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A.H. Stephens State Park
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Show Thanks for Nature's Bounty -- Georgia’s State Parks Offer Ways to Appreciate Nature
ATLANTA, November 8, 2012 -- Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the blessings we have in our lives. For many, that includes an appreciation for nature’s bounty and the beauty around us. Georgians are fortunate to have wide variety of scenic wonder nearby, from waterfalls and lakes, to mountains and marshes. This November, take time to appreciate all that nature brings to our lives with a getaway to one of Georgia’s State Parks. Throughout November and around Thanksgiving, park rangers have planned a bounty of events that will get you into the great outdoors and encourage quiet reflection.
To plan a nature-filled getaway, stay overnight in one of the parks’ many accommodations. Curl up next to a roaring fire inside a cabin, or make gooey s’mores with your kids over a campfire. Those who appreciate more traditional getaways can reserve hotel-style lodge rooms. The lodge restaurants even have special Thanksgiving buffets for overnight guests.
Below is a sampling of Thanksgiving-themed events across Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites. For a full calendar, visit GeorgiaStateParks.org/events.
“Thanks for Nature’s Bounty” Events in November
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Sugar Cane Festival
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
George L. Smith State Park, Twin City, GA
This annual festival highlights why we are thankful for nature's plants like sugar cane. Watch us grind sugar cane and make cane syrup. Enjoy Civil War cannon and musket demonstrations, live bluegrass, a snake program, crafts and a canoe race. Cane syrup will be for sale. Stay the weekend in cabins or the lakeside campground. $1 plus $5 parking. 478-763-2759.
Come & Take It! -- Thankful for the American Revolution
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fort Morris Historic Site, Midway, GA
This American Revolution encampment commemorates Colonel John McIntosh's defiant reply to a British demand for surrender: "Come & Take It!" Watch colonial demonstrations, musket and cannon drills, skirmish, 18th century music and more. Interpreters in historical attire will teach about colonial life. (912) 884-5999.
Meteors and More: Appreciating the Night Sky
7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Red Top Mountain State Park, Cartersville, GA
Learn to appreciate the beautiful skies above. Start the evening with a presentation by the Atlanta Astronomy Club, then search the night sky for stars and more. Georgia Astronomy in State Parks members will bring telescopes and answer questions. Stay overnight in the park’s cabins or campground. $5 parking. 770-975-0055.
Fall Harvest Candlelight Hike to the Mill
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs, GA
Join us for this mile-long, moderately difficult night hike down to the rapids of Sweetwater Creek. We will go inside the Civil War-era textile mill ruins where we will enjoy hot cider and hot chocolate. Candle lanterns will be provided. No children under 6 years or dogs permitted. Space is limited. Register in the Visitor's Center parking lot. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are required. $5 plus $5 parking. 770-732-5871.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Appalachian Thanksgiving at Amicalola
10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge, Dawsonville, GA
Enjoy living history demonstrations in the lower lodge lobby. Explore the magic of handmade folk toys, and try your hand at churning butter. Reservations required for the lodge's very popular Thanksgiving Buffet. Stay overnight in the park’s lodge, cabins or campground. $5 parking. (706) 344-1505.
Friday, November 23, 2012
9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain, GA
Join a naturalist to walk off some of that bountiful Thanksgiving dinner. Discover natural history of the piedmont region and search for the turkeys that got away. Meet next to the Trading Post. This easy hike is 3.2 miles along Mountain Creek Trail. Ages 8 & up. Stay overnight in the park’s cabins or campground. $5 parking. 706-663-4858.
Walk Off That Turkey Hike
10 a.m. to 2:30 pm
Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls, GA
Take a guided hike through the gorge floor to work off those extra pounds you acquired over Thanksgiving. This hike is strenuous and involves climbing over and under rocks and logs, jumping from rock to rock, and possibly getting your feet wet. Participants must be 10 or older. Register in advance. $5 plus $5 parking. 706-754-7981.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Kayak Trip
11 a.m. to 2 pm
Crooked River State Park, St. Marys, GA
Explore this unique and important marsh ecosystem. Work off your Thanksgiving meal and bring leftovers for a sandbar picnic during this three hour marsh kayak adventure. No experience necessary. Gear provided. Reservations required. $35-$85 plus $5 parking. Stay overnight in the park’s cabins or campground. 912-882-5256.
Thank Goodness for the Moon
6 p.m. to 8 pm
Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA
Meet at the cul-de-sac near the Trading Post where we'll have high powered telescopes set-up, focused on the moon. You'll be able to see the craters in the moon which were created by meteorites and learn fun facts about the moon. Registration required. Stay overnight in the park’s cabins or campground. $5 Refuge Parking. $3. 912-637-5274.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
High Falls Turkey Waddle
9 a.m. to 11 am
High Falls State Park, Jackson, GA
Hike off that extra slice of pumpkin pie with this exhilarating 3.5-mile hike. Enjoy the outdoors in the crisp fall air. Bring water and wear comfortable walking shoes. Meet at the Park Office. Stay overnight in the park’s campground or yurts. $5 parking. 478-993-3053.
Turkey Stroll at Buck Shoals
9 a.m. to 11:30 pm
Smithgall Woods State Park, Helen, GA
Burn a few calories and share this beautiful park with holiday guests. This is not a "turkey trot" fun run; instead this is a leisurely 1.5-mile stroll around Crean Lake at Buck Shoals, a future state park in White County. Hikers will meet at the Buck Shoals entrance at 9 AM and drive to the trailhead. Register in advance. Stay overnight in the park’s beautiful cabins. Donations welcome. $5 parking. 706-878-3087.
Historic New Manchester History Hike
1 p.m. to 2:30 pm
Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs, GA
This mile-long hike (easy to moderate) will lead to the five story ruins of the Civil War-era New Manchester textile mill and focus on the history of the Sweetwater Creek Valley. This historian or ranger-led hike will include going inside the ruins and seeing the lovely whitewater rapids which provide great photo opportunities. $5 plus $5 parking. 770-732-5871.
Hayrides and Campfires
2 p.m. to 6 pm
Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn, GA
Enjoy wildlife, fall colors and the beauty of the park while riding on our tractor-pulled hay wagon, then sit around the campfire and roast marshmallows and hot dogs while sipping hot apple cider. What better way to enjoy fall in the mountains? Stay overnight in the park’s cabins or campground. $5 per adult $3 per child 4 -12. $5 parking. (706) 657-4050.
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