Arriving at The Dillard House, located between the North Georgia and North Carolina mountains, I was invited to experience a simpler time. A time where warm mountain hospitality was extended to travelers. A time when family members sat around the fire in the evening, discussing their days. Located just two hours from Atlanta, Asheville, and Greenville, South Carolina, this hidden gem has been welcoming travelers for 100 years.
The Dillards have a long history in the Little Tennessee River Valley. Captain John Dillard arrived in 1794, but it wasn’t until 1917 that the present day Dillard House was established by Carrie and Arthur Dillard. Begun in their modest 6 room home, the Dillard House has expanded to it’s present size of 92 guest rooms and suites and more than 28 cottages and chalets. Over the years they’ve hosted such dignitaries as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney and President Jimmy Carter, but their friendly staff makes everyone feel welcome from the moment you walk in the door.
Designed for leisurely family fun, the Dillard House offers plenty of complementary attractions to keep you busy including:
*Trout Fishing- Overnight guests can fish at the two trout ponds located on the property. Bring your fishing gear and enjoy a relaxing afternoon or evening with the family.
*Petting Zoo-Kids will love the Dillard House petting zoo, complete with chickens, goats, a minature donkey and a Shetland pony.
*Carriage Rides- Complimentary carriage rides of the property are given each Saturday from 9 am to 4 Pm.
*Outdoor Sporting Activities- Year round activities include tennis courts, a horseshoe pit and opportunities to explore the grounds. Seasonal activities include the pool and jacuzzi.
*Happy Hour on Saturday- each Saturday afternoon, adult guests can enjoy complimentary wine tasting and horderves.
For the more adventurous, you can purchase unforgetable experience packages, including:
**Horseback Riding– the Dillard House stables provide a variety of packages for ages six and up, including scenic trail riding, river riding, and private horseback rides. For the younger set, there’s a parent led children’s ride, available for children three years and up.
**Falconry –a new program, beginning in March, allows patrons to learn the ancient art of falconry with beautiful birds.
If you are hungry, the Dillard House Restaurant is open seven days a week and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of the first farm to table restaurants in the state of Georgia, their menu uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients and changes seasonally. The meals are served “family style,” meaning they’ll bring out dishes of food and keep refilling them for you until you’re full. Favorites include the cabbage casserole, a cheesy concoction that will rock your world, and the most amazing, flaky cinnamon rolls ever.
Want to copy these dishes in your own kitchen? Stop by the Dillard House Store and pick up a copy of The Dillard House Cookbook and Mountain Guide. Not only does it contain delicious recipes, it provides an amazing history of the area through pictures, interviews, and a section devoted to traditional mountain foods. You’ll also find an excursions guide with can’t miss attractions in the area.
After a long day enjoying the outdoors, you can relax in one of the comfortable rooms or sit on the deck behind the room in a comfy rocking chair and enjoy the view. If you’re not able to unplug from the modern world, the Dillard House offers complementary internet. *Tip: Internet reception can be spotty on the drive through the mountains to arrive at the Dillard House. Be prepared and have driving directions printed out in advance.
In honor of The Dillard House centennial this year, special activities are planned throughout the year. “We are really emphasizing that there’s something for everybody, ages 1-100!” Louise Dillard say, “We’re also celebrating memories.” Special events include:
March 17-19: A Celtic Centennial: The North Georgia Players Dinner Theatre will perform “Finnegan’s Farewell” on March 18th. It’s a comedy set at a funeral wake, complete with Irish dancing, singing and music.
March 24-26: Wine, Dine and Punchlines: A Taste of North Georgia Vineyards :Laurie Forster will attend a dinner and wine pairing on March 25th and will hold a taste testing of North Georgia wines from five nearby vineyards.
July 21-23: Brew and Crew: If you are a craft beer lover Master Brewer Smith Mathews of Georgia’s Southbound Brewery, will share secrets during this tasting dinner.
Aug. 19-21: Total Eclipse Extravaganza Experience a once-in-a-lifetime event (only happens once every 100 years!) while viewing the Solar Eclipse from The Dillard House lawn on August. 21.
September 15-17: Dishin’ and Junkin’ with Author Mary Kay Andrews: Author Mary Kay Andrews will share her love of cooking. She’ll also entertain guests at a luncheon on September 16, host a book signing, and “junk” with participants afterwards in Dillard, GA antique stores.
Ready to visit The Dillard House? You can learn more by visiting The Dillard House Website.