Kangaroos and train rides in the fall

The title sounds like it might be a children's book, but kangaroos and train rides are just two of the many unexpected things you'll discover in the peach state.

Those of you not lucky enough to live in Georgia should spend a vacation here, and I'd suggest fall as the season to visit. Last October we started a family tradition of visiting a "pick your own" pumpkin patch. While there is a pumpkin farm really close by, taking a weekend drive up to the north Georgia (Appalachian) mountains is half the fun (especially with gas prices finally falling!) and it gives you a chance to see fall foliage several weeks earlier than in Atlanta.

There are several pumpkin patches in north Georgia, but the one with the best reputation, and deservedly so, is Burt's Farm (see some great photos here) in Dawsonville. After taking the kids on a hayride, you can pick your own pumpkin, and then torture yourself fighting the urge to buy a pumpkin pie on your way out of their store.

As if Burt's Farm wasn't enough to put Dawsonville on the map, this small Georgia town is also home to the largest collection of kangaroos outside of the Austrailian Outback! The Kangaroo Conservation Center not only has over 200 kangaroos on its 87-acre wildlife sanctuary, but wallabies, kookaburras, and bettongs as well. We haven't yet visited the kangaroos, but I'm sure as my daughters get older we will.

Just an hour north is the main event of a memorable fall day--a 26-mile ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. The train leaves Blue Ridge, GA, and travels north to the shared downtown of both McCaysville, GA, and Copperhill, TN. We've got our tickets for the 10:00am train on Saturday, October 28, and I can't wait!