By Mary Ashton Mills
North Georgia is home to the largest gold deposit found east of the Mississippi River and a visit to Dahlonega’s many gold sights is worth its weight in gold! In 1828 a deer hunter had no idea the craze he was about to ignite when he stumbled over a rock a few miles outside of Dahlonega. Upon further investigation, he realized this rock contained gold, marking the beginning of the gold rush in Georgia. Today, signs of this gold heritage are everywhere from the gold dome that crowns the state capital in Atlanta to the Dahlonega Gold Museum and consolidated gold mines in Lumpkin County. A trip to the consolidated gold mines is often referred to as traveling 200 feet underground and 100 years back in time. Two miles away you can try your luck panning for gold at Crisson Gold Mine and you may just strike it rich!
Besides a history full of gold, the quaint town square of Dahlonega offers something for everyone. Visitors will also enjoy the many scenic drives that border a variety of waterfalls and vistas. Purchase the Gold Fever Package from the Dahlonega Visitors Center offering reduced rates on admission to museums and gold mines. Next enjoy a meal at one of many restaurants on the square. After lunch, grab an itinerary from the Visitors Center for the Lumpkin-Union Loop or the Brasstown Bald Loop, depending on the time you have. Each of these driving tours starts and ends in Dahlonega and provides access to waterfalls. The Brasstown Bald Loop takes visitors to the highest point in the state of Georgia. End the day with a family style dinner at the Smith House and we recommend the fried chicken!! Before you leave, check out the Gold Mine Shaft inside the building. You don’t have to walk far to rest your head tonight because the Smith House is also an inn that is registered with Historic Hotels of America.
Distance: 3 hours 10 minutes, 163 miles
Budget: Rooms at The Smith House start at 149.00 and go up. Cottages are available for larger parties.
What to See: Consolidate Gold Mine, Crisson Gold Mine, Dahlonega Gold Museum, The Smith House, Amicalola Falls, DeSoto Falls, Dicks Creek Falls, Anna Ruby Falls, Brasstown Bald.
If you go: Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas in the square runs November 24-December 23 and features parades, lights and more.
Mary Ashton Mills is an Augusta freelance writer and mother of two.
This article appears in the October 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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