March 11, 2006

Social Circle

The Georgia Governor’s mansion or “Sonny’s House” is open three days per week for one and a half hours a day. During that time you can tour, for free, the whole first floor of the house. If you are ever in Atlanta, on a day and time when it is open, I highly recommend it, not for the new house (only 40 years), nor the collected antiques (bought and installed by interior deocrators), but for the tour guides.

Every room of the house is assigned to one guide and each guide only works one shift a month. On my visit all the guides were retired, southern women. They were lovely. Not only did they tell us all they knew about their room and their take on the mansion as a whole, they shared other stories. One woman told us about her trip to Japan, another about how she too was from the mid-west and couldn’t believe how she picked up the accent.

Most memorable was a true southern lady, who, when she heard I recently moved to the south, grabbed my hands in hers, looked deep into my eyes and told me that I must visit Social Circle. Social Circle, I learned, is famous for its antebellum homes and one particular Inn. She completely ignored everyone else, focusing all her attention and eye contact on me. In addition to Social Circle, I must, must, must visit Madison and Augusta. Handily, these are all on the same stretch of I-20.

As she was holding my hands, looking into my eyes for the second or third time, SB, who had been side tracked by a different lady, across the house, noticed the attention being given to me. He later said that as he watched our interaction unfold, he began wondering if he was going to need to step in, to rescue me from being taken off by the cult of southern bells. Luckily, I was able to break free before being in, but I admit, I was tempted.

Her final tip was a visit to Milledgeville in the north Georgia mountains, where the original Governor’s home is located. This, I’ve been told is best visited in the fall, when the leaves our changing. Also, up in these same mountains is a motorcycle only campground, which may also merit a visit. (This last tip did not come from the southern bell, obviously.)

I’m hoping we can take a long weekend in April for a road trip. There are so many fun places to explore, not only the I-20 tour, but Savana, Charleston, Ashville and Chatanooga.

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