Breathe in—breathe out. Do you smell that? That particular smell, that pumpkin spice, apple pie, “I can’t wait for Thanksgiving” smell. Fall is finally upon us ladies and gents! This is by far my favorite season and, for anyone who knows me, this comes as the ultimate shock since I did most of my growing up in the beautiful city of Wilmington as a Wrightsville Beach Local. Summer should be my favorite season, right? Nope! Fall is where it’s at— sure you cannot exactly spend the day swimming your worries away at the beach during this time but that is what nature gave us mountains for!
Before I moved to Wilmington, I lived in the beautiful state of Georgia, about thirty minutes away from the beautiful and now a top-hiking destination of Stone Mountain Park. As a child I practically lived hiking up the world’s largest exposed granite monolith, Stone Mountain. About two weekends ago when fall was beginning to set in, I traveled back home, and you better believe my GPS was set straight to Stone Mountain.
The park is three and a half-hours away from campus, which me this is nothing since Wilmington is the same except in the opposite direction. I urge everyone to pack his or her bags, wake up early and kick off that Carolina Tar for some good old Georgia clay. Fall is the perfect time to adventure out to Stone Mountain, especially with their annual Pumpkin Festival! Fall weather is perfect for hiking and there just so happens that Stone Mountain has five hiking trails throughout the park and a walk-up trail to the top. I is a mile long and entirely doable. The five other trails have their unique traits— for example, there is the Songbird Habitat trail that is excellent for bird-watching as the name suggests.
When I went back home two weeks ago, I opted for the mile walk up path, and I have got to say the hike was absolutely worth it. It was a bit cloudy on the day that I went but on a clear, haze-free day you can see sixty miles out from the top. It’s stunning, not too crowded, but not too empty which is nice for safety reasons and just personal enjoyment. There is also the Summit Skyride at the top of the mountain, which is just a tram that can take you down or bring you up, for those not too fond of conjuring up a sweat.
If fishing is your calling, look no more. What’s a gorgeous mountain without an enormous lake to match it? There you can spend from six in the morning to midnight catching bass, our notorious catfishes and many others. Heed my warning— the catfish may not be a Georgia local, but it sure puts up a fight like one. Wear your life jacket you are in for a ride.
There is an endless amount of things to do at Stone Mountain Park. You can check out the museum where you will learn fun facts such as that the Centennial Summer Olympics were held at the park in July of 1996. You can also go through the gift shops at both the top and bottom of the mountain, ride the train around the mountain, play on the eighteen-hole golf course, or even just bask in the sunshine while breathing in the refreshing Georgia air.
Also surrounding the park is the historic Stone Mountain Village, a cute little town next to the mountain in which people live at. Here you will find the best fudge, vintage items and smoothies you’ll ever come across. I cannot express how wonderful of an experience it is to visit Stone Mountain. And for you avid Instagrammers –-I got a killer picture at the summit.
Also make sure to stick around for the fabulous laser light show, which is an Atlanta tradition and it’s FREE. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. and it has been completely revamped with fire effects. I have not been able to check out the updated version, but I hear it’s breathtaking and this will be going on until the end of October.
Stone Mountain is a Georgia Gem that should never be overlooked. If you’re wanting a weekend getaway but don’t know where to go, please take my advice—pack up a sweater, some good hiking shoes, a cup of apple cider and venture on into peach territory. I promise you will not regret it.