Spring Awakening

Beyond the cameras of the world as the PGA TOUR’s finest come to The Masters, there lies a city bursting with energy and ready to give you the time of your life. 

Augusta’s lifeblood, The Masters Golf Tournament, is often regarded as the world’s greatest sporting event and aptly so! Its enchanting setting has a way of forever ingraining itself into the hearts and minds of golf fans worldwide. If you score a patron badge this April, prepare to watch golf’s magic unfold. While you’re in town, check out the city’s killer approach to tourism with some game changing attractions as well as some tried and true favorites you’ll want to add to your scorecard!

If you brought along your adventurous spirit:

Any number of adventures can be yours for the day on and around the Augusta Canal or the Savannah River. These two local bodies of water run parallel to each other and serve as a gateway to ecotourism in the city. Outfitters and rental services located at Savannah Rapids Park can help make your adventure dreams a reality. One of our favorites, Cole Watkins Tours (colewatkinstours.com), offers one-of-a-kind guided adventure kayak trips. Ask for the Stallings Island Tour, which takes kayakers through a string of over 15 unspoiled islands that are rich in history. Over four thousand years ago these islands were home to a tribe of Late Archaic Native Americans that produced some of the oldest known pottery in North America.

Today the islands are home to wild goats and donkeys that might even wade out to say hello. If you are searching for that Instagram moment, the tour will lead you to the Stevens creek dam where you will feel the mist on your face as you take in views of the water as it plunges into the river.

Within walking distance of your kayak extraction point, make a stop by The Bicycle Peddler (bikepeddleraugusta.com), in the lower level of the mill house. Here twenty bucks rents you a bike for the day. From there ride along the canal with views of the Savannah River rapids and the Augusta Canal. The longer the ride, the greater the rewards . . . in the form of breathtaking vistas, cold brews and burgers. Take the canal tow path and follow signs to Mill Village Trailhead.  Hop off at Enterprise Mill downtown and enjoy a cold one over lunch at Fat Man's Café. It’s not low-cal, but you’ve earned it! The Augusta Canal Authority offers Petersburg Boat Tours daily. See the Civil War powder works and mill villages that date back to the late 1800 era. The Augusta Canal Discovery Center at Enterprise Mill tells the story of the Industrial Revolution and how it relates to Augusta’s history.

 

If you are into the arts:

A thriving symphony, ballet, theater group, arts council, numerous art galleries and a Smithsonian-quality art museum are all vibrant components of the arts community in Augusta. A trip to the Morris Museum of Art (themorris.org) on Augusta’s Riverwalk provides a nice change of pace. Inside is a lesson in art, culture and history as you walk through the refined space dedicated to art and artists of the American South.  This impressive collection is the oldest in the country of its kind and contains art from the late 18th century to present. In late April a highly anticipated exhibit titled Modern Masters: Group f/64, on loan from the Bank of America Collection, features photographs by Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, Brett Weston and Edward Weston. 

James Brown infused a little funk into his hometown of Augusta, and it is apparent that numerous local musical acts found inspiration in his musical success. Music festivals, concerts and venues are bigger today than they ever have been. The Miller Theater (millertheateraugusta.com) downtown just underwent a $25 million renovation, returning to its original 1930s art deco splendor and now plays host to a wide variety of shows each week. If you want to get a taste of local entertainment during Masters week, make plans to attend the Rock Fore Dough concert (rockforedough.com) featuring Darius Rucker at Augusta’s First Tee golf course. With all proceeds going to Augusta’s First Tee, your attendance at this event is like teeing it up for a child to learn the fundamentals of the game of golf.

 

If you brought your appetite:

Overslept? You’re in luck. Bodega Ultima (bodegaultima.com) in Surrey Center offers breakfast all day among other fare on the worldly menu with a cult following. You know it’s going to be a good day when you set your sights on the bottomless Bloody Mary and mimosas offered each weekend! Pair your cocktails with the Basque Breakfast sandwich served on a multigrain toast with fresh ricotta, tomato, avocado, chorizo and an omelet doused with house aioli. Grab a seat at the community table where you’ll rub shoulders with some of the most well connected locals in town on their way to the course. For dinner, try Frog Hollow Tavern (froghollowtavern.com) downtown. Ask for the rustic cut pork chop, which is brined overnight, marinated throughout the day, grilled and finished in the oven before resting in a bed of brown butter. It’s the perfect meal to send you off to dreamland where you might just dream about the pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches available at the course tomorrow.    

 

Rest Your Head

If you’re renting a home during Masters week, consider yourself a contributor to one of the largest cottage industries in town. Augustans began renting their homes to Masters patrons when they realized there weren’t enough hotel rooms to accommodate the influx of visitors. Augusta homeowners cash in on the entire rental fee thanks to an IRS ruling exempting them from paying taxes on their permanent residence for less than two weeks. Spring cleaning begins early and homeowners really up their game to get their homes “Masters Ready.”

The Partridge Inn Hotel (partridgeinn.com), part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, dates back to a period of historical significance when Augusta was considered a resort destination for wealthy northerners. Prominent names like Rockefeller, Taft, and Firestone were known to frequent Augusta in the late 1800s and helped give rise to the sport that has made Augusta famous today. Located in Augusta’s historic Summerville neighborhood, or “on the hill” as locals say, the Partridge Inn is a good chip shot away from one of the oldest golf courses in the country, Augusta Country Club (Est. 1899). The P.I., as it is referred to, features 143 guest rooms, a restaurant and a wide wraparound verandah bar where guests imbibe in azalea cocktails after the tournament. The penthouse stays rented for Masters week, but it should be on your short list for another trip where it serves as a rooftop bar with unrivaled views of the city.

 

Newcomers to the game:

The CVB’s Augusta and Company is set to open in April and will feature a creatively designed space representing all things AUGUSTA. Visitors will have the opportunity to sip and savor at a tasting bar, purchase locally made gifts and learn more about the history and culture in Augusta. Samples of craft beers from Savannah River Brewing Company and Riverwatch Brewery and Fruitland Augusta Peach Vodka among many other items.

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