Hardman Farm

Hardman Farm house

This week when we didn’t have guests or chores that needed our immediate attention we decided to play tourists and took a short excursion (33 minutes) to the Hardman Farm State Historic Site just south of Helen, Georgia. A guided tour of the restored and furnished main house, outbuildings, and grounds took us back in time.

Situated on the historic Unicoi Turnpike, the farm was actually occupied by three different families with the Hardmans being the last family to own the property. In 1999 it was donated to the State of Georgia and as of this writing it is the newest Georgia State historic site. Our tour guide shared the rich history of the estate and its influence on the area.

The Nichols Family- The First Residents

Confederate Captain James Hall Nichols of Milledgeville, GA purchased the property and built many of the original buildings as a permanent home for his wife Kate and daughter Anna Ruby – namesake of Anna Ruby Falls. The main house called West End was built in the early 1870s using an Italianate design. It is identical to his brother-in-law’s home in Milledgeville with a few innovative exceptions to make the home more comfortable. Captain Nichols added a cupola or solar chimney on top for cooling and a larger wrap around porch to take advantage of the mountain breezes from any direction as well as beautiful views of Mount Yonah. He also made his own acetylene gas on the property that produced lighting in the home. The now iconic gazebo on top of the Indian mound across the road from West End was also built by Captain Nichols as a picnic spot inadvertently saving the mound from destruction – several other mounds in the area were leveled to create farm land.

The Hunnicut Family

The Hunnicuts of Atlanta purchased the property from James Nichols in 1893 for $22,500. Calvin Hunnicut, like Captain James Nichols, was active in the Civil War but became impoverished after the war. He formed a plumbing and stove company in Atlanta to make his fortune. Unlike the Nichols family who used the property as their full time home, the Hunnicuts only came to the farm for summer getaways. They enjoyed the Atlanta social life too much to leave Atlanta for too long.

The Hardman Family

Dr. Lamartine Griffin Hardman best known as Governor of Georgia between 1927 and 1931, purchased the property in 1903 renaming it Elizabeth on the Chattahoochee for his mother. The farm was just one of his many properties and an opportunity to practice innovations in farming, dairy farming, the use of electricity and more. The grist mill just around the corner from the main house was part of the purchase and renamed Nora Mill in memory of his sister and used to produce electricity for the home – much safer than the acetylene gas originally used on the property. Hardman married Emma Griffin of Valdosta in 1907 and they raised four children who enjoyed their summers at the farm as did their children.

The Hardman Farm has 15 structures that you can see including several that you can tour. You must purchase a ticket for a guided tour if you want to tour the main house most of the year. During the Christmas holidays the farm is decorated and docents in period dress share the history of the farm with visitors. Farm to table dinners are offered from time to time using fresh produce from the gardens. For special event dates, check the site below.

Also make sure to hike the Hardman Heritage Trail which starts at the farm and follows the Chattohoochee River to Helen. The hike is flat and easy on a concrete trail. Informational signs posted along the trail explain the history of the area. You can hike the trail even when the farm is closed and see Nora Mill from a different perspective across the river.

For more information on the Hardman Farm and tour information visit https://gastateparks.org/HardmanFarm

Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/ZtWDsqwkqmn7VS8a6

Dahlonega Wineries for Lunch

Looking for a unique place to have lunch while visiting Cedar House Inn and Yurts and the North Georgia mountains? The restaurants in Dahlonega offer great food and unique ambiance, but maybe you want something different… Why not go to one of the Dahlonega wineries for lunch!

Several Dahlonega wineries offer great lunch options. We are not talking about a cheese platter or a prepared sandwich wrapped in plastic sandwich wrap. How does a nice lunch meal with a glass of Georgia wine and a view of the vineyard sound? Sip your merlot, enjoy your lunch and views.

There are three Dahlonega wineries for lunch that we recommend. Each offers a luncheon menu that will satisfy your palate. One offers a complete menu that you might encounter at dinner if you prefer a full dinner like meal. Call before you go to insure availability. If they are hosting a large wedding they may close for lunch.

Wolf Mountain Winery

Wolf Mountain is the closest winery to Cedar House Inn and Yurts. It is only one and a half miles away from the inn. Located on a hillside the winery and restaurant provide great views of the vineyards below. Lunch requires a reservation so please call before you go to secure a table on their enclosed all weather deck. They have great luncheon salads but we enjoy their gourmet pizzas with a glass of wine.

Wolf Mountain Winery, 180 Wolf Mountain Trail, Dahlonega, GA 30533. (706) 867- 9862. http://www.wolfmountainvineyards.com/

Montaluce Winery

Montaluce is probably the nicest of all Dahlonega wineries for lunch. They offer a more extensive menu than the other wineries with great views of the vineyards and a small pond below. You can order something as simple as a salad or sandwich or you may be hungry for a steak. They are open most days of the week.

Montaluce Winery, 105 Hightower Church Road, Dahlonega, GA 30533. (706) 867-4060. http://montaluce.com/

Frogtown Cellars

Frogtown offers a restaurant style setting with a choice of panini sandwiches and salads with your favorite glass of wine while looking at the vineyard through their large windows. They tend to open Thursday through Sunday.

Frogtown Cellars, 700 Ridge Point Drive, Dahlonega, GA 30533. (706) 865-0687. https://frogtown.com/

Dahlonega Craft Beer

Dahlonega craft beer growler from Gold City Growlers

Guests who stay with us and get to know us learn that we love good craft beer. Craft beer offers so many different styles and flavors and have become more popular than wine in many circles. When we take vacations part of our itinerary is visiting the craft breweries in the area for tastings. Unfortunately, at this time we do not have a Dahlonega craft beer brewery, but we hope that may be changing soon.

Fortunately, we do have places in town to purchase a wide selection of craft beers; retail stores, a growler store and restaurants. Breweries are also located in neighboring Hall and White counties.

Nearby Craft Breweries

Left Nut Brewery is located in Gainesville, GA about 45 minutes from the inn. They purchased an old warehouse east of town to set up a brewery and offer tastings. We like their IPA’s. If you head over to that area we can also recommend a great Greek restaurant – Alpha Gyro Grill – on the way for lunch or dinner. For more information visit their web site https://www.leftnutbrewing.com/.

Directions from inn https://goo.gl/maps/NV9hYooRPGkNMsY86

Tantrum Brewery is the newest craft beer brewery in the area and is located north of Cleveland and south of Helen, Georgia in neighboring White County about 26 minutes northeast of the inn. They are the first farm to table brewery since they grow their own hops on their nearby farm. With a view of Yonah Mountain out of the window you can enjoy a flight of their many great brews. For more information visit their web site at https://tantrumbeer.com/.

Directions from inn https://goo.gl/maps/AwdCnvnujdXmwUwn7

Dahlonega Breweries Coming?

The Etowah Meadery south of the inn on Highway 19 has announced on its Facebook page that its planning to open a craft beer brewery called Etowah Brewery. They currently make mead or honey wine and are only 4 minutes south of the inn. We have no idea when they will open their beer operation but have heard that they have purchased the brewing equipment for small batch brewing. When they open they will be the first Dahlonega craft beer brewery. When they open it will not be nearly as large as Left Nut or Tantrum Breweries based on the size of their current facility. Facebook page for more information which has been very limited at the date of this blog post. https://www.facebook.com/EtowahBrewery/?__tn__=HHH-R. Directions from inn https://goo.gl/maps/dSTCmKS7gXMguuvS9

From time to time we hear about other craft beer breweries coming to Dahlonega to set up shop. We hope they do since the market would be strong based on tourism volume and having a university in town. When they decide to come we will update this page with more information.

Dahlonega Craft Beer Retail Shops

Gold City Growlers is the only Dahlonega craft beer store that specializes in craft beers. They offer flights of Georgia and other craft beers and you can purchase cans, bottles or growlers. We have a loaner growler at the inn you can use to pick up your favorite beer. To see what is currently on tap visit their web site at https://www.goldcitygrowlers.com/.

Directions from inn https://goo.gl/maps/3T2nY6eC9BhLB5Qz9

Fresh and Low is a local grocery store on the way into Dahlonega’s historic square and has a great craft beer selection for a grocery store. Their model is cost plus 10% so prices are affordable. Directions from inn https://goo.gl/maps/e1rMh9UDdNDG9td29

Restaurants Serving Craft Beer

Many of the restaurants serve craft beer but our favorite is Gustavo’s on the square. They seem to have the largest selection of Georgia craft beer of any restaurant in the area. Besides great pizza check out their blackboard where they list their rotating taps of beers including a high gravity option that we like. They also serve flights and on Thursday nights feature a brewery – order a beer from that brewery and you get to keep the logo glass your brew comes in. Facebook page with the latest information https://www.facebook.com/gustavospizza/.

Directions from inn https://goo.gl/maps/kioVEu9wQeRY5655A

Shenanigan’s also has a nice selection of craft beers in an Irish pub atmosphere. We like to visit them for a glass of high gravity Old Rasputin Russian Stout when they have it. Web site http://www.theshenaniganspub.com/drink.aspx.

Directions from inn https://goo.gl/maps/WPDMteveYorSko348

We will update this post from time to time if new craft beer developments occur. We also share many craft beer posts on our Instagram page at https://instagram.com/cedarhouseinn