3 Places Where History Comes Alive on the Georgia Coast

When people think of Georgia’s coast, they usually think of sun and sandy beaches, not history, but the coast has a rich past. Georgia was the last of the thirteen original colonies to be founded. James Oglethorpe envisioned it as a refuge for debtors, but the English Crown saw it as a buffer for Spanish controlled Florida.  Later it was the plantation economy that defined Georgia prosperity. Make history come alive with a visit to one of these three places along the Georgia coast. You can defend a fort, walk through a Colonial town, and see for yourself what it was like to live on an authentic Southern plantation.

Fort King Georgia. Photo courtesy of http://edrowley.net/

Fort King Georgia. Photo courtesy of http://edrowley.net/

Fort King George: Fort King George is located in Darien. The pre-revolutionary fort has been completely rebuilt, and includes a three-story blockhouse, and bunkhouse, as well as out buildings and a small museum. The best part of our visit to Fort King George was the wooden guns we borrowed from the museum to play army throughout the grounds.

Fort Frederica. Photo courtesy of Georgia Encyclopedia.

Fort Frederica. Photo courtesy of Georgia Encyclopedia.

Fort Frederica: Fort Frederica is located on St. Simons Island. In pre-colonial days, soldiers at the fort guarded the coast from the Spanish who occupied nearby St. Augustine. Although the buildings are only ruins now, Fort Frederica engages kids (and adults) with a small, but interactive museum and one of the best Junior Ranger programs I’ve seen. Kids borrow a haversack of materials and use a booklet to hunt through the town of Frederica to find Mr. Demere and give him an important letter from General Oglethorpe. Along the way they learn about interpreters, tavern keepers, candle makers, soldiers and being a kid in colonial times.

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation. Photo courtesy of SoutheasternPhotography.com

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation. Photo courtesy of SoutheasternPhotography.com

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation: A real life Tara, Hofwyl-Broadfield was a typical antebellum rice plantation. After the Civil War, rice was a difficult crop. Even so, plantation owners grew the crop until the early 1900s before turning to dairy cows to make ends meet. A museum and tour chronicle the plantations heyday through modern times. When you go, bring a picnic from nearly award winning Southern Soul BBQ and enjoy it under the magnificent magnolia trees.

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation and Fort King George are part of the Georgia State Park system. To visit for free, check out a Georgia State Parks pass from any Georgia Public Library.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

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3 bites under $15

By Kate Parham Kordsmeier

Photo courtesy of Fred's Meat & Bread

Photo courtesy of Fred’s Meat & Bread

Atlanta has no shortage of destination-worthy restaurants (from Restaurant Eugene and Bacchanalia to Aria and Kevin Rathbun Steak)—but these fine dining dinners can cost you a pretty penny. When you’re looking for something equally delicious that won’t break the bank, consider these three dishes under $15 for your next meal:

  1. Though the quality at this Inman Park gem would suggest sky-high prices, in reality, everything on BoccaLupo’s menu is under $20. My personal favorite dish is chef-owner Bruce Logue’s fried cauliflower ($9). The crispy veg is tossed with mint, capers and meyer lemon making it easily one of the most flavor-packed plates in the entire city.
  2. A trip to Krog Street Market will reveal a plethora of affordable options, especially if you stick to the counter-service side of the food hall, where you’ll find James Beard semifinalist chef Todd Ginsberg’s sandwich shop, Fred’s Meat & Bread. The entire menu weighs in under $15, though I’m partial to the Burger Stack ($9) and Crispy Smoked Catfish Po’boy ($10) alongside an order of uber-crispy Southern BBQ fries ($4.50).
  3. Buford Highway isn’t just a mecca for ethnic eats—it’s also one of the most affordable dining destinations in Atlanta. When I’m craving Chinese food, I head to Gu’s Bistro, where the entire menu comes in under $20. Mix and match a few small plates at lunch (the dinner menu is slightly more expensive)—I recommend the Dan Dan noodles ($7) and Ma Po Tofu ($6.50)—or spend all $15 in one place at dinner with the most mouthwatering, tongue-tingling chicken in town, the Chongqing Spicy Chicken ($15).

KateKate is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and a freelance food and travel writer for more than 100 publications. Click here to read more culinary content from Kate

Free Things to Do Around Atlanta

Final-Phoenix Flies 3-inch button(1)

Every March, the Atlanta Preservation Center puts together a month long series of FREE events around the city. The celebration is called the Phoenix Flies and it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn a bit about Atlanta’s past, as well as take in some unique and often under the radar events.  But what happens when you aren’t visiting in March? Here are three free things to do in Atlanta throughout the year.

Photo Courtesy of Booth Western Art Museum

Photo courtesy of Booth Western Art Museum

Get Your Cowboy on at Booth Western Museum: The first Thursday of every month from 4 – 8 pm, the Booth Western Museum in Cartersville offers free admission. Get the kids into the spirit by requesting a saddlebag at the front desk. The contents will guide and engage children throughout the museum. Get the wiggles out by heading to the basement level where you’ll find the Sagebrush Ranch where kids can learn about light, perspective, observation and other art related concepts all in a kid-friendly playground.

Photo courtesy of Dunwoody Nature Center

Photo courtesy of Dunwoody Nature Center

Relax at the Dunwoody Nature Center: My boys love to visit The Dunwoody Nature Center in the warmer months when they can wade into the creek with their nets and try to catch water striders or even tiny fish. On a recent visit, my son and I hiked a few of the trails, stopping in the full-sized Indian tepee to entertain each other with a progressive story. It was tons of fun. The best part of the Dunwoody Nature Center is it’s free everyday.

Fly Into the Wild Blue Yonder: Kids 8-17 can learn about aviation and take an introductory flight with the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA)Young Eagles Program. Young Eagles chapters are located throughout the state with the most active in Columbus and Lawrenceville. Once the introductory course is complete, kids have the opportunity to advance their training with a free flight training course and a voucher for a first flight lesson with an instructor. Even if they don’t take the flight course, it’s fun to see the city from the sky.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

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

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5 Unique Ways to Enjoy Georgia State Parks with Kids

By Lesli Peterson

ChattahoocheeBendTitle

In 2014 our family stayed overnight at a different Georgia State Park each month, and visited multiple parks in between overnight adventures.  (You can read about Part 1 and Part 2 of our journey.)

While I highly recommend such an adventure, it isn’t for everyone. Don’t let this discourage you from exploring the parks, though! Here are five fun daytrip park adventures for kiddos.

GeorgeLSmith

George L Smith State Park

Canoe or Kayak the blackwater at George L Smith State Park

There is nothing quite like canoeing in blackwater.  The Cypress and Tupelo trees tucked in the water reflect dreamily on the blacktop.  It is peaceful and serene, and the perfect environment for learning to row. Click here to learn more about our canoeing adventure:

Iron pour at Red Top Mountain State Park

Red Top Mountain’s name comes from the soil’s rich red color caused by high iron-ore content.  Bring the kiddos to select a scratch block mold. The crew then fires up the blast furnace, fills the mold with molten iron, and offers up your unique piece once cooled.

Magnolia Springs

Magnolia Springs

See Turtles in the natural spring at Magnolia Springs State Park

Not too far from George L Smith you’ll find Magnolia Springs. The natural spring here pumps 7-9 million gallons of water each day. It is crystal clear, and reflects beautiful shades of blue and green.  Within the spring we saw dozens and dozens of turtles, and a few alligators.  I’ve never seen so many turtles in such a small area; it was amazing.  A side note: Camp Lawton was on this site during the civil war. It was one of two POW camps, the other being the more famous Andersonville.  A museum at the park shares many of the artifacts found here. See a video of the springs and turtle here.

Hike the falls at Amicalola State Park & Lodge

Amicalola is one of the tallest falls this side of the Mississippi. You’ll want to take the kids to see it! I recommend driving up the hill and parking midway with younger kids.  A short walk will get you to a bridge, only feet from the falls. It’s gorgeous, and the kids loved it.  The path is paved, so a stroller would also work.  Active kids can make it down the stairs to the base of the falls and back. Older kids can climb up the 450 stairs to the top of the falls…or start at the top and walk all the way down. Read about our fall adventure here.

Get down with the diamorpha at Chattahoochee Bend State Park

Diamorpha are succulants found in the pools of rock outcrops like those at Chattahoochee Bend and Arabia Mountain.  In spring they turn bright red, and then burst with a white bloom.  Primarily found in Georgia, they are on the endangered species list in Tennessee. In fall and winter they appear brown and “dead,” but they are not. Showing kids how special they are in spring, helps them to understand and better respect these beauties in the cold months. We inspected these charmers here.

What are your favorite things to do with kids at Georgia State Parks?

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

These Georgia B&Bs Will Make You Want to Move In

Photo Courtesy of  Lucille's Mountain Top Inn and Spa

Photo Courtesy of
Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn and Spa

Spring is right around the chilly corner.  The 2015 class of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers will soon be hitting the Trail northward from Springer Mountain.  Quite often friends and families gather together to encourage loved ones who are starting their trek.  We hope this brief list of fabulous bed and breakfast inns (B&Bs) in the Northeast Georgia Mountains will help you find a special place for your fond, temporary farewells.

These B&B ideas come from our friends with the Northeast Georgia Mountains Travel Association.  They always have great tips on the best places to enjoy spending time without necessarily spending a lot of money.

Bed and breakfast inns are special places to get away that offer an entirely different experience than cookie-cutter motels.  At B&Bs in Northeast Georgia’s mountains, you’re truly guests, not simply occupants of a room with iffy towels and TV clickers that are more germ infested than most CDC labs.

Cozy.  Comfy.  Friendly.  Fascinating get-aways. B&Bs are entirely different from places where you try to sleep by a busy freeway with a breakfast menu that consists of soggy cereal in a tiny Styrofoam bowl.

B&BS are mini vacations that you’ll remember long after most sleazy motels are plowed down to make room for another car lot.

When you need a break – when you REALLY need a break – pick one of Northeast Georgia’s lovely B&Bs with one-of-a-kind decorations and fabulous attitudes.  Enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast (that someone else makes for a change), have a quiet conversation (without you-know-who bothering you) in a spot with beautiful views and not-so-strange strangers.

Here’s a B&B you might like: Your Home in the Woods Bed & Breakfast Inn serves oatmeal from baked peaches and locally sourced blueberries.  Foodies will love their apple cheddar quiche and “creamy eggs” — scrambled eggs with cream cheese and Dijon mustard.  Going with a fussy eater?  Don’t tell him or her what’s in it and watch as it’s munched down faster than you can say, “I knew you’d like it.”

All of Northeast Georgia’s B&Bs are above average, of course, and many use local foods to add a gourmet twist to their breakfast offerings.

Twin Creeks Bed and Breakfast Inn, for example, makes a blueberry, cream cheese and croissant casserole.  Their signature dish is a carrot-cake Belgium waffle with cream cheese, cinnamon sugar butter and sublime syrup.

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Inn and Cottages

Photo Courtesy of Misty Mountain Inn and Cottages

The Misty Mountain Inn B&B includes a full breakfast with fresh ground coffee and juices.  Daily offerings vary, but think of … a country breakfast with home fries and scrambled eggs with diced ham.  Add in a few cheeses, bacon, biscuits and toast with jams, jellies and locally produced honey and you’ll have a good idea of what’s for breakfast.  Or select a vegetarian quiche, a breakfast sausage casserole, waffles and pancakes or simply delicious coffee with a loved one.

Glen-Ella Springs is a fabulous place for dinner or to spend the night … followed by breakfast and appreciation.

Photo Courtest of @cgponder via Instagram

Photo Courtest of @cgponder via Instagram

If you’re adventurous, take a drive around magnificent Lake Rabun – be sure to notice the unique boathouses – then, stop by for a quick hike up Minnehaha Falls (honest).  Afterward, head down Bear Gap Road, the back way to Glen-Ella Springs.

Just when you-know-who is absolutely sure you’re lost and promises himself/herself never to trust you again, say, “Oh, no!  We’re almost out of gas and we have no food!  We’re going to die in the wilderness!”

Keep driving few miles through deepest, darkest Georgia to Glen-Ella Springs.  Park and go inside where you’ll say, “We have dinner reservations!”

(Yes, I actually did that years ago.  I’ve forgotten her name, but I’ll bet she remembers that date, if not me.  She’s probably doing better after all these years.  Probably.)

Glen-Ella Springs offers blueberry pancakes with Vermont maple syrup and hickory smoked bacon that could make almost anyone forgive you for almost anything.  (Some restrictions apply.)

Everyone’s favorite culinary masters at Glen-Ella delight guests with their Two Cheese Strata served alongside creamy stone-ground grits from Nora Mill Granary of Helen, GA.  Count me in for country ham and made-from-scratch biscuits.  Unless they’re serving Caramel French Toast Casserole and Mini Herb Egg Muffins.  Tough choices.

Everything at Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn & Spa – truly one of America’s finest – is fabulous.  If you’ve never been treated like royalty, Lucille’s is your big chance.  If you’ve never seen a sunset or sunrise in the Northeast Georgia mountains, Lucille’s is your big chance.  If you’ve never spent a night in a deluxe room with a couple of robes that probably cost more than your first car, Lucille’s is your big chance.  If you’ve never had a gourmet breakfast where the only thing that could possibly intrude upon the delight is trying to figure out which spoon and/or fork to use (trust me, they’ll bring you more) … yup, Lucille’s is your big chance.

My three-course breakfasts at home – generic V-8 juice, a generic English muffin, generic bran cereal and inexpensive coffee – aren’t the same as what you’ll be served at Lucille’s.  In a dining room overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northeast Georgia, you’ll dine on Gruyere and Shallot Frittatas, Crème Brulee French Toast with Minted Strawberries, Pancakes with Spiced Blueberries and a side of thick sliced Applewood Smoked Bacon.

Photo Courtesy of Lucille's Mountain Top Inn and Spa

Photo Courtesy of Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn and Spa

I’ve been to Lucille’s Mountaintop Inn.  Didn’t have a clue what I was eating (sorry), but if I get to choose where I want to eat my Last Meal, take me to Lucille’s, please.

Pffft.  Forget going to the Smokies.  Forget motels that have numbers in their names.  The next time you need to get away for a little adventure, exploration or relaxation, spend a night — and maybe the time of your life — at one of the forty B&Bs providing the best the Northeast Georgia Mountains can offer.

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.