QUICK GETAWAYS G EORGIA IS A BEAUTIFUL STATE THAT OFFERS

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					                           QUICK GETAWAYS




G
       EORGIA IS A BEAUTIFUL STATE THAT OFFERS RESIDENTS AND VISI-
       tors a variety of landscapes. From the golden beaches of Georgia’s
       coast to the beautiful mountains in the north, there are enough
quick getaway destinations here to please any weekend wanderer.
     Most of the following locales can be reached by car, though if you’re
planning to spend time on the islands dotting the coastline, you’ll have
about a six-hour drive and may have to ferry across once you reach the
water. These island trips are generally not day trips from metro Atlanta, but
are perfect for overnight, weekend, or even weeklong stays. Trips to the
North Georgia Mountains can be done in a day, but with such magnificent
views, many opt to stay longer.

GEORGIA’S COAST

•   Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia near St. Mary’s, is 17
    miles long and 1.5 to 3 miles wide. It is accessible by a ferry, which
    operates year-round from St. Mary’s. There is a small ferry fee and reser-
    vations are required. Cumberland Island is a great place to visit if you
    are interested in walking tours and want to escape the typical tourist
    destinations. There are no restaurants or shops here, but you will find
    plenty of salt and freshwater marshes, white sand beaches, and live oak
    forests. Swimming and camping are available daily, though camp
    spaces must be reserved in advance. Most of the structures on the
    island date back to the pre–Civil War plantation era, though there are a
    few turn-of-the-century buildings that were erected by the Thomas
    Carnegie family. For more information on visiting Cumberland Island,
    or to make reservations, contact the Superintendent at P.O. Box 806,
    St. Mary’s, GA 31558, 912-882-4335, 888-817-3421, www.nps.gov.
•   Jekyll Island, off the coast of Georgia near Brunswick, is the smallest
    of Georgia’s coastal islands, with 5,600 acres of highlands and 10,000

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     acres of marshlands. In 1886, a group of wealthy businessmen bought                tions including a boardwalk, fishing pier, amusements, hotels, and
     the island and formed the Jekyll Island Club. Members of the club,                 vacation cottages. Tybee Island’s beach runs the entire length of the
     including J.P. Morgan and William Rockefeller, vacationed here each                island—with nearly four miles of Atlantic Ocean on one side and two
     winter in fabulous cottages, some of which are still standing. In 1947,            miles of the Savannah River on the other. The northern tip of Tybee
     the club was abandoned for economic reasons and the island was sold                boasts the Fort Pulaski National Monument, 912-786-5787,
     to the state. Today, the Jekyll Island Authority maintains the island as a         www.nps.gov/fopu; and the Tybee Museum and Lighthouse, 912-786-
     year-round resort, offering visitors a number of hotels, restaurants, and          5801, www.tybeeisland.com. The island can be reached by a causeway
     activities, including golf, water skiing, swimming, shopping, tennis,              from Savannah and US 80. For more information, contact the Savannah
     bicycling, and fishing. For more information on Jekyll Island, including           Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, 101 East Bay Street, Savannah,
     lodging, dining, and entertainment options, contact the Jekyll Island              GA 31401, www.savannah-visit.com.
     Convention & Visitors Bureau, One Beachview Drive, Jekyll Island, GA
     31527, 877-4-JEKYLL, www.jekyllisland.com.                                     GEORGIA’S HEARTLAND
•    St. Simons Island, off the coast of Georgia near Brunswick, is another
     of Georgia’s famous coastal islands. Originally home to several planta-        •   Athens, approximately 65 miles northeast of Atlanta on the Atlanta
     tions in the pre–Civil War era, St. Simons flourished until Union troops,          Highway/GA-8, is home to the University of Georgia, 706-542-3000,
     led by General Sherman, razed the estates, leaving only the slave quar-            www.uga.edu, the Georgia Museum of Art, 706-542-4662,
     ters standing. Today, St. Simons Island is home to numerous museums,               www.uga.edu/gamuseum, and the State Botanical Garden, 706-542-
     art galleries, family attractions, hotels, shops and restaurants, as well as       1244, www.uga.edu/botgarden. Many Atlanta residents head over to
     the fully inclusive Sea Palms Golf and Tennis Resort, 912-638-3351,                Athens on weekends to see great college sports (UGA’s football team,
     www.seapalms.com. Besides golf and tennis, the resort offers three                 the Bulldogs are a big draw), or to hear some of the up-and-coming,
     swimming pools, a private beach, a fitness center, a playground, out-              local rock bands that frequent the clubs surrounding the university. An
     door buffets, and more. Rates vary depending on room size and the                  added bonus for some Athens visitors is that members of R.E.M. and
     time of year. For more information on St. Simons Island, including a               the B-52’s (who both got their start here) can occasionally be seen
     complete listing of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment options, con-           around town. If you’d like more information on Athens, including
     tact the St. Simons Visitors’ Center, 912-638-9014, 800-933-2627; or               where to stay or what to do while you’re in town, contact the Athens
     visit St. Simons Online, www.saintsimons.com.                                      Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, 300 North Thomas Street, Athens, GA
•    Savannah, located on Georgia’s Atlantic coast approximately 250 miles              30601, 800-653-0603, www.visitathensga.com.
     from Atlanta, has an abundance of history and architecture that few            •   Macon, about three hours south of Atlanta, is the largest city in
     American cities can match. Having preserved its colonial grace and                 Georgia’s historic heartland. It is home to several popular tourist attrac-
     charm through the restoration of more than 1,400 historically significant          tions including the Ocmulgee National Monument, 478-752-8257,
     buildings, Savannah has become one of the largest urban historic land-             www.nps.gov/ocmu, which traces the area’s Native American heritage
     mark districts in the USA, and also one of the state’s most popular tourist        back 12,000 years, and the Tubman African-American Museum, 478-
     destinations. In fact, an estimated 6.5 million visitors travel to this city       743-8544, www.tubmanmuseum.com, a showcase of African-
     each year. In addition to its historical relevance, Savannah also boasts           American art, history, and culture. Macon also boasts the Georgia
     several museums, a number of fine restaurants and cafés, and over                  Sports Hall of Fame, 478-752-1585, www.georgiasportshalloffame.
     8,000 rooms in properties ranging from luxury hotels to small bed and              com, and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, 478-750-8555, 888-GA-
     breakfasts. Several airlines fly directly into Savannah International              ROCKS, www.gamusichall.com, which honors the many Georgia natives
     Airport, including AirTran, Comair, Continental Express, Delta Airlines,           who changed the face of rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, and coun-
     United, and US Airways. For more information on Savannah, contact the              try music. For more information on Macon, including lodging, dining,
     Savannah Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, 101 East Bay Street,                and entertainment options, contact the Macon Convention/Visitors’
     Savannah, GA 31401, 877-SAVANNAH, www.savannah-visit.com.                          Bureau and Welcome Center, P.O. Box 6354, Macon, GA 31208-6354,
•    Tybee Island, located off the coast of Savannah, is one of the most                478-743-3401, 800-768-3401, www.maconga.org.
     popular of Georgia’s coastal islands, due to its many beachside attrac-
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                                                                                   •   Amicalola Falls, located approximately 66 miles northwest of North
GEORGIA’S MOUNTAINS & STATE PARKS                                                      Fulton County, offers visitors the chance to see the highest waterfalls
                                                                                       (729 feet) in the state. Amicalola is also home to 17 tent and trailer sites,
•    The City of Dahlonega, located approximately 63 miles northwest of                a 57-room lodge with restaurant, rental cottages, playgrounds, picnic
     Atlanta, was the site of the first major gold rush in the USA in 1828—20          shelters, and more set on 1,020 acres of lushly wooded land. Amicalola
     years before gold fever hit California. Today, Dahlonega offers ways to           is a great place to visit if you want to fish, camp, hike, or just relax. Call
     experience glimpses of the past with a visit to the Gold Museum, 706-             706-265-4703, 800-864-7275 or visit www.gastateparks.org/
     864-2257, www.gastateparks.org/info/dahlonega, for gold panning                   info/amicalola for additional information.
     and underground tours of the area’s three major mines; many opt to            •   Black Rock Mountain State Park, located astride the eastern
     visit during the annual Gold Rush Days celebration, the third weekend             Continental Divide in northeast Georgia, near the North Carolina bor-
     in October. Thousands of residents and visitors congregate on the                 der, is the highest state park in Georgia. Named for its sheer cliffs of
     town square to view over 300 arts and crafts exhibits, run a 5K race, lis-        dark-colored rock, Black Rock Mountain encompasses some of the
     ten to bluegrass music, and eat. A hog calling contest, king and queen            most amazing scenery in all of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains—
     coronation, and a number of children’s activities add to the festivities.         including a spectacular 80-mile view of the Southern Appalachians.
     Dahlonega also plays host to several other non-gold-related festivals             The 1,502-acre park area is home to 52 tent and trailer sites, 10 rental
     throughout the year, including the Bear on the Square Festival, held the          cottages, 11 walk-in campsites, 2 picnic shelters, a visitor’s center, and a
     third weekend in April, commemorating the bear that came to the                   17-acre lake. Hiking, fishing, and primitive camping trips are available
     square in the spring of 1996; the Fourth of July Family Day celebration,          for visitors. For more information, call 706-746-2141, 800-864-7275, or
     named one of the “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the                      visit www.gastateparks.org/info/blackrock.
     Southeast Tourism Society; and the Wildflower Festival of Arts, held the      •   Cloudland Canyon State Park, located on the western edge of
     third weekend in May, showcasing the work of hundreds of local artists.           Lookout Mountain in northwest Georgia, near the Alabama border,
     For more information, contact the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County                        attracts visitors with its 2,219 acres of rugged geology and beautiful
     Chamber of Commerce, 706-864-3711, 800-231-5543, www.                             scenery. The park straddles a deep gorge cut into the mountain by
     dahlonega.org.                                                                    Sitton Gulch Creek, and visitors are invited to hike its 4.5-mile waterfalls
•    Helen, Georgia, approximately 80 miles north of Atlanta, is unlike                trail, or 6.5-mile backcountry trail. If hiking isn’t your thing, the park
     any other community in Georgia. Originally a small, run-of-the-mill               also offers 75 tent and trailer sites, a 40-bed group camp, rental cot-
     mountain town, Helen began a transformation process in 1968. Led by               tages, picnic shelters, tennis courts, and swimming pools. Call 706-
     a group of area businessmen and local artist, John Kollak, they turned            657-4050, 800-864-7275, or visit www.gastateparks.org/info/
     the town into the Alpine village replica that it is today. Kollak, inspired       cloudland for more information.
     by the time he had spent in Bavaria, presented the Alpine village idea,       •   Fort Mountain State Park, located 8 miles east of Chatsworth,
     and Helen residents immediately began renovations. Today this quaint              Georgia, along Highway 52, near the Tennessee border, derives its
     town offers over 150 import shops, 30 factory outlets, and a cobble-              name from the 855-foot long wall of rock, which stands along the
     stone alley of small boutiques and restaurants, with an array of old-             mountain’s highest point. The theory is that early Native Americans
     world shopping, dining, and lodging opportunities. One of Helen’s                 built the wall as protection against hostile invaders or for ancient cere-
     most popular annual events is the annual Oktoberfest celebration,                 monies. Today the 3,428-acre park offers a variety of outdoor activities
     which runs from mid-September through early November. German                      including 14 miles of hiking trails, a lake with a swimming beach, boat
     bands perform nightly, dancers in traditional Bavarian garb dance the             rentals and fishing, 74 tent and trailer sites, cottage rentals, and picnic
     polka and waltz, and visitors are invited to enjoy a selection of imported        sites. For more information, call 706-695-2621, 800-864-7275, or visit
     German wines and beers, warm pretzels, and specialty foods such as                www.gastateparks.org/info/fortmt.
     Bavarian wurst and sauerkraut. Contact the Helen Welcome Center,              •   Hart State Park, located in northeast Georgia at the South Carolina
     706-878-1619, 800-858-8027, or the Helen Convention and Visitors                  border, offers visitors several water-related outdoor activities including
     Bureau, 706-878-2747, www.helenga.org, for more information.                      boating, water skiing, bass fishing, and swimming on Lake Hartwell.