My Travel Resolution.
discover hidden myths, taste diverse food and sleep below a sky full of shooting stars and galaxies every night
Everyone who follows me knows that my exploration of the United States goes far beyond the classic itineraries and discovering the big cities. I love to follow the leitmotif of traditions, multiculturalism, literature and their incredible evolution historical, made up of epic moments (more or less), and extreme situations. The USA, although relatively young, has a rich history of twists and turns.

At 5 am my alarm rings. It means getting ready to go from Valdosta to Marietta. My suitcases are already packed in the hallway. The driver is waiting at the door and helps with loading the heavy luggage. I sleep a bit after flipping through the guidebook.

Gone With the Wind in Marietta


This tour starts in the Midtown area of Atlanta, the fascinating capital of Georgia. This area is home to Margaret Mitchell's Tudor-style residence, which has been refurbished several times. It was here that she wrote Gone With the Wind, the novel that gave her international fame.

Today the entire ground floor of the building is dedicated to the writer and the novel. It covers the covers of all the first editions distributed in the most disparate countries in the world, diaries, personal items, small relics related to the film, some autograph pages of the novel and the typewriter used by Margaret. It is also possible to watch an interesting 30-minute film about the birth of the book and film.

The guided tour lasts about an hour and is full of anecdotes and useful information. South of downtown, shortly after the African-American neighborhood of Sweet Auburn are the historic sites dedicated to Martin Luther King. There is the old Oakland Cemetery. It is an enchanted place, and a perfect location for the setting of some film or series, because this sacred site definitely looks outside time and space.

As my mind starts painting a picture of a bygone era, my driver announces that we have arrived at Marietta Square. After few minutes of walking, I reach the Gone With the Wind Museum in Marietta, which contains an impressive number of movie-related objects, photos, costumes, and scripts.

It is a real treat for lovers of the genre. There is the original dress that Scarlett wears when she returns from Charleston after marrying Rhett. Moreover, at the Visitor Center, maps are distributed free of charge, showing the historical residences, the plantations and all the itineraries, strictly original, linked to the historical period and the locations of the film.

History Beckons in Marietta


After visiting the lovely museum, we drive to the northwest side of Marietta to reach Kennesaw Mountain, the site of a Civil War battlefield. Kennesaw is the only rocky escarpment in this region and is a popular hiking area. The neighborhood around Kennesaw is dotted with old wooden houses that make for a nice area for walking.

We then visit the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. Well, here, northerners had stolen a locomotive during an epic episode that marked the memories.

They intended to use this loco to walk in southern territory and blow up bridges but have been caught before. However, it is necessary to warn the sensitive souls that this shop proposes a lot of racist propaganda, and also has dresses of Ku Klux Klan on sale. For the rest, and everything about the Civil War, the place is interesting.

Just to the left of the Wild Man, right on the corner, is a small restaurant that serves a wide selection of Southern cuisine. As I am hungry after the long journey, I quickly go for lunch and order a traditional Southern dish.

From the center, we take a shuttle, which leads to the top of the mountain. We see the Confederate guns still pointing to the North, along with a breathtaking view of Atlanta and the surrounding area.

Our next destination is the small town of Roswell. It is a very pleasant place to walk through the squares. Roswell was before a small paradise for other tribes, those of Cherokees. The first thing we do when we arrive in Roswell is to go to the Visitors Center, on the Town Square side, at the intersection of Atlanta Street and Sloan Street. It is a very pleasant place to walk in the squares with millennial trees and houses of the nineteenth century.

There are numerous antique shops, art galleries, terraces of friendly restaurants. Roswell also kept this wild side along the Chattahoochee River. The Chattahoochee Nature Center is a great place for walks, jogging or enjoying nature amidst canoe tours.

Eating Out in Marietta


Marietta, Georgia

In the evening, I am lucky enough to enjoy the jazz orchestras playing under the gazebo in the town square. We stop at one of the several restaurants that offer menus at a low price. We sit down and order pickled okra, fried green tomatoes, and black-eyed pea cakes as appetizers, as well as fried chicken for our main dish.

After the main course, I am already so full that I have to bow politely but defiantly at the waiter's second round of bread. For dessert, we have the classic pecan pie and the peach cobbler. There can be no better end to the day than a cool mint julep.

Time to Sleep in Marietta


I want to get some rest, but I am traveling without hotel reservations. Unfortunately, the surrounding guesthouses are fully booked. Instead, I book a Marietta hotel online, opting for one in the heart of the city. This turns out to be a great decision.

As I reach my room and lie down, I start thinking of my next destination. Tomorrow, I'll be heading toward Savannah, which is about 300 kilometers from Marietta.

Outdoor Adventures in Atlanta


Outdoor enthusiasts can find white water rafting, zip lining, hiking and mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, horseback riding and boating - all within four hours of Atlanta in North Georgia, or the neighbors Tennessee, Alabama, and North and South Carolina. Others may prefer to pick fresh apples and strawberries from the farm, wash gold for water, visit historic villages or go shopping at discount malls.

Some 700,000 international tourists arrive in Georgia every year, making it the second fastest growing state in global tourism, according to government statistics. Most visitors come from Europe and the Americas, but a growing number are from Asia. South Korea and Japan now rank in the top five countries of origin, with China and Hong Kong in ninth place.

Many within one million international visitors come every quarter for business and educational opportunities, while others visit Georgia solely for relaxation and recreation.

Exploring the Fantastic Outer

Whether tourists arrive in Atlanta to attend classes or take a vacation, they find a variety of outdoor activities and weekend getaways from Atlanta within a couple of hours by car from the city. These opportunities include:

White Water Rafting: Just two hours north of Atlanta is the Chattooga River, which is part of the Georgia-South Carolina border. Three companies offer part-time rafting and overnight rafting trips in federally protected "Wild and Scenic River" through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Section III of the Chattooga is best for beginners, mostly with Class II and III rapids ending in a Class IV "Bull Sluice".

For greater emotions, section IV offers fast Class III and IV rapids. Drive for an hour northbound and rafting through national forests on the Tennessee Ocoee River (home of the 1996 Olympic rowing competitions) or the Nantahala River in South Carolina.

Kayak and canoe: There are thousands of miles of rivers and dozens of lakes where you can explore the water with a guide or on your own. Small equipment rental locations, ports and resorts such as Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain rent kayaks and canoes.

The Altamaha River, one of the last virgin and still wild rivers in the country, is a popular rowing destination about three hours south-west of Atlanta. The river - one of the 75 Last Great Places on Earth of the Nature Conservancy, flows through remote forests and swamps. Puerto del Ridges Resort rents boats and jet skis for trips to Lake Chatuge. Or you can Shoot the Hooch.

Zip lining: The longest and largest canopy ecological zip line in the world is at Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg, about 45 minutes west of Atlanta. Banning Mills has more than nine miles of zip lines, towers, airlifts and other challenges up to 300 feet in height. The main piece is the tour "Screaming Eagle" on Snake Creek, half a mile.

Nestled on 1,200 acres of preserved forest, Banning Mills also has the world's highest self-sustained climbing wall. Do you prefer a less exhausting route? Try North Georgia Canopy Tours in Lula; Chattooga Ridge Canopy Tours in Long Creek, South Carolina; or with Foxfire Mountain Adventures in the vicinity of Sevierville, Tennessee.

Hiking, cycling and skiing: National forests cover much of northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, offering many opportunities for mountain hiking in the Blue Ridge and other mountain ranges. The Appalachian Trail begins at Springer Mountain in Georgia and climbs over 2,000 to Maine.

The trail passes through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, providing spectacular views of snow-capped peaks, deep and wild forests, roaring streams and waterfalls. Miles of hiking trails wind through northern Georgia at the Tallulah Gorge State Park (a two-mile canyon with a depth of more than 1,000 feet); Amicalola Falls and Anna Ruby Falls.

You can also find trails for mountain biking throughout the area, along with conventional biking trails such as the Discovery Trail in Callaway Gardens and the Riverwalk in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While Georgia does not have its own ski resort, one finds itself less than four hours away by car on the slopes of Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee, or Cataloochee, Sugar, Beech, Sapphire Valley and other inns in North Carolina.

Historical towns and destinations to go shopping

In rural areas around Atlanta, there are hundreds of villages with their own unique stories and modern stories. The North American Revolution and the Civil War had battles on Georgia soil, leaving battlefields, museums and other places paying homage to those conflicts.

You can look for gold in Dahlonega (the place of the first gold rush in the United States); track the steps of Native Americans along the 300-mile Chieftains Trail; explore the Etowah Indian Hills in Cartersville; or enjoy Oktoberfest in the alpine village of Helen. Travel pre-war homes, such as the Jarrell Plantation Historic Site in Forsyth and the Gordon-Lee Mansion in Chickamauga.

Many towns also have a variety of shopping experiences in a less hectic environment, from Scott's Bookstore in Newnan to High Country Art & Antiques in Blue Ridge. Most areas host annual fairs and festivals where local art, crafts, and jewelry are displayed and sold.

Bargain hunters will enjoy the many discount stores near Atlanta. North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville, Calhoun Premium Outlets, and Tanger discount stores in Commerce and Locust Grove are only an hour away. The Smoky Mountains are home to the largest concentration of discount stores in the country, housing two Tanger Outlets, Pigeon Forge Outlet Mall and Belz Outlets.

There are also many traditional shopping centers, led by Lenox Square in Atlanta, the first closed shopping center in the southeastern United States.

Wine tasting is another relaxing alternative for the weekend. The wine industry in Georgia has grown dramatically over the last decade, with dozens of new vineyards opening and winning prizes. The North Georgia Wine Trail links eight established vineyards in the mountains, including Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris, Three Sisters Vineyards in Dahlonega, Habersham Winery in Helen and Tiger Mountain Vineyards in Tiger.

Just 40 miles from Atlanta is Chateau Elan in Braselton, a full-service resort with tavern, spa, cooking classes, golf, tennis, vineyard tours and wine tasting.

The vine is just one of the many agricultural products that are grown throughout Georgia, where agriculture is the largest industry (followed by tourism). Gilmer County produces more than 600,000 bushels of apples each year, with eight apple producers present along the Apple Orchard Alley near Ellijay.

During the growing season at Mercier Orchards, you can take a tractor tour on the farm and harvest your own apples, strawberries and blackberries. Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley has more than 4,000 acres of walnuts and peaches. You can see corn and wheat being ground at Nora's Mill in Helen and Logan Turnpike Mill in the vicinity of Blairsville.

If you have a long weekend and want to drive a little further, it's only five hours to reach the lush gardens of historic Savannah and the beautiful beaches of Tybee Island. Golfers will be attracted to Augusta, home of the PGA Master Championship. The beaches of northern Florida are less than six hours from Atlanta, including historic San Agustin on the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico resorts such as Panama City, Destin, Seaside and Pensacola.

However - apart from the ocean - you can find mountains, forests, streams and other natural environments less than two hours by car from Atlanta.
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  • Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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