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If you’re looking for a holiday decoration stamped with the words “Made in China,” you don’t want to visit Christmas Made in the South. The juried craft fair makes several stops in Georgia and nearby every November and December.

The name pretty much describes what you’ll find from the 200 or so crafters and artisans who set up shop each Christmas season at the show. All the products are handmade by Southerners.

Juried Exhibit

“Juried exhibit” means not just any crafter can come in and sell at the show. Artisans must send photos of their work to show officials. If the jurors see merit in the work—uniqueness, originality, quality, booth appeal—they invite the applicant to sell at the show. Exhibitors must display and sell the type of work reviewed by the judges.

Shows take on a regional flavor because the juries differ from place to place.

Variety of Wares

Where some regional shows might deal with a single craft, Christmas in the South welcomes a variety of works, as long as they deal with a single holiday: Christmas. When 200 or more crafters are selling in one spot, you’re bound to see all kinds of products.

Among the handcrafted items are pottery, candles, blown glass, tree ornaments, jewelry, tapestries, outdoor decorations, and painted and caned furniture, a popular category.

Get Personal

If you’re a crafter yourself, the shows offer a chance to talk to people who are good at what they do and usually are willing to talk about it. Learn new techniques. Find out what goes into a craft you might consider adding to your own repertoire.

You can personalize some products, too. Ornaments, for instance, can be ordered with your name or a family name, and maybe the year. It’s an opportunity to buy some personalized gifts for people on your Christmas list.

Little Start, Big Growth

The show began as a church event on a single Saturday. Now it is run by Carolina Shows, Inc., which stages craft fairs and festivals throughout the South. Carolina Shows has been promoting events for more than 30 years, and it imbues each show with professionalism.

If the promoters find a product that doesn’t suit the tenor and standards of the exhibit, for instance, or doesn’t reflect what the jury approved, they’ll remove it.  They’ll even take down signs that fail to meet standards.

Location/Dates

Admission for all events is $7 for all three days, age 13 and older; children 12 and under enter free. For discounts, print $1 off coupons per ticket online

Two Christmas Made in the South shows remain this season in Georgia:

Venue: Macon CentrePlex
200 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217
Dates: Nov. 2-4, 2018
Times: Friday, 10 a.m. -7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission:
Parking: Free
Directions: The Macon CentrePlex is a 3½- to 4-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.
 
Venue: Savannah International Trade & Convention Center
​1 International Drive
Savannah, GA 31421
Dates: Nov. 16-18, 2018
Times: Friday, 10 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: $7 admits one adult for all three days, age 13 and older; children 12 and under, free
Discounts: Print $1 off coupons per ticket online
Parking: Free
Directions: The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center is a 5¾- to 6-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.
 
Another Christmas Made in the South will be in Jacksonville, Fla., during Thanksgiving weekend:

Venue: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center
1000 Water St.
Jacksonville, FL 32204
Dates: Nov. 23-25, 2018
Times: Friday, 9 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Parking: $5-10
Directions: The Prime Osborn III convention center is just under a six-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.

There also will be a Christmas Made in the South in Ladson, S.C., just outside of Charleston, that’s actually a bit closer than Savannah:

Venue: Exchange Park Fairgrounds
9850 Highway 78
Ladson, SC 29456
Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018
Times: Friday, 10 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Parking: Free
Directions: The Exchange Fairgrounds are a 5-hour and 20-minute drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.

Photo Credits: Christmas Made in the South

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 18:38

It’s Peanut Harvest Season in Georgia

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If you think Georgia runners are tailbacks who gain a lot of yardage for the Bulldogs, you don’t know much about Georgia peanuts.

Runners are often the peanuts you snack on during the game. They’re the most common type of peanut grown in the state. That’s significant, since Georgia has just under 50 percent of the peanut acreage cultivated in the United States.

October just about finishes the Georgia peanut harvest, which begins in August, so let’s talk peanuts.

Here are some other quick Georgia peanut facts:

  • Runners are made into peanut butter, snack nuts and candy.
  • Other varieties grown are Spanish, Valencia and Virginia peanuts.
  • Because they have the largest seeds, Virginia peanuts are those typically used for roasting in the shell.
  • Georgia’s Spanish peanuts are usually small and red-skinned.
  • Green peanuts, which are best for boiling, must be refrigerated to avoid mold.
  • The peanut is actually a legume.
  • Most peanuts are grown on the Coastal Plain, south of the fall line.

To thrive, peanuts need about 22 inches of rain during the growing season and sandy soil that drains well. That’s why the Coastal Plain is prime peanut country.

Allergy Warning: If you have a peanut allergy, no preparation in the world will make peanuts safe for you. If you’re preparing food for guests and using peanuts as an ingredient, from Chinese chicken to candy or sweetbread, make sure none of your guests has a peanut allergy. It can take very little peanut content to trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction in those who have the allergy.

peanut cooking

If you want to enjoy some George peanuts, here are a few suggestions:

Boiled Peanuts

For boiled peanuts, you need green peanuts, or dried peanuts that you rehydrate. The peanuts should still be in the shell. Raw peanuts for boiling often are Valencia or runners. Dried peanuts might be the Virginia type. Despite the name, most are grown in Georgia.

Boiled peanuts, unlike dried and roasted peanuts, are soft after they are cooked. They have to be refrigerated not only before they are boiled tp keep them from spoiling, but also afterwards. If you want to make a large quantity for later eating, freeze them in bags. They’ll keep for months if frozen, then microwaved to thaw.

You can boil peanuts on the stovetop, but it’s easier to boil them in a slow cooker, such as a Crockpot. Boiled peanuts are almost always salty. Popular seasonings are Old Bay or Zatarain Cajun-style.

If you use dried peanuts, rehydrate them by placing them into a pot of water, unheated, and let them soak overnight.

We’ve looked for some good recipes. Here are links to a couple:

Crock Pot Spicy Boiled Peanuts
Stovetop Salted Boiled Peanuts

Roasted Peanuts

You can certainly go out and buy roasted peanuts. They’re all over the place, from gas stations to corner stores and supermarkets. But why not roast them yourself? If you like them really well done, which processed peanuts often are not, you can turn them a savory toasted brown in your own oven.

Peanuts can be roasted in the shell or out. It’s easy to roast raw peanuts, or dried peanuts, which stay fresh longer than raw peanuts do. You can roast them with salt and/or seasonings, or plain. That’s a matter of taste. There’s no right or wrong seasoning. And here’s good news: Roasting takes less than an hour, which is a fraction of the time required for boiling.

One thing to remember about roasted peanuts is that once you roast them, they continue to cook even as they cool off. A peanut that’s hot and a bit chewy right out of the oven will be a little more done and crisper after it cools.

Here are a couple of recipes:

Roasting Peanuts—Oven, Microwave or Oil
Roasted Raw Salted Peanuts
 
If you want to learn more about peanuts and myriad ways to prepare them—for breakfast, snacks, natural peanut butter, or as part of your main meal—visit the Georgia Peanut Commission website.

After you’ve done the work, munch on a few peanuts with family or friends during a football game or while just socializing outside your RV.

Photo Credits: Wikihow, Quora

Monday, 17 September 2018 17:59

In Search of Georgia’s Ghosts

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You can sit around a campfire and tell ghost stories for Halloween. Or you can get that creepy, crawling, cold feeling up and down your spine that comes from visiting some places in Georgia that many say are truly haunted.

So, in the spirit(s) of Halloween, we’ve gathered the details on a few ghost tours that you can experience in Georgia. Included are links to driving directions. Wherever you go ghost hunting, take a sweater. The experienced say the temperature drops when ghosts are near.

Andersonville National Historical Site

Not far from Americus is Andersonville National Historical Site, which honors the victims of the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp there. Park rangers lead respectful tours of the site, which also houses the National Prisoner of War Museum.  Treatment of prisoners by both the Union and Confederacy was abysmal, but Andersonville was, by all accounts, a death camp. Many visitors say they can hear the cries of agony from some of the 13,000 Union soldiers who died at the prison, infamous for its lack of sanitation and food.

The superintendent of the prison, Capt. Henry Wirz, was hanged after the Civil War for war crimes. The hanging failed to break his neck, so his body twitched at the end of a rope until he suffocated. His ghost reportedly has been spotted roaming the grounds.

Andersonville National Historical Site
National Prisoner of War Museum
496 Cemetery Road
Andersonville, GA 31711
Phone: 229-924-0343
Cost: Free
Reservations: Not required except for groups of 15 or more
Directions: Andersonville is about a 4-hour drive from Crossing Creeks, just less than 2 hours south of Atlanta.

Decatur Ghost Tour

Starting at the Decatur Town Square, tour guide “Boo” Newell leads visitors to buildings and cemeteries that people say are haunted. She delves not just into places where paranormal events have been reported, or where she’s experienced them, but also into the city’s history. The walk is about a mile long, so it’s the right length for kids as well as adults, but it takes two hours. What does she talk about? Murder, passion, vice, war and tragedy, she writes on her website. Plan to shoot photos—many people say orbs indicating paranormal activity show up in theirs.

Decatur Ghost Tour
Address: 101 E. Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 864-517-0688
Hours: 7:30-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday  year-round
Cost: $15, age 10 and older; $12, age 9 and younger
Reservations: online
Directions: Decatur Ghost Tour is just over 2 hours’ drive south of Crossing Creeks.

Roswell Ghost Tour

Here’s a chance to hunt for the supernatural and help to preserve Roswell’s historic features. A portion of every admission fee goes toward preservation projects.

Dianna Avena and other experienced paranormal investigators lead a 1-mile, 2½-hour Roswell Ghost Tour Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Roswell is an equal-opportunity haunt: Spirits have been reported in mansions as well as working-class homes and abandoned mills outside of town. Participants, and not just the tour leaders, say they have captured photographic, video and audible evidence of paranormal activity—people who no one remembers seeing, a person who casts no shadow, moans of workers in the mills. There’s a reduced price for children 12 and younger, but the tour guides do not recommend that children under age 13 take the tour.

Roswell Ghost Tour
610 Atlanta St.
Roswell GA 30075
Phone: 864-517-0688
Time/Place: 8:30 p.m.-1:20 a.m, Friday-Sunday, Gazebo in Roswell Town Square
Cost: $15, age 13 and older; $10, age 12 and younger
Reservations: online
Directions: Roswell, about a half-hour north of Atlanta, is an hour and 45-minute drive from Crossing Creeks via either US 19 or U.S. 76 and Interstate 575. It’s only a few minutes from Decatur.

windsor hotelWindsor Hotel, Americus, GA

The Windsor Hotel in Americus is a Best Western Plus establishment. Perhaps the plus refers to its spirits.

There’s nothing unusual about a doorman helping hotel guests with luggage—unless it’s at the Windsor. At the ornate Victorian-era brick hotel, there’s one—Floyd, an elderly gentleman—who guests occasionally report helping them out. The thing is, the Windsor hasn’t had a doorman in years. Floyd really had worked there.

Then there’s the patter of little feet running through the hallways at night. That might be Emma, the daughter of Emily Mae, the housekeeper. The only problem is that both were slain in the 1920s when Emily Mae’s lover pushed them down an elevator shaft.

And some guests say things they own are moved inexplicably from one place to another in their rooms. There is one explanation, of course, and the hotel is glad to share it with folks on the ghost tour.  

Windsor Hotel Historic Haunted Ghost Tours
Address: 125 Lamar St., Americus, GA 31709
Phone: 229-924-1555
Time: Daily, 8-9 p.m.
Cost: $12
Directions: Americus is a little over 2 hours south of Atlanta, about a 4¼-hour drive from Crossing Creeks.

Savannah Tours

If Savannah is, as reputed, the nation’s most haunted city, there are sound reasons. It was the center of the slave trade. Its population was ravaged by a yellow fever epidemic, with many victims buried in the Colonial Cemetery. And undoubtedly, women were raped and people were killed as a result of the city’s capture under Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who surprisingly spared the city from being torched. Sherman telegraphed President Abraham Lincoln to tell him he was presenting Savannah as a Christmas gift in 1864. Savannah did experience a devastating fire in 1865, although its cause has been a subject of debate.

Savannah’s status as the haunting capital may be the reason the city offers so many tours of ghost sites and graveyards. Rather than single out one, we’ll send you to a Savannah ghost tour list with offerings and prices. Some tours are walking; others are riding. Some are adults only; others are child-friendly. One even welcomes well-behaved dogs.

Directions: Savannah, a coastal city, is about a 5½-mile drive from Crossing Creeks. The quickest route is past Atlanta, so it would be easy to work in other sites in this blog while driving to or from Savannah.

Photo Credits: Wikipedia

Monday, 30 July 2018 14:13

Georgia Fairs Entertain through September, October

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Here come Georgia’s fall fairs. No two are alike, and all present great travel opportunities from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa in Blairsville.

Fairs start in early September, with at least one fair scheduled each week through mid-November. Some are regional, some local. The biggest of all is the Georgia National Fair.

At almost any fair you can expect entertainment for all ages: food, of course, livetock competitions, cooking and baking contests, rides, concerts and fireworks.

To find your own way, here’s a list of county fairs in Georgia. Here are some highlights:

Northwest Georgia Regional Fair

  • Cherokee Capital Fairgrounds
  • 1060 Liberty Road, Calhoun, GA 30701
  • Sept. 7-15

One of the first agricultural fairs of the season is the Northwest Georgia Regional Fair. The Cherokee Capital fairgrounds in Calhoun are less than a 2-hour drive from Blairsville. This is pretty much an old-fashioned country fair, with livestock competitions, 4-H and FFA exhibits, clowns, puppets, rides and traditional fair food. Gates open at 5 p.m. weekdays and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5, age 5 and over. Parking is free.

Georgia State Fair

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • 1500 Tara Pl, Hampton, GA 30228
  • Sept. 28-Oct. 7

With just about every kind of family entertainment imaginable, the Georgia State Fair runs for 10 days. It’s staged inside the Atlanta Motor Speedway, so there’s plenty of parking, including limited RV parking (call 901-867-7007). The speedway is about two hours and 40 minutes from Blairsville.

Kids entertainment abounds: a petting zoo, the Puppetone Rockers audience participation show, a white tiger display, pig races, monkeys serving as jockeys and racing dogs, a circus, magic and motorcycle daredevils. There’s also a midway and a walk-through butterfly encounter. The $10 admission ($5 ages 5-12, seniors) includes all attractions, including music; rides are extra. Tuesday is ride all day for $10. Other days, ride all day is $25. Thursday, each ride is $1.

Tickets are available only at the gate.

Georgia National Fair

  • 401 Larry Walker Pkwy, Perry, GA 31069
  • Oct. 4-14

Sponsored by the state of Georgia, this is the biggest of the fairs. Traditional livestock shows are a Georgia National Fair highlight, with competition for cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, horses, rabbits and llamas. The Invitational Steer and Heifer Shows welcome 4-H and FFA exhibitors from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Mississippi.

Music includes Emmy winner Peabo Bryson; Neal McCoy; a College Night ticket shared by Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye; 1990s and Southern Rock revivals; and gospel and Latin music. Other entertainment: pig races, antique tractors, hypnotist Tammy Barton, magicians, midway exhibits and lots of rides.

The Georgia National fairgrounds are about a four-hour drive from Blairsville, just over two hours south of Atlanta. Online ticket sales begin Aug. 24.

Elberton 12-County Fair

  • 350 N. Oliver St. Elberton GA 30635
  • Oct. 12-23

The regional Elberton 12-County Fair in northeast Georgia is less than a 2½-hour drive east from Blairsville. Daily admission is $5, and all-morning or all-afternoon ride tickets are available. In addition to blue-ribbon livestock contests, time-honored competitions include vegetables, jellies, jams, crafts and art. Here’s a different contest: 4Hers vie for best scarecrow. Musical acts entertain nightly, and there’s even pro wrestling.

North Georgia Agricultural Fair

  • 500 Legion Drive, Dalton, GA 30721
  • Oct. 18-26

One of the final nearby fall fairs is the North Georgia Agricultural Fair in Dalton. Ribbons are awarded for pies, cakes, pickles, preserves, jams, jellies, Christmas ornaments, quilts and much more. Crops judged include string and lima beans, corn, honey, nuts, peppers, tomatoes and many more categories. Livestock also is judged. Oh, and there’s a contest for voices: Karaoke preliminaries are Oct. 19 and finals, Oct. 26. There are food and rides aplenty.

Dalton is to the west of Blairsville—an hour and a half away by U.S. 76, or an hour and 50 minutes by the scenic route through south Tennessee on U.S. 74.

*Photos courtesy of Wikipedia.

Monday, 25 June 2018 21:56

Down on the Farm

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So, you like to eat, do you?

Fruit juice, eggs and bacon for breakfast. Cream in the coffee. A fresh salad for lunch. For dinner, a juicy steak, maybe, grilled to perfection under the awning outside your RV, along with a baked potato and sweet corn. Ice cream with fresh berries or a Georgia peach sliced overtop for dessert. Peanuts for an evening snack with drinks.

Yeah, I know: I’m feeling hungry, too.

All that delicious food might have been purchased at a supermarket, but it started out on a farm—except for the coffee, there’s a good chance it was a Georgia farm. Lots of planning, work and care—and these days, technology— go into every farm that produces great food. Touring a Georgia farm or two to see how it’s done, and maybe even picking some fruit yourself, will make you appreciate your meal for more than how it tastes.

rv crossing creeks ga peach councilHere are some places in Georgia that invite you to learn firsthand about agriculture:

White Oak Pastures
22775 Highway 27
Bluffton, GA 39824

A five-generation working family farm, White Oak Pastures raises grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, sheep, goats, turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas and hogs. It slaughters the animals in one of only two USDA-inspected on-farm abattoirs in the nation. You can dine in the White Oak Pastures farm-to-table restaurant for lunch Monday-Saturday and for diner Friday or Saturday evening. Stay in one of the on-farm cabins. The general store sells handcut meat, seasonal sausages, preserves and pickled items. Tour the farm on foot (wear boots—it’s muddy!) or prearrange a tour on horseback.

White Oak Pastures is a five-hour drive from Blairsville in the state’s south, about three hours south of Atlanta.  

Vidalia Onion Museum

How sweet is this? The Vidalia Onion Museum tells you everything you wanted to know—and maybe more—about the Vidalia onion. The Vidalia onion is exceptionally sweet, partly because it is grown around Vidalia in all or parts of 20 Georgia counties where the soil lacks high sulfur content. This sweet onion was discovered quite by accident during the Great Depression. According to the USDA, you can’t call an onion a Vidalia if it’s grown in California or Pennsylvania or anyplace other than those counties, even if it’s one of the species that becomes a Vidalia onion. These onions are a rarity in that they’re hand-cultivated. You can also pick up some recipes at the museum and some delicious onions almost anywhere you travel around Vidalia from April through the summer.

The Vidalia Onion Museum is about 4 hours and 40 minutes from Blairsville, and about 2½ hours southeast of Atlanta. Admission is free of charge.

Southern Belle Farm
1658 Turner Church Road
McDonough, GA 30252

Fruit doesn’t get any fresher than when it comes right from the farm. Southern Belle Farm grows lots of it: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and 10 varieties of peaches. You can pick your own when each crop is in season or buy pre-picked items, plus jams, honey and other products, at the farm’s Country Market. For the summer, count on blackberries, blueberries and peaches. The farm grows vegetables too. This is a real family experience. In Belle’s Barn you can see chickens, donkeys, cows, calves, goats and horses.

Southern Belle Farm is about 2 hours and 40 minutes from Blairsville. McDonough is about a half-hour southeast of Atlanta.

Photo Credit: White Oak Pastures

Wednesday, 20 June 2018 21:29

Sampling Georgia Brewpubs

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Nothing is better with a summer meal than an ice cold craft beer.

Georgia is home to several brewpubs, where you can get good food and beer brewed on the premises. There are enough Georgia brewpubs to put together a really enjoyable tour in summer—or any time of year.

A brewpub serves food and its own beer. Some distribute their beers for sale by retailers and other restaurants; some sell only to onsite customers. Annual output may range from a few hundred to maybe 7,500 barrels a year.

Obviously, you’ll have to drink responsibly and drive the following day to your next destination. To make this trip extra safe, download the Uber app or the Lyft app to your iPhone or Android device so you can get safely ot wherever you’re staying. The apps are free.

Consider these brewpubs for your tour:

Wrecking Bar Brewpub
292 Moreland Avenue, NE
Atlanta, GA 30307

Widely honored in Atlanta and nationwide, the Wrecking Bar Brewpub occupies a late Victorian hybrid building that has been a home, a church, a dance studio and, before its current incarnation, an architectural antiques shop called the Wrecking Bar. The building near Inman Park was designed by architect Willis F. Denny, who designed other key Atlanta structures in the early 20th Century.

The Wrecking Bar menu revolves for food and drink. Brunch, anyone? Try Choco Mountain Imperial Breakfast Stout, with flavors including bittersweet dark chocolate, mocha, dark fruit, oats and wheat, and a half-gallon of Guatemala Antigua cold-press coffee in every barrel. Later, try the truly light Fruit at the Bottom Mango-Pineapple Milkshake IPA. Among the ingredients are lactose and vanilla beans. It’s very smooth.

Recent dinner entrees included Salmon Tagliatelle and slow smoked Aspen Ridge Brisket. The crew will help you pair any entree with a Wrecking Bar brew or other libation.

Cherry Street Brewing Co-op (Rick Tanner’s)
5810 Bond Street
Cumming, GA 30040

Rick Tanner’s Cherry Street Co-Op brewpub was the Grand National Champion of the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship. It won three gold, a silver and two bronze medals. Its location is Vickery Village in Cumming, Forsythe County, about 20 minutes northeast of Atlanta.

Choose from 25 of its brews on tap in the Cherry Street Taproom. There’s a whiskey-tinged brew, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Biere de Garde, and what the pub bills as the “wee heavy” Strong Scotch Nitro, an ale. With dessert, try the unique Coconut Porter. The bar packages some beers for takeout. Dining is informal, featuring Rick Tanner’s Rotisserie Chicken, well-known around Atlanta. Added to that recently are handcut steaks and grilled fish.

Nighttime and weekend entertainment, from live music to trivia competitions and cornhole tournaments, is common.

Reformation Brewery
500 Arnold Mill Way, Suite A
Woodstock, GA 30188

Moderation and balance in all things. That statement is behind the philosophy of Reformation Brewery “to set beer free.” The Woodstock, GA, eatery and brewhouse says it values everyone’s story. The Reformation story began with a homebrew that outgrew the number of guests who could drink it. After five years of home brewing, the brewery was born.

Woodstock is about 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta on Highway 5, via I-75 and I-285. Reformation plans to open a new pub at 105 Elm Street in Woodstock in August. The original brewery was a nice gathering spot but had food only on special occasions. Queenie’s, a Southern-style restaurant in Woodstock, will operate the kitchen at the new brewpub.

Patrons will be able to offer opinions on up to 24 unique brews to help guide production decisions. Upstairs will be the Study, with booths, sofas, chairs and a second bar. A gathering hall will have games, a giant screen and space for a singer-songwriter to perform. Reformation will preserve an ancient elm on the grounds, enhancing outdoor events.

Brews include rotating IPAs from Wander North Georgia, the award-winning Cadence Belgian-style dubbel, Haddy Belgian-style white ale, and Stark, a toasted porter. A sampler of canned brews is available for takeout.

Check out detailed list of Georgia brewpubs and breweries.

Friday, 04 May 2018 15:08

Georgia’s 2018 Summer Music Festivals

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Music festivals in Georgia satisfy nearly any musical taste. Georgia festivals already are underway, with the season picking up steam as the temperatures rise in May and continue through summer.

Venues are easily accessed by driving from Crossing Creeks Luxury RV Resort, with at least one—the Georgia Mountain Fair—only 15 miles and 20 minutes away.

Music genres include jazz, hip hop, rap, indie rock, electronic dance, bluegrass and Gospel. Some music events double up with arts and craft fairs, amusement rides or prayer services.  Many are two- or three-day events, one runs a week and the biggest—the Atlanta Jazz Festival—runs the entire month of May. Costs range from free to several hundred dollars for multi-day events.

Atlanta Jazz Festival

RV Crossing Creeks DianeReeves

The Atlanta Jazz Festival hits the trifecta: It’s huge, it’s critically acclaimed, and it’s free. Billed as 31 Days of Music, it offers performances from rising talents throughout May at venues around the city: the airport, Chattahoochee Hills, Peachtree Center, the Suite Jazz Lounge, and city parks.

The top acts entertain Memorial Day weekend on the Next Gen Stage, Contemporary Stage and the Legends Stage, al in Piedmont Park. The Saturday show closes with an 11 p.m. Late Night Jazz Jam at Park Tavern with the Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra. Headliners in 2018 include vocalist Dianne Reeves, Joe Batiste with the Dap Kings, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, The Bad Plus and The Fuller Quartet. It’s a two-hour drive to Piedmont Park. Throughout May; featured acts, May 26-27.

Electronic, Indie, Hip Hop: Shaky Beats Music Festival

What a party! The Shaky Beats Music Festival in Atlanta’s Central Park books nearly 50 acts playing indie rock, electronic music or hip hop. Headliners are Marshmello, Friday; Zedd, Saturday; and Kygo, Sunday. Late shows start at 11 p.m. for attendees 18 and older. Ticket prices are $95 for one day or $179 for three days. The drive is two hours, more or less. May 11-13.

Christian: AtlantaFest

Billing itself as THE Christian Music Festival, AtlantaFest attracts some of the biggest names in Christian entertainment to Six Flags over Georgia. Featured in 2018 are Colton Dixon, Danny Gokey, Michael W. Smith, Mandisa, Phil Wickham and Tedashii, taking turns on the Main Stage on June 14, 15 or 16. The complete schedule includes other entertainment, speakers and worship. No alcohol, tobacco or pets. Tickets start at $51 for one day, to $115 for all three days. Group tickets are $100 for the full festival. Figure on a two-hour drive to Six Flags. June 14-16.  

Country, Gospel: Georgia Mountain Fair

RV Crossing Creeks The Bellamy Brothers wikipedia

The annual Georgia Mountain Fair means country in the country. The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds are just 15 miles from Blairsville in Hiawassee. Headliners include the Bellamy Brothers, Joe Diffie, Malpass Brothers, comic Etta May and British Invasion pop legends Herman’s Hermits. The Sunday Gospel show features The McKameys, The Primitives and The Inspirations. RV campsites start at $26 a day. July 20-28.  

Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival

The Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival in Dallas, GA, is a two-hour drive from Blairsville. The festival runs Friday ($10) and Saturday ($20), but a weekend pass is $25. The Wiseman Brothers are booked for Saturday. This family event allows no smoking, alcohol or pets in the covered concert area. Because of the sheltered vene, the event runs rain or shine. July 13,14.

For more information on schedules, ticketing and parking availability, visit the respective event websites above. Discover more Georgia music events on the music festivals page of Georgia.org.

 

Photo Credits: Wikipedia, Dianareeeves.com, georgiamountainfairgrounds.com

Wednesday, 11 April 2018 20:26

Car Show Season Revving Up in Georgia

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Nothing turns your head faster and farther than beauty—an old car that’s dressed to the nines. OK, almost nothing. But classic and custom cars do beg for your attention, and thousands—seriously, thousands— will be on display at car shows throughout Georgia during 2018, all an easy drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa in Blairsville.

Car shows begin in earnest in April and May. Many are spring, summer or fall events. One of Georgia’s shows claims that it’s the world’s largest monthly show, running even through the winter.

Car shows in Georgia offer a chance to view a wide variety of vehicles:

  • Classics, which are at least 30 years old and maintained in or restored to original condition, ranging from sports cars to family sedans.
  • Hot rods, which are customized cars built between 1920 and 1948, usually chrome-laden, impeccably finished and powerful.
  • Rat rods, the same age as hot rods and similarly customized for power, but often made to look unfinished or even worn—“ratted out.”
  • Street rods, which are built for reliable cruising, with more power amenities than hot rods, even air conditioning.
  • Muscle cars, which originated in the 1960s with the Pontiac GTO and include pony cars, named after the Ford Mustang.
  • Tuner cars, which are recent and current models, mostly foreign marques, and often Volkswagens and Audis, with power bolstered by electronic tuning and turbochargers.
  • Motorcycles and, occasionally, tractors.

Choose a show that attracts the type of vehicles you love. If you have kids, the tuner car shows, with cars like the ones in the “The Fast and The Furious” movies, might be a good way to hold their interest.

Car shows in Georgia include not only annual displays, but also monthly or even weekly gatherings.

RV 55 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad wikimedia.org

Upcoming Shows

In its 73rd year is the Pine Tree Festival Car Sow at Main Street Market, Swainsboro, on May 5. It’s sponsored by South Georgia Car Shows, whose facebook page lists other automotive showcases in Georgia. Check out Pine Tree on facebook, too. Cars run the gamut, from old through the muscle era to today’s performance cars. Attendance is free.

Events often combine philanthropy and cars. An example is the annual Exchange Club of Wayne County Benefit Car Show on June 9 at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jessup. Sponsored by Wayne County Cruisers, the show helps to fund the Exchange Club’s charities. It features nine judged categories, including trucks, rods, motorcycles and tractors, and awards the top choices of attendees.

Some shows run monthly. Caffeine and Octane (is there a difference?) showcases cars on the first Sunday of every month year round in Dunwoody, north of Atlanta. It bills itself as the world’s largest monthly car show. The shows, which contribute to an NBCSN TV series, are at Perimeter Mall. It’s free—even entering a car is free. It’s also early: 8-11 a.m. On display are classics, muscle cars, modern performance cars, imports, exotics, rare vehicles and motorcycles. There are plenty of places to eat and grab a drink, including morning coffee.

Atlanta has several other shows, including a couple that combine fashion and rolling metal. Check eventbrite.com.

There are too many car shows to list. Just Google car shows Georgia and you’ll find plenty more. If you want to take the motorhome out and really travel, SoutherTravelGuide.net has a Southern states car show list.

By the way, we haven’t found one yet that judges RVs, but you never know.

RV ford rat rod wikimedia

Friday, 09 March 2018 17:10

Columbus, GA: Short Drive to History

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Columbus, GA, provides a wealth of history and touring opportunities for visitors, and though you might not expect it, excellent whitewater sports on the Chattahoochee River.

The city of about 190,000 lies across the river from Alabama in southwest Georgia. It’s an easy drive of about 3½ hours by Interstate 85 south, or by taking the scenic route over Georgia 515 West.

Columbus, named after the explorer, was a native American trading center, then an industrial center since before the Civil War. The war’s last significant battle, between armies commanded by Union Gen. James H. Wilson and Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, was fought in and near Columbus. Johnston’s army actually capitulated after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to Union Gen. U.S. Grant. Among the wounded: chemist John S. Pemberton of Columbus, said to have developed the recipe for Coca-Cola as part of his recuperation.

Columbus is along the fall line, where mountains north and west of the city spill their river waters onto the plains that run from Columbus to the Atlantic Ocean.

Some things to do in Columbus:

Military Museums

Columbus is the home of the Army’s Fort Benning, which trains infantry. It’s only fitting that the city also contains the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, adjacent to the fort entrance. See likenesses of U.S. fighting men and women in uniforms of different eras. “The Final Hundred Yards” depicts infantry warfare from eight battles.

The National Civil War Naval Museum recounts a developmental time for maritime warfare. The Civil War advanced the steamship and introduced ironclads, which were armored ships designed to deflect cannon fire. Many civil war battles were fought in and around river ports, with naval activity launched from rivers, not the Atlantic Ocean. The museum contains remnants of ships rescued from the Columbus River, and re-creations of Union and Confederate ironclads. The Water Witch is a full-size replica of a Union side wheeler captured by the Confederates; it served both sides during the war.

Columbus Riverwalk

The 15-mile Chattahoochee Riverwalk follows the river for much of its length through and adjacent to Columbus. Walk or bike the trail, from the city’s northern limits to the gate of Fort Benning and the National Infantry Museum on the south.

Columbus riverwalk Gary Deloach Wikipedia

Black Heritage Trail

A National Recreation Trail, the Black Heritage Trail of Columbus is a walking tour that connects buildings and other places important to regional black history. The tour includes brick streets laid by slaves. The “Ma” Rainey House was the home of Gertrude Pridgett Rainey, an early-20th century recording artist and “Mother of the Blues.” Spencer High School, originally an all-black high school, was integrated in the 1970s, largely by children of Fort Benning families. Churches, libraries, cemeteries and two theaters also are on the tour. Walk, bike or skate the trail.

Urban Whitewater Sports

Columbia’s 2.5-mile whitewater rafting and kayaking course is the world’s longest urban stretch. If you dare, cross the Chattahoochee round trip between Georgia and Alabama, suspended on the Blue Heron Adventure/Whitewater Express zip line at speeds up to 40 mph.

Columbus whitewater wikipedia

Other Columbus sights: Columbus Museum, Columbus Botanical Garden, Coca Cola Science Center, Heritage Corner.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 17:24

A Place in Georgia with Snow

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Maybe you travel as a family, and the kids are along, or maybe the grandkids are traveling to Crossing Creeks RV Resort to spend some time with you.

If they came down from the North, one of them is bound to say, “I miss snow. It’s winter. There ought to be snow.”

Hmm. Unless you travel out of state and hit a ski resort (there are none left in Georgia), that’s not likely to happen. And if you don’t ski, well ….  

Go to Atlanta. Atlanta? For snow? Well, it’s not far from there.

It’s at Stone Mountain Park, about 16 miles east of the city.

The snow is made by machine, and it gets the job done. Many ski resorts on the edge of snow country make their own snow, especially in warm winters.

And what exactly do you do with manmade snow outside Atlanta?

Go snow tubing.

Tubing That Rocks

Kids love this.

The side of a hill — call it Snow Mountain, please — has lanes created in the snow, so it looks like a giant white sliding board. Starting at the top, tubers park themselves in the doughnut hole of their tubes. And off they go, down the hill — for run after run. A Snow Mountain session is two hours. You can get your own adult pass to go tubing, too. It’s a pretty gentle ride, so don’t be afraid. With the lanes separated, you won’t go bounding into other tubers, and they won’t crash into you. There are even family-sized tubes — rafts, really.

After sunset, the Snow Mountain tubing run turns into Galactic Snow Tubing. It’s along the lines of nighttime laser bowling, or spooky miniature golfing around Halloween — lights, but with snow rather than bowling lanes or putting greens. The colors on the white snow make for quite a show. Remix versions of Top 40 tunes play over the sound system, with the lights keeping time to the music.

You’ll need advance registration.

Your daily pass includes two hours of tubing, so reserve time at 4:30 or later to experience the Galactic light and sound show, which starts at 5:30.

Playing in the Snow

When they’re not tubing, kids can just play in the SnowZone, building snowmen, getting on their back to make snow angels and just plain having fun. Snow Mountain runs Nov. 8 Feb. 25.

Make sure you dress the kids appropriately. If they don’t have snow pants, layer them and get them into something warm and dry as soon as you get back into the RV.  Hats, gloves and boots are all good ideas, especially the gloves.

You can get a variety of passes, some including entertainment and/or a meal, if you plan to be there for the day. There’s also a daytime Christmas exhibit. Holiday packages are available for RVers and must include an arrival or departure date that falls within Dec. 2-3, 8-10 or 15-31, and Jan. 1-3. There’s also an early New Year’s Eve party for kids on Dec. 31 that ends before midnight.

Camping includes full- and partial hookup sites, tent sites, and stationary RV and yurt rentals. Multi-day packages for RVs are available, as are in/out privileges.

Price: $31.95 to $54.95 per person (daily). Holiday RV cost (2-night stay): $159 (includes 2 single-day park passes) to $262 (4 single-day park passes), plus $15 parking fee; additional passes @$25/person. Check for snow park availability. Camp open Christmas Day, but park closed.

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