Come Home to Macon’s College Hill Corridor

Credit: College Hill Alliance

Credit: College Hill Alliance

With more than $90 million invested in Macon’s College Hill Corridor, a two square mile area between Mercer University and Historic Macon’s downtown business district about an hour south of Atlanta, through private and public investments, Knight Foundation Investments and Mercer University as well as investments by Macon-Bibb County, it’s no wonder this community is a hot bed for entrepreneurship and innovation while serving as the breeding ground for a hip hometown vibe. Thanks to the Corridor initiative, more than 100 jobs have been created within the area’s borders and Macon’s two largest employers in Macon are located here – the Medical Center of Central Georgia and Mercer University, home of the 2014 March Madness miracle Mercer Bears. It’s time to discover the magic that’s brewing in the Corridor.

Easily accessible from Atlanta, the Corridor greets visitors with a vibe as unique as the community’s concept. Sit for a spell at a neighborhood coffee shop and mingle with strangers who fast become friends. Shop locally at boutiques and meander through park after park of undulating green space throughout four long-ago planned communities, each complete with their own architectural style and story. Delve into history at Macon’s three historic house museum attractions: Hay House, Cannonball House and Sidney Lanier Cottage – each located in the Corridor. Take an urban hike with Rock Candy Tours, and gain a glimpse into the heritage of Macon’s music scene. Cheer on the 2014 March Madness miracle Mercer Bears during a home game. Stay on-campus at Mercer University’s Hilton Garden Inn, offering guests a fitness center and pool, or try The 1842 Inn for a luxurious getaway in an antebellum mansion. Plan to visit during one of the Corridor’s signature events, like April’s Magnolia Street Soapbox Derby or Second Sunday concerts, the second Sunday of every month, April through October.

Mark your calendar for these can’t-miss annual College Hill Corridor community events:

Second Sunday Concerts

Every second Sunday of the month, from April through October, expect one of the best community picnics in Macon featuring live music in beautiful Washington Park. The concerts are free to attend and feature a cash bar and food available for purchase. Picnics, lawn chairs and pets are welcome. Please refrain from bringing tents and grills though.

Second Sunday Concerts take place from 6-8 p.m.

July 13: The Grapevine

August 10: Same As It Ever Was

September 14: TBA

October 12: Clarence Carter

Sundown Screen Series

The Sundown Screen Series is hosted by Macon-Bibb Parks & Recreation and brings the big silver screen to the great outdoors. These free, outdoor movie events take place in spring, summer and fall at various locations in the Corridor. Movies are often shown in Tattnall Square Park but have also been shown in Riverside Cemetery, Coleman Hill and the Beall’s Hill Community Garden. Movie-goers are encouraged to bring snacks, blankets and lawn chairs.  

Mercer Village Block Parties

The Mercer Village merchants are starting new traditions in the Corridor with their regular block parties. These events are tied to holidays like Christmas and Mardi Gras as well as Mercer University sporting events like football tailgating, pep rallies and cheering on the Bears during tournament season with outdoor watch parties. The regular events invite the entire Macon and Mercer University community to join in the free activities that take place outdoors. The portion of Montpelier Avenue that runs through Mercer Village is closed for these events, which often feature inflatables, outdoor vendors and live music. www.MercerVillage.com

Stay connected: Find College Hill Corridor on Facebook.

Tunes from the Tombs at Historic Oakland Cemetery

Tunes from the Tombs - lr

Get down with beer, good beats and fabulous eats at an all-day music festival

Save the date for Tunes from the Tombs, Historic Oakland Cemetery’s annual all-day music festival, 1-8 p.m., June 14, featuring musicians performing in and amongst Oakland’s extraordinary monuments, mausoleums and renowned gardens. Two main stages will host amplified artists, while buskers will perform on distinct vignette stages throughout the cemetery. From rock to folk, Americana to jazz and classical to everything in between, a variety of tunes will entice everyone to boogie down. Soothe your stomach as well as your soul with good eats from Atlanta food trucks, which will be on-site serving a variety of tasty festival fare.  Keep spirits alive with beer, wine, and soft drinks, all of which will be offered for sale on-site. Festival attendees can also take a complimentary guided mini-tour of Oakland Cemetery, or have their fortunes read by Atlanta’s own, Esmere.

The official lineup includes:

Shawn Mullins

Mudcat

Wasted Potential Brass Band

Smooth Hound Smith

Blacktop Rockets

Ghost Riders Car Club

Villain Family

Julea and her Dear Johns

Secondhand Swagger

Tribute: A Celebration of the Allman Brothers Band

Sweet Auburn String Band

DJ Phiasco 2.0

SG4

Uncle Daddy and the Kissin’ Cousins Atlanta Sacred Harp Singers

Jake Reeves …and more!

Music at Tunes from the Tombs - lrNEW this year, sip suds at the Woodchuck Cider Garden where a DJ Phiasco will be on tap to take requests. Also new to Tunes from the Tombs this year is the RIP ticket package. No, not rest in peace-Rock In Peace! This package gets you entry into the festival, event poster and koozie, free parking, two drink tickets (21 & up), and green room access where RIP pass holders can rub shoulders with our artists and enjoy snacks, air conditioning and a private bathroom.

All proceeds benefit Historic Oakland Foundation. The work of the Foundation is supported by grants from charitable foundations, individuals, and events like Tunes from the Tombs.

Tickets are available for $10 online, $5 for kids (online or at gate) and $15 at gate. Buy your tickets online here: http://www.ticketalternative.com/Events/26053.aspx.

Parking will be available at the Grady Health Systems lot behind the MLK MARTA Station on Grant Street for $5. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will provide bike parking. Historic Oakland Foundation encourages festival-goers to take MARTA to the King Memorial Station. Bring your blanket or lawn chair and spend the day! No coolers or outside food allowed.

Talent booking by: Pete Knapp & Company. Ticketing by TicketAlternative.com.

Stay up-to-date with event details on Twitter and Facebook.

Malts & Vaults of Oakland: Where Beer Meets History

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What do a jousting match, exotic singing birds and the sun god Ra have in common? Why, everyone’s favorite malt beverage, beer, of course! Find out how the sudsy beverage connects these fascinating topics, and delve into Atlanta’s long and vivid history of brewing during Historic Oakland Cemetery’s new guided walking tour, Malts & Vaults of Oakland: Where Beer Meets History, debuting June 6 at 7 p.m. and June 7 at 5 p.m. The tour adds to Oakland’s existing repertoire of 14 specialty tours and the additional Sights, Symbols and Stories tour.

Authors Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle of “Atlanta Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Hub in the South” will be onsite during the tours. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors 65 and older, and free for Friends of Oakland. Buy tickets here. As with all of Oakland’s guided tours, a ticket grants $5 off any purchase at neighboring restaurant Six Feet Under. With this tour, guests will also be granted $1 off a purchase at the nearby My Friend’s Growler Shop.

2The Historic Oakland Foundation offers several types of tours to entertain, educate, and enlighten the community throughout the year.  The Sights, Symbols and Stories guided overview tour is offered every weekend and special topic tours are offered every weekend mid-March through mid-October. Additionally, guided tours are offered for private groups and schools. Several options are available for self-guided tours.

Reservations are required for Malts & Vaults of Oakland: Where Beer Meets History. Buy tickets here. Stay up-to-date with event details on Twitter and Facebook.

About Oakland│ Spanning 48 acres east of the city, Oakland Cemetery is an arboretum, an outdoor sculpture museum with monuments recognized by the Smithsonian, and an Audubon wildlife sanctuary. Oakland is the final resting place of 70,000 people from all walks of life, including author Margaret Mitchell, 27 Atlanta mayors including Maynard Jackson, 6 former governors, thousands of unmarked graves, and Civil War soldiers. Oakland Cemetery offers critical green space for recreation and serves as a cultural resource for lifelong learners who come to study history, art, architecture, archaeology, horticulture, photography, and more. Founded in 1850 when the City purchased 6 acres of farmland just outside of Atlanta, Oakland Cemetery was created as a Victorian garden cemetery. All lots were sold by the end of the 1800s, but gradually many of the descendants moved away or abandoned their family lots and the cemetery fell into disrepair. In 1976 a group of citizens concerned about the state of the cemetery launched the Historic Oakland Foundation to assist the City of Atlanta in its preservation of this special place. Also in 1976, the cemetery was named to the National Register of Historic Places and soon thereafter declared a Historic Landmark District by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission.  The Foundation partners with the City of Atlanta to preserve, restore, enhance, and share Oakland Cemetery with the public as an important cultural resource and an island of tranquility in the heart of the city.www.OaklandCemetery.com

A “Gone With the Wind” Weekend

“Frankly, my dear…” Who doesn’t know the ending to this infamous phrase? It was time for this Georgia girl to unite with fans of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to discover the history and legacy behind one of the world’s most beloved books with the variety of hands-on experiences along the state’s first and only designated Gone With the Wind Trail.

Road to Tara Museum

The first stop brought me back in time through the sights and sounds of the Civil War and Reconstruction, narrated by Scarlett O’Hara and her dashing romancer, Rhett Butler, at Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square, a mainstay since April 2003. On display is an extensive collection of memorabilia sure to delight and intrigue any “Gone With the Wind” fan, from novice to aficionado.

Margaret Mitchell House

The Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta, Georgia

Next on the agenda: touring the Margaret Mitchell House (a small apartment Margaret called “the dump”) in Midtown Atlanta, where I traced the footsteps of the talented author and delved deeper into the birthplace of “Gone With the Wind.” Also at “the dump,” I watched a “Gone With the Wind” movie exhibition and display showcasing the life and times of one of Atlanta’s most famous authors.

After the Mitchell House, the trail directed me to The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library. With one of the most extensive collections of Margaret Mitchell’s photographs, books and personal items, the Central Library’s Special Collection Department is a must-see destination for all lovers of literature and Margaret Mitchell. The collection includes Mitchell’s personal books used for her research, more than 400 personal photographs, motion picture stills of the film, her 1937 Pulitzer Prize, her Remington typewriter and more.

Next, I headed to Mitchell’s final resting place, Oakland Cemetery. Historic Oakland, a Victorian garden cemetery, is also a magnificent sculpture garden, botanical garden, flourishing wildlife habitat, public park and picturesque setting for quiet reflection. Amidst the beauty of a blue-skied Atlanta autumn day, I visit the gravesites of “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell and roam thoughtfully among thousands of other Atlanta notables and pioneers.

My final stop on the trail landed me in Jonesboro, the official home of “Gone With the Wind” just 15 miles south of Atlanta, at the Road to Tara Museum, where visitors can relive Rhett and Scarlett’s sweeping romance by enjoying original movie props and wardrobe items, a foreign edition library, original manuscripts, costume reproductions, an extensive photo gallery, and a collectible plate and doll collection. The antebellum years and the Civil War make their presence felt through such exhibits as an authentic “Sherman’s necktie” (a section of rail twisted into a loop so as to be useless to a railroad company) and an original Fairbank Scale, used to weigh cargo, specifically cotton.

And because “tomorrow is another day,” the journey into “Gone With the Wind” and the Civil War can continue by exploring the trail’s “Rhett Also Recommends” stops, including the Atlanta History CenterAtlanta CycloramaKennesaw Mountain National Battlefield and Stately Oaks Plantation.

katieMom-on-the-go and Laurie Rowe Communications PR pro Katie Reeder graduated at the top of her class from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University with a degree in Communication Studies. Katie resides in Cumming, Georgia – between the beautiful mountains of North Georgia and the lights and action of nearby Atlanta.

Deck the Halls in LaGrange

LaGrange Christmas credit Explorations in Antiquity

Caption: Discover the meaning of the season at Explorations in Antiquity in LaGrange, Georgia. Credit: LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce

Walk to Bethlehem with this line-up of festivities

Located just an hour south of Atlanta and less than an hour north of Columbus, LaGrange is a hub for holiday family and group travel, providing myriad activities as well as a family-friendly and affordable resting spot to fall asleep dreaming of sugarplums.

Follow the Shepherds Walk, daily through December 24th (Tuesday through Saturday), at Explorations in Antiquity, where visitors are immersed in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures of life long ago. The spirit of Christmas is captured in every experience at Explorations in Antiquity, giving inspiration and a unique, personal connection to those who explore this ancient story. 

“Under the Bethlehem Star” Sound and Light Show, select dates in December; see photos from the original Christmas sites, hear traditional Christmas music and learn from insightful narration, all in a setting recreated using authentic materials from the Holy Land.

Star light, Star Bright

A short 20-minute drive south of LaGrange in Pine Mountain, Callaway Gardens lures holiday visitors with visions of sugarplums – er, rather – visions of Fantasy in Lights, selected as one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” by National Geographic Traveler. This spectacular Christmas lights show originated with Virginia Hand Callaway, drawn from her fond childhood memories of the holiday light displays seen in her hometown of Pelham, Georgia.

When the doors opened in 1992, Fantasy in Lights became the first major holiday lights show in Georgia. This Christmas extravaganza has grown from a mere five scenes to more than a dozen lighted scenes made up of 8 million sparkling lights. Take a trip through Christmas Tree Lane, enjoy the whimsy of the Enchanted Rainbow Forest, and embrace the enchanting Snowflake Village as you savor the show. The magic continues as visitors treat themselves to steaming cups of hot chocolate in The Christmas Village or try the unique drinks created in Jacob Marley’s Christmas Spirits.

A charming holiday destination, Fantasy in Lights creates treasured memories. Join in this beloved tradition and plan to stay in one of LaGrange’s upscale, yet affordable, lodging options, allowing guests to relish the ultimate holiday experience at a fraction of the price.

Deck the halls at Hills and Dales Estate

Beautifully decorated at Christmas, Hills and Dales Estate is the 1916 Italian-inspired 30-room, 13,000-square-foot home of the Fuller E. Callaway family. The abode, which was built by the parents of Callaway Gardens’ founder Cason Callaway and designed by famed architect Neel Reid, opens all three floors to the public for festive events throughout the season.

Christmas tours of the Callaway home mark a special time of year when friends gather for holiday celebrations and families take a break from their hectic lives and enjoy spending time together. The 1940s-style, tinsel-laden tree, brilliant poinsettias and fresh holiday decorations throughout the home are a holiday feast for the senses. Holiday tours of Hills and Dales are offered throughout December. Sign up for festive activities like Christmas wreath making or join in the free annual Children’s Christmas Celebration.

Tours of the home, spectacularly decorated for the season, are available at regular price. For more information, call 706-882-3242 or email info@hillsanddales.org.

katieMom-on-the-go and Laurie Rowe Communications PR pro Katie Reeder graduated at the top of her class from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University with a degree in Communication Studies. Katie resides in Cumming, Georgia – between the beautiful mountains of North Georgia and the lights and action of nearby Atlanta.