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Old 04-09-2008, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Roswell, GA
697 posts, read 2,703,727 times
Reputation: 507

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Chattanooga (the whole town, not just the aquarium) has been one of my family's favorite day/weekend trip destinations for several years -- we generally go up once a year at least. Besides aquarium and the waterfront area, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn building and grounds are worth checking out (the building is the old main railroad station, the track platforms have mostly been turned into gardens, there are train cars that serve as some of the rooms, there's a shopping arcade with train-themed stores, etc., and a vintage New Orleans streetcar that makes a circuit around the grounds) and is just a short ride on the free electric shuttle buses away from the Aquarium/waterfront. The Chattanooga Lookouts, the Class AA Southern League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, are one of the most storied franchises in minor league baseball and play their home games at AT&T Field, just a few steps up the hill from the waterfront area. The Hunter Museum of American Art sits on a bluff overlooking the river, also just a few steps away from the aquarium, and is quite well-regarded. There's also the Walnut Street Bridge (broken link), which has been closed to vehicle traffic and remodeled as a pedestrian bridge to allow access on foot from downtown across the river to Coolidge Park with its play fountain and restored 100-year-old carousel. On the outskirts of town, there's also the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum with interesting rolling stock on permanent display as well as excursion trips, some operated with steam engines.

That doesn't even mention Rock City, Point Park, Chicamauga, the Incline Railway, Ruby Falls, or a host of other things to do and see. We always come back with a list of stuff we want to do on the next trip.

Asheville's another decent suggestion for a weekend trip -- I tend to forget about it since my wife's family lives there and we're always heading up there for family visits, etc., so it's not on my mental list of cool getaway spots.

If you do go to Birmingham and have any interest at all in baseball and/or history, you have to check out Rickwood Field, the oldest baseball park in America, and the only place in the world where you can drive up, park your car, and walk out onto the same baseball field where hundreds of baseball greats have played. It's truly an amazing place, and one that few people seem to know about. Since the Birmingham Barons moved out to the suburbs several years ago, it has hosted a variety of college, high school, semi-pro, and amateur baseball events, and has served as a movie set for numerous films about baseball in the early 20th Century (including Cobb, The Babe, and others) but when it's not in use you can walk around the park and the field at your leisure, for free. For a taste of what it's like, check out the photos I took at the annual Rickwood Classic in 2006 (http://www.flickr.com/gp/8843345@N06/zCC3Et - broken link) (the Barons return to Rickwood for one game each year, with the proceeds from ticket souvenir sales going to preservation/restoration of the park).
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:28 AM
 
114 posts, read 440,298 times
Reputation: 30
Thanks for all these awesome suggestions, everyone!!! I love my running list.
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:44 AM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,188 posts, read 30,738,590 times
Reputation: 5171
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovinDecatur View Post
I'm surprised how few people in GA know that we have our own "Grand Canyon"...Providence Canyon. It's a great day trip!

Georgia State Parks
Actually, I hear a lot of people talk about it. But this might not be the best time of year to go there. With the frequent rains we've been getting lately, the soft soils all around the "canyon" fall off in chunks sometimes. It gets really messy/sloppy for days once there's a big rain there and sometimes they even shut down some of the trails that are close to the walls for safety reasons.

You can get some excellent photos there, and you're right, it's a great place to visit, but it's usually best to go there during drier months.
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:27 AM
 
4 posts, read 33,077 times
Reputation: 12
I would have never thought of it a few months ago, but if you like gambling there is a great casino within driving distance of the city. I started to see Golden Moon advertisements throughout the city recently and decided to check it out last weekend. It was a ball, played golf, played some blackjack and the fiancee went to the spa. Left Fri and came back Sunday. Not too expensive either, it was like an affordable Vegas, that comped heavily.

Check it out, its about 5 hours away, www.pearlriverresort.com
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Avery Ranch, Austin, TX
8,355 posts, read 14,083,061 times
Reputation: 3615
Another vote for Highlands/Cashiers, NC. Waterfalls, hiking trails, cute expensive shopping...8-12 degrees cooler than ATL(on average) during the summer months. Under three hours from ATL.
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:40 PM
 
401 posts, read 1,592,786 times
Reputation: 129
We just got back from Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain (google it). OMG!!!!! I took my kids - but I had the time of my life. I don't think that I have ever laughed so hard - my stomach muscles will be sore tomorrow! The animals are hilarious. The key is to go right when they open at 10:00 a.m. when the animals are still hungry and the lines are low.

Nothing quite like having a hungry giraffe or ostrich stick his head into your car window!!!!

Reasonable prices by ATL standards and they have a decent "cafe" there that charges reasonable rates and has pretty good subs. The drive is about 1 hr and 15 minutes each way. It's near Callaway Gardens if you want to visit there too. We left ATL at 8:00 a.m. and were back by 3:00 with ease.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Right here. Right now.
283 posts, read 1,200,069 times
Reputation: 242
You can pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway in Waynesville, NC. It's about 3 hours from Atlanta. (Under 3 from N. Gwinnett County). Haywood County, NC (which Waynesville is part of) has the highest average elevation of any county east of the Mississippi. The views are phenomenal. You can go in to Sylva (Jackson Co.) or Waynesville (Haywood) and spend time on their main streets. It's a lot of fun, and there is good food and cute shops, etc. It is cooler up here. And peaceful.

Enjoy all of your new trips!
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Inception
962 posts, read 2,315,268 times
Reputation: 1081
WOW!

There are a lot of good getaways that I had no idea were that close to the City.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:33 AM
 
162 posts, read 633,571 times
Reputation: 37
Great Smokies, Pigeon Forge (especially if you have kids) and Gatlinburg TN. Don't forget to drive through Cherokee NC on the way back and see the Cherokee Native american area.
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Old 04-14-2008, 07:09 AM
 
14 posts, read 39,541 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmtiger View Post
We just got back from Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain (google it). OMG!!!!! I took my kids - but I had the time of my life. I don't think that I have ever laughed so hard - my stomach muscles will be sore tomorrow! The animals are hilarious. The key is to go right when they open at 10:00 a.m. when the animals are still hungry and the lines are low.

Nothing quite like having a hungry giraffe or ostrich stick his head into your car window!!!!

Reasonable prices by ATL standards and they have a decent "cafe" there that charges reasonable rates and has pretty good subs. The drive is about 1 hr and 15 minutes each way. It's near Callaway Gardens if you want to visit there too. We left ATL at 8:00 a.m. and were back by 3:00 with ease.
We also did this with the our children!....Completely surpassed our expectations! Hysterically funny...something you WILL remember! We took one of the buses through the park which made it even more fun, being able to also see other people having their "up-close & personal" experiences!
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