Southern Appalachians Welcome All Year Round, Winter is No Exception
Head to the mountains of Georgia for places that are warm with adventure and activity. Winter enticements abound in the N. Georgia mountains, and its easy to see why.
The coolest days and nights are here in North Georgia. The smell of wood-burning fireplaces, occasional snow flurries, hot beverages of all types, quaint gift and craft stores, flea markets, hiking trails, good food everywhere, all this and more, invite and bring young and old to these mountains at the beginning of the Appalachian trail. North Georgia provides a real taste and sampling of the South in winter, and for many winter is the best time!
Winter Trips and Hikes in North Georgia, Dahlonega, Lake Lanier, Rome
A one-day trip, a weekend, or a week, is good. A simple road atlas will get one to most places, but a GPS comes in handy, and works well.
Dahlonega (Cherokee for “golden color” or “yellow money”) is the famed Gold City and a gold rush territory of 1828. The city was founded in 1833, has a Gold Museum and the Corral and Carriage Co. Gift stores and good eating places are charming. There is easy access to the nearby Appalachian trail, and a short 4 miles down the road is Amicalola State Park and Amicalola Falls.
Rome, is a cultural and activity hub of North Georgia. This city of 36,000 is located where the three “rivers meet and the mountains begin”. Rome is the home of Berry College and Shorter College. Rome is abuzz with activity throughout February with several big events– 2 plays, 3 concerts, and an artistic exhibit event:
- Rome’s DeSoto theatre features “12 Angry Men”, February 5, 6, and 7th (706-295-7171).
- Feb. 8, 7:30 PM, is the Berry College Concert Series at Ford Auditorium. Concert pianist, Joe Chapman, plays Chopin and Schumann
- Punpkin Art Show runs February 5 to11th at All Things Artistic (706-205-0072).
- Shorter Chorus Spring Concert, Feb. 17, 7:30 PM, sacred and secular works (1-800-868-6980 ext 7288).
- Rome Symphony Orchestra, Feb. 27, 7:30 PM, presentations of Brahms, Mendelsohnn, and Mozart (706-291-7967).
- Callaway Theatre of Shorter College features Shakespeare’s beloved classic “Romeo and Juliet”, Feb. 25 to 28 (1-800-868-6980 X 7288).
Good dining and stores exist throughout Rome – a wonderful, historic area about 65 miles from Atlanta.
Helen, Ana Ruby Falls, and Unicoi Park – Scenic Walking and Hiking
The Alpine Village setting of Helen, located near the Chattahoochee National Forest, is North Georgia’s biggest tourist town. The Chattahoochee River originates just a few miles north of Helen and ambles along the edges and through town. Helen is famous for German food, Bavarian atmosphere and crowds. There are good restaurants, shops, abundant lodging, musical entertainment and a leisurely pace everywhere. Horse-drawn carriage rides are available. Helen is a must-see visit, at least once, for any North Georgia trip.
Anna Ruby Falls Park, about 3 miles from Helen, provides a great hiking and walking trail and a wonderful view of the falls with many photographic opportunities. About a mile further is the Unicoi Lodge and State Park with fine accommodations and excellent buffet dining. A hiking trail to Helen starts near the lodge.
Hiawassee, Rabun County, Toccoa, Clayton and Mountain City
Hiawassee is a beautiful mountain town of the Lake Chatuge area. Multiple small eateries and chain restaurants are in town, and there is good lodging. The Anderson Music Hall for Country and Western music features artists throughout the year.
Rabun County displays its scenic mountain and lake vistas, waterfalls and has many activities. This Blue Ridge Mountain area was inhabited by Cherokee aboriginals over 10,000 years ago, and names like Nacoochee, Tallulah, Terrora, Cherchero, Stekoa, remind all of that influence. This region was settled later in the 1700’s by people from North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Terrora Park (maintained by the Georgia Power Co), and the Toccoa River are beautiful to see and photograph. Nearby is Tallulah Gorge – where the great Carl Wallenda of the Flying Wallendas, balanced on a tightwire stretched across the gorge’s width of some1200 feet. At age 65 he did a headstand twice on the wire suspended some 150 feet above the gorge’s bottom. He lived to die another day.
North Georgia is a delight for visitors from anywhere. North Georgia’s invitation of “y’all come see us now” is a neighborly refrain that is difficult to turn down!
Rand-McNalley Road Atlas 2004. Skokie, Illinois