Surprising Suburbs: Harlem


Silly is good in the suburbs, especially when you choose little Harlem, Georgia.  Consider this a suburb of Augusta and Thomson in Columbia County, which Grammy winner Lady Antebellum calls home.

Laurel and Hardy pull raucous laughter out of thousands of visitors all year long, and by the thousands during the annual first Saturday in October festival tied to their museum in Harlem.  Movie dates are noisy, a cause and effect of laughter from the Laurel and Hardy Museum’s non-stop run of classic film.

Family travel builds bridges here, with some children seeing their first silly slapstick black-and-white short films; first wondering why their parents are stricken with the giggles, before contracting them, too. Laurel and Hardy films are a good counterbalance to the werewolf and vampire dominance in film-watching America today.

Laurel.Hardy.MuseumThe Laurel and Hardy Museum is a homey, unpretentious, sort of simple place with thousands of memorabilia items. Most everybody poses for a picture with Stan and Ollie in their car, known from their 1929 film “A Perfect Day.”

Museum docents are proud to tell this is the only Laurel and Hardy museum in America, and one of only three in the world. As such, it attracts visitors from all over. You don’t see signatures listing Saudi Arabia as home in just any museum guest book, but I did here. This idiosyncratic museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

You might consider staying overnight at nearby Red Oak Manor bed and breakfast. That will give you another day to watch more films and laugh longer.

horizonal tree through trees webBuilt in 1885, seven years before Norvell “Oliver” Hardy was born, Red Oak Manor has five guest rooms; the downstairs room and bath are handicap accessible. Two upstairs guest rooms have private baths, and two share one. Acorn is the name of the Manor’s restaurant with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pass under centuries-old oak trees walking through the yard to the museum.

Christine 12. 2007 4Christine Tibbetts claimed Georgia as her home state in 1972.  She covers Georgia destinations, and the world, always offering prompts for exceptional experiences and opportunities to muse. Tibbetts earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the prestigious School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and is the recipient of numerous gold, silver and merit awards from North American Travel Journalists Association writing competitions. Follow her at

Just Off the Highway: Booth Western Art Museum


Housed in a sleek and modern 120,000-square-foot building juxtaposed with the history-rich red brick buildings of downtown Cartersville, the largest permanent exhibition space for Western American art

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in the country quietly stands awaiting your next visit. The Booth Western Art Museum, just off 1-75 in downtown Cartersville, is the only museum featuring Western American art in the Southeastern United States, and boasts sculpture, paintings and historical artifacts among its collection.

John Falter, Jam Session, 1956, 28 x 25”, ©SEPS

John Falter, Jam Session, 1956, 28 x 25”, ©SEPS

The newest exciting exhibit at the museum is Covering America: The Saturday Evening Post in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, which showcases 30 original paintings alongside The Saturday Evening Post covers they graced. In addition, 18 Western-themed original Saturday Evening Post covers from the permanent collection are included. The exhibit will be on display until Sept. 29, 2013.



Not into the Saturday

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Evening Post? Never fear; the museum is filled with exhibits to interest children and adults of all ages. Whether it’s classic paintings depicting the original Wild West or American Indians, an entire gallery dedicated to the Civil War, areas featuring the art of cowboys and cowgirls, an entire series of screen prints by Andy Warhol, artifacts from Indian culture or life-sized modern sculpture that strikes your fancy, the Booth Western Art Museum has it.

DSC_2634One of my favorite parts about visiting the Booth Western Art Museum is the price. Admission for adults is only $10, and children 12 and under are free. If you bring children to the museum, pick up a complimentary children’s activity sheet to occupy their time while you look at some of the more grown-up museum highlights.

With all it has to offer, the Booth Western Art Museum is just another reason why you should leave your ZIP code behind and get out and Explore Georgia!


My 5 Booth Museum Favorites:

  1. Paintings by Georgia-based artist Steve Penley can be found in
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  3. On the second floor, you will see a large painting of all of the 20th Century United States presidents. There’s a cheat sheet next to the work in case you can’t name them
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Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.