Atlanta gets HOT in the summer. Yes indeedy it does! If you’re sweating up a storm and desperate to get out of town, gather up the girls and head out for a fun girlfriend getaway by the lake. We recently spent some time in Georgia’s Lake Country and we’ve rounded up the best mini-vacations, ranging from free to pricey (but worth it) and from leisurely to somewhat strenuous for your city detox.
If you’re planning a trip to Georgia’s Lake Country you’re in for a treat. A cool, sitting by the lake, sipping a tall iced tea kind of treat. Toss in quiet country lanes, one of a kind shopping, quaint towns and quirky attractions, great spas, luxury resorts, all within an hour and a half from Atlanta, and you’ve got Georgia’s Lake Country on your mind.
Lake Oconee Resort Getaways
Georgia’s Lake Country got its start in the early 1950’s when the waters of the Oconee River were dammed creating the 15,000-acre Lake Sinclair.
Twenty-six years later Sinclair’s sister lake, Lake Oconee, a 19,000-acre body of water, was developed, making the region an attractive getaway via the Interstate 20 from Atlanta.
Two GirlsGeteaway.com tried and tested spots for a Lake Country retreat with your gal pals are the Cuscowilla Golf Resort and the Ritz Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, both on the shores of Lake Oconee.
Cuscowilla Golf Resort on Lake Oconee
For someone who doesn’t play golf I discovered other things to love about Cuscowilla besides putting around their Coore-Crenshaw golf course.
First, it’s a perfect choice for anyone looking for a tranquil, high-end getaway that won’t break the bank. The resort has an assortment of villa rooms and cottages available for nightly stays at reasonable rates.
Second, the large cottages, placed in secluded areas throughout the resort, can fit in more than one or two of your best girlfriends, just imagine hanging out in your own private lodge complete with kitchen, a spacious living room and fireplace. Pajama party time!
You can happily spend your days at Cuscowilla hanging out by the pool, playing a round of golf or heading over to Typhoon Tommys, located minutes from the resort, where they can fix you up with rental bikes, pontoon boats and jet skis.
One more thing you must do while staying at the resort is to check out the two onsite restaurants. Cuscowilla’s Executive Chef Gerald Schmidt prepared THE best grits I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste while having dinner out at the Waterside restaurant.
The grits were served up savory, cheesy, and with a perfect consistency, not too watery and not too firm. They were so good I had to ask where they sourced the grits, because I was buying them and bringing them home with me. Happily I found out the Red Mule Grits, used in our dinner, were readily available at a sweet little shop called Genuine Georgia, in the nearby town of Greensboro.
Ritz Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation
We found hammock heaven at the Ritz Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee. To me, there is almost nothing more relaxing than spending a quiet afternoon reading the latest book by your fav author, while relaxing in a hammock. And it looks like the Ritz Carlton agrees. I noticed quite a few hammocks gently swinging away in many of the shaded and secluded areas of the resort.
During my short visit to the Reynolds Plantation I kept getting the feeling that Ritz Carlton had somehow gotten into my brain and extracted all of the ingredients I dream about when planning an idyllic luxury escape from the city:
- Hammocks, check.
- Award winning spa, check. (GirlsGetaway Best Bet: Dreamsicle Manicure, Pedicure.)
- Adults only pool, check.
- Food to die for, check. (GirlsGetaway Best Bet: Lobster Grilled Cheese (Gaby’s). Videla Onion Soup (Georgia’s Bistro.))
Things to do in Lake Country Georgia
One thing I loved doing on our southern girls getaway was exploring the many ‘out of the city’ indie shops, restaurants and attractions that have set up shop in Georgia’s historic heartland. Here’s our list of must do things for your next girls’ trip to Georgia Lake Country.
Genuine Georgia – Home to Red Mule Grits as well as tons of artisan handicrafts from local Georgia artists.
Greensboro Antique Mall – Full of vintage treasures, the Antique Mall is a great place to explore during a visit in downtown Greensboro. You’ll find 11,000 square feet of unique antiques collected by 50 different dealers.
Potted Geranium – rated the #1 tearoom in Georgia. Be sure to try the Duchess of Bedford Tea Service (reservations strongly advised) for a full-on English tea, which includes a la-de-da three tiered sandwich tray full of scones, homemade clotted cream and finger sandwiches.
Yesterday’s Café – Their buttermilk pie was voted as one of the South’s best pies by Southern Living magazine and Carrie Underwood ordered 300 for her wedding. That was enough for me to head straight to the café and order up a piece of pie. Verdict? Sweet custard heaven on a fork! For those who can’t get to Greensboro anytime soon and would like to try their hand at baking a buttermilk pie, Girls Getaway has the recipe, but please don’t blame us if you gain a pound or two yummy’ing up this pie!
“Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.” Flannery O’Connor
I had never heard of Flannery O’Connor before my recent visit to Milledgeville but as soon as I was told her best known short story was called “A Good Man is Hard to Find” I knew I would enjoy my visit.
Flannery O’Connor is the Queen of Southern Gothic, and in 1972 she won the US National Book Award for Fiction. Her fans, from as far away as Japan, make a pilgrimage out to Milledgeville to see where Flannery spent most of her short and painful life, dying of lupus at the age of thirty-nine.
The interior of Flannery’s home has been kept as it was when she lived there, you’ll be able to see the desk and typewriter she used to create her masterpieces of the ‘grotesque’. You can join a guided tour of the house and afterwards wander the grounds at your leisure. Flannery O’Connor books, t-shirts and souvenirs can be purchased during your visit. I bought a collection of short stories that included, of course, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
The museum is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed on Sundays
For anyone who was told the tale of Br’er Rabbit as a little girl, a trip to the Uncle Remus Museum is a great way to revisit some of your favorite childhood stories. You’ll learn all about the Uncle Remus stories and characters created by Joel Chandler Harris, who was born in Eatonton in 1848. Be sure to take advantage of the wonderful museum docents tell their own great tales about the life and writings of Harris and the Eatonton area.
The museum is open daily 10 – 5. (Closed one hour for lunch).
Sunday hours are from 2 – 5.
Closed Tuesdays from November through March.