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.

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.

Jingle All the Way with Georgia’s Christmas Parades

Milledgeville Christmas Parade

The Milledgeville Christmas Parade will be held Dec. 5, 2015. This year, the parade will be held at night!

Pull out your jingle bells and your striped tights; it’s time to get into the holiday spirit with the annual Christmas parades throughout Georgia. I’m a huge fan of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade. In fact, we attend every year, even though my little ones are now teens. In addition to the floats, helium balloons, and marching bands, I like to see the stormtroopers of the 501st Legion with their Santa hats and snowman noses. The Christmas parade signals the start of the holiday season for me, and it’s a great inexpensive family tradition. It seems no matter where you travel in Georgia, you’re bound to find a Christmas parade to welcome in the holiday season. Here are several from around the state.

Boat Parade of Lights (Nov. 28 in the evening): Savannah sure knows how to do a parade. The Westin sponsors this event, which is located on the waterfront in front of the hotel. It includes 35 lighted boats, accompanied by live music performances, tree lighting ceremony, and fireworks extravaganza. Of course, the best seat in the house is at the Westin, where you’ll also find a Gingerbread Village competition.

Rome Christmas Parade (Dec. 1 in the evening): This is one of Northwest Georgia’s oldest and largest Christmas parades. It’s organized by a volunteer committee and has more than 100 entries each year.

Cedartown Christmas Parade (Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.): The theme for this year’s event is “Christmas Lights on Parade.” Floats are awarded cash prizes in three categories, so you know they’ll be good.

Dublin Christmas Parade (Dec. 5 at 2 p.m.): In addition to floats and bands, young spectators get excited about the handfuls of candy and Christmas cheer tossed their way during this event.

Jefferson Christmas Parade (Dec. 5 at 3 p.m.): Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive in a horse-drawn carriage during this parade.

City of Rockmart Christmas Parade (Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.): This parade is held on a Friday night and has more than 5,000 spectators. The theme for 2015 is “Memories of Christmas.”

Downtown Holiday Open House in Valdosta (Dec. 5 at 5 p.m.): Come early in the day for the Holiday Open House and stay for the parade at 5 p.m. Floats are judged on appearance, special effects, creativity, workmanship and use of the theme, which is “A Christmas Story.” First prize gets a leg lamp. (just kidding)

Savannah Lighted Christmas Parade (Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m.): Although Savannah is best known for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Lighted Christmas Parade looks pretty awesome, too. This parade travels from River Street through town to City Market.

Stormtrooper at the North Georgia Mountain Christmas Parade

Stormtrooper at the North Georgia Mountain Christmas Parade

North Georgia Mountain Christmas Parade (Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.):  It’s the 26th year for this mountain parade. Expect lots of traditional floats and maybe a stormtrooper or two.

City of McDonough Christmas Parade (Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.): The City of McDonough celebrates Christmas with a parade, as well as a tree lighting ceremony and a 5K Jingle Jog. Of course, there is also a visit from St. Nick, too.

Golden Isles Christmas Boat Parade of Lights (Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.): Sponsored by the Golden Isles sailing club, the Christmas Boat Parade of Lights features boats of all sizes decked out with brilliant holiday lights and decorations.

Festival of Lights Christmas Parade in Douglas (Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m.): Expect to see lots of Santa’s home in this parade. The theme for 2015 is “Santa’s Workshop.”

City of Royston Christmas Parade (Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.): Kick off the season with floats, music and Santa.

City of Hartwell Christmas Parade (Dec. 14 at 3:30 p.m.): Celebrate the “Magic” of the season during Hartwell’s annual parade.

Find more parades on exploregeorgia.org/events.

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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Swayin’ to the Music at Cole Swindell’s Favorite Georgia Venues

Cole Swindell shares his favorite places to catch (or play!) a show around his home state.


Cole Swindell is taking the country music scene by storm! He releases his EP, Down Home Sessions, on November 6, before hitting the road for his first headlining tour on Nov. 11 in New York City with stops in Georgia in Carrollton (Nov. 19) and Athens (Nov. 20)

Cole’s song off of his self-titled album, Swayin’, talks about a taking a girl to see her favorite band play at a concert, savoring the experience and living in the moment. This is what #GeorgiaMusic is all about; seeing your favorite performers and experiencing it all at one of Georgia’s incredible venues.

Now, Cole, who grew up in Bronwood, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, shares with us his favorite places to catch (or play!) a show around his home state:

Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood – Atlanta

Photo courtesy of Aaron's Ampitheatre

Spanning 75 beautiful, wooded acres, Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood is specifically designed with live music in mind. Its high quality acoustics make it a favorite for many artists, including Cole.

Albany Civic Center  – Albany

Photo: Animation Options
The Civic Center holds a special place in Cole’s heart. This is where he saw Reba McEntire perform every year when he was growing up! The center provides a wide variety of entertainment for visitors of Southwest Georgia each year.


Atlanta Motor Speedway – Hampton

Located 30 miles south of Atlanta, the 1.54-mile track at Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of the premier motorsports facilities in the country. It’s a dream come true for any musician to play before thousands at a NASCAR race.

Bluewater Bar – Valdosta

Located in a rambling old house in the former mill village of Remerton, Bluewater regularly presents singer/songwriters like Cole Swindell for Valdosta State Blazers and country music fans from all over.

Georgia Theatre –  Athens


After a fire that nearly destroyed the theatre, the historic venue reemerged in 2011. This year, the ticket company Pollstar ranked the Theatre as No. 15 in the world. It is a must-see on every music lover’s bucket list. The theater also has an amazing rooftop bar, The Rooftop, where guests can grab a bite to eat while overlooking downtown Athens.

Wild Bill’s  – Duluth

 Located in Duluth near Gwinnett Place Mall off of I-85, the venue holds up to 5,000 fans and features different bands and artists each weekend.

Turner Field – Atlanta

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“It ain’t every day you have a view like this at sound check. Can’t wait to see everyone at Turner Field tonight! We gonna #BringTheChopBack” – @cswinde2 (Instagram)



What’s better than America’s favorite pastime and a concert? Home of the Atlanta Braves (and Cole’s favorite baseball team), Turner Field hosts the Braves Summer Concert Series each year. After you take in a game – catch a free show!

The Gin
– Tifton

A premiere music venue and night club in South Georgia, The Gin hosts a variety of artists each week. Cole and other big names in country music like Florida Georgia Line, Tyler Farr, Parmalee, Sam Hunt and Chase Rice have played the stage. However, The Gin isn’t just for country fans! It also hosts a variety of other artists such as local favorites, hip hop and tribute bands.

Philips Arena – Atlanta


From the first time Cole saw one of his idols, Kenny Chesney, play Philips Arena, it has been on his list as a favorite venue. Every concert at the Atlanta Hawk’s home is an experience like no other. The venue can hold up to 18,238 of your closest friends!

The Coliseum –  Carrollton

Win TWO tickets to the show!

Coming back down South for his Down Home Tour, Cole Swindell will perform at The Coliseum on November 19th at the University of West Georgia! Performing all his latest hits, with special guests, Adam Sanders and Jon Langston, Cole’s show is guaranteed to be some “down home” fun! Don’t miss it!

And guess what? We’re giving away TWO free tickets to the show so you can be Swayin’ too! Enter HERE to win! 



Passion Soars at the Great Georgia Air Show

Jack Link's Screamin' Sasquatch | Photo courtesy of John Klatt Airshows

Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch | Photo courtesy of John Klatt Airshows and Jack Link’s

For aerobatic pilot Jeff Boerboon, his nine-minute performance at the Great Georgia Air Show in Peachtree City this weekend is a small part of why he loves his job. His excitement really shines when he’s showing off the Jet Waco he flies, when he watches the audience react to the incredible spectacle before their eyes, and when he inspires the same kind of excitement in a young fan.

Meet Boerboon and several more talented aviators Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, at the Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field. The Great Georgia Air Show is expected to bring 45,000 to Metro Atlanta, and while those numbers may not rival larger air shows elsewhere in the country, it allows for a more intimate and closer-to-the-action experience.

John Klatt Airshows pilot Jeff Boerboon shows off the Screamin' Sasquatch at the Great Georgia Airshow

John Klatt Airshows pilot Jeff Boerboon shows off Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch at the Great Georgia Airshow

What’s Special This Year?
Never before seen in Georgia, Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch takes to the sky, flown by Boerboon, who is a two-time Advanced National Champion in aerobatics. This one-of-a-kind biplane with the engine of a Lear Jet gives audiences the beauty of a 1920s aircraft with the wow factor of a modern-day machine. Boerboon can barely conceal his exhilaration when talking about what this plane can do, so you definitely do not want to miss his performance.

Mike Goulian and Sean Tucker, two living legends of flight, join Boerboon in the skies. Goulian was only 22 when he won the National Advanced Aerobatic Championship, and Tucker has been thrilling audiences since the 1970s. These veteran superstars will have your kids wanting to take to the skies themselves.

Without a doubt, the most exciting featured performance this year is that of the Blue Angels. Active members of the Navy and Marine Corps pilot these Boeing FA-18s at the highest speeds with the most impressive accuracy. This incredible performance hasn’t been seen in Metro Atlanta since 2010, so you do not want to miss it!

The U.S. Navy's demonstration squadron will enchant visitors with a 90 minute show at the Great Georgia Air Show.

The U.S. Navy’s demonstration squadron will enchant visitors with a 90 minute show at the Great Georgia Air Show.

What to Do?
Bring the young ones! Not only will they marvel at the incredible feats of flying, but they’ll also love the family activities available throughout the weekend. They can jump on aviation-themed inflatables in the KidZone, ride on a giant monster truck or experience the show from the zipline.

Adults, you have the opportunity to check out the flight simulators or ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter!

Visitors to the Great Georgia Air Show can ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter.

Visitors to the Great Georgia Air Show can ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter.

A local favorite, the Great Georgia Air Show is bound to amaze and thrill airplane fans of all ages this weekend in Peachtree City. Buy tickets, and find directions and parking information on the air show website.