The Capitol of the South

By: Emily Szwiec, 2nd year Global Environmental Health

Living in Atlanta is a real adventure. There’s always something to do whether it’s going out to a new restaurant, seeing a concert, or enjoying outdoor activities on the Belt Line. However, sometimes it’s good to get away for the weekend. Coming from the Midwest, I was excited how close new-to-me places were like Savannah, Nashville, Asheville, and college towns. Here are some ideas for nice weekend getaways.

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Blue Ridge Mountains

Savannah 

Savannah is about a four hour drive from Atlanta. This historic town takes you back in time as you walk the cobblestone streets and visit the cemeteries surround by Spanish moss. If you enjoy running, Savannah offers great races throughout the year. If running isn’t your thing but celebrating your (fake) Irish ancestry is, Savannah is also infamous for it’s huge St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Tybee Island is also nearby if you’d rather sit near the water and just enjoy the still.blog1

THINGS TO DO: Go on a ghost tour. Savannah is one of the most haunted places in the U.S. There are multiple ghost tour options available. I recommend the hearse tour where you are literally riding around Savannah in a hearse with a pop-up top. Also make sure to enjoy some southern cuisine!

HINTS: Traffic can be pretty rough depending when you leave (but that’s Georgia for ya). Make sure to plan accordingly, meaning have some good road trip snacks and music. Carless? There are multiple buses that make a roundtrip from Atlanta to Savannah. Also if you’re interested in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day 2017 in Savannah, book now!

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Always have these handy for road trips or Atlanta traffic 

Nashville

Music City is just a mere four hours from Atlanta. Nashville is a fun way to experience country music, even for the casual fan. While in Nashville you can visit the Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson museums, stroll through one of the many city parks, or go to a honky-tonk.

THINGS TO DO: Make sure to visit the Bluebird Cafe. The music venue is known for attracting fantastic singers/songwriters and many a country folk get there start here (pre-Red album Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, and others). Established singers have also been known to perform during open-mic nights. If you’re the want who wants to do the singing, check out Santa’s Pub. It’s a great dive bar with karaoke every night.

HINTS: Bring your cowboy boots.

Asheville

Asheville is one of my favorite places to visit and it’s only a three hour drive. The town offers so much to do. There’s great hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, amazing food (I visited once with carnivores and once with vegans and was never disappointed or hangry), great breweries, fun art, and plenty of live music. I even went glamping there once (glamping: to have someone else set up a tent for you near a river, and have 24 hour access to showers and facilities). Asheville also offers loads of festivals throughout the year, like a BBQ and bluegrass festival.

THINGS TO DO: Again, ghost tours. Asheville has a spooky history and the ghost tours are very entertaining. You won’t be in a pop-up hearse but you will see a ‘ghost’ nun chugging a beer during the ghost tour. Breweries are also a great time as is the diverse bar scene (Thirsty Monk offers a large variety of local beers). You really can’t go wrong just wandering around town either!

HINTS: Check Groupon and Airbnb to save some money in Asheville. There are usually some pretty good deals!

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Can’t recommend glamping enough

College Towns

I really couldn’t care less about college football but my friends enjoy it and as a result, I’ve visited some entertaining Southeast college towns. Gainesville, Florida is fun if you like alligators, palm trees, and grown men in cutoff tank tops (I’m two for three on those). Athens, Georgia (home of UGA) is another fun college town. For big games (like Alabama vs Georgia), a bus leaves from Atlanta the morning of game day and brings you back that night. It’s really convenient and a great way to meet people! Auburn, Alabama is also nearby and although I haven’t visited, it’s on the list of places to go due to it’s good dining and nearby hiking.

A lot of these places are accessible by bus if you don’t have a car or don’t feel like dealing with traffic. There are also of plenty of day trips in the Atlanta area if you want to get away just for a bit. North Georgia offers lots of hiking opportunities and the South is rich in historical sites as well. Make sure you take advantage of all the great things the Southeast has to offer during your time at Rollins!

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