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Fifteen miles east of Atlanta you'll find Stone Mountain, Hwy. 78, Stone Mountain, GA, 770-498-5600. As you wander through this 32,000 acre park you'll find the world's largest granite monolith with the figures of General Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis chiseled into its side. Before you snap a picture, take a moment to really study this massive work. It took over 50 years to finish. Is this all Stone Mountain has to offer?
Hardly! They can also entertain you with an antebellum plantation, an antique auto and music museum, and a civil war museum. Want to enjoy the outdoors? Then spend time on the Scarlett O'Hara Riverboat, take a 5-mile train ride, enjoy a nighttime laser light show, or just laze around fishing, swimming, and playing golf. They even have an RV campground, 770-498-5690, so you might be tempted to never leave. Those of you who like fishing will want to spend some time at the Catfish Hole, a 40-acre lake jumping to the brim with catfish, bream, and crappies. And, if what you like to fish for comes wrapped in tissue in a shopping bag, don't despair! Right outside of the Park is Stone Mountain Village, 891 Main Street, close to the west park entrance,770-879-4971, where you'll find 70+ shops just waiting to lure you with their goodies. If you are a quilter, be sure and check out the Village Quilt Shop, 975 Main, 770-469-9883.
If you don't mind driving a little further, about an hour's drive southwest of Atlanta will take you to the Callaway Gardens, 800-282-8181. Here you can roam over 2,500 acres of managed wilderness on foot, bike, or by car. Depending on the time of year you'll see azaleas, tulips, pansies, Southern magnolias, wild orchids, the Cecil B Day Butterfly Center, the John a Sibley Horticultural center, the Ida Carson Callaway Memorial Chapel, and the popular Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden. If you're really lucky, you'll get to see some of the hummingbirds that fly up here from South America to feast on the Prunifolia Azalea. Before you leave the area you'll want to drive to Warm Springs, GA and tour the Little White House State Historic Site, 401 Little White House Rd, 706-655-5870, which was built by President Roosevelt in 1932.
You'll find another lovely spot about 60 miles south of Atlanta. A drive to Massee Lane Gardens, One Massee Lane, Fort Valley, GA, 478-967-2358, will give you a chance to see around 2,000 camellias, 234 Edward Marshall Boehm porcelains, an introductory slide show, a rose garden, a Japanese garden, and a gift shop. Need to try growing one of these beauties at home? You'll find camellia plants available at the gift shop where they can help you select just the right one for you. Also, if you are feeling the need for a new high line rig, stop by the Blue Bird factory in town and plunk down a stack of cash.
You are also only about an hour and a half away from Macon, GA where you'll find the Georgia Musical Hall of Fame, the Museum of Arts and Sciences and Mark Smith Planetarium, the Old Cannonball House and Confederate Museum, the Harriet Tubman Historical and Cultural Museum, the Sidney Lanier Cottage, and magnificent Hays House.
If your favorite cap is that of a railroad engineer, you'll want to make the drive to Duluth, GA and the Southeastern Railway Museum, 3966 Buford Highway, 770-476-2013. At this outdoor museum, you'll find over 40 steam and diesel locomotives, freight and passenger cars, and other rolling stock.
For a great outdoor experience, head to Lake Lanier Islands, 6950 Holiday Road, Lake Lanier Islands, GA, 770-932-7200. Here you can enjoy 1,200 acres of recreational facilities including stables, rental boats for the 38,000 acre lake, and the Lake Lanier Islands Beach and Water Park.
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