The first thing I noticed as I drove into the town square was the magnificent North Georgia Mountains. I found Dahlonega, the small town nestled in these mountains, to be delightful at every turn. As I explored Dahlonega, it proved itself to be jovial, festive, and full of activity. I had assumed there would be a town square with nice places to eat, but I soon dismissed my expectations as I stumbled upon art galleries, wine tastings, and so much more.
I stopped at Picnic Café and Dessertery because I was in desperate need of caffeine. I became immediately aware that Picnic was probably a town favorite. There were dining tables all throughout, but still, a line waiting for coffees, hot chocolates, and teas. What I loved about Picnic was the atmosphere, a sense of longevity and stability. With coffee in hand, I began my tour of the town, enjoying the crisp wintry air with friends on either side. I saw the 19th-century buildings and fell in love with the old-fashioned feel of the square; however, this town is not what it appears. People once flocked here to uncover gold, but today visitors can uncover the worth of Dahlonega beneath the old-fashioned appearance.
I enjoyed walking through The Glassblowing Shop full of beautiful handblown glass gifts and the lively Giggle Monkey Toys, fun and full of festivity. I was thoroughly impressed by the art galleries tucked throughout the square. I viewed the unique artwork of every medium including colored pencil, paint, pottery, and photography. Dahlonega offers wine tastings as well. There are seven tasting rooms in the downtown area with several found in art galleries. I love the combination of sophisticated art and wine; it’s a definite stop for any avid wine drinker. But wine isn’t the only tasting available; Alpine Olive Tree is across the square with premium olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar tastings.
Continuing my tour, I opened the doors to Paul Thomas Chocolates and The Fudge Factory, immediately greeted by the aroma of fine chocolate and sugar. Eager adults and wide-eyed children packed the stores. There was no end to the assortment of chocolate dipped goodies and caramel apples. Not be outdone by dessert, dinner was also spectacular. I dined at Spirits Tavern, impressed not only by the burgers and gourmet hot dogs but even more so by the Mac & Cheese Bites and Kalettes appetizers. Not to be forgotten, my last stop of the night was to Dahlonega’s General Store. Here the old-fashioned theme of Dahlonega was matched by the glee of children roaming the store and parents enjoying the famous 5¢ coffee.
As the sun set, the real magic of the town unveils. The gold holiday lights wrapped around every tree made this Gold Rush town glimmer under the night sky. As the horse and buggy passed under the twinkling lights, the radiance of the season seemed to reach out and warm the cold night air. Every nook of Dahlonega was a delight to visit; but truly, the delight of Dahlonega is not found in its shops, chocolates, restaurants, wineries or galleries, but in its people. There is a warm smile ready to greet every visitor and an artist willing to tell you about their inspirations. There are chocolatiers and wine connoisseurs eager to help you sample their product and welcome you to town. Whether you stop Santa on the street or visit one of the patrons, everyone is welcoming and up for a chat about the town they obviously love, and it’s not hard to see why for Dahlonega is a delight.
Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber & Visitors Bureau | 13 South Park Street | Dahlonega, GA 30533 | (706) 864-3711 or (800) 231-5543.