Georgia’s Lake Country is made up of a dozen towns around lakes Oconee and Sinclair, including Greensboro, Madison, Eatonton, and Milledgeville. An hour from Atlanta, the lakes offer the ideal weekend getaway from the fast pace of the city. Each small town has something different to offer and you’ll always find something to do. You can find award-winning golf courses, watersports, and hiking. Both lakes are manmade, created by Georgia Power in the 1970s from a dam project.
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What to Do
Old Governor’s Mansion– The old Governor’s Mansion in the former capital of Milledgeville offers visitors a look into the home of the state’s leader during the Civil War. General Sherman once slept here and it became a college dormitory and staff housing before being turned into a museum. 120 South Clark Street, Milledgeville
Andalusia Farm– Writer Flannery O’Connor lived here with her mother at the end of her life as she struggled with lupus. On the family farm are her beloved peafowl, as well as many of her belongings. It was in this home that she wrote Wise Blood. 2628 North Columbia Street off US 441, Milledgeville
Lockerly Arboretum– The Southern Greek Revival plantation is the centerpiece of the Lockerly Arboretum, which has acres of stunning gardens. The home, built in 1839, has self-guided tours. 1534 Irwinton Highway, Milledgeville
Madison Morgan Cultural Center– The Romanesque Revival building was the first graded school house in the Southeast and now is home to a museum representing the South through the years. It’s broken down into The Land, The People, The Way, At Work, At Home and In the World. There are also restored classrooms, parlors, and the theatre. 434 South Main Street, Madison
Uncle Remus Museum– Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus books, was born in Eatonton. This museum dedicated to his life is made up of two former slave cabins. It has copies of the book translated into countless languages as well as information on Harris. 214 Oak Street, Eatonton
Alice Walker Driving Tour– Author of The Color Purple Alice Walker was born in Eatonton. Visitors can see her birthplace, childhood home, church and where her parents were buried. Pick up the self-guided tour brochure at the visitor’s center. 305 North Madison Avenue, Eatonton
Rock Eagle 4-H Center– The Rock Eagle Effigy Mound is a bird created from quartzite by Native Americans some 1,000 to 3,000 years ago. It is one of two of its kind east of the Mississippi River. The site is a 4-H Center, which educates visitors on the history of the area. 350 Rock Eagle Road, Eatonton
Oconee Brewing Company– As the area’s first craft brewery, this place brews a diverse lineup including a saison, kolsch, and stouts. The brewery is open for tours and tastings every weekend. 202 N West Street, Greensboro
Golf- This area has many golf courses for visitors to enjoy. The Ritz Carlton has five of its own, featuring a TaylorMade pro shop. Cuscowilla also has a golf club as does The Club at Lake Sinclair.
Where to Eat
The Yesterday Cafe– This small town cafe is known for its world famous buttermilk pie, which was served at the wedding of Carrie Underwood. If you’re not in the mood for sweets, try any of the delicious southern meals for lunch or dinner. 114 North Main Street, Greensboro, (706) 453-0800
Lamai Ban Thai Kitchen– This authentic Thai restaurant is a surprise find in the Lake Country. But it’s the best place around for laab pork salads, duck curries, and other dishes. 4950 Carey Station Road, Greensboro, (706) 454-5999
The Brick– Every college town needs a sports bar and The Brick is Milledgeville’s. Try the wings, massive sandwiches or classic pizzas. Wash it down with one of their seasonal draft beer selections. 136 West Hancock Street, Milledgeville, (478) 452-0089
Aubri Lane’s– Open since 2008, this restaurant is now located at the Club at Lake Sinclair. It features Southern favorites like the “hot damn” shrimp, buttermilk fried chicken, and cheese grits. 3700 Sinclair Dam Road NE, Milledgeville, (478) 454-4181
Stacked Sandwiches & More– The college crowd loves this deli for its soups, salads, and sandwiches. Try the Wicked BLT, tomato basil bisque, and veggie flatbread. 1827 N Columbia Street, Milledgeville, (478) 414-4348
Amici Italian Cafe– This casual Italian joint is a local chain offering fresh pizza and sandwiches. The original location opened in 1993 and has become a family favorite in “America’s favorite small town.” 113 South Main Street, Madison, (706) 342-0000
Farmview Market– For farm-fresh produce and ingredients, visit this market that also sells artisan sandwiches and ice cream. The market also offers classes and events. 2610 Eatonton Road, Madison, (844) 210-7030
Town 220 Restaurant– The area’s best restaurant is in Madison, offering steaks, seafood, and pasta. Chow down on fried green tomatoes, Vidalia onion soup, and filet mignon. 220 West Washington Street, Madison, (706) 752-1445
Georgia Butts BBQ– For authentic Georgia barbecue with lakeside views, visit this restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Menu highlights include brisket, chicken wings, and pulled pork. 1137 Lake Oconee Parkway, Eatonton, (706) 474-0946
Where to Stay
The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation– This property is the ultimate lakeside luxury accommodation. The resort has world class golf courses, dining and spa services. There are three in-house restaurants and countless activities for the kids. 1 Lake Oconee Trail, Greensboro
Brady Inn– This 1885 Victorian bed and breakfast has seven bedrooms with all the necessary amenities and comes recommended by Southern Living. It’s only one block from the restaurants of Main Street. 250 North 2nd Street, Madison
The James Madison Inn– The bed and breakfast features 17 unique rooms and two suites with art and furnishings from local artists. Rooms have books from local authors, king-sized beds, and rain showers. 260 West Washington Street, Madison
Antebellum Inn– This 1890 historic home once hosted the Marquis de Lafayette and General William Tecumseh Sherman. The five suites and cottage come with free WiFi, coffee makers, full daily breakfast, and rental bicycles. 200 North Columbia Street, Milledgeville
Soho Lofts– The funky lofts above downtown businesses feature stylish decor and exposed brick walls in four suites. Each comes with a television, WiFi, full kitchens, and private bathrooms. 107 South Wayne Street, Milledgeville
The Lodge On Lake Oconee Eatonton– The full-service hotel has both and king and queen beds and a pool, sauna, fitness center and even boat docking. Guests have access to complimentary daily breakfast. 930 Lake Oconee Parkway, Eatonton
Cuscowilla– This resort in Eatonton has many of the same amenities, specifically golf and restaurants. There are different types of rooms and cottages with living areas for big groups. 126 Cuscowilla Drive, Eatonton
There are also campgrounds in the area if you are traveling on a budget. Lake house rentals are also available.
I was a guest of Georgia’s Lake Country as a part of the Georgia Travel Media Marketplace and later hosted at the Ritz Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee but all opinions are my own.
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