What's New

New developments and offerings across the state

Fernbank Museum of Natural History  opened its highly anticipated outdoor experiences, WildWoods and Fernbank Forest, in September 2016. WildWoods features 10 acres of woodland adventures, including permanent exhibitions for all ages, elevated walkways, incredible vistas, a pollinator-friendly meadow. At 65 acres, Fernbank Forest is the largest old-growth forest of its kind in a major metropolitan area and is now directly connected to the museum through WildWoods. www.fernbankmuseum.org

In September 2016, Grandaddy Mimm's Authentic Moonshine opened its distillery in scenic Blairsville, Georgia. Guided tours show the process of how three simple ingredients - corn, water and sugar - are transformed into a potent liquid that until a few short years ago was illegal to manufacture. Grandaddy Mimm's currently distills six products: 100-proof Corn Whiskey, 140-proof Mule Kickin' 140 and 40-proof Apple Brown BettyFresh Peach CobblerWild Cherry Cobbler and Blueberry Cobbler. Townsend's grandfather, Jack "Mimm" McClure was a notorious moonshiner in the area from the 30s through the 60s. He had a reputation for making one of the smoothest moonshines in the area, and folks knew him as a generous and kind man who shouldn't be crossed. Tommy was only two when Mimm passed away, but his legacy and his smooth moonshine recipe helped bring to market this successful new brand. For details on Grandaddy Mimm's, food and drink recipes using moonshine, visit GrandaddyMimms.com

The small Northwest Georgia town, Cedartown is now home to the newest Coca-Cola museum – the Cedartown Museum of Coca-Cole Memorabilia. The museum project was a total renovation of the original Coke building built in 1900. With the help of friends, foundations, and generous donations, a first class museum was built that is sure to attract thousands of visitors to the Downtown Cedartown Business District. The museum features a fully restored facade and modernized interior that highlights its more than century old past. The museum offers a comprehensive story from Coca-Cola’s humble beginnings in 1886 to its departure from Cedartown’s Main Street in 1977. On display will be artifacts including vintage delivery vehicles, porcelain and tin signage, a century old soda fountain, and hundreds of other pieces. http://cedartowncokemuseum.org/

The Meriwether County Chamber of Commerce is planning to capitalize on having a namesake that’s the same as the fictional setting of the hit TV-show “The Walking Dead.” The Chamber plans to launch a geocache hunt based on the “The Walking Dead” in the city of Woodbury.  Woodbury, of course, is also the name of the fictitious city where the “The Walking Dead” is set. For those who don’t know, a geocache hunt involves using a smartphone to find hidden clues within a certain area. The hunt officially kicks off on September 4, 2016.

Georgia Winery announces expansion plans for distribution and production facility, allowing them to triple their wine production this year to gear up for additional distribution 2017. 

Wine in grocery stores in Tennessee has really opened a door up for more distribution and expansion across the southeast. Georgia Winery is now carried in Chattanooga Food City’s and it is in the works to be carried in more chain stores in Chattanooga this year. CEO Tara Taymore says “In 2011 we signed for Chattanooga and surrounding areas, but wine in grocery stores have opened us up to the entire state.”

Plans for 2017 include a new wine making facility to accommodate the anticipated growth. In the spirit of new growth, the Winery will also be releasing two new dry wines this year! More information on the new wines will be released soon so keep an eye out!



Northwest Georgia’s only craft brewery is preparing to open in Walker County! Phantom Horse Brewing Company will serve favorites including Ole Green Eyes IPA, Lady in White Pale Ale, 1891 Oatmeal Cream Stout, Working Girl Blonde and Double Barrel Cocked Ale are some of the brews currently on tap. The name Phantom Horse Brewing Company is derived from the Chickamauga Battlefield Park and most of its crafted brews are named after ghost legends from that historic Civil War battle.



New Rome Tennis Center opens at Berry College and boasts a total of 60 courts on a 30-acre site. It is comprised of USTA standard, asphalt tennis courts and includes six NCAA regulation courts, three center courts for tournament and collegiate play, and one exhibition court. All courts have lighting and access to shade structures. There are 8 permanent 36’ courts for 10 & under Tennis, plus 10 have blended lines to introduce the sport to children.

The 3,846-square-foot, lodge-like clubhouse is a focal point of the facility. One key element of the clubhouse is the 2,256 sq. ft. tennis porch that overlooks “main event” courts and NCAA-regulation courts. The entire terraced design of the facility is ADA accessible and has wider entry ways to accommodate sport chairs for wheelchair tennis.

The facility is conveniently located at 100 Matchpoint Way, on the Armuchee Connector adjacent to the loop road by Mount Berry Square Mall and central to Birmingham, Atlanta and Chattanooga. Visit the Rome Tennis Center website for directions at RomeTennisCenter.com.


American Spirit Whiskey opened in Atlanta in July 2016. This new distillery offers tasting and tours. It's located in the former Mason Murer Fine Art gallery on Armour Drive, a light industrial area in Midtown that’s also home to SweetWater Brewing Co.

SkyTower Atlanta: SkyTower Atlanta will be a 225-foot-tall attraction overlooking Centennial Olympic Park and will feature three rides including:

• The SkyTwist -brings up to 20 riders from the street-level to the top of a 225-foot tall tower in a giant all-glass gondola that rotates.

• The SkyDrop - sends riders on a free fall from 225-feet in the air.

• The SkyShot - a sling ride that vaults riders over 2-hundred feet in the air.

They hope to break ground on the project in January and have the rides open by the summer of 2016.

Augusta’s newest sightseeing excursion known as The James Brown Family Historical Tour launched on Saturday, February 27, 2016. A fun, entertaining and narrated tour will run once a day on Saturdays from 11:00 am to 12:45pm year round. The 25-passanger temperature controlled bus provided by T and T Transportation will take fans of Mr. James Brown on a narrated tour making stops at places that are significant to the history of Mr. Brown’s life growing up in Augusta, GA. The James Brown Family Historical Tour price is $15 per person and includes admission to the Augusta Museum of History where the largest collection of James Brown memorabilia is located. www.jamesbrownfamilyfdn.org

Lang Seafood, Inc. was awarded the concession contract for Cumberland Island National Seashore. The St. Marys based company will continue operating the passenger ferry service to the National Park for the next decade. Once the new contract goes into effect in January, visitors will be able to bring bicycles on the ferry for an additional fee. Lang will also begin conducting the popular Land & Legacies tour, currently conducted by the park rangers.

Many new developments are taking hold in Macon, Georgia including:

·       The old Capricorn Records recording studio in downtown Macon is expected to be renovated as a small part of a new loft development. The historic recording studio itself will be carefully preserved and restored to its Capricorn-era appearance. The studio will be available for private rentals, including special events or for musicians to record on their own equipment. The lobby will be renovated for use as one of Macon's most unique live-music venues. It will also be open to the public for tours.

·       A new hotel and restaurant development on Mercer's Macon campus. The hotel, which is among the first of a new prototype for Marriott's TownePlace Suites brand, is set to be completed next fall and will feature 95 rooms, all with full kitchens and the latest television and Internet technology.

·       Macon’s Tubman Museum relocates to a beautiful new 49,000 square foot facility, making it the South’s largest Black history museum. Named in honor of Black heroine Harriett Tubman, it embodies her spirit of escaping to a better and brighter future and a reimagining of the spirit through its astounding collection of Black cultural exhibits, achievements and history.

·       Sandy Beach Water Park Sandy Beach water park had a partial opening in 2015, but will open with its completed format in May 2016. It is located on 10 acres of lakefront property.  Along with its attractions which include a wave pool, double slide tower, lazy river, kids splash pad and multipurpose family pool; the park holds lots of shade structures and cabanas which may be reserved for parties of all types.


St. Marys is establishing a trailhead at the St. Marys Tabby Ruins, about 3 miles from the 11-mile trail’s starting point at Crooked River State Park. The trailhead will include increased parking near the tabby ruins and a comfort station for visitors.


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