Georgia’s State Parks Open on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

This holiday season, walk off that extra slice of pie with a heart-pumping hike. All of Georgia’s state parks are open Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day for visitors to enjoy peaceful scenery and active outings. While the park entrances are open, most offices will be closed as park staff enjoy the holidays with their families as well.

State parks are a great way to showcase Georgia’s natural beauty to your out-of-town visitors. For just $5 parking, guests can take a stroll around a sunlit lake or enjoy the horizon from mountain overlooks. Trails range from paved paths to challenging all-day treks. On New Year’s Day, nearly all Georgia State Parks will host guided “First Day Hikes” to kick-start healthy resolutions.

Georgia also has numerous state historic sites that make relaxed family outings this season. While closed on major holidays, most are open before and after these days. Dahlonega Gold Museum, Etowah Indian Mounds and Fort King George are just some of the locations that tell Georgia’s rich history. At New Echota, learn about the Cherokee nation’s capital, and at Roosevelt’s Little White House, see the cars FDR drove with hand controls.

During November and December, be sure to stop by state park gift shops for a selection of outdoor gear, books, toys and clothing. Parks even sell gift cards which make perfect stocking stuffers for the outdoor enthusiasts on your list.

If the holidays find you needing a longer escape, spend a few days in a fully equipped cabin, funky yurt or modern campsite. Some parks are offering winter specials such as stay-and-play golf at Richard B. Russell or yurt discounts at High Falls. For a list of all deals, visit To find a park or historic site near you, visit Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites are operated by the Department of Natural Resources. For a free brochure, call 1-800-864-7275.


ATLANTA, GA. – Department of Transportation Commissioner Keith Golden proudly announces the resurfacing project on State Route 400 from SR 306 north to SR 53 has received the 2014 Georgia Partnership for Transportation Quality Award for the Smoothest Roadway Statewide.

“Of the 1,500 road construction projects underway across Georgia, our resurfacing project on State Route 400 from State Route 306 in Forsyth County to SR 53 in Dawson County earned the “smoothness” award for Asphaltic Concrete Open Graded Mixture in the State. Smoothness is a roadway characteristic measured by a laser mounted on the front of a vehicle. Smoothness is extremely important because the smoothness denotes a level and compact substructure that will last and offers the motorist a smooth ride, with no bumps, or cracks.  A high smoothness rating means the road will last longer with less maintenance giving motorists a better ride without the cost and inconvenience of maintenance. Once the resurfacing was completed the smoothness improved on State Route 400 by 46%,” explained Brent Cook, District Engineer.

Kris Phillips, Georgia DOT Construction Project Engineer, worked diligently with C.W. Matthews Contracting, the project’s contractor, to ensure the project was completed to the highest possible standards. Cook continued, “This accomplishment is especially impressive because all of the work had to occur overnight to minimize the impact to the community. Every time we inconvenience motorists and spend taxpayer funds, we need to make sure our work is exacting and that is just what Kris and his team did.”

Resurfacing this 8.7 mile long section of SR 400 was completed by C.W. Matthews Contracting of Marietta at a cost of $3.2 million.

Kris Phillips began his career with Georgia DOT in 2008. He is a Construction Project Engineer from Braselton. Phillips earned a Bachelor’s of Civil Engineering Degree from Tennessee Technological University. He is currently overseeing construction of the new State Route 284 Bridge over the Chattahoochee River portion of Lake Lanier at the Olympic Venue in Gainesville.


The Mountain Wine Country Cooperative is delighted to present the annual Holiday Weekend in Mountain Wine Country December 5th, 6th and 7th, 2014. Purchase a passport at any of the 14 participating wineries for $20 and receive a Mountain Wine Country glass. This passport gives you access to taste wines at each of the 14 wineries and three days of fun. Each winery is offering a special experience to its Holiday Weekend visitors!

As an added bonus, just show your Mountain Wine Country passport at any Rib Country Restaurant and receive a 20% discount on your meal. Additionally, the same 20% discount is being offered by the Best Western in Murphy, NC (828) 837- 3060, the Ridges Resort & Marina in Hiawassee, GA (888) 834-4409, and Paradise Hills Resort & Spa in Blairsville, GA (877) 745-7483.

This is an excellent way to have a quick weekend getaway and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Mountain Wine Country.

Holiday Weekend Hours:
Friday, December 5th, 12 – 5 PM
Saturday, December 6th, 12 – 5 PM
Sunday, December 7th, 1 – 5 PM

Participating Wineries include:

Calaboose Cellars
565 Aquone Road
Andrews, NC
(828) 321-2006

Cartecay Vineyards
5704 Clear Creek Road
Ellijay, GA
(706) 698-9463

Cherokee Cellars
23 Hickory Street
Murphy, NC
(828) 835-9565

Crane Creek Vineyards
916 Crane Creek Road
Young Harris, GA
(706) 379-1236

Eagle Fork Vineyards
8 Cedar Cliff Rd
Hayesville, NC
(828) 389-3845

Hightower Creek Vineyards
7150 Canaan Drive
Hiawassee, GA
(706) 896-8963

Nottely River Valley Vineyards, LLC
1150 Old Culberson Rd
Murphy, NC 28906
(828) 837-7822

Odom Springs Vineyards
637 Odom Road
Blairsville, GA 30512
(706) 781-8275

Paradise Hills, Resort & Spa
366 Paradise Road
Blairsville, GA 30512
(877) 745-7483

Serenberry Vineyards
450 Tipton Trail
Morganton, GA 30560
(706) 623-8463

Sharp Mountain Vineyards
110 Rathgeb Trail
Jasper, GA 30143
(770) 735-1210

Stonewall Creek Vineyards
323 Standing Deer Lane
Tiger, GA
(706) 212-0584

Tiger Mountain Vineyards
2592 Old Highway 441
Tiger, GA
(706) 782-4777

Valley River Vineyards
4689 Martins Creek Road
Murphy, NC
(828) 837-0691

Mountain Wine Country encourages the use of designated drivers. Please drink responsibly and have a safe and enjoyable experience.

See for more information about the most exciting wine region in the Southeast!