9 Reasons We Love Springtime in Georgia

Williamson, Georgia. Photo by @lizibailey via Instagram.

Williamson, Georgia. Photo by @lizibailey via Instagram.

Georgia is on our mind year-round, but we especially love the Peach State during the spring months. From the blooming flowers to the delightful temperatures, there is plenty to love about springtime in Georgia!

Festival Season: Nothing says spring quite like chowing down on a turkey leg while meandering through booths selling organic soap, handmade jewelry and bottle cap artwork. Georgia is home to such popular spring festivals as the Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival and the famous Macon Cherry Blossom Festival. No matter where in Georgia you go, your chances of finding a spring festival between March and June are high. Our advice? Pack up the car and spend a weekend exploring Georgia.

Dogwood Festival in Atlanta

Dogwood Festival in Atlanta

Mild Temperatures:  Georgia’s spring weather is perfect for backyard barbeques, front porch sitting, driving with the windows down on the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway or visiting Georgia’s Golden Isles. Georgia’s spring weather is so perfect, in fact, we think even Goldilocks would find it to be just right.

Pick-your-own Farms: Grab a bucket and head to one of Georgia’s many pick-your-own farms for a true Southern springtime tradition. Pick fresh peaches at Gardner Farms in Locust Grove or stock up on strawberries when you visit Strawberry Station in Dublin. The whole family will have fun picking their favorite springtime treats fresh from farms throughout the state.

Seminole State Park 2 - GDECD

Seminole State Park

 

Georgia State Parks: Take advantage of the perfect spring weather with a trip to one of Georgia’s state parks. Whether hitting the hiking trails, paddling the waterways, or sleeping under the stars, Georgia’s state parks have programs the whole family will love.

Spring Break: When Spring Break rolls around, students of all ages are restless for outdoor fun. Luckily for them (and their parents), Georgia is filled with theme parks, attractions, outdoor adventures and more. Treat your little one to a day at Wild Adventures in Valdosta, a hike up Stone Mountain in Atlanta or have an adventure on the water in Columbus. No matter which activity you choose, your child will return to school with a story to share!

Braves Baseball:  When April arrives, fans across the Southeast don their jerseys, paint their faces, and do the tomahawk chop in honor of the Atlanta Braves. A game at Turner Field, affectionately called “The Ted,” is a must-see when in Georgia.

Piedmont Park. Photo courtesy of Lauren Cleland.

Piedmont Park. Photo courtesy of Lauren Cleland.

Patio Dining: We’re of the firm belief that food always tastes better when eaten on a patio. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail at Atlanta’s Park Tavern or enjoying an intimate sunset dinner at the Meritage Café in Columbus, Georgia’s springtime weather makes for the perfect patio dining experience.

Lake Season: When the temperatures warm up, folks everywhere flock to Georgia’s lakes for weekends full of water skiing, tubing and more. Rent a pontoon boat on Lake Sinclair, camp on the shore of Lake Oconee or book a weekend at the luxurious Lake Lanier Islands Resort to get your lake fix this spring.

Callaway Gardens

Callaway Gardens

Flowers in Bloom: Our springtime list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our beautiful blooming flowers, including azaleas, peach blossoms, magnolias and more. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the season with a visit to one of Georgia’s famous gardens, such as Guido Gardens in Metter, Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground and Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain. You’ll discover displays of floral beauty like you’ve never seen before when you explore Georgia!

Photo Credit: Photojenik Photography

Photo Credit: Photojenik Photography

Lauren 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!

5 Reasons to See Atlanta Ballet’s “Camino Real”

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  1. Atlanta Ballet’s production of “Camino Real” is a world premiere! This is the first time the Tennessee Williams’ play, which originated on Broadway in 1953, has ever been transformed into a ballet. Atlanta Ballet’s resident choreographer Helen Pickett reimagined the play after her father handed down his copy from his college theater days, suggesting it would make a good ballet. The ballet has been three years in the making.
  1. Ballet as you’ve never seen (or heard) it before! Audiences can expect to be fully immersed and entertained when watching this full-evening ballet dance theater piece. Choreographer Helen Pickett has even challenged the dancers to learn lines from Tennessee Williams’ original text, which will be spoken throughout the show.
  1. It’s an everyman’s tale of love, lust, betrayal, courage and redemption. The story follows Kilroy, a once prizewinning boxer, who finds himself trapped in the surreal town of Camino Real. “It’s your classic good versus evil story,” said choreographer Helen Pickett. The story also features popular characters from literature and pop culture, such as Don Quixote, Esmeralda and Casanova.

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  1. Extravagant, theatrical display with brand new score, costumes and set design! A team of creative artists has been assembled to bring Tennessee Williams’ vision of “Camino Real” to life. The production will feature original costumes designed by award-winning designer Sandra Woodall, and a set design unlike any other, designed by Emma Kingsbury and David Finn. The rich, textured score, which Pickett has described as a character all its own, is the creation of composer Peter Salem.

Helen Pickett's Camino Real - Set Design (2)

  1. One weekend only! There are only four chances to see this Helen Pickett and Atlanta Ballet world premiere. The Company – dancers, costume shop, carpenters, painters, choreographer, composer, designers, etc. – has collectively logged more than 1,000 man-hours to bring the production to stage, and it’s a show not to be missed.

Buy tickets here.

All photos provided by Atlanta Ballet.

10 Ways to Celebrate the First Weekend of Spring

Callaway Gardens. Photo courtesy of @lizibailey via Instagram.

Callaway Gardens. Photo courtesy of @lizibailey via Instagram.

Celebrate the start of spring at these Georgia events!

March 18 – 22: Witness world class show jumping at the Atlanta Spring Classic in Conyers. Admission is FREE.

March 20: Peruse local art and soak up the sunshine at the Spring Art Walk in Newnan.

March 20 – 21: Enjoy extended hours, special sales, inflatables and photos with the Easter Bunny during Dalton’s Spring Holiday Open House.

March 21: Breathe in the fresh spring air during the Spring Sprint in Jonesboro. Registrations is only $25 in advance, $30 the day of.

March 21: Take advantage of the spring weather during Springs Fling at Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla.

March 21: Kick off spring with wine and live music during Hightower Creek Vineyards’ Vino & Vibes Spring Kick-Off.

March 21: Honor the Burmese chickens that are a fixture of the Fitzgerald landscape at the Wild Chicken Festival.

March 21: Get those Irish eyes smiling as hundreds of floats take to Jackson Street and Bellevue Avenue during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin.

March 21 – April 25: Celebrate Spring and the beginning of azalea season at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain.

March 21 – 22: Proudly sport your pink clothing at the 34th Annual  Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival

Experience Appalachian Culture at the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival

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Many travelers don’t realize that Georgia has mountains–wild, beautiful, and home to a rich legacy of Appalachian culture. Minutes away from Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia, but only two hours from Atlanta, Young Harris College will celebrate Appalachian culture, particularly the spoken word tradition, during the first annual Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival to be held on the college campus on 10th and 11th April 2015.

The festival will feature some of the brightest stars in storytelling, including Lloyd Arneach, Lyn Ford, Hannah Harvey, Andy Offutt Irwin, Bil Lepp, Minton Sparks, Cayce Terrell, Tom Lawrence, Jr., and Sweet Sunny South. Listeners of all ages will learn about the fascinating cultural history of Appalachia through Cherokee legends, Affrilachian tales, Scottish folklore, stories of coal miners, local ghost stories, tall tales, family histories, and more. The festival will also offer visitors the opportunity to become part of the legacy of storytelling. Workshops on the art of storytelling will enable visitors to claim their own voices, and our recording booth will be open for those who want to preserve their stories for future generations. We’ll explore storytelling through the work of local artisans and musicians too with a quilt display, performances of traditional Appalachian music, and a bluegrass jam.  You’re in for a treat for the eyes, ears, heart, and mind!

The Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival is free to all students 18 and under and discounted for college students. Tickets for others are only $20 for a day of entertainment, from 10AM to 9PM.

We hope you will visit the GMSF to embrace and participate in the legacy of Appalachian stories.  To learn more about the event, go to http://gmsf.eventbrite.com. You can also find them under Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival on Facebook. Feel free to contact us at storytelling@yhc.edu or 706-379-5115.

Where to Eat Irish Food in Atlanta

Who needs a pot o’ gold when you can feast on these Irish treats?

Bite Bistro & Bar

Bite Bistro & Bar is getting a visit from a leprechaun this St. Patrick’s Day! On Tuesday, March 17, the restaurant will offer a variety of spirited specials from green beer to Irish whiskey cocktails made with Uisce Beatha. An “Irish coffee” will blend the whiskey with Irish Manor Irish cream and coffee topped before topping it with whipped cream, for $10 apiece, and “Irish mules” mixing whiskey with fresh lime juice, simple syrup and Fever Tree ginger beer, for $11 each, served in the classic copper mug. Victory’s “golden monkey” and Three Tavern Brewery’s “white hops” will also feel the luck o’ the Irish when they turn green for one night only!

Bourbon Bar1

Bourbon Bar

Bourbon Bar is spreading the luck of the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day! Celebrate like a true Irishman (or woman) on Tuesday, March 17, as Bourbon Bar pours $3 draft beers, $3 bottles of Guinness and $5 Jameson cocktails all night long. Those craving some authentic Irish food are also in luck with plates of shepherd’s pie available for only $7. For more information please call 404.946.9070.

HRC Rueben Sandwich

Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta

Get your green on with Hard Rock by feasting on an Irish classic – the corned beef and cabbage dinner includes sliced tender corned beef served over quartered cabbage, topped with herb butter and parsley and served with red potatoes and carrots. Guests can also enjoy the Irish Reuben, a sandwich featuring slow-cooked, hand-carved corned beef brisket, layered with crispy sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and aged Swiss cheese and served on a salt-crusted pretzel roll with crispy fries and citrus-spiked coleslaw. Sip on St. Patrick’s Day-inspired beverage for those looking to further celebrate the luck of the Irish. Guests can enjoy an Irish Mule, made with Jameson Irish whiskey, ginger beer and lime. An Irish twist on an old favorite!

Shake Shack St. Patrick's DayShake Shack

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Shake Shack is bringing Atlanta its special edition “When Irish Fries Are Smiling” special featuring crinkle-cut fries topped with horseradish cream, scallions, and crispy all-natural Applewood smoked bacon. The Leprechaun-approved fries will be available from Friday, March 13, through Tuesday, March 17. Guests will also be able to celebrate the holiday with a cup or cone of rich and creamy Mast Brothers chocolate mint frozen custard, available from Monday, March 16, to Sunday, March 22. 

True Food Kitchen Kale Aid - Photo Credit Fox Restaurant ConceptsTrue Food Kitchen

Get lucky with True Food Kitchen’s selection of power greens! Scale back on the green beer and opt for some liquid lean, green fighting machines like True Food Kitchen’s “Kale-Aid” made with kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger, and “Green Arnie” featuring a blend of matcha green tea and honey lemonade. Other vitamin-rich ingredients to get your green fix can be found across the menu including black kale, mizuna, bok choy and spinach.

Twenty-Two Storys

Venture downtown to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Twenty-Two Storys, Hyatt Regency Atlanta’s gastropub. Festive specials include Irish spring rolls filled with corned beef, cabbage, potato and malted whole grain mustard, $8 Guinness beer and “Lucky Leprechaun” cocktails featuring Midori, Malibu rum and pineapple juice. All Irish liquors will be one dollar off and guests are welcome to make any beer a shandy for free.

LaurenLauren 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!