Toasting the Holidays in the North Georgia Mountains

Cold weather, a roaring fire and a great wine are some of the things that instantly bring up thoughts of loved ones and the holidays. The quaint North Georgia town of Dahlonega not only offers the ability to sample fine wines, but also the ability to our the various vineyards. The “wine country” of Dahlonega has quickly gained the reputation for hosting several vineyards that offer a variety of fine wines and much more.

Currently, there are five established vineyards within a few miles of the Dahlonega town square. Visiting any, or all of these vineyards will prove to be a most enjoyable and unique experience. Many of these properties are located on vast acreage overlooking the North Georgia Mountains, providing scenic views that will surely please.

Each vineyard produces its own speciality wines and offer a variety of white and red labels that will satisfy even the most discriminating palate. The choices range from Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot, and more. Each winery houses a tasting room, which offers complimentary samples to those “of age.”

Wolf Mountain Winery, at 180 Wolf Mountain Trail, offers educational tours, wine tasting, and Sunday brunch. The winery is also available for weddings. It is a charming location, nestled in the mountains, with great views. For hours of operation and events schedule, contact 706-867-9862 or http://www.wolfmountainvineyards.com

The oldest winery in the Dahlonega area is Three Sisters Vineyards.  Starting their wine production in August, 2000.  The winery encompasses an 184 acre site,  at an elevation of 1800 feet.  Along with the commanding views of the mountains, they offer wine tasting for visitors.   The winery is located at 439 Vineyard Way.  Food is available for picnic lunches on th property.  An outdoor gazebo area is often used for weddings.  For more information, call 706-865-0687; http://www.threesistersvineyards.com

The newest vineyard to the area is Montaluce.  This facility is part of a new concept community near Dahlonega.  They offer “Tuscan-style” homes and has a 25,000 square-foot winery with sweeping views of the vineyards and mountains.  The main building houses a tasting room and a restaurant called, LaVigne.  Many of the vegetables that are grown in their own “sustainable garden” are used to prepare a menu of new and old world Italian dishes.  The vineyard offers a range of wines in th e restaurant and for sale.  They are located at 501 Hightower Church Road.  Call 706-867-4061, or visit their website http://www.montaluce.com for more information.

Another wine producer that has been in operation for many years is the Blackstone Vineyards, and is located at the intersection of Town Creek Church Road and Damascus Church Road, north of Dahlonega.  In addition to their own wines, they provide grapes to other wineries.  Blackstone,s public tasting room has been open since 2006.  For more information, contact the winery at 706-219-2789, or http://www.bsvw.com

A visit to Frogtown Cellars will  also be enjoyable to the wine connoisseur.  Bistro lunches and dinners are offered  on their 57 acre estate located at 3300 Damascus Church Road.  For tour, tasting and dinner events, call 706-865-0687, or http://www.frogtownwine.com

For those who prefer to not travel to each vineyard but enjoy sampling wines, visit the Habersham Winery Tasting Room, 16 North Park Street on the Dahlonega public square.  They provide complimentary samples of its wines that are grown north of Clarksville, Georgia.  Contact the Habersham Room at 706-754-7295

A note of caution:  after sampling wines from all five vineyards in the same day, you might want to spend the night in Dahlonega.  Have a happy and safe holiday season.

Henry Zuckerman is a licensed architect and Georgia licensed residential and light commercial contractor.  His company, StoneyBrooke Homes, Inc. has designed and built many homes in and around the North Georgia “Wine Country.”  Please visit our new website http://www.henryzuckerman.com for more information.

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NORTH GEORGIA TOWNS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS

Christmas in north Georgia conjures up images of colorful lights twinkling through the bare branches of trees, the glow of a warm fire crackling in an old stone fireplace, and a cup brimming with hot chocolate to warm the senses after a walk in the cold night air.  Like many North Georgians, I envision snow flakes gently falling on obscure mountain roads.  I dream of being bundled under blankets with my soul mate – the cold air on our faces, the sound of jingling of bells, the faint sound of carolers in the distance – as we are drawn through a perfect north Georgia white winter enchantment in an open sleigh.

Small towns and villages all across the north Georgia mountains are planning “old-fashioned” Christmas celebrations; from Santa arriving on an old-time train in Blue Ridge, to visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus  at their home in Canton. North Georgia has celebrations and activities for kids of all ages.  Take time to enjoy a local, “old-fashioned” celebration in your home town.  You will be glad you did.

We all know Santa lives at the North Pole, but since 2002, Santa and Mrs. Claus have opened their “southern home” in Canton to thousands of admirers.  The festivities begin with a warm welcome from Mrs. Claus.  Inside the home, you can view one of the largest collections of Christmas memorabilia south of the North pole.  You will delight at the Christmas villages all lit up for the holiday, including many model railroad train displays.

Upon exiting the home, you will find a path lit up with colorful lights and decorations leading to…Santa’s Workshop!  You can feel the excitement in the cold winter air as each step brings you closer to the “sacred shop”.  Kids instinctively know Santa is inside waiting to greet them with a resounding HO! HO! HO!  All children get to sit on Santa’s lap, and tell him what they want for Christmas.  Be sure to bring your camera to capture all the smiles.  Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at 6951 Vaughan Road, Canton every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Please call 770-345-6314 for more information

The tiny mountain village of Helen, known for its Alpine Village theme and Oktoberfest, is aglow in celebration of Christmas.  The streets are lined with displays of trees, candy canes, and garland.  Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through the village streets for a wonderful and charming experience.  Visit www.helencvb.com/events/ for more information.

The “Christmas on the Square ” celebration takes place in downtown Blairsville on December 5.  The activities begin at 1:00 P.M. with open houses at the Mountain Life Museum, and historic courthouse.  The Christmas parade starts at 4;00 P.M.  Then at a little after 5:00 P.M., everyone will gather on the courthouse lawn to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree and sing carols.  Visit http://www.downtownblairsville.com/eventxmas.html for more information.

For a truly unique holiday experience, make plans to see the “Holiday Show” at the Rollins Planetarium on the campus of Young Harris College in Young Harris.  The holiday show,  ” Season of Light”,  is scheduled for two shows – December 4 and 11.  The show explores the traditions of the season, the burning of the yule log, Christmas tree lights and candles, the lighting of luminaries and the traditional Jewish Menorah.   The show also includes religious and cultural rituals, and of course Kris Kringle, Santa Claus, and St. Nicholas.  Weather permitting, The College Observatory will be open to the public.  For more information contact the college at 706-379-5195 or www.yhc.edu

Dawsonville celebrates its annual Christmas tree lighting on December 5.  There will be hot cider, cocoa and coffee to warm all in the cold night air.  The Dawson County High School Chorus will be performing and Santa will arrive as the crowd sings  “Here Comes Santa Claus”.  The kids will want to visit with santa just to make sure they are on his “good” list.  For more information, visit www.Dawson.org

Always a family favorite and worthy of inclusion is the ” Magical Nights of Lights” on Lake Lanier Islands.   There are over six miles of giant illuminated characters created from millions of lights.  Plan on visiting the Holiday Village, complete with a roaring bonfire, pony rides, and of course, Santa himself.  For more information please visit www.lakelanierislands.com/event.php?id=133

“An Old Fashioned Christmas in the Mountains” will be held in Cleveland on December 5.  The fun begins at noon in Historic Downtown Cleveland.  The celebration will feature a “Gingerbread House” competition.  Each entry must be modeled after an historic building or landmark in White County.  The Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia will choose the finalists on December 3.  The winner will be chosen on December 5.  There will also be a Christmas parade, caroling on the square, and a Santa look-a-like contest.  Free hot cocoa and cookies, kids activities, and games will also be featured.  Visit www.clevelandbetterhometown.org/events.html for more information.

Jasper will celebrate “Night of Lights Christmas Celebration” on December 5 beginning at 3:00 P.M.  Kids can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  There will be a parade of lights and special music, face painting and activities for the kids.  Please visit www.jaspermerchantsassociation.com

Celebrate an “Old fashioned Christmas” in Dahlonega with a real “home-town” Christmas parade that will bring Santa Claus to town.  There are plenty of other holiday festivities planned throughout December such as caroling on the square, wine sampling, live theatrical Christmas events.  A visit to this charming mountain town during the holidays will simply amaze all with its lights and decorations in the town square.  On December 6, local “Bed and Breakfasts” will host a “Sleigh Bell Tour” of their facilities.  Please call the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Visitors Center for more information, 706-864-3513, or www.dahlonega.org

Nothing is more special or rewarding than celebrating Christmas at your home with family and friends.  As an architect and custom builder, I take great pride in creating homes that will welcome family, friends, and…Santa to your special holiday celebration in the North  Georgia Mountains.  Please visit www.henryzuckerman.com

From our home to yours… HAPPY HOLIDAYS !!!

Dahlonega – A Mountain Gem


One of my favorite towns in Georgia is nestled in the mountains an hour and a half north of Atlanta.  The anticipation of something special begins on the journey to this “mountain gem.”   The majestic silhouette of the north Georgia mountains comes into view on your way to Dahlonega.   It is a marvelous landscape  that reflects an important part of Georgia  and its history.   I always look forward to the first sign of spring, as a green hue overtakes the mountains.   The array of colors in the fall makes way for the first dusting of snow in the winter.  This transformation is a sight to behold, as mother nature works her magic on Georgia’s Appalachian wonder.

Step back in time as you walk around  the Dahlonega Town Square.   All of the buildings are on the National Historic Registry.  Close your eyes and let yourself drift back in time to a more simple era, when the street in front of you was dirt and transportation was by horseback or buggy.  The commerce of the day centered around gold.   It was an exciting time then, as it is now.  Dahlonega ( www.dahlonega.org ) has never forgotten its heritage, while transforming itself into a marvelous place to spend a day, week, or a lifetime.

Dahlonega is a special place with an incredible history.  It is a treasure-trove of art, theater, wineries (  www.georgiawine.com ), restaurants, gold mines and wonderful  shops on the town square.  The focal point of the square is the old Courthouse, circa 1836.  The Courthouse is now converted into the Dahlonega Gold Museum ( www.ngeorgia.com/ang/Dahlonega_Gold_Museum ).  Many folks don’t realize that in 1828, gold was first discovered in the Dahlonega,  Lumpkin County area.  This occurred some twenty years before the California gold rush began.

Adding to Dahlonega’s charm is a robust art community.  There are art galleries, live theater, bluegrass jams on the square, and concerts in Hancock Park.  If your lucky, you can catch a live performance of Doc Johnson’s Medicine Show ( www.docshows.com ).  Doc and his troop of fun makers perform several times a year in Dahlonega.  On your trip, be sure to visit the historic Holly Theater ( www.hollytheater.com ).  The theater operates year-round.  It offers movies, concerts, theatrical performances and special gala events.  The Holly Children’s Theater gives kids an opportunity to take part in acting classes and audition for one of  the Children’s Theater productions.  Also on the square is a great music venue, The Crimson Moon Cafe  ( www.thecrimsonmoon.com ).

Dahlonega is also home to the 130-year old North Georgia College & State University ( www.northgeorgia.edu ), which is part of the state university system.  The college is only one of  six senior level military colleges in the country.  It is also home to some 5,000 students and offers a host of continuing education classes.

I have had the pleasure of working with many couples that have decided to move to the Dahlonega area.  I consider designing and building homes in the North Georgia mountains a privilege.  Each custom residence is a reflection of its owner, and as unique as a North Georgia sunset.  For those who yearn for a simpler, more gentile way of life, consider Dahlonega.  Please visit www.henryzuckerman.com