The Georgia Botanical Society sponsors a Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage every year to a different and interesting part of the state. This event consists of an overnight two- to three-day weekend with multiple field trips, speakers, and a banquet, all at the best price possible. This makes the Pilgrimage one of the Georgia Botanical Society’s most popular offerings.
The historic city of Dahlonega will be the headquarters for the 46th Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage May 8-10, 2015. Dahlonega was the site of America’s first major gold rush and is a city with many flavors, in addition to history – a college town (The University of North Georgia), a tourist destination, a famed music venue, the heart of Georgia’s wine country, and a military town (Camp Merrill). Despite these claims to fame, and the fact that Dahlonega is only 30 minutes from some of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, the city has been able to retain a charming, small-town quality.
Located in the Dahlonega Gold Belt at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Province, Dahlonega is the gateway to Georgia’s central mountains. The Gold Museum in the heart of the city is only 1,450 feet above sea level, but most of our field trips will be north of town and some will reach altitudes near 4,000 feet.
Field trips this year will include a variety of habitats from mountain laurel and rhododendron crowded stream banks to blue-shrouded vistas of high altitude granite outcrops. Some of the field trips will be to familiar places – Woody Gap, Lake Winfield Scott and Jarrard Gap, Sosebee Cove, and Dawson Forest. Other trips may not be as well known, like a hike to the beautiful Raven Cliff Falls. The vast majority of the field trips will be inside the Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia’s largest collection of public land.
Botanical highlights for the central mountains in early May should include pink lady’s-slipper, Cypripedium acaule; small and large yellow lady’s-slippers, Cypripedium parviflorum var. parviflorum and var. pubescens; several mid-season Trillium, including the striking painted trillium, Trillium undulatum, and nodding mandarin, Prosartes maculata. More common species, such as may-apple, Podophyllum peltatum and wood-betony, Pedicularis canadensis, should be flowering in profusion.
Friday evening social events at the Community Center will include book signings for recently published books. Saturday evening banquet will be held at University of Georgia. Bill Witherspoon and Leslie Edwards will talk about the geology and natural communities of the region, with specific reference to locations visited during the field trips.
Block bookings have been made with three hotels. Call hotels direct and give them the name of the block which is GA Botanical Pilgrimage. Be sure to book early as alternative accommodation is very limited.
- Days Inn – 30 rooms @$75 per night – 706-864-2338
- Holiday Inn – 20 rooms @$129 per night – 706-867-7777
- Quality Inn – 20 rooms @$80 per night – 706-864-6191
Come join the Georgia Botanical Society as we explore the botanical wonders and scenic grandeur of the North Georgia mountains during our 2015 Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage!