Macon’s Music and More
About 85 miles south of Atlanta in the historic heart of Georgia, Macon enjoys a progressive energy and a variety of attractions that range from ancient Indians to modern rock musicians.
Rock ’n’ roll fans will enjoy a visit to the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House. The museum tells the story of the pioneering band that lived, wrote and rehearsed in the home in the early 1970s. The museum features lots of original instruments played by band members, as well as some of the clothes they wore, the travel cases they used on tour, and some handwritten lyric notebooks.
Groups interested in exploring more of Macon’s musical heritage should book an outing with Rock Candy Tours, a local company that highlights music history sites around the city. During the tours, visitors will see the homes, offices, “crash pads” and favorite local establishments frequented by some of the famous artists who spent time in Macon. Along the way, they also learn about some of the local characters who played pivotal background roles in helping the area’s rising stars.
Rock Candy Tours offers the experience as guided walking tours, trolley tours and step-on tours for motorcoach groups. The company also operates the Free Birds and Night Owls Pub Tour, which takes small groups to some of the downtown landmarks, nightclubs and local bars popular with Macon’s musical heroes.
On the outskirts of town, Ocmulgee National Monument marks the site where a number of prehistoric Indian cultures built burial and ceremonial mounds. Groups can visit a museum at the visitors center and walk into a reconstructed ceremonial mound to learn about the rituals that took place there many centuries ago.
Closer to downtown, the Hay House is a wonderful example of antebellum architecture. Built between 1845 and 1849, this seven-story home was inspired by palatial architecture in Europe and features vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows and doors, detailed wall murals and a hidden room. Group tours visit three floors of the home, including its large basement, and the wine cellar beneath the front porch.
On Georgia’s Atlantic coast, Savannah has earned a reputation as a classic Southern charmer, with landscaped public squares and immaculately restored historic homes. Groups touring the city will hear story after gripping story of the distinctive men and women who have made the city what it is today.
The best way for a group to begin a visit to Savannah is on a trolley tour. During the course of the tours, drivers tell some of the great stories of Savannah’s beginnings and its 20th-century renaissance. The city was founded in 1733 by Gen. James Oglethorpe and a number of English settlers as the seat of the Georgia colony. Oglethorpe planned the city’s design before even arriving, laying it out on a grid of blocks that surrounded 24 public squares.
Today, 22 of those public squares still exist, giving Savannah its distinct character. Each square is unique, but many feature beautiful flowers and iconic live oak trees draped with Spanish moss. Each square also has a historical monument in the middle, and tour guides tell the stories of some of the most famous monuments and the people they honor.
First African Baptist Church has one of the most compelling stories in all of Savannah. The church was formed by slaves in 1777; in 1855, slaves working on area plantations constructed the current building in their precious free time.
During a tour, groups hear about the church’s role in Savannah history — it was here that the Emancipation Proclamation was first read aloud in the city — and see its historic furnishings. The balcony has pews dating back to the 1870s, some of which are adorned with mystical inscriptions in foreign languages.
In Pooler, a small town just outside Savannah, travelers hear more stories of valor at the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum. This division of the Army Air Force served heroically in England during World War II.
The impressive exhibits at this museum give visitors a well-rounded understanding of the history of the Mighty 8th and the young soldiers’ experiences abroad. In addition to artifact galleries, the museum features “the Mission Experience,” a series of immersive films that give visitors a glimpse at a day in the life of a bomber pilot and crew.
For more information go to www.exploregeorgia.org.