North Georgia has mountains, wineries, and gold!
Just a couple of hours north of Atlanta, the mountain towns of North Georgia can give you the refreshing mini-vacation you’ve been craving. From the gold mines of Dahlonega to Brasstown Bald, small towns offer bits of Georgia history along with places to get back to nature and relax.
Dahlonega Gold Rush
Dahlonega, known as the first site of the American gold rush, is located about an hour north of Atlanta. Just off Georgia Highway 400, the town got its name from the Cherokee word “Talonega” which means golden. The Cherokee Indians lived in villages all around the North Georgia Mountains until they were forced to leave during the Trail of Tears.
Dahlonega is now a local tourist destination with arts and crafts fairs and spots to mine for gold. Gold Rush Days has to be the most popular attraction. Held each year in October, the festival brings hundreds of thousands of tourists to this small mountain town. Local wineries have also made the city a popular destination. There are at least three in the immediate area.
Located east of Dahlonega, and about an hour and a half from Atlanta is the city of Helen. In the late 1960s area, businessmen decided to revamp this small mountain village in an effort to draw more residents and tourists. The city now has a rebuilt downtown area that is reminiscent of a German village and has hundreds of local shops and eateries.
As a tribute to its early settlers, the Bavarian town also commemorates its history every fall with a month-long Octoberfest. Beautiful waterfalls, state parks, and plenty of hiking offer other great ways to enjoy the area. There is also a variety of lodging, from hotels located along the river to remote cabins for romantic getaways.
Just northwest of Helen is another small mountain town, Blairsville, Georgia. This is a perfect location to visit if you need to get away from it all, especially during the fall when the surrounding Appalachian Mountains are full of color.
Blairsville Music Fest
Blairsville is also home to the highest point in Georgia, Brasstown Bald. Vogel State Park is another local beauty with hiking trails that access the Appalachian Trail. The park also surrounds a lake, which has paddleboat rides, camping and fishing. The fall is a popular time to visit Blairsville, especially in September during the Mountain Music Festival.
So, whether it’s serene mountaintops, wine tastings or shopping you are looking to find, North Georgia offers a bit of everything.