Why you have to see Georgia's 'Little Grand Canyon'
A steady flow of water runs through the bottom of Georgia’s Providence Canyon, but unlike other canyons, that’s not what carved it out of the earth. Formed by enslaving plantation owners who improperly managed the land about 200 years ago, it’s now a state park with hiking and camping options. Known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,” it’s been a popular spot since Covid.
If you’re in the southeast U.S., you don’t have to travel far to feel like you’re in the American West. Providence Canyon is a geological wonder of its own.
Located about 150 miles southwest of Atlanta near the Alabama border, the canyon sits in one of Georgia’s least-populated counties. It’s named for the Providence Methodist Church, which was swallowed by the newly forming canyon gorges in the 1800s. A new church was constructed across the road after the chasms started to form.
From observation decks near the parking lot, you can see the islands of remaining ground-level earth with a few pine trees that dramatically drop off into the canyons below. But to really experience Providence Canyon, you’ll want to take a hike along the canyon floor.
Walking down into the gullies is like entering another world. After a short tree-lined descent, you’re on a flat plane looking up at the layered pink, yellow, and purple canyon walls. You’re now more than 100 feet below where you started.
The ground has eroded away so much that it’s hit the water table, so rain or shine, there’s a stream of water pulling silty soil along the floor of the canyons. You’ll want to wear ankle-height hiking shoes and be prepared for that iconic Georgia clay dirt to get on your shoes, pants, and inexplicably other parts of your clothes or body where you didn’t expect to find it. From the main loop trail, you can fork out into individual paths to nine canyon walls. A backcountry trail through the shallow creek leads to the primitive campsites.
The canyons were formed in the early 1800s, after the Muscogee (Creek) indigenous people were forced from their land and plantation farms growing cotton took over the area. The plantation model of agriculture, reliant on enslaved labor, didn’t take precautions to prevent erosion. They couldn't have been prepared for how quickly and dramatically the land would change.
Year after year, the cotton and other crops washed away along with clay and topsoil every time it rained. Within 20 years, enough of the ground had sloughed away that gullies four feet deep had formed. This erosion continued over time, and the gullies are now as yawning as 150 feet deep and 350 feet wide.
The canyons are still evolving today. Every year, rain and erosion wear away another two to five feet of land. Their sandy sides are fully exposed, so there’s not much the park staff can do to stop it from continuing to slough off. Most of the erosion these days is horizontal, widening the gullies: the canyon floor now has pine trees and other vegetation that keeps the soil from running off, and there’s not much deeper it could go.
In the 1930s, the local paper in nearby Columbus, GA, started to make Providence Canyon a national park, hoping to bring tourists driving in to see “the natural wonder and beauty. . .instead of having it principally a discussion of erosion.” But despite the newspaper campaign emphasizing the “natural wonder,” its unnatural origins kept Providence Canyon off the national parks list. Georgia made it a state park in 1971, and it’s presented as the human-created formation that it is.
Although Providence Canyon wasn’t naturally formed, it reveals parts of the natural world that are normally hidden. There are 43 different shades of sand that create sunset-like patterns along the canyon’s walls. The shades come from four base colors created by minerals in the soil. In addition to the classic red Georgia clay, which gets its pigmentation from iron, there’s white from kaolin, yellow from limonite, and purple from manganese.
Above the canyon walls, there are other unnatural features: walk up the loop trail and you’ll emerge to the ridgeline where a small collection of cars has been slowly reclaimed by nature. The cars date back to the ‘50s, and only the rusted-out bodies remain — no glass, no tires. Leaves cover the interior, and root structures grow in the tire wells. The park managers have determined that it would be more harmful to the wildlife to remove the cars than to leave them as they are, slowly becoming a part of their surroundings.
The canyons are a reminder that everywhere on earth has been shaped by humans in one way or another. Whether by plantation farming practices or pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere or moving plants from one continent to another, human life has completely altered the planet. Providence Canyon just makes that impact more visually obvious. It’s a state park for the Anthropocene, and a fantastic day trip.
4 Scariest Halloween Celebrations in the Northeast
Fair warning: These Halloween celebrations are not for everyone. With screams, (fake) blood, and surprises worthy of a Hollywood thriller, these haunted attractions are perfect for those who like to be scared out of their wits at least once each October. (If being terrified isn’t your thing, you may want to check out these fall activities or indulge in some gorgeous leaf peeping instead.) 1. Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA Delirium at Halloween Nights - Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary A weekend or overnight to Philadelphia this time of year may offer the most terrifying Halloween thrill in America. Eastern State Penitentiary was closed long ago for its horrific treatment of inmates, and the fright fest they put on each fall is even scarier the that. With 5 different hauntings from Creepy clowns to vampires and even a 3D haunting - be prepared for a sleepless night! 2. 13th Hour Haunted House, Wharton, NJ 13 Hour Haunted House - Courtesy of 13thhour.com This haunted house in New Jersey gets high marks for re-creating the feel of an actual run-down old house. You don’t feel as if you are visiting a theme park attraction, and that makes the ghosts, ghouls, and zombies all the more terrifying. 13th Hour offers a variety of experiences, including one in which you throw hatchets in the dark with glow in the dark hatchets and targets. And, 13th hour is also famous for its “escape room” experience. 3. Blood Manor, Tribeca, NYC Blood Manor - Courtesy of BloodManor/Photo Credit BPS Productions You don’t have to leave NYC to experience a haunted house. Blood Manor, in TriBeCa, is one of the hottest tickets in town. Some of the ghouls and zombies have a decidedly "downtown" goth vibe and look as if they shop at the iconic Trash & Vaudeville punk/both boutique in the East Village to be honest. Be sure to check out Lights Out, where you explore the manor in complete darkness with nothing but a glow stick to light your path. This is only offered on 2 nights so be sure to book tickets. Other attractions are a wake for a character named Baby Face, and a Killer Clown room that I, for one, will not be entering. 5. Reapers Revenge, Blakely, PA The Lost Carnival at Reapers Revenge - Courtesy of Reapers Revenge This haunted house will torture you with five intense attractions featuring clowns, cannibalistic mutants, and hayrides that will have you sweating with fear as you venture deeper into the realm of Reaper’s Forest. Consistently voted one of the top 10 haunted attractions in the US every year. After experiencing these nightmares you will want to sleep with the lights on for a long time!
5 Unique Things to Do in Dallas
Along with its neighbor Fort Worth, Dallas makes up one of the largest and liveliest metropolitan areas in the entire United States. Due to both its fascinating past and big, bold and, some say, brash reputation, the city epitomizes Texas for many people. Known for tourist attractions like Reunion Tower, Dallas Zoo and of course the Dallas Cowboys. We thought we would go beyond the usual Dallas tourist spots and share these 5 unique Dallas experiences. 1. The Haunted Tavern: A Dark Pop-Up Cocktail Experience Haunted Tavern - Courtesy of Fever October 20 – October 30, 2022 Thurs. - Sun. at Swan Dive - Sons of Hermann HallDuration: 1 hour and 30 minutesCost: $55 includes 4 cocktails - 21+ with valid ID The Haunted Tavern is an immersive cocktail experience run by the descendants of Ichabod Crane. You will visit one of the most haunted locations in Dallas as the tavern keeper guides you through a 4-part interactive cocktail journey. Hear the chilling and dark tales that haunt the venue, and beware the ghost that never left... Your night will be filled with surprises—the ghost tends to sit in on the experience and scare those brave enough (or filled with enough liquid courage) to enter! Get Tickets for The Haunted Tavern Experience 2. Classic Handmade Pasta Handmade pasta - Istock/gldburger October 20th and November 17, 6pm at Vector Brewing, DallasDuration: 2 hours Cost: $59 - 21+ with valid ID Escape to Italy without leaving Dallas for an evening to master the the art of making pasta. Follow the steps demonstrated by your chef instructor to make beautiful Pappardelle noodles and Orecchiette. Guests will learn to make dough from scratch, as well as rolling it out and shaping it to create their picture perfect pasta. Your chef instructor will demonstrate how to make a traditional Italian Pomodoro (Ragu) sauce, with the help of some audience participation. Serve the sauce over your pasta al dente and enjoy a delicious meal in a fun social environment. Drinks available for purchase during the class. Get Tickets for The Handmade Pasta Experience 3. Authentic Flamenco by the Royal Opera of Madrid & Fever Flamenco Dancing - Courtesy of Fever November 11th - 20th Fridays–Sundays at Edison’s - 1724 Cockrell Ave, DallasDuration: 1 hour to 90 minutes depending on ticket levelCost: $46 - $120 - all ages are welcome! Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult Originating in Spain, this special show, in partnership with the Royal Opera of Madrid and produced by SO-LA-NA, brings together award-winning professionals for an unforgettable performance with stunning vocals, instruments, and dances. With VIP admission you enjoy a tasting of Spanish products before the show, and meet and greet with the artists to take photos after the show. Get Tickets for The Authentic Flamenco Experience 4. Candlelight: A Tribute to Beyonce Candlelight Concert - Courtesy of Fever November 25 and December 28 at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at HALL Arts HotelDuration: 60 minutes (doors open 45 mins prior to the start time and late entry is not permitted)Cost: $45 - $65 - 8 years old or older. Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult Candlelight concerts bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations like never seen before in Dallas. Get your tickets now to discover the music from Beyoncé by Listeso String Quartet at HALL Arts Hotel under the gentle glow of candlelight. Get Tickets for the Candlelight: A Tribute to Beyonce 5. Stone Grilling Wagyu Dinner & Whiskey Tasting Whiskey Tasting - IStock/5PH October 15, November 12, or December 10 at 3114 Swiss Ave DallasDuration: 3 hoursCost: $97 - 21+ with valid ID Good drinks, a fine Wagyu steak—all that's missing is you! Prepare to expand your drink knowledge with other whiskey enthusiasts while getting a first-hand education in hot stone grilling as you learn the art of cooking your own Wagyu steak to your liking. No need to worry if the chef will cook it to perfection, because the chef is you! A variety of whiskeys will also be on hand for each individual to sample. Get Tickets for The Whiskey Tasting Experience If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission from our partners - thank you!
8 Ways to Enjoy Your Time in Napa Valley
When people think of California, the first two cities that probably come to mind are Los Angeles and San Francisco. They might alternatively mention San Diego or Sacramento, but many people tend to overlook some of the other great places California has to offer. Take, for example, Napa Valley. Now, some people might have heard of Napa Valley, but it often gets overlooked. Napa Valley packs a lot with plenty of activities to do. Here are eight ways to enjoy your time in Napa Valley. 1. Visit a winery Wine in Napa - Shutterstock/Courtesy of Rachel O'Conner Let's get the most obvious activity out of the way first. Napa Valley is world-renowned for its wine. There are over 500 wineries, many of which offer tours and tasting rooms. With so many options, it's not easy to pick just one or two. It helps to know what you are looking for on a trip to a winery. For instance, maybe history plays a vital part in your enjoyment. Longstanding wineries like Beringer Vineyards have a lot to offer in this department. Beringer has been around since 1876 and is the oldest continuously operating winery in Napa Valley. Looking for a more intimate experience? There are plenty of smaller family-run wineries like Robert Sinskey Vineyards, founded in 1986 and has won multiple awards for its wine. 2. Take a Napa Valley Wine Train tour Wine Train - Shutterstock/Courtesy of Rachel O'Conner Sticking with wine, there's also the option to take a wine train tour. If you can't pick just one winery to visit, then a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train might be worth it. The Napa Valley Wine Train offers different wine-tasting experiences that range from a few hours to an entire day. The tours are a fantastic way to sample different wines from other wineries without worrying about driving or having to plan your day around visiting one of them. 3. Go on a hike Okay, let's move beyond the wine-based activities. Napa Valley makes for a great region to go on a hike. There are many trails that offer unique experiences. For example, the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park has over 10 miles of hiking trails that take you through redwood forests, meadows, and streams. Another option is the Oat Hill Mine Trail, a slightly more challenging hike that takes you to an abandoned 19th-century mine. 4. Go for a hot air balloon ride Hot air balloon over Napa - Shutterstock/Courtesy of Rachel O'Conner Want to see Napa Valley from a different perspective? Consider going on a hot air balloon ride. Many companies offer balloon rides, so you'll have plenty of options. Hot air balloon rides share an interesting history with Napa Valley. The first hot air balloon ride in Napa Valley dates all the way back to the 1870s, and the first ride was almost a complete disaster. However, in the 1970s, the region saw impressive growth in hot air balloon companies, and hot air balloon rides have become a staple in the region. 5. Go on a bike tour Napa Valley is a great place to go for a bike ride. There are many trails that wind through the vineyards and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. There are several companies that offer guided bike tours, so you don't have to worry about getting lost. Most of the tours include stops at wineries and restaurants, so you can enjoy the best that Napa Valley has to offer. 6. Visit a museum di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art - Courtesy of dirosaart.org If you're not really into the outdoors, you might want to consider visiting one of Napa Valley's museums. There are several to choose from, including the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art and the Napa Valley Museum. The di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is a must-see for art lovers. The museum has over 2,000 works of art from more than 800 artists. The Napa Valley Museum is an excellent option if you want to learn about the history of Napa Valley. The museum has exhibits on the Native Americans who once lived in the region, the early settlers, and the development of the wine industry. 7. Enjoy a resort Auberge du Soleil Resort - Courtesy of aubergeresorts.com Maybe you're in the mood for something a bit more luxurious and relaxing. You might want to consider staying at one of Napa Valley's many resorts. The region is home to several luxurious resorts that offer everything from spa treatments to golf courses. One of the most popular resorts in Napa Valley is the Auberge du Soleil, which is located in Rutherford. The resort has an on-site spa, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and stunning views of Napa Valley. 8. Take a cooking class CIA Hands on Cooking Class - Courtesy of ciafoodies.com If you're interested in learning to level up your cooking skills, then consider taking a cooking class. There are many cooking classes you can take in Napa Valley that range in various levels of experience. The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone is a great option if you want to learn from some of the best chefs in the world. The school offers classes on everything from knife skills to baking. Don't skip out on Napa Valley While it might be small in size, there's plenty to do in Napa Valley. What makes Napa Valley stand out is how much history and things you can do in such a limited area. It's easy to overlook it, but it offers a unique experience, especially compared to other parts of California. And you don't have to be a wine lover to enjoy the region. There are plenty of activities for anyone to enjoy. Rachel is a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed "Travelholic". She enjoys traveling to parts unknown, sampling local cuisines, and sharing her experiences with the world. In her free time, you can find her planning her next trip, running with her dogs, or heading to the closest farmers' market.
Take a Hike for World Mental Health Day!
World Mental Health Day is on October 10th. Experience the benefits of nature by getting outdoors. Below you can find some of the most famous trails in the US but you don't have to travel very far to get out on a trail. There are some in your very own backyard. A great tool to find trails near you is the site AllTrails. They also have a free app or you can purchase the pro version which includes the ability to download maps to stay on track without service, off-route notifications, Lifeline which keep friends and family informed and the ability to see air quality, pollen, & weather details on any map.Choose to improve you mental health and get out there and enjoy nature! HIKE APPALACHIAN TRAIL Cutting through 14 states on the Eastern seaboard, the 2,180-mile "A.T." is one of the longest continuously marked trails in the world, taking in a greater variety of scenery than any other path on the continent. The route starts in Georgia's rugged green Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, winds up through the vast valleys and peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Park, then crawls through bucolic New England towns before ending in Maine's incredibly isolated Hundred-Mile Wilderness, one of the most likely spots in the country for moose sightings. HIKE ZION NARROWS, UTAH Wall street in the Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah - Istock/kanonsky This dramatic gorge cutting through Zion National Park claims a close second place behind the Grand Canyon for sheer, jaw-dropping canyon beauty, yet draws just over half of the more famous park's annual crowds. The path through the gorge—home to some of the world's deepest slot canyons—alternates between gaping, quarter-mile-wide stretches and narrow, 20-foot passageways, and runs directly through the Virgin River's bed—which means hikers who want to go the distance will have to ford waist-deep water from time to time. Still, Zion's fans believe it's worth the wade to stare up between the 2,000-foot-high sandstone walls, lined with lush hanging gardens, streaming with flutes of water, and bouncing with beams of red-orange light. CYCLE HIAWATHA BIKE TRAIL, IDAHO AND MONTANA The pine-forested Bitterroot Mountains (part of the Northern Rockies) supply the deep-green backdrop for one of the country's most exhilarating rails-to-trails bike-path conversions (completed in 2001). This former stretch of mountain railroad straddling the Idaho-Montana border incorporates 10 covered tunnels (including one, the Taft Tunnel, that's more than a mile and a half long), seven dizzying, canyon-spanning trestles (some as high as 230 feet), and panoramic views across both states. Bonus: The 15-mile gravel trail is mostly flat or slightly downhill, so the smooth ride is doable for most kids and families. (Just be sure that your bike has a headlight for those dark tunnels! It's not only recommended—it's required.) HIKE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL Pacific Crest Trail - Istock/RobertCrum Consider it the other great American backpacking path: The 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail spans the entire West Coast, from the Mexico border to British Columbia. Along the way, hikers pass through 25 national forests and seven national parks, taking in everything from the vivid red Vasquez Rocks near Los Angeles to the deep blue waters and snowcapped peaks of Crater Lake in Oregon. Not to mention Yosemite, Sequoia National Park and the Sierra Nevadas in between. The parallel Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route provides a path for two-wheelers.