4 Reasons to Take the Kids to Cartersville

Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville

Booth Western Art Museum

North of the city, off I-75, is the quaint little town of Cartersville. There are tons of things for the kids to do here- more than I could report in one story. But, here are four of our favorite places.

Booth Western Art Museum. If your kiddo loves cowboys and horses, this is a wonderful place for a visit. The 120,000 sq ft space houses the largest permanent exhibit of Western art in the US. More than that, it also includes Civil War art, Presidential portraits, movie posters and more. Kids will love Sagebrush Ranch, an interactive gallery where they can learn about art and America’s Western culture.

One of our favorite fall events is the Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium, coming to the museum at the end of October. It’s a wonderful experience filled with great children’s activities. 

Tellus Science Museum. Some people call it the “space museum,” other call it the “rock museum,” and still others know it for the planetarium. It’s all this- and more. My kiddos adore the Fossil Gallery, with dozens of dinosaur fossils including a large T-rex and (our favorite) a 9-foot wide Megaladon jaw! Don’t skip the fossil dig and gem mining for kids in the back of the museum.

Night at the Museum is one of their biggest events of the year. You just missed it in early August, but be sure to mark your calendar for next year.

Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville

Tellus Science Museum

Red Top Mountain State Park. Red Top is special to us because it is the place my son received his first Jr. Ranger Badge. From hiking to camping, there is so much to do here. Stay overnight in a cabin or yurt, swim in the lake, Geocache, play miniature golf or explore the Mountain Cove Discovery Room. We also enjoy the myriad events and programs here, including Iron Pours, Harvest at the Homestead and the upcoming Halloween Hayrides.

Pine Mountain Recreation Area. Candy Cook, Explore Georgia’s Outdoor Explorer, first shared the West Loop with me last year, and it has become a favorite. It’s a rugged trail, but still do-able with high-energy kiddos. The reward, of course, is the spectacular view from the top. Any time is a great time for this hike, but the fall color enhances the view.

What are your favorite Cartersville adventures?

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.

New York Cuisine, Southern Hospitality at The General Muir

New York City is synonymous with art, high fashion, finance and great food — but not necessarily with great hospitality. So, imagine my surprise when I enjoyed a very hospitable New York-style dinner at The General Muir.

Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans at The General Muir. Photo by Jennifer Booker.

Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans at The General Muir | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Booker

Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Creme Fraiche at The General Muir. Photo by Jennifer Booker.

Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Creme Fraiche at The General Muir | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Booker

I sampled the Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans, Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Crème Fraiche, Chicken Liver Pate, and bowl of Poutine (hand-cut french fries, covered with gravy and topped with cheese curds and crisp pastrami) — all served with a side of exceptional Southern hospitality. For those of you interested in more traditional Southern fare, don’t despair. I also noticed Pecan Crusted French Toast, Deep Fried Springer Mountain Farms Chicken, and even Pickled Eggs on the menu.

Did I mention that The General Muir is a refreshing take on the traditional New York City Jewish delicatessen and located right here in our lovely state? It’s at Emory Point in Atlanta, to be exact. They also offer an amazing brunch menu and a list of some pretty inventive cocktails — for those of you who like that kind of thing. There is even a deli counter attached to the main dining room for those of you wanting to get your bagels and smear to go.

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.

Georgia’s Tastiest Adventure: BBQ

Old Clinton BBQ

TripAdvisor.com rated Georgia the number one state for BBQ in 2014. In 2015, Joe’s BBQ in Blue Ridge captured the honor of Best BBQ in America. Sufficed to say, Georgia’s got some great ‘que.

How to Find the Best BBQ in Georgia
The problem with great BBQ joints however, is they aren’t always the easiest to find. The best ones are usually a little off the main drag. When on a road trip, our family generally consults Yelp to find a place nearby. After consulting the reviews, the final decision on whether to visit usually rests with the sign outside. If it doesn’t have a pig on it, we question the food quality.

The Brews and Q’s Passport to Flavor
There’s always the Best of Lists too. We’ve found tasty establishments, like Joe’s, based on those lists, and then seek them out when we are in the area. Georgia’s Historic Heartland has gone a step further. They’ve created a Brews & Q’s BBQ Trail. What a brilliant idea! The trail features 30 locally owned locations in 14 counties and each restaurant is listed in an easy to use brochure that serves as your passport to flavor. Many of these country kitchens have been featured on various TV shows and have won awards from numerous outlets. Get it stamped at each place and once you’ve visited a third of the sites (or 10 locations), you can mail in the passport to receive a free Brews & Q’s t-shirt. Download a brochure and get started on a delicious tour through Georgia’s heartland.

For more Fall Fun, visit the Field Trips with Sue Fall Guide.

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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Georgia Lighthouses

Traditionally lighthouses have served as beacons for ships sailing in the night – today these popular structures serve as beacons for beach-goers and sight-seers. And Georgia’s historic lighthouses are no exception: these gorgeous structures all have unique stories and make for fantastic photo ops!

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Tybee Island Lighthouse | Photo courtesy of Meredith112 via Flickr

Standing tall at the entrance to the Savannah River, the Tybee Island Lighthouse is one of only seven surviving colonial era lighthouses. James Oglethorpe, Georgia’s founding father, ordered the construction of the light station that would survive hurricanes, earthquakes and being burned by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Today the tower continues to serve as a guide for ships, in addition to housing a museum of Tybee Island’s history. Visitors can also climb to the top for a gorgeous view.

St. Simons Island Lighthouse

St Simons Island Lighthouse

St. Simons Island Lighthouse | Photo courtesdy of Joe Szalay via Flickr

Commissioned by the federal government, the St. Simons Island Lighthouse still serves as a warning for ships entering the St. Simons Sound. Though the tower no longer requires a keeper to greet guests, the panoramic view of the Golden Isles from the top provides visitors an unforgettable experience. The Keeper’s Dwelling and Museum illustrate the life of a lighthouse keeper and the history of the Golden Isles.

Sapelo Island Lighthouse

Sapelo Island Lighthouse

Sapelo Island Lighthouse | Photo courtesy of Evangelio Gonzalez via Flickr

Sitting on the island that serves as a modern epicenter of Gullah culture, the Sapelo Island Lighthouse is the nation’s second-oldest brick lighthouse. Originally built in 1820, the tower was replaced in 1905 and later reconstructed to its original structure in the 1930s. The lighthouse is no longer active, but visitors can visit the lighthouse on a tour of Sapelo Island led by Georgia State Parks.

Cockspur Island Lighthouse

Cockspur Island Lighthouse

Cockspur Island Lighthouse | Photo courtesy of paulbr1 via Flickr

Located at the South Channel of the Savannah River, the Cockspur Island Lighthouse is considered part of Fort Pulaski. Situated in the direct line of fire of Union and Confederate troops during the defeat of Fort Pulaski, the lighthouse miraculously suffered minimal damage. Instead the structure would fall victim to flooding and today is only accessible via kayak or small boat. Along with the rest of the Fort, the lighthouse is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Little Cumberland Island Lighthouse

Little Cumberland Island Lighthouse

Little Cumberland Island Lighthouse | Photo courtesy of United States Coast Guard

The only one of Georgia’s five surviving historic lighthouses not open to the public, the light station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two towers were built on Little Cumberland Island: the one to the south with a revolving light and the one to the north, which remains, with a fixed light to mark the Satilla River and St. Andrew Sound. The lighthouse is no longer active, but has been well preserved by the Little Cumberland Island Association.

In addition to the five surviving historic lighthouses, Georgia boasts several other nautical lighting fixtures:

Sapelo Island Range Front

Sapelo Island Front Range Beacon

Sapelo Island Front Range Beacon | Photo courtesy of Georgia Institute of Technology via Flickr

While on a tour of Sapelo Island, visitors can also view the front beacon situated at the southern tip of the island. Though inactive now, the beacon historically helped guide mariners within the range of the island’s lighthouse.

Savannah Old Harbor Light

Savannah Old Harbor Light

Savannah Old Harbor Light | Photo courtesy of Phil Houck via Flickr

This cast iron light was erected as the rear range light to guide vessels from Fig Island Lighthouse into Savannah. Six ships had been sunk during the Revolutionary War to provide a naval buffer, and the Old Harbor Light was utilized to avoid these wrecks. After renovations in the early 21st century, the light was re-erected in Emmet Park on Bay Street.

West Point Lake Lighthouse

West Point Lake Lighthouse

West Point Lake Lighthouse | Photo courtesy of Sussman Imaging via Flickr

Situated right on the Georgia-Alabama line on West Point Lake, this ornamental tower provides beautiful ‘Kodak moments’ from the middle of the lake or for visitors to Maple Creek Park in LaGrange.

Things to Do on Labor Day Weekend in Georgia

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens, Labor Day Weekend

As the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day signals the upcoming season of fall festivals, football, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, apple picking and brilliantly colored scenery. Don’t miss the chance to squeeze in one more summer blast at these Georgia Labor Day events! Find more information about these and many more things to do in Georgia on ExploreGeorgia.org.

Food & Drink

Sept. 4: Food Truck Friday, Duluth

Sept. 4-5: Bacon Fest, Savannah

Sept. 4-5: 33rd Annual Kingsland Catfish Festival, Kingsland

Sept. 5: Grape Stomping Festival, Blairsville

Sept. 5: Boos and Brews Pub Crawl, Dahlonega

Sept. 6: August Wine Cruise Series, Lake Lanier

Follow Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer Jennifer Hill Booker for fall recipes and culinary trip ideas, and follow Georgia’s official Festival Explorer Eileen Falkenberg-Hull for more fall festival trip ideas!

At the State Parks

Sept. 4: Labor Day Twilight Paddle, Fort Yargo State Park, Winder

Sept. 4-6: Laborless Day, Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge, Helena

Sept. 5: Red Fox Fun Run, F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain

Sept. 5: Labor Day at Jarrell Plantation, Juliette

Sept. 5: Labor Day Face Painting, Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth

Sept. 5: Labor Day Celebration, Fort McAllister State Park, Richmond Hill

Sept. 5: Dirty Spokes Trail Run, Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge

Sept. 5-6: Wild Cave Tours, Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn

Sept. 5-6: Labor Day Weekend Night Kayak, Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge

Sept. 5-6: Tightrope Lessons, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls

Sept. 5-6: Twilight Night Paddle, High Falls State Park, Jackson

Sept. 5-7: Holiday Gorge Floor Hike, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls

Sept. 5-7: Tools and Skills That Built a Colony, Wormsloe Historic Site, Savannah

Sept. 5-7: Labor Day on the Lake, Florence Marina State Park, Omaha

Sept. 7: Labor Day at Fort King George, Darien

Sept. 7: Labor Day Commemoration, Fort Morris Historic Site, Midway

Follow Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer Candy Cook for more outdoor trip ideas this fall!

Family Fun

Sept. 4: Hot Rods on Main Cruise-In, Douglasville

Sept. 4: Dive In Movie, Atlantis, Lake Lanier

Sept. 4-5: Fiddlin’ Flea Market & Family Festival, Newnan

Sept. 4-6: Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain

Sept. 4-6: Stone Mountain Park’s Labor Day Weekend Celebration, Stone Mountain

Sept. 5: Dive In Movie, Finding Nemo, Lake Lanier

Sept. 5-6: St. Simons Island Antique Show, St. Simons Island

Sept. 5-7: Labor Day Weekend at the Zoo, Cleveland

Sept. 6: Tybee Island Labor Day Beach Bash, Tybee Island

Follow Georgia’s official Family Explorer Lesli Peterson for more family-friendly fall trip ideas!

Free Things to Do

Sept. 4: 1st Friday Concert, Rome

Sept. 4: Friday Night Live: The Great Downtown Tailgate, Woodstock

Sept. 4: First Friday Fireworks, Savannah

Sept. 4: First Friday: The Benders, Thomasville

Sept. 4: First Friday Concert Series, The Swingin’ Medallions, Monroe

Sept. 4: First Friday Concert Series, Top 40 Pop Night, Dublin

Sept. 4: First Fridays, Historic Downtown Brunswick

Sept. 4: First Friday, Valdosta

Sept. 4: First Friday Fest in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, Clayton

Sept. 5: Good Life Drum Circle, Albany

Sept. 5: Buchanan Cruise Night, Buchanan

Sept. 5: Bluegrass on the Square, Tallulah Falls

Sept. 5: First Saturday Programs, Andersonville

Sept. 5-6: Perspectives 2015 – Georgia Pottery Invitational demonstrations and gallery talks, Watkinsville

Follow Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer Sue Rodman for more inexpensive fall trip ideas!

Sports & Racing

Sept. 4-6: IPRA World Championship Fall Rodeo, Cumming

Sept. 5: South Hall Rotary 5K, Gainesville

Sept. 5: 21st Annual Duck Race, Glenwood

Sept. 6: Callaway Gardens Family Fitness Series Triathlon, Pine Mountain

Last Chance! Events Ending Labor Day Weekend

Through Sept. 7: Summer Music Weekends, Lookout Mountain

Through Sept. 7: Blue Star Museums, Albany

Through Sept. 8: Festival Springs Fountain, Albany

Opening Labor Day Weekend

Sept. 1-Sept. 30: Blue Morpho Butterfly Month at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain

Sept. 4-Oct. 30: Augusta Canal Moonlight Music Cruise, Augusta

Sept. 5-Oct. 11: Blue Ridge Mountains Photographers National Juried Show, Blue Ridge

Find special offers and discounts on great places to stay in Georgia on the ExploreGeorgia.org Deals page.