Staycation in Americus

Published 1:29 pm Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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By: Nicole Kirksey, TMP, FEP

Director of Tourism

COVID-19 has many of you struggling with how to balance cancelled vacation plans, cost-effective measures for travel, and what to do with a family that has spent the last couple of months quarantining at home. The City of Americus’s Tourism Department is here to help. Let’s start with the idea of Staycation.

Just what is staycation?

  • a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

Simple as that.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to share with you ways to staycation right here in Georgia’s Sumter County. This week we are going to start with: Americus.

You may have lived here your whole life, but have you really seen Americus? As someone who only moved here four years ago, I can speak from first-hand experience that there is a lot to offer a family. Take a moment and experience your hometown with fresh eyes and perspective.

To get started, stop by the Americus Visitor Center located at 101 West Lamar Street on the first floor of the Municipal Building (also known as City Hall.) We are open 9 am until 5pm Monday – Friday and 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays. Inside you will find everything you need to begin your staycation. For one, we have the actual brochures to just about every town in the State of Georgia, and specifically, for Americus. There is also a wall that has a variety of “Top Ideas” if you are traveling with your family, grandkids, teenagers, or if you happen to love art or history or the out-of-doors. There are a wide variety of Americus-Pride souvenirs, all under $25, and most under $10. Grab a T-shirt and a new travel coffee mug and head on down the street to Café Campesino. Have the barista fill up your mug with Georgia’s first and only fair trade, organic coffee. Café Campesino Coffeehouse is located at 134 West Lamar Street. They offer breakfast and lunch. For an added layer of safety, take your breakfast frittata and latte out onto their patio and marvel at the amazing BestWestern Plus Historic Windsor Hotel across the street.

Once you finish your breakfast, cross over to the 1892 Victorian masterpiece known as the Historic Windsor Hotel. The Patel family welcomes you to come into the lobby and explore the hotel (even if you aren’t a guest!) It occupies nearly an entire city block and was the site of numerous balls and celebrations. While exploring, make sure to make your way to the second floor and walk out onto the Verandah and see all of downtown. You can even just sit in the rocking chairs and enjoy the breeze. After you have soaked up all the Windsor has to offer, make sure to pop across to Forsyth Street and explore The Maze, located at the corner of Forsyth and Jackson. Discover an eclectic mix of antiques, home décor, women’s fashion, baby gifts, furniture and so much more.

Before you grab a bit of lunch, make sure to check out the other boutiques downtown on Lamar Street, Jackson Street, and Forsyth Street. You can visit the Kinnebrew Company, Threes Company Too, Pointer Mercantile, Code Black, and so many more. Got a bride to shop for? Check out Minick Interiors. Families could easily spend an entire day exploring, shopping, and eating their way through downtown Americus.

When it comes to lunch options, you simply can’t find more of a variety of cuisine in the region! Everything from Gyros & Baklava at Gyro City Mediterranean Grill to the local favorite hot dog spot – Monroe’s. Craving pizza? Roman Oven or Pat’s Place is calling. Meat & Three? Granny’s, Gladys’, Madea’s or the Sheppard’s House might do the trick. Seafood? The Fish House will have you feeling like you are spending a day at the beach. Mexican & Chinese, wings & fast food – all are waiting for you to partake in.

At 2pm each day, our tourism department offers tours! Small, guided tours are buy one get one free for Sumter County residents, plus all children under 17 are free! The tickets are $5, and you can choose from an Architectural Walking Tour of Downtown (which includes the Windsor and the Historic Rylander Theatre,) an African American Heritage Tour by Trolley, a Haunted History Walking Tour, and two different cemetery tours: Oak Grove and East View cemetery. These tours are on-going, and all you have to do is call the Americus Visitor Center at 229-928-6059.

Want to get out and move around? Check out Americus KOA (formally known as Americus Brickyard,) at 1619 Hwy 280 East (going out toward Leslie.) You’ll quickly discover the golfing pleasures of this campground that comes with its own Scottish links-style regulation course. Play a round on the walk-friendly course or try a variation of the traditional game with foot golf or disc golf. You don’t have to camp to access the fun! Or if you want to stay a little closer to town, check out Griffin Bell Golf Course on South Lee Street.  There is even a family-friendly walking trail at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center. Get the kids out and enjoy the fresh air and time in nature. Using these sites and any one of the many city parks, you could easily take a picnic and relax safely outside.

When things get back to a “new normal” we would encourage you to check out Hot Glass Academy, Mobile Glass blowing, Café Campesino Roastery, and 13th Colony Distillery. You don’t have to wait to visit Sumter County’s first and only winery, Wolf Creek Planation, located at 207 Wolf Creek Drive. Free tastings and beautiful grounds to explore make this winery a delightful way to spend an afternoon. While you are out that way, we would also encourage you to visit Koinonia Farm, located at 1324 Georgia HWY 49 S in Americus. It’s a community that’s committed to peace and social justice, and has a working farm with animals, gardens, orchards, walking trails, a store and a museum. It’s also the birthplace of Clarence Jordan’s writings, Habitat for Humanity, the Fuller Center for Housing, Jubilee Partners and many other organizations and causes. Make sure to call ahead for visiting information at 229 – 924 – 0391.

And we can’t forget Rudy’s Happy Patch at Perry Wellness Center and Lenny’s Farmers Market in downtown Americus. Spending an afternoon picking out fresh fruit and veggies to take back home is a simple treat for families.

As you can see, there is plenty to see and do right now in Americus. (And we only scratched the surface.) We encourage each of you to stop by the Americus Visitor Center for more information and a detailed map on where to go and what to do. Remember to: Mask Up, wash your hands, and socially distance.  Take advantage of all of the fantastic history, art, and recreation in your own backyard!