Winter in Dahlonega

winter in dahlonega

Dahlonega is a great place to visit year round. Winter in Dahlonega is very special for many reasons which we will highlight in this blog post.

The Fall season in the north Georgia mountains is known for festivals and great foliage in the thousands of acres of National Forests. The towns, trails, and parks in the area are bustling with tourists and locals alike. As Fall gives way to Winter and the leafless trees open sweeping views of distant mountain vistas, hiking trails are less crowded and so are the restaurants and shops in Dahlonega – once the Christmas season is over, that is. The cooler temperatures invite wine enthusiasts to sip wine at one of the local wineries while sitting around a fire pit (more info below). Winter is a great time to visit Dahlonega.

Concerned about the weather? Winter is the time to be flexible and spontaneous. Plan a last minute getaway. Winter can be fickle in the North Georgia mountains sunny and beautiful one day and cold and windy the next- not to mention the rain we’ve had the last few winters. If you’re hoping to hike or just enjoy the outdoors while you’re here, consider keeping track of the forecast and making a last minute booking with us at Cedar House Inn.

Hiking trails are still here to enjoy without the other tourists and the many waterfalls are still beautiful. See the links below for our favorite trails and waterfalls.

In regards to wineries many are open during the winter months. Wolf Mountain closes after Christmas, but opens in mid January for tastings and lunch by appointment. Frogtown and Montaluce are also open for lunch, dinner and tastings. See related post link below for wineries that serve lunch. Our favorite winery for the colder months is Cavender Creek Winery with their fire pits and porch with large fireplace. Imagine sitting next to the fire on a chilly winter day while enjoying a cheese platter, bowl of popcorn with a glass of wine. Or pick and paint a picture while having a glass of wine at Canvas and Cork in Downtown Dahlonega – available anytime during regular hours. What a great way to enjoy winter in Dahlonega.

Wineries also may feature a special event in the winter. Cavender Creek is having a great concert on January 19, 2020 with wine in their enclosed barn. Check our Facebook page for more information on this event and others we hear about.

Waterfalls- https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/dahlonega-waterfalls/

Hiking Trails-https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/dahlonega-hiking-trails/

Wineries- https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/dahlonega-wineries/

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

For more things to do in the area visit https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/dahlonega-attractions/

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/