North Georgia Living...A Place Where Memories Are Made

Today’s blog post references a Mom’s perspective on “staycations” in our area. Although she shared this delightful post months ago, I am just finding time to share with Bella. Since we are approaching back-to-school season, I am thrilled to share her creative and memorable family adventures. I think this is a perfect way to kick off the fall season with weekend excursions. If your family is looking for a short break holiday, a fun last-minute detour on your road trip, or a weekend getaway from everyday routines, here are some of the choices we discovered within a 100-mile radius of the Atlanta metropolitan area. I hope you enjoy the read and hopefully you will visit her blog at The Life and Times of Rixie the 4th.

Our town is blessed to be situated in the perfect place for staycations. We don’t always have the time or budget for big vacations, but just staying at home all summer can get boring fast. Since there is a 5 year age gap between our children, it can be tricky to find something that they both enjoy. When you throw in the opposite genders it gets even more complicated.  To solve this, I turned back the hands of time and thought about what I enjoyed as a child. It wasn’t the big vacations that I remember the most. It was the weird ones. The ones where we just took off and found something new, stopped at a park in a nearby town just to try out different swings, or ate ice cream at a shop in some historic downtown watching people and enjoying family. It was with those memories in mind that I put together this list of semi-local, off the wall, cheap things to do with the family.
1.       Atlanta Antiques and Auction Houses: So you may have to say “Don’t touch that!” a few times, but it is worth it. These places are like free museums where the exhibits are always changing and you never know what you will find. On our last trip we went to Great Gatsby’s and Red Baron Antiques. We saw items such as an old stage coach, a vampire hunting kit, a cannon, and even a small antique bi-plane. We made up stories about them, talked about history, and tried to guess who would buy them.
2.      Goats on the Roof: This is the best kind of unusual. It is exactly what it sounds like. It is a roadside shop and café that has goats living on the roof. You can roast marshmallows, feed the goats, do a little gem mining, eat some ice cream, and tie dye a t-shirt with Georgia clay on purpose. It is just past Tallulah Gorge, which, if you haven’t been, is a must see park in North Georgia. Along that same route you can hit Franklin, NC for Ruby mining, see the waterfalls on the drive to Highlands, NC, and if you are feeling really ambitious even make it to Cherokee to visit the cute touristy shops and still be back before the minivan turns into a pumpkin.
3.      Tellus Science Museum: I confess that we are science geeks, but even if you aren’t, this is a really cool museum with a lot of hands on exhibits. It is kind of sneaky education because while you are having fun you find yourself asking questions and learning new things. If you enjoy it, I highly recommend a season pass as it will get you into a whole network of other museums.
4.      Festivals: It seems like almost every town in Georgia has some sort of festival during the summer. Some of the ones we have been to are because my husband plays trumpet with the Lanier Jazz Band, which is often invited to play at different parks and festivals. The best ones have always been the ones we come across accidently. Whether it is an art fair on the square, a farmers market, or just a group with instruments playing in a park, it is always worth the stop.   
5.      Ask friends: While I was writing this I asked my friends for some of the more fun day trips they have made. They provided me with a list to fill a summer.  Included were a tour of covered bridges (usually in parks and over water you can dip your feet in on a hot day), Providence Canyon State Park, Chamberline’s chocolate factory in Norcross, and the Blue Ridge train ride and drive-in theatre.

It is with that last one in mind that I ask, what are your favorite day trips from Cumming?

Red Baron -  http://www.rbantiques.com/
Great Gatsby - http://www.greatgatsbys.com/
Goats on the Roof - http://www.goats-on-the-roof.com/Welcome.html
Tellus - http://tellusmuseum.org/
Festivals - http://www.northgeorgialiving.com/calendar/