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Hidden Treasures Phoenix Magazine Spring 2011


map background & compass by 123rf.com

8 Spring 2011


hidden

Treasures Aimee Johnson scopes out local spring break adventures. Art by Ami Read Photos & Layout by Aimee Johnson

  Most college spring break weeks commence during the month of March. However, Augusta schools have to wait until the first week in April for the golf fans to arrive. Only in Augusta is spring break synonymous with Masters week.   While most students would like to head out of town and flock to the beaches, many take advantage of the employment opportunities provided by the Masters Golf Tournament. The traditional spring break idea is reversed. Instead of people vacating during the week, numerous amounts of people crowd into the Augusta area.   Where and what can students do during spring break if they cannot take a vacation? If only one day is available there are some wonderful day trips definitely worth the travel.   Victor Gutierrez, a junior Spanish major, is one of the many Augusta State University students who remains at home for spring break.   “This spring break I plan on working for the Masters,” says Gutierrez. “I need the extra money.”   Want to do something different this spring break? Hidden around Augusta are five unique places nearby to explore that are inexpensive to visit. Within an hour you can embark on a day trip to fulfill a spring break excursion. To discover these treasures, the only things needed are a full tank of gas and $10. Jump into your car, roll your windows down, turn the radio up full blast and head out of this crowded town on your way to a new adventure.

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discs available at pro shop

     1st stop: The PDGA International Disc Golf Center in Appling, Ga., is located roughly 15 miles away in Wildwood Park, a straight drive down Washington Road. There is a $3 admission fee to enter the park and an additional $3 daily greens fee for Columbia County residents or a $5 fee for non-Columbia County residents to play the courses. For less than $10 you can enjoy a whole day of fun.   While the professionals are at the Augusta National playing golf with a little white ball, you can play golf with a Frisbee. Disc golf is played much like traditional golf, except instead of a ball the players throw a Frisbee, and the hole is an elevated metal basket. On site there are three, 18 hole championship courses open daily from dusk till dawn, a pro shop and the Ed Headrick Memorial Museum. The courses are meticulously cared for, and the fully stocked pro shop offers affordable discs with prices starting at $5. Ed Headrick is known as the “Father of Disc Golf,” and the museum displays

10 Spring 2011

the pole hole

heirlooms from the beginning of the sport.   Karolyn O’Cull is the office manager and will help you have the best possible experience.   “We have a pavilion outside, and there are a couple of grills so you can bring charcoal and grill out for lunch. We have a practice area out back, and there are also video archives so that people can hang out inside,” says O’Cull.   I must admit that my disc golf skills are not quite up to par, but I enjoyed browsing through the museum that showcases many historical relics from the early days of the sport. I learned the first flying disc actually came from a pie pan.   2nd stop: Crossing over the border into South Carolina can transport you into a feeling of another time with an old fashioned drive-in movie theater, Big Mo. Located about 45 miles away in Monetta, S.C., is the authentic drive-in theater experience. This unique theater is open Friday through

drive-in theater sign

Sunday and has two screens to choose from. Each screen plays a double feature of current box office movies for $7, cash only. Yes, that is two recent movies for only $7. Check out their website, www.thebigmo.com, for each weekend’s movie listings.   There is nothing else quite like it. I drove up to the ticket booth and owners, Richard and Lisa Boaz, were there to greet me and direct me to my screen.   “The drive-in opened originally in 1951,” says Boaz. “It ran more or less continuously until 1985. We founded in 1998 and opened in 1999. The screen had big holes in it, and the roof was gone off the concession stand. There were big trees growing up everywhere so we had to fix all of that in that year. In 2005 we added the second screen, and we are hoping in 2011 we will be able to add a third screen.”   The movie starts at 7:45 p.m., so I parked my car in the second row along with the many other cars and got comfortable. To listen to the movie I adjusted my car radio to the proper station specific to my movie screen and


mural on retro cinema building

was able to turn the volume up as loud or as soft as I preferred.   I leaned my seat back, rolled down my window and hung my feet out. I was comfortable and ready to watch the movie under the stars. I even answered my cell phone call without evil stares from the other moviegoers. At the fully stocked concession stand, I ordered delicious chili-cheese fries and satisfied my late night hunger craving during the second movie.   3rd spot: My next excursion is in the quaint town of Washington, Ga., around 50 miles and roughly an hour away. Retro Cinema and Books is one of the most unique places around and is more than what meets the eye. The first clue is the giant “Gone With the Wind” mural painted on the outside of the brick building.   The family-run affair offers a retro atmosphere complete with a full service antique hand-carved wine bar, 60-seat movie cinema and a bookstore filled with a blend of classic and rare books mixed with bestsellers. Old Hol-

wine bar

lywood memorabilia fill the walls and every inch of the extraordinary building. It ranges from Marilyn Monroe, Don Knotts and Pat Boone, just to name a few. Every inch, even the restroom, is embellished with vintage movie posters, movie reels and a life size replica of Elvis inviting you to the bar.   A vast movie memorabilia collection, and the love of history, film and books led Richard and Dana Kibbey to open their dream establishment. Vintage favorites and new release documentaries are just some of the movies shown. They come straight from the owner’s personal collection as well as major film distributors.   Movies and special events are held mostly on the weekends. Check the website or sign up for email reminders about special event updates at www.retrocinema.net. Admission to a movie is $6.50. Popcorn and soda, including the retro Tab soda, are offered at the concessions in the back of the theater.   On my trip, I was dazzled by the dé-

Clarks Hill lake

cor as I leisurely browsed through the bookstore with a glass of wine from the exquisite bar. When showtime was announced, I drifted over to the comfortable, as well as state of the art, theater with beverage in hand. You feel as though you are watching a movie at home with a group of friends, and no one rushed home when the credits rolled.   4th stop: The next stop will land you as close to the dream of beaches on the coast as possible within 30 minutes of Augusta. Clarks Hill Lake is one of the largest inland bodies of water in the South. It is located in Lincolnton, Ga., roughly 30 miles away on US Highway 378 E. In a short drive, you can enjoy a relaxing time of lying on the sand and going for a swim. I packed a cooler with lunch and spent time appreciating the warm sun, sand and water. It is a nice little getaway from school and work.   5th stop: The last treasure on my map may be the farthest distance, but it is definitely a great experience worth the travel. Fox

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stained glass

wine available for purchase

Vineyards and Winery is located in Social Circle, Ga., about 100 miles away. This small family owned winery has been around for 25 years and produces about 20 different wines.   Kenneth Fuchs, manager, is the only non-family member working at the winery. They are open from Wednesday to Sunday with tours and free wine tastings from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.   Since they are a small business, it is easy to make any creation of wine that they happen to invent. One of their best sellers and my personal favorite is the Bonny Blueberry wine, made from 100 percent blueberries. It is sweet and tart at the same time. Their idea is to produce wines with a distinct character to complement traditional southern cooking.   I traveled there on a Sunday and was pleasantly surprised that they were allowed to sell on Sundays. I was definitely going home with a bottle of the blueberry wine.   These hidden spots around Augusta

fox vineyard

certainly are treasures and well worth a visit. Inexpensive and nearby are two qualities that are hard to pass up. These businesses are also a great idea to visit year round, not just spring break week.

Aimee Johnson is a senior communications major on the public relations track.

PDGA International Disc Golf Center Wildwood Park 3828 Dogwood Lane Appling, GA 30802 www.pdga.com/idgc

Clarks Hill Lake US Highway 378 East Lincolnton, GA 30817

Big Mo 5822 Columbia Highway North Monetta, SC 29105 www.thebigmo.com

Retro Cinema and Books 114 Spring Street Washington, GA 30673 www.retrocinema.net

Fox Vineyards and Winery 225 Highway 11 South Social Circle, GA 30025 www.foxvineyards winery.com


Hidden Treasures