A Weekend Guide to Perspectives, Georgia’s Premier Pottery Event

Georgia’s largest pottery showcase and sale is on the horizon! PERSPECTIVES: Georgia Pottery Invitational is a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event hosted by the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF). The 20-day event in Watkinsville features pottery exhibits, demonstrations and studio tours. From Aug. 26 to Sept. 14, 2016, artists and art lovers will experience a showcase of 6,000 handmade, functional pieces by 50 Georgia potters. Here’s a weekend guide to Georgia’s premier pottery event of the year.

Where to Stay

Ashford Manor in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Tourism Department.

Ashford Manor in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Tourism Department.

Just a short walk from OCAF is the Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast. Listed as one of the top inns to stay in Georgia, the bed and breakfast provides an inviting and relaxing environment with a pool and beautiful garden. The Victorian-style manor also features themed rooms raved about by national and international guests.

For a traditional lodging experience, the award-winning Springhill Suites by Marriott Athens is located just a few short miles from OCAF with on-site and off-site gym and pool access. Book your room soon; the popular hotel fills fast!

What to Do

Friday

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational. Photo courtesy of Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational. Photo courtesy of Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation

On Friday, arrive at your hotel to view the three-part pottery exhibit and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces. Items will include mugs, cooking dishes, tea pots, large pots and much more. The Opening Gala will take place on Aug. 26 at Rocket Hall. Enjoy refreshments and live jazz music performed by local band Period Six. The opening reception is an exclusive opportunity to view and purchase pottery before the exhibits are open to the public.

Saturday

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational. Photo courtesy of Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational. Photo courtesy of Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation

After a full breakfast complimentary of your stay, head over to the Rocket Hall Courtyard, where potters will perform pottery demonstrations focused on wheel throwing and hand building techniques. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 27-28, renowned artist Kevin Snipes will lead a hands-on pottery workshop on pottery form and surface.

Chops & Hops in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Tourism Department

Chops & Hops in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Tourism Department

In your free time, enjoy shopping in Historic Downtown Watkinsville with unique shops that feature art galleries, clothes and accessories, home and garden décor, antiques and more. You can also explore popular lunch options in the area like unique burgers at The Traveling Hobo Café, ribs at JB’s Smokin’ Barbeque and a classic BBQ sandwich at Hot Thomas BBQ. End the night with dinner at Chops & Hops, an unforgettable fine dining experience. For more dining options, visit visitoconee.com/dining.

Sunday

Wake up to Sunday brunch at Girasoles with Mexican-Mediterranean fused dishes crafted by Chef Zambrano. On Sept. 3 and Sept. 10, well-known Georgia potter Michael Pitts will host Gallery Talks with discussions on pottery styles, clays, glazes, and firing techniques.

Built in 1897, Elder Mill Covered Bridge in Watkinsville is one of only 13 functional covered bridges left in Georgia.

Built in 1897, Elder Mill Covered Bridge in Watkinsville is one of only 13 functional covered bridges left in Georgia.

Finally, a serene view and a classic photo at the Elder Mill Covered Bridge is the perfect way to end your trip before traveling home.

For more information on PERSPECTIVES, visit visitoconee.com/perspectives.

raquel-cobb-crop2Raquel Cobb is the marketing coordinator for the Oconee County Welcome Center. Graduating from Clemson University in 2015 with a degree in communication studies, Raquel is the voice behind Oconee’s social media channels and travel blog. Growing up a few miles outside of Oconee County, Raquel enjoys the small town charm Watkinsville and her hometown offers.

Three Trips for a Guys’ Weekend in Georgia

You hear a lot about girls’ getaways — places where the girls can escape together for a while — but what about the guys? Don’t they deserve some time away too? Here are three Georgia escapes perfect for a boys’ weekend away.

Hard Labor Creek State Park

Check out the mountain bike trails at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge. Ga.

Check out the mountain bike trails at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge. Ga.

Golf, mountain biking, fishing or just hanging out, Hard Labor Creek State Park is perfect for a guys-only weekend. Camp in a tent, bring the RV or stay in one of the renovated cabins.

Durhamtown Off Road Riding Resort

Hit the dirt track trails at Durhamtown in Union Point, Ga.

If you don’t find enough to do on-site, nearby is Durhamtown Off Road Resort, where the guys can hunt or ride motorcycles or ATVs along the single track.

Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding

Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding

Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding

Guys can get their thrills 2,000 feet up in the air at Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding. For those who have never been before, try the tandem package. A flight instructor turns over the controls if you’d like, or marvel at the scenery while your guide does the work.

Sea Island Golf

Get fitted for clubs, take lessons and more at the Sea Island Golf Performance Center.

Get fitted for clubs, take lessons and more at the Sea Island Golf Performance Center.

If the boys want first-class golfing, head to the Georgia coast. The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club is an English-style golf club at the end of a classic Southern Avenue of Oaks. For a less expensive golf vacation that is still high on style, The Inn at Sea Island’s golf package offers access to all three of Sea Island’s championship courses: Plantation, Retreat and Seaside, the home of the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic. A stay here also includes access to Sea Island’s Golf Performance Center, where pros like Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Brandt Snedeker and Lucas Glover train.

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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3 Days Outdoors in Albany

Drive down W. Society Ave. for some beautiful scenery outdoors in Albany, Ga. Photo by Philip Wages.

Drive down W. Society Ave. for some beautiful scenery outdoors in Albany, Ga. Photo by Philip Wages.

Albany charms visitors with Southern hospitality, a sense for adventure, and down-to-earth family fun. This three-day trip highlights the city’s connection with nature and activities you can enjoy outdoors in Albany.

Day One – Settle in at Chehaw Park

Stay in a cabin at Chehaw in Albany. Photo by Candy Cook

Stay in a cabin at Chehaw in Albany. Photo by Candy Cook

Move into your home away from home, a campsite or cozy cabin at Chehaw Park. With a few more hours of daylight, play a round of disc golf or hit the mountain bike trails. The 18-basket disc golf course adds a gaming twist to a winding hike through the pines, and the miles of mountain bike trails are designed with all levels of cyclists in mind. Wind down with Southern seafood and classic BBQ plates at Blackbeard’s B & B Bar-B-Que.

Day Two – Explore the riverfront, aquarium and zoo

Biking along the Flint River in Albany. Photo credit: Candy Cook.

Biking along the Flint River in Albany. Photo credit: Candy Cook.

Fuel up with a coffee and breakfast bowl from Elements Coffee Company before exploring in town near Albany’s Welcome Center. The Welcome Center offers a quick intro to Albany and bike rentals to cruise the paved Riverfront Greenway Trail. Touring the area leads to historic monuments, a playground, splashpad, and beautiful views of the river.

Check out the fish and other aquatic life at the Flint RiverQuarium in Albany.

Check out the fish and other aquatic life at the Flint RiverQuarium in Albany.

A hop and a skip puts visitors at the entrance to the fascinating world of local fish and aquatic life at Flint RiverQuarium. For lunch, choose from a great selection of burgers and BBQ at local favorite Riverfront 2 Bar-B-Que & Catfish House before returning to Chehaw for an afternoon at the zoo.

See cheetahs and many more species at Chehaw in Albany. Photo by Candy Cook

See cheetahs and many more species at Chehaw in Albany. Photo by Candy Cook

Chehaw’s AZA-accredited zoo features more than 90 species, including endangered cheetahs, red wolves and rhinos along a shaded path through the woods. An African veldt ride and a large alligator swampland give visitors a glimpse at wildlife in natural herds and habitats.

As the sun sets, enjoy live music and pizza at Harvest Moon, a laid-back tavern serving more than 50 craft beers. Try their signature homemade chicken pot pie that made it onto ExploreGeorgia.org’s list of 100 Plates Locals Love in 2015.

Day Three – Go kayaking & tour a natural wonder

Kayaking on the Flint River. Photo by Candy Cook.

Kayaking on the Flint River in Albany. Photo by Candy Cook.

Pearly’s Famous Country Cooking serves down-home Southern breakfast all day. The bustling restaurant wakes up with locals, laughter and great food to start the day.

After filling up, join Kayak Attack for an unforgettable, hours-long paddle down the Flint River. Kayak Attack provides all the gear and a shuttle service for paddlers.

Don't miss Radium Springs Gardens, one of Georgia's natural wonders in Albany. Photo by Candy Cook.

Don’t miss Radium Springs Gardens, one of Georgia’s natural wonders in Albany. Photo by Candy Cook.

End this trip touring Radium Springs Gardens, one of Georgia’s natural wonders, with a picnic lunch from the Cookie Shoppe.

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.

5 Things to Do in Downtown Greensboro Without Moving Your Car: History Edition

Historic Greene County Courthouse, 113 N. Main St.

The Historic Greene County Courthouse in Greensboro is one of the oldest in Georgia.

The Historic Greene County Courthouse in Greensboro is one of the oldest in Georgia.

It’s hard to miss this beautiful site in Greensboro! You are bound to pass by the Historic Greene County Courthouse while driving through downtown, and its white columns will grab your attention. The original Greene County courthouse was a log structure, but the present building was finished in 1849. It continues to stand as one of the oldest courthouses in Georgia!

Old Rock Gaol, East Greene St.

The Old Rock Gaol is the oldest masonry jail in Georgia.

The Old Rock Gaol is the oldest masonry jail in Georgia.

Did you know Greensboro is home to the oldest masonry jail in Georgia? Stop by Old Rock Gaol to get a glimpse of its 2-feet-thick walls made of granite. The historical site still contains the original gallows and trap door from the 1800s! You can also see how prisoners were kept in the jail depending on the crime they committed. The most dangerous criminals were kept away from light, ventilation and heat!

Greensboro Post Office, 115 S. Main St.

Step inside the Greensboro Post Office to see two Depression-era murals.

Step inside the Greensboro Post Office to see two Depression-era murals.

Do you have a heart for art history? Stop by the Greensboro Post Office to see two historical murals painted by Carson Davenport. During the Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal led to the commissioning of 1,400 murals by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Fine Arts Section.

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 303 N. Main St.

The paint color on The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer has an unusual story.

The paint color on The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer has an unusual story.

Do you love to explore churches with rich history? This is a must-see! The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer was built in 1868 and has since been restored. It’s hard to miss its Carpenter Gothic design and red color, which was originally created from buttermilk and ox blood. Since Lake Oconee became a part of the community, this church has only grown and thrives today!

Greene County Cemetery, N. East St.

The historic Greene County Cemetery is the final resting place for many soldiers and local leaders.

The historic Greene County Cemetery is the final resting place for many soldiers and local leaders.

Take a walk through history alongside unique stone and iron work where many leaders from Greensboro’s history have been buried in the Greene County Cemetery. This historic site in Greensboro is the resting place for many soldiers in the Revolutionary War and 45 unknown Confederate soldiers.

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. 

Six Olympic Venues in Georgia You Can Still Visit Today

1996-Atlanta–Summer-Olympics-logo

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Olympic Games being held in Atlanta! Did you know that Georgia has a variety of world-class Olympic venues that are still open today?

Here Are Six Gold Medal-Worthy Venues You Can Need to See:  

Clayton County International Park – Jonesboro

ClaytonItlPark

Clayton County International Park is located in Jonesboro, south of Atlanta. Built for the beach volleyball competition for the 1996 Summer Olympics, the main venue is part of the Lakeview View Complex, which is used for concerts. The area surrounding the complex includes water parks, softball and soccer fields, a lake for fishing and bike trails.

Dick Lane Velodrome – East Point

Photo Credit: Dick Lane Velodrome

Photo Credit: Dick Lane Velodrome Facebook

The Dick Lane Velodrome was inspired by a group of East Point residents and city officials who visited the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. It was one of only two in the U.S. when it was constructed in 1974. It served as a training facility for the 1996 Olympic Games. It is currently the second steepest concrete track in the country and one of the most unique in the world.

Georgia International Horse Park – Conyers

Photo Credit: GHIP

Photo Credit: GHIP

From its beginning, the Georgia International Horse Park (GIHP) has been groomed for greatness. Since opening its gates in September 1995, the GIHP has already served as the equestrian venue for the largest sporting event in the world: The 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The park was the setting for the equestrian events, first-ever mountain bike competition, and the final two events of the modern pentathlon.

Today, the tradition continues as the GIHP plays host to a remarkable variety of special events, including horse shows, mountain bike races, weddings, banquets, festivals, concerts, rodeos, outdoor sporting events and much more. The park also includes the Big Haynes Creek Nature Center, horse trails, mountain bike trails and Rockdale County Master Gardener Arboretum.

Lake Lanier Olympic Park – Lake Lanier

lakelanier

Gainesville’s Lake Lanier hosted the 1996 Rowing and Sprint Canoe/Kayak Olympic events and is considered one of the best courses in the world. Twenty years later, the Lake Lanier Olympic Park hosts not only world-class rowing and sprint canoe/kayak events, but SUP and dragon boat events.

The facility is also used for non-sporting events, including corporate outings, dinner theatre, concerts and weddings. The boathouse is home to both a rowing and a sprint canoe/kayak club, which both continue the Olympic legacy of introducing youth to the these and other water sports while developing athletes who compete in local, regional, national and international events (including the Olympics). Many programs are offered at the venue through two clubs, the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club and the Lake Lanier Rowing Club, including learn-to-paddle/row, boat rentals and moonlight paddles.

The South Commons Softball Complex – Columbus

Photo Credit: Hecht-Burdeshaw ArchitectsThe South Commons Softball Complex and Stadium hosted softball at the 1996 Olympics. Today, it b rings the value of sports entertainment and recreation home for its visitors. The softball facilities at the South Commons are unparalleled in the softball universe. There are seven fields and stadium fields hat host hundreds of local league competitions.

Turner Field – Atlanta

 Former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremony of Atlanta 1996 was one of the Stadium's greatest moments Photo credit: Inside the Games

Since 1997, Turner Field has served as the home ballpark to the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). Originally built as Centennial Olympic Stadium in 1996 to serve as the centerpiece of the 1996 Summer Olympics, the stadium was converted into a baseball park to serve as the new home of the team. 2016 is the last season that the Atlanta Braves will play at this field.

More Olympic Gold in Georgia:

 Centennial Olympic Park – Atlanta
Centennial

Centennial Olympic Park is the largest downtown park in the country developed in the last 25 years. The Fountain of Rings is the world’s largest interactive fountain, featuring the Olympic symbol of five interconnecting rings.

Today, this 21-acre park boasts a variety of free, fun-filled, family entertainment throughout the year, including concerts, a spectacular Fourth of July Celebration, a Holiday in Lights festival complete with an ice skating rink, unforgettable fountain shows and much more.

Olympic Cauldron – Savannah

Photo Credit: Paul Diming

This cauldron was lit by the original Olympic flame from Mt. Olympus at the opening ceremonies on July 20, 1996, and burned throughout the Centennial Olympic Games in Savannah, site of the Olympic Yachting events. Designed by Georgia artist Ivan Bailey, the five fluted columns represent the five Olympic rings, the fluted slice of a classic column symbolizes the Olympic Greek heritage, and the six sails represent the Olympic yachting events.

Paul Anderson Memorial Park – Toccoa

Photo Credit: Tammy M., Flikr

Sixty years ago, in 1956, Paul Anderson, a native of Toccoa, won Gold for weight lifting. He is still billed as the strongest man with a lift of 6,270 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly, 6,270 pounds!

Paul_Anderson

Paul Anderson is still remembered for his strength and character. The beautiful park is located at the corner of Tugalo Street and Big A Road in Toccoa, which is also named for him. One of the very first things that you will see is the water fountain that has Paul lifting the barbells high into the air. In the Toccoa-Stephens County Historical Society Museumyou can see the Olympic suit that he wore in the opening ceremonies for those games.