5 Places to Eat Seafood on Georgia’s Golden Isles

Darien, Georgia. Photo by Evangelio Gonzalez . Submitted via Flickr.

Darien, Georgia. Photo by Evangelio Gonzalez . Submitted via Flickr.

The annual Blessing of the Fleet Festival is coming up April 17-19 and one of the highlights of the multiday festival is seeing all the shrimp boats lined up along the coast. Whether you’re heading to Darien for the festival this year or just driving by and get inspired for a meal, there are five of my favorite places to grab a fresh seafood dinner.

1.)  B&J’s Steaks & Seafood – It doesn’t look like much from the street but a trip to B&J’s comes highly recommended by locals… and they would know.

2.) Mudcat Charlie’s – Sit back, relax, and enjoy a view of the river while you wait for your fresh seafood on Brunswick’s coast. Plus, their prices won’t break the bank.

Photo courtesy of The Crab Trap

Photo courtesy of The Crab Trap

3.)  The Crab Trap – Their website advertises “Tasty Food. Cold Beer.” and that tells most of the story. The St. Simons Island locally owned restaurant offers local shrimp, scallops, oysters and fish, alongside Southern favorites like battered fries, hush puppies, coleslaw, cheese grits, and crab soup. Feeling adventurous? Order the Blue Crab Cocktail.

4.)  Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill – Local fresh fish, seafood, and crab cakes are hits with locals and tourists. Plus, Golden Isles visitors will like that it’s just down the street from The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort.

5.) The Half Shell – Another one of my favorite places, this new-ish restaurant serves tables full of oysters and crab cakes nightly. The restaurant is located near Neptune Park and the Saint Simons Island Lighthouse Museum – two great spots to stop and stroll before your dinner or after your lunch.

Not in the mood for seafood but want reasonably priced food, a kids menu that won’t hike up your bill, live music, and a local vibe? Don’t miss Tipsy McSway’s in Brunswick.

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.

Explore Georgia’s Federalist and Colonial Era History

Fort Yargo Yurt

Discussion of Georgia’s historical past usually centers around the Civil War, Trail of Tears, and founding of coastal Georgia. Many residents and visitors forget the rich history of the state’s Federalist and Colonial Era history. This year’s 18th Century Colonial Market Faire at Fort Yargo State Park March 27-29 once again celebrates that period in time.

The family-friendly atmosphere is filled with living historians demonstrating life in Georgia when the frontier was filled with new settlers mixing with Native Americans and militias worked to keep citizens safe.

This year’s festival promises to showcase 18th Century craftsmen and women demonstrating their trades, frontier camps, Native American warriors, militia drills, children’s activities, a trading post, weapons, Federalist era music performances. New this year is an 18th Century style tavern.

During your visit to the park, be sure to plan time to check out the 1792 log fort built by settlers for protection against Creek and Cherokee Indians and, if the weather is warm enough, spend some time at the 260-acre lake.

If you fancy staying overnight to take advantage of all the part has to offer, I recommend staying in one of the park’s yurts or cottages, some of which are pet-friendly and all of which include access to bathrooms and showers.

Want to visit more sites featuring Georgia’s pre-1800s history? Check out:

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.

10 Must-Do International Cherry Blossom Festival Events

Photo courtesy of International Cherry Blossom Festival

Photo courtesy of International Cherry Blossom Festival

This year’s International Cherry Blossom Festival in downtown Macon promises days and nights filled with a variety of fun March 19-29. Here are 10 events you’ll want to be sure you don’t miss:

1.)  Beer & Brats in the Biergarten – Sample bratwursts paired with seasonal selections from Macon Beer Company all while listening to traditional German folk music.

2.)  Cherry Blossom Parade – Watch as downtown Macon streets host a parade filled with floats, marching bands, military units, costumed performers, international dignitaries, and more.

Photo courtesy of International Cherry Blossom Festival

Photo courtesy of International Cherry Blossom Festival

3.)  Third Street Park Celebration – Enjoy an atmosphere filled with revelry with a different themed each day during the festival. There will also be live entertainment, free ice cream, and giveaways.

4.)  Buddy Greene Live in Concert – Singer and songwriter Buddy Greene brings his Southern inspired sounds to Macon and will perform a concert benefitting The Fuller Center for Housing of Macon, a non-profit that repairs and renovates poverty housing for low income families.

5.)  Bus Tour of Macon’s 12 Historic Districts – Various tours feature the some of the 6.500 structures in the city during a 2-hour guided bus tour of the Cherry Blossom Trail.

6.)  Food Truck Frenzy – On March 28th and 29th, food trucks will fill Third Street between Walnut and Mulberry Streets. Enjoy a sample, a snack, a meal, or a brew from the trucks.

7.)  Spring Spirit Stroll at Riverside Cemetery – Spend an evening walking amongst the graves of Riverside Cemetery as a 1-hour guided tour features acts in costume at graveside bringing to life selected stories from notable and notorious Macon history.

Photo courtesy of International Cherry Blossom Festival

Photo courtesy of International Cherry Blossom Festival

8.)  Cherry Blosson Bed Race – Which wild and wacky ride will reign supreme during their journey down Cherry Street?

Photo courtesy of International Cherry Blossom Festival

Photo courtesy of International Cherry Blossom Festival

9.)  Macon-Bibb Firefighters Competition – Watch the red team battle it out competing against each other in events that test skill, agility, and teamwork in a challenging show of strengths.

10.)  Ocmulgee National Monument Lantern Light Tours – This unique opportunity allows visitors to grab a lantern and walk to the Great Temple Mound, see downtown Macon from the top of the mound, and learn about the history of the Native American people that called Ocmulgee home.

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.

Springtime Festivals Bloom Across the State

Photo courtesy of Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Photo courtesy of Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Georgia is known for its beautiful landscapes and dotting those landscapes are trees and flowers that have lended their name to springtime festivals . Here are 10 coming up in the next month:

1.)  Yellow Pollen Street Festival – Hampton’s newly revamped Main Street serves as the host for its annual spring festival that celebrates good that comes from the sticky icky known as Georgia pine pollen on March 21st.

2.)  Jonquil Festival – Smyrna’s twice-yearly festival takes it’s spring turn April 25th and 26th at the Village Green.  Admission is free to the family-friendly event which will feature local artisans, numerous Cobb County restaurants, and a kids play area.

3.)  Azalea Festival – Head to Valdosta March 14th and 15th for two full days of fun including a live tiger display by Tiger Stripes Animal Sanctuary, the Classic Car and Motorcycle Show, the Disc-Connected K9’s Frisbee Show, the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, and the Wild Adventures Stage.

4.)  International Cherry Blossom Festival – The entire city of Macon comes alive March 19th- April 4th with food, music, family-friendly fun, tours, historical exploration experiences, a parade, fireworks, and more.

Photo courtesy of Forsythia Festival

Photo courtesy of Forsythia Festival

5.) Forsythia Festival – Held the second weekend in March in Forsyth, the two-day event features a family-friendly weekend filled with an arts-and-crafts show, children’s fair, running races, live entertainment, and more!

6.)  Another Bloomin’ Festival – On April 4th, downtown Metter comes alive with typical festival sights and sounds in addition to a celebration of Easter. For extra fun individuals and familes are invited to the Metter Municipal Airport for the annual Bloomin’ Fly-In.

7.)  Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival –Former Olympic site the Georgia International Horse Park will host the 2015 version of the festival March 21st and 22nd in Conyers.  Visitors will enjoy multiple stages of continuous entertainment featuring international music, dance, games, food, 300 arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, and more.

8.)  Atlanta Dogwood Festival – April 10-12 Atlanta’s Piedmont Park will host one of the city’s most beloved festivals- the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. Now in its 79th year, the festival will feature a nationally renowned-juried Fine Artist Market,  Kids Village featuring huge inflatables, arts & crafts and face painting for all ages, as well as the ever-popular 24-foot rock-climbing wall. A wide variety of live musical entertainment and food will complete the festival experience.

9.)  Perry Dogwood Festival – April 11th and 12th downtown Perry will feature a festival highlighting the best entertainment the town can offer including a hot air balloon rally, dog diving competition, arts and crafts festival, running events, fishing tournament, and flapjack fundraiser.

10.)  Geranium Festival – Arts and crafts vendors from across the southeastern United States will gather just off 1-75 in McDonough to sell their wares on May 16th. Festival food, a children’s area, and a section highlighting local businesses all make this day family-friendly and fun.

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.

Shake Off Boring and Rattle Down the Road to Claxton

By Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources

This side of the Chattahoochee River you’re unlikely to find another festival dedicated to celebrating a poisonous snake quite as fun as the Claxton Rattlesnake & Wildlife Festival.

15,000 visitors from all over Georgia, and beyond, flock to Evans County, halfway between Vidalia and Savannah, each year for the family-friendly festival which features captive rattlesnakes, snake handling demonstrations and wildlife educational programs from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Southern University Wildlife Center, Let’s Get Wild, Quails Unlimited, and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Running March 14th and 15th this year, the festival, which has been voted one of the “Top  Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society, also features a Miss Rattlesnake & Wildlife Pageant, parade, arts and crafts, vendors selling their wares, and more.

While you’re in town visiting the city known as the Fruitcake Capital of the World, be sure to stop by the world-famous Claxton Bakery company store in downtown Claxton.

Want to make a stop at the festival part of your weekend but also want to visit another Georgia city? Vidalia is 40 minutes from downtown Claxton and Savannah is just shy of an hour away by car.

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.