By Lauren Morgan
Just because the kids are back in school doesn't mean the summer fun has to end. The great thing about living in metro Atlanta is that great weekend trips are just a hop, skip and a trip on the interstate.
Go golfing, hiking at resort
Brasstown Valley Resort, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Young Harris, is a great get-away for families and a mere two hours away from Atlanta.
Between September and mid-November, visitors can relax and enjoy sunsets from oversized chairs next to Brasstown's 72-foot stone fireplace or sink into a rocking chair on the resort's porch while savoring the lush landscape.
Guests who prefer an active lifestyle can enjoy the crisp mountain air on Brasstown's par-72 golf course, spend the afternoon hiking trails or spend a day riding on one of the resort's horses. The resort offers 102 guest rooms in the main lodge, and cabins are also available for rent.
If it's an adults-only weekend in Blue Ridge, check out Crane Creek Vineyards. On Saturdays, Crane Creek offers wine tastings for $15 per person, which includes a glass, the tasting, a tour of the winery with a wine maker, and cheese and crackers.
For more information, visit www.blueridgehighlander.com, www.brasstownvalley.com or www.cranecreekvineyards.com.
Nearby North Carolina cities offer history
Hendersonville, N.C., is just three to four hours away - depending on if you drive like Jeff Gordon or obey the speed limits. Enjoy the drive, though, because the landscape is the best part of the Carolina mountains, especially with the leaves changing in the fall.
Once in Hendersonville, stop in the historic downtown, full of antique stores, restaurants and boutiques. The home of Carl Sandburg, the famous writer/poet/historian, is also open to visitors. If the family is looking for more action, visit Pisgah National Forest, home of Sliding Rock - a natural 60-foot rock water slide that drops into a 7-foot-deep pool. Pisgah also offers breathtaking waterfalls and a hands-on wildlife center.
The city of Asheville, home of the magical Biltmore Estate, is only 30 minutes from Hendersonville. Biltmore offers tours, fine dining and wine tastings, and the city is also known for its up-and-coming food scene.
Lake is home to Chimney Rock
With more than 750 miles of wooded shoreline, Alabama's Lake Martin is one of the largest artificial lakes in the United States. The lake is a popular recreation area for swimming, boating, fishing, water skiing, camping and golfing. Alexander City and Dadeville are located nearby, or head to Auburn University to enjoy the college-town atmosphere.
Lake Martin includes many popular attractions, including several small islands. The most recognized landmark on the lake is Chimney Rock, a large rock formation that resembles a chimney. The actual Chimney Rock is located several hundred yards away, and what most people call Chimney Rock is actually named Acapulco Rock.
The Lake Martin area was the Tallapoosa River gorge before Martin Dam was built, and the water is more than 150 feet deep. The spot is visited annually by thousands of boaters, who park in front of "The Rock" to watch people climb up 60 feet and jump off into the water.