There’s more to Augusta than the Masters
Monday, March 22, 2010
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Mention Augusta and inevitably people think of the Masters. Augusta, more than any other city, is defined by its signature tournament. That said, the city does offer other attractions if you’re visiting during tournament week or any other time of the year.
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This bi-level walkway along the Savannah River is convenient to downtown restaurants, the Marriott Hotel & Suites, the largest hotel in town, and the Museum of History. It’s also where you’ll find the Jessye Norman Amphitheater, named for the celebrated soprano who hails from Augusta, and Fort Discovery, which is affiliated with the National Science Center and has more than 250 hands-on exhibits.
Even better, it’s just steps away from The Boll Weevil and its par 5-sized desserts. Bring the rest of your foursome if you hope to have any chance of finishing a slice of the 7th Heaven Cake.
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Augusta Canal Interpretive Center
Long before Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts created the National, local lawyer Henry Cumming transformed Augusta into a manufacturing center in the mid-1800s by persuading city leaders to build the Augusta Canal. This story is told through the Interpretive Center’s interactive displays.
You can finish with a Petersburg boat cruise, which lasts one to three hours, up the canal. Better yet, if you have a large group, consider chartering a boat. For $500, you can take as many as 49 people, and refreshments, on a three-hour trip to the headgates at Savannah Rapids Park.
Contact: augustacanal.com; 706-823-04400
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Augusta Museum of History
With Masters week approaching, executive director Nancy Glaser is busy finalizing a new display called, “Celebrating a Grand Tradition, the Sport of Golf.” It will include separate displays for four historic local clubs: Palmetto, Augusta, Forest Hills and Augusta National.
“The National is really the baby of the group,” Glaser reminds visitors.
Nearby will be displays honoring Bobby Jones and other golf icons. Baseball fans also should check out an exhibit called, “From Ty to Cal,” honoring Ty Cobb, the Georgia Peach, and Cal Ripken Jr., owner of the Class A Augusta GreenJackets.
And you have to make time to see the exhibit dedicated to favorite son James Brown. Aside from his albums (yes, kids, albums – not CDs) and outrageous outfits, the exhibit includes remnants from the salon he kept in his home to maintain his impeccable shock of hair.
Contact: augustamuseum.org; 706-722-8454
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The Partridge Inn
Designated one of the Historic Hotels of America, this 144-room hotel, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary, combines modern amenities with elegant Old South charm. There’s more than a quarter-mile of balconies, many with rocking chairs overlooking downtown Augusta. Sunday brunch at the Verandah Grill is famous around town. The Partridge is a tough get during Masters week but a great option before or after the tournament.
Contact: partridgeinn.com; 800-476-6888