Inns, Lodges, Resorts
By Polly Dean
Photos by Jimmy Jacobs
Perhaps the Dillard House, located two hours north of Atlanta, is best known for their robust meals, served family-style three times a day, seven days a week. Also, special events, conferences and banquets are often held in the facility adjacent to the restaurant, at the Dillard House.
Guests of their inn, cottages and chalets can expect the same elevated experience the restaurant provides. The Dillard House offers superior accommodations with a variety of spacious and modern rooms with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and landscape. All rooms are walking distance to the restaurant, riding stables and swimming pool. Each accommodation offers luxurious simplicity, including 310 thread count sheets, rocking chairs and flat-screen TVs.
If you want to gain a greater experience of an early 20th century southern home, you may want to stay in the Rock House Inn. The Rock House is the original Dillard House that has been recently renovated, but still featuring the antiques, lace and southern charm of days gone by. The cozy rock House with hardwood floors was established in 1917 by Carrie and Arthur Dillard. It consists of 10 rooms, including six guest rooms – two units with bedroom and private bath, and four units consisting of two bedrooms each with an adjoining bath. All rooms have heat and air conditioning, cable TV and WiFi. Rooms are on the 2nd floor and only accessible by stairs. The main level has two meeting rooms with fireplaces and bathroom facilities. Comfortable rocking chairs are on the porch with stunning views of the mountains and valley.
Amenities included on the landscaped grounds include the swimming pool and Jacuzzi, two fully stocked trout ponds, horse stables, petting zoo and horse shoe pit. Guests can visit the well-appointed gift shop. The Dillard House encourages guests to take advantage of the activities throughout their grounds.
The history of the Dillard House and its property is quite interesting. Its origins are believed to have begun with Captain John Dillard in 1794, when awarded a land grant of 1000 acres in the valley for his service during the American Revolution. Legend says that Captain Dillard made peace with the local Cherokee Indians by trading a muzzle-loading rifle, a jug of apple brandy, one coonskin cap and $3 cash for all the land between the two mountain tops.
The first guest at the modern incarnation of the Dillard House was a circuit-riding minister named Rev. Henry Byrd, who arrived soon after the opening in 1917. Carrie Dillard was a woman of high values, strong work ethic and keen business sense. She was a wonderful cook, gifted gardener and a very accommodating hostess. Every guest was treated like family, and Carrie taught that practice of hospitality to her children and grandchildren.
Since that time, hundreds of thousands of guests have enjoyed wonderfully prepared Southern style home-cooked meals at the Dillard House in the same family tradition as when Carrie first put up her jams and relishes. Many years later, the Dillard House Inn and its Lexie & Earl Dillard Dining Room have become famous throughout the area for its traditional home-style meals and authentic Southern hospitality.
The Dillard House also has a connection to trout fishing. It is the host facility for the Rabun County Trout Unlimited Chapter’s annual Rabun Rendezvous that draws anglers from four states for an evening of food, camaraderie and support for cold water resources. The event includes a pig pickin’, a banquet dinner, guest speaker, live music from the Foxfire Boys and a bucket raffle.
The 37th Rabun Rendezvous is planned for early 2024. Follow the Rabun TU Chapter website for exact date and details.
For more information and rates for the Dillard House, visit their website.