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Sunbury shares history and pleasure in new ways.
Sure, Savannah is a grand Georgia destination, but the Georgia Coast has many other communities to explore just a short drive away. Head south on Interstate 95 and embrace a new notion in Sunbury, where people passionate about the woods, waters, gardens, marshes and trails protect the ecosystem in their family since 1755.
It is rarely possible to overnight in a home on land given to a family as a king’s grant before America was America, but you can at Dunham Farms, where Laura and Meredith Devendorf are the mother-daughter proprietors. This nine-guest-bedroom home is actually a barn! Try to figure out how because the renovation is elegant, the linens exquisite and the furnishings, antiques and reproductions fill the home with immense charm. The meals are gourmet, and attention to detail is abundant through the Dunham Farms 9,400 acres. Kayaking, even by moonlight, hiking 35 miles of trails winding through oaks, pines, wetlands and marsh banks, birding and dreamy relaxing define reason enough for a holiday.
The Devendorfs seem to be protecting these fragile ecosystems in ways to safely share them abundantly. Melon Bluff was the name of 2,300 acres of theirs, which they donated to the Springfield Legacy Foundation for research, education and outreach. Look for 82 of their acres closest to the Interstate, donated in 2013 to become a replica of the Santa Clara Mission, which we should be able to experience next year. That will be a suburb within a suburb, spanning centuries.
Dunham Farms is the continuing site for significant archeological research ever since a coin dated 1526 was found there. Over the next eight years, we might see archeologists at work in test sites throughout the farm, each plot identified first with GIS locators. Send the grandchildren when they’re grown up for a Dunham Farms holiday, because the Devendorfs expect the full archeology might take 75 years! While visiting Sunbury, watch the documentary at Fort Morris, the state historical site, explaining the early days of the community. Fort Morris played a role in the War of 1812 and the Civil War; a visit includes the museum and theater, blacksmith shop and earthworks.
Also nearby is Seabrook Village, a real community from 1865 -1930, that today is an authentic living history village, with restored and furnished buildings, abounding with cultural artifacts from the families living here. These are stories of slavery and Sherman’s scorched earth, early freedom and land ownership. Consider a three-hour guided tour, with a picnic and entertainment if you like. Self-guided visit? Allow at least an hour.
Christine 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 www.TibbettsTravel.com.
Famous writers, actors, sports figures, musicians and creators are interred in Georgia’s cemeteries. Here are 10 of our state’s most famous final resting places.
1. Ty Cobb- A professional baseball player that was both loved and hated, Ty Cobb dominated major league baseball in its early years. He died July 17, 1961, at Emory University Hospital after a battle with prostate cancer and is interred in his family’s mausoleum in Royston.
2. Margaret Mitchell - The writer best known for her novel Gone With The Wind was hit by a drunk driver on Peachtree Street in Atlanta the evening of Aug. 11, 1949. She died five days later at Grady Memorial Hospital without ever having regained consciousness. She was buried at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta where her husband was buried beside her only a few years later.
3. Joel Chandler Harris - The author best known as the author of the Uncle Remus died July 3, 1908, from acute nephritis and cirrhosis of the liver. He is interred at Westside Cemetery in Atlanta.
4. Robert Tyre (Bobby) Jones Jr. – Perhaps the greatest golfer to ever live, Jones was restricted to a wheelchair in his final years after developing syringomyelia. He died Dec. 18, 1971, three days after converting to Catholicism. He is buried in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery.
5. Otis Redding – The man who has “The King of the Soul Singers” inscribed on his tomb was killed Dec. 9, 1967, when the plane he was flying in crashed in Lake Monona, Wis. He was entombed on Dec. 19 at his home in Red Oak, 20 miles north of Macon.
6. Duane Allman – In 1971, the man that Rolling Stone would rank as the No. 2 guitarist if all time and the co-founder of The Allman Brothers Band was killed at the age of 24 in a motorcycle accident. Following his death on Oct. 29, Allman was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon.
7. John Herndon (Johnny) Mercer - Among his other professional singer and songwriter accomplishments, Mercer was a co-founder of Capitol Records. He died on June 25, 1976, in Bel Air, Calif. Mercer was buried in Savannah‘s historic Bonaventure Cemetery.
8. Uga – Since 1992, each of the University of Georgia’s mascots has been interred in a mausoleum near the main entrance to Sanford Stadium upon their death.
9. (Mary) Flannery O’Conner – One of the best known Southern writers in history, O’Conner developed lupus at a young age and died at 39 at Baldwin County Hospital. The woman whose book Complete Stories won the 1972 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction is buried in Memorial Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville.
10. Juliette Gordon Lowe – The founder of the Girl Scouts of America developed breast cancer in 1923 and died four years later on Jan. 7, 1927. The 66 year old, buried in her Girl Scout uniform, was laid to rest in a plot in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah.
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.
Not all homestyle restaurants in Georgia serve breakfast, but when you’re looking for the combination of the two, you’ll need to visit the Dillard House in Dillard. The Dillard House serves up a bountiful breakfast of meats, eggs, potato hash, fresh fruits, homemade preserves, freshly baked pastries and so much more. My favorites are the proteins, and I always have to have seconds of the pork tenderloin. The Dillard House is one of those “food for the soul” kinds of places, and besides breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so start your day right by feeding your soul well here. Go with high expectations because you’re sure not to be disappointed.
For Fried Chicken and Dessert
One common menu item at all homestyle restaurants in the South is fried chicken. I doubt it’s written law that they have to have fried chicken (and lots of it) on the table, but I’m pretty sure it’s understood. Believe me, I’ve eaten a lot of fried chicken at a lot of great restaurants, but the best fried chicken I’ve eaten in Georgia to date is at Buckner’s in Jackson. Buckner’s is just off I-75 exit 201, and they serve up some of the most delicious Southern classics you can find. While normally I’d go for a leg or thigh, you’ll only find breast on the table at Buckner’s. Breast meat tends to be dry, but Buckner’s keeps its white meat juicy, tender and perfectly crispy. There’s a slight sweetness to it that I’ve not found duplicated anywhere else in Georgia. To top it all off, their dessert is fantastic, too. They only serve one dessert, but they do it right. Buckner’s Georgia peach cobbler is the perfect finish to one tasty meal.
You can expect a wide array of incredible veggies and carbs at the homestyle table, but no one cooks sides as well as Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room in Savannah. Mrs. Wilkes’ showcases all sorts of fresh veggies like green beans, rutabagas, butter beans, peas and more. They’re even getting cornbread dressing right; it’s incredibly moist and super delicious. Mrs. Wilkes’ cabbage was some of the finest I’ve ever eaten. This homestyle restaurant is one of those places where you could definitely fill up on sides alone. Expect to wait in line for up to a couple of hours, but you and your taste buds will be glad you did.
Once you’ve had the best breakfast, the best chicken and dessert, and the best sides, what’s left on the table? Well, the Smith House in Dahlonega is taking the table extras to a whole new level. You’re going to consistently get great chicken, great sides and dessert, but you’re also going to get some great extras. One of my favorite accompaniments to Southern fare is relishes and pickles. The Smith house makes and serves up the best pickled squash you’ll find. It perfectly pairs with the savory veggies and offers a slightly tangy, sweet crunch that you just can’t find elsewhere. You’ll want to take some home, too. Look in the gift shop before you leave to make sure you can have this “secret” treasure at your home table.
Lori Hennesy is a self-proclaimed foodie and author of delisghga.com, a Georgia only food blog. Lori is on a constant search for unique eats, great Georgia products, delicious restaurants and anything food related. For Lori it’s all about the bottom line, “what’s the next meal going to be?”