Christmas In Dixie!

It is time again for the Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights! Drive your own vehicle or ride one of the open-air trolleys through five miles of a Christmas wonderland! The park glitters with festive color and musical arrangements tailored to each theme. Bring your family and friends to experience the most dazzling night of lights at Callaway. This extravaganza has entertained more than 2 million visitors and continues to be the most dazzling holiday experience in the South. The eight million lights on 731 miles of strings is well worth the trip. The admission includes the whole garden so you need to make plans to spend the day and end it with the light tour. Reservations are recommended. More information: www.callawaygardens.com. Fantasy in Lights: November 14 - December 30.


Georgia Travel: Head For The Hills!

It is the greatest time in the South. So just head for the hills! The beautiful mountains of Georgia await you, so get going! Check out the map below for traveling the loop, a beautiful scenic drive. End your journey at Brasstown Bald for an extraordinary view. Some of the other sites nearby:
Sautee-Nacoochee Valley - You will see the Indian Mounds, Nora Mill (stop for water wheel flours) and the Stovall Covered Bridge (photo left). Other places of interest include Alpine Helen celebrating Octoberfest, historic Clarkesville, Anna Ruby Falls, Unicoi State Park, Blackrock State Park, Vogel State Park and Desoto Falls. There are also numerous art galleries and shops for everyone. Enjoy your visit! Check www.n-georgia.com for more info.

Brasstown Bald in above photo.

Thanks to Richard Weisser for the beautiful photos!


Savannah - My Favorite Vacation Place!

Savannah! One of the best places to visit in the south and it just happens to be in Georgia! The attractions, restaurants, beach, history and tours are just too vast to even tell you the best. So I am going to list all the wonderful things about Savannah and you choose your destination! Be sure to check for times, food and lodging especially around the holidays. Look below for the great list.

  • Fort Pulaski
  • Bonaventure Cemetery
  • Mercer House
  • Telfair Museum
  • Forsyth Park Square
  • Tybee Island & Beach
  • Architectural Tours of Savannah
  • Deluxe Land and Sea Tour
  • Wormsloe Historic Site
  • Savannah Ghost tours
  • Historic District Tours
  • Shopping Along River Street
  • Green-Meldrim House
  • Julliet Gordon Low's Birthplace Home
  • Historic Railroad Shops
  • Colonial Park Cemetery
  • Battlefield Park Heritage Center
  • Clary's Cafe
  • Olde Pink House
  • The Pirate House
  • Vics On The River
  • The Lady and Sons
  • Crab Shack on Tybee (My Fave)
  • Zunzi's (Lunch Fave)
  • Mrs. Wilkes
  • Bistro Savannah
  • Chart House
  • Elizabeth's on Thirty Seventh
  • Uncle Bubba's Oyster House


AutumnFest at Callaway!

It is AutmnFest time at Callaway Gardens! This vast garden has activities for all any time of the year that you decide to visit. AutumnFest is one of my favorite times because the weather is the best and ohhhh those mums! Flowering mums are added to all the major gardens and are worth the trip. The festival will run from October 1-31 and is not to be missed! Plenty of accommodations and restaurants in the area, but my fave is the Old Country Store on top of the mountain for a great scenic lunch and gift shopping afterwards. Come one, come all! More info at www.CallawayGardens.com or 1-800-Callaway.

Pumpkin Patch at Callaway Gardens!


Brasstown Bald - Highest Point

Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia and a great place to visit. This photo is the view from the peak looking south and on a clear day you can even see Atlanta. This is especially a serene and special place in the fall. There are beautiful wildflower displays and oak, willow, ash and yellow birch trees. You can hike to the top which boasts a steep trail of 500 feet in a half mile. For the non hikers just take the road to the top, the same one used for the Tour de Georgia bike race. Close by are the towns of Blairsville, Hiawassee and Helen for accommodations and dining. Call for more information: 706-745-6928.


Birds of Prey at Callaway

Visit Callaway Gardens for the wonderful free-flight experience of watching birds of prey in action. In the Discovery Amphitheater, three to five birds will be presented for each show pulling from about a dozen birds living at the center. All the birds in the show have been injured in some way and would not survive in the wild. Adults and children will both enjoy this show of hawks, owls, eagles and falcons. Check the listing of times at www.callawaygardens.com.


Daufuskie Island - Unspoiled Island Vacation

Daufuskie Island is an unspoiled beauty located just one mile off the coast of Hilton Head, S.C. You can only reach this island by ferry and the mode of transportation on the island are golf carts. You will experience the beauty of spanish moss covered trees and pristine beaches. There are also two championship golf courses on the island as well as horseback riding, tennis, a spa, and several dining options. Accommodations are available on the island at the Melrose Inn with four great restaurants. But don't miss Marshside Mama's Cafe for casual dining and dancing. Rejuvenate your body and soul with a vacation on Daufuskie! More info can be found at www.daufuskievacation.com.


Mary Mac's - An Atlanta Legend

In 1945, Mary Mac's Tea Room was born and it has been serving Atlanta and guests ever since. Many women in the south opened tea rooms after the war to make ends meet. We are proud to say that Mary Mac's is still as wonderful today as in 1945 and the menu has remained the same. Come by and enjoy such fare as fried green tomatoes, the best fried chicken, fried okra with horseradish sauce, peach cobbler and the best sweet tea this side of the Mississippi. They serve lunch and dinner every day from 11AM - 9PM, seven days a week. Located in the heart of Atlanta at 224 Ponce De Leon Avenue (404-876-1800). Try the great Mary Mac's recipe below.

Mary Mac's Famous Fried Chicken:

1 chicken (3 lb)
4 tsp salt
2 tsp white pepper
Peanut oil
1 cup water
3 cups all purpose flour

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Chill for 1 hour. Prepare oil in deep pan and heat to 325 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine water, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp white pepper. In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Dip chicken into wet batter first then coat with flour mixture. Carefully add chicken to oil and fry about 18 to 20 minutes. Drain on wire cooling rack. Enjoy!


Peanuts Are King!

Visit Plains, Georgia and have a fun filled day! Plains is located in the southwestern part of the state and makes a great day trip for most Georgians. Some of the things to see and do in Plains: See where the 39th President grew up and his life as a boy, take a self guided tour around Plains, Plains Depot circa 1888, Billy Carter Museum, the Carter Boyhood Farm, the 13 foot grinning Goober monument (see photo) and the church where Carter still teaches Sunday School. While in town eat lunch at the famous Mom's Kitchen, a cafeteria in the southern style. In September, you can attend the famous Plains Peanut Festival with a parade, fun run, road race, crafts and plenty of peanuts! (Festival for 2008 - Sept. 26-28) Ya'll come on down!


Serenbe - A Planned Community

Serenbe is a new settlement located in the Chattahoochee Hill Country in rural Georgia. This 40,000 acres was one of the last untouched stretches of land located near Atlanta. The founders of Serenbe realized the opportunity to create a special live/work community that sustains itself through organic farming, restaurants, shopping, inns and a set number of homes that merge ecologically with the area. This is a real community where people can come together despite a wide range of economic and cultural diversity. Many activities are available for the citizens as well as the surrounding communities. If you are looking for a special place to live, visit Serenbe and you will feel like you have arrived home. See below for photos of Serenbe.

As seen in Cottage Living, Bon Appetit, USA Today, Atlanta Magazine, etc. Visit www.serenbecommunity.com for more information.

Stables at Serenbe - Boarding, lessons and riding available.
Winter arrives at Serenbe.
Lake view at Serenbe.
New townhouses being constructed.


Counting Counties

In the United States there are only 3,000 counties. Georgia has 159, second only to Texas. Every part of Georgia is located in a county even the islands along the Georgia coast. This means to fellow Georgians that they are provided for by the county as well as the city in which they reside. This means more benefits and services for the citizens. So when you visit Georgia, you will notice county signs as well as city signs along the roadside. Learn about Georgia's counties and their history at www.georgia.gov.


Art in Athens

Athens in Georgia (not Greece) is mostly famous for the Georgia Bulldogs and the University of Georgia. This is a quaint but exciting place to visit and is known for boutique shopping. But one place that most do not even know about is R Wood Studios. Owned and operated by Rebecca Wood, this studio makes wonderful ceramics for the home which are sold all over the country. A few times a year the studio is open for their big ceramic sale and the upcoming date is Sept. 20th. Rebecca and her 12 artists stay busy creating beauty and transforming Georgia red clay into works of art. These beautiful wares are not poured into a mold but are shaped by hand and come in an array of luscious colors. See the photos below for more samples or visit the website: www.rwoodstudio.com.


Providence Canyon

Visit this beautiful canyon in west central Georgia on a clear day. Locals named it Georgia's "Little Grand Canyon" and have made it one of the most visited places for hikers and campers. You can enjoy the view along the rim or backpack down the rim trail. This wonder is not a natural canyon but was caused by poor farming in the 1800s. The deepest gully is 150 feet and clearly shows the beautiful colors as in the photo above. For plant lovers, you will notice the rare Plumleaf Azalea and many other wildflowers throughout the canyon. Camping and cottages are nearby along with the city of Columbus. For good eats in Columbus, try one of the three locations of Country's Barbeque. More information on this state park is found at 229-838-6202.


Kennesaw Mountain

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is located just north of Atlanta off I-75. In 1864, Sherman launched an attack on the Confederate Army of Tennessee at the area now the scene of a national park. The name Kennesaw is derived from the Cherokee Indians and means "burial ground". This park encompasses more than 2900 acres and has an elevation of 1800 above sea level which makes the views toward Marietta and Atlanta worth the trip. But most people visit this wonderful park for the 16 miles of trails which includes war cannons and bunkers found along the way. Migratory birds use this mountain as a main stopover as well. So stop by if you love history or just want to hike and enjoy the outdoors. More information can be found at www.nps.org and www.georgiatrails.com.


Warner Robins Museum of Aviation

Warner Robins is said to house the crown jewel of Georgia, the Museum of Aviation. This is now the second largest Air Force museum in the US. Your tour will consist of the Eagle building housing exhibits, aircraft and archives; the Century of Flight Hangar containing an interactive theater and exhibits; Hangar One housing a simulator, restored aircraft, missiles and engines. If you are in middle Georgia (near Macon) then take the time to visit this great museum especially if you are an aviation fan. You can find more info at www.museumofaviation.org. 478-926-6870


The World's Largest Drive-in

In 1928, the original varsity opened and began hosting well known people from the entertainment industry, sports industry, Governor's mansion, White House and just regular folks from Atlanta. Georgia Tech is located across the street and on any given game day 30,000 people visit the Varsity.
As you enter this great establishment, read the menu quick and have your order ready as the famous chant begins, "What'll Ya Have" and you better be ready! All the menu items are made fresh daily and include some of the best drive-in fare around. Hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, onion rings, fried pies, shakes, chicken salad, egg salad, pimento cheese, BBQ and even salads. But you must first know some of the lingo, so below is you varsity chart.
Naked Dog - Plain hot dog
Red Dog - Naked dog with ketchup
Walk a dog - Hot dog to go
Heavy Weight - Hot dog with extra chili
Glorified Steak - Hamburger with ketchup, mustard and pickle
All the Way - Hamburger or hot dog with onions
Bag of Rags - Potato chips
Strings - Fries
Ring One - Onion Rings
FO - Frosted Orange Shake
PC - Plain chocolate milk with ice
Joe-Ree - Coffee with cream

So when I go to the varsity, I always order my fave: Heavy weight walk a dog with a FO and Strings. The Varsity is an Atlanta institution and loved by all. Come on by!
Located at 61 North Avenue in downtown Atlanta. Open every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving.


Since 1917, the Dillard House has been serving southern favorites to the masses. As an icon known to most Georgians, this is the place where we take the relatives to impress them with true Georgian recipes. What started out as a simple restaurant, has grown into a 70 room inn and more than 25 cottages and chalets. There are numerous activities in the area including horseback riding, swimming, tennis, fly fishing, carriage rides and white water rafting. Nearby you can visit Harrah's Casino, the town of Helen, Biltmore House and the Cherokee Village. When you are in north Georgia, visit the Dillard House in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains for a great family experience. Located in Dillard, Georgia, www.dillardhouse.com. 1-800-541-0671. Check for more photos below of the beautiful area.

Dillard horses ready to ride!
Food fare at the Dillard House.
View of the Dillard House property.


Bull Sluice: Category 5 Rapids

Shooting The Bull:

The Bull Sluice is considered one of the most beautiful places to visit in Georgia. This is a category five rapid located on the Chattooga River in northeast Georgia. It is a popular destination for swimmers, sunbathers and kayakers. But its best claim to fame: featured in the film Deliverance.
Location: Highway 76 about nine miles from Clayton, Georgia.
Where to eat: The Dillard House (check back for info on this wonderful restaurant).


He Is Pregnant!

Congratulations! He is pregnant! Yes, the father Sea Dragon is pregnant at the Georgia Aquarium. The Sea Dragon, found off Australia, became pregnant when the female transferred the eggs onto his tail. So much is unknown about this creature, that the mating and pregnancy remains a mystery. There are approximately 70 eggs attached to his tail which hatch in four to six weeks. The babies are miniatures of their parents and are basically on their own when hatched.
As we say in the south, "Don't that beat all!"


Go Ahead! Wine!

Go ahead and wine! Georgia is blessed to have steep hillsides along with a great climate for growing grapes. In the 1800's before prohibition, Georgia was known for it's vineyards and wineries. The two oldest, Chateau Elan and Habersham, began production in the 1980's and in the last five years vineyard acreage has tripled. Follow the wine map above to visit some of the best vineyards in the state. go to www.georgiawine.com for more information.

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