For this years New Year’s trip we ventured to Dahlonega Georgia, a small Christmas town set in North Georgia. It was just as I pictured it would be and I fell in love with this quaint small town. We had mostly rainy overcast weather, but we made the most of it and were thankful it wasn’t as cold as it usually is that time of year. We stayed near a rushing river in an old cabin about 15 minutes outside of the downtown area. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to 2021 and welcome a brand new year.
There are plenty of things to do in North Georgia and we packed so much into the days we had. The hikes and waterfalls are always a favorite, but we also visited a gold mine, shopped downtown and even found a cool little zoo where we met the funniest camel ever.
AMICALOLA STATE PARK:
I list this one first b/c this was my absolute favorite waterfall and hike we’ve ever done. We went on New Years Day so it was the perfect way to begin a year. It’s located within a state park so it’s so well kept and just beautiful but of course there was an entry fee which was just $5 I think. One big thing to note about this waterfall is you DO NOT have to hike to see it. We didn’t know that at first and hiked(east ridge trail) the 3 miles round trip where the first half is up hill the entire way and you can choose to come down via steps or trail…which are both down down down the WHOLE way. I’m so glad we did hike it though rather than just driving b/c it was a wonderful feeling once we were done to know we did that, but it was not easy. You can drive to a mid point and hike from there or drive yourself right on up to the top and see it from that view. Both waterfall photos above are Amicalola.
Dicks Creek Falls:
This waterfall was right along a road and wasn’t exactly a waterfall to hike to. It was confusing getting there, but we found it and it was a pretty spot for taking photos and was a beautiful waterfall. Dicks Creek falls is pictured below this.
North Georgia Zoo:
We did the drive through animal safari and got to pull into this area where the alpacas and llama’s were and they came right up to the truck to eat. We laughed and took photos, it was super funny. After that we parked and were able to get out and feed these camels. One of the camel’s, Dinah, showed us that camels are not as reverent and elegant as they appear in the bible, HA. She danced around and kicked her skinny legs out and I could not stop laughing. This zoo also had an area where you could walk through with goats and all kinds of animals. Don’t miss this cute little zoo if you’re in the area.
Here’s a video of the camel.:
Consolidated Gold Mine:
Located just right on the edge of downtown is this little non working gold mine, but you can go down underground and take a tour. The kids really loved it and they got to mine for gold and gems at the end.
Helen is a German themed town about 30 minutes from Dahlonega and was a fun little day trip. We had our first taste of schnitzel(thin breaded meat) and Spaitzel(noodles), did a little shopping & heard some live music. There appeared to be plenty to do here including a cool mountain coaster, but the line was ridiculous, it was raining and the streets were so crowded and after eating all of that german food, we decided to head on back to our cabin in Dahlonega.
Downtown Dahlonega GA:
The days we spent just walking around the downtown were some of my favorites. There are tons of antique stores, a fudge shop, general store, boutiques, and places to eat galore. The Christmas decor was still up and it just felt right to be there. There is a college just beyond the Holly Theater and Hancock Park with a play area for kids. You can easily spend a whole day here and then will want to come back again for anything you missed.
Located in Cleveland GA which was just about 20 minutes from our cabin. We stopped in on our way home and Hallie got a pretty little cabbage patch named Flora Debra. The baby doll hospital is inside an old plantation and is set up like a hospital where the new babies are born. Hallie enjoyed the experience and plays more with this babydoll than any other she’s ever received so the experience of it made this one special to her.
We had so much good food here and I even cooked two meals in our cabin. I’ll list the places to eat in order of my favorites.
An Irish pub in the heart of downtown Dahlonega. I had the Shepards pie and it was just right and filling. The chips with the malt vinegar though are a must at this place.
I am always down for mexican and this place had amazing food and service. It was the usual mexican food you get, but everything was so fresh and I left here feeling so full and happy. Also located right in downtown.
North GA BBQ:
You can’t miss this place right in downtown Dahlonega. Their piggy melt was fantastic and the fries were wonderful. You can sit in their little outdoor area. It’s a counter order type place so super casual and quick.
This place had the best reviews in Helen and was certainly a good taste of what I think was authentic german food. Huge portions and it was good but you sit SO close to everybody, the windows are super small and it just felt very tight and cramped. This was our first stop upon entering Helen and after walking we passed so many other more lively places that would have been maybe a better choice for the short time we had in Helen. You will leave full from this restaurant though and the menu is stacked so you’re sure to find something for everyone.
We had Spirits on our list for burgers but never had time to get back there.
There were also about 2 different italian places that looked good if only we had one more day.
Dahlonega also has tons of wineries and we passed so many on our drive to Helen.
We didn’t plan to visit a winery on this trip and the closest one to us was closed anyway, but visiting a winery is a big thing to do in North Georgia so maybe a trip back without the kids is in our future.
Dress Up Boutique-Adorable little womens clothing shop
Multiple Antique stores worth walking through to browse
General Store-always a fun stop for kids and adults. You never know what you might find
Giggle Monkey Toys
Gift shops-there were several cute gift shops with candles and other gift type things to buy.
We used VRBO and found an old cabin situated along this rushing river. There was a trail to go right down to the river and you could sit on the huge back porch swing and just relax while listening to the water.
I love doing VRBO type places b/c it gives you the comforts of home like a kitchen with all utensils for nights you just want to cook. They usually come with a washer and dryer and that makes it SO worth it. There are spaces for you to spread out, plenty of beds and it’s just nice to have a cozy place to return each day after adventures around town. I cooked spaghetti one night and we had that as leftovers and made my usual New Years Day Chili. We bought some local coffee so were able to drink that each morning on the porch. On our first night there, we had the most epic thunderstorm and somehow I was the only woken up to hear it. There were no window coverings so every time the lightning crashed the whole place lit up and felt like a scary movie. The thunder cracked even louder there than I have ever heard. Enduring a storm like that when you’re in a different town, unfamiliar house is scary but I add that to the list of things we experienced b/c it was certainly a storm I won’t forget.
The cabin was in a super quiet neighborhood where you’d see deer on the side of the road or in driveways almost every time you drove in or out.
The sun came out just one morning and was almost gone as quick as it showed up but I made sure to get photos of it while it lasted.
It was a 15-20 min. drive to town but man the privacy was worth it.
All photos below of cabin. Notice the spectacular river right behind/below the house!
Dahlonega is now a place that will be special to me as it’s where we ended 2021 and welcomed 2022 as a family. We hiked and saw beautiful falls, ate wonderful food, relaxed, laughed so hard and truly had the best little getaway to Dahlonega GA.