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More than just golf: The Garden City offers something for everyone


September 05, 2018

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When you think of day trips, you might not think of one city that is just close enough that you may not consider it to be a “destination.”

But you may want to rethink that.

Augusta, Georgia, known as The Garden City, is more than just home to the Masters golf tournament. The city was named in honor of Augusta, Princess of Wales, daughter-in-law of King George II of Great Britain and mother of King George III of Great Britain, and was the second state capital of Georgia from 1785 until 1795. Augusta is located on the Georgia/South Carolina border, about 150 miles east of Atlanta. It is the second- largest city and second largest metropolitan area in the state.

Augusta is the location of Springfield Baptist Church, the oldest autonomous African-American Baptist church in the nation. Morehouse College was founded in the basement of the church. African-American history is honored at the Lucy Craft Laney museum. Various religious denominations have erected churches in downtown Augusta that are now historical landmarks such as Saint Paul’s Church and Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

Augusta also has a well-established arts community. Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Morris Museum of Art, Artists Row and the Art Council are just a few in the art community. The Augusta Symphony, Augusta Choral Society, Augusta Players and the Augusta Ballet also perform for audiences. Each fall, the city hosts the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival downtown and Westobou Festival — two major arts showcases.

Recently renovated and now ready for action is the Miller Theater, located on Broad Street. The theater sat vacant for many years, and had fallen into disrepair. The building is now the home of the Augusta Symphony, and after a multi-million dollar transformation, its stage will now host a diverse array of performers, so there’s something for everyone. But you’ll also want to check out the luxurious new features, including a grand entryway, vintage touches like an original-to-the-building water fountain, and the restored marquee. Find out more at millertheateraugusta.com.

Augusta’s downtown culture has also blossomed in the past decade, allowing many new businesses to open and flourish within the city. Broad Street in downtown Augusta is host to many different bars and music clubs that have enjoyed a period of prosperity since the institution of First Friday, which is celebrated on the first Friday night of each month. The atmosphere is carnival-like in nature and has helped many of the businesses rake in more profits since its institution over a decade ago.

The Savannah River is a crucial part of Augusta’s founding and history. Visitors can walk along the Savannah River on the Augusta Riverwalk in downtown. The Augusta Marina rents boats for a fun day on the river, and tourists can ride along the Augusta Canal, which was built in 1845 as a power source, in a Petersburg boat.

There are a couple of annual events in Augusta that you won’t want to miss. Each year in April, the Sacred Heart Garden Festival is held, transforming the interior and grounds of the historic Sacred Heart into a verdant Garden of Eden. There’s something for everyone, from the dedicated gardener to those who just like pretty flowers, to kids who want to learn about nature and growing things. Find out more at sacredheartgardenfestival.com.

In June, don’t miss Pig Out in the Park, a barbecue competition held at the Augusta Common. The event is family-friendly, and features not only great food, but live entertainment and a fun zone for the kids. Go online at pigoutinthepark.org for more information.


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