Sometimes you just need a quick getaway to recharge, to put things in perspective, to feed your soul. Here are three Georgia weekends that do just that, take you back to nature….
Macon Music. They say Macon is ‘where soul lives’. It’s certainly been a mecca for Georgia-based artists from Otis Redding to the Allman Brothers Band. With the recent death of Gregg Allman, it’s only fitting to do an Allman Brothers tour of the town.
The first stop is the Big House Museum. The Big House is where the band, their families, and their roadies lived in the early 70’s. It’s now a museum showcasing where the band rehearsed, instruments they used, the handwritten lyrics and more.
Allman Brothers fans can take a walk down College Street to find the magic mushroom in the sidewalk. The design became the unofficial logo of the band, and can be found outside the house they lived in when they first came to Macon.
Macon’s Rose Hill Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a beautiful resting place along the Ocmulgee River for Confederate soldiers, three Georgia governors and Duane Allman. The graveside statue of Little Martha is said to be the inspiration for the Allman Brothers Band song “Little Martha.”
But what about the music? New bands are always forming, and the best place to see them is at Bragg Jam, a two-day music crawl event that is held the last weekend in July. Named for two local musician brothers, Brax and Tate Bragg who were killed in a car accident, the event is a way for friends and family to honor their lives. The money raised is donated to local causes.
What other musical greats came through Macon? Find out on a Rock Candy Music Tour. These weekly walking tours go to some of Macon’s most historic musical venues and talk about why Macon is ‘where soul lives.’
Nature in the City: Stone Mountain is about 40 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta, but it can feel a world away. There’s the amusement park side, Crossroads, where you can play mini-golf, see a 4-D show and climb the ropes at Sky Hike. But the attractions cover only a small part of the 3,200 acres. Stone Mountain has a gentler, more natural side too. With the recent addition of the REI Boathouse, guests to Stone Mountain can get out on the water on a paddleboard, kayak or canoe.
For the adventurous, it will take you four hours to paddle all the shoreline. For those that need a little more guidance, REI offers classes, as well as guided trips. If you don’t see what you want, ask, they may be able to put something together for you.
The best way to be one with the earth is to put your hands in the dirt, feel the soil slip through your fingers, and maybe even grow something. At Truly Living Well, a center for natural urban agriculture in South Atlanta, it’s all about quality local food production, no matter where you live.
Take a tour of one of their five sites across the Atlanta metro area. If you have more time, consider urban grower training. Weekend warriors can opt for the Grower Boot Camp, an intensive course that teaches practical urban farming techniques. They also have a summer camp for kids with creative themes where kids can travel through food, and learn science and math by designing a garden space. Scholarships are available for both adult and kids classes. If summer school isn’t your thing, just visit one of the TLW farmers markets around the city.
Family Camp Weekend. Why should kids have all the fun of summer camp? Reconnect with the family at Callaway Gardens Summer Family Adventure. One of the coolest things families can do is take circus and acrobatic classes from The Florida State University Flying High Circus, which resides at Callaway Gardens each summer. Of course, there are also more traditional activities such as golf lessons, biking and swimming. During the evenings, families can enjoy spending time together with bingo, campfires with marshmallow roasts, stargazing, and camp traditions.
But there is so much more for the family in Pine Mountain than just Callaway Gardens. The Pine Mountain Animal Safari is part safari, part petting zoo, and all around awesome, whether you go with kids or not. Rent the zebra truck, and purchase some food to feed the animals along the way. Watch out for the giraffe’s loooong, grey tongue. Bring wet wipes and tissues. You’ll need the wipes for your hands and the tissues to wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes.
If you’re more of a traditional camper, FDR State Park is close and a perfect way to reconnect with family. Maybe you don’t camp, but always wanted to try it. FDR State Park participates in the Georgia State Park first-time camper program. The program allows visitors to borrow all the gear they need to camp, tent, sleeping pads, lantern, camp stove, roasting forks and even chairs (you provide sleeping bags, pillows, and the smores) They’ll even help you set it all up.