Georgia's Trail of Legacy & Lore

Journey through 7 communities along 100 of the South’s most scenic miles to experience the culture, heritage, and stories that shaped a region. From Athens to Macon, Georgia,  this  self-guided drive will take you through the region's music, food, and architecture, exploring where we came from and where we're going.

 

Stops Along the Trail in Athens

Things to Do:

  • Be sure to experience the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a 313-preserve with many themed gardens including the Heritage Garden. The Heritage Garden traces the development of Georgia agriculture from the frontier gardens of the colonial era to the expansive farmlands of the 20th century. Collections of heirloom flowers, antique roses and native species highlight plants that have held cultural significance along the way. You can also enjoy many other garden collections, over five miles of nature trails, a stunning tropical conservatory, and the Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum while on the grounds. There's even a three-acre immersive Children's Garden that's a delight for all ages. Bring your binoculars! The State Botanical Garden of Georgia has been named an important birding area by the Georgia Audubon Society.
     
  • Browse through the Georgia Museum of Art, the official art museum of the state of Georgia, which has a wide-ranging collection with particular strengths in southern decorative arts, self-taught artists, and African American works. The permanent collection is stunning, and there are always top-notch temporary exhibitions on view making sure there's always new inspiration in the galleries.
     
  • Tour Athens' house museums, which do a wonderful job representing architectural styles including Federal, Greek Revival, and Italianate. The Historic Athens Welcome Center offers daily driving tours and is itself is housed in the Church-Waddel-Brumby House, believed to be the oldest surviving residence in Athens.
     
  • You won't want to miss the Special Collections Galleries on the University of Georgia campus. Make new discoveries and insights into Georgia's history through exhibits that bring Georgia's history to life. Walk through a replica of Senator Richard B. Russell's U.S. Capitol office. Pick out famous Georgians who impacted history in Art Rosenbaum's massive mural. Listen to oral history projects. View clips from the first half of the 20th century taken in small towns around Georgia.  And more!
     
  • Discover the magic of Athens' music scene and trace the roots of acclaimed bands like the B-52's, R.E.M., Widespread Panic, and more along the Athens Music Walk of Fame and (coming soon!) the Georgia Music Collections at the new Classic Center Arena. Stay out late in the clubs to hear the next generation of Athens music greats!

 

 

Explore Other Communities Along Georgia's Trail of Legacy & Lore

 

Oconee County

"Go from one of the last frontier stops to modern artists in a few blocks."

Watkinsville/Oconee County is just 9 miles/15 minutes from downtown Athens

  • Check out a bit of history and explore the William Daniell House, built circa 1790 by Revolutionary War veteran William Daniell and now the home of the Oconee Welcome Center. 

  • Visit one of just a few covered bridges still in operation in Georgia, the Elder Mill Covered Bridge.

  • Antique your heart away with amazing spots in downtown Watkinsville and along "Antique Row" in Bishop.

 

Madison / Morgan County 

"Go from unmarked graves of the Civil War dead to discovering a Civil Rights activist in just a few blocks."

Madison/Morgan County is just 30 miles/35 minutes from downtown Athens

  • Spend the day swimming or boating on Lake Brantley or Lake Rutledge with rentable canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats.

  • Grab lunch at The Caboose in downtown Rutledge.

  • Visit Farmview Market for a specialty grocery store, butcher shop, and farm-to-table café focusing on locally sourced products. 

  • Explore the Madison-Morgan Meander, a self-guided map of cycle-friendly routes past farms, historic schoolhouses, film sites, and other great finds.

 

Eatonton

"Go from Native American Effigies to literary legends in just a few miles."

Eatonton is 50 miles/1 hour from downtown Athens

 

Milledgeville 

"Go from Georgia's Old Capitol to Southern literary legacy in a few miles."

Downtown Milledgeville is 74 miles / 90 minutes from downtown Athens.

  • Visit Andalusia, the home of Flannery O'Conner.

  • Tour Georgia's Old Capitol and Governor's Mansion.

  • Experience the eerie Ghosts of Milledgeville Walking Tours and Central State Hospital Campus.

 

Old Clinton / Gray County

Old Clinton is 95 miles / 2 hours from downtown Athens.

  • Discover the rich history of Old Clinton with a walking tour of its historic homes and landmarks.

  • Explore the natural beauty of Gray County with a visit to the Clinton Nature Preserve, perfect for hiking, bird-watching, and picnicking.

  • Enjoy a relaxing day at Lake Jonesco, ideal for fishing, golfing, kayaking, and family picnics.

 

Macon

"Go from 17,000 year old Indigenous mounds to the birthplace of southern rock in a couple of minutes."

Macon is 105 miles / 2 hours 20 minutes from downtown Athens.

  • Learn about Georgia's first residents at Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve, set to become America's next National Park!
     
  • Visit The Big House, where the Allman Brothers created classic Southern Rock.
     
  • Tour the Hay House, an Italianate Mansion on the National Register.

 

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