Hike the Hooch!

East Palisades Trail

Explore the banks of the Chattahoochee River on these five Chattahoochee hikes near Atlanta. From historic bridges to tucked-away islands and rushing whitewater, these trails visit the river’s most beautiful stretches.

The Chattahoochee River is one of Georgia’s great rivers. The river, nicknamed the “Hooch”, begins as a tiny trickle in North Georgia’s rolling Appalachians before pooling in Lake Lanier and flowing wide and mighty toward Atlanta.

South of Lake Lanier, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area spans 48 miles of shady, forested river banks. This enormously long chain of parks offers over 70 miles of hiking, running and biking trails managed by the National Park Service.  For a great hike, walk or trail run near Atlanta this summer, explore the Hooch! But with over 70 miles of trails in the Chattahoochee River NRA, where should you begin?

Explore the best of the river and several tributary creeks on these five fantastic Chattahoochee hikes north of Atlanta. New to hiking? No problem: these hikes travel under five miles on well-traveled, easy to moderate trails. Take a hike to explore beautiful Chattahoochee River views, a mid-river island, historic mill ruins and a rushing spillway waterfall.  And watch for wildlife: the Chattahoochee’s forested banks are home to deer, heron, turtles and geese that frequent the river’s shore.

Parking: $3 (daily), or included with a Chattahoochee River NRA annual pass.

East Palisades Trail

Hike a 3.4 mile loop on the East Palisades Trail to explore one of the Chattahoochee’s most scenic stretches near Atlanta.

The Hooch cascades through small waterfalls and whitewater at the Palisades, rushing over angular rock rising from the river. The East Palisades trail treks to stunning overlook views from towering bluffs and hikes through a bamboo forest on the river’s banks.

Vickery CreekVickery Creek Trail

Explore historic mills, a waterfall and steep river banks on this 3 mile hike near a Chattahoochee River tributary.

The Vickery Creek Trail hikes rolling forest near the banks of Big Creek in Roswell. The hike visits a spillway waterfall where Big Creek tumbles over a historic, stacked-stone dam that once powered the Roswell Mill downstream.  The trail arcs to cross a wooden covered bridge to explore the Roswell Mill Ruins in Old Mill Park, a mill complex destroyed in the Civil War.

Sope CreekSope Creek Trail

The kid-friendly Sope Creek Trails explore a boulder-studded creek, a historic paper mill destroyed in the Civil War and a serene pond on the banks of Sope Creek, a Chattahoochee tributary.

This 1.5 mile trail descends through a young pine and deciduous forest to the banks of Sope Creek where the ruins of an 1855 paper mill rise, cathedral-like, from the forest floor.  The hike explores Sope Creek’s rocky bed before trekking through a stream-filled forest. Watch for wildflowers and wildlife along the trail as it rises to Sibley Pond, where it loops the glassy pond’s banks before returning to the trailhead.

Powers IslandPowers Island Trail

This 2.4 mile trail explores an island on the opposite banks of the Chattahoochee from Cochran Shoals, a hugely popular biking and running trail.

The Powers Island Trail crosses a wide footbridge to loop around Powers Island, catching beautiful upriver views of the whitewater-filled Chattahoochee. Heron, geese and sunlight-basking turtles are a common sight in the smooth-flowing inlet on the island’s eastern side.

Jones BridgeJones Bridge Trail

The Jones Bridge Trail catches beautiful Chattahoochee River views in the City of Johns Creek, visiting a historic bridge and crossing wooden suspension bridges over trickling tributaries. Hike the Jones Bridge Trail on a cool summer morning for a chance to catch fog flowing downriver, illuminated by rays from the rising sun.

The 4.6 mile trail visits the remains of a turn-of-the-twentieth-century metal bridge that spans the Hooch. Other than the remaining metal shell, most of the bridge was heisted by thieves in the 1940s.

Eric ChamplinEric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, kayak and cycle Georgia’s beautiful outdoors. Eric is the author of Atlanta Trails, an online magazine that reviews the best hiking trails, running trails and outdoor adventures throughout Georgia. His objective? To inspire Atlanta residents and visitors to get fit outdoors and explore Georgia’s beauty.

Neighborhood Eats: Virginia Highland

Photo by Deborah Weiner

Photo by Deborah Weiner

At the heart of Virginia Avenue and Highland Avenue, there is no shortage of culinary variety. Here are three favorites, so far!

Goin’ Coastalgoin-coastal2

This ‘sustainable seafood joint’ doesn’t mess around. Whether it’s a dinner menu or a brunch menu, there is no shortage of good eats. Goin’ Coastal ensures the acquisition of their seafood does not harm the environment or have a negative impact on marine life.

Dinner offers an array of seafood but don’t forget Sunday brunch where warm banana bread is served at every table; I dare you not to ask for more! There are a variety of eggs benedict options to choose from along with sandwiches and sides. It’s is pretty much impossible to make the wrong choice with this menu.

latavola-9La Tavola

La Tavola which literally means ‘The Table, has more than enough delicious choices to make everyone in your party a very happy customer. The menu offers hearty choices as well as lighter fare. The mozzarella burata is not to be missed as a starter. La Tavola offers a cozy dining room inside. If you prefer to dine al fresco there is a wrap-around porch with fans keeping you cool in summer.

Two favorites? The Tagliatelle Bolgonese and the Ricotta Gnocchi.

946547_10152062978699569_388689383_nMurphy’s

An icon at this intersection for 30 years, Murphy’s is upscale comfort food that is not to be missed.

If you choose to dine in the restaurant, it feels like you are in someone’s living room – with a few rooms offering different ambiance. You can choose to sit at the wine bar for drinks or dinner. Murphy’s is a fine place to take out-of-town guests in order to give them a taste of the South and an interesting take on classic dishes. Brunch is a big hit but be prepared to wait.

lorisusslebonanniLori Sussle Bonanni spent her career in New York City and relocated to Atlanta in December 2013. Lori loves immersing herself in local culture and going off the beaten path. She is excited to explore all that Atlanta and Georgia have to offer. Lori earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Specialization in Advertising and Public Relations from Rowan University. Say hi to Lori @smplythreecents on Twitter or visit her blog, simplythreecents.com.

Come Home to Macon’s College Hill Corridor

Credit: College Hill Alliance

Credit: College Hill Alliance

With more than $90 million invested in Macon’s College Hill Corridor, a two square mile area between Mercer University and Historic Macon’s downtown business district about an hour south of Atlanta, through private and public investments, Knight Foundation Investments and Mercer University as well as investments by Macon-Bibb County, it’s no wonder this community is a hot bed for entrepreneurship and innovation while serving as the breeding ground for a hip hometown vibe. Thanks to the Corridor initiative, more than 100 jobs have been created within the area’s borders and Macon’s two largest employers in Macon are located here – the Medical Center of Central Georgia and Mercer University, home of the 2014 March Madness miracle Mercer Bears. It’s time to discover the magic that’s brewing in the Corridor.

Easily accessible from Atlanta, the Corridor greets visitors with a vibe as unique as the community’s concept. Sit for a spell at a neighborhood coffee shop and mingle with strangers who fast become friends. Shop locally at boutiques and meander through park after park of undulating green space throughout four long-ago planned communities, each complete with their own architectural style and story. Delve into history at Macon’s three historic house museum attractions: Hay House, Cannonball House and Sidney Lanier Cottage – each located in the Corridor. Take an urban hike with Rock Candy Tours, and gain a glimpse into the heritage of Macon’s music scene. Cheer on the 2014 March Madness miracle Mercer Bears during a home game. Stay on-campus at Mercer University’s Hilton Garden Inn, offering guests a fitness center and pool, or try The 1842 Inn for a luxurious getaway in an antebellum mansion. Plan to visit during one of the Corridor’s signature events, like April’s Magnolia Street Soapbox Derby or Second Sunday concerts, the second Sunday of every month, April through October.

Mark your calendar for these can’t-miss annual College Hill Corridor community events:

Second Sunday Concerts

Every second Sunday of the month, from April through October, expect one of the best community picnics in Macon featuring live music in beautiful Washington Park. The concerts are free to attend and feature a cash bar and food available for purchase. Picnics, lawn chairs and pets are welcome. Please refrain from bringing tents and grills though.

Second Sunday Concerts take place from 6-8 p.m.

July 13: The Grapevine

August 10: Same As It Ever Was

September 14: TBA

October 12: Clarence Carter

Sundown Screen Series

The Sundown Screen Series is hosted by Macon-Bibb Parks & Recreation and brings the big silver screen to the great outdoors. These free, outdoor movie events take place in spring, summer and fall at various locations in the Corridor. Movies are often shown in Tattnall Square Park but have also been shown in Riverside Cemetery, Coleman Hill and the Beall’s Hill Community Garden. Movie-goers are encouraged to bring snacks, blankets and lawn chairs.  

Mercer Village Block Parties

The Mercer Village merchants are starting new traditions in the Corridor with their regular block parties. These events are tied to holidays like Christmas and Mardi Gras as well as Mercer University sporting events like football tailgating, pep rallies and cheering on the Bears during tournament season with outdoor watch parties. The regular events invite the entire Macon and Mercer University community to join in the free activities that take place outdoors. The portion of Montpelier Avenue that runs through Mercer Village is closed for these events, which often feature inflatables, outdoor vendors and live music. www.MercerVillage.com

Stay connected: Find College Hill Corridor on Facebook.

Georgia Restaurant Association Award Nominees

New GRA Logo

The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) revealed the finalists for the 8th Annual Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards. These finalists are peer-nominated and the winners will be announced November 2nd at the GRACE. We are proud to

The GRACE Awards recognize and pay tribute to the leaders who have made outstanding contributions to Georgia’s restaurant industry. All finalists are peer nominated, which ensures that we honor the most deserving of our Industry. To learn more about the GRACE Awards, or purchase tickets, visit www.garestaurants.org/GRACE.

2014 GRACE AWARDS FINALISTS

Restaurateur of the Year

George Frangos and Jason Mann, Farm Burger

Neal McCarthy and Steven Satterfield, Miller Union

Jennifer and Ben Johnson, Shelley Sweet, West Egg Café, The General Muir, Fred’s Meat & Bread, Yalla and Todd Ginsberg, The General Muir, Fred’s Meat & Bread, Yalla
Industry

Partner of the Year

Fishbowl

Georgia Power

United Healthcare

Distinguished Service Award

Atlanta Community Food Bank

Chick-fil-A

Waffle House
The Innovator Award

Kevin Gillespie, Gunshow

Nick Melvin, Doux South and Venkman’s

Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor, Sobban

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Hal Nowak of Hal’s on Old Ivy

Chairman’s Award

Commissioner Gary W. Black, Georgia Department of Agriculture

For more information, ticket reservations, and/or sponsorship opportunities, visit the website at www.garestaurants.org/GRACE.

Georgia Tourism partnered with the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) to incorporate the association’s complete list of restaurants on www.exploregeorgia.org.