Summer in Rabun County

7 THINGS TO DO DURING THE SUMMER IN RABUN COUNTY

Rabun County sits high in North Georgia, situated comfortably just south of the North Carolina and South Carolina state lines surrounded by the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. When you’re looking to beat the late summer heat, Rabun County has great places to stay and play.

Stay and dine at The Dillard House. Generations of Rabun County visitors have stayed at The Dillard House and tasted their signature Southern dishes as part of a menu that changes daily. Accommodations include standard and luxury rooms, cottages and cabins while spa treatments and horse riding are also offered.Dillard House

Visit a state park. The county’s state parks offer a peek into the state’s diverse topography and are both family-friendly, easily accessible, and offer a wide variety of activities to visitors.

Black Rock Mountain State Park is Georgia’s highest state park and features streams, waterfalls, a richly forested landscape and expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Tallulah Gorge State Park highlight’s Georgia’s ecological diversity with must-see waterfalls and lush hillsides. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for the hiking portion of your visit. Even if you don’t hike, a stop at the family-friendly visitors center offers an education on the area’s history and a chance to see live native animals.Tallulah Gorge Bridge

See a drive-in movie. Step back in time by taking in a movie at the Tiger Drive-In. The outdoor theater originally opened in 1954 and today’s incarnation of the attraction features a digital projector and a snack bar.

See the goats on the roof. No visit to Rabun County is complete without a stop to Goats on the Roof. The quirky attraction features live goats living and playing on the roofs of several buildings that house shops and snacking opportunities. Kids will love the opportunity to  feed the goats using the various unique mechanical devices around the site.Goats on the Roof - Tiger GA

Attend the Dillard Bluegrass Festival & Georgia State Championship Barbeque Cookoff. The annual festival showcases the best barbecue not just in Rabun County but across the neighboring areas. Be sure to bring cash and your appetite.

Visit a local vineyard. Tiger Mountain VineyardsStonewall Creek Vineyards and 12 Spies Vineyards are all nearby offering tasting opportunities.

Go whitewater rafting. There are numerous whitewater rafting opportunies throughout Rabun County and the heat of the summer is the perfect time to explore the region’s rapids.

EileenEileen 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.

Guide to the BB&T Atlanta Open

GEORGIA SHOWS ITS TENNIS LOVE AT BB&T ATLANTA OPEN

BB&T Atlanta Open

Photo courtesy of BB&T Atlanta Open

The BB&T Atlanta Open kicks off July 25, 2015 at Atlanta’s Atlantic Station. While you’re there, you should visit the Georgia table and say hey! But before you go, here’s what you need to know:

Getting There
Location: Atlantic Station (Atlanta, GA) is a mixed use live/work/play development situated squarely between typical Midtown and Westside neighborhood boundaries along 17th Street.

Public Transportation: By bus, the No. 37 DeFoors Ferry line will get you to Atlantic Station. By rail, the Atlantic Station Free Ride Shuttle is available to transport guests to and from the Arts Center MARTA Station from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

Self- Parking: Atlantic Station offers abundant deck parking with color-coded parking sections for easy vehicle location. The first two hours of parking are free. Click here to see the full fee schedule. You must pay for parking before returning to your vehicle to exit the parking deck.

Valet Parking: For a fee, there is valet parking available just east of the Target parking deck.

EV Charging: If you’re taking your plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle to the BB&T Atlanta Open, you can charge it at one of Atlantic Station’s numerous charging locations.

Lexus Owners: If you drive your Lexus to the tournament, you’re able to receive complimentary parking in the 20th Street parking lot at the north end of Atlantic Station. Care to valet? Lexus drivers are eligible for reduced $5 valet parking.

Schedule of Events:
To see the full daily schedule of matches, click here.

John Isner

2-Time Defending Champion, UGA Grad John Isner | Photo courtesy of BB&T Atlanta Open

Who’s Playing:
You’ll hear names you’ll recognize from this year’s Wimbledon tournament like Vasek Pospisil. Crowd favorite Andy Roddick, fresh off covering the tournament for the BBC will play as well longtime pros Mardy Fish and the Bryan brothers (Mike and Bob).

Plus you can watch players with a Georgia connection: Georgia Tech freshman Christopher Eubanks defeated top collegiate tennis players for the wild card spot in the tournament, and UGA grad John Isner will be looking to defend his two consecutive Atlanta Open titles.

Promotions
Kids Go Free – During kids weekend, July 25 and 26, children under 18 years old may attend the day’s matches for free when accompanied by an adult with a ticket. Up to four children can go free per adult ticket.

College Night – College students, with valid ID, can purchase a ticket and get one free on July 28.

Ladies Day – Ladies, enjoy a VIP package that includes an ATP player clinic and lunch at STRIP as part of a daytime event on July 30.

Fireworks & USTA Member Appreciation Day – On July 31, the tournament welcomes USTA members and celebrates their support of the game with a fireworks celebration post-game.

Shopping:
Free T-Shirt – During the length of the tournament, guests can show their BB&T Atlanta Open ticket at any Atlantic Station retailer with a LOVE decal for an exclusive offer. Shoppers who net $150+ in same-day receipts at any Atlantic Station store or restaurant will receive a free LOVE t-shirt when they present their receipts at Concierge.

Bag Check – Shoppers can conveniently drop off their purchases at the pop-up Concierge desk located on Market Street, just across from the tournament entry area, from July 31 to August 2.

Dining:
When you’re at Atlantic Station, be sure to take advantage of their numerous restaurant offerings like Top Chef contestant Roy Eyester owned Diner, meat and seafood restaurant The Pig and the Pearl, local favorite Chick-a-Biddy  and fast-casual Atlanta-born Tin Drum Asia Cafe.

What to Bring:
Don’t forget a small seat cushion, sunscreen (lotion only; aerosol cans are not permitted), a water bottle, a hat, and sunglasses. Backpacks, hard coolers, bottles or cans, weapons, pets, signs/banners, and larger electronic devices like iPads are not permitted. Be sure to check the full list of prohibited items before you leave to attend the tournament.

Tickets:
Ticket prices vary by seat, date and promotion. To see the full ticket cost breakdown, click here. 

EileenEileen 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.

4 Ways to Taste Georgia-Made Ice Cream

Whether you prefer ice cream, gelato or custard, there’s room for them all as you taste your way around the state.

Honeysuckle Gelato

Photo courtesy of Honeysuckle Gelato

1.)  At a festival. Georgia is home to numerous annual ice cream festivals including the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival, Ice Cream Festival at Crooked Pines Farm, Slow Food Atlanta Ice Cream Social, and Miss Mary’s Crankin’ Ice Cream Festival in Roswell.

2.)  From the source. Whether it’s craft ice cream you prefer or a more commercial brand, you can visit the factory when you’re in Georgia. Alton Brown’s preferred brand, High Road Craft, can be found in Marietta while Mayfield Dairy Farms offers tours in Braselton. One of the best parts of visiting High Road Craft is being able to buy their small batch and test flavors that you can’t find anywhere else.

When you’re in Savannah, visit Leopold’s, the classic ice cream parlor seen on the silver screen. They make their flavors in-house and you can’t beat their old time-y atmosphere.

Up in North Georgia, stop by Mountain Fresh Creamery for a sweet treat on your way through the mountains.

And, next time you’re near Fort Valley, plan on heading to Lane Southern Orchards. Their peach ice cream is legendary.

3.)  Where you live/work/play. Vintage Frozen Custard has set up shop at Westside Provisions District offering “premium frozen custard” inside an old fashioned ice cream parlor. Honeysuckle Gelato is set to open their first brick and mortar location inside Ponce City Market later this year. You can also find their gelato at Davio’s inside Phipps Plaza.

4.)  Where you shop. Stop by Georgia’s Whole Foods Market and The Fresh Market locations to find prepackaged ice cream, gelato and custard from Georgia’s vendors.

EileenEileen 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.

Independence Day on the Georgia Coast

When you head to Georgia’s Coast this Independence Day holiday, there’s much more to do than just see fireworks. The state’s coastal towns have their own annual Fourth of July celebrations in addition to other family-friendly festivals and events planned.

Independence Day on the Georgia Coast

Photo Credit: Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations, Inc.

Brunswick
Summer Classic Movies at the Ritz (July 2, 2015) – Get into the patriotic spirit by stopping by The Ritz Theatre to see a showing of the classic James Cagney movie Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Brunswick’s Old Fashioned 4th of July (July 4, 2015) – Mary Ross Waterfront Park is home to an evening filled with family-friendly fun. There will be free watermelon slices, live musical entertainment, games and a fireworks display set to patriotic music to wrap up the evening.

Darien
Red, White & Blues on the Bluff (July 3, 2015) – Hosted by the Darien-McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce, this festival invites residents and visitors to the shores of the river to listen to live bands and chow down on food from vendors while they wait for the fireworks display to start.

Canons Across the Marsh at Fort King George Historic Site (July 4, 2015) – Artillery drills, musket firing and activities to get you better acquainted with a soldier’s life are on the schedule for this Independence Day at the Site. Also, free watermelon and lemonade will be served.

Jekyll Island
Jekyll Island Independence Day Celebration (July 4, 2015) – Jekyll Island will be celebrating the holiday all day on July 4th with beaches open and historical grounds begging for exploration. In the evening, gather near the Jekyll Island Convention Center to see the fireworks display.

Sunday Funday on Jekyll Island (July 5, 2015) – Bring a picnic from a local restaurant or snack shop and spend the afternoon on the Village Green where there will be a magician and face painter ready to entertain the kids.

Midway
Independence Day Colonial Faire at For Morris Historic Site (July 4, 2015) – Offering period appropriate games of skill, colonial music, musket firings, cannon firings and the usual park recreation opportunities, you family’s day at the park also comes with free admission in honor of the holiday.

Richmond Hill
Independence Day Celebration at Fort McAllister State Park (July 4, 2015) – Bring your family to the park to celebrate Independence Day like it’s 1864. There will be games, food, living history demonstrations, canon firing and musket demonstrations throughout the day in addition to the park’s other recreational activities.

Savannah
River Street Fourth of July Celebration (July 4, 2015) – Starting at 4 p.m. town visitors and residents are invited to River Street to celebrate Independence Day, Savannah style. Fireworks are scheduled to begin at dark.

Starland District’s First Friday Art March (July 3, 2015) – Explore local art and culture by experiencing the monthly art walk. July’s March will include an indie market, kids art activities and free trolley service.

Sea Island
The resort community has family-friendly fun planned from July 1-5, 2015 including the Family Olympics, the Ice Cream Sundae Challenge, a fun run, barbecue, luau, parade, fireworks and much more! The entire schedule of events is available as a PDF here.

St. Marys
4th of July Celebration (July 4, 2015) – Family-friendly fun lasts all day long on Independence Day in the quaint Georgia town of St. Marys. From a parade to arts and crafts to food vendors to rides for kids to a street dance, there’s something for everyone. At night, there will be one of the largest fireworks displays in the Southeastern United States lighting up the sky.

St. Simons Island
St. Simons Island Sunshine Festival (July 3-5, 2015) – Pier Village is home to the festival that highlights the region’s best art including painting, pottery, jewelry, woodcraft, photography and garden art in addition to the annual 1 mile fun run, 5K race and July 4th fireworks display.

A Little Light Music Concert featuring Mason Waters and the Groove Allstars (July 5, 2015) – Locals and visitors are invited to gather on the grounds of the historic St. Simons Lighthouse for an evening concert before heading to face the workweek.

Tybee Island
Fourth of July Fireworks on the Pier (July 3, 2015) – You can spend your day on the beach, visiting friends, and taking advantage of local dining but be sure to leave enough time to head to the Pier on Tybee Island where they’ll shoot off fireworks around 9:00 p.m. on Independence Day.

Market at the Light House (July 5, 2015) – Shake off the Saturday revelry for a relaxing morning browsing the food, goods and more at the market.


Eileen
Eileen 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.

Attack of the Killer Tomato Recipes

For the last six years, the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival has gathered Atlanta’s top chefs and mixologists together to create new dishes for a day of tasting. Each year attendees taste tomato-based food and drinks and while judges pick their favorites as winners. Festival proceeds always go to good causes and there’s some good food along the way.

Killer Tomato Festival

Killer Tomato Festival
Photo Credit: Emily Schultz

In 2014, Bloody Mary Ice Pops by Pastry Chef Chrysta Poulos, the master of pastry for all of Ford Fry’s restaurants, was a crowd favorite. Ready to try these for your next outdoor picnic? I snagged the recipe:

Bloody Mary Ice Pops

Ingredients

4 1/2 cups water
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
7 1/2 cups Bloody Mary mix
6 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups of your favorite vodka
ZipZicle Ice Pop Bags

Method

  1. Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Refrigerate until very cold.
  3. Grab a large enough container so that all the ingredients can fit at once.  Pour in your chilled simple syrup, then whisk in Bloody Mary, fresh lime juice, and vodka.  Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  4. Find a tall sided container to hold your pops upright.  Using a liquid measure cup with a pouring spout or whatever you have around the kitchen, fill the Zipzicle bags and place upright in your container — they only need to remain upright until frozen, then they can be placed on their sides for easier storage.

Eduardo Guzman, beverage manager at JCT. Kitchen & Bar, The Optimist, and Marcel concocted the cocktail named “All in One Basket,” the 2014 Festival Judge’s Choice cocktail winner. Here is how you can make yours:

All in One Basket

Ingredients

32 oz. Crop Vodka
16 oz. Cocchi Americano
1 quart sun gold tomatoes
1 quart Georgia peaches, sliced and pitted
1/4 cup calabrese peppers
3 dill springs
3 cups lemon juice
Celery salt

Method

  1. Dry out the peppers in the oven for 20 minutes, then soaked the peppers and pulverize them.
  2. Then, combine tomatoes, peaches, and peppers with 2 cups of water in a blender.
  3. Strain out the mixture, and combine with the dill sprigs, about 3 pinches of celery salt, and the lemon juice.
  4. Let it rest for one hour before serving.

2015’s Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival is July 19 at Westside Provisions District in Atlanta. The festival will feature over 40 of the South’s top chefs, more than 20 mixologists, and over 30 farmers competing for prizes while music from Ill Communication and Five Bone Rack, Ford’s all-chef band, keeps the crowd’s spirits up. Festival proceeds benefit Georgia Organics and The Giving Kitchen.

EileenEileen 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.