Spring is a wonderful time to try new hobbies that can enhance the health and happiness for those who are fabulously 55 years and older. Hobbies give you a time out from your busy schedule to relax and enjoy your life, express your creativity, learn new skills and connect with people, with nature and with yourself. The key is to pick a hobby that is just for you.
Do you love watching things grow, eating fresh vegetables or the beauty of flowers? If so, you might try your hand at gardening. You can start a garden at your home, join a local community garden or club, take gardening classes or even become a master gardener.
An excellent gardening resource can be found right at your fingertips, with the North Fulton Master Gardeners website — http://www.nfmg.net/. The website offers information on local garden events, classes, field trips and speakers, as well as how to become a master gardener and more. Or join one of the many community gardens and clubs throughout Atlanta, including those in Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton and Sandy Springs.
In Alpharetta, check out the Alpharetta Community Garden (https://www.alpharettacommunitygarden.org/), near Wills Park to learn how to grow vegetables. Visit the Alpharetta Garden Club (http://thealpharettagardenclub.org/) at the Mansell House and Gardens to learn how to grow flowers, or enjoy the Alpharetta Farm at Old Rucker Park (https://www.facebook.com/FarmatOldRuckerPark/) to learn how to grow vegetables and enjoy the farm’s outdoor activities.
Did you know that Georgia has more than 60 state parks and historic sites from which to enjoy a leisurely hike on the trails? Hiking is fun and good for your physical, mental and relationship health. A 2015 Stanford University study found that hiking outdoors reduces stress, calms anxiety and boosts your mood. If you think hiking might be your new hobby, the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites website (https://gastateparks.org/) offers plenty of helpful tips, and the rangers and staff you will encounter when you arrive at the park can also provide hiking advice.
Rain, Rain, Rain! We have had so much rain this year. What are the benefits of all this rain, and what does rain have to do with hiking? Beautiful waterfalls. For a refreshing hike, consult this list of 10 spectacular waterfalls in the North Georgia mountains and surrounding areas at https://www.exploregeorgia.org/things-to-do/list/10-georgia-waterfalls-worthy-of-a-walk-in-the-woods.
Ever wanted to learn to paint, create pottery, decorate your home, speak a new language, make jewelry, learn to write or become a photographer? It’s as easy as looking online and signing up for a continuing education class at one of your local colleges. To get started, check out Emory University’s continuing education classes at https://ece.emory.edu/areas-of-study/personal-enrichment.php.
Two other hidden gems where you can take personal enrichment classes are the Spruill Center for the Arts (https://www.spruillarts.org/) in Sandy Springs and the renowned John C. Campbell Folk School, which offers year-round week-long and weekend classes (https://www.folkschool.org/). The classes include folk crafts such as weaving, basketry and woodturning, art, music, dance, cooking, painting, doll and jewelry making and much more. The John C. Campbell Folk School is located in scenic Brasstown, N.C., about a three-hour drive from Atlanta.
As a tour operator and owner of GA Farm & Garden Tours, Inc., Charmaine Jackson creates unique and captivating tour experiences for your group. Connect with her at Charmaine@gafarmtours.com