Experiencing life in the beautiful mountains of Rabun County, Georgia will put you in touch with history, surprisingly, in everyday ways. History in the Southern Appalachians seems to be lingering just over your shoulder and more a part of the present than it may be in many other places. Many of the people who live here come from families who have called this area home for many generations. As such, the stories, traditions, skills, and even the environment of our ancestors is still right here in our midst, mostly unchanged. From music to crafts, cooking, dancing, farming or just plain walking around out in the woods, the time-honored ways of life in the mountains are still appreciated and practiced. That’s one of the things that makes Rabun County so special and one of the many reasons people who aren’t long time residents come to visit and sometimes stay.
Rabun County Historical Society
When you come to Rabun County to take a step back and experience a little of the past, there are many ways to go about it. You can stop by the Rabun County Historical Society for access to local historic records, painstakingly and lovingly preserved. See a working grist mill at the Hambidge Center. Or, immerse yourself in history at the Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center, watching craftsmen and women plying their talents with the same tools and techniques as the settlers did. You can also visit Tallulah Gorge State Park’s Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center to learn about one of the most dramatic and amazing geographic features in the state. But in Rabun County, the past can be found in so many more places than just history centers.
How about stopping in at the Dillard House to enjoy a true farm-to-table, homestyle menu made with the same recipes that founder Carrie Dillard used, when she prepared fresh meals with vegetables straight from her garden, for her boarding house guests, over 100 years ago. Afterwards, head next door to indulge in a little “Sippin’ Whiskey” crafted at R.M. Rose Co. Distillery, the oldest registered distillery in Georgia, using the same processes and recipes of founder Rufus Mathewson Rose from 1867.
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Spend the night at the Lake Rabun Hotel, a 100-year-old inn fully restored and preserved, still filled with quiet, rustic charm. Or, take a walk along the Bartram Trail. There, you can follow in the footsteps of William Bartram, one the of the first explorers of this area, who documented his journey in 1775 in his book, Travels, still in print today. The trail leads to some of Georgia’s most beautiful forests, peaks, rivers and waterfalls, so unspoiled that you’ll really feel like you’re an explorer yourself.
And, you’d really be missing out if you didn’t take in a little ‘ole timey music and dancing. There are many venues that host local musicians playing their own versions of songs and styles that have been passed down to them through generations. If your legs need a little “tuning up” before you’re ready to jump in, head up to the newly renovated Mountain City Playhouse for a dance lesson, they’ll be happy to help out!
As you can see, history really is alive (and kicking!) in Rabun County. And it’s not boring or dusty either. It’s loads of fun, adventurous, authentic, proud, heartfelt and welcoming, just like everything else you’ll find in the North Georgia mountains. So come to Rabun County to take a little step back. You may just be surprised how far it will get you! For more information about all the wonderful things you’ll find in Rabun County, Georgia, visit ExploreRabun.com.