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Arts in the Heart of Augusta

(Note: This blog was originally posted November 5, 2010. It has been updated with information about Arts in the Heart 2011)

Arts in the Heart of Augusta is one of my favorite festivals.  I look forward to attending each year.  Every year a different country is showcased and this year it was Brazil.

This year I was on a mission!  My neighbor – Mr. Melvin has lived in Augusta all his life but has never been to Arts in the Heart!  I couldn’t believe it so I invited him to come along with me, my mom and youngest son.  Of course, he was surprised by how big of an event it was.

Obviously food is abundant with all the different countries represented.  There are over 15 different countries represented in the world food bazaar each year.  Mr. Melvin had no trouble deciding what to eat though.  He went straight for Jamaica.

I ate a Meat Patty from Jamaica on Friday  so I was headed for the Fish and Chips from Ireland on Saturday.

We walked around and checked out the  arts and crafts, and  jewelry before we stopped at a couple of the stages.

Now, there was a time when I would sit at the Children’s stage or the Family stage and just watch all the different groups perform.

If I got a good seat up front I wasn’t moving!  Since our group was mixed this year I thought we should keep it moving and get a little more variety.

I don’t think I will have to convince Mr. Melvin to go next year.  As a matter of fact he already told me he was going to bring his stadium chair next time!

Arts in the Heart of Augusta 2011: September 16 – 18

Friday, Sept 16: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 17: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday, Sept 18: 12 noon – 7 p.m.

Featured Culture for 2011: GREECE

Weekend Badges: $7 at the gate   //  $5 in advance (available at all SRP locations) 

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.

Elduets Treasures of the World

One of my favorite shops in downtown Augusta is Elduets Treasures of the World. I sort of stumbled upon it one weekend when I had friends from out of town visiting and I was showing them around downtown. Little did I know, I’d find a few discoveries of my own that day!  The shop was immediately intriguing to me, since they had all sorts of things in the shop window and who doesn’t love ‘treasures’?  When we first walked in, I didn’t really know where to start. It’s not overwhelming, there are just so many different things to look at.  They have everything from sculptures and recycled artwork to candles and organic, fair trade coffees and teas.  I found some great handmade jewelry there recently for a birthday gift and the earrings were a hit!    

Elduets is located between the 11th and 12th Street block on Broad Street and is open Monday through Friday from Noon to 5:30 and 10 a.m. to 5:30 on Saturdays. They also stay open late on First Fridays! If you’re into rare gifts and treats, you should definitely check it out. It really is a unique place in Downtown Augusta.

Gaga for Gogo

I’ve met a woman who was one of the 40 people at John F. Kennedy Jr.’s wedding. In fact, she designed JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s wedding rings.

The Morris Museum of Art recently held a lunch and trunk show featuring Gogo Ferguson and her jewelry.

 

I signed up not really knowing what to expect, but I did a little research and learned that Gogo’s jewelry is collected and worn by Hilary Clinton, Isabella Rossalini, Goldie Hawn, Laura Bush and tons of other celebrities.

If you’re not familiar with Gogo Ferguson, let me tell you a little about her.

First, she was never a disco dancer (apparently she gets asked that a lot). Next, she calls Cumberland Island, Georgia home and is the 6th generation of her family to live on the island.

To say that Gogo has been influenced by the island would be a huge understatement. It seems as if every piece of art that she’s created, whether it’s a pair of cufflinks or a serving spoon, is inspired by a found natural object. It could be a sea shell that she’s found while walking the beach or perfect leaf that she’s found during a walk in the woods.

Listening to Gogo talk about her upbringing and heritage on Cumberland Island was fascinating. Her grandmother instilled a respect and awe for nature that is contagious as you listen to her talk about it.

Listening to her speak, I gained a new respect and new found sense of wonder about nature’s little details. That’s what Gogo’s work focuses on—the details in nature. Sure, looking out at the ocean or into the forest is grand and majestic—but look at the perfect little geometric shapes on an armadillo shell. Look at the perfect spiral inside a conch shell. Look at the perfection of a single animal bone that serves little function on its own, but is just the right size and shape to fit with hundreds of other bones that make it possible for the animal to live. The details show off how exquisite nature really is.

Gogo uses the method of lost wax casting to capture the delicate details that often get overlooked. She turns a rattlesnake’s vertebrae into a wearable piece of art that not only retains the integrity of its natural beauty, but takes it to a level of adornment.

Just as we often times over look the intricate details in nature, we also often over look the hidden treasures of the South. This woman, who works with Senators and has met presidents and is friends with celebrities, has lived most of her life in the South. Her jewelry, which so many of the powerful and famous wear, is the result of a passion that was fostered by growing up on a barrier island in Georgia. We may not know her name by heart, but Gogo Ferguson is one of those hidden Southern treasures. One that I’m glad I got to uncover.

Morris Museum of Art

1 Tenth Street, Augusta Ga

706-724-7501

www.themorris.org

Gogo Ferguson Jewelry

http://www.gogojewelry.com/index.php

Fresh finds at the Saturday Market

Saturday was a beautiful, warm and sunny day in Augusta. My mom and I decided to take advantage of this weather and visit Augusta’s Saturday Market on the River. The market is located at the Riverwalk entrance on 8th Street at Reynolds Street and is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. from April through October.

The market was filled with people who came out to see dozens of local vendors, farmers and artisans all gathered in one location selling their treasures. All products sold are locally grown or locally made. This is fantastic because I was able to ask the vendors exactly where the fruits and vegetables I was about to buy came from. Can you get this kind of information or freshness at Wal-Mart? I think not. 


I bought several fresh strawberries and peaches, two of my favorites! But the fresh squash and zucchini looked just as delish! My mom bought some red, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes.

There are also vendors selling several different species of plants, annual and perennial flowers, ornamental grasses and shrubs, ferns, vines and even trees. I purchased a couple of trailing Lantanas, which look pretty in my back yard! Knowing absolutely nothing about gardening, I found the people at Griffin’s Nursery very helpful when I asked about caring for my Lantanas.

There are also artisan and artistic vendors. You can find hand-crafted and hand-painted birdhouses, handmade jewelry, hand sewn children’s clothes, accessories and more!

With so much to do and see at the Saturday Market by the River you are bound to work-up an appetite. No worries! Food vendors are there to serve you. You can sample homemade pastries and breads, grilled chicken, boiled or roasted peanuts and even cupcakes! The bacon and spinach quiche I had from Lily’s Bakery was to die for!

We had a great time at Saturday Market by the River and I plan on going each and every Saturday to see what is new. Hope to see you there!

Saturday Market on the River

Riverwalk at 8th Street & Reynolds

http://www.theaugustamarket.com/index.html

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