Weekend in Albany, Georgia
Posted on 12/8/2021 by Rashelle
Situated an hour from I-10 and about 45 minutes from I-75, Southwest Georgia’s Albany is just perfect for an affordable weekend getaway or an overnight en route to points south and north. Even in December, temperatures are mild, and the great outdoors is the biggest showstopper! Shopping and dining are abundant and outdoor adventure is an entertaining complement to explorations in history and culture. This month, get away with family to make the most of the holidays.
Check out special holiday events all month long throughout Albany, such as the Festival of Lights at Chehaw. Drive through the lights, enjoy a hot cocoa and roast marshmallows by the fire pits. Lights run from 6-9 p.m., Dec. 10-11, 17-24 and 26. $8 per car for members of any Artesian Alliance organization and $10 per car for nonmembers. Now through December 31, the annual exhibit of Santas filling the Thronateeska Science Museum is sure to put visitors in the holiday spirit! Hundreds of versions of Jolly Old St. Nick document Santa’s appearance through the years and around the world. Take an ornament class at Pretoria Fields and Brewing and enjoy a night of sips and crafts with friends and family. Find these events and more at: https://visitalbanyga.com/events
Where to eat
Families will appreciate Harvest Moon for meals that satisfy everyone in the group. Drop by for a hearty slice of famous Harvest Pie pizza complete with pesto, grilled eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, tri-colored peppers, spinach and two kinds of cheese. Pair your pie with a craft beer and leave with a smile on your face. Blackbeard’s also offers an extensive, far-ranging menu, including barbecue, freshwater and ocean seafood, steaks, salads and more. Super hungry? Check out the Captain’s Platter. Celebrating a special occasion? Choose The Flint, aptly named for its location alongside the Flint River, and serving succulent Southern fare like fresh seafood sensations of Stuffed Flounder and Fried Catfish. At their new retail store, Sugar Mama’s Bakery offers creatively decorated cakes, cupcakes and cookies in delicious flavor combinations, as well as fudge, pies, ice cream and other sweet treats. Stock up for a wine-down or a celebration at Bottoms Up, a wine, beer and spirits shop with a wide and deep selection. A knowledgeable staff holds tastings to introduce customers to new libation ideas.
Where to stay
All well-planned trips begin with finding a good place for your evenings of rest. Everyone seems to have a favorite flagship hotel and chances are you’ll find one of yours in Albany. From Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn to Courtyard by Marriott and TownePlace Suites Albany, there are great options for couples, families and single travelers. To add a more local lodging experience to your getaway, look at a first-class, boutique-style inn. Merry Acres Inn was built in 1952, features 110 rooms and is a lovely historic inn that offers proximity to the heart of the city along with beautifully renovated spaces that create the ambiance of a bed and breakfast. Fabulous amenities are plentiful and second only to genuine hospitality and sweet Southern charm. Drop in at the Manor House Pub at Merry Acres for good eats and drinks or take their shuttle service to select area restaurants.
Malls, boutiques and specialty stores provide plenty of shopping. New locally owned additions include Rebel Dolls, specializing in standout, youthful clothing and accessories for women who aren’t afraid to be bold and trendy. Shop local artisans as well as fair trade products from around the world at The Paisley Fig. Pick up a statement piece at Envy or Blush and embrace boho style at Bandit and Babe. VisitAlbanyGa.com/shop
For a look at what makes Albany unique, you’ll want to take it outside. A moderate climate makes playing outdoors pleasant almost year-round, with endless activities. Boating, paddling and fishing enthusiasts will find hours of happiness on the water. The Kinchafoonee and Muckalee Creeks flow into the Flint River at the 1400-acre Lake Chehaw. Golf courses are strewn throughout the area and marksmen take aim at an array of hunting plantations.
Families head to Chehaw Park and Zoo for camping and day trips on more than 700 acres of fun, including the 100-acre zoo caring for more than 230 animals from alligators and black rhinoceroses to cheetahs, meerkats and more. Chehaw is also home to one of the state’s largest play parks, with animal programs and feedings, a BMX track, R/C car track, bike trails, hiking and 18-hole disc golf course. Radium Springs Gardens is one of Georgia’s Seven Natural Wonders (and the state’s largest natural spring), pumping some 70,000 gallons per minute of clear underground cave water at a crisp 68 degrees. Take a relaxing stroll through the courtyard, gardens, gazebos and foliage-draped hillocks. The Flint RiverQuarium is a phenomenal adventure following the river’s incredible 350-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. The 175,000-gallon Blue Hole is one of only a few open-air aquariums across the globe, featuring more than 100 species of fish, alligators, turtles and other marine life. Don’t miss the Cypress Pond Aviary where more than 30 indigenous (to Flint River watershed) birds make their home. Look for special events like dive shows and alligator feedings for over-the-top excitement.
History, science and cultural enrichments await at Thronateeska Heritage Center which includes Wetherbee Planetarium, the Georgia Museum of Surveying and Mapping, local science and history museums including interactive exhibits, a railway with model train exhibit/display as well as the South Georgia Archives. Here in Heritage Plaza, the last brick street in Albany, see one of the state’s oldest train depots as well as the historic Fryer-Merritt House (built in the 1800s) that now hosts Thronateeska’s business offices. Then, take a break with a free “concert” at Ray Charles Plaza. The Albany native and beloved soul musician is honored with a life-size bronze sculpture seated at a Baby Grand piano on a rotating pedestal fountain. Sweet, familiar melodies play while water spills into a reflecting pool.