Summer is in full swing and the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area welcomes anyone looking to experience the beauty of the Georgia Piedmont, from outdoor exploration to discovering Georgia’s hidden history to just experiencing the peace and tranquility of this iconic landscape. Here’s our guide to all things AMNHA in these sun-soaked summer months.
The Mountains Are Calling
The Arabia Mountain NHA contains two massive monadnocks, or massive granite outcrops that just above the surrounding landscape: Arabia Mountain and Panola Mountain. These two green spaces are the natural gateways to the National Heritage Area, encompassing lakes, forests, the mountains themselves and miles of walking, hiking and bike paths.
Summer events at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve:
The Nature Preserve is kicking off its Junior Ranger Angler program with the perfect Father’s Day event: Fishing with Fathers! Join Ranger Meredith for a fun-filled day of family fishing in the Nature Preserve. Meet at the Nature Center. Fishing with Fathers is a one-day event, but the Junior Ranger Angler program runs year-round, so come on out and enjoy fishing in the AMNHA throughout the summer.
If you’re looking for a way to get outside with your furry best friend, then come on out to the Nature Center for Bark in the Park! This recurring event brings together dog and nature lovers for a fun outdoor walking and hiking group. More scheduled events will be added throughout the summer. Note: check in with the rangers at the Nature Center before taking your dog out on the rock in the summer. The bare granite can become incredibly hot; dogs can overheat and burn their paws.
Summer events at Panola Mountain State Park
Summer in Georgia can get pretty hot – there’s no way around it. At Panola Mountain State Park, you can cool off while honing your archery skills! With both indoor and outdoor archery events (such as Indoor Basic Archery and Cosmic Archery), Panola offers a plethora of opportunities for summer fun with the bow and arrow. Look through the full listing of the park’s events to sign up throughout the summer!
Camp isn’t just for kids. Panola does offer the Outdoor Adventure Camp and the Junior Ranger Day Camp for kids – two excellent summer adventure options for young ones. But the park also offers the Adult Summer Camp for adults who want to spend a few nights in the woods and learn the basics of camping and outdoorsmanship. Whether younger or older, Panola Mountain State Park welcomes you for a summer camp experience.
History is All Around You
The Arabia Mountain NHA contains an important historical legacy: people have lived and worked in this area for thousands of years. You can explore the human history of this fascinating, multilayered place this summer with tours at Flat Rock and explorations at Vaughters’ Farm.
Discover A Legacy of Resilience
Flat Rock is one of the oldest African-American communities in Georgia, with a history of resilience and ingenuity that stretches back before the Civil War. This summer offers plenty of opportunities to witness the rich history of this iconic community. Visit the exhibit Deep Roots in DeKalb, an ongoing display of artifacts and stories from throughout Flat Rock’s history, at the DeKalb History Center. You can also join Flat Rock Archives President and Co-Founder Johnny Waits every Wednesday in June at 1pm (scroll to “Flat Rock Exhibit Tours” at the link) for an in-depth tour of the History Center exhibit. Waits will tell visitors first-hand knowledge about the people and history of this fascinating community.
If you want to see Flat Rock in person, the Flat Rock Archives also offers a Walk Through African-American History guided tour. This walking tour guides visitors through the sites where Flat Rock’s history happened: the historic Lyon Farm, one of the last homesteads in DeKalb County; the slave cemetery, which also features a Native American burial site; and the home of the Archives in the historic T. A. Bryant, Sr. homestead. Join the Flat Rock Archives to understand a key part of American history in the AMNHA.
Visit an Old Dairy Farm
We may not normally think of a landscape as a historic resource, but landscapes give essential clues about the past. DeKalb County was at one point the dairy capital of Georgia, with a massive dairy industry that fed the residents of Atlanta and beyond. At the northern end of Panola Mountain State Park sites Vaughters’ Farm, a remnant of that once-sprawling industry that has faded with the urbanization of DeKalb County. You enjoy this beautiful dairy landscape, featuring Vaughters’ Barn, the massive white barn many people see sitting off of Klondike Road. Behind the barn lies the Meadow Loop Trail, a serene path that meanders through the former dairy pasture (now wildlife habitat). Catch a glimpse of the agricultural landscapes that defined the AMNHA for so long.
Experience a Place of Peace and Tranquility
The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is the spiritual gateway to the National Heritage Area, a place of peace and serenity located in Conyers. This summer, you can visit the Monastery grounds to see the Abbey Church – built out of hand-poured cement in the early 20th Century – and the Visitors’ Center, which includes a museum about the founding of the Monastery and the daily lives of the monks. The Visitors’ Center also includes a gift shop with Monk-made fudge, bread, cookies and local food.