Remember last week when I shared a book review of Georgia Stories on My Mind by Jackie Rod? I promised you that Jackie would be back, sharing about some of her favorite places in Georgia (and coincidentally, some of mine, too!) so that you’ll have an idea of what makes my home state so wonderful (and the settings that add so much to Jackie’s stories, too). Jackie chose to highlight the Atlanta area (coincidentally, also the area where I live!) with a few other spots thrown in. And honestly, I didn’t tell her to include my beloved Tybee Island–but I’m so glad she did! So here’s Jackie Rod:
Atlanta, Georgia has so many diverse points of interest it is difficult to narrow my discussion down to four in and around the city. Atlanta is my hometown and I love many, but not all, of the changes that have taken place. Perhaps one of the reasons I write about Georgia small towns with heartwarming stories is because I miss the genteel quality Atlanta had when I was growing up.
When people visit Atlanta, I recommend they see the unique architecture of the Mandir Hindu Temple on Rockdale Road in Lilburn. It is called BAPS Shri Swamirarayan Mandir. The architecture is over the top. It is the most beautiful structure in the area. I have visited two or three times and think everyone would enjoy a tour and the authentic Indian food. There is a clip of pics on YouTube that shows some of its beauty. However, the ambience needs to be experienced. It is so peaceful. I was surprised at some of the similarities between their beliefs and the Catholic Church. The tours are very informative and the entire complex is a must-see visit.
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens show nature at its best. During special events, the gardens come alive. I recommend everyone visit during the Christmas season and special exhibits. The lights are spectacular. My favorite event is the Chihuly glass sculptures. Every part of the gardens is enhanced beyond belief. Dale Chihuly brought his glass sculptures to the gardens in 2004. Every year the exhibition has gotten larger. Atlanta has purchased a few of his glass sculptures each year, making them a permanent part of the beauty of the Botanical Gardens now. Awesome.
In the Atlanta area visitors and locals should visit Oakland Cemetery, the Historical Center and Swan House, the Carter Center, Stone Mountain, Mercedes Stadium and the many great restaurants too numerous to name. Anyone could spend a two-week vacation here and barely scratch the surface of the city. Atlanta isn’t called the Big Apple of the South for nothing. Or as locals say, Hotlanta.
As a state Georgia offers a lot of living. We have mountains in North Georgia and beaches on the eastern coast. Below I’ve mentioned two of my favorite places. However, folks should visit Helen, a Bavarian town filled with shops featuring authentic German items. My favorite is the heavy stemware. Macon is located in the center of Georgia and is one solid pink haze during Cherry Blossom season. Blue Ridge offers an old fashioned train ride up to the Tennessee border. Augusta is the home of the Masters, but it can take years to get tickets. As a Georgia peach I invite you to my State.
Chateau Elan located in Braselton is a vineyard one hour’s drive from Atlanta. The French chateau set on a hill makes a fantastic view from afar. When you drive through the gates, the main building reminds you of a European castle. It’s like a movie scene. The planting of the vineyard started 1981 but the Chateau, resort hotel, and other features were added later. The Versailles restaurant is a gorgeous setting for a formal dinner or a bridal shower. Special events like the hot-air balloon festival create an atmosphere of magic. Noted for conferences, overnight get-a-ways, or a day trip with friends—the Chateau will enthrall you. The Southern hospitality and the panoramic view of the North Georgia foothills make the visit an unforgettable experience.
Plan a trip to Tybee Island and Savannah for a great weekend. The seafood is delicious and the sand, surf, and sunsets are breath-taking. I love to go during March for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. It is the second largest St. Paddy’s parade in the country. Everyone dresses for the occasion, including the pets. Some of the dogs have become famous for their outfits, beauty, and behavior. The dogs sit in their special green folding chairs for the entire parade. Amazing. After the parade the owners have the dogs perform tricks. It must take hours of training to have such accomplished dogs. Oh, please take a trolley tour of the beautiful city. The old oak trees form huge arches over the neighborhood streets, so it’s like driving under a tunnel of greenery with hanging Spanish moss. The city was built with squares of land like small beautiful parks. These squares have lovely statues, fountains, and flowers to die for. The city is steeped in history. One site I’d recommend is the Cathedral of St. John, often referred to as the “Sistine of the South.”
Please come savor the intriguing venues Georgia has to offer. We would love to share our hospitality, and you’ll be glad you came.
Thanks, Jackie! And I’d just like to add, dear readers from afar, that if you do come and you’re anywhere around the ATL, let me know. We’ll walk and talk and see all Georgia has to offer, including Libs, the Tiny Terror.
You’ll probably want to move here.
And yep, I completely understand.
Just one last thing:
Come visit Georgia within these pages as you read heartwarming stories shaped by local traditions and legends. The characters live life to the fullest through joys and hardships. Inhale the essence of Georgia’s revitalized small town squares while eating hand- scooped ice cream on a park bench. Each town has its own magic. Sometimes the most real things in life are things we cannot see but those that deeply touch us, as the folks in these tales learn. Share smiles and shed tears as you travel the curving road of life with these Georgia characters. Are you ready for an unforgettable experience of hope, faith, trust, reconciliation, and love?
Print Length: 259 Pages
Genre: Short Story Anthologies
Publisher: Touch Not the Cat Books
Georgia Stories on My Mind is available to purchase on Amazon.com.
You can find Jackie at:
Jackie and her book are on tour for a few more weeks, and at several of her book tour stops, she’s giving away a copy of Georgia Stories on My Mind, so check out the schedule and win!