Monday, January 11, 2010

A new series here on Buckhead Betty

The New Year means new resolutions, new workout plans, new seasons coming up to enjoy. But maybe not a ton of extra funds after the busy holiday season, if you are like me :)

In other words, its a perfect time for a new series here on Buckhead Betty: Staycations!

Over the next few months, I am going to be profiling some area attractions that are either free or low-cost to attend. For those of you in Atlanta, they will be perfect if you are like me and craving new things to do that aren't very expensive. For those of you in other cities, take some of these ideas as inspiration, and please share any activities that you know of in your area that are similar!

Basic idea: taking a vacation in your own hometown - how can we explore what is already right around us?

The first in the series - take a hike, and head up to Red Top Mountain!

Red Top Mountain is a short drive from Atlanta, about 45 minutes up I-75 past Acworth. Red Top is part of the GA State Parks, and features all sorts of camping and visitor attractions.

With the first snow of the New Year still lingering on the ground, we spent a gorgeous Sunday afternoon yesterday hiking around. Or I should say, "hiking." This Buckhead Betty doesn't really hike-hike. This was more walking up and down on the hilly paths made for people of all ages and skill levels. If you walk at a good pace, you will definitely get your heart rate up on the hills, making it a perfect way to sneak in some exercise on a weekend outside. Some of the paths wind way out for 5 miles by the Etowah River, and take about 3-4 hours to complete. We chose some shorter ones that stayed mostly in the woods and are under 2 hours, but we got some great river views too.

The Details
Directions: North from Atlanta on I-75 to Red Top Mountain exit. Right off exit for 2 miles to Visitor Center parking lot.
Cost: $5 for a parking pass for the visitor center at top of trails. Free on Wednesdays.
Ideas: Bring a picnic lunch with you for the ride, and some water bottles for after. Head out around lunchtime to get in a few hours before dusk. You can grab a trail map or use the restrooms at the visitor center. And don't forget your gloves and hat, because it gets chilly up there in the woods!