5 Must-Try Food Stalls at Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall

Ponce City Market in Atlanta. Photo: Party on Ponce 2015, Facebook.

Ponce City Market in Atlanta. Photo: Party on Ponce 2015, Facebook.

Atlanta hot spot Ponce City Market features a Central Food Hall with a lively mix of more than two dozen chef-driven, dine-in restaurants and market stalls with a huge range of regional fare, global cuisines and artisanal market goods, like fresh breads, dry aged meats, creamy cheeses and fragrant spices.

What makes this space more than just another food hall with amazing food is the location. The Central Food Hall is located walking distance to adjoining parks, neighborhoods and the ever-expanding Atlanta BeltLine. So, grab your goodies to go and enjoy them al fresco. Use #GeorgiaEats to share your food finds.

Botiwalla

Tamarind glazed spare ribs and tandoori chicken plates at Botiwalla by Mia Yakel Photography. Photo: Facebook

Tamarind glazed spare ribs and tandoori chicken plates at Botiwalla by Mia Yakel Photography. Photo: Facebook

The newest addition to Central Food Hall, Botiwalla, has a menu themed after the savory street foods you’d find after hours in India, like grilled meats, lamb kabobs and Tikka rolls. BONUS: Huge menu of authentic Indian fare.

El Super Pan

Spanish "focaccia," serrano ham, manchego, almond-date spread, arugula & piquillo agridulce at El Super Pan. Photo by Sarah Dodge from Facebook

Spanish “focaccia,” serrano ham, manchego, almond-date spread, arugula & piquillo agridulce at El Super Pan. Photo by Sarah Dodge from Facebook

Puerto Rico meets Atlanta in this Latin-inspired sandwich & cocktail bar featuring small plates and a full cocktail menu. BONUS: All baked goods at El Super Pan are made in house.

Farm to Ladle

Spring greens & grilled apricots, pineapple & peaches at Farm to Ladle. Photo: Facebook

Spring greens & grilled apricots, pineapple & peaches at Farm to Ladle. Photo: Facebook

The European-style café and farmstand Farm to Ladle specializes in using locally grown products to create its soups, sandwiches and fresh salads. BONUS: Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available.

The Mercury

Mai Tai at The Mercury. Photo: Facebook

Mai Tai at The Mercury. Photo: Facebook

The 1960’s vibe and full-service bar program makes The Mercury the place to go for cocktails. They also offer full lunch and dinner service — with a 20-ounce Tomahawk pork chop that’s not to be missed. BONUS: Daily cocktail hour.

H. Stiles Fish Camp

Oysters at H. Stiles Fish Camp. Photo: Facebook.

Oysters at H. Stiles Fish Camp. Photo: Facebook.

Affectionately known as “Dubs,” this casual-style fish shack features Southern seafood at its best: FRESH. Sandwich options like shrimp po-boys and lobster rolls makes H. Stiles Fish Camp the perfect grab-and-go place for lunch. BONUS: More than 20 fresh oyster options.

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.

Outdoor Adventures for the Summer Solstice

Celebrate the long days of summer solstice with challenging adventures and relaxing evenings.

Summer Solstice Trail Races – June 20

Mo Flow Mountain Bike Trail at Allatoona Creek Park. Photo by Candy Cook

Mo Flow Mountain Bike Trail at Allatoona Creek Park. Photo by Candy Cook

Blaze the trails of Allatoona Creek Mountain Bike Park for the 7th annual Summer Solstice Races. With a picturesque mix of open meadow and shaded forest, the fast flowing trails of Allatoona Creek offer an exciting day of mountain biking and trail running. The races include a 3-hour mountain bike race, as well as 5k and 10k trail running races. Presented by Cobb County P.A.R.K.S and SORBA West Georgia, proceeds go toward park maintenance and improvement. Registration is now open!

Full Moon Lake Paddle or Suspension Bridge Hike – June 19 & 20

Tallulah Gorge. Photo by Candy Cook.

Tallulah Gorge. Photo by Candy Cook.

Play the day away at Tallulah Gorge State Park, and then enjoy a relaxing evening paddling the lake or hiking across the suspension bridge. Illuminated by the light of the full moon, this is truly a unique and exciting way to explore one of Georgia’s natural wonders in a different light. Register in advance to paddle the lake or hike the suspension bridge.

Stone Mountain Park

SkyHike at Stone Mountain Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

SkyHike at Stone Mountain Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

The longest days of the year offer more time to experience the endless adventures at Stone Mountain Park. Hop aboard the Scenic Railroad for a trip around the mountain, splash the day away at Geyser Towers, and explore this natural wonder hiking the park’s nature trails. The day comes to a close with the awe-inspiring Lasershow Spectacular!

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

Free Summer Fun in Georgia

Summer is a great time to explore all that Georgia has to offer, yet heading out each day can get expensive. To keep your budget in check, balance out more expensive excursions with free or cheap summer fun. Here is a sample of what you can find across Georgia.

See a Movie

Jekyll Island Movies on the Green. Photo: Facebook.

Jekyll Island Movies on the Green. Photo: Facebook.

Wrap up an evening at the beach with a free outdoor movie on the Jekyll Island Beach Village Green. Get there early to set up a blanket or lawn chair, and enjoy dinner from one of the restaurants located in the green. The kids can run around while the adults relax and watch the sun go down. Movies start at 8:30 p.m. Check the Jekyll Island events calendar for dates and movies. Not planning a beach vacation? Check out local Georgia municipalities; many town squares or local malls will host free summer outdoor movies as well.

Become a Lighthouse Explorer

St Simons Island Lighthouse

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

Fridays in June, children under 12 are admitted free of charge to the St. Simon’s Island Lighthouse. In addition to climbing the 129 steps to the top of the lighthouse, there will be crafts, games and family friendly activities.

Tour Savannah

Take a walking tour of Savannah in between performances. Photo courtesy Visit Saannah.

Take a walking tour of Savannah. Photo courtesy Visit Savannah.

Take a walking tour of Savannah for free with Free Savannah Tours. If you enjoy the experience, just pay a gratuity to your guide. Learn about Savannah’s history, the famous squares, movies that were filmed in the city, ghostly residents and more.

Discover the Meadows

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center in Columbus, Ga.

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center in Columbus, Ga.

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center in Columbus, Georgia has natural history displays, as well as nature trails and educational programming. Visiting the center is free (although donations are accepted). Special programs, like summer spectacular shows are offered for a nominal fee.

Cool Off in the Fountains

Geyser Towers at Stone Mountain

Geyser Towers at Stone Mountain

No need to just run through a sprinkler in the front yard anymore, Georgia has several splash fountains throughout the state where visitors can cool off with a quick run through, or dowse themselves with a steady stream. It’s like a free version of the many Georgia water parks. Whether you are 5 or 50, these community gathering spots are a lot of fun, and a great way to beat the Georgia heat.

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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Tips for Planning a Father’s Day Fishing Trip

Nothing beats spending time with family on Father’s Day. This year, gather the kids around and offer to take them fishing in Georgia. Everyone likes to go fishing, especially when all are involved in the planning.

Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Ga., has a 260-acre lake, perfect for fishing with the family.

Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Ga., has a 260-acre lake, perfect for fishing with the family.

Suggestions:

  1. Pick a Georgia State Park. They are easy to access, inexpensive, and they have other things to do in addition to fishing, such as nature trails, panoramic views, deep canyons and waterfalls. There will be few distractions to take your attention away from your family, so you can enjoy spending time outdoors together.
  2. Take a camera to record the day. Nothing puts a smile on a child’s face better than holding up a catch before the camera.
  3. Fishing equipment is inexpensive and can be owned by the child. The rod and reel can be his or hers for a lifetime and be used hundreds of times over the years. If it’s already purchased and has already been used, make sure it works properly.
  4. Here’s a surprising tip: let the children have their phones and pads while you travel, get their fill, and then put them away. You don’t have to be in a boat. Fish from the bank or dock.
  5. Remember, you’re not after Blue Marlin or Giant Largemouth Bass. A simple little outfit to catch a little punkin’ seed Bluegill or pretty Rainbow Trout will do nicely.
  6. Take live bait. If the fishing is slow, the children can play with the crickets or worms.
  7. Don’t make it a full day. This is not a marathon. Stay as long as your family likes, but stage the ending with a closing adventure that will truly make it special.
  8. OK, here’s the close: Lake Burton Trout Hatchery right next to Moccasin Creek State Park in Clarkesville, Georgia. The kids can fish in the well-stocked little stream at the park and then walk over to the hatchery 50 yards away and see thousands of trout. That’s right, thousands. It’s a treat!
  9. Hold on, I’m not finished. Is that too far north? Then, as the day closes, visit the Go Fish Education Center in Perry, Georgia, right in the middle of the state. It’s a one-of-a-kind fishing overload of sights, sounds, photos, underwater views, and dozens of interactive displays. Don’t miss this. Initially, it’ll look like something that will take 30 minutes. I guarantee you’ll have to drag the children away.

Follow those tips, and you’ll have one great day full of memories with your family. There is no gift more precious than that.

oneill-headshotO’Neill Williams is host, creator and producer for the weekly O’Neill Outside television and radio shows. Born in Atlanta and a graduate of Emory University, Williams has been a television fishing personality for 35 years with shows titled “Fishing in Georgia,” “Southern Fishing” and “Reel Adventures.” He and his wife live in North Georgia, where they often broadcast the Saturday morning radio show.

The Ultimate Lake Oconee Bucket List: Dad Edition

Have a Club Fitting at The Reynolds Kingdom of Golf, Presented by Taylormade

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Make sure your golf swing is in top shape! Improve your personal golf game with a one-on-one consultation at The Reynolds Kingdom of Golf at Reynolds Lake Oconee. Your swing performance will be analyzed by club-fitting professionals and a series of high-tech tools, including the Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade System, TrackMan 4 Launch monitors and high-speed Ximea camera. This customization service will have you swinging your way to a more confident and successful golf performance.

Conquer the 16-ounce Prime Cowboy Ribeye from Linger Longer Steakhouse

LingerLonger

You’ll be hard pressed to find a better steak than the 16-ounce Prime Cowboy Ribeye at Linger Longer Steakhouse. All of their steaks are grilled over 100% Georgia hardwood and are so tender you could cut them with a spoon. This restaurant is located at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee and overlooks The Oconee golf course. Make sure you save room for the cotton candy that is made in the restaurant and delivered to each table at the end of the meal.

Get the Men’s Face Treatment at The Ritz

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Unwind at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee Spa with their signature Men’s Face Treatment. You will receive a shoulder, neck, face and scalp massage followed by a deep cleanse. If 50 minutes isn’t enough, opt for the 80-minute treatment and receive a tension-relieving eye treatment. After your treatment, spend a few more hours relaxing in the lounge, sauna, steam room and whirlpool.

Learn to Flyboard

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Enjoy the ultimate adrenaline rush at Lake Oconee with an afternoon of flyboarding! Hover above the lake and see the beautiful scenery from a bird’s eye view. Don’t worry about skill level or age, this activity is perfect for everyone. Make sure someone snaps a photo!

Enjoy a Cocktail while Playing Putt Putt or Corn Hole at The National Tavern at Reynolds

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The bar is the first thing you see when you walk into The National Tavern at Reynolds Lake Oconee, and their beverage menu does not disappoint. Some of the guests’ favorites are an Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule, Blueberry Martini or a trendy craft beer. Enjoy your drink while playing putt putt on the green overlooking The National golf course or take a shot at corn hole!

Visit visitlakeoconee.com to discover more at Lake Oconee!

hannah-webHannah is a contributing writer for Visit Lake Oconee from Athens, Georgia. She enjoys beauty and lifestyle blogging alongside the perfect cup of coffee.