Known as the “Heart of Georgia,” Macon is in central Georgia, just over an hour’s drive from Atlanta.
It’s also known as the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World” because of the city’s 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees. With five universities, year-round festivals and a host of diverse and interesting cultural attractions to explore, Macon is a place I’m looking forward to visiting again.
Delving into History at Ocmulgee National Monument
Ocmulgee National Monument gives visitors a great look into the life of some of the earliest settlers in the region: the Mississippi Indians. My first stop was the visitor’s center, where I had the chance to view artifacts and exhibits before taking a stroll to the incredible Earthlodge and its 1,000-year-old floor. The Earthlodge was originally used as a council chamber of sorts where the different levels of seating indicated the importance of those who sat here. You can also view a clay pot said to have been used in ceremonial rituals and celebrations many centuries ago.
Walking farther, a series of well-constructed wooden deck staircases led me to the top of Great Temple Mound, a 16.7-meter-high mound that overlooks the whole city – an amazing photo opportunity.
Music Memorabilia and History at the Big House
My next stop was the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House. The Allman Brothers, the grandfathers of Southern Rock, lived in this house from 1970 to 1973 with family and friends. This house was a gathering place and where they wrote some of their most famous songs, including “Blue Sky” and “Ramblin’ Man.” Memorabilia, including multiple gold records, will transport you back to an era when being a rock star was truly all about the music.
Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House
Glorious Architecture of Hay House and Cannonball House
If you prefer stunning historical buildings and architecture, Macon has you covered. The Hay House is a mid-19th century, four-level, 1,672-square-meter mansion crowned by an impressive three-story cupola. The National Historic Landmark is an example of Italian Renaissance Revival style and is a contrast to the Greek Revival style of the pre-Civil War period. Way ahead of its time in craftsmanship and technology, the mansion featured advanced amenities such as hot and cold running water, central heating and even an elaborate ventilation system.
Close by is the Greek Revival-style Cannonball House, which is now a well-preserved museum with authentic period furnishings. The home was named for the damage it sustained during the Civil War.
Hay House interior in Macon, Georgia
Amazing Art at the Tubman Museum
Macon is a diverse city, and I love that this is reflected in the cultural offerings available. The Tubman Museum, the largest of its kind in the southeastern United States, houses amazing art that tells the stories of African-American artists in an impactful and beautiful way. There’s so much to see that it was necessary to build a new Tubman Museum; it opened in 2015. Among the compelling exhibits and pieces you’ll see on display are Little Richard’s piano, a brilliant mural that celebrates the achievements of African-Americans from the past to today, and lovely permanent and traveling exhibitions. Like so much else in this charming city, it is well worth a visit.
Georgia artists collection at the Tubman African America Museum in Macon