You know about the Macon City Auditorium, the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, the Museum of Aviation, Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Vienna’s Big Pig Jig and other big Middle Georgia places and attractions, but, today, I want to write about lesser knowns that are all outstanding.
Twila Faye’s Tea Room & Soda Fountain, Bolingbroke. If you have ridden to and from Atlanta on Interstate 75 as many times as I have in the past 50 years (probably close to 1,000), you’ve hopefully found Twila Faye’s or a place like it -- except there is no other place like it.
It’s right off I-75, probably less than a mile from the interstate on U.S. 41. It’s the place I go when I’m hungry and want some of Mike’s “what have you been reading” or “who is going to win the election.”
First, as to the food, Twila Faye and Mike Dunlap know how to make it good. When I was there a few days ago, Twila Faye was icing a chocolate cake and Mike was making me a chocolate shake (“not too thick and not too chocolatey”). He makes ‘em in one of those old-fashioned silver metal containers and gets it just right.
As I drove toward home on I-75 eating my chicken salad sandwich and sucking that wonderful shake through the straw, I thought, “what nice folks, I need to stop there more often.” I will, and you should, too.
Minton Farm Supply, Macon. Janice and I “toured” this wonderful store (about one-half mile south of I-75 on Pio Nono Avenue) Saturday a week ago. As we were leaving, young Carson Franklin from Porter Elementary School was just coming into the store. Wide-eyed Carson said as he entered, obviously for his first time, “amazing!” Carson had it right. It is amazing.
Minton Farm Supply, until the late 1960s in downtown Macon, was founded in 1951 by M.B. Minton and is now run by Minton’s son, Mack, and his grandson, Reeves. They are nice folks.
One sign in the store I really liked had the words, “This Place Is For The Birds.” In fact, Minton Farm Supply is a place for you. It is worth a trip out there to see this Macon-museum store. Go and visit. You will be greeted at the front by a statue of Elvis with his guitar. And the inside is filled with all kinds of farm and garden supplies, Purina feed and accessories, clever signs, boots, hats, paintings of chickens and hogs, old feed sacks, etc. It’s a miniature Tractor Supply, only more interesting.
Georgia Artisan Center and Perry Arts Center, Perry. I want Perry’s downtown to be like Madison’s. And it’s getting there. They tell me there is not a vacant store building in downtown. And the shops, restaurants and stores in downtown are very good.
Let me tell you about the Perry Arts Center. It’s in the old National Guard Armory Building and the scrap-iron horse (very well done) is out front. Some of the art is for sale. It’s worth a visit.
Then there’s the Georgia Artisan Center currently in the home of the Perry Welcome Center and across from the Georgia National Fairgrounds. There are some really good works for lovers of art and some purchase bargains. It would be a good place to do some Christmas shopping.
The Museum of Southeastern Indians, Roberta. Mike Stokes is the owner-curator, and you’ll have to get an appointment with him to see this Middle Georgia wonder. It is amazing. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. probably has more, but I do not see how it could be better. I’ve been to Mike’s museum twice, once with Janice and once with Dink NeSmith. I’d like to go again.
There are carved Indian replicas, arrowheads, spearheads, pottery, vases, guns, etc. Telephone (478-836-2696) before you go. It’s about 8 miles west of Roberta on U.S. 80, but you should definitely visit if you are interested in Native American artifacts. It would be a great place to spend a Saturday morning this winter.
I’m out of space, and I haven’t even mentioned the 576-seat Hawkinsville Opera House that was built in 1907. It rivals Macon’s Grand Opera House in beauty, though it’s smaller. It underwent a $1.7 million renovation in 2000. Some of the best entertainment I have ever seen (The Tams, The Swinging Medallions and The Platters) was in this beautiful, small opera house theater.
That’s it, and there’s so much more. Look around Middle Georgia. It’s a great place to live.
Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.