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Georgia

Atlanta's Creepy Doll's Head Trail

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Atlanta's Creepy Doll's Head Trail

The Doll’s Head Trail in Atlanta is definitely different. While this post would probably have been better around Halloween, I visited the day after Thanksgiving when many things around the city were closed. The trail got its start when a local resident was out picking up trash in Constitution Lakes Park, where the trail is located, and ended up finding a lot of broken toys. He started creating this macabre outdoor art exhibit some time later, and its popularity has grown since then. It was definitely something different to see in Atlanta, and worth a look if you are looking for something free, close and outdoors. I wouldn’t visit on a full moon if I were you though.

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Gallery: North Georgia - A True Hidden Treasure

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Gallery: North Georgia - A True Hidden Treasure

When I asked my very well-traveled group of friends for recommendations on where to go in Georgia, probably 90% of them came back pointing me to the far north of the state. I admit I really had no idea how spectacular North Georgia is. Nestled in the southernmost region of the Appalachian Mountains, North Georgia is full of beautiful scenery, quaint towns and villages and warm, welcoming people. If North Georgia isn’t yet on your must-see list, it sure should be. I hope you enjoy these wonderful photos from my journey through the mountain towns of North Georgia.

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Snapshots: Helen, Georgia

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Snapshots: Helen, Georgia

Helen, Georgia is a fascinating and beautiful place and a real tribute to creativity in tourism initiatives. With a population of around 500, Helen is the third most visited city in all of Georgia. Helen was a dying lumber town in January of 1969 when three local businessmen met to discuss the future of their town. They wondered how they could attract tourism to the area, and thought maybe if they spruced up Main Street a bit, they might entice people to stop for a night or a meal on their way to or from the mountains. One of these men contacted John Kollock, an artist whose family had roots in the region. They asked John if he could make a few sketches and suggest a good direction for the town. John looked at the town, nestled in a beautiful mountain valley, and it reminded him of Bavarian towns he had seen in Germany during his time in the service. His sketches were well received and by that fall, the town had a new facade. Tourists started to come, and have kept coming. Today, over three million people visit Helen every year, so I’d say tourism is working for them. There is plenty of normal tourist trap hullabaloo around town, but some really beautiful buildings as well. Heck, even the Huddle House looks like it fell out of a Fairy Tale. You can get a pretty decent German meal, and definitely a Liter of good German beer. I really loved seeing this place sprucing up for Christmas and my camera loved it as well. I thought I was going to make this a quick stop and ended up there for hours. Helen is a charming little town, well worth a detour. I’m glad I visited. I hope you enjoy these photos from Helen!

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Snapshots: Cloudland Canyon

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Snapshots: Cloudland Canyon

Cloudland Canyon State Park is in the far northwest corner of Georgia, an easy half-day trip from Chattanooga and a reasonable day-trip from Atlanta. It is a beautiful place with a thousand-foot deep canyon on the western edge of Lookout Mountain. Even the name makes me smile and conjures up magical images in my head. The hike down to the waterfalls involves a lot of steps, but is well worth the effort. I got there a little late in the day to get good light for my photos in the canyon itself, but the stunning dusk and sunset views from the rim made up for it. This was a wonderful introduction to the state and a great place to spend the afternoon. This was my first visit to Cloudland Canyon, but it will not be my last. I hope you enjoy these photos from my visit, remember you can always click on them to see a larger view.

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This Week on the Road - November 16th-22nd

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This Week on the Road - November 16th-22nd

Hello everyone! Thanksgiving Week is upon us here in the United States, and turkeys are being rounded up by the thousands. Pecan and pumpkin pies are going in the oven and families are preparing for long drives to relatives houses around the country. It is our busiest travel weekend of the year, so please be safe on the roads out there. It’s also a distinctly American holiday, which I’ve always been fascinated by. As I mentioned at Easter, many Americans don’t give off a lot of hints as to their ethnic background until you visit them at Christmas or Easter and then you’ll see old family recipes they don’t even consider as anything but “what we’ve always eaten”. Of course millions of Americans don’t celebrate these Christian holidays at all, celebrating their own religion’s holidays instead. This is am amazing time to visit these Americans’ homes and learn their traditions. It’s really only the 4th of July and Thanksgiving we celebrate all together with some form of consensus on the menu. So Happy Thanksgiving America. Eat lots and get extra exercise this week to make up for it. Watch some football and throw the ball with your kids. Enjoy your family and friends and ask them how they are and if they’re happy and healthy, laugh out loud and hug often while you are together. Leave the politics and B.S. off the menu for a day and just enjoy each other and our special American day.

I’ve spent lots of Thanksgivings on the road, so I’m ready for it. Two that were particularly memorable had me fixing a traditional American Thanksgiving meal for tour groups of 13 people. One was around a campfire in Key Largo in Florida and the other was in a ski lodge in Stowe, Vermont. In the first instance my group was out snorkeling all day and in the second they were skiing. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope it’s where you want to be.

I will be here in Georgia! I have made my way into the Peach State and had a fabulous first week in Georgia’s Far North. Most people probably don’t associate mountains and Georgia, but they certainly go together well. My week has been spent out in the woods, enjoying cool but sunny weather in Georgia’s State Parks and natural areas. It’s been an amazing week exploring this region and has really whet my appetite for the rest of my stay here.

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