Day Trip to Callaway Gardens

VegGarden 177_CG

Pine Mountain and Callaway Gardens were recommended to me by a coworker and I’d like to pass on the recommendations.

The Tourism Office in Pine Mountain was super helpful in recommending what to see in Pine Mountain, at Callaway Gardens and the food options in town.

Covering thousands of acres, the Gardens offer something for everyone. Attractions include the Birds of Prey show (with multiple birds flying just overhead), Day Butterfly Center and Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden (recognizable to PBS viewers).

callaway (1)While it would take days to cover all the land by foot, there is ample parking throughout the park as you hop from attraction to attraction.

The Discovery Center is a great starting point for your trip. The Ida Cason Memorial Chapel is a work of art and not to be missed. There are many trails which offer the opportunity to observe the gorgeous gardens. Depending on the season, each experience is bound to be different.

In addition, Callaway Gardens offers scenic drives, gorgeous views and golf. If you are looking to fish, bike or zip line, Callaway has you covered.

10 MastersWaterSki 094Don’t miss the beach at Callaway! The Masters Waterski and Wakeboard Tournament is held every year on Memorial Day Weekend. Pack some chairs and a picnic and you’re set for hours. When the tournament isn’t happening, I’m told there are lots of opportunities to get into the water.

We chose The Bakery and Café at Rose Cottage for dinner. Great choice! Starters and mains were delicious. For a starter, I highly recommend the Darden’s Smithfield ham, thin sliced with olive oil and shaved Manchego cheese!

lorisusslebonanniLori Sussle Bonanni spent her career in New York City and relocated to Atlanta in December 2013. Lori loves immersing herself in local culture and going off the beaten path. She is excited to explore all that Atlanta and Georgia have to offer. Lori earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Specialization in Advertising and Public Relations from Rowan University. Say hi to Lori @smplythreecents on Twitter or visit her blog, simplythreecents.com.

Hike the Hooch!

East Palisades Trail

Explore the banks of the Chattahoochee River on these five Chattahoochee hikes near Atlanta. From historic bridges to tucked-away islands and rushing whitewater, these trails visit the river’s most beautiful stretches.

The Chattahoochee River is one of Georgia’s great rivers. The river, nicknamed the “Hooch”, begins as a tiny trickle in North Georgia’s rolling Appalachians before pooling in Lake Lanier and flowing wide and mighty toward Atlanta.

South of Lake Lanier, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area spans 48 miles of shady, forested river banks. This enormously long chain of parks offers over 70 miles of hiking, running and biking trails managed by the National Park Service.  For a great hike, walk or trail run near Atlanta this summer, explore the Hooch! But with over 70 miles of trails in the Chattahoochee River NRA, where should you begin?

Explore the best of the river and several tributary creeks on these five fantastic Chattahoochee hikes north of Atlanta. New to hiking? No problem: these hikes travel under five miles on well-traveled, easy to moderate trails. Take a hike to explore beautiful Chattahoochee River views, a mid-river island, historic mill ruins and a rushing spillway waterfall.  And watch for wildlife: the Chattahoochee’s forested banks are home to deer, heron, turtles and geese that frequent the river’s shore.

Parking: $3 (daily), or included with a Chattahoochee River NRA annual pass.

East Palisades Trail

Hike a 3.4 mile loop on the East Palisades Trail to explore one of the Chattahoochee’s most scenic stretches near Atlanta.

The Hooch cascades through small waterfalls and whitewater at the Palisades, rushing over angular rock rising from the river. The East Palisades trail treks to stunning overlook views from towering bluffs and hikes through a bamboo forest on the river’s banks.

Vickery CreekVickery Creek Trail

Explore historic mills, a waterfall and steep river banks on this 3 mile hike near a Chattahoochee River tributary.

The Vickery Creek Trail hikes rolling forest near the banks of Big Creek in Roswell. The hike visits a spillway waterfall where Big Creek tumbles over a historic, stacked-stone dam that once powered the Roswell Mill downstream.  The trail arcs to cross a wooden covered bridge to explore the Roswell Mill Ruins in Old Mill Park, a mill complex destroyed in the Civil War.

Sope CreekSope Creek Trail

The kid-friendly Sope Creek Trails explore a boulder-studded creek, a historic paper mill destroyed in the Civil War and a serene pond on the banks of Sope Creek, a Chattahoochee tributary.

This 1.5 mile trail descends through a young pine and deciduous forest to the banks of Sope Creek where the ruins of an 1855 paper mill rise, cathedral-like, from the forest floor.  The hike explores Sope Creek’s rocky bed before trekking through a stream-filled forest. Watch for wildflowers and wildlife along the trail as it rises to Sibley Pond, where it loops the glassy pond’s banks before returning to the trailhead.

Powers IslandPowers Island Trail

This 2.4 mile trail explores an island on the opposite banks of the Chattahoochee from Cochran Shoals, a hugely popular biking and running trail.

The Powers Island Trail crosses a wide footbridge to loop around Powers Island, catching beautiful upriver views of the whitewater-filled Chattahoochee. Heron, geese and sunlight-basking turtles are a common sight in the smooth-flowing inlet on the island’s eastern side.

Jones BridgeJones Bridge Trail

The Jones Bridge Trail catches beautiful Chattahoochee River views in the City of Johns Creek, visiting a historic bridge and crossing wooden suspension bridges over trickling tributaries. Hike the Jones Bridge Trail on a cool summer morning for a chance to catch fog flowing downriver, illuminated by rays from the rising sun.

The 4.6 mile trail visits the remains of a turn-of-the-twentieth-century metal bridge that spans the Hooch. Other than the remaining metal shell, most of the bridge was heisted by thieves in the 1940s.

Eric ChamplinEric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, kayak and cycle Georgia’s beautiful outdoors. Eric is the author of Atlanta Trails, an online magazine that reviews the best hiking trails, running trails and outdoor adventures throughout Georgia. His objective? To inspire Atlanta residents and visitors to get fit outdoors and explore Georgia’s beauty.

Atlanta’s Great Outdoors

piedmont park

The luxury of being in Atlanta is the opportunity to get outside early in the year. Want to spend time outside? Here are three suggestions.

Piedmont Park

Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Piedmont Park is the green space city dwellers crave. Olmsted was responsible for the landscape architecture of many parks including Central Park and Prospect Park, both in New York City.

Piedmont Park offers the Green Market, fitness classes, festivals, educational walks, dog parks, fields and trails. Easy access to the Atlanta BeltLine guarantees a ‘choose your own adventure’ kind of day.

2011-10-16-Atlanta-Botanical-Gardens-102Atlanta Botanical Gardens

As the elevator door whisks you from the parking garage to the ABG level, you will be transported into a world of color and aromas that did not exist a few minutes earlier. The gardens are a colorful maze of unexpected flowers and plants.

Enter the Fuqua Orchid Center for sensory overload. See colors you wouldn’t have anticipated, enjoy the symphony of frogs and feel the warmth of a tropical climate.

The garden hosts many exhibits, events and classes. The current exhibit, Imaginary Worlds, is an incredible array of living plants formed to create magical creatures. It is the largest of its kind ever presented in the United States. Imaginary Worlds will run through October.

 

Turner Field

Turner Field

Atlanta Braves Game

Now is the time to take advantage of the Ted before the stadium relocates.  From my first two games, it doesn’t look like there’s a bad seat in the house.

Want to commemorate your first Braves game? Stop at a Guest Relations booth to receive a First Time Visitor’s Certificate. As for food, you’re guaranteed a wait, but the Holeman and Finch burger is worth it.

The Atlanta Braves offer 101 things to do at Turner Field. See how many you can check off this summer!

lorisusslebonanniLori Sussle Bonanni spent her career in New York City and relocated to Atlanta in December 2013. Lori loves immersing herself in local culture and going off the beaten path. She is excited to explore all that Atlanta and Georgia have to offer. Lori earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Specialization in Advertising and Public Relations from Rowan University. Say hi to Lori @smplythreecents on Twitter or visit her blog, simplythreecents.com.

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