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Things to do in Augusta:

Morris Museum of Art

Morris Museum of Art
The Morris Museum of Art was started by William S. Morris III in honor his parents, William Shivers Morris, Jr. and Florence Hill Morris, in Augusta, Georgia. The nucleus of the museum's collections began with the purchase of 230 paintings from the Robert P. Coggins collection, who was a well known collector of southern art. Portions of this collection were shown in various museums around the nation, and quite a few were trying to acquire this collection when it was bought by the Morris. The museum opened up in 1992, and had 10,000 visitors in their first three months. The Morris has strived to show the art of the south and to make it accessible to the public by hosting many exhibitions and publications. It has initiated many public programs to entice visitors with art-making workshops, storytelling sessions, lectures, talks with the artists themselves, concerts and readings, and more to showcase this wonderful museum and the artworks that are housed within. Their collections consist of late 20th century and contemporary works, Civil War art, landscapes, impressionism, genre, still life, antebellum and early to mid 20th century art. Some of the featured artists in the landscapes collection include; Henry Ossawa Tanner, Russell Smith, Thomas Addison Richards and Joseph Rusling Meeker. From the antebellum portraitures; Thomas Sully, George Cooke and Charles Bird King. Sample artists from the Civil War paintings include; Henry Mosler, Xanthus Russell Smith and Constantino Brumidi. The Morris also has a marvelous collection of works by self-taught artists that show the talents of those up and coming artists that will be seen for many years to come. These self-taught artists are from the south and the Morris is proud to be able to introduce their visitors to these new artists.

The Augusta Canal Interpretive Center at Enterprise Mill

The Augusta Canal Interpretive Center at Enterprise Mill
The Augusta Canal is the state's first designated National Heritage Area, located in Augusta, Georgia, and is the only industrial power canal in the nation that is still used for what it originally was built for. In 1845, the canal was constructed to harness the water, and the power gained from the Savannah River, to be used for electricity, as well as transportational needs. The canal area is a wonderful area for many recreational uses, including canoeing, kayaking, biking, jogging, walking or running, fishing off the banks or in a boat, or you can take a guided tour on one of the replicated canal cargo boats. The interpretive center was created to instruct visitors about the purpose of the canal, who constructed it, and the problems that it caused versus the many benefits it created. It was used in the Civil War, as it was the site of the Confederate States of American Powderworks complex, then widened in the 1870s to gain more water, power and bigger boats, but at the time to help with the growing textile manufacturing. In 1975, it and the mills located along the canal were listed on the National Register of Historic Places and made a National Historic Landmark in 1978. It was made a National Heritage Area by the United States Congress in 1996, along with the lands beside it, and there are numerous buildings that pre-date the Civil War. Alongside the canal, there were 28 structures built by the Confederate States, the only buildings that were ever constructed by that body of government. These factories would make Augusta an important supplier of war materials and ammunition for the south. Although General Sherman marched through Georgia, destroying and burning many cities and towns, Augusta was reported to be in much better shape than any other city in the south, according to an article from the Augusta Chronicle in 1865. It was one of the best survivors of the south and its economy, as the population had doubled and there was enough hard currency to continue on. The years that followed the war became a boom time for the city, as huge textile factories opened along the canal, as well as the Lombard Ironworks. Farming families would come to the area to become operatives, living in company houses and working 11.5 hour days. By the latter 19th century, the working conditions in this country created a union environment, but in Augusta, the union couldn't get the labor people to join, since if they lost their jobs, they would lose their homes as well. As the factories went from a hydro-mechanical power to electric power, the city tried to figure a way to build a hydro-electric plant, but none were ever finished.

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Riverwalk in Augusta

Riverwalk
The Riverwalk in Augusta, Georgia, is a city park that runs along the Savannah River, and is located along the levee and above it. Some of the important sites along the walk include the Morris Museum of Art, Fort Discovery and St. Paul's Episcopal Church. The fact that Augusta is situated by the Savannah River has helped its growth, as well as traveling and trade. At one time, the city was the second biggest inland cotton market in the world although there were numerous times when the river would flood its banks and cause havoc among the factories and businesses located along its sides. In 1908, the city built a levee to protect Augusta from the occasional flooding, but after a major flood in 1929 that went over the levee caused the state to pass the Flood Control Act and the Corps of Engineers came in to rebuild it to the height it now is. In the early 1950s, the Clark Hill dam was built upriver so that it could control the river heights and also become a source of power for the CSRA. As time went on, the levee became an obstacle as trade and commerce slowed down, and the industrial base moved to the south and west, leaving a huge void, although it would become a lovely pristine area along the shoreline. But if all the businesses were leaving downtown Augusta, what would happen to the people except that they also would be forced to move to where the work was. By the 1980s, a renaissance along the river started with help from individuals from the private sector. These folks started an organization called Augusta Tomorrow and a plan to redevelop the area along the river was started and a partnership with the city was made. In 1985, the first phase started, and the levee had to be broken in one area to allow for that. The entire phase was completed by 1988, and the results have become the Riverwalk of Augusta today.

Augusta Museum of History
The Augusta Museum of History is located in Augusta, Georgia and started in 1937 to preserve and share the marvelous history of this great city and the area that encompasses it. There are many exhibits that showcase the relics, dioramas and images of the city's exciting history. In their permanent collection is the Augusta Story that travels the 12,000 year history of the city and surrounding area, made up of relics that have come from the prehistoric period to the sounds of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. One such display is a diorama of Stallings Island and its culture, a 1869 steam fire engine that shows the devastation of the 1912 fire, slave created pottery that has been preserved from the antebellum period and a 12 pounder bronze Napoleon cannon tube. In the WBBQ display the city's most popular radio station is featured, with the newest addition to the exhibit being the WBBQ: Then and Now; that was put in to commemorate the 60th anniversary of that station. Another is the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company, which is called the Into the Interior: A History of the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company that is housed in the Knox Foundation Center for the Preservation and Study of the Central Savannah River Area. There are wonderful relics located here that tell of the history of the company that covered 153 years, with a locomotive bell, railroad maps, and stock books. The company was amended in 1835, and is still considered the most important company in the state and city. The Susan L. Still Children's Discovery Gallery was created to encourage children to become more interactive with history, that includes kids canoeing the Savannah to commanding a space shuttle. In the Transportation Corridor, the history of transportation in the city over a 150 year period is highlighted, with a number of vehicles displayed like the 1930s gas station, 1900 Farm wagon, 1952 Dodge Power Wagon and a 1917 Steam locomotive. In the exhibits section are displays about the legendary James Brown, A Community that Heals, displaying information and relics about the Medical College of Georgia, From Ty to Cal: A century of Baseball in Augusta telling about the outstanding players that played here, like Ty Cobb and Dustin Pedroia.

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La Maison on Telfair

La Maison on Telfair
La Maison is considered by many to be the best and finest eating establishment in the city, with the culinary skills of Chef Heinz to complete it. The 5000 wine bottle collection is another great reason to stop by here for a fantastic meal. The menu is extensive so only a few samplings will be shown beginning with appetizers; cold-water oysters on the half shell by the half dozen, smoked rainbow trout with pommery mustard sauce, escargots a la Bourguignonne is 6 snails in garlic butter in the shell, smoked ostrich Carpaccio with arugula, vine-ripe tomato, parmigiana reggiano shavings, misted with truffle oil, and mussels poulette is 18 mussels with garlic, shallots and white wine. Soup & salad; /Charleston style she-crab soup with dry sherry, Mediterranean salad with cucumbers, vine-ripe tomatoes, artichoke hearts, haricot verts, feta cheese and olives over crisp Romaine with red wine vinaigrette, lobster bisque, buffalo mozzarella with vine-ripe tomatoes, arugula, balsamic vinaigrette and fresh basil. Signature dishes; wild salmon en croute de Pommes de Terre is pecan-wood smoked in potato crust with champagne dill sauce or ostrich filet with pink peppercorn sauce and wild rice pilaf. Entrees; mountain trout sautéed in lemon butter, with sauce of mushrooms, tomatoes, capers and fresh parsley and new potatoes, rack of lamb with apricot teriyaki glaze, multi-grain rice blend, jumbo diver scallops with fricassee of corn, roasted red pepper coulis, mashed potatoes and cilantro cream, Maple Leaf Farm duck breast cooked crisp with Grand Marnier sauce and dried cherry rice pilaf, buffalo tenderloin on sweet corn and wild mushroom ragout.

Bistro 491

Bistro 491
This great restaurant opened in 1999 and became a favorite neighborhood eatery, tailored to the seasons. Chef Todd Schafer attempts to get the best ingredients from all over the country to satisfy his guests. First course offerings; pan roasted jumbo Georges Bank scallops with brandade mashed potatoes and roasted garlic cream, broiled oysters either Rockefeller or garlic butter, prime beef Carpaccio with parmesan, caperberries, white truffle oil and country bread, pan roasted Hudson Valley foie gras with candied apples, marcona almonds, brioche and citrus caramel. Soups & salads; baby spinach salad with candied Wade Plantation pecans, granny smith apples, hooks blue cheese and warm applewood smoked bacon vinaigrette, onion soup with French gruyere. Fish & shellfish; seared ahi tuna with baby bok choy, red chili sauce and shoestring potatoes, cedar planked Atlantic salmon with applewood smoked bacon crust, broccoli puree and tomato butter, gulf shrimp and pigs ear pasta with capers, tomatoes, olives, caramelized red onions, basil and goat cheese. Meat, Game, Poultry & Veggies; pan roasted rack of lamb with roasted trumpet royale mushrooms, malted frites and olive lamb jus, steak du jour, pan roasted Caw Caw Creek organic pork chop with macaroni gratin and candied granny smith apples, crispy goat cheese gnocchi with roasted garlic, baby arugula and sweet onion confit, braised Kurabuta pork shoulder with creamy sauerkraut, buttermilk onion rings and natural jus.

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National Science Center Augusta, GA

National Science Center Augusta, Georgia
The National Science Center is an unusual partnership between the National Science Center, Inc., a nonprofit and the US army; in Augusta, Georgia that was created to be a catalyst that engages the youth of this country with science, math and technology. The NCS's headquarters is Fort Discovery, along the beautiful Riverwalk in Augusta, that spans 128,000 square feet, and houses a family oriented center that sparks the imaginations of adults and children by helping technology, math and science come to life with 250 hands-on displays, portable planetarium, custom digital theater programs, educational workshops and illustrations; plus the home-base for a large number of national educational outreach workshops. Some of the fabulous exhibits housed here on the lower level include the Riverfront Plaza and balcony where the exciting journey of technology and science starts; the Robotics gallery that encourages you to interact with machines that use numerous technologies to complete hard or unique tasks; the Martian Towers which are 22 feet high and is a space themed structure that contains many climbing and interactive play areas all through the many levels; the Everyday Technologies gallery that invites you to discover the science of everyday living while you get to experiment with alarms, sensors and thermostats; the Knox gallery that houses a number of special presentations, programs and traveling displays; the Math, Motion and Momentum gallery that helps you experience the science of motion while having a great time with numbers and mathematical probabilities; and the power generation gallery that will show you the numerous ways that electrical energy can be created; water, solar, chemical, wind, heat and free fall weight. The upper level is equally amazing with the space technologies that lets you feel what it's like to walk on the moon's surface or go for a fun-filled ride on a human gyro; twisting and turning the night away; the communications gallery the entices you to discover the innerworkings of televisions, computers, radios, copiers and telephones; and the imaging and perception gallery that shows you the fantastic imaging technologies of today by using many exhibits that causes you to question what you really see. A funtastic day for the whole family that all will remember for a long time to come.

Ezekial Harris House
The Ezekial Harris House was constructed in 1797, and is located in Augusta, Georgia; and has become a reminder of the tobacco days when the main crop in the state was tobacco and the areas that included many of the region's counties were opened for settlement after the end of the Revolutionary War. The liberal land grants and the excellent rich soil brought many tobacco planters to the area who had depleted their former farms in North Carolina and Virginia by planting the crop year after year. Towns began to grow up around the tobacco inspection stations and warehouses as fast as the crop itself; while tobacco merchant vied with other tobacco merchants and the same held true for the towns they live in or by, as each wanted their share and then some of the marvelous tobacco industry grew. The competition between Harrisburg and Augusta was tremendous, and it was during this period that Ezekial Harris would come to the area after having left Edgefield, South Carolina to construct a town that would become a great rival of Augusta. In September of 1797, he put his advertisement in the Augusta Chronicle and Gazette of the State that he would have his warehouse ready to start getting tobacco, as well as giving the planters excellent accommodations in his good frame house with brick chimney that would be available in January 1798. The magnificent house sat high on a hill that looked out over the city of Augusta, and it is a beautiful home, with gambrel roof that reminds one of the New England region and the vaulted hallway was something quite unusual in the area. The tiered piazzas were held up by chamfered wooden posts and the rear piazza was set between the small rooms that flank and open up onto it. The great 9-over-9 windows have all been framed in with dark red shutters, and the front doorway is close to being an exact copy of the Plates 22 and 24 of Palladio Londinensis, Salmon's academic builder's handbook that was printed in London, England in 1734. Strangely, the exterior rear staircase was the only way to get to the second and third floors, which may have been done to purposely make the upper floors more secure; and the entire outside was painted gray. The home was thoroughly refurbished in 1964, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Augusta National Club: Masters Tournament

Augusta National Club: Masters Tournament
Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, is undoubtedly one of the most famous golf clubs in the world, and was started by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, and designed by Alister MacKenzie where an indigo plantation had been, the golf course opened in January, 1933. The very next year, it would become the annual host to the Masters Tournament, one of the four main important championships in the world of professional golf and has been named the top golf course in the nation by Golf Digest. It is an 18 hole, par 72, 7435 yard course, and the only continuing course that is played on every year for one of the four championships. The other three are rotated throughout the country, and each hole on the course is named after the shrub or tree that has been associated with it; like the first hole is called tea olive, and the 18th is the holly. The course has never been rated like the majority of other private and public golf courses located all across America, but in the 1990 Masters Tournament, there was a team of USGA raters that were organized by Golf Digest that went around the course and evaluated it, giving it an unofficial 76.2. The second shot at hole 11, and all of the 12th hole, and the tee shot at the 13th hole in Augusta has been nicknamed "Amen corner"; first used in 1958 by writer Herbert Warren Wind in his article for Sports Illustrated about the Masters tournament that year. In a Gold Digest article some 26 years later, Wind was asked how he came up with the origin of that term and he said that he wanted a catchy phrase for golf like baseball and football had. The hot corner for baseball and coffin corner for football is well known to most folks, but unless you play golf a lot or are familiar with the sport, it won't mean much, but it is where the most exciting and amazing shots are made. In fact, the year that the article was written by Wind had such a moment between Arnold Palmer and Ken Venturi when they both were vying for the green jacket and Arnie made some unbelievable shots on 12. There is a huge oak tree on the golf side of the clubhouse that was planted in the 1850s and has some great stories under its limbs for sure. Another famous tree is on the 17th hole, about 210 yards from the master's tee and is a loblolly pine that is called the Eisenhower Pine since that President was there in 1956 and hit it so many times that he wanted it cut down. Dwight was a member at the time, and the meeting he was making that suggestion was immediately adjourned so that Cliff Roberts could get out of there before having to deny the President of the United States.

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Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art

Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art
The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta, Georgia is the former house of Augusta mayor and US senator Nicholas Ware; although it was Olivia Herbert that started the institute in 1937, under the name of the Augusta Art Club. Later it would become the Gertrude Herbert Dunn, and it is an art education center that is certified by the state as of 2007. The house was constructed in 1818 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is nicknamed Ware's Folly because it would cost $40,000 to build it, and if it had been built in 2007, would have cost $12 million. The art school is the only independent nonprofit visual art school and gallery in the Central Savannah River Area and offers excellent classes of drawing, painting, sculpture, clay, weaving and photography to student of all ages. They also take the arts education on the road, with their marvelous outreach program and they have instructed over 3000 elementary school students every year since 1993. The institute also has an artist in residence for children at the Richmond County elementary school. It has become a showplace for regional and local artists, hosting six important exhibits of contemporary art in the main gallery each year, and they rotate students' artworks from around the city all the time. The institute is currently having a competition and exhibition of artists from across the country that offers prizemoney of $1750 that includes the best of show, and two juror' awards. The contest is in effect until the 28th of May, 2010 and will announce the winner on Friday, September 7th, 2010. There are numerous exhibitions being held throughout the summer, with many area artists showcasing their great works, and many of these events are free of charge. It is a great opportunity to visit the wonderful art institute and enjoy the artworks of new and upcoming artists from the southern regions.

Augusta-Richmond Civic Center
The Augusta-Richmond Civic Center has changed its name to the James Brown Arena, which is a multi-purpose complex in Augusta, Georgia containing a 8500 seat arena, that was renamed to honor the great musician on August 22, 2006. There is also a 2690 seat theater and 14,500 square foot exhibit hall that can expand the arena floor to 23,000 square foot. The arena will become the home of the Augusta Mavericks of the Southern Indoor Football League and to the Augusta River Hawks of the Southern Professional Hockey League beginning this year, 2010. It has been the home of ECHL's Augusta Lynx during the seasons from 1998 to 2008, the AF2s Augusta Stallions from 2000 to 2002 and the American Indoor Football Associations' Augusta Colts from 2006 to 2008. The center hosts many other sports venues, including the ECW's December to Dismember in 2006 pro wrestling event. The arena is hosting some really great shows coming up the remainder of this year that include; Carrie Underwood on May 2, 2010, so you'd better hurry since its only three days away; Earth, Wind & Fire on July 1, 2010; Jeff Dunham on July 14, 2010; and Chris Daughtry on June 9, 2010.

Lucy Craft Laney Museum

Lucy Craft Laney Museum
Industrialist F. Nelson Blount started buying locomotives Lucy Craft Laney is known as one of Georgia's most influential educational leaders in its history; who would be born in Macon, Georgia in April of 1854. Because she is a Georgian child, she joins the ranks of other great black heroes from that state, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Henry McNeil Turner, the first black chaplain for the US army as well as the first black person to be in the Georgia legislature. Lucy's contributions to education are attributed to her immense amount of faith, dedication and perseverance. She was the seventh child born to Rev. and Mrs. David Laney, who had 11 altogether. Rev. Laney was a well known and respected minister, as well as an accomplished carpenter, which helped him to use his money earned from that work to buy his wife's freedom and assure his children's future would be free. Slavery was still an issue in those days, and blacks were not allowed to read, but a Ms. Campbell, the slave owner's sister, would help Lucy learn to read by the time she was four. Ms. Campbell's generousness and her own parent's open policy with family and strangers would instill in her the importance of sharing and giving. The early lessons that Lucy learned with her family would become the foundation of her future success, and when she was 15, she went to her first class at Atlanta University. In 1873, she would graduate with three other students and go on to a teaching profession that would change the lives of a whole community and the nation. She started teaching in Macon and Savannah, before going to Augusta for health problems. With help from the Christ Presbyterian Church, USA, Lucy would open the first school in Augusta for black boys and girls. That school opened in January, 1883 in the basement of the church with very little money and just six students. Lucy didn't have a whole lot except her faith, dedication and determination, and by 1885, the school's first class graduated, and there were no less than 234 students enrolled in the school that definitely needed a bigger facility and more money. The remainder of Lucy's story is one of continued faith, perseverance and determination; all the tools that she had learned from her loving family and the church. It would carry her through the years of trials and tribulations in the coming years, although the children that she helped would always bear her up and help her in many ways that no one else could. She truly is a hero of her times and circumstances, helping her students understand the importance of a good education and a well rounded one at that. She is one of the unique people that God has placed on this earth to help others without any thoughts to herself or her needs. It is such a touching story that it will bring tears to those that read her story and understand that she never felt she was sacrificing anything of her own, but always helping her along with the rest of her students. If you go to Augusta, be sure to visit this incredible lady that helped thousands of young people find a better way to live and have a much happier life.

May 29, 2015