The rope bridge under my feet sways and creaks as I step across it and even the reassuring smiles from my zip line guides, Sean and Morgan, aren’t making me feel any better. My grip on the rope tightens, a sweat breaks out on my brow and my heart thumps in my chest as I silently instruct myself to keep moving. I am walking high above the parking lot of Historic Banning Mills on my way to begin the first leg of its zip line eco-canopy tour. The idea sounded fantastic an hour ago: gliding through the trees, the breeze in my hair, enjoying breathtaking views of the forest below. Right now though, about 50 feet above the ground, I’m having a hard time remembering why I thought it would be fun.
My mind races back to all the safety instructions given by Sean. He went over several rules with a smile and hearty laugh, encouraging my group to “have fun and listen to our instructions at all times,” as he and the other guides handed out the harnesses and helmets that would keep us safe and attached to the ropes.
Reaching the end of the rope bridge, I realize that this is only the start of my journey, and try to smile back at Morgan as he waits for me. “Transfer one,” I say, remembering Sean’s instruction about how to communicate that I am ready to be attached to the zip line. “Transfer one,” he replies as I hook the first of two crab-claws to the thick rope. “You’ll do great!” he exclaims, as he urges me on. I have to admit his positive attitude is contagious and I find myself grinning. I can do this! As I approach my first jump, my heart speeds up. Don’t. Look. Down.
The guide expertly attached my ropes to a pulley that will lead me across the first zip line to the platform below. Taking his advice to sit down in my harness before jumping, I do so and before I can give it another thought, I leap off into the air.
The initial jump shocks me, but as I open my eyes I feel slightly weightless as I fly down the rope. The ride is over in a matter of seconds and I’ve landed safely on the platform before I can blink. Although I have completed the first leg, I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle the Screaming Eagle (a zip line that can take you over 60 miles an hour!) or the 600 foot long Sky Trek Bridge. Luckily, Historic Banning Mills offers a variety of tours for everyone ranging from two to five hours. With a steady platform under my feet, and the first jump under my belt, I’m definitely feeling braver and ready to tackle the rest of my zip line tour.
Details: (770) 834-9149, www.historicbanningmills.com
A Shady Affair
Get ready for great food, arts and fun at the 9th annual Grant Park Summer Shade Festival on August 27-28. This event is sure to have something for everyone to enjoy including an artist market, food vendors, live music and a 5K run. For food lovers, there will also be Corks & Forks, a fine food and wine event featuring delicious dishes from local restaurants like TAP, Canoe, Rathbun’s, and more. There will also be cooking demonstrations and wine classes. One-day tickets to Corks & Forks are $35 in advance, $45 at the door.
Details: (404) 521-0938, www.summershade.org
Fly By Night
If you are searching for a romantic getaway or a fun night out with friends, then head over to Adairsville for Barnsley Gardens Resort’s award-winning Firefly Night series on August 6 and 20. This special summer event features live music in the historic Ruins, cocktails, and dancing under the stars. If you want to make a night of it, you can sleep over at this cozy luxury resort that includes amenities like a spa, golf, horseback riding, scenic hiking trails and more.
Details: (877) 773-2447, www.barnsleyresort.com