Waterfalls, dining, shopping, great adventure on the menu in Dillard

DILLARD, Ga. -- What tops your vacation wish list? How about new adventures, shopping, great food and fun experiences, all while social distancing?

“What we have here is like a little slice of Heaven,” Pam Thompson, from the Dillard House Stables, told’s Nelson Hicks. “Mountains, rivers, lakes and we want to share it.”

This slice of Heaven is Dillard, Georgia. It’s about an hour and 45 minutes from downtown Atlanta. Any mention of Dillard starts with some heavenly food at the Dillard House. A typical lunch consists of seven vegetables, two meats, three types of bread and dessert, all served family style. But there’s more on the menu in this north Georgia town than just good food.

“(We have) hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, whitewater rafting. The list is long,” Thompson said. “We have great fly fishing. So, there’s lots to do.”

With wide open spaces to play, enjoy some family fun, either with or without the kids, on horseback down the Little Tennessee River or on a visit to the family petting zoo at the Dillard House Stables.

For those looking for something wild, explore the county’s waterfalls. With 17 to choose from, offerings include falls that guests can drive up to or those that serve as a reward at the end of a long hike.

There are also hiking trails at three area state parks. For the truly adventurous, head to Tallulah Gorge and climb 1,062 stairs from the top of the gorge to its floor and back. Scenic falls, a suspension bridge and a fun climb await guests.

Looking to land the big one? The area offers both public and private waters to fish. Head to the Hatch Camp and Art Farm for a guided fly fishing expedition. That way, you’ll have a story to tell about the one you landed, not the big one that got away.

“Dillard is loaded with outdoor activities,” Yesterday’s Treasures owner Elizabeth Hopper said. “(It’s the) perfect nature social distancing. You can keep your mask off. You can just get out in the fresh air.”

Great adventure awaits indoors in and around Dillard, too. Hunt for a new treasure in 45,000 square feet of antique offerings.

“Dillard is open,” Hopper said. “All of our businesses, which are mom-and-pop businesses, have opened their doors.”

With Yesterday’s Treasures, Cindy’s DragonFly and the Merry Christmas Shop among its offerings, the shopping visitors will find in Dillard will be found nowhere else.

“We’re keeping it safe, but it’s open and it’s friendly and it’s relaxed,” Hopper said.

Looking for something a little more mild this summer? Head to 12 Spies Vineyards and Winery to enjoy sunsets, views and some wine, too. Wine not your thing? The R.M. Rose Company creates bourbon and whiskey. Enjoy free samples or take home a bottle. The Rabun Manor entices guests with peaceful outdoor areas to discover and a 175-year-old Southern mansion.

With so many people canceling summer cruises, international flights and cross-country trips, take some time to unearth what north Georgia and Dillard have to offer.

This story is sponsored by the city of Dillard.