Georgia’s Historic Heartland is the region nestled between Atlanta and Augusta. This three-day itinerary from Explore Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, visits a trio of Historic Heartland cities — Athens, Milledgeville and Macon — sampling their antebellum history and culinary delights.


Terrapin Beer Company, Athens, Ga.
Terrapin Beer Company, Athens, Ga.
Photo: Athens CVB
Start exploring in Athens, a city that exemplifies Georgia’s mix of the Old and the New South. Travel to the University of Georgia campus for a quick tour, followed by a visit to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. This 313-acre botanical garden on the Middle Oconee River includes numerous themed gardens and an expansive conservatory.

Meet the guide from Classic City Tours and visit some of Athens’ antebellum homes. Step into the Taylor-Grady House for a catered lunch. This National Historic Landmark is the collegiate home of newspaper editor Henry W. Grady, largely credited with establishing the perception of the New South following the Civil War.

Head to downtown Athens for a tour of the Terrapin Beer Company. Listen to the guide’s fun and informative talk, enjoy live music and sample the fresh brews.

Stay downtown for dinner. Enjoy the Southern flavors at celebrity chef Hugh Acheson’s 5 & 10 or the hearty dishes at the Branded Butcher. For the balance of the evening, remain downtown and sample Athens’ active music scene.


In the morning, arrive in Milledgeville, the onetime capital city of Georgia. A trolley tour is the best way to experience the city’s historical sites. Visit the Old Governor’s Mansion, which served as the primary residence for Georgia governors from 1838 to 1868; St. Stephens Episcopal Church; and the Old State Capitol.

Follow with lunch at one of the downtown Milledgeville eateries.

After some time to browse the shops, travel to Andalusia Farm, home to 20th-century author Flannery O’Connor.

This evening, head to downtown Macon for supper at Michael’s on Mulberry.


Hay House, Macon, Ga
Hay House, Macon, Ga
Photo: Group Tour Media/Courtney Rivette
Start the morning at the downtown Macon Welcome Center. View the colorful exhibits, watch the introductory video Song & Soul of the South and do some shopping.

Arrive at the Hay House for a guided tour of the circa 1855 elegant mansion, watched over by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Another historic home will provide the setting for lunch. The Federated Garden Clubs of Macon will host the group for a Southern-style meal at its headquarters, the Neel House.

Step back in time — way back — at the Ocmulgee National Monument. Explore 17,000 years of Native American history as a park ranger shows the earthen mounds left by an earlier civilization.

For dinner this evening, enjoy New American cuisine with a Southern twist. The chefs from Edgar’s Hospitality will prepare a feast for the group at the Anderson Conference Center. Edgar’s works to train students from the culinary arts program of Helms College, and meals served at the special event center help support education programs and placement services.

Explore Georgia
(800) 847-4842

Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau
(706) 357-4430

Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau
(800) 768-3401 

Milledgeville Convention and Visitors Bureau
(800) 653-1804