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Fun Things to Do in Georgia


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  string(6567) "GEORGIA GUIDESTONES

Elberton's granite monument two hours outside of Atlanta is the closest thing Georgia has to Stonehenge. Built in 1980 by a man (or group of men) known as "Robert Christian," the six 20-foot-tall slabs inscribed with so-called "principles" – ordering a global population capped at 500 million people and mandating healthy living and harmony with nature – have drawn plenty of conspiracy theorists. Skeptics claim it was a brilliant PR campaign to generate interest in the area's granite industry, while black helicopter aficionados say it's a clue to the shadow elite's plan for a New World Order. 1065 Guidestones Road, Elberton. www.radioliberty.com/stones.htm.

BOOGER HILL

Attracting ghost hunters, skeptics and local high schoolers for decades, Booger Hill is one of the so-called "gravity hills." According to Internet lore, the area between two oak trees along a Forsyth County road is haunted either by the ghosts of lynched slaves or children who died in a tragic school bus accident. Those who've visited the spooky site say cars in neutral between the trees will be "pushed" uphill by spirits. Some say it's an optical illusion, while others swear it's a frightening way to communicate with the dead. 2108 Bettis Tribble Gap Road, Cumming.

GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME

Macon is ground zero for the Peach State's rich musical legacy, and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame houses the state's largest cache of music memorabilia. The permanent collection of photographs, album covers and historical ephemera hanging on the walls encompasses a history lesson on everything from Otis Redding to R.E.M. to OutKast and all points between. There are plenty of interactive exhibits as well, and a play area to stow away the kids while you check out the in-house Skillet Licker Café, the Vintage Vinyl Record Store or the rotating show of the season. 200 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Macon. 478-751-3334. www.georgiamusic.org.

THE ROAD TO TARA

Whether you're the authority on every Civil War skirmish, or can't stop imagining a Rhett Butler sweeping you off your feet, maybe you should inject a little Southern charm into your life. Just 35 minutes south of Atlanta is the two-square-mile town of Jonesboro that served as inspiration for Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. Simple pleasures and Southern manners run abundant in this tiny town touched little by time or modernity. Start by browsing the Road to Tara Museum, which houses GWTW memorabilia, then visit Stately Oaks Plantation right down the road to experience Old South traditions, with themed events throughout the year and an annual battle reenactment. Road to Tara Museum: 104 N. Main St., Jonesboro. 770-478-4800. www.visitscarlett.com/gonewiththewind. Stately Oaks Plantation: 100 Carriage Lane at Jodeco Road, Jonesboro. www.historicaljonesboro.org.

ANDALUSIA FARM

Despite popular belief, Milledgeville isn't all insane asylums and ghost tours. Named by USA Today as one of the country's 10 important literary destinations, Milledgeville is also home to writer Flannery O'Connor's estate, Andalusia Farm. O'Connor rose to prominence with her two novels and 32 short stories steeped in Southern Gothic style, with slightly grotesque characters and intense religious reflections – something in no short supply in mid-20th century Georgia. O'Connor died at age 39 in Milledgeville, but her battle with lupus didn't stop her from completing some of her best-known works at the 544-acre farm, replete with its resident peacock and peahens. Close to Andalusia is Georgia College and State University, which houses the Flannery O'Connor Collection, and the Memory Hill Cemetery, where O'Connor is buried. Andalusia Farm: 2628 N. Columbia St., Milledgeville. 478-454-4029. andalusiafarm.org. GCSU: 231 W. Hancock St., Milledgeville. 478-445-5004. gcsu.edu. Memory Hill Cemetery: friendsofcems.org/MemoryHill.

AMICALOLA FALLS

Every now and then we tire of the "convenience" of city life, with its 24-hour traffic jams, crowded shopping and two-hour restaurant waits. Sometimes, what we need is a return (or, for some, an introduction) to nature. Amicalola Falls' majestic cascade of water and brilliant rays of sunshine are pretty much like free Valium – not to mention the killer view on the way up to north Georgia. After you bust your ass on the trails, head over to Poole's BBQ, where the Texas toast alone is worth going a few miles out of the way. Amicalola Falls: 706-265-4703. www.amicalolafalls.com. Poole's BBQ: 164 Craig St., East Ellijay. 706-635-4100. www.poolesbarbq.com.

BLUE WILLOW INN

Southern charm, hospitality and food bloom here like the many flowers lining the grounds of Social Circle's Blue Willow Inn. Special touches surround the turn-of-the-century Greek Revival mansion, including an elegant three-tiered fountain out front and a large koi pond out back. Margaret Mitchell frequently visited the home's original inhabitants, the Upshaws, during a courtship with one Redd Upshaw. But that was before the buffet. Now people come from miles for the restaurant's moderately priced traditional Southern fare. Can't miss items: fried green tomatoes and Blue Willow Bars. Reservations highly recommended. 294 N. Cherokee Road, Social Circle. 770-464-2131. www.bluewillowinn.com.

HOWARD FINSTER'S PARADISE GARDENS

God told Howard Finster to make art and he did. And it was good. Nestled a few blocks off Highway 27 north in a quiet Summerville neighborhood is Paradise Gardens Park & Museum. The home-turned-reliquary of the late legendary Georgia folk artist is a labyrinth of sculptures, mosiacs, signs and outbuildings, including the massive Folk Art Chapel, all made in the name of God. The self-taught Finster began garnering widespread acclaim in the '80s after creating album art for bands such as R.E.M. (Reckoning) and the Talking Heads (Little Creatures). Yes, you can see the giant tangle of bicycles shown in the video for R.E.M.'s "Radio Free Europe," but you'll be more fascinated by the sheer quantity, intricacies, humor and pathos of Finster's work. Paradise Gardens is kinda dusty, moldy and muddy, but that's part of its charm (bring bug spray). Unfortunately, some parts have fallen into disrepair over the years, including the chapel. Donations are encouraged and benefit the grounds' restoration. Oh! Make sure to stop and chat with Finster's grandson if he's there. He's full of enlightening tales about "Paw-paw." 84 Knox St., Summerville. 205-587-3090. finstersparadisegardens.org.


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Elberton's granite monument two hours outside of Atlanta is the closest thing Georgia has to Stonehenge. Built in 1980 by a man (or group of men) known as "Robert Christian," the six 20-foot-tall slabs inscribed with so-called "principles" – ordering a global population capped at 500 million people and mandating healthy living and harmony with nature – have drawn plenty of conspiracy theorists. Skeptics claim it was a brilliant PR campaign to generate interest in the area's granite industry, while black helicopter aficionados say it's a clue to the shadow elite's plan for a New World Order. ''1065 Guidestones Road, Elberton. [http://www.radioliberty.com/stones.htm|www.radioliberty.com/stones.htm].''

__BOOGER HILL__

Attracting ghost hunters, skeptics and local high schoolers for decades, Booger Hill is one of the so-called "gravity hills." According to Internet lore, the area between two oak trees along a Forsyth County road is haunted either by the ghosts of lynched slaves or children who died in a tragic school bus accident. Those who've visited the spooky site say cars in neutral between the trees will be "pushed" uphill by spirits. Some say it's an optical illusion, while others swear it's a frightening way to communicate with the dead. ''2108 Bettis Tribble Gap Road, Cumming''.

__GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME__

Macon is ground zero for the Peach State's rich musical legacy, and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame houses the state's largest cache of music memorabilia. The permanent collection of photographs, album covers and historical ephemera hanging on the walls encompasses a history lesson on everything from Otis Redding to R.E.M. to OutKast and all points between. There are plenty of interactive exhibits as well, and a play area to stow away the kids while you check out the in-house Skillet Licker Café, the Vintage Vinyl Record Store or the rotating show of the season. ''200 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Macon. 478-751-3334. [http://www.georgiamusic.org/|www.georgiamusic.org].''

__THE ROAD TO TARA__

Whether you're the authority on every Civil War skirmish, or can't stop imagining a Rhett Butler sweeping you off your feet, maybe you should inject a little Southern charm into your life. Just 35 minutes south of Atlanta is the two-square-mile town of Jonesboro that served as inspiration for Margaret Mitchell's ''Gone With the Wind''. Simple pleasures and Southern manners run abundant in this tiny town touched little by time or modernity. Start by browsing the Road to Tara Museum, which houses ''GWTW'' memorabilia, then visit Stately Oaks Plantation right down the road to experience Old South traditions, with themed events throughout the year and an annual battle reenactment. ''Road to Tara Museum: 104 N. Main St., Jonesboro. 770-478-4800. [http://www.visitscarlett.com/gonewiththewind|www.visitscarlett.com/gonewiththewind]. Stately Oaks Plantation: 100 Carriage Lane at Jodeco Road, Jonesboro. [http://www.historicaljonesboro.org/|www.historicaljonesboro.org].''

__ANDALUSIA FARM__

Despite popular belief, Milledgeville isn't all insane asylums and ghost tours. Named by ''USA Today'' as one of the country's 10 important literary destinations, Milledgeville is also home to writer Flannery O'Connor's estate, Andalusia Farm. O'Connor rose to prominence with her two novels and 32 short stories steeped in Southern Gothic style, with slightly grotesque characters and intense religious reflections – something in no short supply in mid-20th century Georgia. O'Connor died at age 39 in Milledgeville, but her battle with lupus didn't stop her from completing some of her best-known works at the 544-acre farm, replete with its resident peacock and peahens. Close to Andalusia is Georgia College and State University, which houses the Flannery O'Connor Collection, and the Memory Hill Cemetery, where O'Connor is buried. ''Andalusia Farm: 2628 N. Columbia St., Milledgeville. 478-454-4029. [http://andalusiafarm.org/|andalusiafarm.org]. GCSU: 231 W. Hancock St., Milledgeville. 478-445-5004. [http://gcsu.edu/|gcsu.edu]. Memory Hill Cemetery: [http://friendsofcems.org/MemoryHill|friendsofcems.org/MemoryHill].''

__AMICALOLA FALLS__

Every now and then we tire of the "convenience" of city life, with its 24-hour traffic jams, crowded shopping and two-hour restaurant waits. Sometimes, what we need is a return (or, for some, an introduction) to nature. Amicalola Falls' majestic cascade of water and brilliant rays of sunshine are pretty much like free Valium – not to mention the killer view on the way up to north Georgia. After you bust your ass on the trails, head over to Poole's BBQ, where the Texas toast alone is worth going a few miles out of the way. ''Amicalola Falls: 706-265-4703. [http://www.amicalolafalls.com/|www.amicalolafalls.com]. Poole's BBQ: 164 Craig St., East Ellijay. 706-635-4100. [http://www.poolesbarbq.com/|www.poolesbarbq.com].''

__BLUE WILLOW INN__

Southern charm, hospitality and food bloom here like the many flowers lining the grounds of Social Circle's Blue Willow Inn. Special touches surround the turn-of-the-century Greek Revival mansion, including an elegant three-tiered fountain out front and a large koi pond out back. Margaret Mitchell frequently visited the home's original inhabitants, the Upshaws, during a courtship with one Redd Upshaw. But that was before the buffet. Now people come from miles for the restaurant's moderately priced traditional Southern fare. Can't miss items: fried green tomatoes and Blue Willow Bars. Reservations highly recommended. ''294 N. Cherokee Road, Social Circle. 770-464-2131. [http://www.bluewillowinn.com/|www.bluewillowinn.com].''

__HOWARD FINSTER'S PARADISE GARDENS__

God told Howard Finster to make art and he did. And it was good. Nestled a few blocks off Highway 27 north in a quiet Summerville neighborhood is Paradise Gardens Park & Museum. The home-turned-reliquary of the late legendary Georgia folk artist is a labyrinth of sculptures, mosiacs, signs and outbuildings, including the massive Folk Art Chapel, all made in the name of God. The self-taught Finster began garnering widespread acclaim in the '80s after creating album art for bands such as R.E.M. (''Reckoning'') and the Talking Heads (''Little Creatures''). Yes, you can see the giant tangle of bicycles shown in the video for R.E.M.'s "Radio Free Europe," but you'll be more fascinated by the sheer quantity, intricacies, humor and pathos of Finster's work. Paradise Gardens is kinda dusty, moldy and muddy, but that's part of its charm (bring bug spray). Unfortunately, some parts have fallen into disrepair over the years, including the chapel. Donations are encouraged and benefit the grounds' restoration. Oh! Make sure to stop and chat with Finster's grandson if he's there. He's full of enlightening tales about "Paw-paw." ''84 Knox St., Summerville. 205-587-3090. [http://finstersparadisegardens.org/|finstersparadisegardens.org].''

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  string(7038) " Amicalola Falls Amicalola Falls. Photo credit: Courtesy of Amicalola Falls State Park 2019-10-22T18:33:19+00:00 Amicalola_Falls-1024x512New.jpg    road trip Haunted hills, a literary farm and rock 'n' roll 25180  2010-05-19T08:00:00+00:00 Roadside attractions jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris CL Staff  2010-05-19T08:00:00+00:00  GEORGIA GUIDESTONES

Elberton's granite monument two hours outside of Atlanta is the closest thing Georgia has to Stonehenge. Built in 1980 by a man (or group of men) known as "Robert Christian," the six 20-foot-tall slabs inscribed with so-called "principles" – ordering a global population capped at 500 million people and mandating healthy living and harmony with nature – have drawn plenty of conspiracy theorists. Skeptics claim it was a brilliant PR campaign to generate interest in the area's granite industry, while black helicopter aficionados say it's a clue to the shadow elite's plan for a New World Order. 1065 Guidestones Road, Elberton. www.radioliberty.com/stones.htm.

BOOGER HILL

Attracting ghost hunters, skeptics and local high schoolers for decades, Booger Hill is one of the so-called "gravity hills." According to Internet lore, the area between two oak trees along a Forsyth County road is haunted either by the ghosts of lynched slaves or children who died in a tragic school bus accident. Those who've visited the spooky site say cars in neutral between the trees will be "pushed" uphill by spirits. Some say it's an optical illusion, while others swear it's a frightening way to communicate with the dead. 2108 Bettis Tribble Gap Road, Cumming.

GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME

Macon is ground zero for the Peach State's rich musical legacy, and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame houses the state's largest cache of music memorabilia. The permanent collection of photographs, album covers and historical ephemera hanging on the walls encompasses a history lesson on everything from Otis Redding to R.E.M. to OutKast and all points between. There are plenty of interactive exhibits as well, and a play area to stow away the kids while you check out the in-house Skillet Licker Café, the Vintage Vinyl Record Store or the rotating show of the season. 200 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Macon. 478-751-3334. www.georgiamusic.org.

THE ROAD TO TARA

Whether you're the authority on every Civil War skirmish, or can't stop imagining a Rhett Butler sweeping you off your feet, maybe you should inject a little Southern charm into your life. Just 35 minutes south of Atlanta is the two-square-mile town of Jonesboro that served as inspiration for Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. Simple pleasures and Southern manners run abundant in this tiny town touched little by time or modernity. Start by browsing the Road to Tara Museum, which houses GWTW memorabilia, then visit Stately Oaks Plantation right down the road to experience Old South traditions, with themed events throughout the year and an annual battle reenactment. Road to Tara Museum: 104 N. Main St., Jonesboro. 770-478-4800. www.visitscarlett.com/gonewiththewind. Stately Oaks Plantation: 100 Carriage Lane at Jodeco Road, Jonesboro. www.historicaljonesboro.org.

ANDALUSIA FARM

Despite popular belief, Milledgeville isn't all insane asylums and ghost tours. Named by USA Today as one of the country's 10 important literary destinations, Milledgeville is also home to writer Flannery O'Connor's estate, Andalusia Farm. O'Connor rose to prominence with her two novels and 32 short stories steeped in Southern Gothic style, with slightly grotesque characters and intense religious reflections – something in no short supply in mid-20th century Georgia. O'Connor died at age 39 in Milledgeville, but her battle with lupus didn't stop her from completing some of her best-known works at the 544-acre farm, replete with its resident peacock and peahens. Close to Andalusia is Georgia College and State University, which houses the Flannery O'Connor Collection, and the Memory Hill Cemetery, where O'Connor is buried. Andalusia Farm: 2628 N. Columbia St., Milledgeville. 478-454-4029. andalusiafarm.org. GCSU: 231 W. Hancock St., Milledgeville. 478-445-5004. gcsu.edu. Memory Hill Cemetery: friendsofcems.org/MemoryHill.

AMICALOLA FALLS

Every now and then we tire of the "convenience" of city life, with its 24-hour traffic jams, crowded shopping and two-hour restaurant waits. Sometimes, what we need is a return (or, for some, an introduction) to nature. Amicalola Falls' majestic cascade of water and brilliant rays of sunshine are pretty much like free Valium – not to mention the killer view on the way up to north Georgia. After you bust your ass on the trails, head over to Poole's BBQ, where the Texas toast alone is worth going a few miles out of the way. Amicalola Falls: 706-265-4703. www.amicalolafalls.com. Poole's BBQ: 164 Craig St., East Ellijay. 706-635-4100. www.poolesbarbq.com.

BLUE WILLOW INN

Southern charm, hospitality and food bloom here like the many flowers lining the grounds of Social Circle's Blue Willow Inn. Special touches surround the turn-of-the-century Greek Revival mansion, including an elegant three-tiered fountain out front and a large koi pond out back. Margaret Mitchell frequently visited the home's original inhabitants, the Upshaws, during a courtship with one Redd Upshaw. But that was before the buffet. Now people come from miles for the restaurant's moderately priced traditional Southern fare. Can't miss items: fried green tomatoes and Blue Willow Bars. Reservations highly recommended. 294 N. Cherokee Road, Social Circle. 770-464-2131. www.bluewillowinn.com.

HOWARD FINSTER'S PARADISE GARDENS

God told Howard Finster to make art and he did. And it was good. Nestled a few blocks off Highway 27 north in a quiet Summerville neighborhood is Paradise Gardens Park & Museum. The home-turned-reliquary of the late legendary Georgia folk artist is a labyrinth of sculptures, mosiacs, signs and outbuildings, including the massive Folk Art Chapel, all made in the name of God. The self-taught Finster began garnering widespread acclaim in the '80s after creating album art for bands such as R.E.M. (Reckoning) and the Talking Heads (Little Creatures). Yes, you can see the giant tangle of bicycles shown in the video for R.E.M.'s "Radio Free Europe," but you'll be more fascinated by the sheer quantity, intricacies, humor and pathos of Finster's work. Paradise Gardens is kinda dusty, moldy and muddy, but that's part of its charm (bring bug spray). Unfortunately, some parts have fallen into disrepair over the years, including the chapel. Donations are encouraged and benefit the grounds' restoration. Oh! Make sure to stop and chat with Finster's grandson if he's there. He's full of enlightening tales about "Paw-paw." 84 Knox St., Summerville. 205-587-3090. finstersparadisegardens.org.


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Explore Attractions, Summer Guide

Wednesday May 19, 2010 04:00 am EDT
Haunted hills, a literary farm and rock 'n' roll | more...
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  string(8042) "When I got the invitation to go whitewater rafting in Columbus, Georgia, my first reaction was: Huh, Columbus? My knowledge of Columbus is very limited. Aside from traveling to visit family at Fort Benning or traveling through the city to visit family in Alabama, its always been a quaint, quiet town to in my mind. Never in my wildest dream would I imagine the city to be an adventure destination – right in the heart of downtown no less.

I made my appointment for my rafting experience with Whitewater Express. If you’ve ever gone kayaking or whitewater rafting on the Oconee River the name should be familiar, they provide equipment, classes and experiences there, too. According to the reservationist the river goes from mild, with a maximum of class II rapids in the mornings to wild – a combination of class II through V rapids as the day progresses. I chose 3:00 P.M., a sweet spot between the two extremes.

I arrived early and took the time to explore Uptown Columbus. The community runs alongside the river and is the home of Columbus State University that sits just off the bank of the Chattahoochee.  Two blocks away from the river is really where things were really happening. I took a stroll down Broadway Street, a postcard perfect example of old and new. Massive shady oak trees and art installations divide this wide city street providing familiar southern charm – and shade to peruse the local retail and eateries. I found a literal glut of boutique sandwich shops and coffee spots with outdoor seating, that provide free wi-fi, and are pet friendly.

A little hungry and thirsty, I made my way to Smoke Bourbon and BBQ, a craft-inspired barbecue joint and cocktail bar located on the corner of Broadway and 11th. The restaurant appears to be a Sunday brunch staple as large groups waited for seating both indoors and out. Since I was alone, I opted to sit at my favorite spot – the bar and try some of their non-traditional offerings. I decided on the Gnocchi and Brisket – an inspired take on meat and ‘taters. The dish was rich and rustic with tender potato dumplings tossed in brown butter and topped with a heaping portion of Smoke’s signature beef brisket. I paired my meal with a Gin Basil Smash, a lush mix of citrus and botanicals that was sour, savory, and refreshing.

With my belly now full, it was time to face the rapids.

I didn’t have a party to share my raft so I was added to a large party of friends and family celebrating a birthday. The tour guides got us geared up and after a quick lesson on safety we boarded a bus and drove two miles up the river to North Highlands Dam. The dam releases water throughout the day that increases as the day progresses. By the time we hit the water the flow was around 975 CFS (cubic feet per second) but you don’t see the impact of this until you approach the rapids.

We boarded our rafts and headed out. My raft had two guides: Green Bean a tour guide trainee, and Ian, a guide manager and as we started our lazy float, I began to question how much of an adventure this would be. We had not hit any rapids at this point and the picturesque vistas had my party more relaxed then we should have been. That changed when we approached our first rapid. As we paddled around an outcrop of rocks we hit “Ambush,” a class II rapid. Green Bean explained all rapids have names. It’s a way for water sportsmen to identify for training and competition. Ambush is a two-foot dip with waves that hit us about 16 inches above the raft. The entire boat was doused, and we laughed at accomplishing the first challenge of the day.

We paddled on, introducing ourselves and making small talk with Green Bean as he talked about the Chattahoochee River, scenic landmarks and upcoming rapids we experienced.

Midway through our tour we made it “Lazy Daze,” a lull spot where we were encouraged to jump in a back float or “nose and toes” for a bit and enjoy the water. After floating on our backs for 15 minutes we boarded our rafts again and pushed off to head to our next set of rapids.

Forty minutes had passed and up to this point the rapids were relatively tame. At this point we had only encountered class II rapids and our assumption was this would be the standard the remainder of the trip. We were wrong. Our next rapid was “Wilson’s Run,” a class III rapid. We entered the rapid, paddling hard and bracing for the wave crash, the splash was nearly 30 inches above the raft and we were jostled about. Our boat was turned about, and we had to learn on the fly how to right the direction of our boat before the next rapid. We were the last boat in our chain so we heard combinations of screams and laughter ahead of us as they hit the rapids, but nothing really prepares you for experiencing the rapids yourself.




Our final rapid was “Heaven’s Gate” a class IV rapid. I must admit I had reservations about this one. Unlike our other rapids, this one put our party on edge. The water churned from a three-foot drop and the as we approached it, our boat sped up and the roar was near deafening. We dug in, paddling hard and fast and as we hit the first wave three members of my party flew off the raft. Time stopped as I watched them fly into the water. Me and the remainder of the crew worked to tackle the rapids while Ian jumped in to assist the rest of the party who were battling the rapid in the water. Our boat was too light, and we capsized. As scary as this was being thrown into the Chattahoochee with four-foot waves jostling you every which way its important to remember your training: take a deep breath and “nose and toes” get on your back and float your way through the rapid. I broke surface midway through and rapid and caught my breath before the next wave hit which pushed me under. I kept saying to myself, “nose and toes – nose and toes,” and made it through to calmer water. When I opened my eyes again, a safety guard (a safety team accompanies all the rafts in case of emergencies) was pulling on top of his kayak and took me back to the where we assisted the remainder of my group back in the boat. We lost all but one of our oars, and two members of the group lost their glasses. I lost my left aqua sock.



As we floated to the docking spot roughly 50 yards from Heaven’s Gate, we all shared our moments; our thoughts, and how scary and thrilling being thrown into a rapid was. We all vowed to do this again soon as we all wanted to conquer this rapid like we tackled all the other before us on the journey.

I left my group who were at this point jumping off into the river as a final nod to their birthday celebration. With one shoe on I partly hopped my way back to the Whitewater Express Center to avoid the hot pavement finding any grass and sand I could find along the way to cool my feet. 

I got dressed, thanked and tipped Green Bean for the experience and began my 90-minute trip back to Atlanta. I was exhausted and exhilarated. Never in my wildest dreams could I have known Downtown Columbus was a destination for outdoor thrill seekers. Along with whitewater rafting, Whitewater express has kayaking; zip lines excursions across the river into Phoenix City, Alabama; paddle board rentals; bike rentals, and fly-fishing classes and equipment rental.

As of late I’ve become an evangelist of sorts touting the amazing adventure through pictures and telling my capsizing moment while shooting rapids in Downtown Columbus. While my friends still can’t imagine the town most Atlantans think of as rural and uninteresting, I can’t wait for them to discover for themselves it is anything but boring. 

Smoke Bourbon and BBQ, 1047 Broadway Columbus, GA 31901. 706-221-9889. Open Mon. – Thurs.:  11:00 AM – 9:30 PM; Fri. – Sat.: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Sun.: 11:30 AM – 5:00 PM. www.smokebourbonandbbq.com.

Whitewater Express, 1000 Bay Ave, Columbus, GA 31901. 706-321-4720. Open daily 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. www.whitewaterexpress.com."
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~~#000000:I made my appointment for my rafting experience with Whitewater Express. If you’ve ever gone kayaking or whitewater rafting on the Oconee River the name should be familiar, they provide equipment, classes and experiences there, too. According to the reservationist the river goes from mild, with a maximum of class II rapids in the mornings to wild – a combination of class II through V rapids as the day progresses. I chose 3:00 P.M., a sweet spot between the two extremes.~~

~~#000000:I arrived early and took the time to explore Uptown Columbus. The community runs alongside the river and is the home of Columbus State University that sits just off the bank of the Chattahoochee.  Two blocks away from the river is really where things were really happening. I took a stroll down Broadway Street, a postcard perfect example of old and new. Massive shady oak trees and art installations divide this wide city street providing familiar southern charm – and shade to peruse the local retail and eateries. I found a literal glut of boutique sandwich shops and coffee spots with outdoor seating, that provide free wi-fi, and are pet friendly.~~

~~#000000:A little hungry and thirsty, I made my way to Smoke Bourbon and BBQ, a craft-inspired barbecue joint and cocktail bar located on the corner of Broadway and 11th. The restaurant appears to be a Sunday brunch staple as large groups waited for seating both indoors and out. Since I was alone, I opted to sit at my favorite spot – the bar and try some of their non-traditional offerings. I decided on the Gnocchi and Brisket – an inspired take on meat and ‘taters. The dish was rich and rustic with tender potato dumplings tossed in brown butter and topped with a heaping portion of Smoke’s signature beef brisket. I paired my meal with a Gin Basil Smash, a lush mix of citrus and botanicals that was sour, savory, and refreshing.~~

~~#000000:With my belly now full, it was time to face the rapids.~~

~~#000000:I didn’t have a party to share my raft so I was added to a large party of friends and family celebrating a birthday. The tour guides got us geared up and after a quick lesson on safety we boarded a bus and drove two miles up the river to North Highlands Dam. The dam releases water throughout the day that increases as the day progresses. By the time we hit the water the flow was around 975 CFS (cubic feet per second) but you don’t see the impact of this until you approach the rapids.~~

~~#000000:We boarded our rafts and headed out. My raft had two guides: Green Bean a tour guide trainee, and Ian, a guide manager and as we started our lazy float, I began to question how much of an adventure this would be. We had not hit any rapids at this point and the picturesque vistas had my party more relaxed then we should have been. That changed when we approached our first rapid. As we paddled around an outcrop of rocks we hit “Ambush,” a class II rapid. Green Bean explained all rapids have names. It’s a way for water sportsmen to identify for training and competition. Ambush is a two-foot dip with waves that hit us about 16 inches above the raft. The entire boat was doused, and we laughed at accomplishing the first challenge of the day.~~

~~#000000:We paddled on, introducing ourselves and making small talk with Green Bean as he talked about the Chattahoochee River, scenic landmarks and upcoming rapids we experienced.~~

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~~#000000:Forty minutes had passed and up to this point the rapids were relatively tame. At this point we had only encountered class II rapids and our assumption was this would be the standard the remainder of the trip. We were wrong. Our next rapid was “Wilson’s Run,” a class III rapid. We entered the rapid, paddling hard and bracing for the wave crash, the splash was nearly 30 inches above the raft and we were jostled about. Our boat was turned about, and we had to learn on the fly how to right the direction of our boat before the next rapid. We were the last boat in our chain so we heard combinations of screams and laughter ahead of us as they hit the rapids, but nothing really prepares you for experiencing the rapids yourself.~~

{img fileId="6750" align="center" desc="GOING WITH THE FLOW: The rapids that run through downtown Columbus, Georgia range from classes II through V. Shown here, Whitewater Express guides take a group of adventurers through a class IV rapid. Photo by Edward Adams." width="800"}


~~#000000:Our final rapid was “Heaven’s Gate” a class IV rapid. I must admit I had reservations about this one. Unlike our other rapids, this one put our party on edge. The water churned from a three-foot drop and the as we approached it, our boat sped up and the roar was near deafening. We dug in, paddling hard and fast and as we hit the first wave three members of my party flew off the raft. Time stopped as I watched them fly into the water. Me and the remainder of the crew worked to tackle the rapids while Ian jumped in to assist the rest of the party who were battling the rapid in the water. Our boat was too light, and we capsized. As scary as this was being thrown into the Chattahoochee with four-foot waves jostling you every which way its important to remember your training: take a deep breath and “nose and toes” get on your back and float your way through the rapid. I broke surface midway through and rapid and caught my breath before the next wave hit which pushed me under. I kept saying to myself, “nose and toes – nose and toes,” and made it through to calmer water. When I opened my eyes again, a safety guard (a safety team accompanies all the rafts in case of emergencies) was pulling on top of his kayak and took me back to the where we assisted the remainder of my group back in the boat. We lost all but one of our oars, and two members of the group lost their glasses. I lost my left aqua sock.~~

{DIV( width="500" align="left" float="right")}{img fileId="6751" stylebox="margin-left:15px;" desc="CLASS ACTION: Whitewater Express guide takes an experienced group into class V rapids in Columbus, Georgia. Photo by Edward Adams." max="500"}{DIV}

~~#000000:As we floated to the docking spot roughly 50 yards from Heaven’s Gate, we all shared our moments; our thoughts, and how scary and thrilling being thrown into a rapid was. We all vowed to do this again soon as we all wanted to conquer this rapid like we tackled all the other before us on the journey.~~

~~#000000:I left my group who were at this point jumping off into the river as a final nod to their birthday celebration. With one shoe on I partly hopped my way back to the Whitewater Express Center to avoid the hot pavement finding any grass and sand I could find along the way to cool my feet. ~~

~~#000000:I got dressed, thanked and tipped Green Bean for the experience and began my 90-minute trip back to Atlanta. I was exhausted and exhilarated. Never in my wildest dreams could I have known Downtown Columbus was a destination for outdoor thrill seekers. Along with whitewater rafting, Whitewater express has kayaking; zip lines excursions across the river into Phoenix City, Alabama; paddle board rentals; bike rentals, and fly-fishing classes and equipment rental.~~

~~#000000:As of late I’ve become an evangelist of sorts touting the amazing adventure through pictures and telling my capsizing moment while shooting rapids in Downtown Columbus. While my friends still can’t imagine the town most Atlantans think of as rural and uninteresting, I can’t wait for them to discover for themselves it is anything but boring. ~~

~~#000000:Smoke Bourbon and BBQ, 1047 Broadway Columbus, GA 31901. 706-221-9889. Open Mon. – Thurs.:  11:00 AM – 9:30 PM; Fri. – Sat.: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Sun.: 11:30 AM – 5:00 PM. [http://www.smokebourbonandbbq.com|www.smokebourbonandbbq.com].~~

~~#000000:Whitewater Express, 1000 Bay Ave, Columbus, GA 31901. 706-321-4720. Open daily 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. [http://www.whitewaterexpress.com|www.whitewaterexpress.com].~~"
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  string(8851) " Whitewater 1  2018-06-19T22:21:31+00:00 whitewater_1.jpg   I am about to join a kayaking team, so I felt curious to read blog posts at Kayak Judge, because they are highly informative and helps knowing the necessary tips and advises about kayaking. road trip columbus Having a day on the rapids is much closer than you think. 6693  2018-07-03T16:53:50+00:00 Urban Whitewater Rafting in Columbus jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Edward Adams  2018-07-03T16:53:50+00:00  When I got the invitation to go whitewater rafting in Columbus, Georgia, my first reaction was: Huh, Columbus? My knowledge of Columbus is very limited. Aside from traveling to visit family at Fort Benning or traveling through the city to visit family in Alabama, its always been a quaint, quiet town to in my mind. Never in my wildest dream would I imagine the city to be an adventure destination – right in the heart of downtown no less.

I made my appointment for my rafting experience with Whitewater Express. If you’ve ever gone kayaking or whitewater rafting on the Oconee River the name should be familiar, they provide equipment, classes and experiences there, too. According to the reservationist the river goes from mild, with a maximum of class II rapids in the mornings to wild – a combination of class II through V rapids as the day progresses. I chose 3:00 P.M., a sweet spot between the two extremes.

I arrived early and took the time to explore Uptown Columbus. The community runs alongside the river and is the home of Columbus State University that sits just off the bank of the Chattahoochee.  Two blocks away from the river is really where things were really happening. I took a stroll down Broadway Street, a postcard perfect example of old and new. Massive shady oak trees and art installations divide this wide city street providing familiar southern charm – and shade to peruse the local retail and eateries. I found a literal glut of boutique sandwich shops and coffee spots with outdoor seating, that provide free wi-fi, and are pet friendly.

A little hungry and thirsty, I made my way to Smoke Bourbon and BBQ, a craft-inspired barbecue joint and cocktail bar located on the corner of Broadway and 11th. The restaurant appears to be a Sunday brunch staple as large groups waited for seating both indoors and out. Since I was alone, I opted to sit at my favorite spot – the bar and try some of their non-traditional offerings. I decided on the Gnocchi and Brisket – an inspired take on meat and ‘taters. The dish was rich and rustic with tender potato dumplings tossed in brown butter and topped with a heaping portion of Smoke’s signature beef brisket. I paired my meal with a Gin Basil Smash, a lush mix of citrus and botanicals that was sour, savory, and refreshing.

With my belly now full, it was time to face the rapids.

I didn’t have a party to share my raft so I was added to a large party of friends and family celebrating a birthday. The tour guides got us geared up and after a quick lesson on safety we boarded a bus and drove two miles up the river to North Highlands Dam. The dam releases water throughout the day that increases as the day progresses. By the time we hit the water the flow was around 975 CFS (cubic feet per second) but you don’t see the impact of this until you approach the rapids.

We boarded our rafts and headed out. My raft had two guides: Green Bean a tour guide trainee, and Ian, a guide manager and as we started our lazy float, I began to question how much of an adventure this would be. We had not hit any rapids at this point and the picturesque vistas had my party more relaxed then we should have been. That changed when we approached our first rapid. As we paddled around an outcrop of rocks we hit “Ambush,” a class II rapid. Green Bean explained all rapids have names. It’s a way for water sportsmen to identify for training and competition. Ambush is a two-foot dip with waves that hit us about 16 inches above the raft. The entire boat was doused, and we laughed at accomplishing the first challenge of the day.

We paddled on, introducing ourselves and making small talk with Green Bean as he talked about the Chattahoochee River, scenic landmarks and upcoming rapids we experienced.

Midway through our tour we made it “Lazy Daze,” a lull spot where we were encouraged to jump in a back float or “nose and toes” for a bit and enjoy the water. After floating on our backs for 15 minutes we boarded our rafts again and pushed off to head to our next set of rapids.

Forty minutes had passed and up to this point the rapids were relatively tame. At this point we had only encountered class II rapids and our assumption was this would be the standard the remainder of the trip. We were wrong. Our next rapid was “Wilson’s Run,” a class III rapid. We entered the rapid, paddling hard and bracing for the wave crash, the splash was nearly 30 inches above the raft and we were jostled about. Our boat was turned about, and we had to learn on the fly how to right the direction of our boat before the next rapid. We were the last boat in our chain so we heard combinations of screams and laughter ahead of us as they hit the rapids, but nothing really prepares you for experiencing the rapids yourself.




Our final rapid was “Heaven’s Gate” a class IV rapid. I must admit I had reservations about this one. Unlike our other rapids, this one put our party on edge. The water churned from a three-foot drop and the as we approached it, our boat sped up and the roar was near deafening. We dug in, paddling hard and fast and as we hit the first wave three members of my party flew off the raft. Time stopped as I watched them fly into the water. Me and the remainder of the crew worked to tackle the rapids while Ian jumped in to assist the rest of the party who were battling the rapid in the water. Our boat was too light, and we capsized. As scary as this was being thrown into the Chattahoochee with four-foot waves jostling you every which way its important to remember your training: take a deep breath and “nose and toes” get on your back and float your way through the rapid. I broke surface midway through and rapid and caught my breath before the next wave hit which pushed me under. I kept saying to myself, “nose and toes – nose and toes,” and made it through to calmer water. When I opened my eyes again, a safety guard (a safety team accompanies all the rafts in case of emergencies) was pulling on top of his kayak and took me back to the where we assisted the remainder of my group back in the boat. We lost all but one of our oars, and two members of the group lost their glasses. I lost my left aqua sock.



As we floated to the docking spot roughly 50 yards from Heaven’s Gate, we all shared our moments; our thoughts, and how scary and thrilling being thrown into a rapid was. We all vowed to do this again soon as we all wanted to conquer this rapid like we tackled all the other before us on the journey.

I left my group who were at this point jumping off into the river as a final nod to their birthday celebration. With one shoe on I partly hopped my way back to the Whitewater Express Center to avoid the hot pavement finding any grass and sand I could find along the way to cool my feet. 

I got dressed, thanked and tipped Green Bean for the experience and began my 90-minute trip back to Atlanta. I was exhausted and exhilarated. Never in my wildest dreams could I have known Downtown Columbus was a destination for outdoor thrill seekers. Along with whitewater rafting, Whitewater express has kayaking; zip lines excursions across the river into Phoenix City, Alabama; paddle board rentals; bike rentals, and fly-fishing classes and equipment rental.

As of late I’ve become an evangelist of sorts touting the amazing adventure through pictures and telling my capsizing moment while shooting rapids in Downtown Columbus. While my friends still can’t imagine the town most Atlantans think of as rural and uninteresting, I can’t wait for them to discover for themselves it is anything but boring. 

Smoke Bourbon and BBQ, 1047 Broadway Columbus, GA 31901. 706-221-9889. Open Mon. – Thurs.:  11:00 AM – 9:30 PM; Fri. – Sat.: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Sun.: 11:30 AM – 5:00 PM. www.smokebourbonandbbq.com.

Whitewater Express, 1000 Bay Ave, Columbus, GA 31901. 706-321-4720. Open daily 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. www.whitewaterexpress.com.    Edward Adams RIVER RUN: As the day progresses, rapids in the Chattahoochee River go from mild to wild. Seen here, a group of whitewater rafters challenge a class VI rapid. (Sponsored Content)  0,0,10    "road trip" columbus                             Urban Whitewater Rafting in Columbus "
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Culture, Travel, Urban Living, Food and Drink, Homepage, News, Sponsored Content

Tuesday July 3, 2018 12:53 pm EDT
Having a day on the rapids is much closer than you think. | more...
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In the world of cartoonist Amanda Semler’s Yeti Or Not comic books, the Yeti symbolizes all of the fear and anxiety that comes with finding financial and personal stability in the modern world, and she kills it. Literally! Her character Sylvianne Bordeaux has dedicated her life to the cause of slaying Yetis… And let’s not split hairs here. Bigfoot and Sasquatch are one thing. Yeti and the Abominable Snowman are something else; these are two different creatures that occupy different elevations in different parts of the world. That much is certain. However, they are clearly related, closely enough to draw serious parallels with the creatures spotlighted in veteran writer William Hedgepeth’s  CL cover story for August.

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In 2018, Bigfoot mania has reached cruising altitude. This summer, Whitehall, a town in upstate New York, adopted Bigfoot as its official animal. A simple Google news search for “Bigfoot” yields a seemingly bottomless scroll of links ranging from reported sightings around the country, to Sasquatch tourist destinations such as Willow Creek, California, and Cherry Log, Georgia, where business at Expedition: Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum is booming.

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Culture, Summer Guide

Monday August 6, 2018 05:41 pm EDT
Fact or fiction, the story lives on | more...