These Georgia Cities Are Filled with Holiday Spirit

Photo Credit: Alpine Helen-White County Chamber of Commerce

Photo Credit: Alpine Helen-White County Chamber of Commerce

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the Christmas season in the South! There’s nothing like coming home for the holidays, and if you’re looking for family festivities guaranteed to warm your spirit like cold hands around a mug of hot chocolate, these communities all across Georgia can deliver on all of your Christmas wishes.

Albany, Georgia

Nothing says, “ho, ho, ho” like Christmas lights and you won’t want to miss the 24th Annual Celebration of Lights Christmas Parade, December 6 in Albany, complete with with marching bands, floats, many other entrants, and special appearance by Santa Claus. Afterwards, consider starting a new family tradition with a car ride or magical train ride on the Wiregrass Express through Chehaw’s Festival of Lights.

Augusta, Georgia

Don’t miss the holiday classic “A Christmas Carol” performed live on stage at the historic Imperial Theatre!

Photo Credit: Fannin County-Blue Ridge Chamber of Commerce

Photo Credit: Fannin County-Blue Ridge Chamber of Commerce

Blue Ridge, Georgia

Beginning December 6th at Serenberry Vineyards in Morganton, enjoy an entire weekend of holiday cheer at the Mountain Wine Country Holiday Highway. The three-day excursion winds through 14 different mountain wineries for a unique holiday experience. Call (706) 623-8463 for reservations. While you’re in Blue Ridge, don’t miss out on the chance to take the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway‘s Santa Express or Night Train to Santa’s Pavilion.

Alpine Helen, Georgia

The Helen Arts and Heritage Center is proud to be hosting a historical look at the traditions of an old south Appalachian Christmas on December 9, and just outside of the Alpine Village, Helen’s Unicoi State Park and Lodge will be celebrating the season with their annual Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for the United Way of White County where visitors can bid on the numerous trees and wreaths decorating every corner of the Lodge.

Macon, Georgia

Macon’s College Hill Corridor, the 2-square mile area of town surrounding Mercer University, comes alive at Christmas time with its Christmas in the Corridor event, featuring guaranteed snow (in a part of the state that rarely has snow before New Years) and a snow slide, carriage rides, carolers, and holiday revelry. New to the Corridor this year will be the Macon Made gift tent, a pop-up market featuring wares made by 12 local artisans.

6 Can’t-Miss Tree Lighting Ceremonies in Georgia

It’s time to ring in the holiday season with joy, cheer and giant Christmas trees! Get in the holiday spirit at these community tree lighting ceremonies.

December 2nd: Bring the whole family to the Royston Wellness and Community Park for the Royston Tree Lighting! There will be holiday music, train rides, Santa and the lighting of the tree.

Kingsland - listing

December 4th: Downtown Kingsland comes together for the Annual Kingsland Christmas Tree Lighting and Downtown Open House. Starting at 5 p.m., the Kingsland Historic Depot offers snow in South Georgia. Beginning at 6 p.m., watch as the city lights the Christmas tree. Activities include: Live Christmas caroling, Christmas story reading, Santa Claus and free holiday refreshments – hot cocoa, wassail and Christmas cookies.

Photo Credit: Atlanta INtown Paper

Photo Credit: Atlanta INtown Paper

December 4th: Listen to live music from local schools, sample delicious holiday treats, get your picture taken with Santa and take a ride on the Vinings Express Train during the Vinings Jubilee Annual Christmas Tree Lighting! The event runs from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

McDonough - listing

December 6th:  Celebrate Christmas in McDonough at the McDonough Christmas Tree Lighting & Parade! The annual Christmas Tree Lighting will begin at 5 p.m. on the historic McDonough Square. The Christmas Parade will follow at 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: TheCitizen.com

Photo Credit: TheCitizen.com

December 6th: The 5th Annual Downtown Fayetteville Christmas Parade begins at 5 pm, followed by Fayetteville’s tree lighting ceremony at 6 pm. Free carriage rides with Santa Claus will be offered from 6-8 pm.

Photo Credit: Becky Morris

Photo Credit: Becky Morris

December 11th: Get your photo taken with Santa Claus, enjoy the beautiful sounds of Christmas carolers and drop off a Toys for Tots donations at the Light Up Brookhaven Holiday Tree Lighting! The fun starts at 6 pm.

 

5 Georgia Hotels Serving Thanksgiving Meals

Why worry about cooking & cleaning when someone else can do it? Start the holiday season with a stress-free meal at one of these fine Georgia restaurants.

Photo Credit: 5petalproductions.com

Photo Credit: 5petalproductions.com

A Bountiful Thanksgiving at The Ridges Resort in Hiawassee: The Oaks Dining Room at The Ridges Resort will be offering turkey prepared three delicious ways – traditionally roasted, high-country deep fried and bacon and blue cheese wrapped. No need to worry about a food coma because they’re also offering a special Thanksgiving room rate – only $189 for the first night stay, which includes two adult thanksgiving buffet dinners, and only $129 per additional night. Call 706-896-2262 for reservations.

Photo Credit: http://vintagemulberry.blogspot.com/

Photo Credit: http://vintagemulberry.blogspot.com/

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Ritz Carlton, Atlanta: Chefs Litherland and Treanor will be preparing family-style Thanksgiving dishes at the landmark restaurant, Atlanta Grill. Wine pairings from Sommelier Brian White will be available to accompany the family-style dinner. Please contact Atlanta Grill at (404) 221-6550 for reservations.

Photo Credit: Callaway Gardens

Photo Credit: Callaway Gardens

Thanksgiving Day Buffet at The Lodge & Spa at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain: Indulge in a Southern Thanksgiving meal featuring favorites like oven roasted tom turkey with giblet gravy, cornbread dressing and juicy prime rib. Call 706-489-3341 for reservations. After your meal, experience the magic of Fantasy in Lights – Callaway Gardens’ famous holiday light show.

Photo Credit: King & Prince

Photo Credit: King & Prince

Thanksgiving Feast at The King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island: Savor Thanksgiving flavors while being serenaded by the sounds of the sea on St. Simons Island. The King & Prince Thanksgiving Menu includes fresh seafood, pumpkin pie and brunch items (until 3pm). Call 912-268-5967 for reservations.

Photo Credit: Becky Stein

Photo Credit: Becky Stein

Thanksgiving Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead: Choose from over 100 selections at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead’s lavish Thanksgiving brunch. They will be serving everything from classic breakfast favorites to seasonal specialties and an impressive array of desserts. Please contact the Resort Concierge at (404) 237-2700 for reservations.

6 Historic Homes That Really Know How to Deck the Halls

‘Tis the season to deck the halls of Georgia’s historic homes! Stop by these stunning homes for a healthy dose of holiday cheer.

Photo Credit: Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Photo Credit: Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta: Tour the 27,000 square-foot historic mansion elaborately decorated with professional holiday displays, expansive artist market, and themed events for all ages. Kids will love the LEGOLAND building room, the Coca-Cola Exhibit Room featuring Haddon Sundblom’s classic Santa paintings and the Teddy Bear Room, courtesy of Build-A-Bear.

Photo Credit: Old Governors Mansion

Photo Credit: Old Governors Mansion

Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville: Celebrate a true antebellum Christmas at one of the finest examples of High Greek Revival architecture in the nation. One-hour tours are offered Tuesday-Sunday, and special candlelight tours will take place on Dec. 6, 13 and 18 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Photo Credit: Benny Huggins

Chief Vann Historic Site in Chatsworth: In 1805, Cherokee Chief James Vann opened his new brick mansion to the Moravian missionaries to hold one of the first Christmas celebrations in the Cherokee Nation. To honor this tradition, visitors are invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of a 19th century Christmas in one of America’s best-preserved Cherokee Indian homes. Click here for event details.

hayhouse - hayhouse

Photo Credit: Hay House

The Hay House in Macon: Visit three levels of this National Historic Landmark and marvel at elegantly decorated trees, mantles, stairwells, and children’s room. Christmas at Hay House and all of the decorations can be seen with the purchase of a regular house tour ticket.

swanhouse - atlanta history center

Photo Credit: Atlanta History Center

The Swan House in Atlanta: Create a 1930s holiday ornament, help decorate Sam and Mimi Inman’s Christmas tree and encounter 1930’s characters during Candlelight Nights at The Swan House. Click here for event details and tickets.

Photo Credit: DebM07 via Flickr

Photo Credit: DebM07 via Flickr

Rhodes Hall in Atlanta: “The castle on Peachtree Street” will be transformed into a winter wonderland featuring holiday entertainment, delicious refreshments from area caterers, music, art activities and, best of all, personal appointments with Santa. Click here to learn more:

A Guide to Georgia’s Covered Bridges

Auchumpkee Creek Bridge. Photo by @reneelangston via Instagram.

Auchumpkee Creek Covered Bridge in Thomaston: Built in 1892 and rebuilt in 1997, Auchumpkee Creek Covered Bridge measures 96 feet long with a town lattice truss. The bridge is not open to traffic. [Photo Credit: @reneelangston via Instagram]

watson

Watson Mill Bridge in Comer: Spanning 229 feet across the South Fork River, Watson Mill Bridge is the longest covered bridge in the state. [Photo Credit: Sussman Imaging]

Big Red Oak Creek. Photo by Lynn Hall Photography.

Big Red Oak Creek Bridge in Woodbury: Only 12 miles north of Warm Springs, the old bridge is a rare surviving example of the ingenuity of famed bridge builder Horace King. Including approaches, it stretches for 391 feet, making it the longest wooden bridge in Georgia. [Photo Credit: Lynn Hall Photography]

Coheelee Creek Bridge. Photo by  @cfowler65 via Instagram.

Coheelee Creek Covered Bridge in Blakely: Nestled in the piney woods of Southwest Georgia, Coheelee Creek Covered Bridge is the southernmost covered bridge in the United States. [Photo Credit: @cfowler65 via Instagram]

Concord Covered Bridge. Photo by Barbara Gaddis via Flickr.

Concord Bridge in Cobb County: Built in 1872, Concord Bridge (also known as Nickajack Creek Covered Bridge) has the highest traffic count of all the covered bridges in the state combined. [Photo Credit: Barbara Gaddis via Flickr]

Cromers Mill Bridge. Photo by gadoodles.com.

Cromer’s Mill Covered Bridge in Carnesville: Built in 1907, Cromer’s Mill Covered Bridge is 132 feet long with a Town Lattice design. [Photo Credit: gadoodles.com]

Elder's Mill Covered Bridge. Photo by Don Hunter via Flickr.

Elder Mill Covered Bridge in Watkinsville: Built in 1897, Elder Mill Covered Bridge is one of only 13 functional covered bridges left in the state of Georgia. You can drive through the beautiful bridge and enjoy the sights and sounds of Rose Creek. [Photo Credit:  Don Hunter via Flickr]

Euharlee Creek Bridge. Photo by  Etowah Valley Historical Society.

Euharlee Covered Bridge in Euharlee: Located next to the Euharlee History Museum,  the Euharlee Covered Bridge is the perfect spot for photographs. Its allure is enhanced by the picturesque 1850s village surrounding it. [Photo Credit:  Don Hunter via Flickr]

George L. Smith State Park Covered Bridge. Photo by B&S Photography.

George L. Smith State Park Covered Bridge in Twin City: With natural beauty, refurbished Parrish Mill and a stunning covered bridge, this secluded park is a wonderful south Georgia retreat. [Photo Credit:  B&S Photography]

Howard Bridge. Photo by nss12166 via Flickr.

Howard’s Bridge in Lexington:  Howard’s Bridge, also known as the Imlac Bridge, is 252.5 feet long. It is not open for traffic. [Photo Credit:  nss12166 via Flickr]

Lula Bridge. Photo by gadoodles.com.

Lula Bridge in Lula: Also known as the Lula Covered Bridge, this is Georgia’s smallest covered bridge. It was constructed in 1988 and is a Howe (King-Post) truss-covered bridge built in 1915. This wooden bridge still stands on the original slab. [Photo Credit:  gadoodles.com]

Pooles Mill Bridge. Photo by @cgmccall via Instagram.

Poole’s Mill Covered Bridge in Cumming: A one-of-kind passive park, Poole’s Mill is 10 acres of property that showcases a unique covered bridge. The Bridge, built in 1901, spans the shoals of Settendown Creek. After periods of disrepair, the structure was converted from private ownership and dedicated as a county park in 1997.  [Photo Credit:  @cgmccall via Instagram]

rockdale

Haralson Mill Covered Wooden Bridge in Conyers: Built in 1997, the covered wooden bridge replaces a historic ford, which crossed Haralson Mill Road, formerly an unimproved dirt road in North Rockdale County.This bridge is the first of its kind to be built in Georgia since the 1890s.  [Photo Credit: Scott M. Comptois]

Stone Mountain Covered Bridge. Photo by @cgmccall via Instagram.

Stone Mountain Bridge at Stone Mountain Park: Listed in the “World Guide to Covered Bridges,” this quaint and historical pine and cedar bridge leads to Indian Island, a picture perfect place for a lazy day of picnics or reading. This century old bridge is nearly 20-feet high and was moved to Stone Mountain Park from Athens, Georgia, in 1969. [Photo Credit: @cgmccall via Instagram]

Stovall Mill Bridge. Photo by Roadtrippers.com.

Stovall Mill Bridge in Sautee Nacoochee: Located in an area of White County, rich in history and legends of the Cherokee, Stovall Mill Bridge spans Chickamauga Creek. This is a wonderful place to relax, have a picnic, cool off in the rushing water and enjoy the beautiful northeast Georgia mountains. [Photo Credit: roadtrippers.com]