Take a bite out of the Peach State with these day trips
By Jamie Dickson
Photography by Jamie Dickson, Diana Busby, Vince and Pam Caraway,
Itching to get out of town this summer? That doesn’t mean you need a plane ticket.
Take a bite out of the Peach State with three day trips, all less than two hours from downtown Macon. Whether you’re planning a girls’ getaway, seeking out your next cool movie filming locale or looking to travel with the entire family, meet your ideal day trip.
Perry is perfect for the girls
Perry might be known as the home of the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter, but its downtown has a charm all its own. This quiet, micro-metropolis – just a quick 40 minutes south of Macon – is packed with boutiques, eateries and even a paint your own pottery studio, which makes it perfect for a girls’ day out.
And in Perry, girls run the world. Nearly all of the shops in the downtown area are owned by women, including Bodega Brew at 1025 Ball St. The café uses local ingredients and offers breakfast and lunch, a full coffee menu, as well as beer and wine. Stop here first to kick off your day.
“I love working in downtown Perry. It has such an air of community,” said Blair Gamble, the café’s manager. “For me, downtown is all about great shopping, great food and even better people. When you’re downtown, you’re family.”
Once you’ve got some pep in your step, head up Carroll Street, which serves as downtown’s main thoroughfare. It hosts a variety of shops, including clothing boutiques for men, women and children; home decor and interior design shops; and Mossy Creek Soap, which offers handmade bath products.
After you’ve collected a few shopping bags, stop by the Peach Palette at 907 Carroll St. There, you can paint everything from coffee mugs to platters and plates. Keep in mind, though, it takes a few days for the staff to glaze and fire your creations – a great excuse for a return trip to Perry.
You can’t leave Perry without stopping by The Swanson, a Perry staple and historic home-turned-restaurant. Built in 1790, it was transformed into a restaurant in 2002 where diners can indulge in Southern classics such as fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and the eatery’s famous, melt-in-your-mouth “little biscuits.”
Fans of Southern style and design should be familiar with Houston County native James Farmer, whose office is located at 936 Carroll Street. The interior designer, speaker and best-selling author began operating his business in downtown Perry more than six years ago. Here, he and his team stay busy working on design projects across the country—from Perry to Sea Island and St. Louis to Connecticut. Despite his frequent travel for work, James is grateful to live where his roots run deep.
Lights! Camera! Senoia!
Movie buffs should check out Senoia – a little town south of Atlanta that’s definitely had its 15 minutes of fame. Just an hour from downtown Macon, more than a dozen films and TV shows have been filmed here, including “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “The Fighting Temptations.”
Productions filmed in Senoia are showcased via plaques that dot the sidewalks downtown, so stop by the Senoia Welcome Center at 68 Main St. for a brochure.
“Senoia is a charming town with a rich history,” said Kimberly Sullivan, manager of the Welcome Center. “There is something to entertain and delight any visitor.”
The Welcome Center also offers a self-guided walking/driving tour of historic homes and other structures in the city.
“Some of them have been used in your favorite movies and television shows,” Sullivan said.
Senoia is best known as the backdrop for AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” where a large cast of characters attempt to survive and rebuild after a zombie apocalypse. Die-hard fans (pun intended) should take The Walking Dead Studio Tour, which leads guests through the Riverwood Studio stages and backlot. According to the tour’s website (thewalkingdeadstudiotour.com), Riverwood has hosted “The Walking Dead” for more than 10 years.
After the tour, check out the Woodbury Shoppe, where you’ll find a variety of zombie-themed merchandise, then descend to the store’s basement to take a look at props used on the show.
Dying of hunger? Adjacent to the shop is the Walking Dead Café, which serves breakfast, lunch and coffee.
Family Fun in Albany
This southwest Georgia community, located about an hour and a half from downtown Macon, has something for everyone, including the Flint RiverQuarium at 117 Pine Ave. The beloved Albany attraction features freshwater, saltwater and river eco-systems as well as traveling exhibits.
RiverFront Park is across the street and includes lovely views of the Flint River as well as an impressive playground.
Nature lovers will want to visit Chehaw Park (105 Chehaw Park Road), an 80-year-old, 586-acre park and conservation area featuring a zoo, large playground, splash pad, BMX bike track, camping facilities and more.
Former Maconite Cristin Kirbo moved to Albany in 2010 where she lives with her husband, John, and their daughters, 4-year-old Helen and 1-year-old Jane. She said her family enjoys Albany’s outdoor attractions.
“We have memberships to both Chehaw Park and the RiverQuarium,” she said. “They are our favorite places to go with the girls and to take out-of-town guests. Both really highlight the beautiful outdoors we are fortunate enough to have in Albany, including the Flint River, Spanish moss hanging from the gorgeous live oaks and the unique wildlife found in southwest Georgia.”
After a full day of adventures, Kirbo said Harvest Moon’s pizza, at 2347 Dawson Road, is a family favorite.