Loran Smith: Georgia’s Treasures

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Loran Smith: Georgia’s Treasures

Loran Smith
Loran Smith

With balmy temperatures about to gain traction, there will be cool mornings trending toward warm conditions, which will allow for more time outdoors—shirt sleeves after daybreak and a sweater on the porch as sundown envelopes us in late afternoon.

As the days get longer there will be times, especially on the weekend, when there will be opportunity to drive out in the countryside and take visual respite in the thickets of trees and blackberry bushes, the rolling grain acreage, and fields being prepared for spring planting.





Georgia is such a diverse state, and you can’t go anywhere and not find a redeeming patch of ground.  Every county has something to make you feel good about having come its way.  The recurring scenes never become old.

It could be a clapboard church, freshly painted white with a steeple reaching into the sky at a crossroads, a reminder that you can debate the merits of religion and can castigate the church bureaucracies and turf wars that can be as mean spirited as they come, but there was more humility in our society when most folk went to church on Sunday and were never reluctant to give the Almighty the highest rating.

If you have visited this space before, you are aware that there is a reverence for the farms and fields and the ever-present John Deere tractors.  A tip of the cap is in order, again, for those green machines which made mules extinct.





It is time for an excursion up to Danielsville and lunch at Zeb’s Barbecue, which is as good as it gets; then mosey on over to Royston and visit the Ty Cobb Museum.

Next you can connect with the shrine to Johnny Mize at Demorest and marvel that two of the greatest natural hitters ever to play Big League Baseball grew up less than 50 miles apart in the same neck of the woods.

As the summer moves front and center you can make day trips in every direction.  Tallulah Falls is a nice place to view foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains which offers an opportunity to venture up to Tiger and purchase a vintage bottle of wine from Tiger Mountain Vineyards.

We are less than 90 days from constant warm weather which will bring about the roadside stands with fruits and vegetables.  There will be silver queen corn, peas, okra, tomatoes, and greens galore.  I bet Jaemor Farms at Alto, already has a crop of something available for purchase.

There’s the Chattahoochee, Amicalola Falls, and the lakes—Seed, Burton and Rabun.  North Georgia is a recreational paradise and a great place to get away from summer’s searing heat.

There are landmarks worthy of note wherever you go such as Ocmulgee Mounts National Park in Macon.  It is off the beaten path but is easy to access via Interstate 75.  This is where you find artifacts of “…12,000 years of continuous human habitation.” 

This is one of Georgia’s treasures which goes unnoticed and unappreciated by countless natives who often come within arm’s length of the historical site that has so much to offer but never stop to explore what is there.

When you get to Macon, you can go in any direction, past the fall line into a land blessed with agricultural might, product diversity, and international reputation.

There is history all about.  There are the Golden Isles which are more than bars, beaches, golf, and fishing—there’s Little St. Simons, Cumberland, Driftwood Beach on Jekyll and the unforgettable “Marshes of Glynn.”

Then there is the grand Okefenokee which is now threatened.  Georgians should rise in anger against the mining interests an Alabama firm has in our treasured swamp.

If we all join forces and get our politicians on board, we can keep the Okefenokee in its natural state, pristine and glorious for future generations of Georgians.





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