September in Savannah

Savannah Bacon Fest

Bacon Fest | Photo courtesy of the Savannah Waterfront Association

September in Savannah is filled with festivals and fun. Every weekend there’s a new reason to explore one of the state’s most historic cities!

Bacon Fest – Rousakis Riverfront Plaza plays home to the second annual edition of the popular pork-filled festival on September 4-5, 2015. While you’re in town for the festival, be sure to check out some of Savannah’s great breakfast locations where you can get bacon like Henry’s on Drayton Street.

Savannah Craft Brew Fest – On September 5 200 different beers from 68 different breweries are able to be tasted during the annual event. While you’re in town for the Craft Brew Fest, be sure to check out some of the city’s local breweries like Moon River Brewing CompanyService Brewing Co. and Southbound Brewing Company.

Savannah Craft Brew Fest

Savannah Craft Brew Fest

Tybee Island Beach Bash – Though not properly in Savannah, if you’re in town you won’t want to miss the kid-friendly event featuring live music during the day and fireworks at dusk. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the beach and pier scene at sunset.

Savannah Pride Festival – On September 12, everyone is invited to celebrate the diversity of the city during the annual Savannah Pride Celebration in Forsyth Park.

Savannah International Food and Wine Tasting – This September 13 event features 50+ wines and dishes from nearly 20 of the city’s most beloved restaurants with proceeds benefiting Meals on Wheels.

Coastal Arts Fair – The first edition of this Tybee Island festival kicks off September 26 in Memorial Park. Artists from across the Southeastern U.S. will be showcasing their work. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out local artists’ work at galleries in City Market in downtown Savannah or at Art by the Sea on Tybee Island.

2013 Savannah Jazz Festival in Forsyth Park

Savannah Jazz Festival | Photo courtesy of the Coastal Jazz Association

Savannah Jazz Festival – For eight days, September 20-27, individuals and families are invited to listen to the sounds of the festival, all for free! While you’re in town, be sure to check out Savannah’s nightlife when live acts play in local clubs and bars around town.

EileenEileen 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.

Dahlonega with Kids

Crisson Gold Mine in Dahlonega

Crisson Gold Mine

Thinking of spending fall in the mountains? Dahlonega is a superb destination, with educational excursions, hiking opportunities and more. Here are five places to visit in Dahlonega with kids and two family-friendly dining opportunities.

3 Gold Adventures

Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site. Visit the oldest surviving courthouse in Georgia, and see the real gold laced in the bricks. See gemstone collections, stories about private mints, and a great movie about the history of gold discovery and excavation in Dahlonega.

Chestatee River Diving Bell. See an actual diving bell used to retrieve gold from the river floor in the 1800s.

Crisson Gold Mine. Tour the mine, and see the only working Stamp Mill in Georgia at 130 years old. Kids will love panning for gold and gems.

See more photos from our Dahlonega Gold Adventures.

2 Outdoor Adventures

Springer Mountain Trail. Hike to the southernmost point of the Appalachian Trail. From the parking lot, this is a moderate 2-mile journey. If you have hiking poles, you will want to bring them. At the top you will see a commemorative AT plaque, and cubby in the rock with a notebook for hikers to share their thoughts. See more Springer Mountain Trail info here.

Cane Creek Falls. You will weave through a Methodist Church Camp/Retreat to get to this waterfall. From the parking lot there is only about a 100-yard walk to the falls. You can easily get to the water’s edge for great photos, but splashing and swimming in the water is not permitted. See more Cane Creek Falls info here.

Cane Creek Falls in Dahlonega

Cane Creek Falls

Family-friendly Dining.

Several places on the Dahlonega Square make for a great family-friendly dining experience. We enjoyed lunch at Gustavo’s Pizzaria, with tasty pizza pies, pastas and salads. For dinner, try a seat on the upper patio of Bourbon Street Grille. It’s the perfect view for eating Cajun cuisine (plus burgers and pasta for picky eaters).

See more photos and info regarding family-friendly dining in Dahlonega.

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.

Labor of Love: Handcrafted Heartwood Forge Knives

Heartwood Forge Knife

Photo courtesy of Will manning

Great food is a result of many moving parts like quality ingredients, talented cooks and the right equipment, all working together to create an unforgettable meal. I’ve found that people here in Georgia are pretty savvy when it comes to knowing how our food is grown and where it comes from. And thanks to popular cooking shows, they also know how to properly cook and present that food! But I wonder if they’ve ever given much thought to how their pots, pans and their knives are made? Well I did, so I took a journey to Jefferson to find out.Knife-making Process at Heartwood Forge

Nestled in the woods right off Potters House Road is Heartwood Forge, where designer and knife maker Will Manning creates his practical works of art. Hoping to answer my own question, I spent the day making knives with Will. Which admittedly, from the outside looking in, seemed more like Will making the knives while I just watched. What I learned was this: Will is very skilled and passionate in what he does. He uses repurposed metal from places like Monticello to make his knives; salvaged wood from trees like pecan, box elder and maple or white tailed deer antlers to make the handles; and reclaimed brass for balancing the handle with the blade of the knife. I also learned that his goal is to put his knives in the hands that will use them, and for that measure he has a virtual store front where you can browse and buy your knives. If you’re thinking you want something more a bit more personal, like a custom made knife, then you’re in luck, because as it turns out, Will makes those too!

Heartwood Forge Chefs Knife

Heartwood Forge Chefs Knife | Photo courtesy of Will Harding

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.

3 Hauntingly Beautiful Georgia Cemeteries

Georgia Cemeteries: Myrtle Hill Cemetery

Myrtle Hill Cemetery

As Halloween creeps up on the calendar, our thoughts turn to the spooky. This time of year is perfect for visiting one of Georgia’s many hauntingly beautiful cemeteries. Most are more historic than scary, but there is something about being in a cemetery at Halloween that adds a bit of gooseflesh to the experience. Here are three Georgia cemeteries worth a visit any time of year.

Linwood Cemetery, Columbus: Best known as the burial site of John Pemberton, the founder of Coca-Cola. Linwood offers guided brochures for download and tours on request. Each October, the Historic Linwood Foundation hosts a special guided tour as a fundraiser for the organization.

Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome: Myrtle Hill Cemetery sits on top of Myrtle hill at the confluence of the Etowah, Oostanaula and Coosa rivers, and offers one of the best views of downtown Rome, Ga., as well as the Appalachian foothills and Etowah Valley. The cemetery offers a mobile tour that includes text, audio, video and historical photos. The mobile tour is free and can be downloaded to your smartphone.

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Ga.: Bonaventure Cemetery was made famous in the movie (and book) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but if you are looking for the bird girl statue from the book cover, it has been moved to the Telfair Museum. What you will find is the gravesite of songwriter Johnny Mercer, who wrote Moon River. Visit on the second Sunday of each month for free walking tours from the Bonaventure Historical Society. On other days, stop by the Visitors Center for a copy of the Historical Society Guide which gives a history of the property and residents.

For more fall fun, visit the Field Trips with Sue Fall Guide.

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.

Click here to order Sue’s book, 100+ Things to Do in Atlanta.

Click here to follow Sue on Facebook.

Click here to follow Sue on Twitter.

Click here to follow Sue on Pinterest.

Click here to follow Sue on Google+

Click here to follow Sue on Instagram.

Atlanta Meatball Festival Preview (With Recipe)

One of Atlanta’s premiere restaurateurs and a recent contestant on “Top Chef,” Ron Eyester knows a thing or two about pleasing the palate. His Morningside restaurant Rosebud is competing at this year’s Atlanta Meatball Festival, Aug. 30 in Sandy Springs, with a classic meatball that will remind you of the kind grandma used to make.

Feeling pretty confident about his restaurant’s chances of winning, Eyester has revealed the recipe he’ll use to craft meatballs for the competition, scaled down for home cooks.

Chef Ron Eyester’s Meatballs

Ron Eyester's meatball. Photo credit: Henri Hollis/Atlanta Meatball Festival

Ron Eyester’s meatball | Photo courtesy of Henri Hollis, Atlanta Meatball Festival

Ingredients:
2 yellow onions, grated
2 fennel bulbs, grated
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cups grated Romano cheese
4 cups panko bread crumbs (Run through Robot Coupe)
8 egg yolks
3 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
2 lbs. Riverview Farms ground beef
2 lbs. Riverview Farms ground pork

Method:
1. Quickly sauté onion, fennel and garlic and deglaze with 1 cup white wine.

2. In a large bowl, combine cooked onion, fennel, parsley, cheese, bread crumb, egg yolks, tomatoes, red pepper flake, salt, pepper, ground beef and ground pork.

3. Spread meat mixture onto sheet pan, cover with bun bag and allow mixture to chill for several hours or overnight if possible.

4. Using a black handle 2.5-oz. scoop, portion meatballs and again move to sheet pan and allow meatballs to chill in cooler.

5. Fry meatballs in fryer at 300 degrees for approximately 90 seconds, just until outside of meatball has browned.

6. Finish meatballs by braising in tomato sauce in rondo for about 2.5 hours over moderate heat.

pot of meatballs in tomato sauce

Atlanta Meatball Festival | Photo courtesy of Samantha Shal Photography

The Atlanta Meatball Festival, produced by the same team behind Taste of Atlanta, brings out the city’s top chefs for a quirky competition. This year’s festival will feature more than 20 restaurants competing, more space to enjoy your tastes than last year and a large drinks selection. Buy your tickets in advance and arrive early for the best chance to try all the offerings.

EileenEileen 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.