It is the start of 2020 and this year is the absolutely perfect time to visit Milledgeville! We’ve got a whole new year ahead of us and that means a whole new year of possibilities! We have so many great experiences coming up and we hope you use this blog as a checklist to get them all done. Let’s dive into the top 20 things you can do in Milledgeville to celebrate 2020!
1. African American Heritage Tour
Join us as we celebrate Black History Month in February with an African American Heritage Trolley Tour. The tour will highlight the African American heritage of the town. Learn Milledgeville’s history while traveling through town on February 9th and 23rd at 2 pm. You’ll visit the Sallie Ellis Davis House, hear about Wilkes Flagg, a leader in the black community who purchased his own freedom and organized Flagg Chapel Baptist Church and served as the pastor for 28 years, and learn about the center of African American commerce known as “the strip”. For more information, contact the Milledgeville CVB.
2. Andalusia Farm
Owned by Georgia College since 2017, Andalusia Farm was the home of Flannery O’Conner, one of Georgia’s most celebrated writers. During the 13 years she lived at Andalusia, she completed the bulk of her literary work, as the farm’s environment influenced the setting of many of her writings. Andalusia Farm now serves as a museum that cares for and exhibits items from Flannery’s time on the property in the 1950's. The home is open for public tours and is on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll even see the infamous peacocks on the property when you visit!
3. Sallie Ellis Davis House
Visit the Sallie Ellis Davis House, owned by Georgia College and State University, and home of a dedicated Baldwin County educator. Davis was an inspiration and a pillar of the African American community in segregated Milledgeville. The home also housed student boarders who would have otherwise not have been able to attend school because they lived long distances from town. This hidden gem is the perfect attraction for a winter’s day.
4. Georgia College Planetarium and Natural History Museum
Visit the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras and see fossils from Georgia and all around the world! Located in Herty Hall, the Natural History Museum offers an explanation of the history of life through geological time. The collection includes fossils from Georgia as well as other U.S. and international localities. The museum is free and open to the public, making it the perfect afternoon destination for the whole family! You can also visit the observatory and experience a show. Shows for the public occur once a month during the academic year in conjunction with the public observatory nights (usually the first Friday of the month, weather permitting).
5. Christmas in Milledgeville
The holiday season is one of the most wonderful times of the year and Milledgeville is planning 2020 to be even better! Historic homes deck their halls with cheer, local restaurants and coffee shops serve up festive flavors, and colorful lights twinkle throughout downtown. There’s simply so much to do here in the holiday season it’s impossible to list it all!
6. Historic doll wedding...we’re not kidding!
One of the best historic attractions in town is Georgia's Old Governor’s Mansion. The beautiful home is one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the nation. Completed in 1839, the house has served as a background for major Southern historical events and is the perfect place to learn about Antebellum history. On March 28, Georgia's Old Governor’s Mansion will hold it’s annual Doll Wedding. The event reenacts an actual event that took place in the house where Mary Virginia Brown wanted her dolls eternally bonded and a local Baptist Minister married her dolls with all the splendor of a real wedding. Attendees can marry their own dolls, attend a tea, and learn about what life was like for women and children in the Antebellum era.
7. Historic Walking Tour
Spring is the perfect time to get your steps in, and this tour is a great way to do it. Pick up a brochure at the Welcome Center and follow our guide to 44 different historic properties around town. You’ll learn more about Milledgeville than you ever thought possible! Each location has information about the year built, architectural style, and historical significance. Work your way around town with this tour and you’ll be sure to hit your step count!
8. Rose Hill at Lockerly Arboretum and Sip Some Wine in the Woods
Constructed in 1852, Rose Hill is even more beautiful with colorful blooms surrounding it. You can take a self-guided tour of the property for a small fee or wander around Lockerly Arboretum itself for free. Spring is also the perfect time to experience one of their Wine in the Woods events where you can see the property at a different time of day. Wine in the Woods is $10 for members and $15 for non-members to attend. These events are very popular so make sure to get your tickets in advance.
9. Milledgeville’s Film Festival
The ME (Milledgeville-Eatonton) Film Festival is one of May’s top events and is going on its 7th year! The six-day festival is a celebration for filmmakers by filmmakers. The event is branded as being a Southern Gothic themed event and is filled with unique opportunities for those who attend. Events include screenings in an outdoor midnight horror film viewing on the grounds of the abandoned Central State Hospital, a red carpet awards show with a Golden Globes style dinner, and a Sunday filmmaker’s brunch at Lockerly Arboretum.
10. Milly the Trolley
Experience our city from the comfy seats of Milly the Trolley! Our iconic form of transportation is ready to roll down the streets and show you all of Milledgeville’s best historic areas. Our daily trolley tours even take you into areas that are no longer open to the public, such as the Old Georgia Capitol building. This is a top can’t-miss Milledgeville attraction and it is even better in the spring!
11. Lake Sinclair
“The Cleanest Lake in the State” has over 500 miles of shoreline for you to explore this season! You can fish, water ski, camp, boat, and whatever else your heart desires, all within the 15,300 acres of Lake Sinclair. Head to Sinclair Marina to get absolutely everything you need for your water-based adventures.
12. Central State Tour
One of Milledgeville’s most popular tours is returning. Once a month, you will get a chance to ride the trolley through the campus of Central State Hospital. This was once the largest mental health facility the world had seen, but most of its buildings now stand vacant and abandoned. This tour is one of the few opportunities to learn the true history of the hospital. Hear stories from someone who worked there as you walk among 25,000 unmarked graves and gaze upon the Powell Building. This opportunity is not to be missed.
13. Oconee River Greenway
The Oconee River Greenway is a popular destination for nature lovers year-round, but the summer is the perfect time to experience all its beauty for yourself. Walk, jog, bike, or just relax on the shores of the Oconee River and explore the trails that make up the Greenway. Kayak or canoe down the river and see native bird and plant life on the undeveloped shores. Don't have a kayak? Make sure to head downtown to Oconee Outfitters or call Mac's Yaks to set up your kayak adventure! From sunrise to sunset, you can revel in the beauty of Milledgeville nature and soak up that summer sun.
14. Bartram Forest
If water sports aren’t your thing, head to Bartram Forest and walk or bike among the trees. Visitors can also visit education kiosks and pavilions to find out more about Milledgeville’s animal inhabitants while taking in the scenery. This area was originally occupied by Native Americans, but these educational trails now allow you to see centuries of wildlife and wetlands.
15. A Georgia sunset
Middle Georgia is home to some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world and Milledgeville is no exception. No matter where you are in town, the sky will fill with bright oranges, pinks, and yellows as the sun goes down for the evening. Staying on the lake, the reflections on the water are breathtaking. There’s even a place in town known by locals as “Sunset Fields” for the stunning views every evening. After a long day of tours and exploring, there’s no better way to end your Milledgeville journey than seeing a perfect sunset.
16. Deep Roots Festival
Milledgeville’s biggest festival is held every year in October. Deep Roots brings guests from far and wide to our little town where artists line the streets and music is played well into the night. Every year, different music acts play our main stage, local artists put their works on display, and the downtown streets are shut down as guests and locals alike flock the streets of Milledgeville. This is your perfect introduction to Southern culture and is an absolutely can’t-miss blast!
17. Haunted Trolley Tours
If you want something a little darker, take a ride to the other side on Milledgeville’s Haunted Trolley. When Halloween draws nearer, you’ll have the chance to socialize with some of Milledgeville’s happy haunts and visit their final resting places. Hear from the spirits themselves as they tell you their tales as darkness looms around you. Be careful, though. A ghost could follow you home.
18. Blackbird Coffee
Autumn is prime coffee season and Blackbird Coffee is the perfect place for a warm cup. Located in downtown, Blackbird is a local hotspot that serves just about any type of drink you can imagine. They always pull out specialty flavors during the holidays so you could even get your first pumpkin spice of the season there!
19. downtown Shopping
Fall means that the holidays are just around the corner and downtown is full of places to get started on that shopping list. From boutiques to antiques, you can get everything you need within the streets of downtown Milledgeville. Get cute clothing, delicious treats, or unique “only Milledgeville” gifts for your loved ones. It really won’t be hard to find something for everyone.
20. Fall Foliage
As the year comes to a close, revel in the beauty of nature one last time at Lockerly Arboretum, Bartram Forest, or Lake Sinclair. See the green of summer fade away into the vibrant colors of autumn at any of our outdoor destinations. Feel the cool breeze of the season as you reflect on your time in one of the best cities around.
Milledgeville can’t wait for you to come back next year, after all there's more to Milly.