Thirty days has September,
April, June and November.
Unless a leap year is its fate,
February has twenty-eight.
All the rest have three days more,
Which has six thousand,
One hundred and eighty-four.
By Lynn Hobbs
Winter seemed to hit Georgia’s Lake Country and the rest of the Southern U.S.A. with all its might this year. Whether the ferocious winds, frigid nighttime temperatures and torrential rains are because of El Nino, Artic Oscillation, Climate Change, Mother Nature’s perimenopause or Old Man Winter’s blustery mood is for weather experts, political candidates, and pundits to debate instead of me.
All I know is many of the days have not been conducive to boating excursions on the lakes, walks along area trails or parks, rounds of golf or tennis matches with friends, or evening fireside chats on the patio. But the communities around the lakes offer so much more to tickle your fancy during these gray, wintry days and make them bright. Listed below in no particular order:
Explore small towns nearby
Gray, Monticello, Rutledge, Buckhead, Covington, Social Circle, and Watkinsville have places to browse, shop, and eat. Union Point and Woodville each have a barbecue restaurant the locals love. Crawfordville has a lot of history for history buffs to discover, although we know of no places there to dine or shop. Thirteen movies have been made there, so movie buffs might recognize a scene or two.
Take a leisurely walk …
along the trail around the pond at Lake Oconee Professional Village and feed or watch the ducks, turtles, geese, or herons. From the pond, walk up the hill sidewalk to the other side of the Village (a workout!!) and reward yourself with a warm (or cold) drink at PJ’s Coffee.
Treat your eyes
Find unique gifts or décor and treat your eyes with a visit to The Artisans Village Art Gallery in downtown Eatonton; the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art in Buckhead; Madison Artists Guild Gallery (MAGallery) in Madison; Madison-Morgan Cultural Center in Madison; and the Allied Arts’ Allen’s Market or John Marlor Art Center in Milledgeville. Other eye candy can be found at Georgia College’s galleries – the Underwood House Gallery and Museum of Fine Art, Heritage Hall, or Leland Gallery in Milledgeville; and at Genuine Georgia Artisan Market in downtown Greensboro.
Dance the night away
Shag off the blues with lessons taught by the Lake Oconee Shag Club on the first Wednesday of every month at Oconee Brewing Company, downtown Greensboro. Basic steps instruction is 6-7 p.m. and dance time is 7-8 p.m. Free for Shag Club members, $5 for non-members.
Try a new recipe
Area grocery stores have recipe cards (and the ingredients)! Or visit in person or via social
media The Kitchen Store and More in Harmony Crossing, Olive + Hive in Lake Oconee Village, Ripe Thing in downtown Greensboro, or Farmview in Madison for fresh, new ideas.
Check out the library
Each local public library not only is stocked with books galore, but hosts a variety of events, classes and clubs for adults as well as children. The libraries also offer passes to Georgia State Parks, historic sites, nature centers, museums, theatres, and Atlanta Zoo and Aquarium. A variety of digital services also are available. Visit www.azalealibraries.org.
Shop till you drop
Browse a new-to-you boutique or locally owned business in the Lake Oconee Professional Village, Harmony Crossing, and all of the local cities’ downtowns.
Burn some energy
Each of the local counties’ Recreation Departments and Recreation Centers offer indoor sports fun ranging from basketball to pickleball, volleyball and more. Baldwin County Recreation Dept. 478-445-0785, Greene County Rec Dept. 706-486-2251, Morgan County Rec Dept. 706-342-0588, Putnam County Rec Dept. 706-485-8565.
Explore from a chair
Read Lakelife! Find other stories and previous issues at www.lakelife.today. Also, find books by local authors at the Georgia Writers Museum in downtown Eatonton, and at MAGallery in downtown Madison. Or read and recycle used books at your local library or at Walls of Books in Milledgeville.
Go in circles
Harmonize with nature
All botanicals (except evergreens) may be shriveled and brown right now, but Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch in Eatonton still has beautiful birds to watch, an abundance of natural seating for reflection, and outside instruments for making music. Or observe the activity in a bee hive and learn about honey bees at the Sparta-Hancock Library (see story on this website).
Get revved up
Take a brisk walk along Lake Country’s downtown sidewalks and warm up with a cup of deliciously roasted specialty coffee from Oconee Coffee Roasters in Madison, Sylvia’sSupernatural Coffee Bar in Eatonton, Bonnie’s Coffee Shop in Greensboro, or Blackbird Coffee in Milledgeville.
Relax and renew
Refresh your mind and body with a spa visit at Southern Laser Medical Spa on Harmony Road; The Ritz-Carlton Lake Oconee; ZEN Relaxing Wellness Center in Madison; Bluebonnet Spa on Old Phoenix; or Serenity Wellness in Milledgeville.
Travel back in time
Learn local histories and discover new surprises at the Old School History Museum, Uncle Remus Museum, and Georgia Writers Museum in downtown Eatonton; The Lake Oconee Discovery Museum and Greene County African American Museum in Greensboro; and/or the Morgan County African American Museum, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, and Heritage Hall in Madison.
Venture over into Baldwin County and find many more museums, including but not limited to Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion, Andalusia Farm, Central State Hospital Campus, and the Sallie Ellis Davis House. Milledgeville also offers Trolley tours of its historical sites and Central State Hospital.
Or do an online search of Historical Markers near you and find even more interesting surprises! Visit online Historical Marker Database (www.hmdb.org) or Georgia Historical Markers (http://www.georgiaplanning.com/hm/).
Keep on keepin’ on
Hopefully by now other ideas are coming to mind (check the "Lake Resources tab on this website and click on "Attractions"). Whether it’s antiquing, taking an art or craft class at a local gallery or small business, going out on the lake with a fishing guide, trying a new restaurant ("Lake Resources" then "Restaurants" on this website), trying new equipment or class at a gym, volunteering at a local charity or organization, or attending
a play or concert or www.lakelife.today/events, Lake Country is overflowing with ways to truly experience lake life, the best life!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This story appeared in Lakelife magazine, Volume 18, Issue 1, and is the property of Smith Communications, Inc. No portions of the story or photos may be copied or used without written consent from the publisher.