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5 Stops on Your Visit to Georgia, USA

If you are headed through the south on your next vacation or trip, passing through Georgia does offer some interesting side trips along the way. Below are five of such tidbits of treasure.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

This park, 25 miles north of Atlanta, was the site that the Confederates drew back to after the fall of Chattanooga in 1863. Wrapped in tons of Civil War memorabilia and artifacts, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a wonderful day trip if you are near the area. Slide presentations of the battles are available in the visitor's station.

Monday through Friday you can drive your own vehicle through the cannons and park 200 yards below the summit. There is wonderful hiking and has wonderful displays along the trail. There is also, on Saturdays and Sundays, a free shuttle bus to take you up the mountain with a tour guide. The trips go every half hour, but on a clear sunny day most will hike at least halfway just to see all the natural beauty of the land.

There are two other principle battlefields, Cheatham hill and Kolb's Farm, that are 4 and 7 miles from Kennesaw Mountain. These can be accessible for the serious hiker. Maps are available at the visitor's center.

Picnic areas with grills are available near the parking area of the visitor's center if you want to make an entire day of it. The park itself is 4-5 miles west of I-75, and is open M-F 8:30-5, Sat and Sun to 6 pm.

Georgia Guidestones

The Georgia Guidestones reminds most visitors of Stonehenge. The four granite stones are as much a mystery here in Georgia as they are in England.

Located 7 miles north of Elberton, in Northeast Georgia, the Georgia Guidestones are 10 guides engraved in eight different languages on four huge granite pillars. Etched in June of 1979 by a man going under the pseudonym of R.C. Christian, the stones are set forth being used as an occult and mystical centerpiece for pagan festivals.

The 10 Guides, in English, are as follows:
THE MESSAGE OF THE GEORGIA GUIDESTONES
  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely - improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion - faith - tradition - and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth - beauty - love - seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth - Leave room for nature - Leave room for nature.

There is a center hole in the middle of one of the stones, so that one can see the North Star in it at any moment. It was one of several things that "R.C. Christian" required in the monument.

Hay House

Hay House has been called "the most modern antebellum mansion ever built". Costing $100,000 back in 1860, the mansion has indoor plumbing, a circular brick breezeway that sent cool air into the house, and plenty of closet space. Five years went into the making of the house after its owners, William Butler Johnson and bride, returned from a three year honeymoon. Constructed in Italian Renaissance Revival the house incorporates alcoves, spiral staircases, stained-glass windows, and 500 pound front doors painted to look like metal.

Hay House has 24 rooms, 18,000 square feet of living space, and several interesting tales and architectural oddities. From silk and damask draperies, to the statuary and cleverly concealed "early air conditioning" of the ventilation system, Hay House is a wonderful beauty to see.

It is located at 924 Georgia Avenue and is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4:30 pm and Sunday 1 to 4:30 pm. Adult admission is around $6, students $4, and children under 6 are free. Call for events and information at (912) 742-8155

The Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta History Center is located off West Paces Ferry Road in Northeast Atlanta. It takes about two or three hours to see everything it has to offer and that is if you don't go to the Swan House's servant's quarters for concessions.

With the museum, the Swan House, and the Tullie Smith House, the area encompasses 32 acres of land showing what life was like in Atlanta before, during, and after the Civil War. The Museum, an 83,000 square foot civil war exhibit, shows off the Atlanta Campaign for the war. With swords, guns, ammo, flags, war memorabilia, and a wooden wagon used by Sherman. It also has permanent exhibits that rotate with tidbits of southern and city culture. "Gone with the Wind" and other American South legacies are on display with that.

The Swan House is a double stair cased mansion decorated in swan motifs and built in 1928. Even with its latter building some of the furniture pieces date to the 1700's inside the mansion. There are guided tours throughout the House to replicate life after the war.

The Tullie Smith house gazes the life during the war, with its building in 1933. It is one of the very few pre-civil war houses that are still left standing today. The history of the house tells of its owners being big plantation owners, possessing some 800 acres and 11 slaves. Inside the house you get demonstrations of yarn spinning, cooking, and how food was stored at the turn of the century.

Take time to walk the trails that wander throughout the woods and gardens, and if you get hungry there is a restaurant and gift shop located in the former servants' quarters at the Swan House.

Ocmulgee National Monument

Stopping by first at the Visitors Center, you start your tour of Ocmulgee National Monument with a 12 minute film and a look throught the various dioramas. This gives you a good "feel" for the area. There are a dozen burial mounds all built between 900-1100 A.D., by the Mississippians. The Mississippians were the Indians populating Ocmulgee at that time period and stayed there until they were replaced by the Creek Indians. The last Indian inhabitants left in 1839 via the Trail of Tears.

The Great Temple Mound, built they say with "a million basketfuls of dirt", sits beside the Lesser Temple Mound. These two mounds create the skyline of Ocmulgee. The Great Temple Mound itself is 45 feet high, making one able to see Macon 85 miles away. The top of the mound is great for sightseeing.

The walking trail leads from Earth Lodge to the Temple Mounds, around the trading post, to a flat top funeral mound. Rangers recommend walking the trail in spring or summer so as to get the real beauty of the land. Viewing by car is recommended in the other months.

There is no admission charged to view the mounds or to partake in any of the activities there. They are open daily from 9-5, but pack a lunch for a day trip as there is no food served or available there.

Tina Samuels is a freelance writer and book author out of Rome, GA. She can be reached at tinasam69@hotmail.com.



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