Reformation Brewery takes pride in adding a little adventure into each of its beer styles, and their Imperial Stout is no exception. Perfect for the cool days of fall, Imperial Stout has rich and roasted flavor made by specialty dark malts. Brewery tours: Thursday – Sunday.
Beer drinkers all over Georgia look forward to this annual brew from Terrapin. You’ll think of Thanksgiving when you taste this pumpkin and spice flavored beer that’s brewed in the German style with a strong malt backbone and low hop bitterness. Brewery tours: Wednesday – Sunday.
This new kid on the block, Creature Comforts Brewery, prides itself on being founded by people passionate about beer and Athens, a town they believe will be the craft beer hub and destination of the Southeast.
Their Koko Buni beer’s flavor is as exotic as its name. This milk porter has flavors of toasted, coconut, coffee, cocoa nibs and vanilla, making it an ideal after-dinner treat. Brewery tours: Tuesday – Saturday.
Launching its first brew in 2013, Southbound Brewing Company is the first production microbrewery located in Savannah. With plans of bringing the American beer revolution to Savannah, they are off to a great start with their Moonlight Drive Coffee Stout. This seasonal brew has notes of chocolate and caramel, while getting its distinct coffee flavor from Bali Blue Krishna coffee. Brewery tours: Wednesday – Saturday.
Jekyll Brewing gets its inspiration (and name sake) from the first brewery of the Deep South, which was founded on Jekyll Island in 1738. Jekyll Brewing is proud to offer uniquely flavored beers, like their seasonal Seven Bridges Oktoberfest. A true German style larger, this fall beer is sweet and yeasty, using Munich malts and Tettnang hops. Brewery tours: Tuesday – Saturday.
Atlanta’s music festival season tends to heat up just as the physical heat is trending down and vacation schedules give way to more predictable routines and the desire to blow off some weekend steam. This year is no exception, and the fun kicks off with Imagine and ONE, a pair of happenings that have stepped up their already impressive games.
Imagine Music Festival – Three Days of Electronic Dance Music
The electronic music festival Imagine will be Aug. 26-28, 2016, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Photo credit: Imagine Music Festival.
The Imagine Music Festival proudly bills itself as “one of the country’s last remaining independent festivals.” After a two-year run at Historic Old Fourth Ward Park that saw attendance double to 15,000, Imagineis adding a third day of revelry and setting up shop August 26-28 at the 887-acre Atlanta Motor Speedway. Even with another near-doubling in crowds expected by organizers, this means ample room to spread out — after all, AMS regularly accommodates more than 100,000 for big races.
This year’s bill includes EDM heavyweights like Steve Agnello, Dillon Francis and Adventure Club. Although DJ sets dominate the lineup, live band performances from the likes of Disco Biscuits, Beats Antique and Break Science are on deck as well — not to mention more than 50 Georgia acts, including the Ying Yang Twins, Leah Culver and Herobust.
Imagine clearly aspires to offer an overall “experience,” built on an aquatic theme encompassing a splash pool, misting domes, fountains and 3D water hologram production on the main stage (oh, and throw in performances by Cirque USA and amusement rides for good measure). On-site camping and RV hookups are available, but several hotels are near the AMS site, just 15 miles south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
ONE Musicfest – Progressive Hip Hop, Classic R&B and More
Lakewood Amphitheatre is located just 3.8 miles south of downtown Atlanta and 3.5 miles from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Back for its seventh year, the ONE Musicfest also has its roots at Historic Old Fourth Ward Park, having made the leap to Lakewood Amphitheatre in 2014. Its September 10 lineup is so deep you’ll likely do a double-take to confirm it’s a one-day throwdown. Although there are plenty of national acts (do Ice Cube and Erykah Badu do it for you?), this year’s lineup particularly shines for its assemblage of Atlanta hip hop royalty on a single stage.
Big Boi photo by Rick Diamond
The long-awaited Dungeon Family reunion is the jaw-dropper, but let’s not shortchange Cee Lo (both with and without Goodie Mob), Big Boi, Killer Mike, and a DJ set from Organized Noize – the production team behind TLC’s “Waterfalls” and several OutKast classics, among others. Get a room – even if you live within driving distance, you’ll be way too danced out after 11 hours of “classic and next generation hip hop, and soulful R&B,” as the organizers aptly put it, to make the trek home.
Fall is just around the bend! When it comes, you need to be ready to enjoy the BEST of the season in Georgia. Grab your map because we’ve got a bucket list for you!
Fausett Farms Sunflowers in Dawsonville are in full bloom in October. Photo by Lesli Peterson.
Dawsonville’s Fausett Farms Sunflowers planted more than 900,000 sunflowers this spring, and they will be showing their sunny faces by the first of October. They are open seven days a week, and the cost is $10 per car. More sunflower info here.
Apples are ripe for the picking in North Georgia in the fall. Photo by Lesli Peterson.
Imagine being surrounded by hundreds or even thousands of butterflies. These butterfly exhibits, festivals and events in Georgia promise to shower visitors with the vibrant colors of beautiful butterflies throughout August and September.
See six species of butterflies at Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, Ga., through Sept. 10.
A garden with wings: Butterflies & Biodiversity Exhibit through Sept. 10, 2016. Garden Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Growing in Kennesaw, Smith-Gilbert Gardens is an oasis of more than 3,000 plant species hosting a stunning collection of bonsai trees, tranquil koi pond, and vibrant flowers. The winding, natural surface paths lead visitors among impressive groves, shaded flower gardens and captivating sculptures. This year marks the first annual Butterflies & Biodiversity Exhibit. This fun and educational exhibit includes a butterfly house filled with monarchs, swallowtails, painted ladies, and more. The butterfly house is located right next to the Childrens Learn & Play Garden.
Bluebirds and Butterflies, August 13, 20 & 27 from 10-11 a.m., and Sept. 17 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Help FDR State Park monitor bluebird nest boxes, and visit the butterfly garden to learn more about attracting bluebirds and butterflies to your home gardens.
Annual Butterfly Festival, August 20, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dunwoody Nature Center hosts an annual Butterfly Festival showcasing hundreds of live butterflies fluttering in two huge butterfly tents. The all-day event features crafts and games for kids and discovery stations exploring butterflies in Georgia and their ecosystems. Live entertainment includes animal encounters, magicians, music, and birds of prey.
Hundreds of blue butterflies fill the Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens in September.
Blue Morpho Month at Day Butterfly Center, Sept. 1-30, 2016. One of North America’s largest tropical butterfly conservatories, the Day Butterfly Center welcomes guests to enjoy the beauty of a thousand fluttering butterflies. During September, Blue Morpho Month delights visitors with a spectacular sight as hundreds of iridescent blue butterflies fill the air.
For great fishing in Georgia, you can’t go wrong with these six trip ideas. Why not try them all?
Catch shark and tarpon off the Georgia coast
Captain Mark Noble shows off a catch
Want a big one to stretch your string? Employ Captain Mark Noble in St. Simons and follow along one of the shrimp boats as they harvest shrimp from the fertile waters off Jekyll Island. Mark can easily handle a charter for three fishermen with the mutual target being the spinner and blacktip sharks that feast on the by-catch as the shrimpers scourer the sandy bottoms of the bay. Using heavy tackle and live baits, you will hook a shark in the territory of 30 to 100 pounds on every cast. Every pass behind the trawling nets will yield all fishermen a hookup. Yes, every cast. These rascals are heavy-duty fighters and will truly give you an exciting day. You and your party will likely have had enough back breaking, line stretching, bulldogging by lunch time.
Did I say tarpon? Should have. Mark Noble is the No. 1 tarpon guide on the Georgia coast, and the summer months are the most reliable for the silver-sided giants. Jump six to 10 per day, hook, catch and photo 150-pound trophies. After an hour’s fight, I know you’ll be tired but still smiling.
Fish for striper in Lake Lanier
How about fresh water stripers? Call Mack Farr at Lake Lanier and enjoy a lesson in angling. What’s your ticket: spooning, trolling, live bait, top-water? The seasons dictate the tactic, and Captain Mack Farr is a master in generating many big hook-ups. Surprisingly so, the hot summer just may provide the most reliable action, but no matter when, for an easy reach for one of the biggest gamefish in the waters in Georgia, Lanier and Mack Farr can make it happen. Mack has guided on Lanier for more than 30 years, so his experience is easily conveyed and understood. This is a terrific charter to bring along a youngster. Usually, there is little casting and reeling involved, so even a youngster can handle the rod for an exciting hookup with Mr. Linesides in the territory of 6 to 20 pounds.
Catch crappie in Lake Oconee
Al Bassett and youngsters with their catches at Lake Oconee
Want to fill a cooler full of tasty crappie filets? Call Al Bassett at Lake Oconee. Big Al has been providing tubs of crappie for client’s live wells for decades. No matter what the season, Al has the crappie schools’ locations all figured out and will place you in the vicinity on short notice. Trolling, jigging, docks, summer time flats, shallow spawning, Al will escort you to the fertile areas and harvest a bunch. Light tackle, light line, jigs and live bait, old “paper mouth” is in big trouble when Al has a charter. Bring a big cooler and fill it. With a limit of 35 per person, a big wiggly pile of crappie is gathered in short order.
Fly fishing on the Soque River
David Zelski from Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Georgia Traveler” fishes with Blackhawk’s Abby Jackson, A.K.A. Abby J.
For a fly fisherman’s dream trip, spend a full day at Blackhawk Fly Fishing on the Soque River nine miles north of Clarksville, only an hour’s driving time from Atlanta. Soque is a pristine trophy mountain stream with easy access and is loaded with 24-inch rainbow trout and 26- to 30-inch brown trout. You’ll be fly fishing within a corridor of overhanging hemlocks into gentle pools and long fast runs rarely more than 40 feet wide. I advise fishing in the early morning, have a scrumptious “field to fork” lunch prepared by proprietor Abby Jackson, and return to the bubbling waters for more action. Want to stay overnight in a 1860s restored farmhouse and with lots of character and vintage charm? You certainly can. All the trout are cared for by your guide and returned to the cool waters alive after the obligatory photos. A typical full day will result in your catch being 20 rainbows in the 18- to 24-inch range with browns at 26 to 30 inches. Blackhawk is open all year except July and August.
Fly fishing in North Georgia lakes
Henry Cowen shows off a fly-caught striper
We really shouldn’t leave out the big lake fly guys. Henry Cowen is the guy for Lakes Lanier, Allatoona and Hartwell. Spotted bass, stripers, hybrids, you name it, Henry is always in touch with the surface-feeding critters and how to catch them on the fly. What’s the key? Henry fishes every day — every single day — and truly stays in touch. If you want to venture into the world of big lake fly fishing, Henry’s your guide; 8 pound hybrids, 25 pound stripers and 5 pound spots all on the fly. Give Henry a call, but be alert, his Brooklyn accent will startle you, but relax and enjoy a great day with a great guide.
Fish with the family at public fishing areas and state parks
Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Ga., has a 260-acre lake, perfect for fishing.
For my final pick, there is no guide involved, nor is one needed, but you can make family memories that will last a lifetime. For many anglers, fond childhood memories involve a family fishing trip resulting in a stringer of bream. So, don’t delay – take them fishing today! Visit a nearby public fishing area (PFA) managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Wildlife Resources Division. The DNR operates and manages 10 PFAs across the state in an effort to provide the best possible fishing and access for family-friendly outings. Bluegill and redear sunfish, both part of the bream family, are stocked on nearly every PFA pond or lake. Bring along a few cans of Fisher’s Choice crickets, meal worms and shrimp. Each has been cooked and is preserved but smells, looks and works just like a fresh bait, is easy to use and lasts and lasts. Want to make the adventure fulfilling? Take your family to a Georgia State Park with a public fishing area contained, watch the light tackle floats disappear with a big old bream tugging it down and photograph your child with a never-ending smile.
O’Neill Williams is host, creator and producer for the weekly “O’Neill Outside” television and radio shows. Born in Atlanta and a graduate of Emory University, Williams has been a television fishing personality for 35 years with shows titled “Fishing in Georgia,” “Southern Fishing” and “Reel Adventures.” He and his wife live in North Georgia, where they often broadcast the Saturday morning radio show.