Memories of racing with friends in old Fords over a winding mountain road out of Dahlonega over Neel Gap and down into Blairsville, Georgia, nearly 50 years ago flooded my brain. I remember twirling all the pretty mountain girls wearing full skirts flared out with several petticoats at square dances. That is one of my fondest memories of the quaint mountain town of Blairsville. Click here for the full story.
Once while I was traveling in Nepal, a family gave me a tour of their home-place. The adults showed me the all-important outhouse and water barrel. The young daughter, however, knew where the newborn goats hid for naps and the spot where tiny purple flowers grew. Children connect with a place in an intimate way, exploring off the path and valuing small details. Let me offer you that sort of introduction to Sapelo Island. My father was a paleontologist at the University of Georgia, and the nature of his research meant that the Marine Institute on Sapelo was my first home. We lived there just a few years, yet returned often and the lessons I learned there are enduring. For the full article, click here.
As if flying elephants and shooting stars were not enough, the park nestled in the Smoky Mountains town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, names for a country music icon, has added lightning. Lightning Rod to be exact. It's the world's fastest wood coaster and world's first launching wood coaster, giving riders nearly 20 seconds of airtime. Riders will white-knuckle it in hot rod themed ride cars resembling tricked-out speed machines from the 1950s and will launch riders from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up in the blink of an eye. It's Dollywood's newest addition to an already full line-up of rides, festivals and events. For the full story, click here.
It was a brothers’ thing: two young boys on a convention trip with their parents staking claim to their own swimming pools at the Wanderer Motel at Jekyll Island. Originally from Metter, Jones Hooks recalls the days when Jekyll Island was the go-to destination for conventioneers from around the Southeast, a place where the adults attended the meetings, and the kids entertained themselves at motel pools and the sandy beaches in the 1950s and 1960s. To read more, click here.
One of the best views in Georgia is a short walk from the parking lot at Cloudland Canyon State Park, located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain. From there, look out into a gorge whose sandstone bluffs were carved by wind and water over millions of years. Its elevation at the bottom of the canyon is 800 feet, and at the top, it’s 1,980 feet. Depending on the time of year, the canyon may be full of autumn foliage or filled with lush greenery. Click here for the full story.
As the temperatures cool and the leaves begin to turn, it’s time for a visit to Helen and White County. And now there are even more reasons to head to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With renovations at Unicoi State Park and Lodge, new outdoor adventures, a variety of Georgia wineries, there’s plenty of things to see and do. Helen will become an epicenter of activity this fall. OktoberFest begins in mid-September and concludes on November 1, bringing visitors from all over the world to the charming Bavarian village. Enjoy German food and beer, music, polkas and waltzes, parades and all kinds of activities as the town celebrates 45 years of Alpine fun. To read more of what Helen and White County has to offer, click here.
Don't be so sure you understand Pigeon Forge. Two multi-day special events changed my perception by immersing hundreds of visitors in cultures as old as America's West, and even older within the Smoky Mountains. The mountain resort city in Sevier County, Tennessee, is not only a great place for family vacations and quick get-a-ways not far across the Georgia line but also home to many special events year round. Saddle Up and Wilderness Wildlife Week are trips to consider, one in February and the other in May. Let the tourists loving what they already adore about this lively Tennessee town come visit all the other months — treat yourself to an engaging level of travel by intentionally seeking cultural heritage encounters. To continue reading this article, click here.
Connect the dots when you go to Augusta, Georgia. Storytelling and experiences overlap in charming ways, and if you’re paying attention to the nuances, a richness will fill those intersections and intensify this holiday. Keep it simple on an Augusta holiday, or blend bits and pieces of the insight this city contains with cuisine and craft cocktails, museums of history and of art, rivers to inspire or float upon and hotels that do more than pamper. To read more about an enchanted getaway in Augusta, click here.
Thomson/McDuffie resonates with reasons to visit. Do you have a need to know why? Or is there pleasure enough in simply discovering a new place to visit that sparkles with depth and intrigue, quality and good times? Behind-the-scenes stories resonated with me on a first visit to Thomson, the McDuffie County community in east central Georgia, and even more on my second visit. To find out more about Thomson/McDuffie, click here.