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5 family-friendly things to do in October

Cooler weather, ripe pumpkins, and scary costumes are just a few things that describe the month of October. Enjoy these things and more next month with these 5 family-friendly activities in Watkinsville and Oconee County, Georgia.

Cinema & S’mores at Rocket Field

Oconee State Bank will sponsor October’s First Friday on Main with a movie and s’mores on the lawn of Rocket Field in Downtown Watkinsville. The Disney animated film Moana will be screened at dusk. Other First Friday activities will include popcorn, tractor rides, and inflatables along Main Street. Be sure to stop by the numerous stores and restaurants in the downtown area before the movie starts!

Pumpkin picking at Washington Farms

Pumpkin Picking at Washington Farms

There’s no fall fun like Washington Farms. Photo by Gary Kufner.

Washington Farms opens September 23 until October 29 for pumpkin picking. The farm also features a corn maze, a sunflower field, wagon rides, and more. At night, tackle the corn maze with flashlights and enjoy fire-roasted marshmallows.

Oconee Chamber Fall Festival

Fall Festival in Downtown Watkinsville, Georgia

The Oconee Chamber Fall Festival draws thousands to Downtown Watkinsville for handcrafted art, kettle corn, funnel cakes, and more!

The Oconee Chamber Fall Festival is the area’s premier arts and crafts festival. The event, held in Downtown Watkinsville, brings out art and food vendors from across the region. Fall Festival also features a kids zone with a petting zoo and inflatables making the event the perfect family outing.

Haunted Hay Ride at the Classic City Clydesdales Farm

Classic City Clydesdales Farm in Bishop, GA

Get spooked at the Classic City Clydesdales Farm in Bishop. Photo courtesy of the Classic City Clydesdales on Facebook.

What’s October without Halloween? Get spooked at the Classic City Clydesdales Farm’s Purgatory Park in Bishop, Georgia. If you’re brave, tackle the 20-minute haunted hay ride with appearances by zombies, werewolves, and more creepy creatures. The trail ride is set to open on the following dates near 8 p.m.: October 20 – 21, October 27 – 28, and October 30 – 31. The farm will also host a special family night on October 22 with trick-or-treating for kids under 12.

Trick or Treat in Downtown Watkinsville

Trick or Treating in Downtown Watkinsville, Georgia.

Families fill Downtown Watkinsville for Trick or Treat on Main

There’s no such thing as too much candy during Halloween! Grab your costumes and Halloween buckets for more trick-or-treating in Downtown Watkinsville. From Town Center to the Eagle Tavern Museum, businesses will give away Halloween candy to kids and families. Pull out your best costume to scare your neighbors!

Enjoy these activities and more throughout the month of October. For a list of events in Watkinsville and Oconee County, view our event calendar.

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Walking in Watkinsville

William Massey’s “Object of Wo(man)” along Main Street in Downtown Watkinsville

There is a lot to do on foot in Watkinsville. Park your car and explore public art, locally owned restaurants, and walking trails all within a 1-mile streak. Start at the Oconee County Welcome Center in Downtown Watkinsville, and pick up a map highlighting the area’s unique shops, historic sites, dining and parks.

 

Public Art

Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation Sculpture Garden

Known as the Artland of Georgia, the city of Watkinsville features two public art exhibitions in its downtown area. There are a total of 27 art sculptures and art panels as part of two exhibits: Public Art Watkinsville: A Pop-Up Sculpture Exhibit and Artscape Oconee: The Monuments of Artland. Many of the pieces are within walking distance of each other, and can be enjoyed while shopping and dining in the city. You can find a guide on this collaborative effort by the City of Watkinsville and the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) in the welcome center. Also, stroll through OCAF’s on-site sculpture garden, a tranquil garden featuring sculptures in a variety of mediums.

Locally Owned Restaurants

Photo by Gary Kufner.

Within a 5-minute walk from the Welcome Center, you can enjoy a dozen locally owned restaurants specializing in baked goods, BBQ, steak, burgers, Mediterranean dishes and more. There is an endless option of dishes from local favorites like Kiki’s Bakeshop, JB’s Smokin’ Pig BBQ, Chops & Hops, The Traveling Hobo, and Girasoles. Keep your adventures outside and enjoy these restaurants’ outside dining patios, or dine-in to experience the ambiance of the dining establishments, which occasionally feature live music.

Walking Trails

Harris Shoals Park. Photo by JR Charles.

Watkinsville Woods is only a short walk off of Main Street, with six acres of greenspace. The wooded walking paths provide access to groves of native trees, a historic spring, and once-covered rock outcrop known as “Pulpit Rock.” Watkinsville is the only city in Georgia of its size with a walking park inside the city limits. Also less than a mile from Main Street is Harris Shoals Park, where visitors to the park can also enjoy a walking trail and picnic near the shoals of Calls Creek.

This post was first published on blog.exploregeorgia.org.

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A Guide to Elder Mill Covered Bridge

 

 

Breathtaking only minimally describes the view of Watkinsville’s Elder Mill Covered Bridge. The bridge, which was built in 1897, was originally positioned between Watkinsville and Athens. It now sits boldly above Rose Creek just five miles from downtown Watkinsville off of Hwy 15 on Elder Mill Rd. A Georgia Antebellum Trail attraction, the bridge is popular among visitors and residents of Oconee County who often stop by to capture amazing pictures. Here are a few tips to consider before your visit:

Tip 1: Drive an average-sized vehicle. The bridge is restrictive to oversized vehicles.

Tip 2: Bring a camera. Visiting the Bridge is a must-capture moment and great for family photos.

Tip 3: Wear tennis shoes. Wear hiking-appropriate shoes to get a closer view of Rose Creek.

Tip 4: Prepare for BBQ. Watkinsville’s popular restaurant, Hot Thomas BBQ, is less than 5 minutes away.

Tip 5: Take in the moment. The calming sounds of Rose Creek and the isolated scenic view are unmatched.

 

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Why Oconee County should be on your bucket list

While there are a million reasons to love and visit Oconee County-Watkinsville, I want to share the experiences you don’t get in too many counties. Oconee may be small, but it’s packed with a lot history and uniqueness. So sit back and let me tell you why you should be planning your trip to visit us . . . now!

Georgia’s Antebellum Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are only seven cities on the famous Georgia Antebellum Trail, and yes, one of those cities is our very own Watkinsville. You can plan 3- or 4-day trips from Athens to Macon and visit some of the most historic communities and landmarks in the state! When you stop in Watkinsville, enjoy the history of the Eagle Tavern Museum and Elder Mill Covered Bridge, and the many art galleries and exhibits featuring local and national artists.

 

Largest Pottery Show in Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They don’t call us the Artland of Georgia for nothing! In addition to our numerous art galleries and shops, we are home to Perspectives, one of the largest pottery shows in the southeast. Yes, that’s 12 states and lots of cities! The event has even been listed in the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for the past two years. Stop by OCAF (Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation) in August and September to see the popular pottery showcase. With our talented local artists and beautiful exhibits and galleries, we make a huge scene in the South when it comes to art.

 

Elder Mill Covered Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I previously noted, we are also home to one of only 13 functional covered bridges left in Georgia. The Elder Mill Covered Bridge was built in 1897 and sits above the peaceful and beautiful Rose Creek. This bridge has been on many visitors’ bucket lists resulting in awesome pictures, so why isn’t it on yours?

Locally Grown Foods

 

 

 

 

 

“Homemade” is a rarity nowadays. Take a break from the norm and choose from our fresh and locally grown produce. Stop by Washington Farms to pick your own fresh berries and other seasonal items. Thomas Orchards is sure to please with its delicious homemade peach ice cream. Also, our Farmer’s Market won’t disappoint with its array of locally grown foods available downtown each Saturday from April to November.

I’m sure I’ve convinced you so here’s a link to where you should stay during your visit in Oconee, http://bit.ly/1WBl1iv. Stop by the welcome center and say hi!

 

 

Helpful Links

Georgia Antebellum Trail

Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF)

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3 things to look forward to this spring in Oconee

There are only two weeks before it’s officially spring! With hints of warm weather this winter building our anticipation for sunny days and budding flowers, here are three things to look forward to this spring in Oconee County.

Locally-grown foods

 

 

Spring means strawberry season! Washington Farms will open for strawberry season in April. At the farm, pick your own strawberries and enjoy creamy, homemade strawberry ice cream from April to May. The U-Pick farm will also host Super Spring Saturdays April 22, April 29, May 6, and May 13. Bring your family to enjoy a petting zoo, wagon rides, and other fun activities on the farm.

 

Photo courtesy of onlineathens.com.

Hosted in Downtown Watkinsville, also visit the Oconee Farmers Market for Georgia grown items like green beans, nuts, free range eggs, grass-fed beef, berries, and more. The farmers market will host a soft opening April 1, and officially kickoff the season April 22. You can browse the market for a variety of produce each Saturday until November.

Art shows

Photo courtesy of Farmington Depot Gallery.

During the first weekend of April, witness the spontaneous creativity of local artists at theFarmington Depot Gallery. Once a train depot, the gallery will host its annual spring festival,Festifool, featuring an artist market, art cars, and raku demonstrations.

 

This spring, the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation will present its 22nd annual art exhibition,SOUTHWORKS. SOUTHWORKS is a premier art exhibit showcasing the talent and work of artists from across the country. Browse the galleries of OCAF between April 7 and May 5. A reception will be held April 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. to celebrate the opening of the show and the artists and pieces accepted into the juried exhibition.

New restaurant opening

 

Spring is also the season for the official and anticipated opening of Pour Restaurant & Bar. Located in Downtown Watkinsville next to the Eagle Tavern Museum, the upscale restaurant will offer beer, wine, and distilled spirits, as well as food, and will initially serve only dinner. Experience a new taste in Watkinsville-Oconee County with dinner indoors, or enjoy the spring weather and gourmet eats on the patio of Pour.

 

Take a trip to Oconee County this spring, and enjoy all the wonderful experiences in art, culinary, and outdoor fun the area has to offer. For more upcoming events, click here. For a full dining guide, click here.