Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Make like a tourist and head out, Georgia

Just for fun, I decided to put together a list of must-do's for Georgia residents and visitors. This is all part of my resolution to "act like a tourist." I move around a lot. Several years ago, I started pretending that I would be moving in a year and would never be coming back. Acting like I would never see my town - Asheville, Escondido, Carlsbad, Decatur, Atlanta, Kennesaw - again prevented  me from putting off the fun stuff until later.

Full Disclosure: I also made this list to remind myself why I love Georgia. Sometimes the negative news prevails and I forget how much I love it here. Case in point: This morning I heard that Sunday alcohol sales are unlikely to pass legislation. In the same breath the announcer said that... - wait for it - ..... those same legislators will decide today whether to allow people to carry guns into church. Ha! I love you Georgia!

Today seems as good a time as any to make my list of things I want to do in Georgia in the next year. I've already done a lot of these, but want to make sure I make time to do them again.

Atlanta - Food
1. Plan an exotic meal and go on an extensive shopping trip to DeKalb Farmers Market to get the ingredients
2. Eat fried chicken at Mary Mac's
3. Plan a Decatur-date that includes a taco at Taqueria del Sol and a beer at Brickstore

Atlanta - Events
4. Watch a classic and drink some wine at Screen on the Green (ONLY if it's held at Piedmont Park)
5. Have a picnic in Piedmont Park at sunset on a summer evening
6. Read Gone with the Wind, watch the movie, and visit all 3 GWTW museums in the area (yes, there are 3)
7. Watch a Braves game at Turner Field
8. Get inspired to write at the Decatur Book Festival
9. Run the Peachtree Road Race (largest 10K in the U S of A!)
10. Learn to shear sheep at Sheep to Shawl
11. Visit Oakland Cemetery for a Twilight Tour
12. Spend a few hours in Kudzu

Georgia - Great Outdoors
13. Take pictures of the wild horses at Cumberland Island National Seashore
14. Visit Callaway Gardens again (site of my 28th birthday celebration - so fun!)
15. Hike the GA section of the Appalachian Trail (planned for this April!)
16. Kayak through the Okefenokee Swamp

Georgia - Events
17. Make the Habitat for Humanity Global Village part of a road trip
18. Go to the Brunswick Rockin' Stewbilee in October, or perhaps the Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits Festival in September
19. Go to the GA Apple Festival
20. Take pictures of old houses in Savannah
21. Visit some sheep at one of these agricultural state fairs

Georgia - Food
22. Visit Serenbe Farms and eat brunch at the restaurant there
23. Say howdy to Pablo*
24. Get some fried chicken at Paula Deen's restaurant
25. Eat fried green tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe

Don't Even Have to Leave the House.....
26. Make sweet tea from scratch!
27. Serve that sweet tea (and other cold beverages) on the patio once our backyard is lookin' pretty

* Ok, this isn't technically in Georgia. When Tom and I had known each other for less than two months, we took a road trip from Atlanta to St. Augustine (FL) to Jekyll Island to Savannah, where we celebrated St. Patrick's Day on 3/17/09. Heading north out of St. Augustine we decided to stop at Pablo's Mexican Restaurant in Fernandina Beach, FL. Pablo himself took care of us and served us his finest margaritas. He also drastically under-charged us. We really need to get back there, and if you're in the area you should say howdy to Pablo too. Might I recommend the back patio if the weather is pleasant.

What about you? Have you taken advantage of everything your state has to offer? Of course, your list doesn't have to include touristy stuff (though acting like a tourist when you aren't one is insanely fun). Think big. Think different. What does your town/state/region have to offer? And what would you have to experience if you were going to be moving - and never coming back?

Georgia Fans - what have I missed? This list will be evolving as the year goes on, so feel free to let me know if I've missed a must-do.

PS. Here are my favorite lists for Maine, NYC, DC, and San Fran.

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