Since banding together in 1979, the historians at Atlanta Preservation Center have helped ward off packs of angry bulldozers from more than 175 endangered buildings. Working alongside local government, businesses, and community leaders, the preservation team has saved elaborate structures including the Peters House and Winecoff Hotel. In addition, its headquarters—the 1856 Grant Mansion in Grant Park—is one of just three antebellum houses left in Atlanta and the team is currently working to restore the building to its architecturally accurate origins. When it isn’t keeping delicate treasures from crumbling, the Atlanta Preservation Center leads walking tours of historic areas and tells embarrassing stories from the days when the city’s buildings were just a bunch of baby bricks.
The opening scene of Forrest Gump follows a feather as it floats above Savannah's rooftops, a view seen from the Sorrel-Weed House, where the scene was filmed. Completed between 1839 and 1840, the now-iconic building was distinguished as a state landmark in 1954—only the second house in Georgia to receive that honor. Today, during historic tours, guests patter down the same corridors where onetime houseguest General Robert E. Lee once practiced hacky sack, or track spirits during ghostly explorations of the home's creepy quarters. Southern history pervades each visit as guests catch glimpses of the house’s antique decor and Greek revival architecture.
Though The Odyssey has earned acclaim for documenting history’s most iconic journey, Mary Charles Howard has won over her customers by focusing on a more commonplace one—food’s journey from the farm to the table. As the owner of Athens Food Tours, an establishment named the best in Athens by Tripadvisor, she and her team guide gourmands to local eateries such as The Grit, Agua Linda, Kelly’s Jamaican, and Copper Street Brew Pub. Their walking tours send peripatetic palates through specific neighborhoods, such as Prince Avenue, the downtown area, or Normaltown, named for its distinction of being the only area to have successfully banned talking dogs. On each tour, guests mingle with chefs and sample their concoctions, but guides also incorporate factoids on non-culinary topics such as history, local music, and architecture.
The Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage invites visitors to embark on self-guided treks through the region's rich heritage along a 100-mile trail connecting the seven historic Georgia communities of Athens, Watkinsville, Madison, Eatonton, Milledgeville, Old Clinton, and Macon. Four house museums open their doors to curious guests in Athens, and in Milledgeville, history buffs can stroll through Georgia's Old Capital museum, nestled within the same building where state legislators voted to secede from the Union. More historic sites abound in Ideville, which hosts the preserved battlefield upon which soldiers fought the Battle of Griswoldville, and historical reenactments thrive in Old Clinton, where spectators can witness a restaging of the federal occupation of Clinton every first weekend in May. Attendees compelled by more recent history can stop by the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House in Macon, which salutes the artists and the band of whistling peaches that got their start in the state. To help visitors choose between all of the possible attractions, Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage also suggests three must-sees in each community.
Maria and Stephen started Wine Hikers to help them get outside and forget their desk jobs. On weekends, they and their fellow hikers journey out to explore the pristine wilderness around Helen, Georgia. Their one-hour hikes start at a predetermined location, then they head out to hike through the North Georgia Mountains' trails. At the post-hike wine tasting, hikers sip on some of a wineries' best offerings and can, if they so choose, say a few words for all the grapes that lost their lives to give them that wine.
Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery sprawls across more than 100 acres?and on 6th Sense World's tour of the legendary burial grounds, guides share tales of its happenings and legendary residents, including novelist Conrad Aiken, Little Gracie, and Johnny Mercer. Other popular walking tours of Savannah cover topics such as poltergeists, exorcisms, and missing cemeteries on treks that are typically one-half mile to one mile long.