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Afternoon in the Living History Park

When the weather’s nice outside, one of my favorite things to do is grab a quick lunch and take it to the Living History Park. It’s right across the river in North Augusta and is about 5 minutes from downtown Augusta. It’s a public park that’s being transformed into a mini-settlement, complete with colonial style church, tavern and meeting place. Each year something new gets added.

I like to stroll around the park and look at the buildings or go sit in the garden and just enjoy the weather! What most people don’t realize is that there are monthly and annual events held at the park regularly. There’s “Last Saturday in the Park” which is the last Saturday of the month from January through November where parents can bring their kids for an interactive history experience. Or they’ve got events like “Spirits of Hallowed Eve” and “Colonial Times” each fall and “Christmas in the Backwoods” each winter. No matter when you come, it’s always like you stepped back in history!

So make time during your next visit to stop by and enjoy the Living History Park. And if you’re in town during one of thier events, make sure you go!

Living History Park

229 W. Spring Grove Ave, North Augusta

Park Open Dawn – Dusk

Weekend Whirl

“Whirl (N): a rapid round of events, affairs, etc”

We all need a little mini-vacation sometimes and a weekend whirl to freshen things up is always fun. So whether your planning a weekend trip to visit Augusta or looking to show visiting friends and family a good time, this is a fun itinerary that has a few of my favorite things to do.

Friday Night

Get a taste of Augusta’s downtown dining scene. There’s something to please everyone’s taste buds. Feeling adventurous? Try Bees Knees – this tapas style restaurant adds Southern flair to international dishes.

Get a shot of Augusta’s downtown nightlife. While you’re out and about, enjoy live Indie bands, bar bands, and drink specials downtown. A few of my favorite hot spots are Sky City, Soul Bar, Metro Pub and Stillwater Taproom.

   If you’re in town the first Friday of the month, go and enjoy the First Friday festival in the Augusta Commons area. It’s one of my favorite things to do on a Friday night. You’ll find live performances, music, art, vintage cars, fair food and more. Many of the downtown businesses host special First Friday events as well.

Saturday

Get a look at the local market. Take advantage of the cool morning weather and stroll down to the Saturday Market on the River. Grab a freshly roasted and brewed cup of coffee and some locally grown fruit to snack on for a light breakfast while you peruse the work of local artists and are serenaded by local jazz musicians.

Get some grub. Since you had a light breakfast, grab a good lunch—there are lots of cafes and restaurants to choose from. One of my favorite lunch spots is New Moon Café. They offer a good variety of soups, sandwiches and Panini’s that are made with fresh, and mostly local, ingredients.

Get on a trolley. Hop on the Lady Liberty trolley for the Saturday Historic Trolley Tour. Hear the legend of the Haunted Pillar and Civil War stories. Learn about the bones in the Old Medical College basement and a rambunctious boy who grew up in Augusta and became a U.S. President. Tour historic downtown and get a feel for all the unique shops and restaurants that you want to visit and more! Sound like fun? Make sure you call ahead  (706-724-4067) and make reservations at least 24 hours in advance.

Get a glimpse of nature. Rent a canoe, pontoon boat, or jetski from the Riverwalk Marina before setting off for a self-guided nature cruise down the beautiful Savannah River. If you prefer to hand over the captain’s hat, try an Augusta Canal Cruise so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Get some seafood. Before you head out for a night on the town, stop by Rinehart’s Oyster Bar for a “beyond casual” experience and enjoy fresh, simple seafood. My favorite thing on the menu is their fresh oysters, of course!

Get your groove on. A short drive down the road from Rinehart’s, you’ll find the Country Club Dance Hall and Saloon. Grab a friend and hit the dance floor. If you’re feelin’ lucky, go try and grab a balloon during the balloon drop and see if you’ve won a prize!

Sunday

Get to sleep late. After a late night, if you’re like me, you’ll want to sleep in a little. But don’t worry, you can still make it in time to enjoy “Augusta’s Best Sunday Brunch” at the Partridge Inn. Cheesy grits, bacon, biscuits and gravy, omelets, muffins, fresh fruit…you name it, they’ve got it!

Get a piece of Southern art. Take some time to explore the Morris Museum of Art. It’s the first museum that is dedicated to Southern art and works of Southern artists. Admission into the Morris is free on Sundays.

Get something to take home with you. I never leave someplace without doing a little shopping first. Augusta has tons of cool shops for you to check out. Downtown you can hit Artists Row—a group of galleries and studios that sell local art and hand-made jewelry, The Book Tavern—a little bookstore packed full of new, used and rare books, Vintage Ooollee—a vintage clothing and accessories boutique, and any of the quirky antique shops—my favorite thing about antique shops is you never know what you’ll find!  

Looking for someplace to stay? Check out our hotel listings to see which Augusta hotel best fits your style and budget.

Augusta, Georgia in St. Augustine.

It was a recent trip back from visiting my family in Florida when we discovered Augusta in St. Augustine, Florida. We stopped at the Castillo de San Marcos in downtown St. Augustine. The fort was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World.

 Today it is a National Park and a great place for kids to run around and learn hands-on about history. The Castillo still stands today – undefeated after 330 years of colonial warfare and intrigue. The reason could be because of the 16th century technology centered on black powder. I tell you all this because Augusta, Georgia is where they got their black powder or gunpowder during the Civil War.

The fort has plenty of ammunition and weapons on display – cannons, cannonballs and rifles. But in a special case downstairs is a small bag of ammunition stamped “Augusta, Georgia.” It was a great discovery.

The history of the Augusta Confederate Powder Works thanks to the National Parks Service: At the beginning of the Civil War gunpowder supplies for the Confederate armies were insufficient.

In 1861 Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, charged Colonel George Washington Rains with solving this issue by creating a local supply of gunpowder. Rains chose the flat lands by the Augusta Canal as the most suitable site for making the much needed gunpowder. He named Major Charles Shaler Smith as architect to design the Confederate Powder Works. The Confederate Powder Works, the only permanent edifice constructed by the Confederate States of America, was in operation until April 1865. During its lifetime, the facility produced approximately 7,000 pounds of gunpowder per day for a final total of 2,750,000 pounds. The Augusta Powder Works produced enough gunpowder to fully meet the needs of the Confederate armies and still retained a surplus of 70,000 pounds at the end of the war.

Click here for more information:
http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/augusta/sibleymill.html

There is a lot to learn in Augusta about the Civil War even though a battle was never fought in Augusta. And apparently there is a little something to learn about Augusta in St. Augustine, Florida.

Historic Downtown Loft Tour

Have you ever walked down Broad Street in Augusta or down Main Street in your hometown, passing historic buildings, and wondered what was on the upper floors or what a building was used as in the past? Well, during Historic Augusta’s Downtown Loft Tour you can finally find out! I think the tour is a really fun way to see behind closed doors and to learn about the history and architecture of the featured sites. You can pick up a program from tour headquarters which contains a map and historic information about each of the sites. On First Friday, in each of the loft apartments or businesses on the tour you will get to eat delicious appetizers or sweets provided by downtown restaurants.  The ticket is good for both days, so I recommend visiting the tour sites at your leisure leaving time to take in the shopping, dining and entertainment that downtown has to offer along the way.

This year the tour will be on Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8. Check out the tours website for ticket information (http://www.historicaugusta.org/). Tour times are 6-9 pm on May 7 and noon-5 pm on May 8.

Blog submitted by local resident Julia Jackson. Thank you Julia!

Julia

100 Years of the Partridge Inn in Augusta

One of the most unique places to stay in Augusta is the Partridge Inn. Originally built as a private residence and eventually renovated to be the hotel that it is today, the Partridge Inn displays true Southern Hospitality.  Their Sunday brunch is raved about nearly as much as their attention to detail and feeling of ‘home away from home’ that they offer each and every guest.

Last week, we had the opportunity to take part in the 100 Year Celebration Luncheon of the Partridge Inn. It is amazing to think that this Augusta landmark has been around an entire century.  Everyone at our table was saying how much they wished the walls could talk, since there’s no telling what they have seen in 100 years including many Masters weeks and numerous weddings and celebrations.

Lunch was delicious! We enjoyed their famous fried chicken along with some sweet tea and bread pudding for dessert, which is always a treat. As a part of the celebration, various organizations in Augusta were invited to bring an item for the Partridge Inn time capsule to be opened after the next hundred years.  Each person who had something to put in the box explained what they were putting into the time capsule  was and told everyone their favorite Partridge Inn memory.  There were all sorts of items put into the box: a declaration from the Mayor, vintage photographs from the earlier days of the hotel, and  a copy of the April issue of Augusta Magazine, which always features the Masters Tournament.  The CVB decided to place a visitor guide and a few  other local brochures in the box.  Maybe in another 100 years the folks who open the box will be curious to see what tourists were interested in during 2010!

The 100 Year Celebration will be ongoing throughout all of 2010 at  the hotel. If you have never stayed at the Partridge Inn you are missing out.  Even if you are a local and aren’t looking for somewhere to spend the night, you should stop by for lunch or Jazz Night sometime-you won’t regret it!

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