Some of you may remember our travels through North Georgia earlier this year. The trip included a stop at Wildwater Ltd. for a canopy tour on the Chattooga Ridge. Canopy tour is code for ziplining for those of you who haven't tried it yet, and Wildwater's course is actually located in Long Creek, South Carolina, on the border of Georgia. We ziplined through the trees across 10 sections, four bridges and four lakes on 20 acres. The guides made it so safe and easy that we even had a few grandmothers in our group giving it a try. The best part was toward the end of the course when the zipline crosses Academy Lake. Flying over the water was breathtaking, and in the summertime, you'd be tempted to let go and drop right in for a dip. We'll let the photos and video below convince y'all, though. To find out more about Wildwater, visit www.wildwaterrafting.com/ or call 1-866-319-8870. They also offer whitewater rafting, jeep tours, ropes courses, kayaking and more on the Chattooga River, Ocoee and Pigeon Rivers in Tennessee and Nantahala River in North Carolina. Zipline rates are $79 a person or $69 a person for a group. Photos from top are
Back-to-back festivals celebrate the state's wine industry in June. by Linda M. Erbele Sometimes you have to wonder if the GPS is really taking you to a winery. There’ve been so many turns since leaving the main road that you don’t know how the mailman finds it, but discovery is part of the delight when visiting Georgia's wine region. Once there, stretch out on the tasting room deck, admire the neat rows of vines behind the hillsides and sip what just might be the next gold medal winner. If your idea of Southern wine is Kool-Aid sweet and made from muscadines, you’re in for a surprise. Georgia is producing Cabernets, Merlots, Viogniers, Chardonnays and a number of excellent blends. “It used to surprise people that Georgia has a whole wine industry that doesn’t involve muscadines,” says Steve Gipson, president of the Georgia Wine Association. A number of the vineyards, especially in North Georgia, grow European varieties of grapes, producing award-winning varietals. “There’s a tremendous amount of interest," continues Gipson. "I think the state lists 32 bonded wineries, and several more are very close to becoming bonded.” Like craft breweries, local wineries produce a product unique to an area, made with a hands-on, personal touch.
Georgia's Vidalia Onion Museum opens April 29 in homage to the state's famous vegetable. By Erin Z. Bass Visitors to Vidalia, Georgia, expect to see Vidalia onions. In fact, they expect the streets to be lined with them and their sweet smell to waft through the car windows as they enter town. It’s an expectation that former reporter and marketer for the onion farmers Wendy Brannen understands well. And it’s why she felt the town needed a proper museum dedicated to the vegetable. It used to be that upon arrival to the Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, visitors saw a sign out front advertising a “museum.” Brannen says the term was quite generous, as the museum consisted of a few posters and brochures. “It broke my heart when you had these people from faraway places who were so fascinated with our state vegetable and came all this way to see something,” she says. Brannen decided to do something about the problem and now, five years later, has a new sign and a new title to show for it. As executive director of the brand-new Vidalia Onion Museum, she’ll be welcoming visitors starting April 29 to a 1,300-square-foot space filled with educational exhibits that
Tubing, hiking, waterfalls, wine and ultimately cooler temperatures await in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. by Deanna Kuder We are close to shattering the record for the hottest summer in recorded history as I look at the Georgia map. It’s hard to ignore the big spot of green at the top, beckoning me to cool off in the mountain air. As I answered the call and headed for the north Georgia mountains, the main goal was escaping the heat, but what I found was a mecca of entertainment for the entire family and a playground to please every budget, age and activity level. Helen, Georgia, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the shores of the Chattahoochee River, launched its transformation into an Alpine village in 1969. Local business owners began to revitalize their mountain paradise by turning it into a Bavarian village. Faces of the buildings are now adorned with delicate gingerbread trim, intricate plaster relief and detailed scenes of Bavaria. And in keeping with the theme, visitors will find shopkeepers decked out in lederhosen and dirndls. Upon entering the Welcome Center, a helpful attendant was on the phone being quizzed about the weather. It was 90 degrees in town, but at home