Where is a good place for a fall vacation? - Curt Yeomans

Get ready for it. Change is coming.

You can’t avoid it, because Mother Nature is in charge.

Yep, fall is here, and it won’t be long before the leaves on the trees start to change colors on us. Depending on your opinion about the environment, this can be the most beautiful time of year in Georgia, or the most dreaded, since it tends to mean we’re going to spend the next few months watching temperatures drop, and drop, and drop (and then drop some more until we find ourselves wishing for a little heat).

Assuming you’re one of those people who likes the cornucopia of fall colors, this might be the time of year when you most want to get out of the house and explore north Georgia.

So, what is there to do, and where do you go, at this time of year? That’s where the state’s trusty tourism web site, www.exploregeorgia.org/, comes in handy. I found some options to recommend.

First off, there are many state parks in the mountains of northeast Georgia, where the beauty of autumn is, perhaps, at its best.

There are several highly regarded state parks in that area, such as: Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge (418 Amicalola Falls Lodge Dr., in Dawsonville); Unicoi State Park and Lodge (1788 Ga. Hwy. 356, in Helen), and Tallulah Gorge State Park (338 Jane Hurt Yarn Drive, U.S. Hwy. 441 North, Tallulah Falls).

Each state park is unique in its own way. Amicalola Falls State Park features a 729-foot waterfall, and a 57-room lodge with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It is hosting an “Appalachian Thanksgiving” event, featuring living history demonstrations, on Nov. 24, from 11 a.m., to 3 p.m., and an “Christmas Open House” event, with a chance to meet Santa Claus and make gingerbread houses, on Dec. 10, from 4 p.m., to 9 p.m.

The 1,000-foot deep gorge, located at Tallulah Gorge State Park, is considered a natural wonder, and the state’s tourism web site boasts that Tallulah Falls once rivaled Niagara Falls in popularity. The park also hosts a “Christmas at the Gorge” event. It is on Dec. 3, from 1 p.m., to 4 p.m.

And, of course, Unicoi State Park is located near the heart of the alpine village area of Helen. And, that brings me to the town of Helen itself. The town is known for having the look of an alpine village, and of course, it is home to the state park, but it has other reasons for people to visit the little city in the fall. It’s most-high-profile event of the fall is a German-style Oktoberfest, which started Thursday, and runs through Oct. 30.

There is also the Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland General Hospital (300 North O.K. Drive, in nearby Cleveland), which has free admission and allows people to view the process of “birthing” a Cabbage Patch Kid doll. It is set to host a Christmas festival, complete with face-painting, arts and crafts, a tree lighting, and a visit from Santa Claus, on Nov. 19, from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m.

Now, those are just a sampling of the activities people can get involved in, while taking in the fall atmosphere in North Georgia.

For a complete listing of activities, events and attractions, I recommend you visit exploregeorgia.org, then sit back and spend an afternoon discovering all of the things that can be done in this state.

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.