Mountain Biking at Boundary Waters Park

BOUNDARY WATERS PARK: PERFECT PLACE TO BEGIN MOUNTAIN BIKING

Set alongside the Chattahoochee River, Boundary Waters Park is dedicated to active recreation like swimming, sports, fishing, and mountain biking. This Douglas County park is home to the paved Chattahoochee Hill Country Greenway, as well as natural surface trails. Beginning behind the park’s Aquatic Center, the Greenway cuts a 3/4-mile out-and-back path through the woods.Boundary Waters Park

The mountain biking fun begins when bikers leave the pavement and hit the dirt. About 12 miles of natural trails are broken up into three off-shoots from the Chattahoochee Hill Country Greenway. Originally designed for equestrian use, these shaded trails are characterized by mostly flat terrain perfect for beginner mountain biking practice. The multi-use natural trails are marked with red, yellow, and blue blazes. Bikers encounter some gear-changing hilly sections on the red trail and learn to cross simple root systems on the blue and yellow trails. Boundary Waters Park

Experienced mountain bikers might enjoy the speed of this easy ride. But, the real benefit to new mountain bikers is the combination of paved and natural trails. This gives beginners the opportunity to move between the paved greenway and natural trails as often as they need. The entire trail system is open to pedestrians and bikers, with the natural surface trails also being used by horseback riders. Mountain bikers, please remember to yield to equestrians.

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

Weekend Family Fun in Rome, Georgia

Family Fun in Rome, GeorgiaRome, Georgia is amass with family friendly activities. Spend time on the trails or walk back in time. Head to the ballgame or cool off in a natural spring. We couldn’t cover everything in a weekend, but here’s how to whet your appetite in this Northwest Georgia town.

Day 1

Walk the Historic “Between the Rivers” district. Tour Myrtle Hill Cemetery and take the free Tree Tour. More than 35 different tree species are rooted here, many of which are rare or non-native. See the Capitoline Wolf, the Town Green Interactive Fountain, the Clocktower and Rome Area History Museum. The museum offers free admission, and visitors can climb to the top of clock tower March – October, the first Saturday of each month from 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch on Broad Street in Downtown Rome. Enjoy lunch at Harvest Moon Café, then head next door to Honeymoon Café for a special treat. Gelato, cupcakes and pastries fill the air with heavenly aromas. Kids can watch a cakemaker designing a special treat through the looking glass while enjoying a baby gelato cone or mini cupcake.

There are plenty of clever local shops on Broad Street, so take your time enjoying them.

Visit Chieftains/Major Ridge HomeBe humbled as you tour this National Trail of Tears Certified Historic Site, dating back to 1796. It was once the home of Major Ridge, a prominent leader in the Cherokee Nation.

Eat at Brewhouse Music & Grill. Enjoy brews, burgers and live music in a family-friendly American pub setting.

Rome Braves Baseball. From April – September you’ll want to grab tickets to a Rome Braves Baseball game. The Rome Braves are a Class A Affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

Labyrinth in Rome, Georgia

Rome Labyrinth

Day 2

Tour Oak Hill & the Martha Berry Museum . See a short film about Berry College then tour the Martha Berry Museum with artifacts such as the first diploma ever given by the school and Martha Berry’s personal typewriter. Follow that with a tour of the Oak Hill Home, Aunt Martha’s cottage and the award winning gardens.

Explore Berry College. Berry College is the world’s largest college campus, covering 26,000 acres. Kids love seeing the wildlife roam freely throughout the campus. Explore over 40 miles of trails, walk the grounds of Ford Castle, see the second largest working overshot waterwheel in the world, watch the swans at Swan Lake, hike to the house of dreams, visit the original settlement at Possum Trot and view the world famous Berry Eagles.

Lunch at Martha’s Skillet. The menu changes daily, but it’s always southern country cooking at Martha’s Skillet.

Cool off at Cave Spring. The town is named for the cave and natural mineral spring in the center of town. Bring an empty jug to fill with mineral water. Enjoy a cave tour, then swim in the spring fed Rolater Lake.

If you’re looking for more family fun ideas, check out 8 Free Things To Do In Rome, Ga on 365 Atlanta Family.

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.

Exploring Atlanta’s Neighborhoods

Municipal MarketDowntown Atlanta is a well known for tourist destination with the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium (voted number one aquarium in the US by Trip Advisor), College Football Hall of Fame and the newest addition to the skyline, the Center for Civil and Human Rights. But Atlanta isn’t all about attractions. To truly get the flavor of this city, visit a few of Atlanta’s distinct neighborhoods. Here are three Atlanta neighborhoods worth exploring:

Sweet Auburn: The Sweet Auburn Historic District is a mile and half stretch along Auburn Avenue in downtown Atlanta. At the turn of the century, this area was one of the wealthiest African American streets in the world. During the 1960’s it was the center of the civil rights movement and home to Rev. Martin Luther King. The Sweet Auburn Curb Market has 24 individual businesses, including a full service bakery and 11 of the most popular eateries in the city; my favorite is Venezuelan Arepas from Arepa Mia.

Little Five Points: Little Five Points is one of Atlanta’s oldest and most unique commercial districts. Known as L5P, this neighborhood has an alternative feel with several independently owned and one-of-a-kind shops. Junkman’s Daughter carries a variety of items and has attracted costume designers from Atlanta’s burgeoning movie scene. Criminal Records offers old school vinyl, as well as CDs and hard to find comics. L5P has a vibrant music scene with several live venues and funky bars like Star Bar with its shrine to Elvis. You have to be over 18 to visit The Vortex, but anyone can marvel at the giant skull entryway. The edgy L5P Halloween Parade in October is a must see event for all ages.

Castleberry Hill: Recognized as a federal historic district, and a City of Atlanta Landmark District, Castleberry Hill was once a factory-warehouse area but is now best known for its growing arts scene, restaurants and loft residences. The community sponsors the 2nd Friday Art Stroll that includes numerous galleries, restaurants and retail events. This event was the readers pick for best neighborhood art walk by Creative Loafing, the city’s alternative newspaper. Our visit to the art stroll made me feel like I was in a totally different city than my hometown. After viewing a wide variety of art, and participating in a wine tasting, we grabbed a bite and margaritas at No Mas! Cantina.

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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Georgia’s Unique Museums

From Antebellum Southern tradition to Gullah Geechee culture; from presidential houses to prestigious golf tournaments – Georgia has something to meet everyone’s interest. And Georgia’s museums reflect that diversity. Here are five of Georgia’s most unique museums to explore while seeking out all that is interesting and offbeat:

Road to Tara Museum: In Jonesboro you can discover all you’d ever want to know about Gone With the Wind. Margaret Mitchell’s book was based in no small part off of her grandparents’ tales from a plantation just outside the city. The museum offers a glimpse into the story, combining the real history of the Civil War’s Atlanta Campaign and Battle of Jonesboro with Margaret Mitchell’s fictional tale and Hollywood’s Gone With the Wind. From tribute dolls of every character to Scarlett O’Hara’s underpants, this museum is the perfect stop for any fan of this timeless story of the South.Road to Tara Museum

Georgia Rural Telephone Museum: Housed in a renovated 1920s cotton warehouse in Leslie, this museum houses the world’s largest collection of telephones and telephone memorabilia. Here you’ll find the rarest examples of telecommunication stretching back to 1876, including presidential candidate Jimmy Carter’s two 1970s switchboards used during his campaign, the phone used to announce President McKinely had been shot in 1897 and even a jukebox phone!

Crawford W. Long Museum: Did you know the first use of ether as an anesthetic was by a Georgia surgeon? This Jefferson-located museum commemorates Dr. Long’s role in the development of one of the most important advances in medical procedures. Head to Jackson County to experience how this country doctor-turned-surgeon for the Confederacy became the ‘father of painless surgery.Crawford W. Long Museum

The Panoramic Encyclopedia of Everything Elvis: Why travel to Graceland or spend outrageous amounts of money seeing impersonators in Vegas when you can have everything Elvis here in Georgia!? Located on the third floor of the Loudermouth Boarding House (which is on the National Register of Historic Places) in Cornelia, this experience celebrates Elvis’s successes and well as his flaws. If you love The King, you have to check out Everything Elvis – it is, after all, the only museum to house a body part of his: the Elvis Wart.

Billy Carter Gas Station Museum: While Jimmy Carter was busy running the country, younger brother Billy was busy running a local gas station. The Plains establishment features some of the First Brother’s unique wardrobe choices, as well as many empty cans of the short-lived beer named for him: Billy Beer. The next time you’re visiting the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, take a quick detour to experience the life of one of the best known presidential siblings.Billy Carter's Service Station Museum

Georgia Pecan Oil

TRY GEORGIA PECAN OIL FOR THE PERFECT COOKING EXPERIENCE

Georgia Pecan Oil

Pecan oil and more from Oliver Farm

Imagine the aroma of fresh Georgia vegetables like sweet corn, crunchy peppers and spicy onions, being sautéed in a hot pan drizzled with oil. I know you’re thinking, ‘she must be talking about olive oil.’ Well guess again. I’m talking about Georgia pecan oil. It’s full of antioxidants like vitamin E and flavonoids, it’s high in protein, but also in oleic acid-which is the same type of healthy fat found in olive oil, and as an added bonus is bursting with flavor.

When placed side by side with olive oil, Georgia pecan oil comes out the clear winner. It contains 9.5% saturated fat, which is less than in olive oil, is rich in monounsaturated fats, and low in saturated fats. Although pecan oil is nothing new in the word of healthy oils, it is new to most cooks. Pecan oil’s mild nutty flavor is neutral  enough to take on the flavor of whatever seasoning is being used with it, has a high smoking point of 470*F, and is versatile enough to use for frying, baking, and as the base for salad dressings, marinades, and infused oils. Making this Georgia grown oil the perfect every day oil to cook with.

To give you a little peek into how versatile Georgia pecan oil actually is, I’m including a Southern spin on hummus. Using black eyed peas instead of chick peas, cider vinegar instead of lemon juice, and-you guessed it-pecan oil instead of olive oil, this Black Eyed Pea Hummus will make you a believer:

Black Eyed Pea Hummus
Original recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker
Yields: 5 cups

Ingredients:
2-14.5 ounce cans black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1-14.5 ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pecan oil, I like Oliver Farm Pecan Oil
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Garnish:
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
Pecan oil

Directions:
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor with the blade attachment.
Pulse for 2-3 minutes or longer for a smoother hummus.
Adjust taste with salt and pepper and additional vinegar, as needed.
Garnish with chopped pecans, scallions, and a drizzle of pecan oil.
Enjoy with pita chips, crackers, or fresh cut veggies!

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.