5 Unique and Fun Things to Do That Will Keep Georgia on Your Mind

There is something special about my hometown, Atlanta, GA. People tend to be friendly, helpful and believe in taking time to smell the roses. That means, we find really cool things to do to keep us busy:

1) Take a day trip to Helen, Georgia

Located just a mere 90 minutes north of Atlanta in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Helen is a Bavarian treat for young and old alike. If you want to be whisked back to simpler times and experience what life must have been like in early 1800′s Germany, this re-creation of an Alpine village is the place to be. Helen is in close proximity to the Chattahoochee River and the Appalachian Trail which lends itself to various outdoor activities that you can enjoy while you are there like: horseback riding, rafting, mountain biking and viewing one of the 30 waterfalls in the area. I will be visiting Helen in March, so I will have a full report for you then.

2) Experience the Sundial Revolving Restaurant

Situated at the summit of the Westin Peachtree Hotel, the Sundial gives you a 360 degree view of the Atlanta skyline!

It takes about an hour for the circular dining room to complete a revolution.

This is absolutely the best salad that I have ever had…to this day!

This meal did all Southern cooks proud….delicious!

Looking out at the breath-taking view from our dining table at the Sundial

We got to enjoy a stellar lunch at the Sundial last summer. I enjoyed a scrumptious peach pecan crusted summer salad with baby greens, gorgonzola cheese, pecans and freshly cubed peaches and port wine vinaigrette. The main dish was the Blue cornmeal crusted trout with tasso cheese grits cake, sauteed garlic spinach and corn cream. The food was excellent and mid-priced, the view was fantastic and we never got dizzy as the restaurant revolved. Amazingly, only two short years ago, the hotel was significantly damaged by a tornado, but the Sundial managed to escape unscathed.

3) Dahlonega Wineries

One of metro Atlanta’s best kept secrets is the picturesque city of Dahlonega, GA. Most people don’t know this, but the first major gold rush in the US took place here in 1828 long before the (18)49′ers struck gold in California. In fact, the Georgia State Capitol Dome is covered with gold mined from the city. Dahlonega is also the gateway to the Appalachian Trail where you can literally hike from Georgia to Maine. It is also the heart of Georgia’s wine country. Here you can find five outstanding wineries:

BlackStock Vineyards

Montaluce Vineyards and Estates

Frogtown Cellars

Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery

4) Stay a spell at The Martyn House in Ellijay, GA

Ever heard of the term, “Glamping”? It simply means Glamourous Camping which takes the tried and true ways of camping to another level. Here you get to stay in real beds, while camped out in vibrantly colored hand-painted luxury tents imported from India. The main house on the property is a century old farmhouse located on 30 acres. The property is very green as they use Eco-friendly toilets and showers. So, if you are looking for that happy medium, give these folks a call. You can enjoy all of the comforts of home and still be able to say that you slept in a tent with a straight face.

5) Tour the CNN Center in downtown, Atlanta

Queuing for the tour after paying the entry fee

Yes, the anchors will continue reporting as if you weren’t there staring at ’em

The tour guide doing what he does best

Ever wanted to experience the inner workings of the world’s first 24 hour cable news network? Are you are certified news junkie? Well, you should make it your business to join this lively and informative peek into one of our major news bureaus. Your tour guide will lead you through the control room to the anchor desk. Not much is off limits, so you really get a bird’s eye view into what it takes to disseminate news 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “Visitors are assigned specific tour times. You can avoid disappointment during busy times by making advance reservations: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET, (404) 827.2300.”

Now it’s your turn. Imagine a friend is coming to visit your hometown. What special place would you want them to see above all else and why?

How to Get Good Hiking Boots for Your Adventure

Are you planning to go hiking during your spare time? This is a really fun activity since people know the advantages of hiking. You can do it with your partner, husband or wife, family, even with your friends. Many people in the world choose this sport activity to get better health and see the beauty of scenery.

But, for your information, this activity needs several preparations so that hiking will run without any obstacles. So, one of the important preparations you should think is preparing your hiking boots.

I know that you are confused when you have to choose the best one. It is about your great adventure during your vacation. You will get the best hiking boots by searching in internet or looking around shoes stores that are available in your town.

I do believe that they are providing kinds of boots that probably will suit you. First thing you have to consider is making sure about the hiking area. As you know, mountainous area and field area are not the same. So, it needs different boots too.

Choose the strong and water proof one. You will get wet when you use ordinary shoes in wet area. Pay attention on weight and size. Do not make mistake when you have to wear uncomfortable boots. It will hurt your feet and your ankle.

So, find boots that fit on your feet. It will help you to walk along the area. It is quite important when you have to go hiking the Appalachian Trail. You will get the joy of it. Remember that this area is full of adventure. So, do not make wrong decision.

Beside that, you have to prepare water and foods. Bring them as much as you need. When you get tired, you can drink and eat so that you can continue your walk. Well, bring your watch and your compass. Make sure that you will still know time and direction.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver’s novel Prodigal Summer is eventually both surprising and deceptive. It is surprising because of the twists and turns of the lives of its characters, all of whom become completely, sometimes endearingly, always engagingly real. The deception arrives subtly to enlighten, because these apparently ordinary lives with their pressingly everyday concerns grow to illustrate and then eventually represent something of great significance, being the natural world and our place within it. Thus Prodigal Summer, a novel that begins suggesting a snapshot of a single season in the lives of just three households grows into a profound statement of their relationship – all of our relationships – with the natural world and indeed life, itself.

Deanna Wolfe is a mid-forties idealist who has chosen to live as a warden and ranger in the National Forests near Zebulon in the southern Appalachians. She is studying predators, especially coyotes, but apparently yearns to worship living things, especially those that are not human. She is beginning to anticipate the menopause of her own life-cycle as she marvels at nature’s ability to both regulate and reinvent itself. Crucial in this process, she feels, is the role of the predator, the animal at the top of the food chain, and especially the females of those species, those charged with husbanding its renewal. Her work seems all absorbing.

Then one day she meets Eddie Bondo. He is not from those parts. He is a hunting cowboy-type from out West, not the type, you might think, that Deanna would have time for. He is twenty-something, almost two decades her junior and he has a body plus a way of handling it that stirs the autumnal debris of Deanna’s psyche, debris that has accumulated in her continued, self-imposed and desired isolation. After all, in magnetism opposites attract.

Not far away there is Lusa. She came to these parts to marry Cole. He was the man who lured her away from her biology and installed her on a smallholding, where even the hardest work would hardly make a living, let alone create wealth. Lusa has some relationship problems with Cole’s family. After all, she is not one of them and, perhaps more importantly, her parentage has European and Middle Eastern roots. And – at least in theory – she is not even a Christian.

And then, one day she finds herself a widow. Cole’s family are immediately closer and yet further away at the same time. Sympathy partly overrides the tensions. Lusa has to begin dealing with them directly, not through the mediation of her husband’s filter. Problems of making a living might just be solved by going into goats. Goats? At least she still has time to study her beloved insects.

Not too distant are the neighbours Garnett and Miss Rawley. They are, shall we say, at the senior end of their citizenship and perhaps as a result rather set in their ways. Garnett is not just a Christian, but one of the breed that interprets the Bible, including its timeline, quite literally and can thus locate an exact date of creation just beyond 4000BC. He might profess not to be impressed by science, but in many ways he worships it by regularly dousing parts of his land and its flora in insecticides. If only…

If only that darned neighbour, Miss Rowley, would clear the cuttings and clean up that compost where al the pests breed. But she is a declared worshipper of science and cannot bring herself to interfere in any natural process, lest human intervention gets in the way of the inevitable. Miss Rawley and Garnett are not the most companionable of neighbours.

In Prodigal Summer these three households, each with their own tensions, relationships, feuds and priorities live cheek by jowl with nature. Animals, plants, the weather, chance and inevitability press themselves to the forefront of daily concerns. Thus they find they are in contact in more ways than one. Not only must they commune with the natural world, they must coexist, even communicate as assumption, motive and consequence push them in different, sometimes conflicting directions.

Of course, given Prodigal Summer’s theme of renewal and at-oneness with nature, it is no surprise that all things female are predominant. Reproduction, its necessity, its mechanisms, its intended and unintended consequences, its intended inevitability, runs not like a thread but like a strong, perhaps unbreakable rope that ties everything together. No matter what we do or think or feel, experience tries to lead us all in the same direction, as if the destination were pre-ordained, in spite of our determined meanderings designed to deny it. In Prodigal Summer, a many of the encounters are sexual. If it does not form the main argument, then the need to mate is at least preamble. There is never time to review. Life has a habit of taking us where it wants, ideas of control or self-direction being perhaps illusory.

But in the end these people all realise that they are part of the same natural world that, independently of human-created desires and prescriptions, sets its own pace, follows its own rules, precludes exemption and decides consequence. This Prodigal Summer thus reveals its surprises to all concerned, leaving them changed and transformed, older and wiser. The reader makes the same journey.