~The annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Ga. begins today~
Dates for this year’s Pinkest Party on Earth are March 21-30, 2014
My family moved to Macon in 1967 when I was 8 years old. I currently reside in a suburb of Macon so I have been here for about 47 years. I am certainly a local. I’d like to share with you some of the local favorites. If you are attending the Cherry Blossom Festival, please tell me about it in the comments. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about Macon or the middle Georgia area.
This is the 32nd year of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon. As you might imagine, it has grown through the years. Popular events have grown even more popular. Many events have been added through the years. This year is no different, they are quite a few additional events this year!
There are tour buses which will serve to transport our guests by the most beautiful old southern homes and mansions adorned with gorgeous Cherry Blossom trees. Sometimes, if nature cooperates, the Cherry Blossom trees are actually in full bloom during some part of the festival.
Hay House. The city of Macon is rich with history and antebellum homes. There are a few beautiful southern mansions and historic homes to tour while in Macon but please don’t miss the Hay House! Also known as the Johnson-Felton Hay House, there are 7 levels to tour! The home is furnished with period furniture and furnishings. The Hay House is a local favorite location for events, particularly weddings. You can read about my daughter’s Hay House wedding here.
Cox Capitol Theatre. Take in an event at the Cox Capitol. There are a variety of events held there during the course of the festival, something of interest to everyone. Originally opened in 1916, the exquisite architecture lends itself to a true southern experience. While in high school, my best friend, Renee and I decided to ride the bus downtown and go see the movie, The Exorcist, at the Cox. I still remember how people got up and ran out of the theatre during a particularly frightening part of that movie. Many years later, Renee and I along with our husbands, attended a high school reunion event at the Cox. Read more about the Cox and find an event to attend during the Cherry Blossom Festival by going here.
Central City Park. There are a plethora of events taking place during the entire course of the festival at Central City Park. We always go downtown to enjoy a nice day at the Park. We are animal lovers so we enjoy taking in the animal shows, particularly the dogs catching Frisbee’s competition. This is the best place to eat ‘fair food’ and let the children ride some fair rides, view the exhibits which this year includes a gigantic sand sculpture inside one of the buildings. Central City Park is also the location of historic Luther Williams Field which has served as a location for a number of movies. Among the movies filmed at Luther Williams Field is , 42 with Harrison Ford, The Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars & Motor Kings with Burt Reynolds, and Trouble With the Curve with Clint Eastwood. To read more about movies filmed in the central Georgia area go here. To read more about Central City Park go to gatewaymacon.org
Mulberry Street Arts & Crafts Festival. (March 29-30 10am-5pm) This is a huge event with a tremendous variety of vendors. The route includes views of many of Macon’s historic downtown buildings including the white marble William Augustus Bootle Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse building completed in 1908. The International Food Fair is part of this event as well providing a nice selection of cultural meal choices prepared while you watch.
Tunes & Balloons Fireworks Finale: This is another Don’t Miss event! Many years ago when we lived ‘in town’, this event was held at Wesleyan College and we could see the balloons from our house. Now it is held at Middle Ga. State College (mine and my husbands alma mater) and is a much larger event including musical entertainment and a magnificent fireworks display. Bring your blankets and a picnic! read more about it here.
There are many more events to participate in and see during the Cherry Blossom Festival. These are just a few that we don’t like to miss and you would enjoy as well. Go here for more information about the 2014 Cherry Blossom Festival.
Where the Locals Eat
Anytime we are visiting another city, I always want to know where the locals eat, don’t you? While there is nothing wrong with chain restaurants, local restaurants offer charm, ambience and great food. This is a list of some of the restaurants which are popular with the locals.
The Bears Den 1191 Oglethorpe St. Macon, GA 31207 478-745-9909; Dine in or take out. Southern home cooking! Former President Bill Clinton ate here.
Greek Corner Deli 587 Cherry St, Macon, GA 31201 (478) 254-3059. Fabulous Greek food with the very best Gyro!
Macon Downtown Grill: 562 Mulberry Street Lane (478) 742-5999. A more upscale dining experience located in an alley off Mulberry St. Valet parking is available. Reservations recommended.
Nu Way: 430 Cotton Avenue Macon, GA 31201 (478) 743-1368. The Cotton Ave location is the oldest having opened in 1916! This is the location that Oprah visited on her Oprah’s Favorites visit to Macon. Nu Way is the local’s favorite place for the famous red hot dog! Their Mega Burger is also fabulous! To find more locations for Nu Way go here.
Fish N’ Pig: 6420 Moseley Dixon Road on Lake Tobesofkee in Macon, 478/476-8837. Lakefront dining with your choice of some of the very best seafood or bar-b-q available. Live bands perform most every weekend. You can get fried alligator here! Plan to arrive early or be prepared to wait! This place is quite popular with the locals! They have really cool décor! To view their website go here.
Ingleside Village Pizza: 2395 Ingleside Avenue, Macon, Georgia 31204 478-750-8488. (Also in Mercer Village at1635 Montpelier Ave. Macon, GA 478-743-4113) If it’s pizza you’re craving, this will be the right place! Another local favorite with awesome décor and ambience. Be sure to order the sloppy breadsticks! You can order pizza by the slice or a whole pizza. Read their menu here.
Natalia’s: 201 N. Macon St. Macon, Ga. 31210 (478) 741 – 1380. Another one of Macon’s premier Fine Dining restaurant’s. Natalia’s is accessible right off I-75 at Bass Rd. Harrison Ford dined here while in town filming the movie “42”. Local Oncologist, Dr. Frederick Schnell who was my Mom’s oncologist, hears on a daily basis how much he looks like Harrison Ford. What do you think?
Johnny V’s: 5854 Columbus Rd Macon, GA 31206 (478) 474-0488. Located less than 1 mile from the location of the Tunes and Balloons event, Johnny V’s is off the beaten path. Their local clientele favors them not only for their hot dogs and burgers with chili on top, but also for their marvelous southern breakfast. Momma V makes the biscuits from scratch! Fair warning, it gets super busy in there during peak lunch hours, be patient! They have a drive thru so call ahead and order a sack full of hot dogs to take to the Tunes and Balloons event! My husband insist on having lunch at Johnny V’s every time he has a holiday from work. George, the owner, puts our well done fries on to cook when we walk in the door!
There is much to see and do in Macon, Ga. during the International Cherry Blossom Festival. I have certainly not covered it all but just a few events we like to catch. I have shared only a few of the restaurants favored by local residents covering a variety of cuisine choices. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the Macon area. If I don’t know the answer, I will try to steer you in the right direction. If you can’t attend the Cherry Blossom Festival, I would encourage you to consider a visit to Macon in the future for any of the marvelous events going on year round and for touring the historic Macon downtown area with all of it’s antebellum homes. We are only 80 miles south of Atlanta!
Read More about Macon. 30 Things You Need To Know About Macon Before You Move There here.