DILLARD, Ga. — This time of year offers hundreds of great reasons to travel. Between reduced pricing, the leaves starting to change colors, cooler temperatures and smaller crowds, many travelers opt to skip summer trips and instead to hit the open road in September and October.
But with the COVID-19 delta variant, some people wonder if now is a good time to travel.
With great scenery, loads of outdoor adventures, activities that lend themselves to social distancing and opportunities in nature, a trip to Dillard, Rabun County and the north Georgia mountains might prove to be a great option.
“Dillard is loaded with outdoor activities,” Yesterday’s Treasures owner Elizabeth Hopper said. “(It’s the) perfect nature social distancing. You can just get out in the fresh air.”
Rabun County is home to more than 120 waterfalls. From Dick’s Creek Falls to Minnehaha Falls to Tallulah Gorge, the area is home to more waterfalls than any other county in the state. With hikes ranging from short, beginner trails up to those for experts, there’s a waterfall hike that would work for every family. With the CDC recommending that people from different households stay six feet apart, that’s easily accomplished by hiking to waterfalls, as well as sitting and enjoying the view.
The Dillard House is home to not only an award-winning restaurant and hotel, but also to the Dillard House Stables. Enjoy breathtaking views atop horseback with a guided trip from the company’s experienced trail guides. The Dillard House Stables will set up trips for individuals and families, offering visitors a chance to enjoy nature and the open air without being around other guests.
Enjoy lake life? Rent a boat, canoe, kayak or paddleboard from one of the outfitters in the area. Spend the day on the lake having fun, away from crowds.
Visiting a state park offers visitors another chance to experience nature in the open air. Head to Black Rock State Park, Tallulah Gorge State Park or Moccasin Creek State Park for a day of fun. From camping to canoeing, fishing to picnicking, hiking to catching amazing views, the parks offers guests a chance to experience great adventure while socially distancing.
Head to the north Georgia mountains with your family and book a whitewater rafting trip or zip-line adventure. Navigate the Chattooga River with an all-day outing from Southeastern Expeditions. With spectacular falls and an abundance of wildlife, the Chattooga is one of the top destinations for adventurers and thrill seekers. Book a boat with just your family. Prefer to soar through the sky? Book a family zip-line adventure at Highlands Aerial Park and experience the Squealing Mare, which is 1,550 feet long, just over a quarter of a mile and about 210 feet off the ground.
Stop for an afternoon of fun at Goats on the Roof. It’s a souvenir store, an ice cream shop and now a retro candy store and rock and mining facility. With plenty of outdoor space, there’s room to roam without bumping into another person, though you might bump into a goat, which roam from rooftop to rooftop at the store.
Hillside Orchard Farms operates a corn maze in addition to a farm that includes a country store with locally-made products, fried pies, ice cream, you-pick apples and pumpkins.
Go on a treasure hunt at one of Dillard’s eight antique malls. With more than 45,000 square feet of antique browsing from more than 100 dealers, there’s not only antiques, but plenty of locally-sourced and locally-made products that you’ll only find inside one of these mom-and-pop shops.
“We’re keeping it safe, but it’s open and it’s friendly and it’s relaxed,” Hopper said.
Food and Drink
Everyone knows that Dillard is home to the Dillard House and its world-famous meals. What you might not know is guests can enjoy these farm-to-table meals to go. All the family-style favorites including the fried chicken, vegetables and breads can be picked up and taken back to your hotel for a meal with that special someone, with the family, or all to yourself.
12 Spies Vineyards and Winery allows guests to enjoy sunsets, views and some wine, too. With three acres, pack a picnic, some chairs and a blanket and find your own spot on the grounds to spread out, enjoy some alone time and some 12 Spies wines.
Spend some time in a 175-year-old Southern mansion on a visit to the Rabun Manor. Rent a cottage, pick up a bite to eat from a newly-opened gastropub on the property and gaze at the foothills of the stunning North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains.
This story is sponsored by the City of Dillard.
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