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.

Four Amazing Nature Centers in Georgia

These fantastic nature centers combine interactive, indoor exhibits with fun outdoor exploration to provide engaging learning opportunities for people of all ages.

Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell.

Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell. Photo credit: Chattahoochee Nature Center.

Chattahoochee Nature Center

Located along the Chattahoochee River in Roswell, Chattahoochee Nature Center connects people with nature through wildlife programs, docent-led hikes, and community events. Inside the Discovery Center, visitors explore the Chattahoochee River watershed with interactive exhibits, live animal habitats, and a nature exchange. Outside, six beautiful hiking trails wind through forest near the Chattahoochee River, featuring year-round birdwatching, and abundant plant and wildlife.

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Tallulah Gorge is a spectacular canyon nearly 2 miles long and 1,000 feet deep. The hiking trails lead visitors to waterfall overlooks, a suspension bridge and a swimming hole deep in the canyon. But, before setting off on a day hike, take a virtual stroll through a unique representation of the gorge complete with exhibits featuring native plants and animals.

Discovering Stone Mountain Museum

Discovering Stone Mountain Museum. Photo by Candy Cook.

Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain Park offers a range of activities from hiking and biking to family fun and seasonal events. The massive rock sets the scene for many seasonal Atlanta traditions such as the summertime Lasershow Spectacular and Snow Mountain tubing in winter. But, do you know how it got here? Explore the geology behind the mountain with interactive geology exhibits, an informative video and guided hikes at the Discovering Stone Mountain Museum.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Photo by Candy Cook

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Sea turtles take the spotlight at this Jekyll Island nature center. Visitors learn about the variety of endangered sea turtles nesting along the Georgia coast through a variety of hands-on exhibits, guided turtle walks on the beach and educational programs. The center also features an on-site sea turtle hospital where visitors come face to face with the turtles.

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

Where to Experience Supercross Fun in Georgia

The gate drops, and it’s like a line of brightly colored fish coming together to create an oscillating wave over a still brown ocean. Gradually the colors spread out, and the individual Supercross riders emerge, kicking up dirt around the turns and flying high in the air in-between.

Late February is when the AMA Monster Energy Supercross Race comes to Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. It’s an exciting evening of racing by some of the sport’s best athletes. Georgia has lots of places where you can enjoy motorsports whether you are a professional or just learning. Here are three places to ride around Georgia for any skill level.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Alpharetta

Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Alpharetta

MSF Dirt Bike School, Alpharetta: If you’ve always wanted to ride, but didn’t know how, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Dirt Bike School offers fun one-day, hands-on courses to get you started. They also have advanced classes, and classes specifically for women or kids. It’s a great way to get introduced to motorcycle riding.

Durhamtown Off Road Resort, Union Point

Durhamtown Off Road Resort, Union Point

Durhamtown Off Road Resort, Union Point: Two hours east of Atlanta, just past the picturesque town of Greensboro is a hunting plantation called Durhamtown, where novice, as well as experienced ATV and motorcycle riders can have a great time. Durhamtown is perfect for the weekend warrior and has miles of one-way ATV and motorcycle trails plus a pee wee, Supercross, MX, drag strip, flat oval and freestyle park. Although my boys had never ridden before, they had a blast at Durhamtown, and when they needed a break, they enjoyed watching the experienced riders.

Millsaps Training Facility, Cairo: Cairo, Georgia, is the unofficial capital of motocross on the East Coast. They have several training facilities in the area, most for the serious motocross rider. If you want to take your riding to the next level, consider a training camp at Millsaps Training Facility. Owner Colleen Millsaps and her team have trained champions and currently teach both aspiring riders as well as accomplished professional riders.

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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3 Bodacious Burgers You Must Try

I’m a burger lover, and these three always have a place at my table!

Burger at White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Ga.

Burger at White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Ga.

White Oak Pastures, Bluffton. I recently had the opportunity to eat my way through Georgia Grown’s Hwy 37. I ate a lot of delicious food (more on that in later posts), but the Farmer John Burger at White Oak Pastures’ dining hall was the best meal of the trip —and one of the very best burgers I’ve ever eaten. It was a huge grass-fed beef burger smothered in cheese, farm-raised bacon, micro greens from their own garden and an egg gathered from their own free range chickens.

Holman and Finch Burger in Atlanta.

Holman and Finch Burger in Atlanta.

Holman & Finch Public House, Atlanta. H&F is known for great food — especially “The Burger.” House ground beef burgers, cheese and H&F pickles all on a freshly baked bun makes this burger legendary. In the past, you could order it anytime during Sunday brunch, but during the rest of the week, the kitchen only served 24 burgers and only after 10 p.m. With H&F Burger newly opened in Ponce City Market, you can now get “The Burger” on the regular Holeman & Finch dinner menu every night of the week.

Sliders at Sly's Siders and Fries in Savannah

Sliders at Sly’s Siders and Fries in Savannah

Sly’s Sliders and Fries, Savannah. Sliders and hot dogs and hand-cut fries — Oh, my! The next time you’re in Savannah (and want a break from all of the awesome seafood you’ve been eating) give Sly’s a try. Their classic cheeseburger slider is a winner, and adding a fried egg on top just takes it to a higher level. Not feeling like a burger? Well, the menu also offers jerk chicken, falafel, and even brisket sliders. Since they’re mini, feel free to eat two or three!

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.

Romance in Georgia

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and it’s time for Mom and Dad to plan a sitter and begin thinking about how to celebrate. Since hubby and I make the effort to take an overnight date once a month, we have plenty of ideas for you. Here are four of our favorite places to escape as a couple.

Horseback riding at Barnsley Resort in Adairsville

Horseback riding at Barnsley Resort in Adairsville

Adairsville. One of my favorite romantic escapes in Georgia is at Barnsley Resort. They have an onsite Fairy Godmother (her REAL title) whose job is to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences; she comes equipped with a menu of options for romantics looking for something over the top. Impress your love with cozy cottage accommodations with fireplaces and private romantic dining options.

The Valentine’s Weekend package includes a carriage ride, chocolate truffles, four-course gourmet meal and $100 credit toward activities such as spa treatments, horseback riding or golf. Hubby and I enjoyed this package about two years ago, and I always think of it fondly.

The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain

The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain. The Lodge and Spa at Callaway is a luxurious resort adjacent to Callaway Gardens. Our family visited in winter. We roamed the resort grounds, hiked and picnicked at Callaway Gardens, lingered long hours in our spacious suite, and dined in-house. It was the perfect winter escape for us: relaxing, tranquil, and peaceful.

I love that they are offering a Little Lovebirds Package that is perfect for families. The package includes one two-bedroom suite with private balconies; $100 culinary credit to Piedmont Grille; four tickets to the Birds of Prey exhibit at Callaway Gardens; one family-friendly movie with DVD player in-room; champagne and strawberries amenity for the adults, and s’mores and milk for the little ones; de-stressing couples massage for adults, and cupcake manicures and pedicures for the little ones.

The indoor pool at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead.

The indoor pool at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead.

Buckhead Atlanta. Buckhead is filled with shopping and restaurants that exude romance. To cap the night, try a stay at Mandarin Oriental, Atlantaone of the sexiest hotels I’ve ever stayed in! Or cozy together at Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. They are celebrating 14 Days of Chocolate and a Romance Package featuring deluxe accommodations for one evening, breakfast for two in The Café, a bottle of chilled sparkling wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, rose petal turndown and overnight valet parking. Did I mention the heated pool is one of the best indoor pools in the state? Escape the cold this Valentine’s Day!

Romantic Buckhead restaurant recommendations? Try King + Duke, Umi or Local Three. Local Three is a favorite of mine and they have a Prix Fixe VDay menu.

Crème Brûlée at MAYA Steaks & Seafood, Sandy Springs

Crème Brûlée at MAYA Steaks & Seafood, Sandy Springs

Sandy Springs. Our first date night of 2016 was spent in Sandy Springs, and it was magnificent. We noshed on red wine, fried oysters, delicious steak and heavenly crème brulee at MAYA. Next door is Steve’s Live Music; it was new to us, but we are now destined to become regulars. The laid back, smoke-free atmosphere is filled with AMAZING local musical talent.

Finally, finish the night at The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North. Our Living Room Suite was heavenly. Don’t miss the Romantic Getaway Package that includes breakfast for two from the restaurant, champagne and strawberries upon arrival, and a late check out. Read more details about our Sandy Springs Date Night.

If you are looking for more Fun Date Night Ideas then check out the post on my website. We update it regularly, so be sure to bookmark it.

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.