Travel & Leisure

Stepping Out Going Solo

When you’re traveling solo, destinations can seem daunting. But not so, especially in Georgia, where state parks, small towns, and friendly folks are always nearby.

These destinations are great for group travel. but keep in mind that many locales cater to the independent traveler offering special pricing as well as unique excursions. Not only is solo travel a chance to set your own pace or explore on your own without having to please anyone else but also a chance to pamper yourself and scout new places to take friends and family. To continue reading click here.

The Thrill of Whitewater Rafting

"Ahead, we have a 7-foot drop. Three strokes forward when I say the word,” hollered Patrick, our rafting guide as he prepared us for the stretch of boiling water in front of us. Patrick, with Carolina Ocoee Outfitters, loves sharing his passion of whitewater rafting with newcomers. He expertly described each section of rough water that was about to greet our raft, packed with energetic, laughing, and a bit trepid, participants. Each discovered that Patrick's descriptions, warnings and instruction were more daunting than the actual event. Each time we anticipated the worse, but quickly learned that with our guide's clear instruction and our group's eagerness to heed them, we glided through each challenge as our experienced guide expected. It was both exhilarating and rewarding to navigate with success each difficult section of river that lay ahead for the next several miles. Click here to continue reading.

A New Day For Travel

When the world shut down in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, most people thought the shut down would last two or three weeks at the most. However, as it continued on through the summer and into fall, many people began to get restless. They not only wanted to resume normal life as they knew it before the pandemic hit but also wanted to hit the road for a weekend getaway or family vacation. However, the pandemic took its toll on the travel industry, changing the way we travel for the foreseeable future. To continue reading click here.

Just A Drive Away

Just a short drive away, there is sure to be one of Georgia’s 64 state parks or historic sites. If familiar with any of them, one quickly realizes that each exists due to its natural beauty, uniqueness, or because of its historic interest. Visitors will discover why each is a gem worth preserving and sharing. To continue reading click here.

The Great American Road Trip

As far as road trips go, this was a doozy.

When the pandemic hit and travel became a thing of the past, I mourned. For the past decade, I’ve told stories and Len has photographed some of the most extraordinary places in the world. Skirting through airports, carrying as many bags on my back as humanly possible, and eating on the run was as normal as breathing. Click here to read more.

Unsolved Mysteries

Talking about Georgia’s sacred rocks begs answers: who built them, what do they mean, and why are they here? Whether you’re referring to two rock effigies in Putnam County or the mysterious Georgia Guidestones in Elbert County, it can be difficult to sort fact from myth, even for the experts. Click here to continue reading.

Into The Wild

Reservations to visit are required and you can only get there by ferry or private boat, but once you arrive on Sapelo Island, you’ve entered a 48-square mile potpourri that includes an elegant nineteenth century mansion, a colony of island natives, a marine research center, lush forests filled with wildlife, sandy beaches and opportunities for adventure, exploration and history. Click here to keep reading.

Aiming to Please

Spending time outdoors involved in a favorite sport is different for everyone. Some folks cherish their time among the fairways and sand traps while some enjoy the rigor of crushing a tennis ball across the court. Still, others migrate toward water recreation, hiking, biking or running marathons. If you haven’t quite settled on an outdoor draw that you truly love or you are looking for a unique activity to pack into your arsenal of fun, consider shooting sporting clays where skill and expertise can improve with every outing. With a little practice, you can become a sharp-shooting rascal with an aim to please. Click here to continue reading.

Exploring North Georgia's Roads

Twists and turns, up and down mountain drives in North Georgia: a perfect way to spend a fall or winter day. From the infamous Tail of the Dragon with 318 curves in 11 miles to Six Gap known by cyclists as one of the toughest rides in the Southeast, the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains can give even the most seasoned drivers a challenge. Click here to continue reading.

The Wow Factor of St. Augustine

The ceiling is Tiffany blue, the first ever used in architecture. The stained-glass windows as well as the Austrian crystal chandelier – they, too, are Tiffany. The work off interior designer Louis Comfort Tiffany in the late 1800s illuminated the Gilded Age for the guests at the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida. No one could deny Standard Oil co-founder and railroad magnate Henry Flagler's opulent taste. When he designed his one-of-a-kind hotel, he included electricity to the amazement of all, the contribution of friend Thomas Edison. Click here to read more about St. Augustine.

Road Trip to LaGrange

Exploring in an ancient world first century village; driving on America's first solar road; playing in an indoor waterpark with scores of features; marveling at the world's first drive-through tire checking; eating with chefs who love their community; enjoying magic in performance halls and museums; viewing elegant historic and modern gardens.

You can do it all and see it all in LaGrange. For the full story, click here

Travel Like A Viking

The Scandinavian people were masters at survival; they were tough explorers who became champions at fishing, farming, exploring, and most importantly, ship building. 

For Viking River Cruises, their most widely-known trademark is the Viking Longship, a ship originally created in the eighth century by Vikings to navigate in shallow waters, sail at a good speed and reach far-away lands. This ship thrives once more in part to the popularity of river cruising. To keep reading, click here

Homegrown Sumter County

Where in America can you find such inspiration in one place?  Sumter County in western central Georgia invites you to visit the childhood home of an American president, walk through a Civil War military site where almost 13,000 Union soldiers died, or hop aboard a vintage train and catch a glimpse of the largest pecan orchard in the country on one side and Lake Blackshear on the other. And, if you're so inclined, stop by Bobby Salter's Plain Peanuts in Plains for the peanut butter ice cream that will surely change your life. To keep reading, click here.

Etowah Indian Mounds

There's a time machine in Georgia.  The Etowah Indian Mounds near Cartersville in Bartow County take you back to a time before Hernando De Soto and his band of gold hunting explorers tramped across Northwest Georgia.  Those explorers must have been amazed when they stumbled into a sophisticated city on the banks of a river. To keep reading, click here

Sounds Fishy

When people walk into the Flint RiverQuarium facility at 117 Pine Avenue in Albany, they can step into worlds few people ever see in nature.  Opened in 2004 on the banks of the Flint, River, the facility combines attributes of an aquarium, a zoo and a museum with more than 40,000 square feet of displays featuring more than 130 different animal species. Click here for the full article. 

Experience the new Columbus

Columbus and its refurbished waterfront may be one of the Peach State's best kept secrets.  Most Georgians have been to or have passed through this town at one time or another, but it is unlikely that many chose this as a destination for a fun-filled weekend getaway.  But that has changed. 

If you have not visited Columbus within the past five years, then you have not seen the city transformed.  Today, Columbus is a destination worth a closer look, whether you are a foodie, an outdoor junkie or a culture seeker.  For the full article, click here

Down on the Farm

At least a dozen properties in the Peach State stake a claim as farm-stay lodging. 

In fact, all over the United States, farms and ranches are welcoming visitors into their world to learn what it takes to live that lifestyle.  Whether you participate in the hands-on chores or simply be a spectator, many have a growing desire to disconnect with the urban and connect with the rural.  Click here for the full story. 

Space Camp

     The subject line read, "Wanna be an astronaut?"    

     There are many adventures I have anticipated, but being an astronaut, well, I hadn't given it much thought.  However, Len, my husband, had.  Many times.  So, when I shared this unusual line I unearthed in my Inbox with him, he started doing cartwheels, salivating and quaking. 

     This is his story, and I'm learning, the story of everyman.  The moment of being transported back to those wonder years of coming of age, when children watched a rocket ascend into space, holding onto the edge of their seats, hoping that one day, they might sit in the pilot's seat.  To keep reading, click here


A Picturesque Blairsville

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.

A Return to Sapelo Island

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.

The New Jekyll Island

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.

Cloudland Canyon State Park

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.

Adventures Await in Helen

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.

Pigeon Forge

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

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 County

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.