Three Trips for a Guys’ Weekend in Georgia

You hear a lot about girls’ getaways — places where the girls can escape together for a while — but what about the guys? Don’t they deserve some time away too? Here are three Georgia escapes perfect for a boys’ weekend away.

Hard Labor Creek State Park

Check out the mountain bike trails at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge. Ga.

Check out the mountain bike trails at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge. Ga.

Golf, mountain biking, fishing or just hanging out, Hard Labor Creek State Park is perfect for a guys-only weekend. Camp in a tent, bring the RV or stay in one of the renovated cabins.

Durhamtown Off Road Riding Resort

Hit the dirt track trails at Durhamtown in Union Point, Ga.

If you don’t find enough to do on-site, nearby is Durhamtown Off Road Resort, where the guys can hunt or ride motorcycles or ATVs along the single track.

Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding

Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding

Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding

Guys can get their thrills 2,000 feet up in the air at Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding. For those who have never been before, try the tandem package. A flight instructor turns over the controls if you’d like, or marvel at the scenery while your guide does the work.

Sea Island Golf

Get fitted for clubs, take lessons and more at the Sea Island Golf Performance Center.

Get fitted for clubs, take lessons and more at the Sea Island Golf Performance Center.

If the boys want first-class golfing, head to the Georgia coast. The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club is an English-style golf club at the end of a classic Southern Avenue of Oaks. For a less expensive golf vacation that is still high on style, The Inn at Sea Island’s golf package offers access to all three of Sea Island’s championship courses: Plantation, Retreat and Seaside, the home of the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic. A stay here also includes access to Sea Island’s Golf Performance Center, where pros like Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Brandt Snedeker and Lucas Glover train.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

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5 Family-Fun Eccentric Excursions in Georgia

This isn’t a complete list of the bit of eccentric excursions we have in Georgia, but it is a compilation of our favorites! What did we miss that you love? Let us know your favorite Georgia travel finds using #ExploreGeorgia on social media!

Old Car City USA (White)

Old Car City USA in White, Ga., is a haven for photographers.

Old Car City USA in White, Ga., is a haven for photographers.

If your kids love old cars and running in the woods, then Old Car City USA works well! It’s also a haven for photographers. You can meander 6 miles of trails or stick to the section near the entrance, which is where the oldest automobiles sit among 4,000 in this classic car junkyard. Don’t skip the second-story museum of “cup art.” See photos from our Old Car City USA visit here.

Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden (Summerville)

Explore Howard Finster's inspiring collection of folk art at Paradise Garden in Summerville.

Explore Howard Finster’s inspiring collection of folk art at Paradise Garden in Summerville.

One of Georgia’s noted art attractions, Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden has acres of folk-art sculptures and paintings to inspire your kiddos. We spent an entire afternoon examining each piece, then stayed the night at nearby Sloppy Floyd State Park, where fishing is a must. See pictures from my boys’ adventure at Howard Finster’s.

Smallest Church in America (South Newport)

The smallest church in America welcomes all visitors!

The smallest church in America welcomes all visitors!

Just off Hwy 95 between St. Simons Island and Savannah is the small town of South Newport. Don’t blink when you drive through or you’ll miss Memory Park Christ Chapel, the Smallest Church in America. It experienced a fire late last year but has since been restored and is even hosting weddings. Kids will adore the 10-foot-by-15-foot church, which is open to all denominations.

BabyLand General Hospital (Cleveland)

See vintage and new Cabbage Patch Kids at BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland.

See vintage and new Cabbage Patch Kids at BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland.

Kids can pick out their favorite Cabbage Patch doll straight from the source at BabyLand General Hospital. Licensed Patch Nurses (LPNs) are available for an adoption consultation. A fathers’ waiting room is available, as well as rocking chairs on expansive Southern porches looking out on the Georgia mountains.

Peanut of Peace (Plains)

Plains on your way to the Peanut of Peace and Jimmy Carter's Boyhood Farm.

Explore Downtown Plains on your way to the Peanut of Peace and Jimmy Carter’s Boyhood Farm.

The world’s second largest peanut stands at 13 feet tall in Plains. It was originally made for display in a 1976 political parade with Jimmy Carter and has stood the test of time. Davis E-Z Shop, on whose property is sits, dubs it the Peanut of Peace. You can visit Jimmy Carter’s Boyhood Home during your visit of the peanut! It’s a special way to sneak some educational travel into a fun adventure.

LesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

5 Things to Do in Downtown Greensboro Without Moving Your Car: History Edition

Historic Greene County Courthouse, 113 N. Main St.

The Historic Greene County Courthouse in Greensboro is one of the oldest in Georgia.

The Historic Greene County Courthouse in Greensboro is one of the oldest in Georgia.

It’s hard to miss this beautiful site in Greensboro! You are bound to pass by the Historic Greene County Courthouse while driving through downtown, and its white columns will grab your attention. The original Greene County courthouse was a log structure, but the present building was finished in 1849. It continues to stand as one of the oldest courthouses in Georgia!

Old Rock Gaol, East Greene St.

The Old Rock Gaol is the oldest masonry jail in Georgia.

The Old Rock Gaol is the oldest masonry jail in Georgia.

Did you know Greensboro is home to the oldest masonry jail in Georgia? Stop by Old Rock Gaol to get a glimpse of its 2-feet-thick walls made of granite. The historical site still contains the original gallows and trap door from the 1800s! You can also see how prisoners were kept in the jail depending on the crime they committed. The most dangerous criminals were kept away from light, ventilation and heat!

Greensboro Post Office, 115 S. Main St.

Step inside the Greensboro Post Office to see two Depression-era murals.

Step inside the Greensboro Post Office to see two Depression-era murals.

Do you have a heart for art history? Stop by the Greensboro Post Office to see two historical murals painted by Carson Davenport. During the Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal led to the commissioning of 1,400 murals by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Fine Arts Section.

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 303 N. Main St.

The paint color on The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer has an unusual story.

The paint color on The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer has an unusual story.

Do you love to explore churches with rich history? This is a must-see! The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer was built in 1868 and has since been restored. It’s hard to miss its Carpenter Gothic design and red color, which was originally created from buttermilk and ox blood. Since Lake Oconee became a part of the community, this church has only grown and thrives today!

Greene County Cemetery, N. East St.

The historic Greene County Cemetery is the final resting place for many soldiers and local leaders.

The historic Greene County Cemetery is the final resting place for many soldiers and local leaders.

Take a walk through history alongside unique stone and iron work where many leaders from Greensboro’s history have been buried in the Greene County Cemetery. This historic site in Greensboro is the resting place for many soldiers in the Revolutionary War and 45 unknown Confederate soldiers.

Visitlakeoconee.com to discover more at Lake Oconee!

hannah-webHannah is a contributing writer for Visit Lake Oconee from Athens, Georgia. She enjoys beauty and lifestyle blogging alongside the perfect cup of coffee. 

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Lavender

Red Oak Lavender Farm in Dahlonega, Ga. Photo courtesy Facebook.

Red Oak Lavender Farm in Dahlonega, Ga. Photo courtesy Facebook.

It’s purple and pretty and plays a big part in Georgia’s economy as a crop, natural remedy and ingredient. Here’s what you didn’t know about lavender:

The scent deters pests. As a natural way to keep mice, mosquitos and flies away, plant it in your garden or harvest the flowers for in-home decorations.

It can help you get a good night’s sleep. Whether you’re at home or staying in one of Georgia’s beautiful historic hotels, bed and breakfasts, or resorts, having the scent of lavender in your room can help you rest more peacefully.

There’s a lavender farm in Georgia. The first and only North Georgia lavender farm is located in the heart of the state’s wine country and features over 850 plants. Red Oak Lavender Farm is open year-round for tours but recommends visitors come in June when the harvest is at its peak.

For added fun, save the date to attend the second annual Lavender Festival at Red Oak Lavender Farm on June 4.

It’s in the same plant family as mint. Though it’s not the same type of mint, it is worth noting that the Dahlonega Mint was a branch of the United States Mint established in north Georgia during the Georgia Gold Rush. Coins made in the Dahlonega Mint were produced from 1838–1861. 

You can cook with it! Use the plant to spice your cookies, pork or custard. In the past, Leopold’s Ice Cream in Savannah has made its frozen treat featuring lavender, and just down the street, Back in the Day Bakery has featured lavender shortbread cookies.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Atlanta in 50 Objects – and Its Music in Two

The Atlanta History Center recently extended its “Atlanta in 50 Objects” exhibit through year-end. Its concept is self-explanatory, and the display offers a great snapshot of the city’s history. But naturally, my curiosity immediately gravitated toward which musical icons made the cut.

Exhibit Co-Curator Don Rooney explained that the selections were based entirely on community submissions, which amounted to over 300 nominations. Of those, the Fabulous Fox Theatre ranked near the top of the list. The Egyptian architecture-inspired showpiece is represented by a “Save the Fox” t-shirt from its 1975 preservation campaign. Last fall, the Fox celebrated its 50 millionth attendee. Marketing Director Jamie Vosmeier estimates more than half of those have come since that campaign.

A "Save the Fox" t-shirt from 1975 is included in the Atlanta History Center's "50 Objects" exhibit.

A “Save the Fox” t-shirt from 1975 is included in the Atlanta History Center’s “50 Objects” exhibit. Photo courtesy: Atlanta History Center.

It’s hard to fathom how this landmark came so perilously close to a date with the wrecking ball, but Vosmeier confirms it was spared only by “the largest grassroots effort to that date to save a theater.” Originally designed as a Shriner’s temple, by its Christmas 1929 opening, The Fox was repurposed as a grand movie palace. Eventually, live performances entered the picture. “Elvis played two shows there back in 1956. You can’t get more rock & roll than that,” Vosmeier laughs.

The Fox Theatre. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

The Fox Theatre. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Vosmeier credits recently departed rock promoter Alex Cooley with fueling the Fox’s 1970s revitalization. “Alex was the mastermind; he saw its value as a rock & roll space and made people care about it again. Everyone has a Fox story — ‘I came here to see x,’ whether it was a Disney movie, Aerosmith, James Taylor. That’s when you see the passion come out. It’s an 87-year-old building that’s still relevant to rock & roll.” This theme was reinforced after our conversation, when tragedy left the Fox as the venue that hosted Prince’s final two performances.

Three days each week, the Fox conducts hour-long theater tours with backstage access and plenty of anecdotes — no doubt including Phantom of the Fox” Joe Patten, who restored its renowned “Mighty Mo” pipe organ and lived in the theater for 40 years until his recent death.

The exhibit’s other musical entry is less straightforward. Rooney acknowledges votes for the Allman Brothers, the fondly remembered Great Southeast Music Hall, and the billboard for Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def record label that for years graced the I-85 landscape. The History Center aggregated several nominations spanning Atlanta’s influential and burgeoning hip-hop scene and chose Outkast as its standard-bearer.

Atlanta native Andre 3000 represents the city's hip-hop scene in the Atlanta History Center's "50 Objects" exhibit.

Atlanta native Andre 3000 represents the city’s hip-hop scene in the Atlanta History Center’s “50 Objects” exhibit. Photo courtesy: Atlanta History Center.

The display includes a spectacular photo by Zach Wolfe of Andre 3000 reclining on the floor of Little 5 Points’ legendary Wax n’ Facts Records, as well as a framed copy of Outkast’s eleven-times platinum “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” It’s a fine symbol of the duo’s world domination. (I’d make a strong argument for “Hey Ya” as THE signature song of the new millennium to date, but the purist in me thinks the more city-specific “ATLiens” or the wildly inventive “Aquemini” would have made for a better representation.)

“Atlanta in 50 Objects” is a quite entertaining speed tour through local history, even if I can’t shake the feeling that music deserved more than two nods out of fifty. I’m sure every subject matter zealot has their quibbles; however, I’ll be looking to place my own stake in the ground in coming weeks….

glen-headshotGlen Sarvady is Georgia’s official Music Explorer. He has lived in Atlanta for more than 20 years, and has written about music both locally and nationally for at least as long. More recently, he has written regularly for the music/arts publication Stomp & Stammer as well as GeorgiaMusic.org.