What a Wonderful Time of the Year in Dahlonega

[Dahlonega Square - Image Credit]

I feel like it's a perfect time to talk about my love for my little mountain town - the square is lit with thousands of lights and gives it a magical feeling. I can even admit to driving around a couple (or five) times just to take it all in. Before I get started, I'd like to give a little bit of a back story on how I ended up in Dahlonega.

Towards the end of high school, my friends and I were all applying to colleges. I always dreamed of going to the University of Georgia because that's where all of my friends wanted to go and my brother had recently graduated from there. My mind was quickly changed when a friend of mine told me she was applying to the University of North Georgia. I had never even heard of it, so I started to do a little bit of research.

[University of North Georgia, Dahlonega Campus - Image Credit]
I fell in love with the campus instantly. It was in the center of the small town of Dahlonega, surrounded by as-far-as-the-eye-can-see mountains. Every review I read talked about the kind, open minded students and locals the town had. This alleviated any fear I had of going to college. I knew I would fit in perfectly and quickly began dreaming about bringing my own dog to the drill field to play with everyone and hiking through the Appalachian Trail. 

© 2015 by Ashley Kessler 
© 2015 by Ashley Kessler
After I started attending the school, I began to explore. Every chance I got, I wanted to find new places to go and see. I quickly realized that not only were there beautiful mountains in the area, but just as pretty waterfalls and rivers. I could bring my friends and dog to my favorite spot at the river and suntan and swim all day without a worry in the world. This spot is especially nice because there is no cell service (but let's be honest, this is pretty typical of this town) and you could go "off-grid" for a few hours. 

Not only did I explore the outdoors, but I started visiting all of the family-owned restaurants and shops. I even got my first job at The Oyster Bar during the busy season. I quickly learned what my favorite places in town were:
  • Pueblos Mexican Restaurant: If you've been and you haven't tried the Pollo Loco, then you haven't really experienced Pueblos. There is no comparison between Pueblos and their local competition, El Jimador. I always receive great customer service and great food. If friends ever want a relatively cheap, well cooked meal, this is where we typically end up. And can we talk about their live act? He's FANTASTIC. I love when I come in on days that he's performing.
  • Shenanigans: I absolutely love the atmosphere at this Irish-themed restaurant. Not to mention, my neighbors are in charge of the karaoke and one day I may get enough courage to get up their and sing. 
  • Picnic Cafe: This is such a cute cafe where you can have a quick sandwich/bowl of ice cream/cup of coffee. The design of the shop really gives you a feel for the small town and its personality, which is one of the reasons it's my favorite. 
  • Mug Me: This was one of the first places I visited when I began school. Not only is it a place where you can paint pottery, but the other half of the shop contains an assortment of candy, beverages, and other random things for you to buy. I know I will be bringing the kids that I nanny over the summer, the atmosphere is so friendly and I know they will love it just like I did!
  • The Tavern: As we all know, Dahlonega doesn't have much of a night life, but there are a couple of bars in the town that students routinely go to on Thursday night. The Tavern is my favorite because it is such a great place for friends to meet up and talk over one of their sometimes-too-strong $5 drinks. I would choose the Tavern over Johnny B's any day (but you can't beat Johnny B's wings, so I'm there more often than I would like to admit). 
These are just a few of the reasons why I love Dahlonega and am so thankful to go to school here. What are some of your favorite places to go to in town? I'd love to hear from you and visit them myself!



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