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Hidden Gems Along Georgia's Antebellum Trail

  • Happy Valley Pottery

    Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Georgia's Antebellum Trail is home to dozens of well-known historic gems such as Hay House, Heritage Hall and the Old Governor's Mansion, but what about the hidden gems? Read on because it's time to spill some of the best-kept secrets along this 100-mile trail of antebellum beauty.

Macon

The Society Garden in Macon
The Society Garden in Macon

If you're in Macon for the International Cherry Blossom Festival, March 16-25, 2018, make sure you stop by The Historic Ingleside Village. This quaint community is off the beaten path and less than 5 miles from downtown, but is definitely a must-do and must-see. Shop and find fashion forward southern chic clothes at Jack and Darcy boutique or check out the Village Shop for a wide variety of antiques and vintage items. Art lovers should visit The Village Studio Gallery. And if you're hungry, eat at Ingleside Village Pizza or Tropical Flava. In the evening, enjoy live music and ping-pong at The Society Garden, a family- and dog-friendly outdoor beer garden and wine bar. These are just a few of the many things to do at this hidden gem. The Historic Ingleside Village is Macon's best-kept secret no more.

Gray

Treasures by the Tracks in Gray
Treasures by the Tracks in Gray

In the heart of Downtown Gray on Atlanta Road, you will find a quaint sandwich shop/antique store called Treasures By the Tracks. This local favorite is admired for pimento cheese paninis, chicken salad sandwiches and Paige's delicious desserts.

Milledgeville

Rose Hill at Lockerly Arboretum in Milledgeville
Rose Hill at Lockerly Arboretum in Milledgeville

A few miles south of Milledgeville, the unassuming hedges hide more than 50 acres of one of MIlledgeville's best-kept secrets. Lockerly Arboretum's gardens feature walking trails, a pond, flowering shrubs such as camellias and azaleas, as well as hollies, perennials, annuals, and a variety of trees including oaks and magnolias. Presiding over her surroundings with elegance and grace is the centerpiece of the Arboretum, Rose Hill, a Greek Revival home circa 1852. 

Local tip: Enjoy a picnic at the tables near the pond. Don't forget your local Ryals Bakery smiley face cookie!

Eatonton

Stepback in Eatonton, Georgia
Stepback in Eatonton, Georgia

Just outside of Eatonton, visitors can discover Putnam County's most unique attraction: Step Back, a community built to celebrate the way rural Georgian families lived when the land was first settled. Witness and explore a water-powered mill, blacksmith shop, gristmill, general store, one-room schoolhouse, and much more. This community of two is always open for your family to explore. Don’t miss an opportunity to step back in time. Call Roger Pierce, mayor of Step Back, to schedule your tour very own tour! (706) 473-1379

Madison

Fried Chicken Salad photo courtesy Farmview Market in Madison
Fried Chicken Salad photo courtesy Farmview Market in Madison

Southern Living magazine may call Madison "uber southern" for its charming downtown and seemingly endless collection of white-columned beauties, but it's time to spread the word about one of the new kids on the block. Farmview Market incorporates a grocery store, butcher shop, casual café and farmers market – all of which feature locally sourced farm to table offerings. From their fresh-squeezed juice bar to the homemade dessert counter, Farmview is sure to satisfy everyone in your group.

Watkinsville

Happy Valley Pottery in Watkinsville. Photo by Gary Kufner
Happy Valley Pottery in Watkinsville. Photo by Gary Kufner

Happy Valley Pottery, Inc. is a must-see attraction in Watkinsville – The Artland of Georgia. The quirky art studio features local artists and their work. Tour the creative spaces of some of the most talented artists in the state, and witness fascinating pottery, raku-firing and glassblowing demonstrations. You can also purchase the artists' works of art on-site.

Athens

Richard B. Russell Building at the University of Georgia
Richard B. Russell Building at the University of Georgia

Tucked away within the University of Georgia campus in Athens is the stately Richard B. Russell Building, which houses a wealth of treasures that make up the UGA Special Collections Libraries. Think of Special Collections as a mini-Smithsonian, with rotating and permanent exhibits, many of which include interactive kiosks. There are three departments, each with its own series of galleries. Visitors can explore Georgia's history and culture through photographs, manuscripts, correspondence and other original materials. Political gems include a full-sized replica of Senator Russell's Washington, DC, office. Additionally, the Peabody Awards Collection traces the best in broadcast media.

The galleries are free and open to the public for visitors to explore while the building is open. A free weekly tour is offered on Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

Jamison Hooks

Jamison Hooks is the Tourism Project Coordinator for the Madison - Morgan CVB. Upon graduating from The Florida State University, Jamison fell in love with Madison and its antebellum charm. The newfound Georgia Peach loves exploring Morgan County with her dog by her side. The duo usually can be found adventuring at Hard Labor Creek State Park or enjoying Lake Oconee.

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