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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.
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.
10 interesting facts about the 4th of July
Each year families and friends get together to celebrate one of the most festive holidays in America: the 4th of July. Beautiful, bright fireworks will light up the night sky, and parades will be held. Americans will consume more than 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than five times! There are many things about July 4th that people don’t know. Want to look like the smart one at the barbecue? Check out these 10 interesting facts:
- Anyone ever asked for your “John Hancock?” Well, John Hancock was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
- Speaking of John Hancock, did you know that only he and Charles Thomson actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776? The Declaration of Independence was not signed by most of the Second Continental Congress until August 2nd, not even in the month of July.
- The U.S. is not the only country to celebrate this day; the Philippines and Rwanda both celebrate their independence on July 4th, though not related to American history.
- One of the first states to celebrate Independence Day was Massachusetts, recognizing the 4th of July in 1781.
- Strangely, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826, within hours of each other. President James Monroe died July 4, 1831. President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872.
- The melody of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was originally used in an English song called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” used by the Anacreontic Society, a gentlemen’s club of amateur musicians in London.
- The American flag has changed over the years. The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the colonies would appear equal.
- George Washington, John Lay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison are typically considered Founding Fathers, but none of them signed the Declaration of Independence.
- It’s not Denmark’s day of independence, but this U.S. holiday is celebrated in Denmark. Traditionally, thousands of expatriates living in Denmark would gather at military bases and tourist bars to celebrate as early as 1911.
- The first week of July is the busiest travel week of the year in the United States. Most would think the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday week might be the busiest. Nope.
Have an interesting 4th of July fact? Drop it in the comments below!
Resources: mentalfloss.com, nydailynews.com
Things to do this Spring in Atlanta
Spring in Atlanta is always a great time of year—well, minus the pollen count. Atlanta offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities for people of all ages. There’s never a dull moment in the best city of the South. Okay, maybe we’re a little biased, but with everything from spring festivals to museums to outdoor concerts to the staple tourist attractions, Atlanta makes planning your springtime fun effortless and exciting.
If you’re looking for something to do for spring break with the kids or just want to get out and enjoy the city, Atlanta has it covered. One growing and popular idea is a “staycation.” A staycation is sort of like a vacation, except you book lodging at or near your home and enjoy the city attractions, or just appreciate the time away from home in a different environment. Make time to enjoy all the greatness of Atlanta and take a break from the everyday routine.
Below are a few great events and venues to check out:
Popular tourist attractions
- CNN Studio Tours
- The National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- Zoo Atlanta
- Georgia Aquarium
- The King Center
- The World of Coca-Cola
- College Football Hall of Fame
- Atlanta Jazz Festival
- Wine Festival
- Atlanta Film Festival
- Georgia Renaissance Festival
- Atlanta Caribbean Festival
- High Museum of Art
- Fernbank Museum of Natural History
- Atlanta History Center
- Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Outdoor concert venues
- Chastain Amphitheater
- Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
- Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood
Parks & outdoor recreation
- Centennial Olympic Park
- Atlanta Botanical Garden
- Piedmont Park
- The Atlanta Beltline
- Woodruff Park
If traffic is a concern, which it typically is, and you want to get around quickly and easily, just hop on a MARTA train or bus to make life easier (and save on parking!). For more resources and ideas on springtime fun in Atlanta or things to do no matter the season, visit atlanta.net/things-to-do.
What’s your favorite springtime activity in Atlanta? Let us know in the comments!
Super fun and simple party ideas for your Super Bowl celebration
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
The Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots will face off in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just in it for the commercials, watching the Super Bowl is an American tradition.
If you’re not lucky enough to be headed to Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, you should be planning an awesome party. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m., but the pre-game programs begin as early at 11:30 a.m. So, how do you keep the party going strong all night long? Whether it’s a house full of adults or you’re huddling up with the kids, here are some fun activities that’ll keep them around ‘til the end of the game.
Just some friendly competition
Love or hate the commercials, this twist on the classic BINGO game will have your guests glued to the television and begging to see just one more Geico advertisement.
This Super Bowl Pick ‘Em game will quickly even the playing field. Whether you’re a professional fan with a lifetime of game watching experience or you’re a rookie who only came for the hot wings, your best guess is as good as the next guy’s.
You may think that this mascot matching game is just for the kids, but we bet it would challenge some adults, too. Either way, everyone will be entertained with this Super Bowl word scramble and word search, but the real challenge is in football charades!
Tackle their appetites
Part of the fun is the party décor, so be creative. These penalty flags are genius, and football-themed water bottle labels and mason jars are pretty clever, too. If you’re crafty, this football field table cover is our fave.
When it comes to your game day menu, the self-serve chili bar is a real crowd pleaser. Step up your snack game with pigskins in a blanket, Patriots popcorn, or any of these easy tailgating treats, and it might encourage some excessive celebration. But if you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet-tooth fans, check out these chocolate and peanut butter footballs for the win.
No matter which team takes the championship, a party like this could earn you your own Super Bowl ring. Just be a good sport, have fun, and make sure everyone plays by the rules.
20 Fun Things To Do This Winter in and around Atlanta
Brrr, it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to watch Netflix all winter! The cooler weather is an invitation to a new bunch of new events, festivals, and fun activities you can enjoy with or without the fam. So bundle up, ‘cause there are people to see and things to do! Here are just a few:
Chinese Acrobats of Hebei (January 24)
This is a “must see” production that combines Chinese traditions, incredible acrobatics, stunning costumes, Chinese props, and a beautiful music soundtrack. Acrobats of Hebei China are a rigorously trained, superbly skilled and highly accomplished acrobatic troupe who have entertained the world by performing an awe-inspiring spectacle that is guaranteed to leave you amazed.
Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival (January 25-27)
The Atlanta Jugglers Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, entertain, enlighten and inspire through the art and skill of juggling. They host an annual festival in February, a 3-day extravaganza featuring the finest jugglers in the Southeast, and often in the country, as well as unicyclists, hoopers, and live music. Admission is free.
The Great American Motorcycle Show (January 26-27)
Featuring motorcycles, accessories, and southern rock music, the show is held at Cobb Galleria Center. It’s Georgia’s biggest indoor bike show and features new motorcycles brought to you by Georgia’s leading dealers. Come see foreign and domestic motorcycles, one of a kind custom bikes, cruisers, sport bikes, choppers, trikes, and touring bikes. This is your chance to see what’s new in the market and talk with the pros.
Frozen 5K/Snowflake 1K (January 27)
You may not be headed to Disney, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress like Olaf or Elsa. The Frozen 5K/Snowflake 1K is guaranteed to be some frozen fun for the entire family, and if you dress like your favorite fairy tale character, you might even win a cool prize!
TopGolf Winter Golf League (January 28 – March 26)
Whether rain, or snow, or sleet, or hail, …you can still golf at TopGolf, sometimes ‘til 2 a.m. Covered bays and heaters for cooler days make it comfortable, even in the winter. If you’re looking for some weekly fun and a little friendly competition, consider joining a league. It’s six weeks of regular season play and two weeks of playoffs. You might just be the next TopGolf MVG!
Pre Super Bowl Luncheon (January 31)
Want to see the Vince Lombardi trophy up close and personal? Join the ATL and NFL community to honor Atlanta-based individuals and companies who are leading the fight against cancer. You’ll watch an awards ceremony, enjoy a plated lunch at the Leaders For a Cure Luncheon in the College Football Hall of Fame, and yes, you can say “cheese” with the trophy!
Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (February 1-24)
Featuring the timeless music and lyrics of Bob Marley, and based on the children’s book by his daughter, Three Little Birds features a boy who wants to enjoy his beautiful island in the sun, but needs help from the animals to overcome his fear of evil spirits, tropical storms, and bandits, at Synchronicity Theatre. Fun for the whole family!
Waitress, The Musical at the Fox Theatre (February 5-6)
Waitress, The Musical was inspired by the popular 2007 film, Waitress. It’s a Broadway musical baked from the heart. Jenna Hunterson is a pie maker stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage who must summon strength and courage to rebuild her life. Music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. Hurry, tickets are going fast!
North Atlanta Home Show (February 8-10)
Mark your calendars for the North Atlanta Home Show at Infinite Energy Center. More than 150 companies will be there to display the latest home improvement products and services. Innovative products and hundreds of experts all under one roof! Not only will you get practical advice and great deals, you’ll also hear decorating secrets from insiders John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon of Madcap Cottage!
With or Without You 5K/1K (February 9)
Turn up the heat with a couple’s run, or maybe just mingle with other singles during the With or Without You 5K/1K. All finishers get chocolates and a heart-shaped medal, and if you’re married, an ordained minister will be there so you can renew your vows. “I take thee, all sweaty and out of breath”…now that’s romantic.
Atlanta Chinese New Year Festival (February 9-10)
If you’re looking for a little more culture in your life, check out the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival. 2019 is the year of the Pig, so come celebrate and enjoy authentic cuisine, art exhibits, traditional folk songs, and of course, the beautifully performed Lion & Dragon Dance.
Mardi Gras in Alpharetta (February 13)
In celebration of Fat Tuesday, Avalon will host its fourth annual Mardi Gras celebration! Avalon Boulevard will be transformed into a suburban version of Bourbon Street with live music and New-Orleans-style food and drink for sale. Break out your best purple, green and gold, grab some beads, and kick back at the Big Easy bash.
Snow Mountain (Now through February 24)
It’s a must for snow-deprived southerners. Atlanta’s favorite winter wonderland has a 400-foot snow-covered tubing hill and an enormous snow-filled play area. You can build a snowman in the Snow Zone, race down the slopes on the on Tube Runners, or careen down the hills in family-sized tubes on Avalanche Alley. It’s action-packed excitement and fun!
Lace up Your Skates (Now through February 24)
Ice rinks are super popular around the holidays, but several are still open into February. Practice your double axel or that triple salchow at seasonal rinks like The Ice Rink at Sugar Hill (through February 10) or the Olde Town On Ice at Conyers Pavilion (through February 24). There are always indoor rinks, too, which are open year-round, like The Cooler in Alpharetta or the Marieta Ice Center.
Get ready for the Oscars (Now through February 24)
January and February is prime Oscar season, so if you want to voice an educated opinion on this year’s nominees, spend some time in the movie theatre. Whether it’s for the reclining seats, online ticket and seat selection, or epic food, choose one of these top 7 movie theatres in Atlanta and get ready to cast your vote!
Monster Jam (February 23 – 24)
Don’t pass up the chance to see these big trucks with big wheels make big noise and excitement at Monster Jam at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Opt for the Pit Party and you can see the trucks up close, take pictures, meet the drivers and get their autographs, too!
Italy and Wine Food Festival (February 24)
The Discover Italy and Wine Food Festival is a culinary tribute to the world’s wine region. This walk-around style event at Vino Venue, located in Dunwoody, includes unlimited tastings of wine from most of the 20 sub-regions of Italy and samplings of Italian foods like hand-made pastas, salami, cheeses, breads, even olive oils. Mangia!
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (February 24)
One of racing’s most storied venues hosts 500 miles of edge-of-the-seat action when the sport’s biggest names visit Atlanta in 2018 for the running of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500! See the blazing hot driving talent of drivers like Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney go for the win against champions like Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski. Gentlemen, start your engines!
Sleep Under the Sea (select dates)
The Georgia Aquarium gives new meaning to sleeping with the fishes. Whether you book it for two or for your entire family, you can spend the evening learning about the underwater world and falling asleep in front of one of their magnificent gallery windows. How often do you get to be awoken by the soft songs of a whale in the morning?
See a Concert (select dates)
You might have to brave the cold weather to get there, but the hottest names in music will warm you up fast! Cher, The Foo Fighters, Georg Strait, Michael Buble, Francine Reed, Whiz Khalifa, Mariah Carey, and Jimmy Buffett…there’s something for everyone.