On the Road

Snapshot: North Georgia

By: The Local Palate

State of Abundance

The rolling hills and mountains of North Georgia have long been providers. From the Cherokee who foraged for the area’s famed pecans and chestnuts and hunted the local wildlife, to today’s farmers, who raise livestock, oversee the region’s abundant orchards, and cultivate produce, it’s a slice of the Southeast where stewardship of the land has been a way of life. Today, there’s a robust food community made up of farmers, vintners, cheesemakers, and brewers, who are doing their part to share the abundance of the region.

Home to the starting point of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain, and blanketed by the Chattahoochee National Forest, North Georgia is a hiker’s paradise. The lakes, rivers, and falls are a draw all year long. It’s also Georgia’s official wine country—dozens of small-production vineyards and wineries pepper the region, making it easy to taste wines and take in the views during a day or a long weekend.

Meanwhile, small towns like Dahlonega and Blairsville are nestled amongst the hills and pack in the charm with historic town squares and long-standing traditions and festivals. They’re also spots to settle in and enjoy comforting and homey restaurants, where you’ll find dishes highlighting the region’s calling cards: Apples, cured hams, and, of course, moonshine and whiskey.

Hole in the Wall

In business in Blairsville since 1931, this all-day breakfast spot dishes up scramblers, mushroom omelets, and country ham biscuits, as well as just-baked pies. Gentle warning: It’s cash only here.

19° North

At this seafood spot tucked into the mountains near Dahlonega, you’ll find a range of casual signature dishes, like shrimp and crab penne and chipotle-glazed salmon, as well as cold beer and beachy cocktails.

The Crimson Moon Café

This two-story restaurant and music venue sits in the heart of downtown Dahlonega. Go for the organic coffees, stay for the fried green tomatoes. The live tunes usually start after dark.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery

Spread out over 10,000 square feet, this hillside property has its own vineyard, production facilities, and tasting room, where you can try the Reserve Estate Reds grown on property. A vineyard cafe serves up charcuterie boards, grit fries, and thin-crust pizzas.

Cavender Creek Vineyard & Winery

Explore this winery’s experimental small batches of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Manseng during a tasting that’s occasionally accompanied by live musicians. There are also cabins and cottage rentals on-site.

Frogtown Cellars

This 57-acre estate property is home to hillside vineyards, a winery, tasting room, and an Italian bistro where the pizza and pasta doughs are made on-site. Try their Estate Georgia reds for a taste of the local terroir.   

Etowah Meadery

This shared space includes the veteran-owned meadery, as well as Three Rangers Brewing Co. and The Dahlonega Brewery. Three Rangers puts out Army Ranger-inspired IPAs and porters, such as “Path Finder,” and “Jump Master,” and proceeds from are donated to several Army Ranger charity organizations.

Outback Guide Services

For novices or hikers new to the region, this guide service can ease any trepidation and lead you out to find the best vistas, forests, streams, and trails.

Dahlonega Resort and Vineyard

With modern rustic Main Inn rooms, as well as cabins and villa suites, this Dahlonega getaway puts you into the heart of mountains. Try their Twisted Wines during a meal in the dining room, where a wall of windows brings the outdoors in.

Long Mountain Lodge

For a cozy, rustic mountain retreat near Dahlonega, this bed and breakfast sits on 14 acres and has its own fishing ponds, trails, and waterfalls.

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