Day 244 – Red History Trail in Sweetwater Creek State Park

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Sweetwater Creek State Park is Georgia’s most popular park for daytime hiking and events.  It’s a favorite place of Candy from LongLiveLearning, and Eric at Atlanta Trails named Sweetwater Creek one of his Top 10 favorite places to hike. But we’ve never been!! Our mission over Labor Day weekend was to remedy that situation, so our whole family sat out early in the morning to explore the Red Trail.

We settled on the Red Trail because I was anxious to see the ruins of New Manchester mill, which mark the 1/2 mile point on this trail.  We spent better than an hour making it to that point, as there are numerous opportunities to play in the water, skip rocks, and draw pictures in the sand.

From the Sweetwater Creek Interpretive Center:

While on the red trail, you have walked through a riparian forest paralleling Sweetwater Creek.  Hard metamorphic rocks in the river bed cause the shoals and falls in this stretch of the river.  There is a lot of energy to erode rocks, aerate the water, and (in historic times) drive the New Manchester mill.   The riparian forest is a community of plants and animals well adapted to conditions along the river.   There is abundant high-quality water and nutrients.  River currents, eddies and deep pools, coupled with a complex river bottom offer many microhabitats for plants and animals.   Diverse food resources support a wide variety of predators such as fish, water snakes, herons, and raccoons.  However, the normally nurturing conditions can quickly alter during a flood, when rocks, trees, fish and animals can be drowned or swept away.

Sweetwater Creek State Park

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Day 243 – AJC Decatur Book Festival

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Did you know that the AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country? It’s also one of the top five largest anywhere.

Since its launch, more than 1,000 world-class authors and hundreds of thousands of festival-goers have crowded the historic downtown Decatur square to enjoy book signings, author readings, panel discussions, an interactive children’s area, live music, parades, cooking demonstrations, poetry slams, writing workshops, and more. 

On the agenda today: A Wizard of Oz Parade, The Wizard of Oz from Serenbe, and Center for Puppetry Arts, plus much more on the Children’s Stage.  See Roob and Noob from Theatre for the Very Young in the afternoon, and meet my favorite new Atlanta author, Jonah McDonald, as he talks about Atlanta’s Hidden Forests.

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Day 242 – Old Car City USA

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I first learned about Old Car City USA from Georgia Traveler, and I was hooked immediately.  My husband and I appreciate photography and old cars, so this was the place for us.  We packed up the boys and headed north to White, Georgia, where 4000 cars dot 34+ acres in the world’s largest classic car junkyard.  If you want to bring your camera, the price can be a little steep, but worth it!  In about an hour we snapped over 500 shots! (Kids under 7 are free, and under 12 are discounted.)

The boys enjoyed meandering the trails with us, lined with cars on both sides.  There are about six miles of trails, but we didn’t take them all.  The most dense selection of cars (and the oldest) are closest to the entrance. We visited in summer, but didn’t experience any bugs. The owner told us this was rare, so you might want to pack some spray.  As with any wild area, snakes and yellow jackets are possibilities so stay on the trail.

Before you leave, be sure to check out the main building.  The owner and his friends are restoring a “Bonnie and Clyde” death car! Upstairs is the doodle gallery, where you can see the Styrofoam cup doodles on the owner on over 1,000 cups. “Cup art” he calls it.

Old Car City USA

Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA

Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA Old Car City USA

Day 241 – Vogel State Park

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Vogel is Georgia’s most beloved state park.  My boys and I stayed recently and fell in love with Vogel State Park and surrounding Blairsville.  We stayed in a refurbished cottage, walked the lake trail to the waterfall created by the dam spillage, and explored the town vivaciously over two days.

Lake Trahlyta is the 22-acre centerpiece of Vogel.  You gain gorgeous views of Blood and Slaughter Mountains from here. Enjoy seasonal lake swimming, pedal boats, kayaks, and fishing. We also had a blast on the mini golf course and at the playground. The cottage we stayed in was full of southern charm, with pocket doors, dark hardwood floors, wainscoting, and a stone fireplace.  It sat directly on the creek, and the boys spent hours throwing rocks and splashing in the water. 

Just down the road from Vogel is Mountain Crossings, a poignant milestone along the Appalachian Trail, and Sleepy Hollow, a Disney-esque creation.  I’ll bring you additional Blairsville discoveries over the next few weeks, including a wonderful waterfall hike, an ancient archaeological site, an historic farm, and much more.   In the meantime, here is a review about our stay at Vogel in the newly renovated cottages, and more about the park itself.

Of course, with a full kitchen, you can make all your own meals.  We decided to venture out though. Hole int he Wall, The Sawmill Place, and Nani’s Cuban food were all wins for our family.

Vogel State Park

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Day 240 – Flint Riverquarium

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While in Albany this summer we visited the Flint Riverquarium. We learned about Blue Holes, watched alligator feedings, peered at shark eggs, and walked with birds through the aviary. It gave our family a great appreciation for the diversity of the Flint River, on which this aquarium resides. Don’t ask the boys if it was educational, though…they only know they had a great time!

The Flint Riverquarium was borne from the devastation of the 1994 Albany flood.  It is an opportunity for children (and adults) to use all of their senses in learning about the importance of the natural resources in the area, and the uniqueness of the Flint River watershed.  Click here to read my review about our adventure.

An albino alligator, shark eggs, a blue hole spring, and SCUBA diving capers….my boys were in their element! Be sure to time your visit for the alligator feedings and the fish feeding in the blue hole spring.  These are can’t-miss! 

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Day 239- The Hidden Bar at Muss & Turner’s (Date Night Series)

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You may have heard of Muss & Turner’s.  Heck, you may have eaten here.  “A neighborhood joint with no culinary boundaries and no pretense.”  That is almost my life’s motto.  But do you know the secret?

Give a nod to the hostess, but keep walking past the open prep area, around the corner to the left, and through the freezer door.  Yup, open the freezer…and do it like you own the place! Keep walking through the darkened hallway, around a few corners, and a new world opens up.  It’s Muss & Turner’s hidden bar, called Elenore’s.

The room is dark, with a few cozy booth seats, and some bar seating as well.  The guys behind the oak counter are sporting lambchops, tattoos, and dreads, and they can whisk you away to another land with their fabulous concoctions.  I had a Dickle, cassis, and lemongrass mix that blew my socks off. Too much for you? They can do the classics, too. The drinks are a tad pricey ($11-18,) but worth the ambiance is worth it.  I know…it’s Symrna.  I live in the burbs … I’m not dishing out suburbia discord…I’m just shocked to find it near Cumberland Mall. Pleasantly surprised!

Enjoy drinks and awesome tunes, or order from the full Muss & Turner menu.  You can’t go wrong here on date night!

Muss and Turner's Hidden Bar - Date Night Ideas from 365 Atlanta Family

Muss and Turner's Hidden Bar - Date Night Ideas from 365 Atlanta Family

Muss and Turner's Hidden Bar - Date Night Ideas from 365 Atlanta Family

Muss and Turner's Hidden Bar - Date Night Ideas from 365 Atlanta Family

Muss and Turner's Hidden Bar - Date Night Ideas from 365 Atlanta Family

Muss and Turner's Hidden Bar - Date Night Ideas from 365 Atlanta Family


 

Date Night Ideas for the weekedn- every Wednesday on 365 Atlanta Family

Looking for more Date Nights in Atlanta ideas? Check out our new series: Atlanta Date Night Ideas for the Weekend. 

Day 238 – Black Rock Mountains State Park

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Black Rock Mountain State Park is the highest state park with captivating views of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range. You can stay in a cabin with back porches facing the 3,600+ ft views, or simply spend the day hiking several trails in the park.

We hiked Ada Hi Falls just after a rainstorm and had the pleasure of watching and feeling the water come off the mountain.  We also took a leisurely stroll on the .85 trail around Black Rock Lake.  Just north of the road to Black Rock Lake Trail is access to Foxfire Museum, which makes a fun stop for the whole family!

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Looking for more ideas? Check out our Atlanta Family Events Calendar.

Day 237 – Shake A Tail Feather with Mother Goose at Center for Puppetry Arts

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I love Center for Puppetry Arts, but it has been a while since we’ve been. Why? New baby. There have been several shows that I wanted to take the older guy to see, but I knew the little man was not ready.  So when I learned about Shake a Tail Feather with Mother Goose (a show for ages 2 and up) I jumped on the opportunity to visit!

I could not have been more happy with this adventure.  Mary, Mary Quite Contrary was on her best behavior, taking the children through a series of rhyming adventures. The subtle plot twist? Mayor Mother Goose was missing from Rhymeville, which caused many of the characters to forget their rhymes.  Never fear, Mary Mary helped them remember (with some crowd participation,) and Mother Goose was found safe and sound.  They even met a new friend in the process.

My two-year old was mesmerized the entire hour! He sat in his own seat, clapping along with delight.  We also brought the six year old, who enjoyed the show also. Afterward, we made a cow shadow puppet upstairs, which both of my guys are still playing with a week later!

If you are looking for a way to introduce your little ones to the puppetry theater, this is show to see!

Shake a Tail Feather with Mother Goose - CPA - ideas from 365 Atlanta Family Shake a Tail Feather with Mother Goose - CPA - ideas from 365 Atlanta Family Shake a Tail Feather with Mother Goose - CPA - ideas from 365 Atlanta Family Shake a Tail Feather with Mother Goose - CPA - ideas from 365 Atlanta Family Shake a Tail Feather with Mother Goose - CPA - ideas from 365 Atlanta Family Shake a Tail Feather with Mother Goose - CPA - ideas from 365 Atlanta Family Shake a Tail Feather with Mother Goose - CPA - ideas from 365 Atlanta Family

 

Looking for more ideas? Check out our Atlanta Family Events Calendar.

 

Day 236 – Mountain Crossings at Walasi-Yi

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The boys and I took a trip to Blairsville, and we made a stop at Mountain Crossings per the recommendation of Eric from Atlanta Trails. I am so glad he told us about this place!

The building was completed in 1937, the same year that the Appalachian Trail was completed, and it marks the only covered part of the trail….the AT runs right through the building! You can grab all sorts of gear here, from packs to shoes, to poles, to books, and so much more. The building itself is made of stone and is beautiful.  Take peek in the store, climb the back walk for gorgeous mountain views, see the hundreds of thru-hiker’s books hanging from the rafters, and listen to stories of those passing though.

Over the past seven decades Mountain Crossings has become an important part of the Appalachian Trail history. We invite anyone who has imagined the dream of hiking the A.T. to come and enjoy the view, people, music, gifts, gear and gab at one of the most unforgettable places on the trail, Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi

 

Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi Mountain Crossings @ Walasi-Yi

Looking for more ideas? Check out our Atlanta Family Events Calendar.

 

Day 235 – Sea Monsters Revealed

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My oldest loves all things sharks, so we headed to the Ga Aquarium to see the new temporary exhibit Sea Monsters RevealedThis exhibit reveals the inner bodies of sharks, grouper, squid, and more….much like the wider-known Bodies exhibit.  It is a real treat, and suitable for the kiddos! My boys had a great time! This exhibit is free with admission.

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