Our idea was to have our Annual Event in a place where the era of films has taken place. We did quite the research on finding the right destination for the Film Festival. We went from Highlands to Gainesville looking for the perfect place. We could have totally done it at the local theater or a play house, however, we believe in celebrating somewhere that embodies the details and history of a story telling form. Here is the story of the Dillard House, where the Festival will be held in the first week of June.
The Dillard House restaurant and resort offers 92 guest rooms and suites, 4 cottages, 18 chalets, a modern conference center and all the standard amenities. Guests travel from around the world to experience the award-winning southern cuisine and unmatchable service developed from 101 years of business!
In 1794 Captain John Dillard was 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. Carrie and Arthur Dillard initially established the present-day Dillard House in 1917 in the Georgia mountains, when their first guest was a circuit-riding minister named Rev. Henry Byrd. Carrie Dillard was a woman of high values, strong work ethic and keen business sense. She was a wonderful cook, gifted gardener and very accommodating hostess. Every guest was treated like family, and Carrie taught that practice of hospitality to her children and grandchildren, alike. 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. Now in its 101st year, The Dillard House Inn and Restaurant have become famous throughout the area for its traditional home-style meals and authentic Southern hospitality – the unique result of our 200-year heritage.
The place was once a simple and modest mountain home of just six rooms, The Dillard House has grown into a modern hotel that can accommodate hundreds of guests at a time. We can provide comfortable and beautiful surroundings as well as exquisite hospitality and service for every guest we receive.
In the past, the Dillard House welcomed famous folks, such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and Walt Disney. Arnold Palmer dined here while designing the golf course at the Cullasaja Club in Highlands, North Carolina. Lady Bird Johnson enjoyed lunch in the Rock House in the late 1970s. Even politicians such as President Jimmy Carter, Senator and Mrs. Sam Nunn, Governor Nathan Deal, Governor George Busbee, Senator Max Cleland, Mayor Maynard Jackson and Ambassador Andrew Young have all honored with their visit here at The Dillard House. Many movies such as Decoration Day, Great Locomotive Chase and Deliverance have been filmed in Rabun County and have brought Hollywood stars Henry Silva, James Garner, Chuck Connors, Burt Reynolds and Lonnie Anderson, and Jane Fonda to The Dillard House. Performers like Blondie and Alan Jackson have also visited. The Dillard House is currently hosting a film crew producing a feature film.