5 Georgia Hotels Serving Thanksgiving Meals

Why worry about cooking & cleaning when someone else can do it? Start the holiday season with a stress-free meal at one of these fine Georgia restaurants.

Photo Credit: 5petalproductions.com

Photo Credit: 5petalproductions.com

A Bountiful Thanksgiving at The Ridges Resort in Hiawassee: The Oaks Dining Room at The Ridges Resort will be offering turkey prepared three delicious ways – traditionally roasted, high-country deep fried and bacon and blue cheese wrapped. No need to worry about a food coma because they’re also offering a special Thanksgiving room rate – only $189 for the first night stay, which includes two adult thanksgiving buffet dinners, and only $129 per additional night. Call 706-896-2262 for reservations.

Photo Credit: http://vintagemulberry.blogspot.com/

Photo Credit: http://vintagemulberry.blogspot.com/

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Ritz Carlton, Atlanta: Chefs Litherland and Treanor will be preparing family-style Thanksgiving dishes at the landmark restaurant, Atlanta Grill. Wine pairings from Sommelier Brian White will be available to accompany the family-style dinner. Please contact Atlanta Grill at (404) 221-6550 for reservations.

Photo Credit: Callaway Gardens

Photo Credit: Callaway Gardens

Thanksgiving Day Buffet at The Lodge & Spa at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain: Indulge in a Southern Thanksgiving meal featuring favorites like oven roasted tom turkey with giblet gravy, cornbread dressing and juicy prime rib. Call 706-489-3341 for reservations. After your meal, experience the magic of Fantasy in Lights – Callaway Gardens’ famous holiday light show.

Photo Credit: King & Prince

Photo Credit: King & Prince

Thanksgiving Feast at The King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island: Savor Thanksgiving flavors while being serenaded by the sounds of the sea on St. Simons Island. The King & Prince Thanksgiving Menu includes fresh seafood, pumpkin pie and brunch items (until 3pm). Call 912-268-5967 for reservations.

Photo Credit: Becky Stein

Photo Credit: Becky Stein

Thanksgiving Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead: Choose from over 100 selections at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead’s lavish Thanksgiving brunch. They will be serving everything from classic breakfast favorites to seasonal specialties and an impressive array of desserts. Please contact the Resort Concierge at (404) 237-2700 for reservations.

6 Historic Homes That Really Know How to Deck the Halls

‘Tis the season to deck the halls of Georgia’s historic homes! Stop by these stunning homes for a healthy dose of holiday cheer.

Photo Credit: Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Photo Credit: Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta: Tour the 27,000 square-foot historic mansion elaborately decorated with professional holiday displays, expansive artist market, and themed events for all ages. Kids will love the LEGOLAND building room, the Coca-Cola Exhibit Room featuring Haddon Sundblom’s classic Santa paintings and the Teddy Bear Room, courtesy of Build-A-Bear.

Photo Credit: Old Governors Mansion

Photo Credit: Old Governors Mansion

Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville: Celebrate a true antebellum Christmas at one of the finest examples of High Greek Revival architecture in the nation. One-hour tours are offered Tuesday-Sunday, and special candlelight tours will take place on Dec. 6, 13 and 18 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Photo Credit: Benny Huggins

Chief Vann Historic Site in Chatsworth: In 1805, Cherokee Chief James Vann opened his new brick mansion to the Moravian missionaries to hold one of the first Christmas celebrations in the Cherokee Nation. To honor this tradition, visitors are invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of a 19th century Christmas in one of America’s best-preserved Cherokee Indian homes. Click here for event details.

hayhouse - hayhouse

Photo Credit: Hay House

The Hay House in Macon: Visit three levels of this National Historic Landmark and marvel at elegantly decorated trees, mantles, stairwells, and children’s room. Christmas at Hay House and all of the decorations can be seen with the purchase of a regular house tour ticket.

swanhouse - atlanta history center

Photo Credit: Atlanta History Center

The Swan House in Atlanta: Create a 1930s holiday ornament, help decorate Sam and Mimi Inman’s Christmas tree and encounter 1930’s characters during Candlelight Nights at The Swan House. Click here for event details and tickets.

Photo Credit: DebM07 via Flickr

Photo Credit: DebM07 via Flickr

Rhodes Hall in Atlanta: “The castle on Peachtree Street” will be transformed into a winter wonderland featuring holiday entertainment, delicious refreshments from area caterers, music, art activities and, best of all, personal appointments with Santa. Click here to learn more:

A Guide to Georgia’s Covered Bridges

Auchumpkee Creek Bridge. Photo by @reneelangston via Instagram.

Auchumpkee Creek Covered Bridge in Thomaston: Built in 1892 and rebuilt in 1997, Auchumpkee Creek Covered Bridge measures 96 feet long with a town lattice truss. The bridge is not open to traffic. [Photo Credit: @reneelangston via Instagram]


Watson Mill Bridge in Comer: Spanning 229 feet across the South Fork River, Watson Mill Bridge is the longest covered bridge in the state. [Photo Credit: Sussman Imaging]

Big Red Oak Creek. Photo by Lynn Hall Photography.

Big Red Oak Creek Bridge in Woodbury: Only 12 miles north of Warm Springs, the old bridge is a rare surviving example of the ingenuity of famed bridge builder Horace King. Including approaches, it stretches for 391 feet, making it the longest wooden bridge in Georgia. [Photo Credit: Lynn Hall Photography]

Coheelee Creek Bridge. Photo by  @cfowler65 via Instagram.

Coheelee Creek Covered Bridge in Blakely: Nestled in the piney woods of Southwest Georgia, Coheelee Creek Covered Bridge is the southernmost covered bridge in the United States. [Photo Credit: @cfowler65 via Instagram]

Concord Covered Bridge. Photo by Barbara Gaddis via Flickr.

Concord Bridge in Cobb County: Built in 1872, Concord Bridge (also known as Nickajack Creek Covered Bridge) has the highest traffic count of all the covered bridges in the state combined. [Photo Credit: Barbara Gaddis via Flickr]

Cromers Mill Bridge. Photo by gadoodles.com.

Cromer’s Mill Covered Bridge in Carnesville: Built in 1907, Cromer’s Mill Covered Bridge is 132 feet long with a Town Lattice design. [Photo Credit: gadoodles.com]

Elder's Mill Covered Bridge. Photo by Don Hunter via Flickr.

Elder Mill Covered Bridge in Watkinsville: Built in 1897, Elder Mill Covered Bridge is one of only 13 functional covered bridges left in the state of Georgia. You can drive through the beautiful bridge and enjoy the sights and sounds of Rose Creek. [Photo Credit:  Don Hunter via Flickr]

Euharlee Creek Bridge. Photo by  Etowah Valley Historical Society.

Euharlee Covered Bridge in Euharlee: Located next to the Euharlee History Museum,  the Euharlee Covered Bridge is the perfect spot for photographs. Its allure is enhanced by the picturesque 1850s village surrounding it. [Photo Credit:  Don Hunter via Flickr]

George L. Smith State Park Covered Bridge. Photo by B&S Photography.

George L. Smith State Park Covered Bridge in Twin City: With natural beauty, refurbished Parrish Mill and a stunning covered bridge, this secluded park is a wonderful south Georgia retreat. [Photo Credit:  B&S Photography]

Howard Bridge. Photo by nss12166 via Flickr.

Howard’s Bridge in Lexington:  Howard’s Bridge, also known as the Imlac Bridge, is 252.5 feet long. It is not open for traffic. [Photo Credit:  nss12166 via Flickr]

Lula Bridge. Photo by gadoodles.com.

Lula Bridge in Lula: Also known as the Lula Covered Bridge, this is Georgia’s smallest covered bridge. It was constructed in 1988 and is a Howe (King-Post) truss-covered bridge built in 1915. This wooden bridge still stands on the original slab. [Photo Credit:  gadoodles.com]

Pooles Mill Bridge. Photo by @cgmccall via Instagram.

Poole’s Mill Covered Bridge in Cumming: A one-of-kind passive park, Poole’s Mill is 10 acres of property that showcases a unique covered bridge. The Bridge, built in 1901, spans the shoals of Settendown Creek. After periods of disrepair, the structure was converted from private ownership and dedicated as a county park in 1997.  [Photo Credit:  @cgmccall via Instagram]


Haralson Mill Covered Wooden Bridge in Conyers: Built in 1997, the covered wooden bridge replaces a historic ford, which crossed Haralson Mill Road, formerly an unimproved dirt road in North Rockdale County.This bridge is the first of its kind to be built in Georgia since the 1890s.  [Photo Credit: Scott M. Comptois]

Stone Mountain Covered Bridge. Photo by @cgmccall via Instagram.

Stone Mountain Bridge at Stone Mountain Park: Listed in the “World Guide to Covered Bridges,” this quaint and historical pine and cedar bridge leads to Indian Island, a picture perfect place for a lazy day of picnics or reading. This century old bridge is nearly 20-feet high and was moved to Stone Mountain Park from Athens, Georgia, in 1969. [Photo Credit: @cgmccall via Instagram]

Stovall Mill Bridge. Photo by Roadtrippers.com.

Stovall Mill Bridge in Sautee Nacoochee: Located in an area of White County, rich in history and legends of the Cherokee, Stovall Mill Bridge spans Chickamauga Creek. This is a wonderful place to relax, have a picnic, cool off in the rushing water and enjoy the beautiful northeast Georgia mountains. [Photo Credit: roadtrippers.com]

7 Ways to Experience James Brown’s Georgia

James Brown Statue2A hotbed for arts and culture, the colonial city of Augusta, Georgia, has been welcoming guests since 1736 and continues to do so with artistic and historic points of interest and easy accessibility along Interstate 20, just 150 miles southeast of Atlanta. With the release of ‘Get On Up,’ the new major motion picture about the life of world famous soul singer James Brown, now is the perfect time to visit his hometown and delve into the unique cultural climate Augusta has to offer.

Brown was born in South Carolina near the beginning of the Great Depression, but spent most of his youth in Augusta after his parents left him in the care of his Aunt Honey. Although Brown grew up in poverty – performing an array of menial and even back-breaking tasks as a child and young teen picking cotton, shining shoes, dancing for spare change, and washing cars – these struggles did not keep the young, talented performer from reaching stardom. At thirteen, Brown and two friends formed the Cremona Trio and sang for those passing by, and thus began his long musical career setting him up to be known as “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.”

Walk in James Brown’s footsteps when you visit these Augusta points of interest:

  1. grant_exhibitfront_57611Begin your journey of Brown’s Augusta with the Augusta Museum of History, founded in 1937 and home to the largest historical collection in the Central Savannah River Area, detailing Georgia’s second-oldest and second-largest city’s nearly 300 years of history. The museum houses the first and most comprehensive major exhibition dedicated to The Godfather of Soul. See some of his classic dance moves as you watch his concerts on DVD. Listen to some of his all time hits, and learn about his life, legacy and contribution to music. Highlights of the exhibit include ever-changing costumes and other personal artifacts owned and worn by Brown, family photos, original vinyl albums, and other unique memorabilia.
  2. Before leaving the Museum, step into the Augusta Visitor Center, located inside the lobby of the Augusta Museum of History, and pick up a self-guided walking tour to determine additional points of interest located throughout the city of Augusta.
  3. As you stroll downtown, make sure to stop and have your photo taken with Augusta’s life-sized James Brown Statue using the mounted camera. Your photo will be sent directly to your phone or email! The statue is located between 8th Street and James Brown Boulevard (9th). What a great free souvenir!
  4. imperialBefore leaving Augusta on world tours, Mr. Brown and his band, the Soul Generals, would rehearse at the Imperial Theatre. It is also where he held his toy giveaways to needy children at Christmas. A tradition that still continues today. The Imperial is one of Augusta’s most beautiful theatres and still continues to host music performances along with plays, ballets, comedies and more.
  5. While in town, check the schedule of events at Augusta’s James Brown Arena, where more than 8,000 mourners gathered for a memorial service after Brown’s passing in 2006, including such notable characters as M.C. Hammer, Michael Jackson, and the Reverend Al Sharpton.
  6. Looking for a place to “Get on the Good Foot”? Stop in for a drink and dancing at the Soul Bar. This bar is dedicated to the rhythm and soul of music and its biggest talents. A plethora of James Brown mementos and memorabilia adorn these walls.
  7. All this walking, exploring and dancing may make you tired, so why not eat at one of Mr. Brown’s favorite places? T-Bonz Restaurant, located minutes from the Augusta National Golf Club, offers a James Brown Corner. Ask the owner to whip you up one of the entertainer’s favorite dishes. Mr. Brown loved a good steak and T Bonz’s has one of the best in Augusta.  Or maybe you’re in the mood for seafood? Deshawn’s Seafood, located right over the Savannah River in North Augusta is run by Mr. Brown’s son-in-law and former bodyguard. Sometimes if guests ask the family may share a personal story of two.

Augusta is proud to have played such an important role in the life of a world-renowned musical artist and is thankful Mr. Brown called Augusta his home. There are many spots in Augusta that were special to Mr. Brown, as you visit these spots in Augusta you can walk where he walked and stand where he once stood. Come on Over to August and get a little closer to Augusta’s son.

‘Get On Up: The James Brown Story’ starring Chadwick Boseman, was released to theaters August 1 and is rated PG-13. Check your local theaters for show times, and the movie’s official website for more information.



Surprising Suburb: Eagle Island


Sunrise, sunset and moonrise too give new clarity to the earth’s rotations when seen on Eagle Island.

Darien’s the main town and Eagle, a private island to rent, is the suburb

Linger a bit in Darien before heading to sea, or at least into the estuaries of Georgia’s fabled barrier islands.

Shrimp boat masts standing tall, evoking taste bud action anticipating wild Georgia shrimp, one reason for admiring this coastal town. A lively little downtown with eateries, a snazzy wine shop, antiques and an art gallery in a former jail creates another reason.

Experience some Darien before heading to Eagle Island, and some as you return. On your 10-acre private island, comfort and calmness might replace memories of a former life.

Go alone, go with friends, take a lover.  There will be no strangers. Eagle belongs solely to the renter.


Anticipation of wild Georgia shrimp caught by Darien fishermen abounds from the dock just a few steps from downtown.

Fine if you have your own boat and just as easy if you don’t because Capt. Andy Hill – whose passion for this and seven other private islands nearby – will get you settled in and come back when you need him.

One need I recommend claiming is his low country boil, mother’s shrimp recipe, blue crab catching and cooking and oyster roasts.

Order your groceries via the privateislandsofgeorgia.com website and he’ll have them in the inside kitchen for you.

The outside kitchen is a gathering place too, next to the side yard pond, overlooking the marsh and the maritime forest.


A screened porch wraps all the way around the main house on this 10-acre private island.

The main house sleeps six in two close-the-door bedrooms and one loft with windows into the maritime forest, a sleeping space open to the great room, kitchen and dining area.

The guesthouse with its pool table, wine chiller, coffee maker and bath has two sets of bunk beds and one double bed.

Difficult to contemplate a private island to yourself? Here’s the context to consider: three to 12 people – $700 a night for weekends, $600 weekdays.

Cozier notion? Two people $575 a night weekends, $475 each weekday. Details and options are spelled out on the website but best of all is telephone talking.

Real, live people come to the phone and chat with prospective visitors to help make a match that really works. Nothing automated. All personal.

Here’s how: 912-222-0801.

Could be tough to fully enjoy every feature on the screened-in 1,500-foot wraparound porch unless you stay a week: abundance of hammocks, gliders, swinging beds, rocking chairs, hot tub, fireplace and endless views.


Journalist Christine Tibbetts muses about the marshes, leaning on the railing near the Eagle Island dock.  Photo courtesy Leigh Cort Publicity

I stayed only three nights and I embraced early mornings. That’s because sunrise on the dock—itself a room with swings, chairs, tables, railings for leaning—serves up different-every-day colors at dawn.

Kayaks wait on the dock for paddling in these back barrier island waters, and if you take a crowd to Eagle Island, the outfitter will come with more.

Good idea to go soon so you can return to experience a different island because Capt. Hill is sharing another private island soon—this one named May Hall and brimming with Darien’s timber history.

Most likely those details are a 2015 Surprising Suburb story. Anticipate totally different architecture, inside and out, buildings and landscape.

Insider tip for planning: don’t allow yourself to relax so much on Eagle Island that you turn down the option to go with Capt. Andy to Sapelo Island. The boat ride’s pleasant, the history of this tiny, enduring community of Gullah Geechee people is important and remarkable, the tour of the Reynolds Mansion interesting … and the solitude on Nannygoat Beach is divine.

Might be the finest beach either of us will ever experience.

PHOTOS by Christine Tibbetts

Christine 12. 2007 4Christine Tibbetts claimed Georgia as her home state in 1972.  She covers Georgia destinations, and the world, always offering prompts for exceptional experiences and opportunities to muse. Tibbetts earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the prestigious School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and is the recipient of numerous gold, silver and merit awards from North American Travel Journalists Association writing competitions. Follow her at www.TibbettsTravel.com.