By Lynnette Austin
What is it about Georgia that pulls people in, makes them want to visit, to read about it? For starters, Georgia, with its moss-draped cypress and live oaks, fairly drips with Southern hospitality. There’s so much that’s right about this state. No matter where you travel in Georgia, you’re in for a treat.
I have to start with Savannah. In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful city on the planet. I’ve seen Paris and London, New Orleans and New York, Dublin and Mexico City, but Savannah gets my vote. There are the magnificent homes in the historic district draped in wisteria, with magnolia trees and crape myrtles blooming in their front yards, and their uneven red brick sidewalks.
While you’re in the historic district, you really should visit the thirty-acre Forsyth Park with its incredible fountain and walking paths. If you’re there on Saturday, you might want to catch the farmer’s market.
There’s the Mercer Williams House, site of thein the Garden of Good and Evil story. If you’re into that, you’ll want to visit the Bonaventure Cemetery. Hungry? Stop at Clary’s Café. It was featured in the movie, but even if you’re not a fan of the story, the food and service alone are worth a visit. My favorite? Their corn beef hash made right there from a brisket. And the biscuits? Some of the best you’ll ever eat! I promise.
Have I mentioned Pinch of the Past Architectural Antiques? It’s an architectural salvage business that I can’t get enough of. I stopped here the first time because the hero in the book I was writing, The Best Laid Wedding Plans, was an architectural salvager, and I wanted to see what his shop might look like. I left with a yellow rooster door knocker. It’s on my office door, and I love it.
You really can’t leave Savannah without visiting the River Street area and the Factors Walk. The men who estimated the amount of cotton in a shipment were called factors, thus the name. The old brick Cotton Exchange building, where over two million bales of cotton a year was handled, is still there. The brick used for both the buildings and the sidewalks came from ballast in the ships from England. Now, these buildings house restaurants, shops, and antique stores.
There’s certainly more to the state than Savannah, though. Atlanta, the capital, is home to Stone Mountain, the Cyclorama, the CNN Building where you can go behind-the-scenes to watch live news broadcasts, Centennial Olympic Park, and, of course, Coca-Cola, the drink introduced to the world at the soda fountain in Jacob’s Pharmacy.
There are fifty-five streets in Atlanta named Peachtree this or that which isn’t unusual for the Peach State. The irony, though, is that they probably weren’t named for the peach tree at all, but for the Native American village of “Standing Pitch Tree”, a pine tree.
The city’s symbol is the phoenix, the bird that was reborn from ashes. During the Civil War, General Sherman burnt Atlanta to the ground. Only four-hundred buildings survived.
And speaking of the Civil War… If you are a Civil War buff, you’ll want to visit Chickamauga National Park, the scene of the bloodiest battle in American history, and, of course, Andersonville. I swear you can still feel the presence of the men imprisoned there. It’s one of the most solemn places I’ve ever stood.
Heading north, you’ll find the Blue Ridge Mountains area, home to the annual Highland Games. Into hiking, fishing, boating? You’ll find it all here, along with a section of the Appalachian Trail, Vogel State Park, and Meeks Park.
Let’s not forget Georgia’s three Ps: pecans, peaches, and peanuts. And the Atlanta Braves and Uga, the University of Georgia’s mascot, and Hogzilla, the largest ever wild hog. He weighed in at a thousand pounds and measured twelve feet long. Have I mentioned the food? Pecan pie, biscuits and gravy, fried green tomatoes, corn bread and fried chicken. Award-winning, Georgia-born-and-raised Zac Brown sings, “You know I like my chicken fried”.
At the very foundation of Georgia’s draw, though, are its culture and people. People who say thank you and please, who use sir and ma’am, who go out of their way to make both friend and stranger feel welcome and at home.
So why don’t you c’mon down? We’ll sit on the front porch, sip some sweet tea, and visit. Even after you leave, Georgia will be on your mind, too.
Every Bride Has Her Day by Lynnette Austin
Magnolia Brides, Book 2
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
About the Book
CAN LOVE REVIVE A WILTING HEART?
Cricket O’Malley can’t wait to plant roots back home in Georgia, where she’s returned to restore an abandoned flower shop to its former glory. The only blemish? Her neighbor’s house is even more neglected than her old flower shop, and its occupant seems as surly as he is darkly handsome.
Devastated body and soul after a tough case went south, New York City detective Sam DeLuca thought he’d have no trouble finding solitude in the quiet Georgia town of Misty Bottoms, but his bubbly neighbor seems determined to shine happiness into Sam’s life. Sam is equally determined to close himself off, but his heart says otherwise…
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About the Author
The luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons middle school teacher Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to Upstate New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A finalist in RWA's Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest, she’s published five books as Lynnette Hallberg. She’s currently writing as Lynnette Austin. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody...and all their business, for better or worse. Visit Lynnette atwww.authorlynnetteaustin.com.
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