Things to Do in Augusta During the Masters Tournament

Photo courtesy of Masters Tournament

Photo courtesy of Masters Tournament

Fabulous food, music and Augusta history are all available for visitors to Augusta during Masters Week, and provide an opportunity to experience Augusta’s southern hospitality. There are a number of off-the-course attractions and activities open to the public.

Saturday, April 4th
Full Moon Hike
Phinizy Swamp
Augusta, Georgia

Admission: FREE
From the summer serenade of tree frogs to the soothing calls of Barred Owls, the sounds of the Swamp come alive at night! Join us as we celebrate a walk in the light of a full moon.
Visit PhinizyCenter.org for more information.
Monday, April 6th
Mayors’ Masters Reception
Augusta Common
Downtown Augusta, Georgia

Admission: $12
This annual event is held each year. Attendees are invited to sample food from local restaurants and enjoy family festivities. The program will honor those who have contributed to the game of golf. This year’s honoree will be Augusta native Carl Jackson. Jackson had caddied 53 times at the Masters Tournament and will be the first non-golfer to be honored during this event.
Call 706.823.6600 for details or go to VisitAugusta.com .
Tuesday, April 7 – Sunday, April 12, 2015
JAZZ MASTERS

Jessye Norman School of the Arts
Downtown Augusta, Georgia

Admission:
Garden City Jazz and the Jessye Norman School of the Arts combine creative forces to present JAZZ MASTERS, a pop-up jazz club in historic downtown Augusta during Masters Week 2015.
Visit GardenCityJazz.com for more information.

Tuesday, April 7th
Rock Fore! Dough Concert
Lady Antebellum Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park
Evans, Georgia

Admission: $30 – 35
The 11th Annual Drive for Show, Rock Fore! Dough is Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at the Lady Antebellum Pavilion in Evans Towne Center Park. Darius Rucker returns to Augusta to headline the show, which will also feature performances from Sam Hunt, A Thousand Horses and Phillip Lee, Jr.
Visit RockForeDough.com for ticket and event information.
Thursday, April 9th
The Major Rager
The Augusta Common
Downtown Augusta, Georgia

Admission: $30 – 100
Get ready for an unforgettable night with Gov’t Mule, Lettuce, The Revivalists, and an After Party with Omega Moos.

Visit TheMajorRager.com for ticket and event information.
Friday, April 10th
Augusta Canal Moonlight Music Cruise
Augusta Canal Discovery Center
Downtown Augusta, Georgia

Admission: $25
Enjoy live music aboard a replica Petersburg Boat. Bring refreshments of your choice and be delighted by the sounds of Mike Frost and Lauren Maccia, an excellent Jazz Duo. Reservations are required.

Visit AugustaCanal.com for more information.

Saturday, April 11th
The Whigs
Sky City
Downtown Augusta, Georgia

Admission:
The Whigs are an American garage rock band from Athens, Georgia, consisting of lead singer and guitarist Parker Gispert, drummer Julian Dorio and bassist Timothy Deaux and will be performing at Sky City the night before the final round of the 2015 tournament.

2015 Exhibitions:
American Dreams: Paintings by John Mellencamp
Morris Museum of Art
Downtown Augusta, Georgia
Tuesday, April 7th – Sunday, April 12th

This exhibition features fifty oil and mixed-media paintings, some of which have never been seen by the public, by legendary rock-and-roll star John Mellencamp. Mellencamp’s work seems to mirror certain aspects of the contemporary South and its past.

Visit TheMorris.org for more information.
In Celebration of Golf: Landscapes by Linda Hartough
Morris Museum of Art
Downtown Augusta, Georgia
Tuesday, April 7th – Sunday, April 12th

Perhaps golf’s leading artist, Linda Hartough graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1970. She made a living as a professional artist in Chicago until 1980, when she moved to South Carolina. She painted landscapes, portraits, and horses until 1984, when Augusta National Golf Club commissioned her to paint the famed thirteenth hole, which began her career as a golf landscape artist. Her work has since gained international fame. The only artist ever commissioned by the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews to do the annual, official paintings and prints for the U.S. Open and British Open Championships, she has painted golf courses from Scotland to China. Her paintings are in the collections of the Augusta National, Pine Valley, and Laurel Valley golf clubs and in many private collections, including those of Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones.

Visit TheMorris.org for more information.
Celebrating a Grand Tradition, the Sport of Golf
Augusta Museum of History
Downtown Augusta, Georgia
Sunday, April 5th – Sunday, April 12th

Explore the history of golf and its legacy in Augusta. Exhibit includes two galleries, totaling over 2,000 square feet.

Jeff Tilden Art Exhibition
Sacred Heart Cultural Center
Downtown Augusta, Georgia  
Known for his mastery of horticulture and gardening, Jeff Tilden has begun painting scenes that he wants to see. He seeks inspiration always, and hopes people feel good when in his places and looking at his work. Exhibit through April 30, 2015.

Visit SacredHeartAugusta.org for more information.



Trolley Tours:
Historic Trolley Tours of Augusta
Augusta Visitor Center
Downtown Augusta, Georgia
Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., Thursday at 10:30 a.m., and Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Admission: $15
Board the Lady Liberty trolley and explore Augusta’s Historic Downtown. You will see historic homes, hear about the bones in the basement of the Medical College of Georgia, see where a U.S. president lived as a boy, get a glimpse of the Augusta Canal and hear the legend of the famous Haunted Pillar. Price includes admission to the Augusta Museum of History, where you can explore Augusta’s journey through time. Advance reservations are required.
Call the Augusta Visitor Center today to reserve your spot at 706.724.4067
Augusta Golf Heritage Trolley Tours
Augusta Visitor Center
Downtown Augusta, Georgia
Mondays at 10:30 a.m.

Admission: $21.50
“All Aboard” for history, legends and more! Participate in an amazing sightseeing journey and discover grand hotels, golf courses and other historical sites that played key roles in Augusta’s transformation into the golf capital of the world.
Call SouthStar Trolley at 706.432.8883 to make your reservations today!
Augusta Black History Trolley Tours
Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History
Downtown Augusta, Georgia
Fridays at 10 a.m.

Admission: $15

The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History Trolley Tour is a one-hour experience that takes patrons to over 25 significant historic sites related to Augusta’s Black history. Price includes admission and tour at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History.
Visit LucyCraftLaneyMuseum.com to make your reservations today!
For more information about these and other events in Augusta, Georgia, please contact the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau at 877.AUGUSTA.

Celebrate a Georgia Legend at the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival

Tab Benoit performs at the 2013 Blind Willie Blues Festival. Photo by Jason B. Smith.

Tab Benoit performs at the 2013 Blind Willie Blues Festival. Photo by Jason B. Smith.

Recognized as a top event by Southeast Tourism Society and the Wall Street Journal; the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival debuted in 1993 and has been going strong ever since. Still staged in the same grassy field it debuted in almost 22 years ago. This year’s event is May 9, 2015.

The festival is named for Blind Willie McTell, one of the all-time greats of country blues guitar, who was born just south of Thomson, Georgia, in the area known as Happy Valley in McDuffie County. He was inducted posthumously into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1990. One of his most famous songs, “Statesboro Blues”, has been a staple for blues bands for decades and has been covered by artists such as The Allman Brothers Band and Taj Mahal. Many musicians consider McTell an influence, including Bob Dylan, who paid tribute to him with his song “Blind Willie McTell”.

From the beginning the festival wasn’t just about the blues, but rather a celebration of roots music. You could hear Americana, Cajun influences, Country and touches of Funk and Soul.  The kind of musical event Blind Willie himself would have really enjoyed. Many past performers have been American Music Award winners and Grammy nominees. The laid back vibe of the festival creates a great atmosphere to mix and mingle, get up and dance, or just seat back and sip an ice cold beer while enjoying some fantastic music.

Come for the music but you will get even more; there is a wide variety of food available from local food vendors, the local arts council has a booth with blues and music related art for sale; not to mention lots of camaraderie and people watching.

The 2015 lineup stars Marcia Ball, John Hammond, the Golden State-Lone Star Revue, Chris Smither, Mingo Fishtrap, and the Bruce Katz Band. Tickets will be on sale March 1st at www.blindwillie.com. Prices for tickets are $30 advance and $40 the day of. There is no charge for children, ages 12 and under. Gates open at 11 in the morning, with music beginning at noon.

TIP: You can visit the gravesite of McTell on Happy Valley Road adjoining Jones Grove Baptist Church. Pay a visit to the McDuffie Museum housed inside a former bank in downtown and see artifacts like the original tombstone of Blind Willie. Visit the gift shop for a memorable souvenir like a DVD documentary about the musician.  Free admission.

The Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival is held in a field one mile north of Interstate 20 at Thomson, Ga., Exit 172. (It’s about two hours east of Atlanta.)

Visit the festival website at www.blindwillie.com.

For more info about Thomson, visit www.exploremcduffiecounty.com.

15 Ways to Celebrate Easter in Georgia

Easter 2009 at Callaway Gardens. Photo by UGArdener via Flickr.

Easter 2009 at Callaway Gardens. Photo by UGArdener via Flickr.

Don your favorite bonnet and prepare to celebrate Easter in Georgia!

9 Reasons We Love Springtime in Georgia

Williamson, Georgia. Photo by @lizibailey via Instagram.

Williamson, Georgia. Photo by @lizibailey via Instagram.

Georgia is on our mind year-round, but we especially love the Peach State during the spring months. From the blooming flowers to the delightful temperatures, there is plenty to love about springtime in Georgia!

Festival Season: Nothing says spring quite like chowing down on a turkey leg while meandering through booths selling organic soap, handmade jewelry and bottle cap artwork. Georgia is home to such popular spring festivals as the Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival and the famous Macon Cherry Blossom Festival. No matter where in Georgia you go, your chances of finding a spring festival between March and June are high. Our advice? Pack up the car and spend a weekend exploring Georgia.

Dogwood Festival in Atlanta

Dogwood Festival in Atlanta

Mild Temperatures:  Georgia’s spring weather is perfect for backyard barbeques, front porch sitting, driving with the windows down on the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway or visiting Georgia’s Golden Isles. Georgia’s spring weather is so perfect, in fact, we think even Goldilocks would find it to be just right.

Pick-your-own Farms: Grab a bucket and head to one of Georgia’s many pick-your-own farms for a true Southern springtime tradition. Pick fresh peaches at Gardner Farms in Locust Grove or stock up on strawberries when you visit Strawberry Station in Dublin. The whole family will have fun picking their favorite springtime treats fresh from farms throughout the state.

Seminole State Park 2 - GDECD

Seminole State Park

 

Georgia State Parks: Take advantage of the perfect spring weather with a trip to one of Georgia’s state parks. Whether hitting the hiking trails, paddling the waterways, or sleeping under the stars, Georgia’s state parks have programs the whole family will love.

Spring Break: When Spring Break rolls around, students of all ages are restless for outdoor fun. Luckily for them (and their parents), Georgia is filled with theme parks, attractions, outdoor adventures and more. Treat your little one to a day at Wild Adventures in Valdosta, a hike up Stone Mountain in Atlanta or have an adventure on the water in Columbus. No matter which activity you choose, your child will return to school with a story to share!

Braves Baseball:  When April arrives, fans across the Southeast don their jerseys, paint their faces, and do the tomahawk chop in honor of the Atlanta Braves. A game at Turner Field, affectionately called “The Ted,” is a must-see when in Georgia.

Piedmont Park. Photo courtesy of Lauren Cleland.

Piedmont Park. Photo courtesy of Lauren Cleland.

Patio Dining: We’re of the firm belief that food always tastes better when eaten on a patio. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail at Atlanta’s Park Tavern or enjoying an intimate sunset dinner at the Meritage Café in Columbus, Georgia’s springtime weather makes for the perfect patio dining experience.

Lake Season: When the temperatures warm up, folks everywhere flock to Georgia’s lakes for weekends full of water skiing, tubing and more. Rent a pontoon boat on Lake Sinclair, camp on the shore of Lake Oconee or book a weekend at the luxurious Lake Lanier Islands Resort to get your lake fix this spring.

Callaway Gardens

Callaway Gardens

Flowers in Bloom: Our springtime list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our beautiful blooming flowers, including azaleas, peach blossoms, magnolias and more. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the season with a visit to one of Georgia’s famous gardens, such as Guido Gardens in Metter, Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground and Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain. You’ll discover displays of floral beauty like you’ve never seen before when you explore Georgia!

Photo Credit: Photojenik Photography

Photo Credit: Photojenik Photography

Lauren Cleland is the voice of Explore Georgia on social media. She loves ice cold sweet tea, anything peach flavored, channeling Scarlett O’Hara in her daily life and sharing the wonders of her beloved Georgia with all of you!

5 Reasons to See Atlanta Ballet’s “Camino Real”

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  1. Atlanta Ballet’s production of “Camino Real” is a world premiere! This is the first time the Tennessee Williams’ play, which originated on Broadway in 1953, has ever been transformed into a ballet. Atlanta Ballet’s resident choreographer Helen Pickett reimagined the play after her father handed down his copy from his college theater days, suggesting it would make a good ballet. The ballet has been three years in the making.
  1. Ballet as you’ve never seen (or heard) it before! Audiences can expect to be fully immersed and entertained when watching this full-evening ballet dance theater piece. Choreographer Helen Pickett has even challenged the dancers to learn lines from Tennessee Williams’ original text, which will be spoken throughout the show.
  1. It’s an everyman’s tale of love, lust, betrayal, courage and redemption. The story follows Kilroy, a once prizewinning boxer, who finds himself trapped in the surreal town of Camino Real. “It’s your classic good versus evil story,” said choreographer Helen Pickett. The story also features popular characters from literature and pop culture, such as Don Quixote, Esmeralda and Casanova.

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  1. Extravagant, theatrical display with brand new score, costumes and set design! A team of creative artists has been assembled to bring Tennessee Williams’ vision of “Camino Real” to life. The production will feature original costumes designed by award-winning designer Sandra Woodall, and a set design unlike any other, designed by Emma Kingsbury and David Finn. The rich, textured score, which Pickett has described as a character all its own, is the creation of composer Peter Salem.

Helen Pickett's Camino Real - Set Design (2)

  1. One weekend only! There are only four chances to see this Helen Pickett and Atlanta Ballet world premiere. The Company – dancers, costume shop, carpenters, painters, choreographer, composer, designers, etc. – has collectively logged more than 1,000 man-hours to bring the production to stage, and it’s a show not to be missed.

Buy tickets here.

All photos provided by Atlanta Ballet.