service said. “Some people think 3.5 miles is not very long but you get into difficult rugged terrain you know and it’s a little different than hiking on the sidewalk.”

Still feeling adventurous after a hike or looking for an alternative adventure, but one that still provides plenty of excitement, explore the North Georgia Mountains atop horseback. The Dillard House Stables features plenty of horseback outings that you and your Valentine will love.

Speaking of the Dillard House, cuddle up with that special someone in a fireplace suite, cottage or chalet. Wine or sparkling cider and mini desserts are included with many reservations. The resort will feature a steamship round and fried shrimp dinner with an extravagant dessert bar on February 10. There will be live music, too.

On Valentine’s Day, the Dillard House will offer its traditional breakfast menu and a special lunch option. The dinner menu will feature some special treats along with an over-the-top dessert bar.

“The special thing is all of our rooms have a mountain view, rocking chairs (and) horses,” Natalie Dillard from the Dillard House said. “With Rabun County being 70% national forest, it is the most pristine country.”

If your bride wants a little wine or your groom a little whiskey, or vice versa, you can count on Dillard to deliver. For wine, head to 12 Spies Vineyards. The family-operated winery features crisp dry whites, robust dry reds, lush sweet wines and everything in between. The tasting room is open Wednesdays through Sundays this time of the year. Pair your choice of wine with live music on Saturdays.

For something a little stronger, make your way to the RM Rose Company. The Georgia Business Journal recently named the distillery a Best of Georgia winner. Pick up a bottle of whiskey or bourbon and enjoy it with your Valentine.

Take some time this Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s weekend to spend some time with that special someone in Dillard and the North Georgia Mountains.

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This story is sponsored by the city of Dillard.