4 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in Liberty County

Liberty County is halfway in between Savannah and the Golden Isles, making it a perfect day trip when you’re spending time at the coast.

1.)  Get in touch with nature. Visit the LeConte-Woodmanston Botanical Gardens and explore land that was once a swamp rice plantation owned by the first president of the University of California at Berkley and co-founder of the Sierra Club, Dr. Louis LeConte.

Fort Morris State Historic Site

Fort Morris State Historic Site

2.)  See British history. British history? In Liberty County? Yes. Fort Morris State Historic Site is the site of a 1779 battle between United States and British forces. After 45 days of fighting, the fort fell to the British. They have two festivals coming up: the “Come and Take It!” Revolutionary War Encampment on November 21 and A Colonial Christmas on December 5.

Jim Bacote shows off a sweetgrass basket at the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center in Riceboro.

Jim Bacote shows off a sweetgrass basket at the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center in Riceboro.

3.)  Head to the annual Sugar Cane Harvest & Crafts Show. The Geechee Kunda Cultural Center in Riceboro hosts the festival on November 28, 2015, celebrating sugar cane and the Geechee culture.

4.)  Take a tour of historic coastal Georgia. Explore the Historic Baptismal Trail as a self-guided experience, visit the historic homes of Flemington on a driving tour, or take in the Seabrook Village and Living History Tour.

Eileen 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.

Shopping for Kids this Holiday Season

Gift shop at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens

Find artistic gifts for kids at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens.

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? We try to keep it simple and focus on giving rather than the gift, settling on four presents each: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Even with a minimal shopping list, I love finding just the right gift for my little ones. One of my favorite places to scope out? Gift shops at museums and attractions. Here are 10 of my favorite museums and gift shops in Georgia for gift hunting.

Georgia Museum of Art Gift Shop, Athens. Books, art supplies, games, craft and DIY kits, dolls and stuffed animals are available for the kids. Stationary and decorative items are ideal for adult gift giving.

High Museum Shop, Atlanta. Select from art studio supplies and workbooks, plus a series of fun collectibles from Mo Willems Seriously Silly exhibition.

Tellus Science Museum Store, Cartersville. Pick up a gemstone mining kit or a science experiment. There are also activity kits to help kids learn about magnets, microscopes and more.

Foxfire Museum Gift Shop, Mountain City. A plethora of books include subjects on outdoors, cooking, Appalachian living and more. There are also soaps, craft kits and other unique finds.

Museum of Arts and Science Museum Store, Macon. You’ll find science-related items for all ages, unique art and gifts and nature-inspired jewelry.

Georgia Aquarium Gift Shop, Atlanta. Enjoy books, games, toys and more that focus on the beloved underwater creatures of the aquarium. The website even features a Kids’ Holiday Gift Guide, allowing you to purchase items online.

Gift shop at the Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah.

Find choo-choo trains and more at the Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah.

Georgia State Railroad Museum Gift Shop, Savannah. Perfect for your train enthusiast, there are dozens of gift-giving ideas here.

Red Top Mountain Visitors Center Gift Shop, Cartersville. You’ll find gifts, books, apparel, toys for children, and much more to please nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Walking Dead Store and Museum, Senoia. Perfect for the zombie-lover in the family. You’ll find officially licensed TWD products like clothing, games, accessories and collectibles.

Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre Boutique, Atlanta. There is also an extensive gift department at this location, featuring dance books, music, jewelry, statues and collectibles as well as imaginative children’s items like the exclusive Atlanta Ballet Signature Nutcracker, available only during the holidays.

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.

Explore Georgia’s Military History Year-round

Veterans Day is this week, but it’s not the only day to honor Georgia’s military history. There are festivals and events that happen each year across the state celebrating the victories and sacrifices of the armed forces.

The Black Patriots Monument in Washington, Ga.

The Black Patriots Monument in Washington, Ga., honors black Revolutionary War soldiers.

Revolutionary Days Parade in Washington, Ga.

Revolutionary Days Parade in Washington, Ga.

Revolutionary Days (February, Washington) – Hundreds of re-enactors, historians and spectators gather in Historic Downtown Washington for a parade and re-enactment of the February 14, 1779, Battle of Kettle Creek. There is also a historical memorial church service, reminiscent of a late-1700s service.

Thunder Over Augusta (May, Augusta) – Each year, on Armed Forces Day, this festival celebrates America with military pageantry and a heaping helping of typical festival fun.

Currahee Military Weekend (October, Toccoa) – In the early 1940s, Toccoa was home to a paratrooper training camp. 18,000 men attended the camp, but only 6,000 made it through the training. Since 2000, Currahee Military Weekend honors the men of the 101st, 506th, 501st, 511th and the 517th who trained at the site. While you’re there, plan on exploring the 14,000-square-foot Currahee Military Museum.

Also, the 6th Cavalry Museum in Fort Oglethorpe and Andersonville National Historic Site celebrate Georgia’s military history throughout the year with a variety of events.

To see more Georgia military history, be sure to visit the Ft. Stewart Military Museum (Augusta), Heritage Park Veterans Museum (McDonough), Marietta Museum of History (Marietta), U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum (Ft. Gordon), National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center (Columbus), the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force (Pooler), the Museum of Aviation (Warner Robins) and The Drummer Boy Civil War Museum (Andersonville).

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.

Hidden Gems of Greene County and Lake Oconee

Nestled in the hills and valleys of Greene County, Ga., you will find the hidden gem of Lake Oconee. Exit 130 from Interstate 20 puts you in the perfect position to try some unique and surprisingly diverse dishes.


Take a right, and you will find yourself heading toward the Linger Longer Steakhouse, where the seafood is fresh, the steaks are cooked to perfection and each meal ends with a giant ball of cotton candy. (Yes, cotton candy!)

Giant ball of cotton candy at Linger Longer Steakhouse

End your meal with a giant ball of cotton candy at Linger Longer Steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee.

A left turn off the interstate leads you directly into downtown Greensboro and The Yesterday Café. Their Buttermilk Pie has been named one of the best pies of the South, although I think their fried green tomatoes are even better. I’ve eaten a lot of them over the years, and the tomatoes served at The Yesterday Café are some of my favorites!


Ripe Thing Market in Greensboro, Ga.

Ripe Thing Market in Greensboro, Ga.

Turn the corner, and you’re sitting in front of the Ripe Thing Market. This local market offers up more than just super fresh fruits and vegetables, local eggs, grits, and an impressive selection of infused olive oils and aged vinegars. You can also buy made-to-order sandwiches, homemade soups, and even hand-rolled tamales — the perfect treat to enjoy while watching Greensboro’s Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony, (Dec. 4, 2015, from 6-8 p.m.) or after a day of ice skating at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee (opening at the end of November).

If you’re looking to take some local flavor home with you, visit Genuine Georgia Marketplace on your way out of town. There, you can find beautiful artwork created by Georgia artists, and jars of seasonal jellies, jams and pickles made by Zandra, a lady who lives right in Greene County.

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.

4 Awesome Geocaching Challenges in Georgia

Geocaching is a fun adventure game played by using high-tech devices to hunt treasures called geocaches. These caches, hidden in some of the most interesting places around Georgia, contain a variety of items such as trading cards, trinkets, and traveling coins. The game is exciting fun for outdoor enthusiasts and families looking to liven up hikes and explore new destinations.

Georgia State Parks has hidden nearly 50 caches in spectacular parks all over the state. There are treasures to find while viewing waterfalls in the mountains, hiking canyons and forest, or hitting the beach. Geocachers are encouraged to earn souvenir geo-coins for finding 15, 30, and 40 state parks geocaches. Grab a Geo-Challenge Passport from participating parks such as Amicalola Falls, Cloudland Canyon, or Skidaway Island state parks.

Columbus RiverWalk

Columbus RiverWalk

Explore Columbus with the RiverWalk GeoTour, which includes over 30 geocaches to find between hiking, rafting, and ziplining around town. Six unique series lead visitors to Columbus’ historical sites, incredible views, and various attractions. Complete each series to collect trading cards and custom geo-coin souvenirs.

Columbus GeoTour Souvenirs

Collect trading cards and custom geo-coin souvenirs when you complete portions of the Columbus GeoTour.

Peachtree City’s GeoTour highlights historic landmarks and reveals hidden spots to enjoy nature along the 90 miles of paved cart paths. Each cache holds trinkets and trading cards featuring fun facts about the location. With just under 20 caches to find, the tour can be completed in a day or weekend trip. Stay at the Wyndham Peachtree Hotel and borrow a golf cart for the adventure.

Jackson County geocache

Find surprises at each destination on the Jackson County Geocaching Heritage Trail. Photo by Candy Cook.

The Jackson County Geocaching Heritage Trail celebrates history and countryside with 30 creative caches. The unique treasures on this tour add puzzles and games to the thrill of the hunt. Explore local attractions and landmarks collecting stamps for the official tour passport.

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.