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David Zelski

5 Great Georgia Staycations

By David ZelskiPosted July 17, 2013 11:43am (EDT)
5 Great Georgia Staycations

The following Article is from Your GPB Digital Magazine. Click here to download the iPad App.

Bury your feet in the sand, picnic amongst rolling hills and wildflowers or maybe fly into your weekend getaway via zipline.  The choice is yours in Georgia!

1. The Historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Enjoy the 9 miles of uncrowded beaches, bicycle trails, horseback riding, fishing, 63 holes of golf, and if that’s not enough, maybe take a tour through the historic district.  Learn about the iconic American business leaders who built this place as a summer getaway.  Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, just to name a few.  Couples and families are welcome to enjoy the amenities, or as they say, “just sit back and have a great time doing nothing.”

2. Durhamtown Plantation

Enter the Durhamtown plantation in Union Point.  Imagine a ski resort, but with mud instead of snow.  Instead of skis you have 4 wheels and a bundle of horsepower barreling you through 120 miles of one way trails.  Take these ATVs into the swamp, over rocks and maybe catch air on one of the thousands of mud mounds.  After a full day of running the trails, you can bunk up for the night.  There are several cabins available from rustic to relaxing.  Family fun, festivals and high adrenaline adventures occur year-round at this unique staycation in Union Point.

3. Historic Banning Mills

Welcome to Historic Banning Mills, home to the world’s longest eco-friendly continuous zipline canopy tour.   And it’s not just long…it is fast.  Glide along the Ridgeline or Screaming Eagle and find yourself reaching speeds over 65 miles per hour.  Climb the world’s tallest free-standing artificial rock wall, or jump off the 100 foot free fall, and live to tell the tale.  Historic Banning Mills is located in Whitesburg along the Snake Creek Gorge.  There are beautiful cabins nestled along the ridgeline with comfortable quarters including hot tubs and patios.  They also offer horseback riding and have a wonderful “Birds of Prey” show.  Currently in development are overnight accommodations in the trees and they are eventually building a zipline from the treetop cabins to a treetop dining experience.  Get ready!

4. Barnsley Gardens Resort 

The original manor, called Woodlands, was an estate built by a man—Godfrey Barnsley—for the love of his life, his wife Julia. Barnsley began construction on his Italianate villa in the 1840's in the north Georgia foothills, on land that had once been inhabited by the Cherokee Indians. Both the home and its elaborate gardens were formed by the work of Andrew Jackson Downing, a pioneering landscape designer and proponent of Italianate and gothic revival architecture. Julia never saw the completed home, as she fell ill and passed away. Today, it emerges as an award-winning destination resort, welcoming guests into a uniquely historic landscape that still echoes with the vision of Godfrey Barnsley.  Here you will find a Tom Fazio designed golf course, Trap shooting and spa.  They also offer several wine dinners throughout the year at the Rice House, one of two incredible dining options on site.  They can even set you up on a blanket by the gardens for a cozy afternoon picnic.  The quarters are Old English-style cottages that transport you to another time and place.

5. The Windsor Hotel in Americus

The Historic Windsor Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Americus, Georgia. Built in 1892 to attract winter visitors from the north, the Windsor was a 100 room, five story Victorian masterpiece designed with tower and turret, balconies, and a three story open atrium lobby. It occupies nearly an entire city block, and was the site of numerous balls and celebrations. The hotel closed its doors in 1972 after almost 80 years in operation. In 1991, the hotel re-opened after a $6.5 million dollar renovation.  During the renovation areas of the hotel were restored back to its original state.  Currently, there are 53 individually appointed guest rooms, including 6 Suites and two Tower suites, the Bridal Suite and the Carter Presidential Suite, which is named in honor of our 39th President and local resident Jimmy Carter.  President and Mrs. Carter spent the night in the Presidential Suite in 2002, and are frequent guests and big supporters of the hotel.  

While you are in Americus you need to take a stroll down to Café Campesino for some freshly roasted fair trade coffee.  From there cross the street to the Habitat for Humanity Discovery Village and walk through a daunting display of poverty housing where visitors can experience and understand the living conditions that 1.3 billion people living in poverty experience every day. And in the evening walk back to the main strip and catch a show at the beautifully restored Rylander Theatre.  These are all just a few examples of why you need to visit this incredible hotel atop the “shining city on a hill” known as Americus.

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