Discover unexpected getaways in Georgia and Kentucky

Take a look at Great Wolf Lodge, the company's first Georgia resort and the state's only indoor water park. The giant attraction is opening next year and has started taking reservations.

Janine and Walt Prescott weren’t thrilled at the prospect of staying the weekend at a waterpark in Lagrange.

Last fall their daughter, who lives in Carrollton, asked the retired Atlanta couple to meet her and their two grandkids at Great Wolf Lodge on Tom Parkway in Lagrange for a weekend stay.

They were skeptical.

“We thought a waterpark would have tons of kids running around making a lot of noise and it just didn’t see like it would be enjoyable for us,” Janine said. “But we didn’t want to pass up a chance to spend time with our daughter and grandchildren so of course we said we’d go.”

The Prescotts said it turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. Not only was it not as crowded as they expected, but were surprised that in addition to the indoor water park, Great Wolf Lodge also offered a bar/lounge, game room, a ropes course, mini golf and bowling.

“This was definitely an unexpected getaway for us,” Janine said. “We wouldn’t have chosen this destination if our grandkids weren’t so excited to go but we really did have an enjoyable time. We got to spend time with our daughter and grandchildren who we don’t see as often as we’d like and we actually had a nice time sitting by the pool while the kids had a blast. We bowled and played putt-putt.”

Besides a mega water park, Great Wolf Lodge offers a toddler pool, a full-service eatery and three-bedroom villas designed for multi-generational families or friends traveling together.  (David Tonelson/Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Credit: TNS

The Prescotts say that the park might not suit those hoping for absolute quiet and tranquility as it is a family-friendly destination. But for metro Atlanta residents seeking something a little out of the ordinary, it could be just what they need to get out of a rut with the indoor water park kept warm at 84 degrees year-round.

“I’d say check and see if there’s a time that’s not as busy,” Janine said. “I think if it’s a time of the year you can’t normally be outdoors in the water, but you enjoy getting in the pool or even on a slide or two, then it could make for a fun getaway.”

Marietta resident Ray Fuller, 63, was hoping he’d get to spend a few days in beautiful Kentucky with his brother Allen, 58, this winter. Both men are bourbon enthusiasts but have never been on Kentucky’s famed Bourbon Trail. They figured now was as good a time as any.

An exhibition at Heaven Hill Distilleries Bourbon Heritage Center, one of the sites along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Credit: Kathy Witt / Special

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Credit: Kathy Witt / Special

The Bourbon Trail is essentially a tour of several Bourbon distilleries in the area around Louisville, Kentucky, allowing visitors to sign up for guided tours through many of the famous Bourbon makers in the area including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Angel’s Envy, just to name a few.

It offers visitors the chance to tour each distillery, learn about the bourbon-making process, and sample some of the products.

“In all our years of liking bourbon we never thought to actually go on the bourbon trail till now,” Fuller said. “It was something my brother and I could do together since we both enjoy bourbon. And it was a little bit of a road trip from Atlanta so we’d get to see a little bit of Tennessee and Kentucky on the way there.”

The brothers stayed in Louisville and over three days, visited nine distilleries. There are 18 distilleries listed and advertised on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail website, but travelers can visit as few or as many as they’d like and can visit other distilleries not on the list if those distilleries offer tours.

“I never realized all the steps and ingredients and processes that went into distilling bourbon,” Fuller said. “I just knew I liked drinking it. It was an eye opener for sure to learn about the history of the families and the distilleries and to see what makes each bourbon unique.”

His favorite stops: Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace and Stitzel-Weller.

Fuller had a couple of suggestions for those hoping to enjoy a bourbon trail experience for the first time: Go during the spring or fall, he suggested. Since some of the tours take visitors outside the distilleries, it would be more enjoyable if the weather was nicer. And most importantly he said to call ahead or look up the days and times each distillery is open when planning your stops. They’re not open every day, all day long. He and his brother had to make a few adjustments when they realized a particular distillery was closed on a particular day but thankfully there were plenty to choose from.