GEORGIA

One State, Many Possibilities: Potential Getaways in Georgia

Whether you enjoy traveling to the mountains, the coast or quaint towns/cities, you can find it all in Georgia.

From Columbus to (the) Lake Oconee area to Columbia County and Augusta, the state is filled with plenty of destinations for a memorable getaway that'll have you talking about it to your friends for months to come.

The next time you are ready for a Georgia getaway, consider these potential possibilities:

Villa Rica and Carrollton

Venture off I-20 to discover these hidden gems cities. You'll be glad you did.

Do: Get your adventure on at Historic Banning Mills. Choose among zip line canopy tour, free-standing climbing wall, kayaking, horseback riding or hiking, or a combination of any. You might also want to schedule a massage at the Day Spa for the next day.

See: Learn about the lesser known gold rush in the area at Pine Mountain Gold Museum. Tour the land and see the "Glory Hole," a 50-foot deep, open-pit mine that was the largest and principle mine on the property. Be sure to try your hand at panning for some gold.

Eat: It's a little bit of Cajun in Villa Rica at Gabe's Downtown. Start with either the Boudin balls, shrimp and crawfish beignets or the Cajun egg rolls.

Stay: Spend the night in a Tree House at Historic Banning Mills or the country inn.

Banning Mills lodge

Blue Ridge

Aside from the wealth of outdoor activities and great peaceful views, this quaint mountain town has one heck of a shopping and culinary scene.

Blue ridge scenic railway Do: For a truly "Blue Ridge" experience, ride aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Departing from downtown the train moves along the tracks at a leisurely pace toward the adjacent towns of McCaysville, Ga., and Copperhill, Tenn. The two hours in the towns gives you ample time to explore, dine, and shop. Be sure to see artist Rip Mann creating his hand hewn bowls.

See: Check out Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods. Even if you aren't interesting in fishing, it's worth watching owner Bill Oyster carefully handcraft the rods and the personalized engraved pieces. 

Eat: Can't go wrong with the Brasstown Farms Burger at Harvest on Main. If you like appetizers, try their Mediterranean Sampler.

Stay: Enjoy a cabin rental from Southern Comfort Rentals, and arrange for Chef Douglas with Cabin Cuisine prepare your dinner for your first night in the Blue Ridge.

Helen

Recognized as a “mountain community with a touch Bavaria,” Helen offers many activities and surprises.

Do: You can spend a half of a day exploring the many shops and restaurants that make up the Alpine Village. Be sure to visit Charlemagne's Kingdom Model Railroad, which depicts Germany in miniature. No detail has been spared within the two-story exhibit.  Highlights include moving hot air balloons, cable cars and more. Ready for a snack, like apple strudel? Pick up this and other sweet treats at Hofer's Bakery.

See: Take a short hike (0.4 miles) along a paved footpath to view Anna Ruby Falls. Located minutes past Unicoi State Park and in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest, the twin waterfalls are made from the Curtis Creek (dropping 153 feet) and York Creek (dropping 50 feet.)

Eat: Located on the Chattahoochee River, ask for an outside table at the Troll Tavern. Not only is it nice to sit outside, but also during tubing season, you can watch the 'tubers' float by. As for the food, you can't go wrong ordering either a burger or sandwich (choices are aplenty.) They offer German dishes as well.

Stay: From cabins and chalets to hotel rooms, there is something for ever budget when it come to accommodations in Helen.

Albany

Located in the Southwest part of the state, the birthplace of Ray Charles offers something for every interest.

Do: Tour the Albany Civil Rights Museum, which tells the story of the Albany Mass Movement during the Civil Rights. Exhibits not only detail what was happening in Albany during that period, but also in southwest Georgia and the nation. Some of the items on display include the "colored" sign from the courthouse and the "colored waiting room" door from the doctor's office. Next door is Mt. Zion Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King spoke during the movement. While not an active church anymore, on the second Saturday of each month, the Albany Civil Rights Institute Freedom Singers with original Freedom Singer, Miss Rutha Harris perform.

See: Considered to be one of Georgia's Seven Natural Wonders, Radium Springs Blue Hole and Gardens, pumps 70,000 gallons of 68-degree water per minute from an underground cave. It was also the home to the former Radium Springs Casino.

Stay/Eat: Stay at the boutique-style Merry Acres Inn, and enjoy complimentary shuttles to any of the three "Stewbos" restaurants: Harvest Moon Pizza, The Catch Seafood, and Henry Campbell Steakhouse.

St. Simons Island

The largest of Georgia's four barrier islands at 18 miles long, the island exemplifies a laid-back style intertwined with old-fashioned southern charm.

Do: Learn the lay of the land (and more) when you board Lighthouse Trolleys. Led by island native Cap Fendig, the history tour takes you to such sites as Saint Simons Lighthouse, Christ Church, Fort Frederica and more.

See: Horseshoe crabs, baby blunt-nose sharks, squids and blue crabs are just some of the marine you'll see when  "Lady Jane" dumps her net during the shrimping cruise. Departing from Brunswick, the refurbished shrimping vessel smoothly cruises out for an educational and entertainment expedition.

Eat: Supporting local fisherman and farmers, Halyards menu changes accordingly to what's in season and what's available. However, the restaurant has signature items like shrimp and grits, and shrimp tacos.

Stay: What started out as a small, private dance club is now known as a St. Simons Island icon. The King & Prince Beach and Golf Resort rich history includes a stint as a wartime training and coastal watch station for the U.S. Navy during World War II. In 1947, the property returned to a hotel once again, and has remained ever since.

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