Gold Rush Festival- A Survival Guide

gold rush festival

Dahlonega’s Gold Rush Festival happens every year the third weekend in October. The event is the largest festival of the year in Dahlonega and probably the largest festival in the North Georgia mountains. Ranked as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeastern Tourism Society, you should come and experience it at least once.

It has been estimated that over 200,000 people attend the event over the two day weekend so festival goers need to be aware of crowds. This article will provide tips on surviving the festival with all of those people. Come and enjoy the festival atmosphere and work around the crowds unless you like crowds.

The Gold Rush festival does not begin until Saturday morning but you will see evidence of the coming event if you travel downtown Friday afternoon and evening. The Historic Dahlonega square is blocked off with barricades to vehicular traffic Friday evening and the East-West streets are closed from the UNG campus near El Jimodor restaurant to Pueblos Restaurant on the other end. Then the 300 or more vendors move in to set up their booths that will be displaying and selling everything from art to jewelry to hand made furniture. Many festival food vendors will also be setting up to sell drinks, bratwurst, pork rinds, funnel cakes and more.

The Gold Rush Festival also has a great small town parade on Saturday from the Walmart intersection to the square with a grand marshall, festival king and queen. Check the timing if you’re there or plan on driving that way.

Timing is Everything

If you are staying with us for the festival weekend we recommend you enjoy dinner in Dahlonega Friday night before the Gold Rush festival begins. If the streets are blocked the parking areas around the square are a short walk away from the restaurants.

Saturday morning after eating your scrumptious breakfast at the inn plan to head to town by 10:00 am to check out the Gold Rush Festival before the afternoon crowds arrive. Finish up by noon or 1:00 pm and head out of town to one of the five wineries in the area that are mainly located north of town not too far from the inn. For lunch and/or dinner choose one of the wineries (see related blog post below) or the Riverside Tavern at Turners Corner north of the inn.

Getting back into downtown Dahlonega Saturday afternoon can mean a long wait in traffic – at least by our small town country standards. Make your plans accordingly.

Most of the waterfalls, hiking trails and wineries are north of town away from the Gold Rush traffic. These can keep you busy for the rest of your Saturday and Sunday as well. If you want to stop by the festival after breakfast to see if that special item you wanted on Saturday is still there, Sunday morning is a great time to head back to town. Crowds tend to be light until after 12:00 noon.

For more information visit https://goldrushdaysfestival.com/

Dahlonega Wineries for Lunch (Frogtown and Montaluce also serve dinner) https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/2019/09/04/dahlonega-wineries-for-lunch/

Success from Our Perspective

Guests visiting our inn often comment that we appear to be living the Good Life and have achieved success. They’re right!  We enjoy what we do, make ends meet, and don’t have the pressures of most people who still have the daily grind at the office with long commutes and endless meetings. We were once in that mode as well , so we feel their pain when they share their work/ life frustrations and climbing that ladder to success.

Many years ago I wrote an article about success after we opened our bed and breakfast inn. It was titled “Success: A Lengthy Journey or State of Mind. ” It is still applicable in today’s world so we thought we would share it below. We are practicing “right livelihood” and enjoying our life of inn keeping as we have done for the last 16 years.

Success: A Lengthy Journey or State of Mind

In today’s society many baby boomers are searching for something that is illusive and difficult to obtain.

They search long and hard to not only find it, but to feel the satisfaction that finding it may bring. This search takes them on a journey through life that has a profound effect on their relationships with others as well as their overall happiness and well being. What they are searching for is Success. How Do We Create Our Definition of Success?

The baby boomer generation’s definition of success began forming at an early age. As children they watched their fathers and mothers work hard to achieve success through home ownership, a good paying job and the obtainment of material possessions. Some moved to bigger houses and their parents purchased more expensive cars as spendable income increased.

At Christmas time they may have found that the presents got more expensive and numerous as well. In receiving all of these things many found that their working parents spent less time with them as children. Now they know that time is what they most cherished.

Some baby boomers grew up in a family where their parents worked hard but never seemed to have anything. The house was small and the car was always old and in the mechanics shop. Material possessions were never abundant. Children raised in this type of situation may have formed their definition of success from other successful people, society and the media. Not having the trappings of success made them more determined to achieve it in their adult life. They were going to be “more successful than their parents.” In the final analysis were they?

As a baby boomer I followed my parents’ example after high school and attended college hoping it would lead to a good career. Like many I found that it was difficult to land that perfect job after graduation and I became frustrated that success was still out of reach. After a period of job moves searching for that “perfect position” I reached the pinnacle stage of my career. Like my friends I worked to purchase the biggest house, nicer cars, better clothes and other material possessions to validate my success. Each year the debt levels increased that required a higher salary. The additional debt caused me to feel “handcuffed” to my job. In our north Dallas neighborhood there were many of my neighbors that purchased expensive homes but did not have the money for furniture. They created an illusion of success on the outside of their stately two story homes. If success was the accumulation of material things were these people successful? Almost everything they owned of value was actually owned by the credit card companies and the mortgage holder. What price were they really paying for success?

How Do We Evaluate Success?

There comes a time in everyone’s life when one starts evaluating his or her success. Part of the evaluation is spent looking at the sacrifices made along the way and what is there to show for all the effort, blood, sweat and tears. In essence what was the price for success in tangible and intangible terms? An example might be the many moves a family had to go through for the father/mother to get the promotions and higher salaries. The impact on children frequently changing schools and making new friends. Stresses caused by increased responsibility with each new position and the effect that stress had on the family’s happiness. Once the evaluation is completed many individuals question the value of “success” even if material possessions and the money is abundant. Some realize that the price paid to reach success was too high. They yearn for the happiness, true fulfillment and peace of mind they never had.

Did I Ever Achieve Success?

I am one that followed the course of success established by my parents. As a baby boomer societal influences also had an impact on my definition and striving for success. I climbed the career ladder knowing that when I reached the top I would achieve success and fulfillment. I found out I was wrong.

A comment that my supportive and loving wife of 23 years made to me several years ago during my hectic corporate days really made me think about what I was doing. One beautiful evening while walking the dog she said “ Fred, you know we were the happiest when we first started out. You didn’t make much money. We had that rental house, the old furniture and the old car.” Another comment made by my oldest son when he was 16 was “dad when I grow up I don’t want to be like you, you don’t like your job and you never seem happy.” When you receive this kind of input you know something about your path to success isn’t quite right. I have also learned that many children of baby boomers are not defining success the same way my generation did.

I Finally Found Success

I gathered up the courage and gave up the high paying corporate job in north Dallas. We moved to a small Colorado town for a year of college teaching. I remember the reactions I received from family and coworkers. My wife and children were ready for adventure but my mother thought I was going through a mid life crisis. I was jumping off the “success train” established by her generation. Colleagues at work either thought I was crazy or were actually envious of my new life change.

One corporate officer said that he wished that he could do something like I did, but he was afraid his wife and children would be upset to give up the big house and all of the possessions. I’m sorry to say that I think he is still searching for success. I quickly found that giving up the corporate politics and business suits was easy. So was the two-hour daily commute to my office in north Dallas.

In Colorado I walked across the street to work and wore sport shirts, khaki pants and hiking boots. Currently I am living with my family in a small college town in the North Georgia Mountains. I work at home. My wife is a schoolteacher. I have reached success at 46. I only wish I could have reached it sooner.

My New Perspective on Success

What I now realize is that success does not have to be a lengthy journey. Unfortunately most of us have to learn this by going through life striving for career achievement and paying the price. True success is based on how we view things relating to our life and career. Success does not mean obtaining material possessions or career status. I learned from friends we met in Colorado that some people with little money are successful. We had college teaching friends that did not have a great deal of money but enjoyed simple things like making biscotti, buying a good bottle of wine, listening to jazz at the coffee shop or exploring the mountains. They had more than I ever had when I was using society’s definition of success.

True success is genuine satisfaction, happiness and contentment with yourself and the world around you. Truly enjoying life, family, friends, work, hobbies and all that life has to offer.

I invite you to find it and enjoy it.

To read more about our background prior to inn keeping visit meet the innkeepers.

Bed and Breakfast Inns Near Dahlonega- The Search Begins

These days it’s becoming harder to find “real” bed and breakfast inns near Dahlonega. The problem lies not in a drastically reduced number of bed and breakfast inns, but in industry changes in lodging, OTAs (online travel agencies) and search engines. This post will cover the changes that have occurred with searching for inns on the internet and the lodging options that call or list themselves as bed and breakfasts when they actually aren’t. The term “buyer beware” should be called “searcher beware”.

The first step is to determine what you are really looking for in a lodging accommodation. A “real” bed and breakfast inn normally serves a complete breakfast and often has on site innkeepers and owners. Check the web site listing to see if breakfast is offered. Many AirBnB properties and lodgings listed as hotels or just inns may not provide a full breakfast .

Most genuine bed and breakfast inns also reflect the personality of the innkeepers. Interaction with the innkeepers begins with the check in and continues throughout the stay through breakfast time and check out. The innkeepers also provide concierge services in regards to dining recommendations and things to do to make the guests stay more memorable. If you are seeking privacy at a bed and breakfast many bed and breakfast innkeepers will only interact with you when you want them.

If you Google “Dahlonega bed and breakfast inns” you will notice the 4 pack results with pictures. Often “real” Dahlonega, Georgia bed and breakfast inns are listed in the 4 pack, however you may also see listings for lodging with “hotel” and “inn” as part of their name. They do not serve breakfast or offer the features mentioned above for “real” Dahlonega bed and breakfast inns. Real B & Bs are often listed below the 4 pack in the organic results. If you click “more results” at the bottom of the 4 pack you will get more listings. Look for listings with “bed and breakfast” in the title or listing description.

A second step in your search is to determine where the bed and breakfast inn is located. Is it near the town of Dahlonega and the area attractions? If you have used and trusted TripAdvisor for unbiased reviews of bed and breakfasts over the years, you are not alone. But it’s important to be aware of that TripAdvisor searches are no longer driven by guest reviews, but by booking commissions. TripAdvisor now prioritizes listings according to the lodging’s availability on OTAs like Expedia and Booking.com. It is not unusual to find lodging listed for Dahlonega that is actually 45 minutes away. Why? Because TripAdvisor will make a commission from the OTAs if you book through them. Lodging – including some bed and breakfast inns in the Dahlonega area, may not be listed on or have availability on the OTAs. These bed and breakfast inns will be listed at the bottom of your search on TripAdvisor. Do you want to drive 45 minutes to get to dinner, hike, shop or visit wineries in Dahlonega and then drive back another 45 minutes to stay at the “Dahlonega” inn you reserved? Always check the location of inn before booking.

A third issues when searching for Dahlonega bed and breakfast inns online, is true availability. If you are using the OTAs to search for your B & B, be aware that some OTAs may show no availability when there are actually units available at an inn that catches your eye. Go to that inn’s website and check for availability. You may be pleasantly surprised. You will also help the inn since they will not have to pay a commission.

Cedar House Inn and Yurts provides the characteristics of a real Dahlonega, Georgia bed and breakfast inn. We offer a full organic breakfast each morning, services provided by the owner innkeepers and located only 10 minutes from Dahlonega. We are also close to the wineries in the area and Wolf Mountain Winery is only 1.5 miles away.