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Ho! Ho! Ho! From Alpine to Appalachian, get ready to celebrate the holidays with these events in Alpine Helen, a Bavarian beauty set in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, about an hour and a half north of Atlanta.
December 7-8, 2013: Fill up your shopping bags at Helen’s 6th annual Christkindlmarkt, a German tradition where the center of town is filled with booths offering specialty gift items, decorations, assorted savory food, drinks and candied treats at Helen Market Platz.
December 7, 2013: The Helen Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Helen-White County Convention and Visitors Bureau, winds through Downtown Helen at 2 p.m.
December 7, 14 and 21, 2013: Enjoy Kinderfest, a German tradition for children offering games, face painting and balloon tying in Downtown Helen.
December 13-15, 2013: Savor the sounds of the season with the Community Chorale Holiday Concert at Sautee Nacoochee Community Center.
Find one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts with German flair, sample pastries and raise a pint to the most wonderful time of the year all while making your holidays brighter with a weekend or week-long getaway. Spend time in the village of Sautee where authentic Appalachian artwork, pottery and hand-made toys make it easy to find something for everyone on the Christmas list. After shopping, relax at one of the area wineries, complete with breath-taking views: Habersham Winery showcases 150 medals awarded in both national and international competitions; Serenity Cellars offers a Tuscan-style tasting room that seems to spring from the ground, even as the vines sleep; The Cottage Vineyard and Winery has a vineyard wedding setting and 360 degree mountain views; Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards is a family farm winery creating hand-crafted wines; Frogtown Cellars now has a tasting room in Helen, and Yonah Mountain Vineyards is home to Georgia’s only wine cave.
Don’t miss a thing: stay in downtown Helen or immerse yourself in a true mountain experience by renting a nearby cabin. Visit www.HelenGA.org for accommodation details and complimentary assistance planning your getaway.
Mom-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.
Christmas is not only for children. It is the perfect excuse for a romantic date night, as well. Whether you long for classic Christmas traditions or seek something a little more contemporary, we have you covered. Atlanta is the perfect city for savoring the holidays with the one you love.
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker – What is more romantic than hailing in the holiday season at the Fabulous Fox Theater? This year marks 54 years of Atlanta tradition, and it is the only rendition with a live orchestra and choir. The return special guest is Drew Thomas from America’s Got Talent, bringing magic and special effects to this cherished performance.
Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol – Enjoy this timeless classic performed by Atlanta’s finest actors. Don’t miss this year, it is Chris Kayser’s 20th production, and his final season as Scrooge. See the Alliance website for the Bantam + Biddy package, which includes an appy, entrée, dinner, and drink before the show.
Barnsley Gardens Resort – The luxurious Barnsley Resort offers its Light Up The Holidays package during the month of December, starting at $259 per night. The 1800’s manor house and gardens are adorned with over one million lights. Enjoy wreath making classes, a “Gingerbread Workshop” (hosted by the famed Fairy Godmother – yes they have an actual Fairy Godmother on Staff,) and classes on crafting the perfect holiday cocktail. The promotion includes cottage accommodations, a keepsake ornament, and resort credit for use at the spa, restaurants, gift shop, or resort activities such as clay shooting or horseback riding.
Chateau Elan Winery and Resort – Spoil your loved one with the Saison Festive Package, starting at $149 per night. This includes accommodations at the Inn, a bottle of Chateau Elan wine delivered to your room, and a breakfast buffet for two. Feeling especially naughty? Upgrade to the Spaliday Package, which includes a spa suite and credit. Enjoy brunch with Santa, carolers making merry, cooking classes, live music, and more.
Christmas with Amy Grant and Vince Gill featuring the ASO –Music superstars Amy Grant and Vince Gill perform their beloved holiday show with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, currently in their 68th season. In this two-hour program at Fox Theatre, this husband-and-wife team celebrates the season with traditional Christmas classics, festive contemporary melodies, and a sprinkling of their biggest hits.
The Yacht Rock Revue Holiday Special – Imagine holiday tunes from Hall & Oats, Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, or other ‘70s light-rock stars. More than a cover band, Yacht Rock Revue blurs the lines between tribute, original act, and comedy performance. Having played with Weezer, Skynard, Nine Inch Nails, and many more, this band has won a series of accolades including “Best Overall Music Act in Atlanta” by Creative Loafing.
Agatha’s A Taste of Mystery – If dinner and a play just aren’t enough to impress, how about a little murder to spice things up? Agetha’s comedic murder mystery theater sets the stage for a “killer” date night. Watch The Nut Croaker Ballet: Murder on Your Toes as it unfolds in the dining room around you, between servings of a five-course meal. Audience participation is encouraged but not required.
Santaland Diaries – Horizon Theatre’s Santaland Diaries, originally written by David Sedaris (think NPR,) embodies sarcasm, satire, and adult-only Christmas humor. An unemployed Crumpet finds seasonal work as a Macy’s Department Store elf. It is in the setting that you hear his “anything goes” observations about his job, his co-workers, and the holiday festivities around him. Careful where you sit; he might poke fun at you, too.
Ice Skating at Atlantic Station – New this year to Atlantic Station is a 10,000 sq ft ice skating wonderland. The rink takes over District Street, surrounded by the shops and restaurants in the area. After taking a few rounds on the rink (please stay long enough to admire the 400 ton Zamboni do her job) head to Meehan’s Public House for dinner and drinks. Be sure to plan your stay during one of the Snow Shows; dates and times are on the website. Other rinks in the city include the Southwest Rink at Park Tavern (adult-only skate begins at 8:30 on weekends) and Centennial Olympic Park.
Snow Mountain – Looking for an opportunity to “break the ice” with someone new? Snow Mountain is the place to do it! Take a spin on Avalanche Alley, a 400-foot tubing hill, and then cozy up for s’mores at Snow Fire Point. A Combo Pass will get you two-hours of tubing plus all the attractions of Stone Mountain Christmas including the Singalong Train, Summit Skyride, and the Snow Angel snowfall and fireworks.
Lesli Peterson is Georgia’s Destination Expert for Trekaroo and founder of 365 Atlanta Family. She is a homeschooling mom to 2 young boys and bonus mom to two teenagers. From her home base of Atlanta, Lesli spends her time life-learning with the kids one road-trip at a time, and sharing her experiences along the way.
What it is about this gluttonous weekend meal that makes it all the rage? Maybe it’s because I know I can go right back to bed after I eat it. Or maybe it’s just because it is a fun way to spend an afternoon with excellent food and friends catching up or reliving a wild night out on the town. As a homegrown Georgia peach, I have a few that I have on my must visit brunch list.
When in Atlanta, I love brunching at Anis Bistro and Café. Located in an older residential section of Buckhead, Anis is a family owned café serving up beautiful and delicious Provencal fare. A major crowd favorite is the steak frites. They also serve up some of the best nutella and banana crepes outside of France. Don’t forget the homemade whipped cream!
Located in my hometown, this local café has been serving up delicious breakfast and lunch fare for over 20 years. They serve breakfast and lunch all day everyday but I find when I’m home visiting I make my visits to the café on Sunday for an early brunch. My favorites are- good ole scrambled eggs served with grapefruit and toast and blueberry pancakes. They also make a cinnamon roll so big and sweet you can’t help but smile.
In downtown Brunswick, Indigo Coastal Shanty is another local favorite. They aren’t your typical brunch spot with mimosas and French toast, but it’s a great spot to get your weekend grub on. Chef Kate is a classically trained in fine dining but turned in her chef coat to open Indigo, a casual restaurant serving island style fare. I’ve had everything on the menu and you really can’t go wrong. My favorites include: curry chicken salad, a pimento cheeseburger topped with a fried green tomato (oh yea), and jerk fish sandwich.
Newer on the scene is Heirloom Café. Located in the historic Boulevard Neighborhood of Athens, Heirloom Café made its home in an old gas station, and is retrofitted to perfection as a homey farm-to-table café and market. Their brunch is lighter than most offering fresh salads and traditional egg dishes. They also serve up a tasty veggie burger (made in house) and a personal favorite: Love on a Biscuit, a down home version of eggs benedict with seasonal toppings on a homemade biscuit.
A Classic City brunch institution is The Last Resort Grill. This downtown favorite serves up brunch staples like omelettes, a seasonal frittata, and pancakes. Order the Spinach Feta Grill: challah toasted in egg batter, then grilled to perfection, topped with poached eggs, portabellas, fresh spinach, artichokes & feta with our homemade roasted tomato sauce. Want something sweeter? Get the stuffed French toast: egg dipped challah bread baked with layers of rich ricotta cheese & seasonal flavors.
Emily Laborde is a freelance writer and social media manager hooked on cruising backroads, photographing old houses, and loving all things local. For more check out her blog Em’s on the Road. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.