10 Reasons We Love Fall in Georgia

When you feel that first crisp breeze and watch the colors begin to change, you know that summer is gone and fall is in the air! Although we think every season in Georgia is just peachy, autumn has a particular beauty to it. Here are 10 reasons we love Georgia in the fall:

Fall foliage: Fall in Georgia always provides a kaleidoscope of colors. Whether you’re driving down the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway in Northeast Georgia or hiking Cloudland Canyon, you’re sure to be amazed by the stunning display of red, gold and orange leaves. Insider tip: Early to mid-November are the best times to see fall foliage in Georgia.

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Apple season: As the temperature cools down, apple season heats up! Fall is the perfect time to head north for a fun-filled day of apple picking. We suggest stopping by Hillcrest Orchards or the Red Apple Barn – both located in beautiful Ellijay.

Pumpkin patches: Why buy a pumpkin at the grocery store when you could enjoy a day of pumpkin pickin’ in Georgia? Pack your family in the car and hunt for the perfect pumpkin at any of these Georgia pumpkin patches.

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Haunted houses: Georgia is home to some seriously scary haunted houses, including the No. 1 haunted house in the nation Netherworld. These walk-through attractions are filled with live actors, amazing special effects and incredible monsters that are sure to scare even the toughest of visitors! Check out our Get Spooked in Georgia Pinterest board for haunted attractions in your area.

Fall festivals: We’re a sucker for a festival – especially a fall festival! Where else can you watch the leaves fall, eat candied apples and shop for handmade Halloween decorations? Find a fall festival near you here.

Oktoberfest: Grab your lederhosen and your beer stein because Oktoberfest is coming! One of Georgia’s most popular annual events, Oktoberfest takes place in the recreated alpine village of Helen. Attendees can feast on schnitzel, tour the town and even listen to live yodeling! Click here for more information on Oktoberfest.

Corn mazes: Exercise your brain and your body when you visit one of Georgia’s many corn mazes. Each maze has its own unique design, including a “Duck Dynasty”-themed corn maze at Corn Dawgs in Loganville. Visit our Corn Mazes in Georgia Pinterest board to find a corn maze near you.

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Football Season: Football is a big deal in the South. When fall begins, football fans don their jerseys, pack their cars with tailgate supplies and road trip to cheer on their favorite teams. Follow our Fall Means Football Pinterest board for ideas on where to stay on gameday, special events, tailgate recipes and more.

Georgia State Parks: Head to Georgia’s State Parks this fall for outdoor adventure! Whether you’re interested in kayaking, caving, geocaching or camping, Georgia’s State Parks have got you covered.

Cooler temperatures: Fall provides a much-needed respite after Georgia’s sweltering hot summer. It’s not too hot, not too cold and just right for front porch sitting.

1025498_10200401820144233_1171921963_oLauren Cleland is the voice of Explore Georgia on social media. She loves ice cold sweet tea, anything peach flavored, channeling Scarlett O’Hara in her daily life and sharing the wonders of her beloved Georgia with all of you!

 

 

Georgia’s State Capitals (1782- 1796)

Bull Street in the late 1700's. Photo courtesy of Digital Collection of The Lane Library Armstrong Atlantic State University.

Bull Street. Photo courtesy of Digital Collection of The Lane Library
Armstrong Atlantic State University.

Everyone is familiar with Atlanta as Georgia’s state capital, but did you know it is the 17th location of the capital? While some cities have had the honor as many as four times, other locations were temporary and some cities no longer exist.

For the first 43 years of Georgia’s existence, the cities that had been known as the capital were in the southeastern part of the state: Frederica and Savannah. When Savannah fell to the British forces at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the capital moved to Augusta and then shuffled around to various sites in Wilkes County, Ebenezer and possibly even South Carolina before settling once again in Savannah in 1782.

Following the capital’s re-entry into Savannah, a new conflict was arising between the coastal communities in Georgia and Augusta, which was quickly gaining economic importance. In January 1783, the General Assembly met in Savannah, but only one month later, the council resolved to move the capital to Augusta, citing the increasing populations in what they referred to as the “backcountry.”

The council held a full month of meetings in Augusta in July, and in October moved the capital back to Savannah when they were called back there by the governor. They held another legislative session there in January 1784, meeting in taverns, private homes and perhaps other meeting halls because there was no statehouse building.

The last legislative session in Savannah was in January 1785, and in January 1786, Augusta became the official capital once again.  However, with that move, many began expressing concern that Augusta was too far east of most of the population of Georgia. Only 23 days in to the new legislative session in the new capital, legislators appointed a commission to find a “proper and convenient” place for a new capital, stipulating that it must be relatively easily accessible to all free Georgians.

server (1)Visit History:
Savannah’s Squares – During the pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary times, Georgia did not have a formal statehouse. Instead, its legislators met at various taverns, homes and businesses around some of Savannah’s famous squares. Out of the original 24 squares, 22 remain today, each unique and worth a visit.

eileenEileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.

Fan Photo Friday

Submit your Georgia photos for the chance to be featured:

Sunrise over Lake Lanier. Photo by Ben Thomas. Submitted via Facebook.

Sunrise over Lake Lanier. Photo by Ben Thomas. Submitted via Facebook.

Stone Mountain Grist Mill Stream. Photo by Gornton Tulog. Submitted via Flickr.

Stone Mountain Grist Mill Stream. Photo by Gornton Tulog. Submitted via Flickr.

Skyview Atlanta. Photo by @tambamdob. Submitted via Instagram.

Skyview Atlanta. Photo by @tambamdob. Submitted via Instagram.

 

 

 

Helen, Georgia on a Budget

Photo Credit: Sussman Imaging

Photo Credit: Sussman Imaging

Travel to Germany without leaving Georgia with a visit to Helen, White County and the Sautee and Nacoochee areas. Located about 90 minutes north of Atlanta – these areas are rich with history, culture, entertainment, food and blessed by Mother Nature. Here are the top budget-friendly must-do’s when visiting this North Georgia gem:

  1. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Helen’s downtown; then, seek out the perfect souvenirs and gifts in the hustle and bustle of Helen’s shopping street while German music adds oom pah pah from outdoor speakers.
  2. Pick up sweet treats at an authentic German bakery or candy shop.
  3. Tour the world’s largest Alpine model railroad museum at Charlemagne’s Kingdom.
  4. Come face to face with giant bears at Black Forest Bear Park; watch glass blowing at The Glassblowing Shop.
  5. Paint your own “green theme” child-safe toy at Elfmade Toys.
  6. Gain perspective as you soar to new heights with seasonal hot air balloon or helicopter rides that give a new vantage point of the surrounding beauty.
  7. Hop in the saddle with horseback riding, or take it to two wheels as you zoom up and down tree-lined paths while mountain biking.
  8. Outdoor enthusiasts can find adventures like zip lining at Nacoochee Outdoor Adventures or Sunburst Stables, just nine miles from the city center.
  9. Follow a round of adventure golf with a scoop or two of ice cream at an old-fashioned parlor.
  10. Continue family time during your mountain getaway in the foothills of the Appalachians by teaching kids about the great outdoors with seasonal programs at Unicoi State Park.

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    Unicoi Lake. Photo Credit: Sussman Imaging

  11. Grab a snack at Fred’s Famous Peanuts, which began nearly 30 years ago as a roadside stand.
  12. Stop by the Old Sautee Store, in existence since 1872 and famous for the combination of old store museum, gourmet foods and fine jewelry.
  13. Don’t miss Loganberry Heritage Farm, an Appalachian Heritage Farm growing healthy, farm-to-table foods naturally, biologically, ecologically and sustainably on land that once provided home to the Cherokee Indians. Watch cooking demonstrations during Market Days, and sample the harvest in quick and easy recipes.
  14. At Smithgall Woods Conservation Area, where there are more than 5,500 acres of land, learning is fun for the whole family with special events like Kids Day at the Park and Junior Ranger Camp. Another can’t-miss bonding opportunity: children and their “big person” can fish in a stocked lake during Youth Fishing Days at Buck Shoals.
  15. Make your way to BabyLand General Hospital, home of the “hand-stitched to birth” soft-sculpture Original Cabbage Patch Kids, and be there when a baby arrives at this Southern-style mansion in Cleveland that sits majestically on a 100-acre spread in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains.
  16. Make mountain vacation memories while rafting, tubing and fishing the Chattahoochee River.
  17. Kayak and canoe Unicoi Lake.
  18. Bring a fly rod to reel in good times at Smithgall Woods Conservation Area, where you can fly fish on the legendary Dukes Creek trophy trout stream, or let Unicoi Outfitters guide you to prized trophy trout streams on private land.
  19. See who can slip and slide the fastest while sloshing down the slides at Helen Water Park.
  20. Recharge batteries with restorative treatments at nearby spas.
  21. Sip vino at local wineries and tasting rooms.
  22. Check out the Sautee Nacoochee Center: Visual and Performing Arts where you can take in a gallery show or live theatre performance, or the Helen Arts and Heritage Center and Unicoi State Park, with gallery showings, theatre, art and history exhibits, and Saturday evening concerts.
  23. Nearby, the only known slave cabin still existing in the Northeast Georgia mountains has recently been renovated and now joins the heritage landscape in Sautee.
  24. Explore age-old folk pottery traditions at the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia, housed in a post-and-beam building. This is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to folk pottery and showcasing a 200-year tradition of men and women who shaped the earth and water of the Georgia mountains into once-essential household items now valued and collected as distinctive folk art.

    Photo Credit: Sussman Imaging

    Photo Credit: Sussman Imaging

  25. Drive Georgia’s Folk Pottery Trail for an added dose of cultural and mountain heritage.
  26. Following a day of kid-friendly fun, share a meal and memories at multi-generation-pleasing Nacoochee Grill, Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria, Old Bavarian Inn Restaurant or Unicoi Restaurant.

When you are ready to hit the hay, Helen has cabins galore, hotels with swimming pools and lodge rooms at Unicoi State Park.

katieMom-on-the-go and Laurie Rowe Communications PR pro Katie Reeder graduated at the top of her class from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University with a degree in Communication Studies. Katie resides in Cumming, Georgia – between the beautiful mountains of North Georgia and the lights and action of nearby Atlanta.

Ride a Dirt Bike in Alpharetta

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Alpharetta, Ga., has plenty to choose from when looking for unique adventures, but there is one hidden gem that fills every daredevil with excitement: the expansive Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Campus. It is definitely a “must do” in Alpharetta, and having never been on a motorized bike before, it was time for me to cross “learn how to ride a dirt bike” off of my bucket list.

2The state-of-the-art MSF facility is dedicated to expanding rider education and motorcycle safety opportunities. On any given day, you’ll find street bikers taking basic training, youngsters learning how to maneuver ATVs, groups team building, families learning the elements of dirt biking or, in our case, a class of first-time riders eager to learn. After signing up for the basic rider course, I felt a zing of excitement and recruited a friend (who also had never been on a bike before) to join me.

The day started off bright and early as we suited up with protective gear and learned basic hand signals and safety precautions. All training courses include motor safety gear from head to toe, certified coaches and CRF Honda dirt bikes. After we were properly geared up, we hopped on our bikes (already personalized with our names!) to learn basic skills and rules of the road. Before we knew it, our class of 10 was doing figure eights around orange cones and standing while make turns. I couldn’t believe it!

3We continued the day doing some drills, and as each instructor gave the lesson, my classmates and I would look at each other with wide eyes as we tried to picture ourselves completing the tasks. The instructors would ensure us that we could do it and were enthusiastic and patient with us as we took the time to learn the drill. The instructors were phenomenal. They were patient and motivational as we weaved around the cones and tried our newly learned skills. After each round, we were greeted with high fives and congratulations. Needless to say, after about 20 drills, we were exhausted and ready to head home to relax. It was a fun-filled day, and we can’t wait to try another class at the campus.

Tips for your first day:

  • Stay hydrated. The staff has a cooler filled with bottled water for you to have throughout the day. Make sure to use it.
  • Eat breakfast before gearing up. You need a lot of energy.
  • Be patient with yourself. Jumping on a bike for the first time isn’t easy. It sometimes took me longer to learn the skills than my classmates. I would get frustrated with myself at times, but I kept trying and eventually got the hang of things.
  • Bring snacks and pack a lunch. You have a few breaks throughout the day and an hour for lunch. We packed our lunches, but there are plenty of restaurants nearby, so a quick outing to grab a bite would work, too.
  • Don’t plan to head to the gym afterward. Pushing a 250-pound bike around and sweating under all that gear can wear you out. Plan to relax after your lesson (maybe even plan a trip to an Alpharetta spa).
  • Have fun and enjoy the ride!

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation campus is located within the American Honda Complex at 1450 Morrison Parkway. For more information about the classes offered or the campus, visit www.offroad-training.org. For more information on where to find adventure and accommodations in Alpharetta, Ga., visit www.awesomealpharetta.com.

Caitlyn BlizzardFlorida native turned Georgian, Caitlyn Blizzard graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Communication Arts.  She is the communications manager with the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau and loves advocating all the fun and unique things to do in awesome Alpharetta. She enjoys exploring metro Atlanta attractions and restaurants and spending time with her miniature schnauzer, Winstyn.