An overnight stay at Dahlonega’s Kaya Vineyard & Winery is a recharging family getaway
Since I moved to Georgia, Dahlonega has been one of my favorite, quick getaways. Just an hour outside the city, it’s an easy drive I’m willing to tackle anytime to enjoy the rolling hills, vineyards and small town Southern charm. Before kids, my husband and I day-tripped there often, strolling the town square and listening to live music. I’ve also spent many girl getaways vineyard hopping at the growing number of wine making operations dotting the countryside. My most recent trip was a family affair. Rather than a day trip, which could prove exhausting with two young kids in tow, my husband and I opted for an overnight “staycation” at Kaya Vineyard & Winery.
Last time I’d visited this winery it was called Blackstock Vineyards, one of the first and largest vineyards in the Dahlonega area. After closing in late 2012, the property was renovated and reopened as Kaya. I recognized the large tasting room perched at the top of a ridge. At a 1,600-foot elevation, it offers memorable panoramic views of North Georgia. New to me were the four Craftsman-style cottages a short walk from the tasting room where we would be spending the night.
Upon arrival at our cottage, named Ama, we were greeted with a storybook front porch furnished with two rocking chairs and a swing. Inside, the 2,500-square-foot bungalow charmed with a palette of neutral and earthy tones, farmhouse-style barn doors, modern lighting and accent signs with upbeat and welcoming phrases such as “Stay Awhile.” The kids explored the open floorplan and loved the upstairs bedroom with two twin beds and a bonus family/TV room—a perfect place to corral them with a puzzle or board game.
After dropping our luggage, we took the short walk to the tasting room where wine lovers gathered at indoor tables and on the deck and listened to live music. We found a spot outdoors, farther from the “adulting” crowd, where my husband and I could enjoy our wine tasting while the kids ran circles around us, played corn hole and collected rocks. While I’m usually on high alert that my kids should be quiet and perfectly behaved, other families with rambunctious kids sat nearby, easing that stress.
We sampled five of Kaya’s vintages, starting with the 2017 Twisted Oak Chardonnay and 2018 Rosé and making our way to more full-bodied reds such as the 2016 Reserve Sangiovese and 2017 Oak Trifecta. In between sips, we snacked on Belgian pretzels with a spicy beer mustard dipping sauce. The menu also offers a meat and cheese board, paninis and other light bites. I stole away from my crew for a moment to check out Kaya’s quaint gift shop, filled with wine themed accessories, jewelry and farmhouse-style kitchen goods.
Once the kids ran themselves ragged, and we had our fill of wine, we meandered back to our cottage— the ideal commute following an afternoon of imbibing. After getting the kids engaged in a Lego build indoors, my husband and I retreated to the outdoor stone fire pits next to the cottage. From the Adirondack chairs, we watched the sky turn orange and pink as the sun set and felt the calm one seeks when taking a break from the daily grind. Although we’d be heading back home the next morning, the quick 24-hour jaunt to the mountains was exactly the quick reset we needed. The wine helped, too.
KAYA VINEYARD & WINERY
Cottages’ starting nightly rate: $377
For a culinary treat with a view, make reservations just four minutes down the road at Kaya’s sister property, Dahlonega Resort and Vineyard. Offering lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, its restaurant pairs Kaya wines with its chef-inspired dishes ranging from pasta ai funghi and black grouper to osso buco. dahlonegasresort.com
Giannina S. Bedford is multi-faceted writer and editor. Her work covers design, travel, food and business. She’s penned Simply Buckhead’s home feature since inception and held a variety of editorial roles at the magazine. Her freelance work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, USA Today, Virtuoso Life, Hemispheres and TravelandLeisure.com. She also contributes regularly Atlanta Business Chronicle. Fluent in Spanish, Giannina was born in Miami and grew up in Brazil, Chile, Hawaii and Australia. She currently lives in Dunwoody with her two kids and husband.