Surprising Suburbs: Harlem


Silly is good in the suburbs, especially when you choose little Harlem, Georgia.  Consider this a suburb of Augusta and Thomson in Columbia County, which Grammy winner Lady Antebellum calls home.

Laurel and Hardy pull raucous laughter out of thousands of visitors all year long, and by the thousands during the annual first Saturday in October festival tied to their museum in Harlem.  Movie dates are noisy, a cause and effect of laughter from the Laurel and Hardy Museum’s non-stop run of classic film.

Family travel builds bridges here, with some children seeing their first silly slapstick black-and-white short films; first wondering why their parents are stricken with the giggles, before contracting them, too. Laurel and Hardy films are a good counterbalance to the werewolf and vampire dominance in film-watching America today.

Laurel.Hardy.MuseumThe Laurel and Hardy Museum is a homey, unpretentious, sort of simple place with thousands of memorabilia items. Most everybody poses for a picture with Stan and Ollie in their car, known from their 1929 film “A Perfect Day.”

Museum docents are proud to tell this is the only Laurel and Hardy museum in America, and one of only three in the world. As such, it attracts visitors from all over. You don’t see signatures listing Saudi Arabia as home in just any museum guest book, but I did here. This idiosyncratic museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

You might consider staying overnight at nearby Red Oak Manor bed and breakfast. That will give you another day to watch more films and laugh longer.

horizonal tree through trees webBuilt in 1885, seven years before Norvell “Oliver” Hardy was born, Red Oak Manor has five guest rooms; the downstairs room and bath are handicap accessible. Two upstairs guest rooms have private baths, and two share one. Acorn is the name of the Manor’s restaurant with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pass under centuries-old oak trees walking through the yard to the museum.

Christine 12. 2007 4Christine Tibbetts claimed Georgia as her home state in 1972.  She covers Georgia destinations, and the world, always offering prompts for exceptional experiences and opportunities to muse. Tibbetts earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the prestigious School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and is the recipient of numerous gold, silver and merit awards from North American Travel Journalists Association writing competitions. Follow her at

Just Off The Highway – Old Mill Park in Roswell

IMG_7974Atlantans are famous for their OTP vs. ITP rivalry. Ask anyone who has lived in the Atlanta metro area for more than a few

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the time to explore downtown Roswell. The town is full of some of Georgia’s best restaurants, plenty of hiking and a ton of history. Two out of three of those combine at Old Mill Park, an area along Vickery Creek where Roswell’s original cotton mill was established and where remnants and ruins sit today.

IMG_8003I recommend parking at the Old Mill lot close to the covered bridge (follow the signs from Mill Street). Plentiful mounted

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maps guide you along the site, and you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing sneakers for the journey, which covers areas with stairs, wooden planking

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and muddy slopes. Some parts of Old Mill Park are handicapped accessible.

Heading left from the parking lot will take you through the twisted remnants of a building original of Roswell Manufacturing Company. Head a little further toward a 30-foot dam, which has water roaring over it because of all the rain northern Fulton County has had this year. Hike a bit further up the patch and you’ll come across the calm area above the dam, a great spot to practice skipping stones.

IMG_8008Heading back down toward the parking lot, your trek will take you to a repurposed mill building where there are clean bathrooms and a beautiful covered bridge that you can cross to continue your journey through the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

Besides sneakers, make sure you bring your camera when you take your trip to Old Mill Park. It’s a favorite spot in North Georgia for photographers.



eileenEileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.

All Aboard the Whitewater Express

On May 25, 2013, Whitewater Express opened its brand new whitewater rafting location in Columbus, Georgia, on the Chattahoochee River. Not only is it the longest urban whitewater-rafting course in the world, but it also contains the largest rapid in the Southeast: Cutbait.

The course consists of approximately 10 rapids, ranging from Class I-IV+.  Whitewater Express offers two trips. The Classic Trip is the smoother of the two. The trip has Class I-III rapids, and rafters get to experience the “Habitat Pool,” similar to a lazy river. This is for those 7 years old and up.