Guide to Georgia’s Spring Festivals

Dogwood Festival in Atlanta

Dogwood Festival in Atlanta

Celebrate springtime at one (or all) of these family-friendly Georgia festivals in 2013!

APRIL

4/18-4/21: Vidalia Onion Festival in Vidalia

4/19-4/21: 77th Annual Dogwood Festival in Atlanta

4/19-4/20: Downtown Moultrie Spring Fling & Backyard BBQ Festival in Moultrie

4/19-4/20: National Mayhaw Festival in Colquitt

4/19-4/20: The Cornelia Apple Blossom BBQ Festival in Cornelia

4/20-4/21: Jasper ArtFest in Jasper

4/20-4/21: 17th Annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in Dahlonega

4/21: Spring Arts Festival in McDonough

4/25-4/27: 92nd Annual Thomasville Rose Show and Festival in Thomasville

4/26-4/28: Sacred Heart Garden Festival in Augusta

4/26-4/27: Woodbine Crawfish Festival in Woodbine

4/26-4/27: Georgia Strawberry Festival in Reynolds

4/27: Dogwood Music Festival in Moultrie

4/27: Madison Fest in Madison

4/27: Midway Arts Festival in Midway

4/27: Color the Grove 5K & Music Fest in Albany

MAY

5/3-5/5: Southern Blooms Festival at Rock City in Lookout Mountain

5/4-5/5: Shady Days in Gay Arts & Crafts Festival in Gay

5/4-5/5: Art in the Garden Festival & Spring Fling Car Show in Dawsonville

5/4: Tifton Turfgrass Festival in Tifton

5/17-5/18: Adel Daylily Festival in Adel

5/18: 36th Annual Geranium Festival in McDonough

5/18: 51st Mountain Laurel Festival in Clarkesville

5/30-6/2: Atlanta Food & Wine Festival in Atlanta

5/31-6/2: Wing & Rock Fest in Woodstock

JUNE

6/1: Dairy Festival in Eatonton

6/1-6/2: Georgia Sea Island Festival on St. Simon’s Island

6/1-6/2: Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival in Douglasville

6/1: Brew Moon SummerFest in Alpharetta

6/8: Tunes from the Tombs in Atlanta

6/8-6/9: Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Blairsville

6/8-6/9: Peachtree Corners Festival in Peachtree Corners

6/8: Roswell Lavender Festival in Roswell

6/19-6/23: AthFest Music & Arts Festival in Athens

Fan Photo Friday

Submit your Georgia photos for the chance to be featured:

Watson Mill Covered Bridge in Carlton, Georgia. Photo by Sussman Imaging. Submitted via Facebook.

Watson Mill Covered Bridge in Carlton, Georgia. Photo by Sussman Imaging. Submitted via Facebook.

The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Photo by @luckycharmsandbeer. Submitted via Instagram.

The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Photo by @luckycharmsandbeer. Submitted via Instagram.

Mica, Georgia. Photo by Franks Photos. Submitted via Flickr.

Mica, Georgia. Photo by Franks Photos. Submitted via Flickr.

April’s Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage is a Walk Through Time

Ezell Tatum House in Eatonton, Georgia

Ezell-Tatum House in Eatonton, Georgia

Middle Georgia’s 100-mile Antebellum Trail of seven communities offers an abundant look into 19th century life and earlier. Visitors can travel the trail year-round, but many choose April 18 – 21 for the annual Pilgrimage. $25 covers entrance to everything during these four days, with passes available at each community’s welcome center. (Find welcome center addresses at www.atpilgrimage.com). Macon and Athens bookend the Antebellum Trail with abundance and distinctive opportunities fill the communities in between.

The years leading to 1860 are the focus of the trail. I entered the back edge of the Civil War, not battlefield center, with connections to Revolutionary War veterans and families, too.

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Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton

Eatonton is the 1848 birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris, and the Uncle Remus Museum is 50 years old. Go to the source. You know these tales. Old and new at the same time is the Old School History Museum. Sleep in Watkinsville because the Ashford Manor wraps visitors in history and hospitality.  Choose the 1840s cottage for an antebellum night or the main house, an 1893 Queen Anne. “Artland,” Watkinsville is called, and art is abundant in the 1827 Haygood House, home and gallery of Jerry and Kathy Chappelle. Frontier years enticed me, especially Eagle Tavern built in 1801 on land given to a Revolutionary War veteran.

The 1811 Heritage Hall in Madison provides family stories, exquisite furnishings and lifestyle insight in a two-story Greek Revival home with docent-led tours.The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center stretches antebellum, built in 1895, but enjoy the architecture, theater, Arts and Crafts-style furniture gallery, and history museum anyway.

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Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville

Milledgeville was home to Georgia’s governors from 1839 – 1868, and their house is grandly interpreted as the Old Governor’s Mansion. Those governors received salaries but not entertainment budgets, so note the difference as you follow the Antebellum Trail. Macon’s Hay House of the same era was private, and it’s lavish. In Milledgeville’s Old Capital Museum, an 1807 Gothic building, peer into tableaux of eight antebellum women, researched from diaries and written records, most with a book you and I could read, too. Then go upstairs to imagine the mood where Georgia’s four-day secession convention was held in 1861.

These are just some of musings possible on the Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage. Click here for information on how to attend the 2013 pilgrimage.

Christine 12. 2007 4Christine Tibbetts claimed Georgia as her home state in 1972.  She covers Georgia destinations, and the world, always offering prompts for exceptional experiences and opportunities to muse. Tibbetts earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the prestigious School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and is the recipient of numerous gold, silver and merit awards from North American Travel Journalists Association writing competitions. Follow her at www.TibbettsTravel.com

Get Outdoors in Augusta

When you think of Augusta, The Masters golf tournament or James Brown might be the first things that come to your mind. However, what you may not know is that Augusta is a fantastic place to get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  Here are my suggestions for great outdoor attractions & activities in Augusta, Georgia:

Augusta Riverwalk: Augusta is situated along the Savannah River, which forms the state line between Georgia and South Carolina. Take a stroll down the multilevel Riverwalk and enjoy the scenery of the river, gardens, abundant opportunities for picnicking and a playground for kids (and kids at heart). Riverwalk is a great place to experience 4th of July fireworks, the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and the Augusta Market on the River, where you can find fresh produce, food and crafts during the warmer months of the year. It is also home to the Jessye Norman Amphitheatre, a unique spot for outdoor concerts.

Kayaking the Canal

Kayaking the Canal

The Augusta Canal: The Augusta Canal was built to provide water to textile mills and factories that used hydro-power to operate large machinery. Today, you can tour the canal by boat, bike or foot. If you have your own canoe or kayak, you can put in at the canal head gates and paddle the 7 miles past Lake Olmstead to the 13th Street Bridge. There are several outfitters in town that offer boat rentals and shuttles. Because there are no gas-powered boats allowed in the canal, the only traffic you will see is tour boats and other paddlers. It’s pretty cool to be on the water, viewing birds, turtles and possibly alligators and heading right through the heart of downtown at the same time. If you’d rather stick to land, you can experience the Canal Trail, a dirt path that runs the length of the canal and is great for biking or hiking. The trail is shaded by large trees, so it is enjoyable year-round, and there are different entrance points, so you don’t have to trek the entire length of the trail if you’re not up for it.

Disc Golf: Augusta is home to the PDGA International Disc Golf Center, making it a mecca for disc golfers. You can toss some discs there or at several different courses throughout the area. Just bring your own discs, and you’re all set.  Pendleton King Park is great for beginners. If you’re looking for a challenge, I suggest the Lake Olmstead course is perfect, which is built around the water.

Auggie

Auggie

The Augusta Greenjackets: The Augusta Greenjackets are a minor league team affiliated with the San Francisco Giants that plays at Lake Olmstead Stadium, just minutes from downtown. The tickets are affordable and the beer is cold, making it a great option for a night out with family or friends. Insider tip: Don’t miss out on the chance to have your picture taken with the mascot Auggie!

Lake Thurmond

Lake Thurmond

Camping: After all of your outdoor adventures, it’s time to relax with nature. What better way to do that than by camping at Lake Thurmond? Mistletoe State Park is only about 30 minutes from downtown and a great place to set up camp. You’ll be right on the banks of Lake Thurmond, where you can swim, boat or simply laze about and enjoy your surroundings. The last time I camped there, the weather was perfect and peaceful. It’s also nice to know you aren’t too far from civilization in case you forget to pack any essentials.

Camping in the Giant TentAnna Lee Mikell is a Southern girl raised in Georgia and South Carolina. She loves Southern food, photography and SEC football. You can often find her searching for old records at the flea market or sipping sweet iced tea.

Fan Photo Friday

Submit your Georgia photos for the chance to be featured:

Jefferson, Georgia by Tim Stafford. Photo submitted via Facebook.

Jefferson, Georgia by Tim Stafford. Photo submitted via Facebook.

Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by karim.lalji. Submitted via Flickr.

Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by karim.lalji. Submitted via Flickr.

Rural Georgia. Photo by @heidi442. Submitted via Instagram.