Georgia’s warming weather in February and March make it an ideal time to plan a quick in-state getaway. By staying in Georgia, one can keep costs and the time needed for a trip to minimum and possibly schedule more than one escape.
I offer the following suggestions of Georgia day trips (some with special events) that can be easily be turned into multiple-day getaways by securing some accommodations and adding a few more things to one’s itinerary:
Camping in a Conestoga
Located in The Rock, just outside of Barnesville, the Rock Ranch is a 1,250-acre working cattle ranch owned by S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A. According to the ranch’s website, it provides “wholesome family entertainment in an agricultural setting.” Attractions at the ranch include locomotive train rides, hay rides, pony rides, the pumpkin cannon, corn cannons, pig racing, the giant jumping pillow, a corn maze, paddle boats, pedal carts, fishing, a petting zoo and more. Educational field trips are available by reservation and public special events are scheduled throughout the year.
A unique experience offered at the ranch is camping in conestoga wagons–large wagons with broad wheels and arched canvas tops that were used by 19th century pioneers to cross the American prairie.
The Rock Ranch is 68 miles from Decatur, but this countryside destination feels much farther away. Here are a few upcoming special events:
• March 31, Easter Eggstravaganza
• April 14, Strawberry Pickin’
For more information on The Rock Ranch, visit www.therockranch.com.
Stepping back in time
Former plantations, museums, historic homes and an award-winning downtown are among what awaits in Thomasville. Located 240 miles from Stone Mountain, Thomasville boasts of its heritage and “old-world feel.” According to the state tourism website, Thomasville offers “glimpses into the grand Victorian Era,” during which it was known as the “Winter Resort of the South.”
The upcoming Thomasville Antiques Show and Sale offers the opportunity to view and purchase antiques from an array of dealers. Lectures, teas and other activities are scheduled during the weekend event. Visit www.thomasvilleantiquesshow.com for more information. The show is set for Feb. 24-26 and takes place at the Thomasville Exchange Club Fairgrounds, 2057 GA Hwy 122/Pavo Road in Thomasville.
For more information on Thomasville, go to www.thomasvillega.com or call (229) 228-7977.
Combining two passions into one
Trying to decide whether to pick fishing or kayaking for your next trip? Stop worrying about it. Head over to Lake Lanier and combine both into one trip. Kayak fishing is just what it sounds like—fishing in a kayak. Lake Lanier is just one of several spots throught the state when this pastime can be enjoyed. For more information, visit www.kayakfish.com and www.georgiakayakfishing.com. A symposium is scheduled on Feb. 25 at the Go Fish Center in Perry. Seminars on kayak rigging, electronics, fly fishing, river fishing and more are planned.
All things cowboy
If cowboys and the Old West tickle your fancy, head to Cartersville in Georgia’s Historic High Country in early March for a special experience. The ninth annual Southeastern Cowboy Gathering is a four-day celebration of the West, including a chuck wagon cook-off, workshops, cowboy poetry reading, banjo/mandolin/guitar/fiddle contests, Western art exhibition and a Western concert. The action is March 8-11 at the Booth Museum, 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville. Tickets are $7-$10. For more details, visit www.boothmuseum.org.
Let’s go rodeo
Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the Georgia National PRCA Rodeo features cowboys and cowgirls from across the country competing in seven events: saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, bull riding and barrel racing. The action takes place from 7:30 to 10 p.m., Feb. 23-25 at 401 Larry Walker Parkway, Perry. For more information, visit www.gnfa.com or call (800) 987-3247.
For more information on these and other Georgia destinations and events, visit the state’s official tourism site: www.exploregeorgia.com.