Georgia’s Top Trout Destinations

Fish for trout in the Toccoa River at Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville, Georgia.

Fish for trout in the Toccoa River at Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville, Georgia.

It’s no secret that trout is becoming big business in Georgia. From residents and visitors wanting to fish the state’s streams and rivers to the featured protein on restaurant menus, the prized fish is impacting local economies in a big way. Here are the top places to find trout in Georgia.

Toccoa River – The Toccoa River, in Fannin County, has just the right conditions to warrant the growth of big fish. According to the Blue Ridge Chamber of Commerce, the river is stocked above Blue Ridge Dam “about every other week” during prime fishing times. Book a lesson with any of the fishing guides in Blue Ridge to learn some tricks for reeling in the big ones. (Before casting a line, review the Georgia Department of Natural Resources trout fishing regulations.)

Your Delta flight – Acclaimed chef Linton Hopkins, of Restaurant Eugene, cheeseburger hot spot Holeman and Finch, H&F Bread Co. and the forthcoming Linton’s at Atlanta Botanical Garden, has worked with the Atlanta-based airline to create menus with local flare for passengers flying from Atlanta to Europe. Along with regional cheeses, Carolina Gold rice and grits, local charcuterie and pork, travelers will find mountain trout being offered up.

Chattahoochee National Forest – Spanning a large part of the state’s northern region, the Chattahoochee National Forest is home to the Chattooga River, which features prime whitewater rafting opportunities and Southern Appalachian Brook Trout, a species that is not stocked by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Blue Ridge Trout Fest and Outdoor Adventures – Each year, the town of Blue Ridge plays host to a weekend of festivities celebrating its claim as the Trout Capital of Georgia. This year’s festival runs April 29-30, 2016.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull 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.

5 Fantastic Places to Take Mom to Eat on Mother’s Day

Treat mom on Mother's Day by taking her to eat at Bistro Niko in Atlanta.

Treat mom on Mother’s Day by taking her to eat at Bistro Niko in Atlanta

Bistro Niko, Atlanta, Georgia

On Mother’s Day, get a taste of France without leaving Georgia at Bistro Niko. Located in the heart of Buckhead, this restaurant offers classic French fare that is both authentic and affordable. They have a lovely wine list, craft beers, and their charcuterie board is not to be missed.

Cooks and Soldiers, Atlanta

Cooks and Soldiers, Atlanta

Cooks & Soldiers, Atlanta, Georgia

Specializing in Spanish Basque cuisine, expect to find beautifully prepared meats and fish grilled over hot coals, Basque tapas and a refreshing cocktail list. I suggest giving the wild mushrooms served with pork demi-glace and sheep’s milk cheese a try — mom won’t be disappointed.

The Chophouse at LaPrade’s, Lake Burton, Georgia

The Chophouse offers casual elegant dining inside and outside, as well as at the boating casual Lakeside Bar and Grill. Enjoy live music, fine American and regional Southern cuisines, great steaks, artisanal cocktails and an extensive wine list.

Steel Magnolias, Valdosta, Georgia

With an “eat local, be local” philosophy, Steel Magnolias serves up urban Southern cuisine using local ingredients, which is a nod at the roots of classic Southern cuisine and showing them a new way. Their cocktails are amazing, and the pulled pork deviled eggs sell out early.

The Grey, Savannah, Georgia

The Grey is one of my all-time favorite Savannah restaurants. With a “global” menu firmly rooted in the South, you can expect to find dishes like fish tagine, pickled shrimp and smoked collard greens.

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.


From Atlanta Airport to a Waterfall in Less Than 30 Minutes

Creek through Cochran Mill Park in Chattahoochee Hills. Photo by Candy Cook.

Creek through Cochran Mill Park in Chattahoochee Hills. Photo by Candy Cook.

Cochran Mill Park is a great escape to nature just 20 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The park boasts a waterfall and an impressive trail system for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in Chattahoochee Hills. Nearly 15 miles of natural surface trails wind through the peaceful forest with varying terrain and skill level. The park also features a playground and picnic shelters nearby Cochran Mill Nature Center. Trail maps are located at an information kiosk near the entrance. The trails are all multi-use unless marked otherwise on the trail map.

Trails to Henry Mill Falls

Henry Mill Falls. Photo courtesy Cochran Mill Park.

Henry Mill Falls. Photo courtesy Cochran Mill Park.

Yellow – The yellow-blazed trail offers a fantastic outdoor experience for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders beginning with a stream crossing and a fun, twisty singletrack that transitions to a fast, flowing ride for bikers. This moderate trail leads to a view of Henry Mill Falls before looping back on itself.

Red – The more difficult red-blazed trail hugs the banks of the creek for more than a mile and a half before reaching a beautiful view of Henry Mill Falls. Visitors make the return trip by looping back through the hilly forest for a total distance of nearly 4 miles. This trail has a separate entrance for horses.

Cochran Mill Falls & Nature Center Trails

Biking through Cochran Mill Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

Biking through Cochran Mill Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

For a relatively easy and quick refresh, hit the Cochran Mill Falls & Loops. These trails offer several creek crossings, a view of the falls, and continues through the wildlife habitat of Cochran Mill Nature Center. The Nature Center is not affiliated with the park, however it’s worth checking out while visiting. It is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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.

Robert Shaw Documentary Brings Conductor’s Centenary to a Crescendo

Having moved to Atlanta just after Robert Shaw’s tenure as Music Director and Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, I was aware of the long shadow he cast but didn’t fully grasp his achievements. The legend’s would-be 100th birthday is the perfect opportunity for a refresher course, and “Robert Shaw- Man of Many Voices” serves as an ideal primer. The documentary, which was almost entirely locally funded, premieres at Symphony Hall on Sunday, April 24. The afternoon program includes three brief choir performances, an appropriate nod to the choral music for which he was perhaps best known.

Robert Shaw at work. Photo courtesy Robert Shaw, The Film.

Robert Shaw at work. Photo courtesy Robert Shaw, The Film.

Shaw was already a renowned figure when he arrived in Atlanta in 1967. In New York, his wartime Collegiate Chorale had blazed trails as one of the first integrated musical ensembles, and that resolve was again called upon in the turbulent late ’60s South. “Shaw was not a civil rights activist per se, but if you were talented, you were in his ensemble,” says Kiki Wilson, the film’s executive producer and herself a 30-year ASO Chorus veteran. “He never really spoke to the issue until he had to in Atlanta.”

Few in the music world understood why Shaw would uproot from a successful stint in Cleveland for Atlanta, then considered a musical outpost. However, he saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild an arts community in the wake of 1964’s Orly tragedy, and it’s not a stretch to say Shaw’s popularity helped establish the Woodruff Arts Center.

Robert Shaw. Photo courtesy Robert Shaw, The Film.

Robert Shaw. Photo courtesy Robert Shaw, The Film.

One of the first voices heard in “Man of Many Voices” is that of Andrew Young. He’s soon joined by iconic Georgians both musical (Robert Spano, Donald Runnicles) and political (Jimmy Carter), plus national figures like cellist Yo Yo Ma weighing in on Shaw’s impact. Narration is provided by David Hyde Pierce, the Broadway actor best known for his TV role on “Frasier” but a man with his own musical pedigree. “He became a real friend of the film,” according to Wilson, actually agreeing to the role for less than he was offered.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Shaw’s musical biography is that he was self-taught, a fact that presumably pushed him to excel. “Until the last couple of years of his life, he was very insecure,” says Wilson. Shaw was a contemporary of Leonard Bernstein but never cut the same public figure. “Bernstein was articulate; Shaw stammered,” she recalls.

Nonetheless, by the time Shaw’s ASO tenure was up, he had logged 16 Grammys, the first-ever classical Gold album, and staged a groundbreaking 1988 European tour extending into pre-unification East Berlin. Such vision rarely comes without turmoil. “He was fired twice by the board,” says Wilson, a twist the film also addresses. Fortunately, reconciliations ensued in both cases.

“Robert Shaw – Man of Many Voices” is compelling storytelling as well as a fitting tribute to a complex classical music treasure.

glen-headshotGlen Sarvady is Georgia’s official Music Explorer. He has lived in Atlanta for more than 20 years, and has written about music both locally and nationally for at least as long. More recently, he has written regularly for the music/arts publication Stomp & Stammer as well as

Vote for the Winner of the #GeorgiaMusicBackstagePass Contest

Pick your favorite photo & story out of our five #GeorgiaMusicBackstagePass finalists. You can vote once a day until Friday, April 22. We will announce the winner on Tuesday, April 26. Scroll to the bottom to cast your vote!

  • Round-trip air transportation to/from Atlanta
  • Hotel accommodations (eight nights) in Atlanta, Athens and Macon
  • Rental car
  • Music-focused tours and experiences in Atlanta, Athens and Macon
  • Two VIP tickets to the Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta (May 13-15)
  • Daily stipend of $150

One (1) runner-up will win two tickets to the Shaky Beats Music Festival, taking place May 20-22 at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Shaky Beats features more than 40 top electronic, indie and hip-hop acts across three stages.




I love #GeorgiaMusic, because of moments like this. My friend Steve Dezember has been living with Lou Gherig’s Disease (ALS), and has gotten to a state in which he is confined to his bed, only really able to move not much more than an eyelid, and unable to get out and about anymore. (You can read more about Steve here, and please #prayforsteve @hopeforsteve) Music is something important to him and his wife @hopieannc, and in situations like theirs, it’s so helpful and uplifting. Georgia musicians like @theearthlingsmusic and others have on multiple occasions brought the music to Steve’s back porch, making the time even with scheduled shows miles away. Having once worked at a place where magic happens every day (hint: it’s run by a mouse), it’s not as easy to find in everyday life, but musicians like this, full of heart and southern hospitality, make it possible. Georgia music isn’t just notes, beats, and words, it’s family and it’s love. #georgiamusicbackstagepass

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