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6 Spooky Things to Do in Augusta This Fall


Cooler weather, changing leaves and pumpkins can only mean one thing – fall is here! This season, there are plenty of ways to have a little spooky (or sort-of-spooky) fun in Augusta.


1. The Haunted Pillar

The Haunted Pillar is all that remains of a farmer’s market that once stood at Broad and Fifth Streets in downtown Augusta, Georgia before it was destroyed by a tornado. Local legends claim that any attempt to move, destroy, or even touch the pillar will result in death. According to one story, a preacher who was denied the right to preach there, “…threatened that a great wind would destroy the place except for one pillar and that whoever tried to remove this remaining pillar would be struck dead.”. Take a trip to the pillar – if you dare!


Afterwards, stop by the Augusta Visitor Center – located down the street from the Pillar inside the Augusta Museum of History – and grab a Haunted Pillar t-shirt to take home and brag about. A visit to the Haunted Pillar is free (not including any medical bills that may be incurred from touching it) and t-shirts are $18. BONUS: Mention this blog at the visitor center and get 20% off your haunted pillar t-shirt!


2. Forever Pumpkins: Tuesdays – Sundays in September & October

Carving pumpkins is a beloved fall tradition by many, but you haven’t carved pumpkins like this before! Tire City Potters, a local pottery shop, offers Forever Pumpkin carving almost every day in October. You’ll get to carve and decorate your own clay pumpkin at the shop. Afterwards, Tire City Potters will fire your creation so that you can use it year after year. Pumpkins are $35 each if you or your group are carving 1 – 4 pumpkins and $25 each if you or your group is carving 5+ pumpkins. Call (864) 434-0183 to schedule your carving.


3. Walk With the Spirits – October 10 & 11, 2015

Meet and learn from the residents of Magnolia Cemetery during Historic Augusta’s Walk With the Spirits tour. During a 45-minute tour led by a spirit guide in period costume, participants will hear about the history of the cemetery and iconography of the headstones.  Along the route participants will be introduced to Augusta residents buried in the cemetery, played by actors also in period costume, who will enlighten the group with details of their lives and accomplishments. Tickets for the tour are $15. For more information, visit HistoricAugusta.org.


4. Granite Reminders: West View Cemetery Walk – October 18, 2015

This 115 year-old cemetery was originally established to provide a burial place for the mill workers and their families that lived in the nearby neighborhood of Harrisburg. Julie Boone, Augusta Canal NHA Interpretive Guide and Program Coordinator, gives this Canal Trail talk and walk through Westview Cemetery to highlight different sections, the people buried there and how their stories help us understand Augusta’s history. Admission for the walk is free and donations are accepted. For more information, visit AugustaCanal.com.


5. Family Camping Halloween Weekend: October 30 & 31, 2015

Camp out under the stars at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park and enjoy an evening of activities, campfire eats, and more! Family activities include: children’s (non-spooky) campsite trick or treat, dusk swamp cemetery walk, Cabela’s activities, hot dogs & s’mores, morning nature hike and morning guided bike ride. Camping is $36 per group (up to 6 people) with $5 per extra person (limit 12 people per campsite). Register online at PhinizyCenter.org or by calling (706)396-1426.


6. Augusta Ghost Trolley Tour: Various dates in October

Join in for a spirited and interactive trolley tour of Augusta. From tales of body snatchers and legends of cursed stone pillars to restless spirits of the past and presence, the Augusta Ghost Trolley is a fun and informative tour that will thrill and leave you wanting more! Take the ride, if you dare, and discover the legends and tales, chills and thrills of Augusta’s eerie past. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children. Visit AugustaGhostTrolley.com or call (706) 432-8883.

Buttermilk Waffles with Georgia Made Syrup
“My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles” posted by Sally on September 6, 2014.
This blog has been modified from the original version. Find the original blog here: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/09/06/my-favorite-buttermilk-waffles/

My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles are delightfully crisp on the outside and light as air on the inside. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Some of our favorite holidays are FOOD HOLIDAYS! Really, who doesn’t love a good excuse to whip up a batch of something yummy in the name of celebration? This August 24th is National Waffle Day and we’re going to be eating waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ran across this recipe on Pinterest and fell in love.

It’s a basic buttermilk waffle recipe, but it’s awesome because there are no overpowering flavors taking away from their buttery flavor. The recipe makes waffles with delightfully crisp edges and soft, tender centers. Golden brown on the outside, light as air on the inside.

You might say that we’re waffle purists. No whipped cream. No powdered sugar. Just melty butter and Maple Praline Syrup (our fave!) and we’re happy!

My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles are delightfully crisp on the outside and light as air on the inside. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

There are just a few things to note before beginning:

(1) Splurge on the syrup! The secret to simple waffles is quality. We love the Georgia made Maple Praline Syrup from Blackberry Patch. It’s hand-made in small batches in Thomasville, Ga. It’s so good, even Oprah loves it! Get a bottle (or two) from the Augusta Visitor Center (inside the Augusta Museum of History).

(2) This is a buttermilk waffles recipe and is developed for the inclusion of buttermilk. No alternatives for this particular recipe. Go grab some buttermilk from the store; you won’t be sorry.

(3) Want to know my secret to their fluffy centers? Separate the eggs, add the yolks to the wet ingredients, whip the egg whites, and fold them into the batter. If a light and fluffy waffle is what you are after (of course it is!), then the separation of the eggs is imperative.

(4) Avoid overmixing. Using a whisk with a gentle hand, whisk the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Then, using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the egg whites.

My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles are delightfully crisp on the outside and light as air on the inside. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles

Yield: 10-12 four inch waffles

Total Time: 30 minutes

Print Recipe

Here is a recipe for my favorite buttermilk waffles. Delightfully crisp on the outside, light as air on the inside. These will be your new favorite way to spend Sunday mornings!


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 cups buttermilk1
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • butter + pure maple syrup for topping


  1. Preheat waffle maker on medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 200F degrees. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, butter, sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk gently until smooth. Do not overmix.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. I typically use a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  4. Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into each well of the waffle maker (or less if your waffle maker is smaller) and close the lid. Cook the waffles util golden brown and crisp, 5-6 minutes. Transfer the cooked waffles to the wire rack and keep warm in the preheated oven as you cook the rest. Repeat to cook the remaining batter.
  5. Serve the waffles immediately with butter and maple syrup, or your choice of toppings.
  6. Make ahead tip: Waffles are best enjoyed the same day. Extras may be refrigerated up to 3 days. Waffles may be frozen, up to 3 months, then warmed in the toaster.
Hot Days, Cold Drinks, and Fathers’ Day Gifts

Although June brings the first official day of summer – those of us in the South are already feeling the heat.

Since the easiest thing to do is grab a cold drink to keep the heat at bay – there’s nothing we love more than a delicious drink recipe. Our new favorite recipe is the Augusta Martini (honestly, with a name like that, why wouldn’t we love it?). It’s not too sweet, citrusy and refreshing.

Augusta Martini Recipe:

1 Part Fruitland Augusta Georgia Peach Vodka

2 Parts Orange Juice

Splash of Sour Mix

Dash of Grenadine

Shake well and pour over ice.

And speaking of ice – there’s nothing worse than making an awesome drink only to have it watered down in a matter of minutes. We found this Augusta golf-themed Tervis tumbler at the Augusta Visitor Center. Throw one of these in a bag with a bottle of Fruitland Augusta (you can find it at White Horse Wine & Spirits) and a recipe card and you’ve got a great Father’s Day gift!


Cheers ya’ll!

The Start: A Southern Art Mystery


New Orleans: 1917

Robert Wadsworth Grafton and Louis Oscar Griffith sat in their temporary studio in the lobby of the Saint Charles Hotel. Surrounded by a throng of people, you could feel the excitement buzzing as they watched the pair of artists work in tandem to carefully blend colors and brush strokes on dual canvases.

Topped by a gleaming white dome that was visible for miles, the Saint Charles Hotel was the grandest in the South and the first of all great American hotels. To commemorate the revitalization of horse racing in New Orleans, the grand hotel commissioned two paintings – “The Start” and “The Finish” – to capture the exhilaration of the horse races taking place at the newly opened New Orleans Fair Grounds, originally called Union Race Course.

Delighted onlookers, tourists, fellow artists and art students watched as the two American Impressionist painters, Grafton and Griffith, employed a dazzling array of colors to emphasize the brilliant Louisiana sunlight reflecting off the muscular bodies of the horses jockeying for position – the intensity of the race clearly etched in the faces of the jockeys.

The finished canvases were hung on display in the Saint Charles Hotel’s Men’s Café. Art reporter Flo Field loved the painting so much that in an article in the February 18, 1917 issue of the Times-Picayune paper, she wrote: “It isn’t a picture. It moves! The horses aren’t painted. They are racing.”

Grafton and Griffith made an immediate and enduring impression on New Orleans. During the early twentieth century, the two Midwestern artists wintered in the Crescent City and became active members of the artistic and literary community centered in the Vieux Carre. After the completion of the murals, the pair maintained an enduring relationship with the Saint Charles Hotel and even hosted an impressive exhibition of their New Orleans paintings at the hotel in 1922.

Although the Saint Charles Hotel was a local favorite and host to Mardi Gras balls and society events, after two fires and rebuilds, the hotel was torn down in 1974.  With the fall of the South’s first grand hotel, The Start and The Finish melted into obscurity. Then, in January 2007, “The Start” burst back onto the art scene when it was presented at an estate auction in New Orleans. Grafton and Griffith paintings of New Orleans are highly prized today. With interest from several southern institutions, the painting sold to the Morris Museum of Art for a record price and was added to their permanent collection.


Today, visitors to the Morris Museum in Augusta, Georgia can get a glimpse of the New Orleans Fairgrounds through the eyes of Grafton and Griffith – just as they would have seen it nearly one hundred years ago. “The Start” is rich with details, including the presence of a timekeeper in a wooden tower, a crescent shaped moon clock announcing the time of the next race at 4:10 p.m., and the results board with two men readied to place the winning horse’s number in the appropriate slot.

It should be noted that there are indications that the painting could have originally been “The Finish” – but with the fate of the second painting still a mystery, visitors have to decide for themselves.

To see “The Start” along with other art that captures the South and works by southern artsits, visit the Morris Museum of Art at 1 Tenth Street in Augusta, Georgia. For information on upcoming exhibits and events, visit TheMorris.org or call (706) 724-7501.

2015 GRU Augusta Half Marathon and 10K

The GRU Augusta Half Marathon and 10K‘s tag line is “Half as long. Twice as cool.” And in 2015 I think it’s safe to say that it may still be half as long – but it’s definitely more than twice as cool. This year, the 13.1 half marathon distance and 6.2 mile 10K distance will still be available – but for those looking to tackle a more managable beginner’s distance, there will also be a Sports Fanatic 5K. Runners and walkers can dress up like their favorite athlete or wear their favorite team colors. Although there’s plenty of awesome new stuff going on – the aspects of the race that make it a local and visitor favorite remain. No matter which course you run, you’ll get great views of our historic downtown and Summerville neighborhood. We love this Run Pretty blog by Presley – it gives a great overview of what you can expect for the GRU Augusta Half Marathon. Register to run the half, 10K or 5K today and make the start of your 2015 awesome.

Run Pretty: 2013 Augusta Half Marathon

Sunday I ran my second half of the year. I have a feeling 2013 will be the year of half marathons for me. I’m having fun with them! Maybe 2014 will be my year for speed and short distances then? One can dream, right? I guess I could try to get a bit faster at the half distance this year, buuut that would require some sort of training. I really didn’t run much at all before this race other than running the ZOOMA Florida Half in January. Basically, I was under trained and overenthusiastic. ;) I do really want to break 2:00, so I supposed I’ll have to put some effort in soon!

Anyway, Saturday afternoon I went to the Augusta Half expo with my friend Logan and her friend Allison. It was a very small expo, but it had surprisingly decent booths and swag. For a smaller race, they definitely went out of their way to make it as exciting as possible. They even gave away free hot chocolate and coffee outside. They had me at liquid calories. ;) No, for real, the hot chocolate was the bomb. (Do people still say “the bomb”? I do when I can’t say “the s#*t”.)

augusta half marathon expo

Sunday morning I got up and got ready in my own house. I seriously have to start running more local races. Getting up and drinking your own coffee/eating your own peanut butter is miraculous. I chugged some coffee and scarfed down a huge peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon sandwich. I forgot my beloved bananas and chia seeds. I think I was still asleep. The weather was pretty chilly, but it was nothingcompared to what they had been forecasting leading up to the race. They had originally called for even colder weather and rain. HOLLA for just chilly temps and eventual sun! Can you tell I was cold here? It’s either that or I needed to pee really badly.

augusta half marathon

Logan, Allison, and I met up with Madeline and her friend Erynn before the race. Without really discussing it, we broke into groups. We all had a general idea of how we wanted to run, so I guess we naturally split up. Erynn was a speed demon, so she broke off immediately. Madeline and I decided to run together, followed by Logan and Allison.

I am so glad she let me run with her, because I hadn’t the slightest game plan going into this race. She had a smart racing strategy, which I definitely appreciated. After all, look at these hills:

augusta half marathon elevation

I didn’t wear my Garmin (story for another day), but I know our splits thanks to my running partner/coach. :)

Mile 1: 9:42

Mile 2: 9:32

Mile 3: 9:37

Toward the beginning of the race, there was a small bridge to warm us up. My ankles appreciated the tease before the killer inclines to come. Thankfully, it was followed by a flat stretch of road.

augusta half marathon

augusta half marathon slant

Miles four and five were probably the roughest miles of the day. The incline started slowly, but pretty soon your ankles wanted to gnaw your legs off to force you to stop running. That’s probably just my take on it, haha, but it was a loooong hill. You can’t really tell from the picture, but towards the turn at the top, it gets vicious. When you look at our splits, you can see us start to slow down at mile 4 and then totally die on mile 5. ;)

augusta half marathon hill

Mile 4: 9:53

Mile 5: 10:50

Mile six was pretty uneventful. There was a sizable chunk of downhill running, so we sped up. I honestly think that’s when I started to hurt myself a little. When we hit the climbs, I was very careful with my running. I was pretty haphazard on the way down, though. We were talking more and I just wasn’t paying attention. My poor ankles.

Mile 6: 9:13

Mile seven had a bit more ups and downs, but we also decided to just coast for a while. It was fun to chill out a bit.

Mile 7: 10:09

At the beginning of mile 8 was this beautiful beast. That hill was no joke, but we survived it relatively well. I think we were able to manage a consistent pace because we had relaxed leading up to it.

augusta half marathon hill

Mile 8: 10:07

There were a few more sporadic hill after that, but nothing as intense. I won’t lie, though, even small inclines pissed me off at that point. I’m pretty sure I said my fair share of nasty words.

Mile 9: 9:36

Miles 10 and 11 wrapped around Lake Olmstead. It was a nice change of scenery. I kept thinking the cars that were passing us were going to splash me with water from the road, but I made it out okay. That’s really not relevant to the race, is it?

augusta half marathon lake olmstead

Mile 10: 10:02

We both started to get pretty tight at the beginning of mile 11. We saw a wall (both literally and figuratively…) and stopped to stretch. My left IT band and my right ankle were screaming obscenities at me. I definitely needed to stretch. I felt so much better after stopping. It was also a lifesaver, because we came up on a very unexpected incline after that.

Mile 11: 11:04

Mile 12 contained the last “hill”, which really was just a bridge that made me angry. It’s all good, though. We survived.

Mile 12: 9:52

Once I saw the “MILE 12″ sign, I got so daggum excited. I knew we were almost done. We decided to speed up some and get this bad boy over with. Right at the end of mile 13, Madeline’s husband snapped a picture. 1.) I’m a nerd. 2.) At least I have proof I’m heal striking less. 3.) You can’t fake joy like that.

augusta half marathon


At that point, we sprinted to the finish holding hands (…into the sunset… no? fine).

Mile 13.1: 7:47

Official Time: 2:09:33

It was a challenging race, but it was so worth it in the end. I’m very grateful that Madeline let me run with her the entire time. I’m probably the most irritating person to run with. I may or may not have the most inconsistent pacing and carry on the most annoying conversations. I’m a joy. She PR’d by the way, so that was AWESOME. I’m pretty ready to PR now, too. BRING IT.

augusta half marathon

With that, the second half of 2013 was in the books. PS: How cute are the medals? My wedding was pink and green, so I’m definitely a fan.

augusta half marathon

The only real major problem for me was no fuel provided on the course. I generally am the most unprepared runner alive, so I needed a little something handed out. Madeline shared her chomps (edited: apparently they were honey stingers… maybe I really was totally out of it?!), so I am forever indebted to her. I will definitely be running this race again, although I will train next time for sure. Hill repeats are pretty necessary for this half. Trust me.

I also want to shout out to Logan for running her second half of the year. She’s a beast. :) Hope y’all are still having a good week!

Check out more of Presley’s Run Pretty blog here.

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