5 Ways to Use the New ExploreGeorgia.org

2

NEW ExploreGeorgia.org homepage

The brand new ExploreGeorgia.org now offers visitors fresh custom features including the new Georgia Trip Planner, shareable trip ideas, interactive maps and much more. A fresh, innovative design, seamless social integration and mobile-friendly access make planning your next Georgia get-away easier and more fun than ever. Here are 5 ways to use the new ExploreGeorgia.org:

  1. Get travel inspiration from slide shows and image galleries, like this Guide to Georgia’s Outdoors slideshow.
  2. Get directions to & from your destination with interactive maps 
  3. Get the most bang for your buck with our new & improved Deals page
  4. Find the food you’re craving with our complete list of Georgia dining options
  5. Create a sharable itinerary with the Georgia Explorer Trip Planner. The Georgia Explorer Trip Planner provides visitors with a customized approach to exploring the website by organizing and mapping out the things they want to see and do in Georgia.
Interactive map

Interactive map

Georgia Explorer Trip Planner

Georgia Explorer Trip Planner

 

 

 

 

 

77 Ways to Celebrate Independence Day in Georgia

fireworks

Have a blast this July 4th with parades, games, cookouts and fireworks in communities all across the Peach State!

Historic High Country

July 3: 9th Annual Fireworks Display Extravaganza, Villa Rica 

July 3-6: 4th of July at Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth 

July 4: 1st Friday Broad Street Block Party, Rome 

July 4: Americana Fourth of July, Tallapoosa 

July 4: July 4th Freedom Fest, Woodstock

July 4: Flag Planting with Fairy, Adairsville

July 4: Independence Day Parade and Star Spangled Beach Party, Ellijay

July 5: Georgia Winery: Red, White & Blue Happy Hour, Ringgold 

Northeast Georgia Mountains

June 28: Pre-Fourth Craft Show and Festival, Hartwell 

June 27: Pre-Fourth Dancin’ on Depot, Harwell 

June 27: Fireworks Show at Lake Russell, Elberton 

June 28: Pre-Fourth Fireworks Extravaganza, Hartwell 

June 28: Jefferson Freedom Festival, Jefferson

July 3-4: July 4th Celebration in Cumming

July 4: Annual Fireworks at Dusk, Helen

July 4: 4th of July Family Fun Day Celebration, Dahlonega

July 4: Fireworks at Lake Rabun, Lakemont 

July 4: Fourth of July Celebration, Dillard

July 4: Independence Day Celebration, Blairsville

July 4: Blairsville Union County Fireworks Display, Blairsville

July 4: Independence Day at Vogel State Park, Blairsville 

July 4: 4th of July Celebration, Cleveland

July 4: Old Fashioned Fourth of July at Tugaloo State Park, Lavonia 

July 4: July 4th at Sky Valley, Clayton 

July 4: July 4th Celebration and Lake Lanier Islands, Buford

July 4: Celebrate Braselton 4th of July Festival, Parade & Fireworks, Braselton 

July 5: Lake Burton 4th of July Fireworks Celebration, Clayton 

Atlanta Metro 

July 3-5: Fantastic Fourth Celebration, Stone Mountain Park 

July 4: 4th of July Parade, Douglasville 

July 4: Independence Day Festival, Douglasville 

July 4: 4th of July Fireworks, Douglasville 

July 4: July 4th Celebration in Alpharetta 

July 4: 4th of July Ice Cream Social, McDonough 

July 4: Dunwoody Fourth of July Parade 

July 4: 4th of July at The Beach, Jonesboro

July 4: Mall of Georgia’s 12th Annual Fabulous Fourth, Buford

July 5: Salute to the Red, White and Blue Hometown Celebration, East Point 

Historic Heartland

July 3: Annual Independence Day Concert & Picnic, Madison 

July 4: Oconee County Independence Day Spectacular, Watkinsville 

July 4: Fun for the Fourth at Indian Springs State Park, Flovilla 

July 4: Ol’ Time Independence Day at Jarrell Plantation Historic Site, Juliette 

July 5: Classic City American Music Festival, Athens 

Classic South

July 4: Patriotic Bicycle, Golf Cart and Pet Parade at Mistletoe State Park, Appling 

July 4: July Fourth Bike Parade at Elijah Clark State Park, Lincolnton 

July 5: Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration at A.H. Stephens State Park, Crawfordville

July 5-13: Patriot Day & More, Warrenton 

Presidential Pathways

June 27-July 7: Avenue of Flags for Independence Day, Andersonville

June 28: Celebrate America, The Rock

July 3: July 3rd Celebration at Manchester Mill, Manchester 

July 4: Independence Day Celebration, Lumpkin 

July 4: July 4th Weekend Star Spangled Beach Party at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain 

July 4-6: July 4th Celebration on the Lake at Florence Marina State Park, Omaha 

July 5: Watermelon Express Train Ride, Cordele 

Magnolia Midlands

July 4: God & Country Fireworks Show, McRae 

July 4: Freedom Fest, Douglas 

July 4: Beach Blast, Dublin

July 4: 4th of July Celebration, Fitzgerald

July 5: Fourth of July Fun at Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge, Helena 

Plantation Trace

July 3: Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks, Tifton 

July 4: Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks, Thomasville 

July 4: July 4th Celebration, Bainbridge 

July 4-5: 4th of July Celebration at Reed Bingham State Park 

Coast

June 27-28: Freedom Rings in Rincon Festival and Parade, Rincon

June 28: Train Rides – America’s Birthday Express, St. Marys 

July 3: Fourth of July Fireworks on the Pier, Tybee Island 

July 4: Jekyll Island July 4 Celebration

July 4: Brunswick’s Old Fashioned 4th of July 

July 4: Independence Day Colonial Faire at Fort Morris Historic Site, Midway 

July 4: Cannons Across the Marsh at Fort King George Historic Site, Darien 

July 4: Train Rides America’s Birthday Express, St. Marys 

July 4: Independence Day Fun & Games at Laura S. Walker State Park, Waycross 

July 4: Waycross Jaycees, Fourth of July Celebration, Waycross 

July 4: Independence Day Celebration at Fort McAllister State Park, Richmond Hill 

July 4-6: River Street Fourth of July Celebration, Savannah 

July 4: 4th of July Celebration, St. Marys 

July 4-6: 4th of July Sunshine Festival, St. Simons Island 

July 5: Holiday Weekend Gaslight Tour at Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, Savannah 

5 Things You Must See at Fernbank Museum

Star

As one of the newest employees here at Fernbank Museum, I was excited to be granted this opportunity to walk around and think about which aspects of the Museum are my favorite. Mostly, I thought it would be interesting to call out some things that are frequently overlooked. During my time here I have learned that this Museum is a truly amazing place with fascinating things to see and experience around every corner. To learn more please visit FernbankMuseum.org or check us out on Facebook or Twitter. I hope you enjoy hearing about my five favorite things at Fernbank Museum of Natural History!

FloorsThe floors: Did you know that the floors throughout the Museum are made of fossils? I was so excited to learn this, and I thought it was incredibly unique. If you look closely you can see actual fossils from squids and shells on the very floors you’re walking on!

The Star Gallery: Walking into the Fernbank Star Gallery makes me feel like I’ve been transported to another world. The gorgeous ceiling definitely manages to capture some of the magnificence of space. There are even three flat screen TVs that tell you all about our solar system.

imax

 

The IMAX Booth: If you have never seen the film behind the giant IMAX® screens, then you need to stop by the IMAX projection booth viewing window! Between film screenings, you can see behind the scenes as the projectionists prepare the next film. The sheer size of the film (and the 5-story screen) are amazing!

The Weather Center: In Sensing Nature there is a Weather Center that I find amazing. There are iPads available through which you can control the “wind tunnel,” as well as a green screen where you can try your hand at being a weatherman. It’s definitely a part of the Museum that I make sure to point out to guests!

Nature

Nature Quest: Fernbank Nature Quest is a favorite among visitors because it offers over 100 ways children can interact within the exhibition. I think one of the most unique elements is the fish mobile. With the turn of a wheel you can control the beautiful mobiles that hang from the ceiling and simulate waves as they move beneath the lights.

 

 

Surprising Suburbs: Villa Rica

IMG_2779

Peal your eyes west next time you squint in the glare of Georgia’s capitol building. The gold leaf crowning that handsome dome has a new history.

Follow your view 35 miles to explore the Pine Mountain Gold Museum in Villa Rica and learn the facts about discovering gold in 1826, three years prior to the gold rush in Dahlonega.

IMG_2757Museum historians aren’t claiming the State Capitol gleam came from West Georgia, but they do raise interesting facts in an 18-minute documentary and in detailed exhibits about the early discoveries.

Then they teach techniques for finding bits of gold yourself. Worked for me, and the people on either side in a convenient stand-up trough with skimming pans and a teacher.

Larry “Pop” Arnold is his name. “Been panning for gold here for 50 years,” he says. “Keeps me outside and I just like the process.” 

He’s also a bona fide member of the Gold Prospectors Association of America. Who knew?

Maybe if my Spanish were up-to-snuff I wouldn’t have been surprised. After all, Villa Rica means village of gold. Another clue might be the Civil War company from Carroll County formally known as Georgia Company I, 19th infantry regiment, but called the Gold Diggers.

IMG_2756Fine grains, baby powder texture are the kind of gold found here and a ride on the railroad provides a sense of the land in which hopeful miners worked.

Carl Lewis is one of them, adding his authentic voice to museum tours, noting he is Villa Rica’s last commercial gold miner.

He also shares the story of the Samuel and Asa Candler families and their Coca-Cola bottling business in Villa Rica from 1903-1923.

Real-deal gold-mining history fills the woods, along with high and low huckleberry bushes, sassafras trees and wildflowers including hundreds of Pink Ladies.

Peer 50 feet into the Old Glory Hole to start understanding the process introduced in 1917 to extract the gold. Cyanide, sump tanks, ore gondolas, leaching tanks, after-effects of plate tectonics – this is a vocabulary lesson too.

Signage is clear and informative.  

IMG_2760$5.00 is the price of Museum admission, $5.00 more to ride the train (a pleasant experience relying on a four cylinder propane engine and air brakes), $5.00 to pan for gold and gemstones. Not so simple to master the right flick of the wrist so I appreciated miners more just because I tried.

Walking three miles of nature trails is free, so are the picnic grounds. Stockmar Park is the location and I’d recommend allowing time to see the farm animals and community garden.

In fact, all day could be plenty of family fun. Get a picnic to go from Evans Barbecue Company or The Southern Table.

Christine 12. 2007 4Christine Tibbetts claimed Georgia as her home state in 1972.  She covers Georgia destinations, and the world, always offering prompts for exceptional experiences and opportunities to muse. Tibbetts earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the prestigious School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and is the recipient of numerous gold, silver and merit awards from North American Travel Journalists Association writing competitions. Follow her at www.TibbettsTravel.com.

Sunrise Grocery

4

Sunrise Grocery in North Georgia is a cozy spot to browse around for fresh produce, delicious jams and jellies, mountain treasures, worms and priceless lessons in business administration.

As a partially omniscient writer, I can hear the voices of women saying, “Wow!  Bernadette and I would LOVE to visit Sunrise Grocery, but our husbands have no patience.  They’d just rush us and it wouldn’t be any fun.”

Dry your eyes, little lady.  The owner of Sunrise Grocery – Jason Clemmons – is a truly brilliant and kind businessman who has learned a trick or two in the 30 years he’s owned this treasured roadside stand.

6Jason has a Secret Weapon that can make any grumpy hubby happy to stay busy while you browse until you drop.

(No, it’s not moonshine but that’s a good guess.)

Beverly Whitt, the crackerjack lady who helps run Sunrise Grocery, told me how Jason discovered the perfect way to give shoppers time to browse.

Jason, like all good men, had a brass monkey that he didn’t know what to do with.  Doubters said, “Throw that old thing away!”  Jason said, “Nope.  I’m gonna make a game out of this here monkey.”

Mister Clemmons decided he would hide the brass monkey all around his store and give a bag of world-famous boiled or roasted peanuts (featured in Southern Living Magazine, thank you) to folks who found it.

Wise women quickly spread the word to bring their men with them to Sunrise Grocery.  As soon as they reached the parking lot and you-know-who began to get all grouchy, the ladies said, “Don’t worry, you old goat, I won’t be long.  I’d invite you in, but you’d never find the brass monkey and win a free bag of peanuts, and I hate to see you cry in public.”

2Now, if they don’t find the brass monkey, women have to drag their husbands out of Sunrise Grocery and promise to bring them back soon.  Yes, this trick works on kids too.

You won’t learn smart stuff like that at Harvard.

Some visitors are so observant they can even find Miss Beverly behind the counter!

The next time you’d like a delightful drive up Georgia’s Route 129, you have to stop at Sunrise Grocery.  It’s only a few miles south of Blairsville and just up the road a piece from Vogel State Park.

Sunrise Grocery is the perfect place to browse around when you’re looking for something special … or just looking with someone special.

1Sunrise Grocery opens at 7:30 AM Monday through Saturday and at 9 AM on Sundays.  They close at 6 PM, except on Friday and Saturday, when they stay open until 7.  Come early to watch the sunrise!

Sunrise Grocery is the perfect spot to begin – or end – any day.

 

Glossary:

Definition of Browse for Men:  Make a list of what you want.  Go to closest store.  Find everything without ever asking for help.  Pay too much.  Return home.  Make list of what you forgot and what you have to return.  Repeat.

Definition of Browse for Women:  Take a scenic drive with friends.  Talk, chat and enjoy the ride.  Choose a place to shop based exclusively on how interesting it looks from the outside.  Park.  Apply make-up.  Promise your friends you’ll only shop for a few minutes.  Enter.  Pick up every dang piece of anything not nailed down – except the clerk – and stare at it from every possible angle.  Put it back right where it was … so that your friends can do the exact same thing.  Buy something for yourself that you don’t need.  Buy something for a friend who doesn’t need anything either.  Exit.  Stop for dessert and recount everything you and your friends touched.  Make plans for your next trip.

Click Here for Sunrise Grocery’s Facebook Page

Robert SutherlandRobert Sutherland is a freelance writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA. Robert has two adult daughters, six grandchildren, one Kawasaki and a loving girlfriend. Robert’s e-mail address is: RJS@RobertSutherland.com.