Diwali Celebration at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn
Temples, Goat Yoga and Ty Cobb: Three-Day Itinerary Off the Beaten Path for Groups
When traveling with a group, going off the beaten path has its own unique rewards.
If you've already hit the mainstream highlights during your tour of Georgia, it's time to explore some of the state's under-the-radar gems. Whether your group is looking for quiet contemplation in nature, some international flavor, or interesting sports history, veering off the beaten path will make you fall even more in love with this spectacularly diverse state.
Stephens County History Museum, Toccoa
Step back in time at this quaint museum, which shares its 14,000 square feet of exhibit space in a restored historic train depot with the Currahee Military Museum. Displays feature a railroad with model trains and an original weigh scale; Toccoa-native Paul Anderson, who won the 1956 Olympics and the unofficial title of "strongest man in the world;" and Traveler's Rest, Georgia's last stagecoach inn. Groups of 10 or more enjoy discounted admission and may book a private tour.
Ty Cobb Museum, Royston
Learn about the life of baseball legend Ty Cobb at this museum created in his honor. There you can see his 1907 batting championship award, as well as the award presented to him by actress Bette Davis when he beat Babe Ruth in a golf match, and personal items such as his baseball cleats and uniforms. While you're in town, visit the famous slugger's burial plot, just one mile away. Groups of 10 or more may request guided tours and special rates.
Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm, Jefferson
Explore Georgia's rich agricultural history at this family farm that dates back to 1802, when its early members migrated from Virginia. Buildings include impeccably preserved barns, a gristmill, water tower, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, and homes. Members of the eighth generation still live on the 152-acre property. Group tours (guided by a family member) are available for 15 or more. Smaller groups may download a free narrated tour app.
Overnight in Buford
Tannery Row Artist Colony, Buford
This charming historic destination is great for groups - there's something for everyone's taste. Peruse the 10,000-square-foot gallery and studio space of 16 working artists, with displays of pottery, watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, oil painting, and jewelry. Occasional classes by the resident artists are available for both adults and children. While you're there, stop for a pint at the adjacent Tannery Row Ale House.
Seoul of the South Food Tour, Duluth
Gwinnett County boasts one of the largest Korean populations in the United States, and this exciting food tour gives guests insider access. Hop aboard a chauffeur-driven trolley and enjoy a progressive feast, with Korean BBQ, KFC (that's Korean fried chicken), desserts, and much more, then head home with foodie swag bags. Custom tours are available, tailored to your group's interests.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Lilburn
With five soaring pinnacles and 340 columns, this Hindu shrine is the largest of its kind outside India. Architecture buffs will marvel at the 34,000 pieces of pink sandstone, Carrara marble, and limestone, all carved in India and later assembled on the temple's 30 acres. Private tours for groups of 10 or more with advance booking and multi-language audio guides are available. Refuel at the on-site vegetarian cafe and sweet shop.
Overnight in Norcross
Your DeKalb Farmers Market, Decatur
The foods of the world are on grand display at this massive 142,000-square-foot market. You'll find everything from ultra-fresh seafood and produce from around the world to unique grains, exotic spices, and baked goods. It's as popular with home cooks as it is with chefs, and every visit sets the state for a global education. Groups of up to 25 may schedule guided tours on select days.
Double Durango Farm, Loganville
A herd of Nigerian dwarf goats is the star of the show at this working five-acre farm. And while groups may book a private farm tour, many visitors (ages 8 and older) opt to practice their downward dog with a schedule of goat yoga classes taught outside or in the barn. Be sure to visit the collection of friendly animals that includes a miniature pony, miniature donkey, and llama.
Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers
Commune with nature and enjoy quiet reflection time at this sprawling center dedicated to peace. Learn about the ancient art of bonsai (some trees are more than 100 years old), wander through the 17,000-square-foot Monastic Heritage Center, shop the garden center for bird-watching gear and lawn statues, and pick up monk-made biscotti and fudge. Groups of 12 or more may pre-order wholesome lunches to enjoy on the manicured grounds.
Don't-Miss Dining: Farm to Fork, Ringgold
Georgia's agricultural abundance is front and center at this charming restaurant, which offers private meeting rooms (for 55 and 80 guests) at no charge. The staff is happy to create customized group menus including tasty options such as farm-fresh salads, juicy burgers, fried green tomatoes, wings, and slow-smoked coffee brisket (always a crow-pleaser).
Must-Stop Shopping: Downtown Blue Ridge
This picturesque North Georgia town is a center for artists and curators, selling wares from the rustic to the high-end in two well-stocked downtown streets. Shop for apples and hard cider at Mercier Orchards (their second, newer location), vintage candy at Huck's General Store, home decor at Wrapsody in Blue, and luxury fishing supplies at Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods.