Dahlonega isn’t a town that has the name recognition of say Atlanta, Savannah, or Augusta; but it is home to North Georgia College and State University. It is also the place where we found a huge dose of holiday spirit on one of our weekly road trips.
Most every week we take at least one road trip. We get in the car, sometimes with a map, and go on an adventure for the day. We live in the Western North Carolina Mountains and our location enables us to visit cities and towns in 4 states without the need for finding overnight accommodations.
A day in Dahlonega at Christmastime…
Our location, as it relates to the equator and the sun; displays wonderful, clear blue skies that are simply unlike anywhere else. On a day that was its own Christmas gift with clear blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures in the high 60s, we found the perfect little southern town for a day trip and getting into the Christmas spirit.
Dahlonega is a typical small southern town. The old courthouse is surrounded by a square full of a wonderful myriad of unique shops. Downtown Dahlonega has reinvented itself and is thriving despite a nearby Wal-Mart. What made it truly special was that the shops had a variety of items and while many had antiques, it was simply not a row of antique stores like so many other southern towns have become.
Driving towards the square, the sun was glistening off of the trees. The town literally sparkled as the sun reflected off of thousands of Christmas lights draped on the trees lining the square. We found ourselves in the middle of the 2006 Dahlonega Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration.
The Dahlonega square is a delight to visit. A traffic circle around the courthouse is surrounded by parking. With a bit of lucky timing we were able to find a spot just as someone else was leaving. With side street parking, normally there are probably plenty of places to leave your vehicle, but on the glorious sun-filled day we visited, parking was at a premium.
Greenery and red bows adorned everything! Garlands made of pine, cedar, magnolia and holly were everywhere. Every window, doorframe, flowerbox and railing was adorned with simple old fashioned garlands and bows. The town looked like a Victorian-era Christmas card and it felt like we had entered a Christmas fairy tale.
Every shop owner and clerk greeted customers with cheery greeting and a huge smile. A Merry Christmas was wished both upon entering each store and upon departure. No “Happy Holidays” here, this was definitely a Christmas Celebration.
In a nearby park, we noticed a walled area where people inside were moving a bit strangely. After strolling through the remembrance walk and its snowflakes honoring local loved ones, we came upon the ice skating rink. Local children were having a blast skating on this warm, sunny “winter’s” day. Despite there being quite a bit of water on the rink caused by the warm weather, the skaters glided along on their rented skates free to enjoy the ice without the need of parkas, hats and mittens.
As we came out of the Fudge and Candy shop (Oh, if you go, you must splurge and get some of their wonderful chocolate), we heard sleigh bells off in the distance. A moment later we heard the unmistakable sound of hooves on pavement and saw a horse-drawn carriage coming up the street. Many of the shops had carols and songs playing but somehow it was the sounds of the horse-drawn carriage that truly completed the day.
I know it’s only a few more days until Christmas, but if you happen to be in the neighborhood, I would definitely add Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas to the to do list this year.
For more information and the schedule of events for Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas, visit their Chamber of Commerce Website.