Brief overview of the state
It is the state of Georgia that personifies the Southern state of mind and cultural
experience, both the “Old South” of Savannah’s white-columned mansions and stone-
paved streets lined with live oaks and Spanish moss and the ultramodern, high-tech,
high-rise metropolis of Atlanta (fittingly nicknamed “Hot-Lanta”).
Georgia was the last and southernmost of the 13 original colonies and held its own
against Great Britain in Savannah and on the Kettle Creek and Fort Morris
battlegrounds. It was a major force for the Confederacy in the Civil War and was
irrevocably altered by it. On a much less violent note, Georgia was the site of this
country’s first gold rush that began in 1829 in the North Georgia mountains.
Perhaps surprisingly, Georgia is the “Hollywood of the South” with more than 700 films
and television shows filmed on location here, including The Walking Dead, The Hidden
Figures, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Black Panther.
- Favorite Towns
Blue Ridge is in the northeast corner of Georgia. Visit in the spring for the fantastic trout
fishing; in the summer to raft and kayak down the Toccoa River; in the fall for the riot of
colors, and in the winter for the serenity and occasional dusting of snow. Ride the Blue
Ridge Scenic Railway to McCaysville and step into Tennessee and be in two states at
the same time!
Brunswick lies along the southeastern coast of Georgia and is a central port for its crab
and oyster industries. Downtown Brunswick features preserved and restored Victorian
and Colonial architecture among the picturesque theater, music and visual arts venues.
The prolific wildlife, birds, foliage, and flowers are an artist’s or photographer’s delight.
Covington, just outside metro Atlanta, is one of the most scenic spots in a very scenic
state. It is a major player in Georgia’s film industry, having appeared in more than 60
feature films. Mystic Falls, Virginia, in The Vampire Diaries? Covington! A guided tour
will take you to the sites where films and television shows were filmed and to the
haunted historic sites
Imagine a Bavarian Alpine Village set into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Helen is right out
of a fairy tale with the pitched roofs, decorative cross-gables, and rich palette of colors.
Stroll the cobblestone walkways and indulge in the Alpine cuisine. Only a half a mile
south is the Habersham Vineyard and Winery and their Stonepile Vineyard with its
magnificent lake and abundant wildlife.
- Food Highlights
Biscuits & Gravy
Creamy, smooth sausage gravy served over hot buttermilk biscuits—it’s the ultimate
comfort food. The dish is most often served with eggs at breakfast but is welcome at
any meal. Also called “sawmill gravy”; it was served as a cheap and hearty breakfast for
workers at the sawmill camps.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Research has found this recipe in 19th-century cookbooks from the U.S. Northeast and
Midwest and early 20th-century Jewish cookbooks. But it’s more important that the
recipe got to Georgia than how that happened. Pale green tomatoes are sliced, lightly
battered and fried to a crisp golden brown. For the full fried-green-tomato experience,
put them on rye bread with bacon, mayonnaise, lettuce, onion and Swiss cheese.
Grits are the official prepared food of Georgia, handed down from the local Native
Americans. Grind corn into a coarse meal and boil. Then you can be as traditional or as
innovative as you like. Serve with butter and salt, melted cheese or shrimp.
Georgia is the “Pecan Capital of the Nation.” The Georgians adapted the recipe for
pralines that the French brought with them in the 19th century. Just four ingredients:
pecans, brown sugar, cream or buttermilk, and butter stirred until thick then dropped by
spoonfuls onto wax paper to cool. A melt-in-your-mouth sensation!
Andersonville National Historic Site
This Confederate prisoner-of-war camp held more than 45,000 Union soldiers.
Wounded, diseased and starving prisoners had only contaminated water to drink and
little shelter from the scorching summers and cold winter rains—12,920 died. Tour the
site and the National Prisoner of War Museum, which memorializes American POWs of
Martin Luther King, Jr., Historic District
The district includes the birthplace and grave of Dr. King. Ebenezer Baptist was his
childhood church and where he was pastor as an adult. Walk the Freedom Walkway to
Freedom Hall that honors Dr. and Mrs. King, Mahatma Ghandi and Rosa Parks. African
and Georgian art is exhibited in the Grand Foyer of the hall.
The Okefenokee Swamp
The Okefenokee (“land of the trembling earth”) Swamp on the Georgia/Florida border is
a world seldom encountered in the states: living dinosaurs (about 10,000 alligators),
carnivorous plants and rare birds. Travel through the tangled network of watercourses,
the cypress swamps, and feel the floating islands quake beneath your feet.
Savannah Historic District
The Savannah Historic District is significant for its 18th- and 19th-century architecture.
Most of the original squares remain, surrounded by buildings in the Georgian, Greek
Revival, and Gothic styles. Spanish moss shades the stone-paved streets. It is truly one
of the loveliest and most evocative urban environments in the world.
The major art museums include the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Georgia
Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, and the Telfair Museum of Art in
Savannah. For museums with unique displays, there is the very entertaining American
Prohibition Museum in Savannah and the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins.
The Fox Theatre is the prized jewel in Atlanta’s many-splendored crown. It’s all here:
Broadway musicals, concerts, operas, ballets, and stand-up comedians. The Springer
Opera House in Columbus was built in 1871 and, through the years, illustrious
entertainers such as Oscar Wilde, John Philip Sousa, Will Rogers, and Ethel Barrymore
have graced its stage. Theatre Albany, a white-columned antebellum treasure, is on the
National Register of Historic Places. Live performances include plays, musicals, and
Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations last two weeks in Savannah with activities leading up to
the parade, which attracts people from around the world with its 350 marching units,
including pipe bands and Irish dancers from up and down the East Coast, Celtic
societies, Irish families, the military and beautifully imaginative floats.
Georgia Peach Festival
Byron and Fort Valley
Georgia is the Peach State so the peaches must be celebrated each June. The two
towns fill up with thousands of visitors for the week-long festival. There are rotating
entertainers of every music genre, a parade, the crowning of Miss Georgia Peach and
more peach-related arts and crafts and foodstuffs than you could have imagined
Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon boats are slim, 39-feet long and usually of teak wood with a fierce dragon’s
head at the prow and a lethal-looking tail at the stern. Each September, thousands of
competitors and spectators arrive for the exciting and symbolic races and for the
colorful, exotic opening ceremonies, international cuisine, Asian talent show and more
Chinese artifacts than is usually seen anywhere outside of China!