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|Girlfriends' Wine Country Getaway|
The heart of Georgia’s wine country beckons girlfriends who love to gather, celebrate their sisterhood and sample the grape. Dahlonega, site of the first gold rush in U.S. history in 1828, has scads of shops and boutiques, spas and eateries, arts and crafts and history—all situated against a backdrop of mountains, forests and vineyards.
Day 1 :: These Are a Few of Girlfriends’ Favorite Things
Begin at the Historic Public Square for one-of-a-kind shopping: Studio Jewelers, Quigley’s Rare Books & Antiquities , The Glass Blowing Shop —Dahlonega is a shopper’s paradise. Off the square is Magical Threads , the largest quilting supply store in Georgia. See what local and regional artists are creating at Hummingbird Lane Art Gallery which presents gallery showings in a beloved downtown landmark. Sample the homemade, melt-in-your-mouth confections at The Fudge Factory , a second-generation family-owned candy business.
Day 2 :: Mines and Martinis
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a morning spent adventuring: canoing, kayaking or tubing during season; hiking year-round in the Chattahoochee National Forest (moderate to advanced trails) and to numerous waterfalls, including the cascades at Amicalola Falls State Park, home to the highest waterfall in the Eastern United States, Amicalola Falls. (The CVB can provide a list of waterfalls and directions.) Visit Kangaroo Conservation Center, a wildlife educational experience that brings visitors up-close to the largest kangaroo population outside Australia: 300 bouncing ‘roos in nine species. You’ll also meet other Australasian animals and plant life and a variety of birds, including the boisterous kookaburras; or the popular Chestatee Wildlife Preserve home to exotic and domestic animals.
Day 3 :: Vittles and Vineyards
Lunch at the Smith House is not to be missed: Its fried chicken will have you forgetting your manners in favor of licking your fingers. Served family-style at roomy tables, the restaurant’s famous feast includes baked ham and roast beef is accompanied by a smörgåsbord of your favorite sides, including candied yams, turnip greens, fried okra, dumplings and more, plus soft, warm yeast roles. Afterward, visit the restaurant’s excavated gold mine and mini-museum of artifacts, including medicine bottles and dental implements; then browse the gift shop for homemade jams and jellies and hand-crafted gift items.
Work off the calories with a tour of Dahlonega’s award-winning wineries, each offering a unique taste on the grape landscape: Frogtown Cellars and its timber-framed informality; cozy Blackstock Vineyards and Winery with its rustic lodge sensibility; Three Sisters Vineyards and Winery , sitting in the shadow of the peaks for which it is named and welcoming visitors with a breezy, drop-by-anytime attitude; Montaluce Winery & Estates with its Tuscan villa styles and restaurant with a great view, and Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery with its European-style tasting rooms and sweeping mountain views. Be sure to stock up on your favorites to take home as a remembrance of Dahlonega, the heart of Georgia’s wine country.