Laying Rubber on the Georgia Asphalt, by Kelley Thompson
The state of Georgia cannot be defined by one of its cities or by a unifying history or even by a globalized present. Its regions are uniquely particular, separated by more than just miles.
Atlanta Metro and North
Atlanta is Georgia hub, and one of the few capitals which can boast that distinction. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site is a beautiful educational facility dedicated to educating the youth of today about the reality of MLKs time as a civil rights activist. With movies, exhibits and Kings Nobel Peace Prize on display, the center is more a sanctuary dedicated to the energy and friction of the time than merely the resting site of a great man. Next door is the historic Ebenezer Baptist Churh, where King co-pastored.
The new Georgia Aquarium opened in November 2005, the gift to the city from Bernie Marcus, one of the cofounders of Home Depot. It holds more than eight million gallons of water, and houses more than 100,000 marine and freshwater animals which represent 500 different species around the world.
One of the great exhibits in the aquarium allows groups to touch stingrays, horseshoe crabs, hammerhead sharks and starfish. All stations feature an on-site expert to guide groups through the experience, and to provide information about the creatures that alleviates much of the fears people may have of interacting with them.
Moving up in latitude, groups will find more mountainous terrain in Northern Georgia, a great spot for enjoying some truly unspoilt landscape. The area is becoming increasingly well-known for its vineyards and wineries. The Nacoochee Village offers a unique setting for wine tasting at Habersham Winery, as well as flyfishing, touring Nora Mill, a working grist mill, antiquing and horseback riding. For a nominal fee that includes a wine tasting coupled with samples of cheeses, fruit and chocolates, you have a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
The Kangaroo Conservation Center in Dawsonville offers the largest collection of kangaroos outside of Australia and can accommodate groups as large as ninety through its 87 acres. The center has a large variety of native Australian critters besides kangaroos, including kookaburras, wallabies and bettongs.
Historic Georgia and the Antebellum Trail
The Antebellum Trail runs from Athens south to Macon. Athens is home to Americas first garden club in 1891. Groups can visit Founders Memorial Garden, which was created to commemorate the women who formed that club. Its two-and-a-half acres include a formal, picket-fenced boxwood garden, two courtyards, a retrace, a perennial garden, and an arboretum.
The Civil War Reenactment in Old Clinton, also called the town that time forgot, happens every year in May. The Old Clinton Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 to help preserve and restore what was once one of the fastest-growing centers of trade and culture in Georgia.
Steeped in the past and described by some as untouched, one Savannah transplant warned, if you do not want to move to Savannah, do not visit. Savannah offers groups an endless sampling of history and beautiful architecture. Walking Magazine named the city one of the top ten walking cities in the United States and 40% of Savannahs 2,500 buildings have some sort of historical or architectural significance.