Five Kid-Friendly Activities at Oktoberfest

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Helen is Georgia’s hub for everything German. It became known as a tourist capital shortly after remodeling the whole town to look like a German village in the Bavarian Alps. The town is also known for the longest running Oktoberfest in the United States, which is running now through November 2nd. The festival ushers in the fall leaf season, which puts visitors right in the middle of the changing of the leaves in the beautiful North Georgia mountains. Oktoberfest is a celebration. This means tasting Bavarian beer and bratwurst and learning how to dance, and there are plenty of things to do that the whole family will enjoy!

1. Have a night on the town: Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Helen’s downtown. Shop for souvenirs and gifts while listening to German music from outdoor speakers. Make sure to pick up sweet treats from a German bakery or visit Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen. Paint your own toy at Elfmade Toys.

427871_157991154328711_1396450194_n2. Take your kids on an adventure: Zip lining through the North Georgia trees at Nacoochee Outdoor Adventures, or Cool River Zip lines is the perfect activity for kids starting around age 9 and up.  Take a hike and experience the changing of the leaves. Every Saturday in October, Unicoi State Park Lodge hosts a guided hike from the lodge to Helen.

3. Experience Halloween: There are some really fun haunted adventures in the North Georgia area. Take a haunted hayride, or find your way through a corn maze. Petting zoos and outdoor movies are also a must of the fall season!

5. Attend the annual Oktoberfest parade: A German parade kicks off the celebration and normally occurs on the first Saturday of the festival. Afterward, play a game of mini golf or walk around the town.

Photo Credit: Sussman Imaging

4. Experience Germany: “Oompah-central” is the Hall where the bands play and people dance. Although it may be overwhelming for some parents because of the crowd, kids are allowed. It is the perfect place to try hot-off-the-grill German-style wursts or sausages, and dance to traditional German music.

 

Bring the whole family to the North Georgia mountains and experience Oktoberfest and Germany without leaving Georgia! Hotels fill up very quickly, so book your trip today. Click here for more information on Helen, Georgia and Oktoberfest.

 

Guide to Georgia’s Fall Festivals

Enjoy cooler temperatures, falling leaves, kettle corn, candied apples and smiling faces at these fine fall festivals!

Georgia National Fair [Photo Credit: @daydream890 via Instagram]

Georgia National Fair [Photo Credit: @daydream890 via Instagram]

September 6 – October 26, 2014: Apple Pickin’ Jubilee at Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay

September 11 – November 2, 2014: 44th Annual Oktoberfest in Helen

September 18 – 28, 2014: North Georgia State Fair in Marietta

September 19 – 20, 2014: 4th Annual Blues & BBQ Festival in Blue Ridge

Septemver 19 – 20, 2014: WILD About Screven Festival in Sylvania

September 19 – 21, 2014: Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival in Augusta

September 19 – 21, 2014: Shrimp & Grits: The Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival on Jekyll Island

September 19 – September 28, 2014: Slow Exposures Photography Festival in Concord

September 20, 2014: Happy Days Festival in Hapeville

September 20, 2014: Rome Beer Fest in Rome

September 20, 2014: Sumner Egg Festival in Sumner

September 20, 2014: Farm Fest in Hartwell

September 20, 2014: Blues and BBQ in Hinesville

September 20, 2014: 15th Street Pizza & Pub Brew Fest in McDonough

September 20, 2014: Farm Heritage Day Festival at Hunter Cattle Company in Brooklet

September 20 – 21, 2014: Roswell Arts Festival in Roswell

September 20 – 21, 2014: Ocmulgee Indian Celebration in Macon

September 20 – 21, 2014: Suwanee Fest in Suwanee

September 20 – 21, 2014: Shakerag Arts & Crafts Festival in Peachtree City

September 20 – 21, 2014: Arts Festival at Rose Lawn in Cartersville

September 26 – 27, 2014: Mid Georgia Doc Holliday Festival in Griffin

September 26 – October 5, 2014: Georgia State Fair in Hampton

September 27, 2014: 17th Annual Bear Creek Festival in Hampton

September 27, 2014: Berrien County Harvest Festival in Nashville

September 27, 2014: International Festival & Dragon Boat Races in Peachtree City

September 27, 2014: Downtown Dalton Beer Festival in Dalton

September 27 – 28, 2014: Duluth Fall Festival in Duluth

September 27, 2014: Heart of South DeKalb Festival in Decatur

September 27, 2014: Brazillian Day Festival in Mableton

September 27, 2014: Water, Wings and Wildlife Festival in Albany

September 27, 2014: 8th Annual McDonough Jerk & International Parade in McDonough

September 27, 2014: International City Festival in Warner Robins

September 27 – 28, 2014: The Cotton South Fine Arts Festival in Greensboro

September 27 – 28, 2014: RiverFest Arts & Crafts Festival in Canton

September 27 – November 15, 2014: Fall Family Fun Days at The Rock Ranch

September 29 – October 4, 2014: Hahira Honeybee Festival in Hahira

October 1 – 5, 2014: St. Simons Island Food & Spirits Festival on St. Simons Island

October 1 – 5, 2014: Westobou Festival in Augusta

October 2 – 12, 2014: Cumming Country Fair & Festival in Cumming

October 2 – 12, 2014: 25th Annual Georgia National Fair in Perry

October 2 – 4, 2014: Great Southern Music Festival in Ochlocknee

October 3 – 4, 2014: 4th Annual BridgeFest in Stockbridge

October 4, 2014: 45th Annual Rock Shrimp Festival in St. Marys

October 4, 2014: Chili Cook-Off & Fall Festival in Madison

October 4, 2014: Foxfire Mountaineer Festival in Clayton

October 4, 2014: CoastFest in Brunswick

October 4, 2014: Cedartown Fall Festival in Cedartown

October 4, 2014: Turpentine Festival in Portal

October 4, 2014: Suwanee Wine Festival in Suwanee

October 4, 2014: AutumnFest in Holly Springs

October 4, 2014: Monastery Fall Festival & Health Fair in Conyers

October 4, 2014: Social Circle Annual Friendship Festival in Social Circle

October 4 – 5, 2014: Cotton Pickin’ Fair in Gay

October 4 – 5, 2014: Shady Days in Gay Arts & Crafts Festival in Gay

October 4 – 5, 2014: Avondale Estates AutumnFest in Avondale Estates

October 4- 26, 2014: Rocktoberfest in Lookout Mountain

October 7 – 11, 2014: Kiwanis Henry County Fair in McDonough

October 8 – 11, 2014: Dublin Fall Fair in Dublin

October 9 – 12, 2014: Tybee Island Pirate Festival on Tybee Island

October 10 – 11, 2014: 5th Annual Real Squeal: Lyons BBQ and Music Festival in Lyons

October 10 – 11, 2014: Jeff Davis Cotton Festival in Hazelhurst

October 10 – 18, 2014: Georgia Mountain Fall Festival in Hiawassee

October 10 – 11, 2014: Norcross Art Fest in Norcross

October 11, 2014: Big Red Apple Festival in Cornelia

October 11, 2014: Hambridge Center Fall Festival in Rabun Gap

October 11, 2014: Royston Fall Festival in Royston

October 11, 2014: Paulding Fine Arts 12th Annual Fall Fest in Dallas

October 11, 2014: Rock’n Ribville Festival in Lawrenceville

October 11 – 12, 2014: Glynn Art in the Park Fall Festival on St. Simons Island

October 11 – 12, 2014: Oktoberfest Beer & Arts Festival in Stone Mountain

October 11 – 19, 2014: 43rd Annual Georgia Apple Festival Arts and Crafts Show in Ellijay

October 11 – 19, 2014: Georgia’s Official Sorghum Festival in Blairsville

October 17, 2014: Third Annual Butler Island Plantation Homecoming Festival in Darien

October 17 – 19, 2014: Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival in Richmond Hill

October 18, 2014: 2014 Bremen Towne Festival in Bremen

October 18, 2014: Deep Roots Festival in Milledgeville

October 18, 2014: Cartersville Bluegrass & Folk Festival in Cartersville

October 18, 2014: Oconee Chamber Fall Festival in Watkinsville

October 18, 2014: Georgia Peanut Festival in Sylvester

October 18, 2014: 57th Annual Sacred Heart Fall Festival in Warner Robins

October 18, 2014: Cochran-Bleckley Country Fest in Cochran

October 18, 2014: Milan Harvest Festival in Milan

October 18, 2014: Family Fun Fest in Rockmart

October 18 – 19, 2014: Black Bear Festival in Chatsworth

October 18 – 19, 2014: Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega

October 18 – 19, 2014: Mossy Creek Barnyard Festival in Perry

October 18 – 19, 2014: Hogansville Hummingbird Festival in Hogansville

October 18 – 19, 2014: Korean Festival in Suwanee

October 18 – 19, 2014: Fall Festival on Ponce in Atlanta

October 18, 2014: OCAF’s 15th Annual Fall Wine Fest in Watkinsville

October 20 – 25, 2014: Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair in Statesboro

October 24 – 26, 2014: Country Living Fair in Stone Mountain

October 24 – 25, 2014: Hawkinsville Harvest Fest in Hawkinsville

October 24 – 25, 2014: Hillbilly Hog BBQ Throwdown and Fall Leaf Festival in Cleveland

October 24 – 26, 2014: 35th Annual Boston Mini-Marathon Festival in Boston

October 25 – 26, 2014: Chiaha Harvest Fair in Rome

October 25, 2014: Chitlin Hoedown in Yatesville

October 25, 2014: Liberty Tree Festival in Dalton

October 25, 2014: Batesville Fall Festival in Clarkesville

October 25, 2014: 34th Annual Olde Town Fall Festival in Conyers

October 25, 2014: Georgia Sweet Potato Festival in Ocilla

October 25, 2014: Downtown Vidalia Music Festival in Vidalia

October 25, 2014: Hartwell’s Depot Days Fall Festival in Hartwell

October 25, 2014: Fireman’s Fall Festival in Rossville

October 25, 2014: Rutledge’s Spooky Fall Festival in Rutledge

October 25, 2014: Jacksonville Heritage Festival in Jacksonville

October 25 – 26, 2014: Mountain Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville

October 25 – 26, 2014: Johns Creek Art Festival in Johns Creek

October 28 – November 11, 2014: Decatur County Fall Festival & Fair in Bainbridge

October 31, 2014: KidsFest in Woodstock

October 31 – November 1, 2014: Annual Mule Day Festival in Calvary

October 31 – November 2, 2014: IrishFest in Atlanta

November 1, 2014: Bostwick’s Cotton Gin Festival in Madison

November 1, 2014: Granite City Fall Festival in Elberton

November 1, 2014: Unicoi Wine Festival in Sautee Nacoochee

November 8, 2014: 37th Annual Old South Day Festival in Ochlocknee

November 10 – 16, 2014: Savannah Food & Wine Festival in Savannah

November 15 – 16, 2014: Lean Ox Festival in Lenox

 

10 Reasons We Love Fall in Georgia

When you feel that first crisp breeze and watch the colors begin to change, you know that summer is gone and fall is in the air! Although we think every season in Georgia is just peachy, autumn has a particular beauty to it. Here are 10 reasons we love Georgia in the fall:

Fall foliage: Fall in Georgia always provides a kaleidoscope of colors. Whether you’re driving down the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway in Northeast Georgia or hiking Cloudland Canyon, you’re sure to be amazed by the stunning display of red, gold and orange leaves. Insider tip: Early to mid-November are the best times to see fall foliage in Georgia.

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Apple season: As the temperature cools down, apple season heats up! Fall is the perfect time to head north for a fun-filled day of apple picking. We suggest stopping by Hillcrest Orchards or the Red Apple Barn – both located in beautiful Ellijay.

Pumpkin patches: Why buy a pumpkin at the grocery store when you could enjoy a day of pumpkin pickin’ in Georgia? Pack your family in the car and hunt for the perfect pumpkin at any of these Georgia pumpkin patches.

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Haunted houses: Georgia is home to some seriously scary haunted houses, including the No. 1 haunted house in the nation Netherworld. These walk-through attractions are filled with live actors, amazing special effects and incredible monsters that are sure to scare even the toughest of visitors! Check out our Get Spooked in Georgia Pinterest board for haunted attractions in your area.

Fall festivals: We’re a sucker for a festival – especially a fall festival! Where else can you watch the leaves fall, eat candied apples and shop for handmade Halloween decorations? Find a fall festival near you here.

Oktoberfest: Grab your lederhosen and your beer stein because Oktoberfest is coming! One of Georgia’s most popular annual events, Oktoberfest takes place in the recreated alpine village of Helen. Attendees can feast on schnitzel, tour the town and even listen to live yodeling! Click here for more information on Oktoberfest.

Corn mazes: Exercise your brain and your body when you visit one of Georgia’s many corn mazes. Each maze has its own unique design, including a “Duck Dynasty”-themed corn maze at Corn Dawgs in Loganville. Visit our Corn Mazes in Georgia Pinterest board to find a corn maze near you.

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Football Season: Football is a big deal in the South. When fall begins, football fans don their jerseys, pack their cars with tailgate supplies and road trip to cheer on their favorite teams. Follow our Fall Means Football Pinterest board for ideas on where to stay on gameday, special events, tailgate recipes and more.

Georgia State Parks: Head to Georgia’s State Parks this fall for outdoor adventure! Whether you’re interested in kayaking, caving, geocaching or camping, Georgia’s State Parks have got you covered.

Cooler temperatures: Fall provides a much-needed respite after Georgia’s sweltering hot summer. It’s not too hot, not too cold and just right for front porch sitting.

1025498_10200401820144233_1171921963_oLauren Cleland is the voice of Explore Georgia on social media. She loves ice cold sweet tea, anything peach flavored, channeling Scarlett O’Hara in her daily life and sharing the wonders of her beloved Georgia with all of you!

 

 

Ellen Axson Wilson Homecoming

EAW Homecoming 2014 logo

As the beloved wife of the 28th American president, Ellen Axson Wilson became the first activist first lady, working for better living conditions for the poor who lived in the shanties that sat in the middle of the nation’s capital. A talented impressionist artist, Ellen also led the charge over various beautification projects in and around the executive mansion, including the creation of the famous White House Rose Garden.

Born in Savannah, Ga. in 1860, Ellen Louise Axson came to Rome, Ga. at a young age when her father became the minister of the First Presbyterian Church. There, Ellen met the love of her life one Sunday morning in April 1883. Then-lawyer Woodrow Wilson had been in town visiting relatives when their paths crossed. A long-distance relationship formed by way of Rome and Atlanta, but the miles did not keep them apart. Ellen and Woodrow soon became engaged.

MrsWilson2 - editedFollowing the death of her father in 1884, Ellen left town to receive a prized education at the Art Students League of New York City, where the young artist studied under the experts of the day. Early in her life Ellen also had the opportunity to study at art colonies in New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Following her marriage to the future president in June 1885, Ellen gave birth to three daughters, and lived a happily married life in different locales as Woodrow’s work in higher education took him around the eastern seaboard.

In 1914, the Rome Chamber of Commerce planned a special homecoming to celebrate the progressive and sophisticated community that Rome had become. Famous Romans past and present were invited to return for the festivities that October. The most notable Roman at the time was Mrs. Wilson, who graciously accepted.

Unfortunately, Ellen never made it, succumbing to a rare kidney disorder on August 6, 1914. She was 54.

One hundred years later, the Rome Area Council for the Arts and Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum are celebrating the first lady’s life and art with the Ellen Axson Wilson Homecoming, a centennial commemoration that began in July with the opening of a gallery exhibition featuring some of Ellen’s original oil paintings of beautiful landscapes. The installation will remain in the gallery until November 1, and are included with admission onto the mansion grounds.

MemorialService_PC_HIRes postcard_Page_1A painting of Ellen with her daughters by Robert Vonnoh, a former instructor of hers, is one of the first pieces that greets visitors at the exhibit. Artwork on display appears courtesy of the collections of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, the Woodrow Wilson House, private collectors, and Rome’s Sara Hightower Regional Library.

Following a centennial memorial service held earlier this month, additional events are also scheduled to honor Ellen’s contributions and life’s work. In September there will be two book signings and a special lecture with Pulitzer Prize nominee Kristie Miller, author of Ellen & Edith, Woodrow Wilson’s First Ladies. Also in September will be a special gala featuring music from the Rome Symphony Orchestra, where guests will enjoy savory cuisine similar to meals served in the White House during the Wilson administration. Later this year visitors will be able to see a free exhibit of Ellen’s personal belongings, photographs and other memorabilia on display at the Rome Area History Museum.

Set for next year the Ellen Axson Wilson Homecoming committee will unveil a bronze statue of the first lady in Downtown Rome. The selected site will feature the artist painting in the Town Green alongside the picturesque Oostanaula River.

Ellen’s final resting place above Downtown Rome at historic Myrtle Hill Cemetery is free and open to the public to visit during daylight hours.

For more information about Rome’s first lady and the Ellen Axson Wilson Homecoming commemorative events, visit www.RomeGeorgia.org, or call 800.444.1834.

Top 5 Things to Do in Athens, Georgia

Photo Credit: @picturesbecrazy via Instagram

Photo Credit: @picturesbecrazy via Instagram

This fall when you and thousands of others head to Athens, Georgia to cheer on the Dawgs in the Sanford Stadium, be sure to check out all that the Classic City has to offer beyond the hedges. With so many available activities, the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau has compiled a “Top 5 Things To Do in Athens on Football Weekends” list!

  • dtExplore downtown Athens: Just a short walk from Sanford Stadium, downtown Athens is bursting at its seams with stylish and quirky shops, a variety of bars and music venues, unbeatable dining, and more. The Victoria-era architecture creates an inviting atmosphere for both visitors and locals to take a leisurely stroll and explore the local shops. While you’re checking out the town, keep a look out for the world’s only Double-Barreled Cannon on the corner of College Ave. and Hancock Ave and the Tree That Owns Itself, which is a few blocks away on the corner of Dearing St. and Finley St. Bordering downtown, the University of Georgia’s beautiful North Campus, which also makes for a beautiful walk, begins at The Arch on Broad Street.
  • Feast on Local Fare: No football fan will be underfed this season with dozens of delectable restaurants lining the streets of downtown Athens. The Classic City’s food scene is booming and has recently caught the attention of national media. Among the most recognized eateries are Five and TenTop Chef Hugh Acheson’s restaurant, and The Last Resort Grill on Clayton St., which is always a family favorite. Mama’s BoyHeirloom CafeThe GritPorterhouse Grill, and East-West Bistro are also popular choices for weekend brunch. There is no shortage of traditional “tailgating food” such as pizza, burgers, and wings, which can be found downtown at Amici Italian CafeThe Volstead, and Dirty Birds. A complete list of Athens restaurants can be found here.
  • Enjoy a Cold Brew: While in Athens, fans will want to try local Athens beer. Known for its unsurpassed flavor and character, Terrapin beer is quickly winning over the nation. Adding to their collection of awards, Terrapin Beer Co. recently claimed a spot on The Best 25 Craft Breweries in the U.S. list, and visitors will understand why. The whole family, including leashed four-legged friends, is invited to tour the brewery on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Live outdoor music, free tastings, lawn games, and brewery tours every half-hour make for a pleasant, relaxing environment for all. A $10 souvenir beer glass secures eight four-ounce tasting tickets for visitors ages 21+. Athens’ newest brewery, Creature Comforts Brewing Company, opened in April 2014 in downtown Athens, in the old Snow Tire building on Hancock Avenue, and continues an Athens tradition of the exceptional reuse of historic spaces. Creature Comforts is open for tours Tuesdays through Saturdays. Check their Facebook page prior to home game weekends for any revisions on hours.
  • meltingRock Out: Named the “Number One College Music Scene in America” by Rolling Stone Magazine, Athens is gushing with awesome music!  The local venues attract rising stars, old favorites, and everything in between. Not only have world-renowned bands such as R.E.M., the B-52’s, and Widespread Panic originated from the Classic City, but hundreds of new and upcoming bands make their debut in Athens each year. Between famous Athens venues such as the Georgia TheatreThe Melting Point, and 40 Watt Club, and intimate venues such as Caledonia LoungeLittle Kings Shuffle Club, and the Green Room, there is always a great show to be seen. Check out the performance schedule here!
  • Take a Tour: For visitors interested in learning about the historical components of Athens, guided tours are available. The Classic City Tour of Athens is offered daily through the Athens Welcome Center, along with free self-guided brochures/maps, audio tours, and pod tours. Details can be found at hereAthens Food Tours are a delicious and exciting option for those wanting to learn about and taste local and regional cuisine. Lastly, the self-guided Athens Music History Walking Tour focuses on the history of Athens music and the locations that made the music scene into such a success. The tour brochure is available at the Athens Welcome Center or online.
For more information about Athens, Georgia visit http://www.visitathensga.com/.