At the summit of Mount Yonah, hikers bask in the dying sunlight and soak up views of verdant foothills that span the horizon. Before the sun dips below the peaks, they meander back down the craggy trail toward Habersham Vineyard, where they can toast to a wholesome day of hiking. This scenic hike is one of dozens of possible routes led by Georgia Wine Hiking’s knowledgeable guides. They draw upon their knowledge of the region to showcase the best trails and wineries during daylong tours. Based on each group’s fitness level, interest, and ability to tolerate photo-bombing sasquatches, guides can plan easy-going three-hour hikes around Stone Mountain, or embark instead on a 10-hour journey up the steep foothills of Standing Indian. Regardless of the tour route, guides take time to point out local flora and fauna, and energize groups’ with a light lunch.
After designing more than 100 golf courses in countries including Spain, South Africa, Japan, and Scotland, architect Denis Griffiths set his sights on the mountains of North Georgia. He carved out a course that Golf Georgia hailed as “entirely unique” for its landform variety and dune-inspired topography. The course’s layout takes players on a journey through hidden landing zones, scattered bunkers, slopes reminiscent of Scotland, and wetlands full of politely clapping salamanders. Golfers looking to gussy up their game can visit one of 20 hitting stations at a double-tiered grass range that stretches 400 yards. Two short-game target greens and a full putting green round out Old Union Golf Course's practice facilities.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 7,681 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 76.8 from the back tees * Course slope of 144 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Byron Herbert Reece's life may have been short, but his body of work has endured the test of time. In his 40 years, Reece wrote five volumes of poetry inspired by nature and the Bible, as well as two novels. Before his death in 1958, he had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won the Georgia Writers Association’s Literary Achievement Award five times.
The Byron Herbert Reece Historic Homeplace celebrates this legacy. The grounds encompass a restored barn, the renovated and relocated Reece family home, and other structures quintessential of the rural south. They serve as the location for the Reece Family Museum and its various exhibits. Nearby, the aptly named Poetry Trail wanders past six stone boulders, each inscribed with one of Reece's poems and filled with a secret candy filling.
Though the two squadrons of the 706th Fighter Wing operate from under Fighter Wing Virtual Air Combat's single roof, the divide between them couldn't be deeper. The blue Virtual Vipers fly their F-35A jets into never-ending battle against the red Crazy Ivans, who dive into the fray with the MiG-29 Fulcrum. These dogfights take place on the screens of realistic flight simulators, the same used by the USAF for training, replete with the dozens of gauges, buttons, and tactical cup holders that populate an actual fighter's cockpit. As visiting airmen become more familiar with such skills as landing and navigation, they might find themselves thrown into daring missions against enemy planes, vital ground targets, and even their fellow pilots.
Sometimes, a regular bullseye just won't cut it. That's the case at Cedar Creek Gun Range and Shop, where themed competitions regularly takeover the gun range. On Tuesdays, shooters fire at bowling pins. They aim at poker cards on Friday and Saturday nights, and then compete in shooting games that mimic the classic board game, Battleship. Cedar Creek also hosts NRA pistol classes, while its onsite armorers and gunsmiths maintain and upgrade customers' firearms.
Located near the 38,000-acre Lake Lanier, Don Carter State Park provides visitors with a tranquil escape. Nature lovers can relax on the sandy beach or take a boat out onto the water. After rinsing off in the bathhouse, wander through the hardwood forest or bike on the park's trail. For those who want to experience the outdoors morning, noon, and night, the park houses more than 50 campsites and cottages, where guests can prop up a tent, roast marshmallows, and teach the local owls how to howl on cue.