At about an hour and half from Fayette County, having a great day in Dahlonega is just a short car ride away. We started off with a large bucket of rocks at the Consolidated Gold Mine hoping to find some gems, and that we did! We sifted for three hours and found some rubies, sapphires, rose quartz, and many more unique stones! The boys tirelessly dug all the way to the bottom of the barrel to get the last bit of sand to sift through to make sure we didn’t miss anything.
Everyone had worked up an appetite, so we headed over to the Smith House for a late lunch. They brought out bowls of delicious Southern favorites to pass around…ham, beef pot roast, creamed corn, collards, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. You name it, they served it! After our meal, we traveled around the Smith House to read about its history.
After our tummies settled, we checked out some of the unique treasures around the historic Gold Mine Museum and then went on to do some antique shopping. It was a full day, yet there was so much more to see and do. Historic Dahlonega is a must for a summer retreat for the kids, and we will definitely be back!
The Smith House
This is definitely a restaurant for everyone. You pay as you go in, sit down and they bring bowls and platters of food to you. Make sure to arrive HUNGRY! Everything is included in one price—drinks, food and desserts. After eating, you get to enjoy the history of the old gold mine that the restaurant was built over. There is a gift shop with local artisans’ wares to browse as well as unique gifts from other areas of the country.
The staff are very friendly, and the food is a typical family-style presentation (large, shareable portions of meats, veggies, and starches). As with all family-style restaurants, if you’re not ready to eat a lot, it may not be worth the price, but the downstairs decor and old gold shaft are worth the visit. It’s definitely a great place to come and eat, relax and enjoy the beautiful mountain views.
Family-style dining at the Smith House includes:
Meat Selections (Choose 2): Fried Chicken Breast, Thigh, Leg or Wing; Country Fried Steak & Gravy; Baked Ham
Vegetable Selections (Choose 4): Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Squash Casserole, Black-Eyed Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Macaroni & Cheese, Creamed Corn, Collard Greens, Coleslaw, Fried Okra, Green Beans
Bread (Choose 1): Homemade Yeast Rolls or Baked Cornbread
Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake with Cool Whip
Adults: $16.99; Child (2-3): $2.95; Child (4-9): $7.95; Child (10-12): $9.95.
(Some information collected from smithhouse.com)
Dahlonega Gold Museum
This State Historic Site is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.–4:45 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.–4:45 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day)Admission is $8.50 for adults; $8 for seniors; $6 for kids ages 7–17; and kids aged 6 and under are admitted for free.
“The Dahlonega Gold Museum, one of Georgia’s oldest standing courthouse buildings, is a sentinel reminder of the spirit of America’s first major gold rush, a guardian of the region’s rich cultural legacy and is a symbolic heart for a historic community.
Twenty years before the 1849 gold rush in California, thousands of prospectors flocked into the Cherokee Nation in north Georgia, marking the true beginning of our country’s first gold rush. Dahlonega thrived and a U.S. Branch Mint opened in 1838, coining more than $6 million in gold before closing in 1861. Today, visitors can see a complete set of these rare coins, a nugget weighing more than five ounces, a large hydraulic cannon and nozzle used to blast soil from mountainsides, film and gift shop.
The museum is housed inside the 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse, one of the oldest courthouse buildings in Georgia. Visitors can also explore the courthouse features, including beautiful wooden chapel seats from 1889 and the judge’s chambers. The town of Dahlonega is a popular destination for gold panning, shopping and sightseeing. National Register of Historic Places guidelines prevent the addition of an elevator to the courthouse building, so some exhibits on the second floor are not wheelchair accessible.”
Nearby Attractions include Alpine Village of Helen, Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge, Blue Ridge Mountains, Chestatee Wildlife Reserve, Don Carter State Park, North Georgia Wineries and more.
(Information collected from gastateparks.org/DahlonegaGoldMuseum)
The Consolidated Gold Mine
“Start planning your visit to the largest hard rock gold mine east of the Mississippi and it’s located right here in Dahlonega, Georgia! Founded in 1896, the gold mine focused on removing gold trapped in quartz veins throughout the property. Head 200 feet underground and over 100 years back in time to experience life as a turn of the century gold miner. Your tour guide will demonstrate how miners blasted quartz veins to uncover huge deposits of gold. After your underground tour, our miners will teach you how to pan for gold and you will have the chance to strike it rich. We offer gold panning, gem mining, gem cutting and more year round and rain or shine. So, if you are looking for things to do in Dahlonega, come out to Consolidated Gold Mines, North Georgia’s only underground gold mine tour.”
The Consolidated Gold Mine is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m., seven days per week, rain or shine; it is open all holidays with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Gem Mining ($15 Adults Beginner Bucket, prices for larger buckets vary)“Gemstone mining is fun for the whole family. We offer buckets for the beginner and the professionals alike. Use our water powered flumes to find Emeralds, Rubies, Sapphires, Topaz, Amethyst, Quartz, Moonstone, Garnets, and much much more! Don’t forget to take your rough gems to our new Lapidary Studio. We can take your rough stone and turn it into a sparkling jewel!”
Grade A Gold Panning ($20.00 per person)“Available 7 days a week! Here at the mine, we offer gold panning, an ‘Age-Old Endeavor.’ Everyone that goes on our Underground Adventure will have the opportunity to try their hand at gold panning. Our miners will teach you everything you need to know about striking it rich. Once found, your gold will be put in a bottle for you to keep as a souvenir. Our gold panning instructors encourage interaction, and are experienced in the field of panning. Many of our panners regularly compete in gold pan competitions. Several of our staff hold numerous awards, so come on down and learn from the best.”
(Information collected from consolidatedgoldmine.com)