Georgia’s Best Pies

Photo Credit: The Pie Hole

Photo Credit: The Pie Hole

It’s National Pie Day! In honor of this delicious holiday, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite pies in the Peach State. Fair warning: this list will make you very hungry.

Buttermilk Pie courtesy of GirlsGetaway.com

Buttermilk Pie courtesy of GirlsGetaway.com

Buttermilk Pie at Yesterday Café in Greensboro: Arguably the most famous pie in Georgia, the Buttermilk Pie at Yesterday Cafe is so good that Southern Living named is one of the South’s Best Pies and Carrie Underwood ordered 300 for her wedding.

Photo courtesy of  Savannah Candy Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Savannah Candy Kitchen

Pecan Pie at Savannah Candy KitchenSavannah Candy Kitchen’s recipe uses fresh eggs, real butter, corn syrup, sugar and fancy Georgia pecan halves. You can purchase your own pecan pie at the store in Savannah or online. We suggest serving your pie with whipped cream and/or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Your taste buds will thank us.

R&A Orchards, photo courtesy of examiner.com

R&A Orchards, photo courtesy of examiner.com

Fried pies at R&A Orchards in Ellijay: What could be better than a pie? A FRIED pie! R&A Orchards in Ellijay serves up a wide variety of fried pies everyday. We’d tell you our favorite but we can’t choose just one.

Anything from The Pie Hole in Roswell: Busy bakers, tiny tables and a display case full of sugary treats welcome you to The Pie Hole in Roswell, Georgia. Slices are available daily but the menu is different every day. However, we’ve never tasted a Pie Hole pie that didn’t make our eyes roll back into our head with delicious delight.

Mary Macs photo courtesy of Foodspotting.com

Mary Macs photo courtesy of Foodspotting.com

Peanut Butter Pie at Mary Macs in Atlanta: Nothing cleanses the palate after a southern feast like a piece of Mary Macs’ famous Peanut Butter Pie. It’s silky-smooth texture and cookie crust will make you want to give up your day job and become a professional pie eater. Seriously. It’s that good.

 

 

LaurenLauren 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!

5 Outdoor Family Adventures in Georgia

By Candy Cook

My family enjoys a wide range of activities in Georgia’s diverse landscapes. We’ve taken one step at a time to discover and broaden our outdoor hobbies. Budding outdoor enthusiasts, like my young sons, need places that offer lots of options to make the most of an adventurous side while not breaking the bank or getting overwhelmed. These are some of my favorite places to start adventuring outdoors in Georgia.

Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island

The great outdoors play an important role in all of our visits to the shores of Jekyll Island. My family first discovered Jekyll when my son developed an interest in sea turtles. I planned a week vacation around a visit to The Georgia Sea Turtle Center for his birthday. We have returned several times having fallen in love with the beauty of the land, relaxed beaches and focus on nature. I love that we can camp out near the beach and head out to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic. To get started on our Jekyll Island adventures, we abandon the car in favor of biking the trails, go on a sea turtle walk with the experts, and get hands-on with local animals at Tidelands Nature Center.

Stephen C. Foster State Park

Stephen C. Foster State Park

Stephen C. Foster State Park

This laid-back park is the entrance to the largest blackwater swamp in North America and boasts some of the darkest night skies in the state. One of my sons’ favorite memories is touring the Okefenokee in a park boat. There are guided tours if you’re uncomfortable going it alone. This year, our visit will include an overnight stay to admire the spectacular view of stars, explore the Trembling Earth Nature Trail and learn more about the ecosystem. I haven’t decided if we’ll be camping or staying in one of the cottages. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center

Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center

Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center

Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center is my number one recommendation for families who are really enthusiastic about outdoor recreation. I have been fortunate enough to attend several programs offered by Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, including an affordable three-day workshop just for women who came from all over the country. This is where I learned firearm safety, wilderness survival, fishing and animal tracking.

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Cloudland Canyon State Park is a place we visit often to enjoy the mountain landscape while expanding our outdoor skills and hobbies. Unique recreation options inspire us to adventure without over-doing it and risking our sanity. Day hiking the gulch, caving with guides, mountain biking and disc golf can make camping a challenge. I balance our adventure at Cloudland by staying in a yurt. It’s like camping, only easier and more comfortable. I’m taking my sons back country camping this year, and Cloudland Canyon is where we’ll start.

Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park has done an amazing job of combining great entertainment, outdoor fun and nature. I’ve explored Stone Mountain Park for decades, and there is always something new. The camper program that provides gear and help to first-time campers is a great way to get started in a family-fun environment. My sons enjoy attractions that weren’t available years ago, like completing the Sky Hike course and tubing Snow Mountain. In fact, that’s where we’re heading this weekend. I hope we can sneak in a hike to the top or a stroll around the base of the mountain. It’s a fun place to get excited about adventuring outdoors in Georgia.

Spend a Not-So-Chilly Day Outdoors at Snow Mountain

By Candy Cook

CandyCook_SnowMountain

What’s on every kid’s mind all winter long? A snow day! Snow is a great incentive to get everybody active outdoors, and at Snow Mountain we can enjoy all the benefits of snow without the snowy weather! Just outside of Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park‘s memorial lawn is transformed into a snow-covered winter wonderland every weekend until February 22.

We headed to Snow Mountain on a sunny Saturday in January for some frosty fun. Excitedly, we all piled into the family tube and zoomed down the 400-foot hill before returning to the top to race each other down on solo tubes. I’m happy to report that the boys preferred the family flying down the hill together, because they are growing up so fast. It’s nice to know there are still some things my pre-teens love to do as a family.

After tubing, we entered the Snow Zone! I can honestly say that I’ve never seen the boys so excited to play in the snow. With the help of other families and children, several igloos and some snowmen were constructed. The boys had a blast throwing snowballs at targets in the shadow of Stone Mountain.

Get outside this weekend with a fun sunny snow day at Stone Mountain Park. Oh, and if you need a quick warm up, grab a mug of hot chocolate. That really hit the spot!

St. Simons Island Activities that are Better in Winter

 By Sue Rodman

Photo courtesy of The King & Prince Resort

Photo courtesy of The King & Prince Resort

No matter what time of year you visit St. Simons Island, you’ll find plenty to do. Unlike many beach vacation destinations, St. Simons has a year-round population of about 13,000, so businesses aren’t just seasonal. That, coupled with mild temperatures, means a wintertime beach vacation can be just as much fun as the summer, with better prices and smaller crowds. My favorite hotel on the island is the newly renovated King and Prince Hotel, which is running a special through Explore Georgia.

While the beach is fun any time of year, here are three things to do on St. Simons that are best in the cooler months.

  1. Guard the coast against Spaniards. If things had gone differently back in Colonial times, Georgia might have been a Spanish colony. Fort Frederica guarded the coast from Spanish-occupied St. Augustine. It’s now a National Historic Site with a small museum and stunning marsh views.
  2. Become a rice farmer at Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation. Just off St. Simons Island is this authentic Southern rice plantation. Learn about life on a rice farm from its antebellum heyday through modern times.
  3. Go Shrimping on the Lady Jane. In summer it can be tough to get a reservation for this popular attraction, which is one of my favorites. The Lady Jane is an authentic shrimp boat. Trawls bring up a bounty of sea life to examine and release.

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

Read more family travel tips from Sue Rodman on her blog, Field Trips with Sue.

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2015 Free Days at Atlanta Museums and Attractions

By Lesli Peterson

CallawayGeorgia offers a wealth of museums and attractions, with exhibits that range from space to dinosaurs and animals to gardens. We own a membership to several, but it can be financially daunting to visit all of them…especially with multiple kids. Thank goodness for FREE DAYS which allow us to experience new places.

Here’s a list of Atlanta Metro’s best museums and attractions, and the days they are available for FREE in 2015. Always check the website or call before you visit to inquire about cancellations, parking fees, and ID required for Bank of America and Fulton County resident free days.

Atlanta Ballet

Every Month: On the first of every month, Atlanta Ballet offers a free class day at all locations for its adult open division classes.

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center

Every Week: ACAC waives the $5 admission fee every Thursday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. You may be able to catch lectures, gallery tours, film screenings and more for free.

Atlanta History Center

Every Month: Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free admission on the first full weekend of each month.**

November 1: Visitors are welcome to celebrate Day of the Dead.

Booth Western Art Museum

Every Month: Free admission on the first Thursday of each month from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Callaway Gardens

January 16 – February 27: Free Admission (except weekends and holidays – with the exception of Sat. Feb. 21)

February 21: Free admission on Founders’ Day, which honors the late Virginia Callaway, co-founder of Callaway Gardens.

March 26 – 29: Free Admission to the Plant Fair (through Beach gate.)

April 5: Free admission for those who arrive prior to 8 a.m. to attend Easter Sunrise Service. Attendees can stay in Gardens for the day.

June 1 – July 27: Free admission to Astronomy Night with Coca-Cola Space Science Center on Mondays at dark.

September 11: Free admission in honor of 9/11

November 6: Free admission on Founders’ Day, which honors the late Cason Callaway, co –founder of Callaway Gardens.

November 21 – December 30: Free day admission with the purchase of Fantasy In Lights admission at night.

Center for Civil and Human Rights

Every Month: Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free admission on the first full weekend of each month.**

Center for Puppetry Arts

Every Month: Walk-up admission is free for Fulton County, Georgia, residents on the first Saturday of each month.*

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

New Exhibits: Fulton County residents are invited to buy one admission ticket and receive one additional general admission ticket for free on the opening day of each feature exhibit.

Every Month: On Target Free Second Tuesday, anyone can attend the Children’s Museum of Atlanta for free from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

Free admission for all active, retired, and reserve military personnel are admitted for free, and their families receive a discounted rate on the following holidays:

Memorial Day, July 4, Veterans Day, Flag Day, and Armed Forces Day

Georgia Museum of Art

Admission is ALWAYS free during regular museum operating hours.

Georgia State Parks 

September: Georgia State Parks are always free, although is a parking fee.  Your State Parks Day is held each year in late September, which waives the parking fee at State Parks. Historic Sites are also free on this day.

High Museum of Art

Every Month: Walk-up admission is free for Fulton County, Georgia, residents on the first Saturday of each month.*

Every Month: Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free admission on the first full weekend of each month.**

Michael C Carlos Museum

Free admission 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm on the following Thursdays:

January 22, February 5, March 5, April 30, May 7, and June 11, 2015

Museum of Design Atlanta

Every Month: On the 2nd Sunday of the month museum entrance is Pay-as-You-Wish. Enter for free, or make a donation. (Note: The museum is closed on the 2nd Sunday of April in order to change exhibitions.)

Tellus Science Museum

Every Month: Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free admission on the first full weekend of each month.**

Additional ways to visit for free:

Georgia Aquarium offers free admission on your birthday.

Georgia Libraries offer free or discounted passes to families who check out certain materials. They can be used once per family. Participating attractions include the following: Zoo Atlanta, Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites, Go Fish Education Center, and Center for Puppetry Arts Museum

During Museum Day Live in September, Smithsonian magazine offers free admission to participating venues. Several Georgia museums are included. The 2015 list has not yet been released, but be sure to check the website as September draws closer.

A great number of Georgia museums are always free to the public. See a comprehensive list here: http://blog.exploregeorgia.org/free-museums-in-georgia/

Share your Georgia museum adventures using the #ExploreGeorgia hashtag on social media!

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*Fulton County Free Saturdays: Tickets are subject to availability. Acceptable I.D. includes valid driver’s license, utility bill or student I.D. from a Fulton County school. Major funding is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners

**Museums on Us, Bank of America: Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free admission on the first full Saturday and Sunday of each month. Discount offered for cardholder only.