There are so many things to love in Georgia, but when you live somewhere, it’s easy to take it all for granted, fall in a rut and do the same stuff over and over. That’s why I’ve created a bucket list of things I’d like to do. Considering I’ve been here since 1992, making the list made me feel like I arrived last week. In just the past few weeks, while looking for new places to visit and activities to do, I’ve discovered amazing places I never knew existed, like Providence Canyon. And here I felt like I’d done a lot. I’ve lived in several parts of Atlanta and spent four years in the amazing town that is Athens while attending UGA. I’ve rented cabins in the North Georgia Mountains and spent days on Georgia lakes on friends’ boats. I’ve attended shows at the Fox Theatre and found my way through a corn maze. I direct deposited my paycheck to the old Fado Irish Pub back before it was bulldozed along with the rest of Buckhead, and took a belly dancing class in Little Five Points. I chugged endless amounts of soda on a middle school field trip to the World of Coke (what were they thinking?) and lobbied at the Gold Dome for medical cannabis. I finally checked off a night at Clermont Lounge at my bachelorette, and I did a bike tour of Atlanta’s Living Walls. I’ve shot the ‘Hooch and avoided E. Coli. I did the three-day breast cancer walk twice and even survived the Peachtree Road Race — and I hate running. Yet, I have so much left to do. So here it is:
1. Go stand up paddling (SUP). I’m obsessed with trying this out. (item complete 9.10.16)
2. Visit all of the Golden Isles. The Golden Isles include the port city of Brunswick, Jekyll Island, Sea Island, St. Simon’s Island, and Little St. Simon’s Island.
3. Attend a hot air balloon festival. They occur every so often in different parts of the state. Something always seems to get in the way. I’ll get to one eventually.
4. Spend a weekend in this airstream cottage in Ellijay.
5. Visit the largest Hindu temple of its kind outside of India, which, insanely enough, is right here in Lilburn.
6. Go on a Buford Highway food tour. BuHi is famous for it’s huge ethnic population and the amazing selection of restaurants. We Love BuHi has previously organized food tours on the busy corridor via bike and MARTA bus. Plans for a future trolley tour are in the making.
7. Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden. Howard Finster was a self-taught artist who said God directed him to create 5,000 sacred works of art. He created 46,991. He also collected tools, curiosities and odd objects to display in the Garden which is located in Summerville.
8. See the wild horses on Cumberland Island. Cumberland is Georgia’s biggest barrier island. It is only accessible by boat and there is only one hotel. Many people camp or stay in St. Mary’s, where the ferry departs. It is operated by the National Park Service and the number of visitors per daysis limited to 300.
9. Go kayaking.
10. Visit more state and national parks. In particular, I am anxious to visit Cloudland Canyon, Providence Canyon, Sweetwater Creek, Arabia Mountain, Red Top and Tallulah Gorge.
11. Stay at the Len Foote Inn at Amicalola Falls. You can’t drive in — you have to hike five miles from the top of the falls. It’s designed to be environmentally friendly, and cell phone use is discouraged.
12. Go on a cave tour with Georgia Girl Guides at Cloudland Canyon. A weird list item for a claustrophobe. I went caving once and enjoyed it aside from the one tunnel we had to get down and crawl through. I do okay if I can stand up at least most of the time. I’m torn between the one-hour tour which is aimed at people who don’t know how they will react and you stay in the main room. But the two-hour tour gets a little more exciting and challenging. I was sold on the first tour until I saw that the second tour is for ages six and up. Am I braver than a six-year-old? I’m not sure I want to know the answer.
13. Attend the Dragon Con parade in Atlanta. Walking Dead, video game characters, superheroes, elements from the periodic table…A little bit of everything!
14. See a concert at Chastain Park. Atlanta’s oldest outdoor music venue opened in 1944.
15. Walk the entire Atlanta Belt Line. I wrote about my experience on the Eastside Trail here. It’s not completed, so I’d have to hop from section to section to circuit the city.
16. Tour the new puppet museum at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. The exhibit includes a number of Jim Henson’s puppets. I’ve taken my son to some of the shows, but we haven’t made it to the museum yet.
17. Go to the original Waffle House in Avondale Estates. The Waffle House Museum is in what was the first WH to open in 1955 and it has been restored to look as it did then. It is only open by appointment, but it is free. Though it is no longer a functioning restaurant, it’s not like it will be difficult to find another one to get your hash brown fix after the tour.
18. Hike to and take a dip at Panther Creek Falls.
19. See the holiday lights at Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
20. Partake in more of this state’s awesome wineries and breweries. I know that’s vague but there are A LOT. I’ve barely gotten started with just a handful of each.
21. Explore the town of Madison. It’s famous for its historic antebellum homes and gardens. I’d like to do one of the house tours.
22. Visit Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery. I’ve been to the gorgeous city of Savannah so many times and inexplicably have never made it to this cemetery. I can’t explain it.
23. Ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in fall.
24. Climb to the top of Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s tallest mountain.
25. Take a canoe trip with the Chattahoochee Nature Center.
27. Tour Frick’s Cave. Yes, the claustrophobe wants to crawl through another cave. This is probably the most challenging item on my list as this cave, a habitat for endangered bats and salamanders, is not open to the public. It is open one day a year to members of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy and their guests. Paying the membership fee is not my problem. But the tours aren’t guided and you must provide your own equipment. Someone in your party must have sufficient skills to navigate you though. This is where I do have a problem …so if someone wants to take pity on me…wink, wink. Look at these pictures and understand why I want to go while I sit here and practice my deep breathing.
28. Walk Doll’s Head Trail. I’m a huge fan of horror movies, so there’s no way I can miss this piece of awesomeness in Constitution Lakes Park.
29. Take a swamp tour of the Okefenokee.
30. Snuggle some alpacas at Southern Estate Alpaca Farm in Adairsville.
31. Play in the fountain of rings at Centennial Olympic Park. “You’re too old!” you might say. “Ha! That’s where the four-year-old comes in handy.
Feedback time! What’s on your list?