As you may know one of my favorite things to do is travel. Exploring new places and meeting new people really inspires me and I’m so grateful to be able to share my experiences with you. Recently, I had the opportunity to go on a road trip to Augusta, Georgia on behalf of the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau. I’ve only been to Augusta one time for the Masters Tournament a few years ago. Being able to host the Masters Tournament is certainly a nice touch but there is so much more that The Garden City of the South has to offer! I’ve detailed my two-day trip for you below highlighting all of my favorite stops!
When I arrived in Augusta, I headed straight to my hotel to check-in and get settled. I stayed at The Partridge Inn a historic boutique property located in Summerville; a charming residential area referred to as the ‘hill’ by locals. The luxury hill-top hotel has recently undergone an extensive renovation while still paying homage to the original 1836 house. I’d recommend reading a book by the tranquil pool then heading to the rooftop to try Augusta’s own Fruitland Peach Vodka.
For lunch, we dined at Manuel’s Bread Café in Hammond’s Ferry North Augusta. This quaint French-style bistro was delightful. I’d recommend the smoked turkey pesto with avocado on a ciabatta bun with a side of fries. The crab stuffed avocado and prime Angus burger are also excellent choices. We dined outside while watching locales leisurely biking through the neighborhood and dogs enjoying their highly anticipated afternoon walks. This is the perfect spot to order a brew and enjoy really good food where a large portion of their seasonal ingredients come from the Blue Clay Farm; a sustainable community garden with wild flowers, fragrant herbs and fresh vegetables located in Hammond’s Ferry.
After lunch, we took advantage of the clear blue skies and 70 degree weather and explored the traditional yet high energy neighborhood. The architecture of Hammond’s Ferry is inspired by the rich historic neighborhoods of Augusta. Homeowners Michael and Tracy Stolarski were incredibly gracious and offered a tour of their home inspired by Two Meeting Street Inn in Charleston, South Carolina. Even though the exterior is traditional the interior is happy and chic which is brought to life by Jonathon Adler pieces! It’s so much fun when the homeowners really infuse their personalities in the architecture + decor. Every space was Instagram-worthy (Southern Living regrammed this southern gem is proof) but most of all the couple was incredibly welcoming + just plain fun. After our tour we headed to the riverfront and fell in love with the beautiful southern homes on the water there as well.
Many of my friends grew up in Augusta and I’ve heard a lot of good things about the historic district of Summerville! Built in the 1780s, Summerville was one of my favorite districts in Augusta with many types of architecture including Greek, Spanish, Gothic and other styles. Many of the homes have or are currently undergoing historic renovations. I had the opportunity to tour one home that was built-in 1899. The homeowner documented the renovation through images and during the process uncovered a hidden stairway. It’s exciting to see homeowners preserve the history of homes but add modern southern touches.
We then stopped by a French Country inspired townhome located on Walton Way. The beautiful home was built in 2017 by Garren Construction. With the help of Pam Wynn of Wynn Interiors, every room in the home was beautifully appointed. The purposely faded french blue front door set the tone for the home; a relaxed and bright aesthetic that incorporates European antiques. Once you step inside you almost feel like you’re tucked away in a small French Village. Luckily for the homeowners they’re only minutes away from stylish shops and award-winning restaurants.
For dinner, we enjoyed fresh oysters from Abel Brown; a southern kitchen and oyster bar located in the Surrey Center. Chef and owner Todd Schafer apprenticed at the Cloister in Sea Island, so I knew that I would love this restaurant! We started dinner off with tasty broiled oysters topped with jalapeño lime butter and parmesan cheese! Then I enjoyed the lobster roll special (which is my favorite food of all time) and ended with a selection of desserts! It was a fun environment and the perfect place to sip Tea Hives (vodka, elderflower, orange blossom and chamomile tea) while getting to know the locals.
We started our day with a latte and a fresh mozzarella, avocado omelette on a croissant at the locale favorite, Bodega Ultima. This indoor/outdoor Mediterranean style restaurant is known for their use on Tandoor ovens in lieu of traditional Spanish style grills. Located in the Surrey Center their doors are open for breakfast and lunch everyday and dinner on the weekends.
The Augusta Canal, a National Heritage area, was our next stop. We boarded a Petersburg boat that was well used after the American Civil War to transported goods between Petersburg and Augusta. During the canal boat tour, we learned about the 19th century textile mills, the Confederate Powder works and two of Georgia’s only remaining 18th Century ‘shot-gun’ houses. I’d highly recommend a Petersburg open air boat tour to learn about the history of Augusta and how the canal played an important part of the city’s history.
It was finally time to explore Broad Street; Augusta’s main street filled with eclectic shops, art exhibits, antique stores, dining and more. We popped into The Book Tavern and Purely Painted Market as well as a few other boutiques before we headed to the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is a park filled with water views of the Savannah River. The leaves were just turning yellow and burnt orange — making it a truly picturesque walk.
The Hive was the perfect excuse to relax and unwind after shopping + walking along the river. I LOVED this lunch spot. It’s a modern yet low-key restaurant with over 70 beers, ciders and wines on tap located on 10th Street. I ordered a craft cocktail with the Teriyaki bowl and I ate every bit of it. I could eat at The Hive every day for lunch.
After lunch, we visited the c. 1897 Sacred Heart Cultural Center located in the Historic District. Sacred Heart, a former Catholic Church, was saved from demolition and is now a thriving Cultural Center. While in Augusta, be sure to check out Sacred Heart for their events such as their annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. It’s based on the traditional English Christmas program that originated at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge University, England. My husband and I always attend our home church’s Lessons and Carols so I’m sad to miss! Each spring they also host the Sacred Heart Garden Festival which includes landscape and floral exhibitions, a market of plants and accessories and a tour of private gardens!
My last stop was the Surrey Center for an afternoon of shopping! Some of my favorite shops were Shoes at Surrey, Charleston Street, New York Butcher Shop and Shop Julep! The premiere shopping plaza is located on Highland Avenue just a few minutes from the Partridge Inn. I came home with a few tops and a dress for New Year’s Eve! So that was certainly a productive shopping trip!
I had such a fun + memorable trip and I can’t wait to visit Augusta again! If you’re headed to Augusta for a girls weekend or the 2018 Masters Tournament, I’d definitely pin this post and check out the stops while you’re in town!
Special thanks to the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau team for such a thoughtful and tailored trip for Lavin Label! Also, thank you to the homeowners for such personal + inspiring tours of your homes!
Photography by Monica Lavin, Lavin Label