For Wine and ‘Shine, Follow Trail 37 to this South Georgia Gem

Still Pond Vineyard

Follow Georgia Grown Trail 37 to Arlington, Ga., and the Still Pond Vineyard

Looking for a culinary road trip highlighting Georgia wines and spirits? Then the new Georgia Grown Trail 37 is the one for you! I recently had the pleasure of checking out Trail 37 through Georgia’s Plantation Trace region for myself, and I must say that it’s like driving through a little slice of culinary heaven.

Still Pond distillery

Still Pond distillery tours are available Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Photo by Jennifer Hill Booker.

Trail 37 took me through some of South Georgia’s tastiest towns, like Valdosta, Sparks and Bluffton (home of White Oak Pastures and the Farmer John Burger, one of three bodacious burgers you must try). In Arlington, I found what I consider to be a top shelf winery and distillery: Still Pond Vineyard, Winery & Distillery. What makes them unique to the other South Georgia wineries that make fruit-based wines (muscadine, strawberry and even watermelon), is that Still Pond is the only farm winery and distillery in the Southeastern United States that produces regional wines AND distills craft spirits.

This family-owned winery is a member of the Georgia Wine Producers Association, so you know their wine is the highest quality. Their Peach Vodka, Double Barreled and Muscadine Moonshines are worth the drive alone. Their gift shop is packed with wine-inspired gifts, cookbooks and snacks.

Still Pond's award-winning wines

Still Pond’s award-winning wines

Still Pond Vineyard, Winery & Distillery offers daily tours of the bottling room and distillery, as well as wine tastings (complimentary). Because there are 18 award-winning wines to choose from, you’re bound to find at least one that you love. Don’t worry if you find that you can’t choose just one; you will get a 15% discount when you buy a case.

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer Hill Booker is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

Five of Our Favorite Georgia Brands

We sat down with the owners behind some of the best brands to hear their story, how Georgia has influenced their business and what their favorite things to do around the state are. Here’s what they had to say.

header3

Click here to jump to:
KEVIN’S | PEACH STATE PRIDE THE OLE BULL CO. 
R.L. MARTIN & CO | 
SOUTHERN PROPER 



Explore Georgia: What’s the story behind Kevin’s?
Kathleen Kelly, Co-Owner: Kevin started the company in 1979 in Tallahassee, Florida. It was primarily a gun and hunting store that also carried general sporting goods. I joined him in 1992 after we were married and together we transformed Kevin’s into a plantation lifestyle company. With Kevin being an authority on sporting guns and our company being situated in bobwhite quail country, it just made sense.  Our company is focused on this lifestyle, from the hunt to the home.

kveins2

EG: What makes you unique to Georgia?
KK: We have one of the most beautiful and well known high-grade gun rooms in the country with and amazing and unique collection of guns.  We also make our own Kevin’s Plantation Shotguns which have won awards in our industry and been featured in all the main sporting magazines.

EG: What are some of your favorite items right now?
KK: We try to offer as many “Made in America” products as we can! For example, our quail bracelet is made in Thomasville and the camo belt is made in Atlanta. Our customers know they will find unique items at Kevin’s, whether it’s a basic T-shirt or a Kevin’s custom designed Italian pewter bowl, ice and wine bucket we designed and had hand-made in limited quantities in Italy.

kevins2

EG: What should travelers see in Thomasville after they’re done shopping at Kevin’s?
KK: Definitely visit Pebble Hill Plantation, dine and shop in our downtown. Our town is amazing! A fun place to stay is Paxton House, within walking distance to us.

thomasville

Follow Kevin’s on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 8.06.24 PM

EG: What’s the story behind Peach State Pride?
Derek Chitwood, Founder & CEO
 I grew up picking peaches each summer with my Grandpa so I’ve always had a strong love for The Peach State. When I started Peach State Pride in 2009 I wanted to create a logo that instilled pride in our great state of Georgia, and in some way give back to the state.

psp2

EG: What makes you unique to Georgia?
DC: I don’t think what we’re doing has really been done before. We promote our state; our towns, regions, communities, artists, athletes, and businesses, and we give 15% of our profits back to Georgia. We’re a clothing line, but really so much more than that.

EG: What’s on your must-have Peach State Pride list?
DC: Our hottest item is our Georgia Mesh Back Hat. I’m also a big fan of our Classic Button Downs for a more mature look.

PSP

EG: What should visitors do if they’re around Athens?
DC
: You have to stop by Last Resort Grill and grab a meal! When the night rolls in, catch a show at the Georgia Theatre.

athens

In Watkinsville, it’s easy to relax. The Ashford Manor is an amazing Bed & Breakfast and Chops & Hops downtown is a must-stop for lunch or dinner. If you’re up in Lavonia, 211 Main Street Restaurant and Bakery is right around the corner from the store. And in the summertime, swing by our roadside stand at Chitwood Orchard for some of the best peaches you ever put in your mouth!

Follow Peach State on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER


Ole_Bull_Flag_Horizontal_Logo

EG: What’s the story behind The Ole Bull?
Miles Tinsley, Co-Founder: The Ole Bull Co. is all about local flavor! Our mission is to connect refined men and local craftsmen across the country. There are so many amazing products being crafted by small businesses in Georgia and other states at this very moment, but these products are difficult to find and even harder to compare.

ole2 EG: What makes you unique to Georgia?
MT: The Ole Bull Co. was founded and is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. We source many of our local and handmade products in Atlanta and other places around Georgia. The Ole Bull Co. is currently working with four Georgia companies whose products all have incredible craftsmanship and integrity. They are Go Forth Goods (Marietta), Proof Cocktail Syrup (Decatur), Cord Shoes + Boots (Atlanta) and Margaret Vera (Atlanta).

EG: What’s on your must-have list right now?
MT: We have some amazing products from our friends here in Georgia!  Two of our personal favorites are The Traveler Mug by Go Forth Goods and The Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup by Proof Syrup. A lot of these businesses are right here in the Atlanta area.

olebull

EG: What’s on your Atlanta bucket list?
MT: We’re always on the lookout for great places to grab a cold beer or to get our fill of delicious food. We spend a fair amount of time at Three Taverns Craft Brewery in Decatur. They have a refreshing assortment of beers and the brewery itself has a unique and rustic design. As far as sitting down for a classy dinner that is sure to please, we’d recommend checking out Southern Gentleman in Buckhead. They take comfort food to a whole other level, and offer an impressive list of aged whiskey.

atl

As massive BBQ enthusiasts, our final recommendation would be hitting up one of our three local favorites, each guaranteed to hit the spot. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, D.B.A Barbecue, & Sweet Auburn Barbecue.

Follow The Ole Bull on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER



RL MartinEG: What’s the story behind R.L. Martin & Co.?
Devan Martin, Owner: R. L. Martin & Co. is the men’s department inside Only Options, an apparel store that has been serving Valdosta, GA since 1983. My husband, Justin and I purchased the store in 2014, we dedicated a large space in the store to expand the men’s selection. R. L. Martin & Co. is a nod to Justin’s father, Ronald Martin, who was a buyer for Belk Hudson for 22 years before he passed away returning from a buying trip. We hope to continue the legacy of the fine gentleman he was.Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 6.33.45 PM

EG: What makes the store unique to Georgia?
DM: We are one of just a few specialty retailers of our kind in the state. We take a “support local” approach to business, carrying many Georgia based clothing and gift lines from brands such as South Georgia Pecan Co. gifts, Savannah Bee Company honey, Laurie Jo’s pepper jellies and more!

EG: What’s on your must-have list in the store right now?
DM: It is spring time, and we are dreaming of warmer weather and weekends at the club!  The E4 Performance Collection by Peter Millar allows you to look sharp and swing the club without the wrinkles.  We carry a large selection of E4 Performance pants, sports shirts, and outerwear. This breathable, easy care fabric, will look great for a dinner after a great day on the course!

oo4

EG: What’s your favorite thing to do in Valdosta?
DM: Having brunch or dinner at Friends Grille and Bar is a MUST in Valdosta! Using only local produce, they specialize in modern, but laid-back southern cuisine. Chef Randy DeCoudres never disappoints!

freinds

Follow R.L. Martin & Co on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK


SouthernProper_Translogo

What’s the story behind Southern Proper?
Ansley Kuhlke, Director of Wholesale: Inspired by the southern pillars of style, tradition, and authenticity, Southern Proper was created as the haberdashery for the Southern Gentleman in late 2005.

Emilie Claire Howard (fondly known as Emmie) and Regan Hardy Howell planted the company’s roots in Atlanta, Georgia and began building a men’s clothing line infused with their mutual appreciation for heritage and fashion, running deeper than a Southern Accent. Operating out of over 300 specialty retailers across the country and online, we continue to grow our brand while sustaining our appreciation for our homegrown roots!

12036404_10153387364456130_5003006256444321185_n

What makes you unique to Georgia?
AK:  Born and raised in Atlanta, Southern Proper has proudly maintained and celebrated it’s Georgia roots from its creation. Not only do our products display the propersouthern attire but truly represent the southern lifestyle from which we were all raised. Each collection is inspired by the life we all love to live right here in Georgia.

Whether you’re cheering on your team at a tailgate or spending a long weekend in Savannah, Southern Proper has you covered from head to toe! Remembering our heritage and resonating with our customers has always been the foundation of our company.

sp

What’s on your must-have list right now?
Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 7.51.05 PMAK: We’re all eagerly anticipating warmer weather and even more excited to launch our spring collection. The must-have piece on the shelves right now is our new Dock Pullover.

On any given cloudy day or for chilly nights at the beach, this is the perfect transitional piece for spring in the south. Be sure to grab this fun and lightweight jacket in three great colors, available in stores and online now!

What’s on your Georgia bucket list?
AK: The ladies of SoPro highly recommend earning the triple crown…of Hot Dogs that is. In our humble opinion, a must-do for natives and visitors alike is to visit grab a delicious dog from each of the best places around Georgia: Atlanta’s own Varsity, Nu-Way of Macon, and Monroe’s in Americus. Your stomach will be all the happier after this mouth-watering journey around the empire state!

hotdog

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 7.37.27 PM

Follow Southern Proper on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

 

 


B6RUpoACEAAGPPb.jpg-largePARKER WHIDBY is the Digital Content Specialist for Explore Georgia. She loves to travel, write & photograph all the amazing things Georgia has to offer. In her spare time, Parker enjoys painting, going to concerts, trying new restaurants & spending time with family, friends & her pups, Doc & Baxley.

 

5 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Macon in the Spring

Explore the Macon State Farmers Market. Take your family and your appetite to the only farmers market that’s open seven days a week in the city. You’ll find produce stands, nurseries selling their plants, plus restaurants, a bakery and butchery.

Georgia Sports Hall of Fame

Families will love exploring the hands-on exhibits at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Root, root, root for the home team. Cheer as the referees drop the puck and the Macon Mayhem take on their regional opponents on home ice. See the Mercer University basketball team play in an attempt to make it into the NCAA tournament again. Families will also love exploring the hands-on exhibits at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Riverside Cemetery. Photo by Milton Heard.

Riverside Cemetery. Photo by Milton Heard.

Learn about haunted history. March 25-April 3, take the Spring Spirit Stroll through Riverside Cemetery and learn more about the history of the city while walking among its late residents. Because of the nature of the tour, this event is best for older children. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased in advance.

Enjoy a festival. Macon is home to a number of spring festivals, including:

Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences

Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences

Explore the 14-acre campus of the Museum of Arts and Sciences. Georgia’s largest general purpose museum, the campus offers a number of of art and science exhibitions, a planetarium, Mini-Zoo complete with over 70 live animals, an interactive Discovery House, nature trails and much more.

Remember, Macon is just over an hour from Atlanta and a little over 90 minutes from Columbus and Albany.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen 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.

Three Free Things to Do with Kids Over Spring Break

A spring break vacation is a welcome retreat from the busy school year. However, a week entertaining kids can get expensive. To keep your budget from breaking, too, here are three fabulous and free things to do with kids this season.

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta is one of 11 national parks in Georgia.

Every Kid in a Park Program: Let your fourth grader pick up the fees on your next visit to any national park through the Every Kid in a Park program. The program invites fourth graders to visit any national park for free. In addition, their pass is good for a limited number of travelers who accompany the fourth grader. Kids can get a pass by going to www.everykidinapark.gov, completing an online game, and downloading a paper voucher. These can be redeemed at any park for a durable plastic pass. Georgia has 11 National Parks throughout the state.

Learn to Fly: How cool would it be to come back from spring break to tell your friends you flew a plane? Children 8 – 17 can with the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) Young Eagles Program. Just make an appointment with your local chapter and schedule a flight. Kids learn about what a pilot has to do before the flight, a little about aeronautics, and then, of course, they get to go up in a plane for a ride, and just maybe take the controls for a minute or two. After the flight, students age 14 – 17 are eligible for a free online flight training course. Young Eagles also offers them a voucher for their first flight lesson with an instructor (after the first half of the online flight school training course is complete).

The Last 100 Yards exhibit at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia

The Last 100 Yards exhibit at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia

Fight the Last Hundred Yards: At the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia, a life-sized, walk-through diorama depicts the fight for the last 100 yards of some of the toughest battles throughout U.S. history. If that’s a little bit much, take a walk outside and back in time to the 1940s, and a genuine World War II-era base. Visit the mess hall, pray in the chapel, visit the supply room, as well as the headquarters used by Gen. George S. Patton before his deployment to North Africa.

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.

Click here to order Sue’s book, 100+ Things to Do in Atlanta.

Click here to follow Sue on Facebook.

Click here to follow Sue on Twitter.

Click here to follow Sue on Pinterest.

Click here to follow Sue on Google+

Click here to follow Sue on Instagram.

Four Best Places to See Roses in Georgia

Did you know that the Cherokee Rose is the official Georgia State Flower? Here is where you can see the flower and other roses throughout the state of Georgia.

Roses at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy Atlanta Botanical Garden, Facebook

Roses at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy Atlanta Botanical Garden, Facebook

Atlanta Botanical Garden (Atlanta) – Nestled into the heart of Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Garden boasts 30 acres of gardens including the Rose Garden. Peak blooming times are in May and June while some re-blooming occurs in the autumn.

Callaway Gardens (Pine Mountain) – Head to the Middle Georgia mountains in the springtime to see the flowers at Callaway Gardens at their peak color. In addition to roses, you won’t want to miss the Gardens’ acclaimed azaleas and the Day Butterfly Center.

Thomasville Rose Garden. Photo courtesy of The Village Journal

Thomasville Rose Garden. Photo courtesy of The Village Journal

Rose Show & Festival (Thomasville) – Celebrating its 95th year in 2016, the Rose Show & Festival features thousands of roses, two parades, live music, a street dance, arts and crafts, festival food and more. The 2016 festival will be held April 21-23. While you’re there, be sure to check out the 5-acre Thomasville Rose Garden.

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum (Atlanta) – Along with being the home to a museum featuring President Jimmy Carter’s life, the destination features 37 acres of land where guests can see a formal garden, meadow, cherry orchard, waterfalls and rose garden that contains the coral-colored Rosalynn Carter Rose, named after the 43rd President’s wife.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen 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.