Get fit in Georgia—without the gym
For many, the thought of exercising in a gym is remarkably dull. The scenery is the same, the people are the same, and the workouts are the same. However, there are dozens of ways for you to shake up your routine, all without setting foot in a gym. Check out these unique ways to stay fit that are right here in Georgia.
Beginner or world class athlete, Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Center has a climb for you. With locations in Atlanta, Kennesaw, and Midtown, and walls towering from 25 to 60 feet, this activity is sure to rock your socks off—pun intended! In addition to rock climbing, Stone Summit offers top roping, leading, auto belays, and bouldering for all ages and climbing levels. Locations include membership, day passes, and class options, making it the perfect activity for locals or tourists. Pricing starts at $15.
Virtual Yoga by the Water
For those desiring a more calming experience, the Georgia Aquarium is making waves with its event “Virtual Yoga by the Water.” Led by certified yoga instructors from local Atlanta studios, participants channel their inner harmony while taking in unbelievable views of whale sharks, manta rays, and other captivating sea creatures. Whether you’re a certified yogi or a novice, this class is perfect for all experience levels. Complimentary classes are available at georgiaaquarium.org. All classes are filmed in front of the breathtaking Ocean Voyager exhibit and can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home.
Bikes on the Beltline
Looking for a way to explore Atlanta all while getting fit? Look no more! If you’ve always wanted to explore the Beltline, or if you’re simply looking for a way to exercise that doesn’t require running on a treadmill, biking along the Beltline is the classic way to go. If you have a bike already, great! If you don’t, there are numerous bike rental shops along the Beltline, with some charging as little as $5 per hour. Biking along the Beltline is a neat way to view notorious Atlanta street art and astounding urban scenery—all while exercising! So, grab a friend or go solo. Either way, you’re guaranteed to stumble upon some marvelous things.
Get a bird’s eye view of Georgia—literally—by zipping through the treetop canopies. Ziplining is a phenomenal way to explore some of Georgia’s most breathtaking sites from a different perspective. It might seem easy, but ziplining is a more intense workout than you think. Between taking in the fresh air and experiencing an adrenaline rush, ziplining is chock-full of health benefits. Some of the greatest places to zipline include Banning Mills, Blue Ridge, and Helen. Prices typically range from $30-$100, so it won’t break the bank.
Explore the coastal waters
Paddleboarding or biking along the beautiful, coastal waterways is a great way to explore Tybee and Jekyll Islands and sure to get your heartrate up. The views are sensational and a great way to exercise while enjoying nature. East Coast Paddleboarding offers lessons, tours, and rentals. So whether you are a local or visiting the area, take a ride on the adventurous side and soak up these sports. Lessons start at $40 and include an hour rental.
So, whether you’re looking to start your fitness journey, or you’re simply searching for a plan to shake up your routine, Georgia is full of creative ways to remain active.
Quarantine cooking: recipes to make you feel like you’re traveling the world
Due to social distancing requirements, most people are staying home and cooking their meals, rather than going out to eat. And, because of COVID-19, people were forced to cancel their travel plans. If you’re tired of cooking the same recipes or need a vacation, we have the perfect solution for you—try these dishes that will transform your typical weeknight dinner and have you feeling like you’re traveling the world, even when you can’t.
Creamy chipotle chicken breast
This creamy chipotle chicken breast recipe will make it seem as if you’ve hopped on a plane and traveled to Mexico. Like many Mexican dishes, it’s rich in flavor and looks incredible. Even better? It’s simple to make. You need only a few ingredients, and it takes fewer than 30 minutes to prepare. This recipe is from Mexico in my Kitchen—a food blog dedicated to authentic, Mexican cooking, created by Mely Martinez. The website has dozens of recipes to choose from, too—even vegetarian options.
If you’re looking for a hearty sandwich that instantly transports you to a French bistro, what better than a croque monsieur? It’s essentially a grilled cheese, but with a French twist—it’s made with ham, Dijon, bechamel, and gruyere cheese. You can use any cheese, but gruyere is preferred. This sandwich makes for hassle-free cooking that will satisfy your cravings. You can find this and dozens of other French recipes on Mon Petit Four®, a site that is devoted to French fare.
Although it sounds like a new fusion creation, Japanese-style pasta is prominent in Japanese cuisine. Japanese-style pasta, also known as Wafu pasta, is a pasta dish that has Japanese seasonings and ingredients—usually soy sauce, miso, and nori seaweed. This Japanese pasta is perfect for a quick, easy dinner—it takes only 15 minutes to cook. The ingredients are simple, too—all you need is pasta, shrimp, broccolini, soy sauce, and garlic chili oil. This recipe is from Just One Cookbook—a website that is all about Japanese culture and cuisine, created by Nami Hirasawa Chen, a home chef aiming to make Japanese cooking easy and accessible to everyone.
One-pan Bobotie casserole
Bobotie is a South African casserole that is similar to Greek Moussaka and is typically served with yellow rice. It’s very simple to make and is ideal for those weeknights when you don’t necessarily feel like cooking. The dish is filled with flavor from spices and everything is prepared in one pan. The ingredients can be found in your local grocery store, too. You can find this recipe on All that’s Jas—a food blog that features comfort food from around the world.
We hope these recipes not only help you switch up your mundane dinners but also provide a way for you and your family to escape to different parts of the world—all from the comfort of your kitchen.
Surprise your sweetheart: hot spots for Valentine’s Day in Georgia
We all know planning the perfect Valentine’s Day date night can be a struggle—it’s a never-ending cycle of pondering where to eat, what to do, or where to stay. Still deciding on if you want to enjoy a romantic night in the city or partake in a luxurious weekend getaway? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite restaurants, activities, and destinations right here in Georgia that are terrific for Valentine’s Day.
Nestled along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, Canoe offers a rustic yet elegant atmosphere that is guaranteed to delight your senses. This fine-dining culinary gem offers award-winning cuisine from their Roasted Berkshire pork chop and Southern-style collards to their wood-grilled New York strip—all are sure to gratify your palate. Town & Country Magazine calls this unique setting the “most romantic restaurant in Atlanta.”
The Sun Dial
Situated at the top of the Westin in Downtown Atlanta, The Sun Dial, a rotating restaurant and Atlanta icon, offers sweeping views of the city lights below. Enjoy a prix-fixe, four-course dinner from their special Valentine’s Day menu created by award-winning chefs. Be sure to make reservations beforehand because this is a popular Valentine’s Day spot.
10 Degrees South
Located in Buckhead, 10 Degrees South is the country’s first South African restaurant. The eatery is deeply inspired by family tradition, and the cuisine is crafted by founder Justin Anthony’s parents, who coincidentally are the restaurant’s executive chefs. Their Valentine’s Day menu features dishes such as filet “Au Poivre,” a filet mignon topped with a Madagascan peppercorn sauce, and chicken curry made with traditional South African spices. The bungalow-inspired atmosphere and delectable fare make this culinary experience rated as one of the top 16 restaurants in Buckhead by Trip Savvy.
La Tavola, located at the heart of Virginia-Highland, offers genuine Italian cuisine from Executive Chef Jonathan Beatty. With the cozy, romantic ambiance and hearty dishes, you can’t go wrong with this trattoria for Valentine’s Day. Their menu offers a variety of traditional dishes, from tagliolini to zuppa di pesce, to desserts like chocolate pistachio torte—there’s something for everyone at this hot Italian spot.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Get swept through 80 years of romance at the Atlanta Botanical Garden this Valentine’s Day for “Valentines in the Garden: Decades of Love.” Enjoy small bites from some of Atlanta’s most renowned chefs, live music, and more. From the 50s to the 80s, each decade is represented in different sections of the garden, with music and décor constituting accordingly. Dress for the decade of your choice and celebrate the night away!
For those seeking something unconventional, head over to Oakland Cemetery for “Love Stories of Oakland: Valentine’s Day.” Venture through more than 20 stops in this historic Victorian cemetery as your guide recalls the love stories of Atlantans in the years gone by, as well as hidden symbols of love throughout the hallowed grounds. If you’re looking to escape the traditional route this year, Oakland Cemetery is the way to go.
Towering over Centennial Park, the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel offers boundless views of downtown while relaxing in climate-controlled gondolas. Take in the vast sights with your sweetheart at this Atlanta staple. If you want to upgrade your experience, try the VIP gondola—it boasts Ferrari-style seats, a glass floor, and a longer ride time.
Flower Arrangement Workshop
Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon of embracing your crafty side at Flower Bar’s Valentine’s Day arrangement workshop. Bring your honey, and learn the ins and outs of making your own flower arrangement in this 90-minute class. Once your masterpiece is finished, bring it home with you, and display it proudly for all to see! Even better—all materials are provided, so no scrambling around at the last minute to find what you need.
Chateau Elan Winery and Resort
Located in Braselton, the newly-renovated Chateau Elan is the ideal extravagant weekend getaway. Indulge in a four-course meal, enjoy a relaxing couple’s day at the spa, or partake in a round of golf—there’s something for everyone here. This picturesque resort offers sweeping views of the North Georgia foothills, and its romantic, Southern charm offers an intimate weekend for you to escape bustling city life.
Nestled on historic grounds in Adairsville, Barnsley Resort is essential for those wanting luxury while experiencing all that North Georgia has to offer. Enjoy a guided horseback ride through the grounds of the resort, ride a UTV in the Appalachian foothills, or learn the art of fly fishing at one of the several ponds on the resort grounds. Rejuvenate at the redesigned upscale spa and experience ultimate tranquility. Stay at the Inn or an Estate Cottage. Whatever you do, Barnsley Resort is sure to provide a weekend of relaxation and resurgence.
Callaway Resort & Gardens
Callaway Resort & Gardens, in Pine Mountain, is an oasis that is calling your name. Whether you stay in the Lodge and Spa with views of Robin Lake, The Cottages, or The Villas with a secluded setting, you’ll be enchanted by the beauty this resort has to offer. They’re all about nature and offer numerous immersion activities that put you right in the heart of it all, like BirdFest, which occurs Valentine’s Day weekend. It features bird walks, nature-based workshops, live bird shows, and more. Callaway is also home to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, one of North America’s largest butterfly conservatories. These beautiful, delicate creatures fly freely among the variety of tropical plants that are housed in the glass-closed environment. If you and your significant other are nature fanatics, this is a destination that is to die for.
Lake Rabun Hotel
The Historic Lake Rabun Hotel, a charming boutique hotel operating since 1922, is the quintessential getaway for those who want to experience the Blue Ridge Mountains and all it encapsulates. Each room exudes rustic charm and offers the perfect amount of privacy. The hotel also operates an award-winning farm to table restaurant surrounded by pines, oaks, and hemlocks. There are plenty of parks, rivers, and waterfalls located nearby, and if you’re tuckered out from outdoor activities, the Lake Rabun Hotel offers a luxurious spa. You can also shop at the various locally-owned stores in nearby Clayton, Dillard, and Lakemont Art Village. The Lake Rabun Hotel has everything you need.
Whether you’re looking for a thrilling date night in the city or an idyllic weekend escape, these will certainly make for a Valentine’s Day you’ll always remember in the years to come.
Keeping your cool: fun Atlanta winter activities for the whole family
Winter is here, and with it comes the age-old question: What can you do for fun? Going outside isn’t nearly as appealing as it was a few months ago, and you can only watch so many reruns before your eyes begin to glaze over. But don’t worry – we have some ideas on ways you can make this chilly season fun for the whole family.
Go See the Sights – and the Lights
Many people in your community have already gotten a head start on their outdoor Christmas decorations, and you can expect even more of your neighbors to follow suit. This is the perfect opportunity to create your own special tour of local neighborhoods to check out all of the amazing light displays in the area.
If you’re ready for some even more amazing demonstrations of holiday lighting, head over to Callaway Gardens to view their annual Fantasy in Lights display. The best part about this experience is that it is a driving tour, so even on the chilliest evenings, you can still take your time and enjoy upwards of eight million lights arranged especially for the holidays.
Break out the Skates
Are you looking for ways to get some of that pent-up energy out? You definitely won’t want to miss the chance to go ice skating – especially on the South’s largest ice skating rink. Atlantic Station’s “Skate the Station” is already in full swing, and you can stop by anytime to test your ice skating skills. They even have special extended hours throughout December, so you can make an evening out of racing friends or family to see who is truly the skating champion.
If you want to mix things up, you can also try The Rink at Park Tavern, located in Piedmont Park. This rink opened on Thanksgiving and will be available through January, so skate on over and see if it’s a good fit for your family. This venue also offers free skating for those who dress up in Steampunk attire after 8:00 pm, along with skating for only those who 16 years of age and older after 8:30 PM. Whether you are planning a date night or just want to change up your routine, the ice rink needs to be on your list of things to do.
Take in a Show
Everyone knows that one of the best Christmas classics is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You’ve probably seen the movie a dozen times – but have you seen it performed live with puppets? The Center for Puppetry Arts is once again presenting its annual Rudolph puppet show, which is a faithful adaptation of the movie you know so well. Children of all ages will enjoy seeing these characters come to life, and there are also crafts and activities available after the show to enrich your experience.
Sometimes getting out in the winter can be difficult, especially when it involves finding everyone’s coats and mittens. But it’s easy to turn a night at home into a holiday experience all by itself. Find a new movie you haven’t seen or look for one of your favorite holiday specials, and sit down with the whole family to watch it together. This is also a great chance to break out the hot chocolate and the snacks you’ve been eyeing at the grocery store. When your movie is finished, take the time to ask your family what they loved most about it – and to tell them to think about what they want to watch for your next movie night!
Try Something New!
This winter season, make it a goal to mix up your routine. Take a pottery class, learn to sew, try your hand at painting on canvas – there are dozens of options available right in your own community. Don’t worry about becoming an expert in just a few short months. Instead, commit to finishing a project or class that will help you learn something you’ve never done before.
Taking on a totally new skill can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone! Ask some friends to join you and try out your new activity together. You might go on a bike tour of the city, or learn to cook your favorite meal. Whatever you do, just have one rule: Make it fun!
Winter is here – but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for summer to enjoy yourself again. In fact, we think winter can be just as fun as any other season. Use this cool weather to find new ways to enjoy yourself and stay warm out there!
Take a hike: four North Georgia gems to try this weekend
It’s Fall, ya’ll—time to trade in the sweltering heat and humidity for the fresh, crisp air and the great outdoors. Our Georgia mountains are full of winding trails that lead to adventure, and they’re practically in your back yard. So, drop the TV remote, grab your hiking gear, and let’s GO!
Whether you’re living life in Atlanta or settling down in suburbia, you could be hiking up a mountain in no time. Here are four of our favorite five-star trails, all within an hour or two of the city:
1. Blood Mountain summit is the highest point of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and one of the most popular hiking destinations in North Georgia. At 4459 feet, it towers above the peaks of the surrounding southern Appalachians and delivers far and wide views that are simply spectacular.
Blood Mountain is a 4.3-mile view-packed hike that follows the Appalachian Trail to the summit. It begins on the scenic Byron Reece Trail at Neels Gap, leads southwest, and meets the Appalachian Trail at Flatrock Gap. At the trail intersection, the hike heads west and gradually intensifies. Overall, the relatively steep climb is a heart-pounding workout to the summit.
The route’s business season is Fall, mostly because the North Georgia hardwoods explode in color, making the views even more beautiful. Our advice is to grab a cup of coffee and hit the trail early on weekends and during peak season.
2. Ravens Cliff Falls Trail is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in North Georgia. Located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, it boasts the Raven Cliff Falls, 400 feet of cascading water that slices a massive, towering cliff in half.
The 4.9-mile hike through the waterfall-filled valley begins at a gravel trailhead near Helen, Georgia. It gradually gains elevation along a short incline, levels at about .25 mile, and then descends toward Dodd Creek. The moss and wildflower-lined trail leads over the creek via a wooden bridge, through the hemlock forest, and over several small tributaries.
At the two-mile mark, the hike climbs as you quickly approach a blocky cliff. At the base, you’ll see the creek cascading through the walls of the fractured granite slab, creating the beautiful Ravens Cliff waterfall.
Generally, this hike is appropriate for all skill levels, although it gets slightly steeper at the end. There are lots of areas along the trail to rest, relax, and enjoy the scenery. It’s a popular destination too, so get an early start.
3. Sawnee Mountain Indian Seats Trail leads to the summit of Sawnee Mountain, one of the best views in North Georiga. It hikes over and around the sheer face of Sawnee Mountain, offering breathtaking long-range views of the distant Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail is part of the 5+ mile network of running, walking, and hiking trails at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve.
The hike begins at the park’s visitor center on Spot Road in Cumming. You’ll start on a short trail that quickly meets the Indian Seats Loop. Turn left, and the counterclockwise, gradually elevating trail will take you through 1.9 miles of evergreen and deciduous forest, swinging south of the mountain’s summit. It follows a well-marked and well-maintained side trail as it takes you past a gated gold mine entrance that’s carved into the rock outcrop at just over the 1-mile mark. At the summit, there are several natural depressions in the rock, which are said to have been used by local tribes as seats for meditation and lookout centuries ago.
The expansive views of the valley below are incredible, and the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the distant horizon is breathtaking. You can linger as long as you like and will often see people reading, writing, or enjoy the view.
Indian Seats is an easy, fun hike and just 40 miles north of Atlanta. It’s great for the entire family.
4. Panther Creek Falls is one of North Georgia’s favorite waterfall hikes. The 7-mile campsite-studded trail leads through the Chattahoochee National Forest, past several smaller cascading falls, to arrive at the famed Panther Creek Falls. This group of broad, multi-tiered waterfalls cascades into a deep pool on a sandy flat below, creating a view that can only be described as hypnotic.
The trail begins at Chattahoochee National Forest near Tallulah Gorge on the opposite side of Historic 441. It follows the waterway downstream and ventures deep into the forest. Once the trail crosses a small tributary creek at .5 mile, it begins to climb before it reaches a massive rock overhang. The hike crosses over a large wooden bridge at 1.5 miles. At the second bridge, the hike continues to climb along extremely narrow paths and includes some sudden, unexpected drops. You’ll scramble over some chiseled rock outcrops and a few more tributary crossings before you reach the Panther Creek Falls at 3.4 miles. At the base, large boulders line the sandy shoreline, which is an ideal spot for soaking up the beauty of the rushing water…and, of course, resting.
The trail is very popular with day hikers, backpackers, and campers, especially in the summer months when they can spend time relaxing on the warm, sandy beach. It will still be busy in the fall, especially when the leaves are changing, so plan ahead.
On the Money: 10 podcasts that are guaranteed to make you smarter with your cash
Podcast popularity is at an all-time high, and the number of listeners, especially among millennials, is continuing to skyrocket. Today, in 2019, there are more than 700,000 active podcasts and over 29 million episodes. According to Apple, these numbers stood at 550,000 and 18.5 million respectively just one year ago.
People listen while they’re at home, in the car, commuting to work, and at spinning at the gym. They’re running errands, waiting in the doctor’s office, shopping for groceries, and walking to their next class.
You can find a podcast on almost any topic—comedy, business, news, politics, pop culture, religion, and more. Many listeners use them not only for entertainment, but to be inspired, to stay educated and informed, and to learn something new.
Money is an especially popular podcast topic. You can tune in to any number of shows that offer advice about saving, investing, paying off debt, and every other way to maximize your financial future.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite money-themed podcasts. Check them out when you have a few minutes. They’re guaranteed to deliver great financial content and sound advice:
Hosted by Joe Saul-Sehy, it’s a combination of financial education and comedy delivered straight from his mom’s basement. Together with “the other guy” and “crazy neighbor Doug,” you’ll learn about investing, creating multiple income streams, and other essential money management strategies. Be careful where and when you listen, though, because this show is laugh-out-loud funny.
What’s it like to be a woman in charge? Ask American businesswoman and host of Girlboss Radio, Sophia Amoruso. She talks in depth about the world of entrepreneurship and how women can rock the virtual corner office. Her podcast is not an exclusive women’s club, though. Girlboss Radio can help any listener define their own personal meaning of success and create a plan to get there. Tune in, and you’ll hear honest conversations with trailblazing women who are sharing, showing, and encouraging others to own their future, too.
Nick Loper is the Chief Side Hustler at Side Hustle Nation. He’s the host of the top-rated weekly podcast called the Side Hustle Show.He’ll teach you how to maximize your time and amplify your earning power through additional income streams.If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, this is your guy.
Nick used to work for corporate America during the day and worked on building his side business at night. He’ll share his experiences and advice as well as tips and business strategies from other successful entrepreneurs he features on the show.
Paula Pant is a real estate investor and blogger. Throughout her award-winning podcast, she’ll tell you that you can afford anything, just not everything. She wants to help you build a better life, and that begins when you make decisions about how you spend money, where you spend your time and energy, and on what you focus your attention. Every decision, big or small, is ultimately a trade-off against something else.
Pant interviews a wide variety of guests, including entrepreneurs, investors, millionaires, artists, scientists, adventurers, productivity experts, world travelers, and just plain regular people. She uncovers and shares their secrets about how they’ve cultivated an extraordinary life and connects them with practical application in the lives of her listeners.
Pat Flynn is an entrepreneur and the host of Smart Passive Income. His weekly show features interviews, strategies, and advice about how to establish an online business that’s optimized for passive income.
Flynn uses his own experiments, successes, and failures to show his listeners how to make more money and save more time. While the internet is flooded with resources that can help entrepreneurs build a business, Flynn believes that properly tested ethical advice is what’s missing. During his show, he shares the specific strategies that have worked for him, and, to prove it, he publishes his income report each month.
6. So Money
Host Farnoosh Torabi is a top-rated female host with an award-winning financial podcast. Her podcast, So Money, was voted one of the best at helping you grow your business. She has a knack for attracting top names in business and entrepreneurship and delivers candid conversations about creating a richer and happier life. Torabi’s goal is that her listeners will find inspiration, will be motivated to dream bigger, and ultimately live their best financial lives.
Learn how to reduce expenses, pay down your debt, maximize credit card rewards, and more with hosts Jonathan Mendonsa and Brad Barrett. It’s all about guiding you down the path to financial health and independence for these two. But make no mistake, a happy life is not just about the money. If you want to optimize your life—and your finances, while you’re at it—these are your people. They’ll help you clear away the noise, figure out what’s important, paint a clearer picture of what you want, and then help you build an intentional plan for how to get there.
Tim Ferriss is an author, best known forThe 4-Hour Workweek. His podcast is frequently ranked as the #1 business podcast of all Apple Podcasts andhas surpassed 300M downloads. In each episode, Tim interviews high achieving, world-class performers like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vince Vaughn, and Tony Robbins, for example, who share their insights on business, productivity, and life hacks. He’s able to break down each guest’s approach into routines, tactics, and tools that the listener can practically apply to their everyday lives.
9. Money for the Rest of Us
Financial expert Davis Stein’s goal with this podcast is to help improve his listeners’ retirement IQ. He walks his audience through the process of building a retirement nest egg that will support them in their golden years. That may be decades away for some of us but stay with us. This is not your grandparent’s podcast. Stein offers emphatic lessons on building wealth and investing for the long term. The sooner you start, the more time you have, and the greater the opportunity for financial freedom in the future. We’re talking to you, millennials.
Joshua J. Sheats is a financial advisor and the host of Radical Personal Finance. He’s a straight talker who has no qualms telling you that the responsibility of your current and future financial health is 100% on your shoulders. In his show, Sheats delivers the information and the actionable items that will bridge the gap between the life you envision and the reality of your current life. He focuses on in-depth, no fluff content and education, stories and strategies, practical steps, and critical thinking that will help turn your vision into a reality.