The 7 Best Train Rides for Christmas in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Christmas Train Rides in North Carolina

Train rides for Christmas chug back into our lives with a payload of nostalgia on board. Railroads come from a historic era before automobiles and airplanes had been invented. Yet they come rumbling in from afar with an odd sense of odd familiarity, even for those who’ve never been on a train ride before. In our … Read more

30 Facts About Mennonite History, Culture & Amish Connections

Mennonites at Natural Bridge State Park in Natural Bridge VA

My wife, Heather, and I both grew up in the Mennonite community and attended Mennonite churches and schools. If you met us, you’d see that we live a modern (a.k.a. “mainstream”) Mennonite lifestyle. We both drive cars, have college degrees, and dress according to current fashion. But still we have a great appreciation for our … Read more

The 25 Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in Atlanta (2023)

Christmas in Atlanta

[Updated October 24, 2023] Celebrating Christmas in the Blue Ridge Mountains is truly magical, whether you’re visiting charming small towns like Dahlonega and Helen GA or exploring a burgeoning metropolis like Asheville.  But if you’re looking for depth and diversity of holiday attractions, it’s difficult to beat Christmas in Atlanta.  There’s such a vast array … Read more

What is Bluegrass? The History & Evolution of Appalachian Music

What is Bluegrass

[Updated on September 18, 2023] The Appalachian Mountains encompass a massive portion of the United States. They span 420 counties in 13 states, with foothills as far south as Alabama and all the up into New York State. Before the arrival of Europeans, the region was home to numerous indigenous tribes, including the Cherokee, Iroquois, Powhatan, … Read more

20 Incredible Places To See the Blue Ridge Mountains in Fall

Blue Ridge Mountains Fall NC Grandfather Mountain

As the sweltering days of Summer say their goodbyes, the nights and mornings get a little cooler, and the promise of changing leaves in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Fall is tantalizingly close.    Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains (as we do) offers year-round treats, from Spring blossoms and Summer wildflowers to Winter wonderlands.   … Read more

The 10 Best Weekend Getaways in Georgia

Best Weekend Getaways in Georgia

I’ve lived in the state of Georgia for 50+ years now, so it’s safe to say I’ve visited most of the best Georgia vacation spots at least once. When I was a kid, my family’s Georgia vacations were largely limited to campgrounds in Georgia State Parks. But we did spend a memorable weekend hiking 14 … Read more

101+ Things to Do in North Georgia


[Updated September 6. 2023] Between the charming mountain towns, rolling mountains, and breathtaking scenery, there are lots of things to do in North Georgia with an adventure for everyone. Its unique location at the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Mountains and mild climate allows for year long explorations of stunning terrain and a rich … Read more

The 10 Best Mountain Resorts in GA to Visit

resorts North Georgia - Brasstown Valley Resort

Growing up in Atlanta, my family never had enough money to visit the many mountain resorts in North Georgia. So instead we tended to stay in campgrounds, and particularly those in the North Georgia State Parks. But by the time I reached my early 20s, staying at resorts in the Georgia mountains became a more affordable … Read more

The 10 Best Places for Apple Picking in Atlanta to Visit

Apple Picking in Atlanta

When you mention the State of Georgia, peach trees are usually the first thing that springs to mind for most people.   But apples make it pretty big on the North Georgia fruit-picking scene, too!   While there’s not technically any apple picking in Atlanta proper, the cool air and fertile soil of Georgia’s Blue … Read more