5 Things Worth Bundling Up to Do Outside

Ice skating at Atlantic Station

Go ice skating at Atlantic Station Nov. 21, 2015- Feb. 14, 2016. Photo courtesy Atlantic Station.

Baby it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to hibernate indoors. With the mild weather in Georgia, you can wait a day or two for the sun to come out and warm things up. If that doesn’t happen, here are five activities worth bundling up to do outside this holiday season.

Night Sky Shows at the Okefenokee Swamp, Fargo: There are no camels, kings or gifts, but you can follow a star of your own walking through the woods. Lack of light pollution in the Okefenokee Swamp makes this area of Georgia perfect for stargazing. You can even observe the night sky through a high-powered telescope.

Seasonal Ice Skating Rinks, Atlanta: Nothing says the holidays like bundling up and hitting one of the many seasonal ice skating rinks around Atlanta. The Marietta Square is a newcomer to the scene, joining Centennial Park, Atlantic Station, St. Regis, Conyers and Avalon ice rinks.

Santa on a zipline at North Georgia Canopy Tours

Photo courtesy North Georgia Canopy Tours

Ziplining at North Georgia Canopy Tours, Lula: Your heart pumping in your chest will keep you warm as you fly through the air. Ground school gets first-timers comfortable with the heights and the equipment. For experienced zippers, the adventure course gives you a bird’s eye view of the North Oconee River and surrounding forest.

Holiday Lights at the Ruins, Barnsley Resort, Adairsville: The historic Manor House Ruins are the perfect canvas for this extensive light display that extends through the gardens and the village. Garden hours have been extended until 8 p.m. for day guests, or spend the night with the Light Up the Holidays package. Note: some evenings the ruins are reserved for private events and not open to the public. Call before you go.

Senoia’s Candlelight Tour of Historic Homes, Senoia: On Dec. 13, grab your hat and mittens for a tour of six historic homes and the Senoia United Methodist Church.  Afterward, warm up with refreshments at the Senoia Area Historical Society House.

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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Must-Try Savannah Food Scene

Rocks on the Roof at the Bohemian Hotel on Savannah's River Street.

Check out the view and the food at Rocks on the Roof at the Bohemian Hotel on Savannah’s River Street. Photo courtesy Bohemian Hotel.

Savannah, Georgia’s food scene has exploded, offering something old, something new, and something with a breathtaking view! Not to mention, the seafood and unique local flavors make Savannah a must-visit for food fans.

Something old

If you’re looking for a bit of history with your dinner, Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room should be on the top of your “Eat Here” list. The doors open daily at 11 a.m. with communal tables crowded with platters of fried chicken and cornbread dressing, sweet potato soufflé, black-eyed peas, okra gumbo, corn muffins and biscuits. The menu changes daily, so call ahead if you’re looking for something in particular.

Something(s) new

New kid on the block, The Grey, offers a contemporary spin on Southern classics — like roasted chicken, field peas and snap beans, and fruit cobblers — in a beautifully renovated 1940’s era Greyhound bus station.

Burger at The Green Truck Pub, Savannah.

At The Green Truck Pub, try a burger made with grass-fed beef from nearby Hunter Cattle Company. Photo courtesy The Green Truck Pub, Savannah.

The Green Truck Pub provides a laid-back atmosphere and a menu stocked with locally sourced finds, like grass-fed, all-natural, hormone-free burgers. BONUS: They get their beef from Hunter Cattle Company right up the road in Brooklet, GA, (which also offers an annual Peanut Festival).

A breathtaking view

For a bit of glamour and a breathtaking riverfront view with your dinner, give Rocks on the Roof a try. Situated on top of the Bohemian Hotel, Rocks on the Roof offers small plates, exotic cocktails and live music.

Seafood must-stops

If you’re in the mood for uber-fresh seafood, then take a quick trip over the bridge to Tybee Island and try a one-pot tradition of boiled shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn at The Crab Shack, or shrimp and grits at Halyards Restaurant on St. Simons Island. They do a delicious rendition of this popular Golden Isles dish.

Unique local flavors

Want to take some regional goodies home with you from Savannah? Plan your visit around a Saturday and stop by Forsyth Farmers’ Market, open Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Looking for more restaurant recommendations? Check out ExploreGeorgia.org/dining, and remember to share your favorite food finds on social media with #GeorgiaEats!

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer 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.

5 Places to See Reindeer in Georgia

Live reindeer at Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell

See live reindeer on Reindeer Day, Dec. 13, at Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell.

1.)  Pettit Creek Farms (Cartersville) – Comet and Cupid await your visit at Pettit Creek Farms, an 80-acre working farm and entertainment venue just north of Lake Allatoona. Through December, you can visit the farm and experience their Christmas Light Show, which gives you the opportunity to visit live reindeer and possibly catch one of Santa’s helpers ready to pose for pictures.

2.)  Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta) – Each year, the Center for Puppetry Arts presents its production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a show adopted from the classic television movie. Each ticket gets attendees into the Build Your Own Puppet Workshop after the show, where they’ll have the opportunity to put together a version of the puppets used during the show for at-home play.

3.)  Reindeer Day at the Chattahoochee Nature Center (Roswell) – Each year, the center hosts Reindeer Day, the opportunity for locals to meet and greet live reindeer and celebrate the creatures with learning opportunities about the species and crafts.

4.)  Caroling by Candlelight (Madison) – Bring your family to downtown Madison and participate in a carols sing-a-long Dec. 12, 2015, to raise your spirits as Christmas nears. While you’re there, be sure to take a minute to visit with reindeer who may or may not have flown into town from the North Pole for the occasion.

5.)  Annual Lighting of the Ruins at Barnsley Resort (Adairsville) – On Nov. 25, 2015, watch as the ruins of the former home and gardens of Mr. Barnsley are lighted with 1 million bulbs while one of Santa’s helpers and his reindeer friends make an appearance during the annual special event. If you can’t make it to the lighting, be sure to visit Barnsley Resort’s light display on one of the days when it is aglow throughout the holiday season.

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. Clickhere for more Festival content from Eileen.

Six Ways to Save on Tickets to Stone Mountain Christmas

Meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Stone Mountain Christmas

Meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Stone Mountain Christmas. Photo courtesy Stone Mountain.

Every year we anxiously await the start of the holiday season with Stone Mountain Christmas. It gives us an opportunity to kick-start our festivities and relish what means most to us this season: the sparkle of magic in our children’s eyes. While I highly recommend splurging on Stone Mountain Christmas, sometimes families have to pinch pennies during gift-giving season. That is why I am sharing six ways to save on tickets to Stone Mountain Christmas/Snow Mountain.

Take pictures with the Snow Angel at Stone Mountain Christmas.

Take pictures with the Snow Angel at Stone Mountain Christmas. Photo courtesy Stone Mountain.

Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort Christmas Package. With prices starting as low as $209 per night, staying overnight is a treat but not a splurge! The Christmas Package includes overnight accommodations, breakfast at the restaurant, passes to Stone Mountain Christmas and access to the heated pools.

Groupon. For the next two weeks (or as supplies last), Groupon is offering a 32% discount on tickets to Stone Mountain Christmas!

Snow Mountain & Christmas Combo Pass. This includes two hours at Snow Mountain, plus all the celebrations of Stone Mountain Christmas. You can do both in the same day, or spread the fun over the season.

Free meal and unlimited drinks. Purchase your Adventure Pass online and get a free meal from Marketplace and unlimited drink refills.

Save on an Adventure Pass. If you’ll be eating off-site, then consider purchasing the Adventure Pass online. It doesn’t include the meal voucher, but can still save you $5.

Snow Mountain Pass. If you want to skip Stone Mountain Christmas but still want to play in the snow, then grab the Snow Mountain-only pass.

You can read more here about why Stone Mountain Christmas is special to us, or find over 150 additional Christmas events in Atlanta!

And don’t miss our other fun Christmas articles:

LesliLesli is the 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.

Top 5 Holiday Activities in Georgia’s Lake Country

christmas photos - elves

Georgia’s Lake Country is wrapped with traditional and delightful holiday events. From concerts and caroling to ice skating and Santa sightings, Greensboro, Madison, Eatonton and Milledgeville have you covered this holiday season.

1.) Sing Christmas carols, or….
Let others sing them! On December 2, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center will host the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for a holiday concert.

Then on December 4, Georgia College’s Music Department presents a Holiday Concert at Russell Auditorium in #Milledgeville.

Ritz-Carlton Ice Skating

Go ice skating at the Ritz-Carlton in Greensboro Nov. 25, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016.

2.) Go ice skating — the perfect way to get holiday spirit!
The Ritz-Carlton in #Greensboro will host its annual outdoor ice skating rink at the Pavilion. The rink opens November 25 and lasts until January 3. All the fun is topped off with hot cocoa! It’s an event that’s a blast for the whole family!

Madison Holiday Tour of Homes

Tour historic homes dressed up for the holidays in Madison Dec. 3-5, 3015.

3.) Take a tour of historic homes and sites.
December 3-5, step into #Madison’s Town & Country Holiday Tour of Homes. This event is one that you do not want to miss.

The Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville will be open November 21-25 and then December 1-23. The mansion will be transformed into a winter wonderland!

Stepback, Georgia, in #Eatonton is a recreation of a 1900s community. Join the Pierce family on December 12 to “step back” into how Christmas was celebrated over 100 years ago!

Santa and Mrs. Claus in Milledgeville's Christmas Parade

See Milledgeville’s Christmas Parade Dec. 5, 2015

4.) Of course, See Santa!
Milledgeville welcomes #Santa with a parade down Main Street. This year’s parade is on December 5, and the theme is Sounds of the Season. Enjoy bands, festive floats and Santa!

On December 13, Crooked Pines Farm is bringing back “Santa & Sweets.” This event will wow your kids! Children will decorate cookies and have a one-on-one with Santa himself! Parents will receive a thumb drive with all of the photos of your children.

5.) Shop til you drop!
Eatonton hosts Christmas in the Briar Patch on December 5 from 3-6 p.m. Arts and crafts vendors will line the courthouse lawn. This is the perfect place to get your holiday shopping done! Stick around for “Light up the Night Christmas Parade” starting at 6 p.m. where Eatonton will welcome Santa to the square for free pictures with Santa!

For more information on these events, contact Maddie Atkinson with Georgia’s Lake Country.

Maddie AtkinsonMaddie Atkinson is a 2014 graduate from Georgia College in Milledgeville. After falling in love with Middle Georgia, Maddie decided to find a job there. After landing the tourism, marketing & special events position with the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce, she began working actively on Georgia’s Lake Country marketing committee. She has since bought a house in Lake Country with her husband and two children.