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 Skywater 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 Victoria Bryant State Park, 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.
Certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association, the instructors at Skywater Atlanta Tennis impart their ball-whacking wisdom to students of all ages in private, group, and team settings. As protégés learn stroke basics and strategic fundamentals such as scoring, court positioning, and footwork, teachers foster a welcoming environment that encourages improvement without fear of reprisal for common mistakes such as faulting on a serve or strumming the wrong string on the racket during a mock guitar solo.
At Canvas Mixers of Braselton, an artist unearths the hidden talent of amateurs in three-hour painting classes. After handing out aprons and 16”x20” canvases or directing patrons to the nearest blank wall, the teacher carefully guides the brushstrokes of students with step-by-step instructions, helping them craft acrylic paintings of mountains at night, ornamental crosses, or glasses of wine. Some nights focus on specific themes, including The Hunger Games on teen night and kissing koi on date night, and every BYOB adult class allows pupils to pop a bottle of their own bubbly and dip into snacks. The studio also hosts classes for kids aged 6 and older or puppies disguised as kindergartners, who create masterpieces that star silly critters, such as a winking owl.
Artistic opportunities abound at Mudpatch Creations. The locally owned pottery studio hosts classes and birthday parties that focus on painting techniques and of course, pottery. The staff helps visitors decorate bisque and greenware items, such as animal figurines or plates for those same animal figurines to use when eating. Mudpatch also sells pottery supplies including glazes, acrylic paints, and a selection of brushes.