Editor’s note: We were the guests of Hay House, The Big House and Visit Macon for part of this trip.
When you walk through downtown Macon, Ga. you feel it. The soulful sounds of a man gone too soon. The strumming of electric guitars that gave birth to southern rock. The pounding piano playing of a man singing about Sally and Lucille. Macon is “Where Soul Lives” and it’s not just in the music of Otis Redding, The Allman Brothers Band, Little Richard and others who have made their mark on the city.
Macon’s soul is rooted in the Native American Heritage at the Ocmulgee National Monument, in the gifted athletes at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, in the spirit of Harriet Tubman, and in the beautiful homes that line the hills of the city’s streets. Macon surprises, thrills and inspires.
The city has so many things to do visitors cannot pack them into one weekend or even a few days. Visitors can start with Macon’s oldest history at the Ocmulgee National Monument. The museum teases visitors then directs them to the sites outdoors. Native Americans were in the area thousands of years ago and left their mounds, one with a lodge underneath.
Hay House tells the story of three Macon families—the Johnstons, the Feltons and the Hays. The house has two “modern conveniences” for its time. A ventilation system kept the 18,000 square-foot house cool in the Georgia heat while a speaker tube system allowed residents to communicate throughout the four-story mansion.
Macon has so much more history to explore. For 30 years the Tubman Museum has educated visitors about African-American history. And sports lovers may see some of their high school classmates and some athletes they admired in pictures displayed at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. These places only scratch the surface of all Macon has to offer.
But you can’t leave Macon without experiencing music history. The Cox Family Trust of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia partnered with Rock Candy Tours, NewTown Macon, and the Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association to create the Historic Macon Music Registry. You can look for the round plaques that tell the story behind a historic musical event. Rock Candy Tours gives visitors an in-depth look at the city’s music history.
The Big House Museum at 2321 Vineville Avenue takes visitors back to the early beginnings of the southern rock movement. The museum features more than guitars, drums and posters. You can see how the iconic Allman Brothers Band lived with their families on the second story of the house. And yes, Cher spent some time there, too.
The Rookery, one of Macon’s oldest downtown restaurants, pays homage to the city’s history. You can order a burger with peanut butter and bacon, a favorite of former president and Georgia governor Jimmy Carter. The Allman burger has swiss cheese and sautéed mushrooms. And if you are really brave, you can try the Jerry Reed burger with pepperjack cheese and jalapenos.
Macon is not a place you want to just read about. You need to go and soak up all of the history, culture and inspiration. Follow us on Instagram for more pictures from Macon. What are some of your favorite Macon memories?