Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel
Riverwalk in Columbus, Georgia, a public/private partnership that has turned the Chatahoochee River into a world-class training area for kayakers

Click on title to view photo in large format: The 22-mile long Chattahoochee RiverWalk in Columbus, Georgia opened in 2013. In addition to providing walking and biking trails, it has used the power of two local dams to create a 2.5-mile kayak course, attracting world-class kayakers who use the facility to train. The $26 million project was funded with public/private partnerships, and USA Today called it one of the top 22 man-made adventures in the world. Read More

The Wall of Fame at Grant's Lounge in Macon, Georgia, displays some of the greats that played at the bar during the 70's, when Macon was the epicenter of the Southern rock scene

Click on title to view photo in large format: The Wall of Fame at Grant’s Lounge in Macon, Georgia. It may look like a hole in the wall, but the photo gallery at Grant’s Lounge attests to the many greats that have performed there over the years. We stopped in for a brief look during our music history walking tour with Rock Candy Tours. Our guide, Jessica Walden, comes by her knowledge of the Macon music scene quite naturally, as her father (Alan Walden) and her uncle (Phil Walden) were the founders of Capricorn Records, which recorded such greats as The Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, and Widespread Panic. Read More

On the way to the airport, my shuttle driver pulled over to the curb in downtown Atlanta. In the pre-dawn dimness, the blood red bulbs of the historic Fox Theater blinked slowly off and on. Directly beneath the marquis, purple balloons and flowers lay in a huge heap on the sidewalk. Just a week earlier, Prince had sat before his purple Steinway piano on the Fox stage, wowing the audience with a solo performance. By all accounts, it was pure genius. No one could have guessed that a week later Prince would be dead and the Fox Theater would be the last place he ever played.

All the previous week, I’d been exploring the rich history of Georgia music with a group of travel writers, hosted by the Georgia Convention and Visitors Bureau. We began in Augusta, where we hopped aboard the James Brown Family Historical Tour Bus for a fascinating retrospective of the “Godfather of Soul” provided by Brown’s daughter, Deanna Brown-Thomas. Although Brown was born in South Carolina, his family moved to Augusta when he was four or five, and it was there that he began singing. “Downtown Augusta in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s was vibrant,” said Brown-Thomas. “In those days it was called “The Territory” – “The Terry” for short.”

Elvis got the idea for his unique wardrobe from outfits like this one, worn by the late James Brown and now on display at the Augusta Museum

Elvis got the idea for his unique wardrobe from outfits like this one, worn by the late James Brown and now on display at the Augusta Museum

Many of the places that played such an important part in Brown’s formative years still exist in Augusta: the Imperial Theater, where he performed his first paying gig; Bell Auditorium, where fans could hear him perform for 88 cents; and Brown’s former WRDW radio station, the first ever to be owned by a black man. Read More

Deanna Brown-Thomas poses in downtown Augusta with the statue of James Brown, her father

Click on title to view photo in large format: Deanna Thomas-Brown stepped up to the James Brown statue in Augusta, Georgia, and rested her head on its bronze shoulder. “Standing behind my father, rolling his hair, I learned everything I ever needed to know,” she said. It was just one of many fascinating statements we would hear during our three-hour James Brown Family Tour. From our initial stop at the bronze of the famous soul artist to the permanent James Brown exhibit at the Augusta Museum, Deanna provided a glimpse into the the life of the famous soul artist. Stops included Read More

Pine Knoll Farms in Columbia County, Georgia, is a popular venue for weddings and special events

Click on title to view photo in large format: In the heart of Columbia County, Georgia, just a short drive from Augusta, lies Pine Knoll Farms. Though still a working farm with horses, pigs, goats, and chickens, the 100-acre site is today better known as the perfect venue for corporate events and weddings. A quaint wooden chapel seats up to 190, and two barns (the smaller Sweetdaddy’s and larger Magnolia Barn) provide spaces for events of all sizes. But best of all are the views over exquisite green pastures where blonde-maned ponies peacefully graze; step up to the fence and at least one will stroll over to be scratched.

Headgates of the Augusta Canal in Columbia County, Georgia

Click on title to view photo in large format: Built in 1845 to facilitate shipping between the Piedmont plateau and the city of Augusta, Georgia, the Headgates of the Augusta Canal were the starting point for a seven-mile waterway that bypassed rapids on the Savannah River. Lured by the cheap power, water, and transportation provided by the canal, textile mills and factories began building along its banks. As a result, the city of Augusta, Georgia, which stands at its terminus, became one of the few industrial powerhouses of the South. Read More