Georgia On My Mind…

If you ever get the chance to come to Georgia, this is what you need to know and see:

Stone Mountain – About a half hour drive from the city, the 825 ft. "mountain" was once a rock quarry and is most well-known for the large carving on the north face of the mountain depicting confederate soldiers. During the summer, the park offers a laser show including fireworks and featuring popular and traditional American music. In the winter, they use snow machines to create snow providing Georgia residents the opportunity to sled … even in 50º weather! (Georgia doesn't get much snow, so we get excited about the little things…) Other attractions in the park include a Civil War museum, an old car museum, a small plantation, the walk-up trail (for the mountain), the carillon (a bell tower) which plays music a few times a day, a covered bridge, and a grist mill.

Dahlonega – A 2 hour drive from downtown, Dahlonega used to be a gold mine. In fact, a number of US coins were minted there between 1838 and 1961. In more recent years, the town has become more of a day trip featuring antique shops, small restaurants, craft stores, chocolate, and wine.

Helen – Also located in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains, Helen is a small "Georgia alpine village". It is best known for it's south German-style architecture and the small Oktoberfest the village hosts in September, October, and November of each year. Visitors go to shop at the tourist shops, eat German food at local restaurants, and (most importantly) raft down the Chattahoochee river.

• Coastal cities such as Savannah don't usually come up in conversation when you talk about visiting Georgia, because… because. Honestly, I don't really know why. Perhaps because the mountain towns are closer to Atlanta? I haven't really visited too many of the coastal cities, so I can't really tell you much about which of these to go to. They are a good 6 hour drive from Atlanta.

There are also a few interesting museums and stores within the Atlanta area that are particular to the location…

Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum – Located next to the Atlanta Zoo, the museum features a 25 million dollar cylindrical panoramic painting of the Civil War. Other than the painting, the museum is probably not worth a visit unless you are really interested in the civil war.

The Coke Museum – In the center of downtown, visit this museum if you are interested in trying all of the different cokes from around the world. It's mostly an advertising campaign, so don't get your hopes up too much that your money will go to something truly enlightening when you pay the entrance fee. (How many gallons of coke do they think one visitor will drink?!)

The Fox Theater – Also in downtown Atlanta and one of the most beautiful venues to visit if you want to take in a show while you are here, I highly recommend at least taking the tour. The architecture is beautiful and the history of it is captivating.

Cabbage Patch Babyland Hospital – Located in north Georgia, this location is great for the 1980s doll lover in all of us… Your young daughter will be enthralled if you take her.

Centennial Olympic Park – In central downtown, the location of the 1996 olympics is a great place to have a picnic or watch a concert. There is always something going on there, so every visit is unique.

Margaret Mitchell House, Wren's Nest, Andalusia Farm – Museums featuring three of Georgia's most famous authors, Margaret Mitchell (Gone With the Wind), Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings), and Flannery O'Conner (A Good Man is Hard to Find).

Delta Museum – Unique to Georgia and located near the airport, the museum isn't even really all that interesting to a plane fanatic. Go at your own risk.

More typical locations that you can find in nearly any city you visit include the Atlanta Zoo, the Georgia Aquarium, High Museum of Art, Georgia Botanical Gardens, Callaway Gardens (which has a spectacular Christmas light display), Georgia History Museum, and the Fernbank Museum.

Have you ever been to Georgia? What places would you recommend visiting?

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