Staycation: Cherokee County
By Shannon Sickmon, Woodstock Resident
Vacations relax and rejuvenate us, but current events and limited budgets may have you hesitant to travel. Cherokee County offers the solution: a staycation.
Cherokee County provides the best of all worlds. If you want fine dining, art, and culture, it’s here. If you enjoy stunning scenery, we are in the foothills of the Appalachians and a stone’s throw from scenic trails, parks, and camping areas. Our county is paradise for outdoor sports aficionados too, with hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, hunting, and fishing.
For those who crave the social scene, the downtown Woodstock and Canton entertainment districts offer myriad drinking and dining options, from snacks to fine southern cuisine. The amphitheater in Woodstock attracts nationally renowned music acts, and Reinhardt University’s Falany Performing Arts Center provides entertaining shows year-round. Get the most out of your hometown and find adventure right here in Cherokee County.
Sports and Outdoors
For golfers, Bradshaw Farms has a newly renovated twenty-seven-hole course with tasty food and some of the best ice cream in Georgia at its grille. Fairways in Canton and Cherokee Golf Center offer competitive golfing and lessons to improve your game.
Cherokee County has always been a mecca for outdoor sports, with Lake Allatoona, hiking trails aplenty, and rivers galore. Be sure to check out Garland Mountain for magnificent views. You can go horseback riding at Georgia Frontiers, Breezy Hill Stables, or Fieldstone Farms in Canton. Hikers shouldn’t miss Pine Log Trail, Avalanche Trail, or Etowah Trail. Kayakers enjoy the Etowah River Water Trail as well. Rated Class I, it’s perfect for families and novice paddlers.
Ride challenging mountain bike trails in Woodstock at Olde Rope Mill Park or the SORBA trail at Blankets Creek. For a quick ride, Dupree Park has a short mountain bike trail and even offers Frisbee golf.
For the ultimate outdoor adventure, take a hot-air balloon ride. Visit Balloon Atlanta in Woodstock and get an aerial tour of north Georgia!
You don’t have to travel to the Fox or Alliance Theatre to see a great performance or check out new art. Elm Street Cultural Arts Village offers theatrical arts, visual arts, and performances that include comedy, dance, and music. Its Lantern Series in particular provides world-renowned musical acts in an intimate setting. Falany Arts Center at Reinhardt University has entertaining plays, as do local high schools. You’ll get a live performance at a bargain price and support the school while you do.
For fine arts, visit Jamie Foreman’s gallery, Menagerie on Main, in downtown Canton. It offers painting classes, with new classes coming soon. The Cherokee Arts Center in Canton displays rotating exhibits that change often. It also offers musical performances, theater, and classes in the arts. To feed the muse, Sips n Strokes in Towne Lake offers budding Van Goghs the chance to create a masterpiece while enjoying adult beverages.
Drinking and Dining
One of the best parts about living in Cherokee is that we have great food. Whatever you are in the mood for, Canton, Ball Ground, and Woodstock have an almost endless variety of culinary experiences sure to please even the most discerning palate.
In Canton, R & M Sandwich Shop is a classic. The fast-casual café has some of the best hoagies in the area and boasts fifty years of history, to boot. When you’re ready for more upscale dining in Canton, don’t miss Goin’ Coastal. With sustainable, seasonal seafood choices and a bourbon and wine list that rival any Buckhead eatery, the airy, brick-lined space offers impeccable service and delectable food.
Downtown Woodstock has an large array of choices. Be sure to check out Rootstock and Vine, with a wine list that is a sommelier’s dream, or Century House for upscale Southern cuisine in a house built in 1894.
In Ball Ground, the Burger Bus offers gourmet burgers worth every calorie, while Le Bon Temps Louisiana Kitchen provides Cajun comfort food at its best. Holly Springs has a growing list of new eateries as well.
The north Georgia climate is perfect for wine grapes, so wineries have popped up like mushrooms. Here in Cherokee County we have Big Door and Feather’s Edge Vineyards. Head out on a Saturday afternoon and enjoy a variety of local vintages as well as live music and even art exhibits. Culture and music and hooch, oh my!
Be sure to look at the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce website for updates on fun-filled events throughout the county, such as First Fridays in downtown Woodstock, starting in March, or Bacon and Banjos, on the docket for May. First Fridays will also begin in downtown Canton in May.
Cherokee County offers a shopping experience unlike any other. For those that crave couture, the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in Woodstock is an open-air outlet offering high-end brands such as Sak’s, Coach, and Kate Spade at discount prices. A wide selection of great dining and drinking venues are within walking distance of the mall.
If you want eclectic art, one-of-a-kind home goods, or boutique clothing, stroll through downtown Woodstock or Canton. The brick lined paths offer shops, restaurants, spas, and entertainment, all housed in a mix of historic buildings and charming new construction. Enjoy hot yoga at Ember in Woodstock and then head to Pure Taqueria for margaritas on its lively rooftop bar. In Canton chill out with great music and craft beer at the new Reformation Brewery, followed by mouthwatering steaks at Branchwater.
Traveling can create stress and anxiety. It can put high mileage on a car or cost a fortune in airfare. Staycations, however, do none of those things while they still deliver variety, relaxation, and entertainment. Forget packing and dragging around suitcases, staying in hotels, and breaking the budget. Plan a staycation right here in Cherokee County. It offers activities, events, and destinations that entertain the entire family.
Shannon is a writing and editing evangelist. She has been creating content of all types for over a decade in subjects that run the gamut from literature to politics to sports.