Lake Oconee Living - Spring 2023

Page 1


Inspired by NATURE

Maxim Nordic 1-Light Pendant

Anna Paré, MD • Michelle Juneau, MD • Anjeli Laungani, MD • Zachary Eyre, MD Jennifer Avaliani, PA-C • Chhavi Lal, PA-C • Rob Whiddon, PA-C Lisa Witzlib, NP-C • Valarie Lenzer, PA-C

volume xxvi , no . 1, spring 2023

The magazine that reflects the lifestyle of residents of the Lake Oconee area and beyond.


General Manager Editor Art Director

Sales & Marketing Circulation

Contributing Writers

Contributing Artists









Please visit our website at


Unsolicited queries and submissions of art and writing not accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope will not be returned. Response time varies and Lake Oconee Living cannot assume responsibility for unsolicited materials. To contact the editor by email, address correspondence to


You can request a media kit with information about our distribution, deadlines, readership, and advertising rates and specifications by emailing


Lake Oconee Living is published for the United States, its territories and possessions. Four issues per year: $17. Single issues in the U.S. $5. To subscribe, please send subscription form (located on page 94) and payment. If you are moving, renewing, or have a question, please enclose subscription label with all correspondence; allow four weeks for change of address. Address all correspondence pertaining to subscriptions to:

Lake Oconee Living, 259 N. Second Street, Madison Ga. 30650, or call 706.342.7440 or fax 706.342.2140.

©2023 Times-Journal, Inc.

Lake Oconee Living

Harmony Medical Center 117 Harmony Crossing Ste 8 Madison - Wed. 9-5 255 N. Main Street, Ste A DR. KIMBERLY HOFFMAN DR. KIMBERLY HOFFMAN Visit us at our new office. How can we improve your quality of life? to better serve you. Your hometown Audiologist providing good old fashioned customer service. We’re here to help so you don’t miss a single moment of the holidays. A baseline hearing evaluation takes less than an hour, and the benefits can last a lifetime. Schedule yours today. Harmony Medical Center 117 Harmony Crossing Ste 8 Eatonton, GA 31024 706-453-2119 Madison - Wed. 9-5 255 N. Main Street, Ste A Madison, GA 30650 706-438-1099 DR. KIMBERLY HOFFMAN DR. KIMBERLY HOFFMAN Visit us at our new office. How can we improve your quality of life? to better serve you. Your hometown Audiologist providing good old fashioned customer service. We’re here to help so you don’t miss a single Don’t let hearing loss take you out of the game. Get back into the swing of thin G s! HARMONY MEDICAL CENTER 117 Harmony Crossing, Suite 8, Eatonton GA (706) 453-2119 Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm Fri 9am-12pm MADISON - (New Location!) (at rear entrance of Dr. Pamela Hall’s office) 2002 S. Main St., Madison GA (706) 453-2119 Wed. 9am-5pm
2101 Reynolds Walk Trail | Greensboro, GA | Monday-Saturday: 10AM-5PM | 706-920-3100 A boutique of quality furniture and stylish home accessories “Please Thank you!” &

36 44 55 64

A course called home

U.S. Senior Amateur Champion, Rusty Strawn, is putting down roots at Lake Oconee and will soon call Cuscowilla “home.”

Story by Patrick Yost

Setting the course

Downtown Madison’s newest restaurant, The Dining Room, offers an “above par” fine dining and wine pairing experience.

Photography by Josiah Connelly

Reading and succeeding

Madison mayor begins new Mayor’s Reading Club program and Chip Bell sits down with local “Leaders who Read” to discuss their favorite books.

Photography by Patrick Yost

A survival plan

Locals reflect on their connections to nature, communities, and to places that helped them emerge from a pandemic, two years later.

Story by Leara Rhodes

| features | 44

In the Spirit Spring Mix

Try these easy handcrafted cocktails and make your springtime even sweeter.


the Table

Tea Time

A collection of French Tea Cakes that will be a hole-in-one at any spring gathering.

By the Book

On course for a comeback

A look at the changing world of bookstores in the lake area and beyond.

Up to Par

Five courses you can play The region’s top semi-private, public, and state-run courses that will have you ready to swing into spring.

Backyard Traveler

Three weekend getaways in the South

A celebration of music, literature, architecture and good food draw people to three classic Southern towns.

A favorite with local golfers, hole No. 17 at Harbor Club on Lake Oconee is a beautiful par 3 that offers striking views of Lake Oconee. A small bunker separates this hole’s narrow green from the lake, making it both challenging and rewarding for players on the stunning Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish course.

10 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | SPRING 2023 | departments | 15 19 23
Photography by J. Steadman
Happenings Ad Directory 25 95 77 89 15



The excitement of spring is synonymous with the opening of “golf season” around Georgia’s Lake Country, especially as golf’s greatest Sunday approaches.

With a cadre of championship courses and top-ranked golf communities, Lake Oconee has secured its rightful place as an esteemed golfing destination. A flood of visitors will experience our region this spring, whether on the green or on the water. Some with stay for the Masters. Some will stay for good.

Much like the current U.S. Senior Amateur Champion, Rusty Strawn, who is making a move into Cuscowilla. He shares insights with Lake Oconee Living on his new “home course” on page 36 and what it took to take home the trophy last September.

For those looking for that “course away from home,” we take a look at five “Courses You Can Play” on page 27. These semi-private, public, and state park golf courses provide residents and visitors alike with a variety of courses and challenges to play and enjoy.

If you’re considering a different sort of tee time this spring, local chef, Deborah Johnson, shares her recipes for French Tea Cakes on page 19 that are sure to be a hole-in-one for any spring gathering, from bridal brunches and book clubs to Mother’s Day and Easter Sunday.

And while Lake Oconee may be known for its golf, a new Madison restaurant is offering up some of the best courses around. The Dining Room is an upscale eatery showcasing the best in locally sourced cuisine. Each course is paired with wines selected by a Master Sommelier to provide an exquisite dining experience. Take a peek at the beautifully appointed restaurant on page 44.

With spring comes a sense of renewal. Writer and former UGA professor, Leara Rhodes, explores this concept on page 64 by introducing readers to various locals who reflected on their time during the pandemic and the connections they found to help get them through – reflections that became their very own survival plans.

Reading their stories inspired me to reconnect with nature, communities, and new places. One such place could be a quick weekend getaway featured in our Backyard Traveler department on page 77. Atlanta-based travel writer, Lisa Mowry, takes us along to three classic Southern towns known for their music, literature, architecture and good food.

Wherever the sunshine takes you, we invite you to share in our excitement this spring with this special golf issue.


| from the editor |

Spring Mix

Try these easy handcrafted cocktails and make your springtime even sweeter.

Garden Sunset

• 2 oz vodka

• 1 oz blood orange juice

• 2 dashes lavender

• 1/2 lime

• 1/2 oz simple syrup

Build the drink in a cocktail shaker, beginning with the lime juice and followed by the remaining ingredients. Add ice and shake the combined mixture for 10 seconds.

Fill a Moscow Mule mug or highball glass with ice. Strain drink into the glass.

Garnish with slice of blood orange and sprig of mint.

| in the spirit |

Sweet & Simple Margarita

• 1 ½ oz tequila of your choice

• ¾ oz fresh lime juice

• Agave (squirt)

• ½ oz Orange curaçao

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10 seconds, or stir ingredients together until chilled.

Prepare your glass by rubbing a lime wedge around the rim and dipping it in coarse salt (optional).

Strain and serve over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime.

TIP: Add a splash of Raspberry Lemonade to turn this classic margarita into a refreshing Pink Senorita.

Kaitlyn McCain is a bartender at City Pharmacy in Covington. She previously worked as a barista before trading in coffee for cocktails and working her way to bar manager at South on Broad in Monroe. Largely self-taught, she has a passion for handcrafted cocktails and loves to find fresh flavor profiles in classic combinations. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

| in the spirit |

Love in Bloom

• 2 strawberries, muddled

• 1 ½ oz Kettle One vodka

• ½ oz fresh lemon

• ¾ oz honey syrup

• ½ oz Fiorente Elderflower syrup

Place strawberries and fresh lemon juice in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle together. Add remaining ingredients. Shake for 10 seconds to blend. Add ice and shake again for 10 seconds. Strain into your favorite glass and garnish with additional strawberries.

342-2986 172 South Main St., Madison
S. Lumpkin St., Athens
@ameliasapparel (706)
(706) 850-6373 1738

Tea Time

If considering a different sort of tee time this spring, these French Tea Cakes are a hole-in-one for any spring gathering, from bridal brunches and book clubs to Mother’s Day and Easter Sunday.

| at the table |

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until it becomes very smooth (creamy) and lighter in color, about 1-2 minutes. Add egg yolks and vanilla and continue mixing until well combined. Add flour gradually, in 2-3 additions.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead together. Work quickly so you don’t heat and soften the butter. Divide the dough into 2-3 equal parts and roll the dough into 2-3 logs, each about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap each log in

Sablés Diamants

A traditional buttery shortbread cookie, these are the one of the first recipes I learned in pastry school. They are called Diamant (diamond) because the cookie, when rolled in coarse sugar, appears to have been rolled in diamonds.

• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• 2 egg yolks

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 cups flour

• Pinch of salt

• Coarse decorating sugar (white or desired color)

• 1 egg white for brushing on the dough

parchment or plastic wrap and chill at least 20-30 minutes.

When the dough is well chilled, preheat your convection oven to 325°. Unwrap the dough, working one log at a time.

Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface or use a large plate or sheet pan. Make a line of sugar the length of the dough, about ¼ to ½ inch deep and 2 to 3 inches wide. Brush the log with a thin layer of egg white, then roll in the sugar, pressing to adhere the sugar to the logs. Repeat with

second log. If the dough feels soft, place in refrigerator for 5 minutes.

Slice dough into ½- to ¾-inch slices and place about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reshape as necessary so the cookies are round.

Bake in preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes until cookies are just beginning to brown on the bottoms. Tops of the cookies should be quite pale. Remove from oven and cool. Store in an air tight container up to 1 week, or freeze.

20 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | SPRING 2023 | at the table |


• 200 g Flour

• 2 tsp Baking Powder

• 4 large eggs

• 200g Sugar

• 200g Unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Sift together flour and baking powder.

Whisk eggs, sugar, honey and vanilla in large bowl (stand mixer is OK on medium speed) approximately 2 minutes until thick and smooth.

If using: Add Lavender flowers and mix delicately. Slowly incorporate sifted flour into egg/sugar mixture and whisk just until smooth. Do not over mix.

Slowly whisk in cooled, melted butter. Add lemon zest if using.

Cover and chill batter 30 minutes to 3 hours. Cold batter going into a hot oven creates a thermal shock that develops the signature “bump.”

While batter is chilling,

• 1 tsp vanilla

• 20 g Honey

• Optional: 2 TBS Lavender flowers or grated lemon zest

butter Madeleine molds using softened (not melted) butter (Pan spray is OK). Pop in freezer to chill pans. Preheat convection oven to 400°.

Fill prepared molds 2/3 full with batter using a pastry bag. Place in oven and bake 3 minutes. Reduce convection oven temperature to 325° and continue baking for 8 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

As soon as they are removed from the oven and cool enough to handle, flip over and unmold onto wire racks to cool.

Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar if desired. Store Madeleines in an air-tight container.

SPRING 2023 | LAKE OCONEE LIVING 21 EXCLUSIVELY IN MADISON 108 E. Washington St. Madison, GA (706) 342-2929
Specializing in high end residential design projectsvarying from private residences, vacation homes and large scale renovations. 2021 Walton Way Augusta, GA 30904 706. 736. 6400 │

On Course for a Comeback

A look at the changing world of bookstores in the lake area and beyond.

BBrandywine Books was down the street from my home

in Charlotte, NC. They gave terrific, highly personalized customer service. I elected to show my admiration by writing an article about Brandywine for The American Bookseller magazine. The magazine editor was so pleased with my piece, she called the owner of Brandywine to tell her that my article was to be their cover story. But she learned something that came as a shock to me. Brandywine was not able to compete with the giant

Borders bookstore nearby and was declaring bankruptcy. My article was not published. A few years later, Borders Books, along with Bookstop, Crown Books, BooksA-Million, and Waldenbooks, met the same fate when they could not compete with Amazon. The story illustrates the American bookstore’s charming, chaotic, and ever-changing future.

A bookstore is an entity that derives

FAR LEFT: The Story Shop in downtown Monroe specializes in books for children. LEFT: Avid Bookshop is a communityfocused bookselling business based in Athens.

its primary revenue from the sale of books. This excludes the retail section of a museum (like Georgia Writers Museum), a booth in an antique mall (like Greensboro Antique Mall), or a section of a retail store (like WalMart).

Bookstores Are Back!

Bookstores are coming back. Amazon has been the big kahuna in

| by the book |

bookselling, gaining an even greater share of the market as the COVID pandemic stopped in-store visits and increased online orders. But post-pandemic buying behavior has triggered a bookstore comeback and changed the book revenue trajectory of Amazon.As a result, they announced they are closing all their 68 bookstores as that book business failed to grow beyond 3 percent.

American Booksellers Association’s membership has increased from 1,689 stores represented three years ago to more than 2,500. After the COVID pandemic, book shoppers want to return to an in-person shopping experience and enjoy the extra community feeling that can come out of it.

“People’s mentality these days has shifted in favor of supporting the community bookstores,” says Elizabeth Meyer, former owner of Dog Ear Books in Madison. “We have had a real taste of what it’s like to lose customers because of the dominating presence of big beasts like Amazon.” NY Times reporter Jack Hudson calls them “sterile locales, stripped by algorithm of any real character.”

Making a Bookstore Work

The success stories of a few bookstores in the area provide guidance for features that turn the color of the bottom line from red to black. Here are three role models.

Avid Bookshop is a community-focused bookselling business headquartered in Athens. Avid has been named a top-five finalist in Publishers Weekly’s Bookstore of the Year competition.

“Books change readers’ lives for the better,” says Avid operations director Rachel Watkins. “We are an ethically run business with a strong focus on community engagement. We continually challenge ourselves to find creative ways to make Athens and ourselves better through our #AvidGivesBack and #AvidInSchools initiatives, activism, events, book fairs, author readings, partnerships, book clubs, and more.”

The Story Shop opened in 2016 in downtown Monroe and specializes in books for children. Creative Director Lisa Dibble described their success this way: “We have created a space where stories come to life.

No matter how cheaply certain corporations can sell their books, they will never be able to sell the magic of walking through fur coats into a 19th-century French wardrobe to Narnia, or exploring a furnished Hobbit Hole, or knocking on Sherlock Holmes’ front door. Real storybook magic exists. But it can’t be sold, only experienced at the Story Shop.”

Horton’s Books and Gifts in Carrollton is not Lake Country, but it is a role model worth mimicking. Established in 1891, it is the oldest bookstore in Georgia and features antique shelves, a 1918 cash register, and elegant displays.

“Our success has come from knowing our customers, treating them extremely well, and closely following the trends,” says owner Dorothy Pittman. “We try to think like folks in the fashion industry. Our offerings must change just as fast as our customers do.”

What about the Lake Country?

Morgan County residents remember the days of Dog Ear Books. Owner Elizabeth Meyer said, “We did many things right but were the victim of unfortunate timing. Amazon was coming on the scene, and customers were enamored with the ease of ordering online.” Madison resident Frank Walsh, owner of Yesteryear Books in Atlanta for over 30 years, commented, “The 80s and 90s were great. But part of the movement away from bookstores was linked to buyers’ preference for hand-held devices like Kindle instead of the actual book.”

“Eatonton never had a real bookstore in my lifetime (75+ years),” claims Putnam County historian Jim Marshall. “The drug stores had magazine racks with all the popular magazines, comic books, and ‘girlie’ magazines, usually kept close to the cash register, so you had to ask for them. As a result, we relied mainly on the city library for reading material. Our only bookstore today is Heaven’s Gate, a Christian bookstore that opened about ten years ago.”

Milledgeville-Baldwin Chamber of Commerce director Kara Lassiter states, “Except for a small Barnes and Noble bookstore on the Georgia College campus, the only

bookstore in Baldwin County is Walls of Books.” They aim to provide a family-friendly environment for customers to buy and trade used and new books.

According to Greene County Chamber of Commerce director Mika Mills, there are no bookstores in Greene County, but she says one would be a great addition to Greensboro and the lake area. Unfortunately, Hancock County also has no bookstore.

Consider this an all-call to bookstore entrepreneurs. The Lake Country has a ready book buyer’s market, area success stories to emulate, and the big dot com giant is retreating. Need proof? The book sales revenue for Georgia Writers Museum jumped from about $7,000 in 2021 to over $20,000 in 2022. Two hundred people attended a “Meet the Author” talk and book signing in 2021; over 500 attended in 2022.

It is time to turn the page for a new bookstore in the land of fish tales and mulligans. While bookstores have a no-guaranteed future, trends show that a book in the hand is worth a lot to readers.

P.S. The American Bookseller’s Association stopped publishing its monthly The American Bookseller magazine in 1998, saying the industry was changing too rapidly for a monthly magazine to report in a timely fashion.

Chip R. Bell is a best-selling, award-winning author and serves on the board of Georgia Writers Museum.

24 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | SPRING 2023 | by the book |
Now Serving the Lake Oconee Area! McDonough 16 Hampton St McDonough, GA 30253 Locust Grove 3846 Highway 42 Locust Grove, GA 30248 Peachtree City 271 Hwy 74 in North Suite 5 Peachtree City, GA 30290 Zebulon 15 Gwyn Street Zebulon, GA 30295 Warner Robins 627 S Houston Lake Rd. Suite 100 Warner Robins, GA 31088 51 Years Strong Our mission at Strawn & Co. Insurance is to glorify God in all of our daily endeavors. We strive to provide exceptional value, the utmost integrity and excellence to Our Customers, Our Companies We Represent and Our Community.

5 Courses You Can Play

Lake Oconee Living looks at some of the region’s top semi-private, public, and state park golf courses that will have you ready to swing into spring.

with championship courses around every bend of the region’s unmatched beauty and rural setting. It is also just an errant tee shot away from some of the top semi-private, public, and staterun courses that Georgia has to offer.

From nearby Harbor Club to award-winning courses within a short drive, there are “Courses you can Play” that offer some of the most beautiful vistas and scenery for those looking for a fresh round amidst lush fairways

and challenging greens. These semi-private, public, and state run courses provide residents and visitors alike with a variety of courses and challenges to play and enjoy.

| up to par |
TThe Lake Oconee area is unquestionably considered a golfer’s paradise,
Hole No. 17 at Harbor Club on Lake Oconee. Photo by J. Steadman

Harbor Club on Lake Oconee

The semi-private, Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish designed Harbor Club on Lake Oconee opened in 1991 and has consistently been featured in both top 100 courses lists and top courses you can play lists ever since. Just last year, Harbor Club was included in Golf Digest’s list of Best Courses you can play in Georgia

| up to par | 1
Hole No. 18 at Harbor Club on Lake Oconee. Photo by J. Steadman

and listed as #9 in Golfweek’s state-bystate guide to the Best Courses you can play.

But above the accolades, this place offers a warmth and comfortability not found at other destination golf courses. Harbor Club offers a full practice area, beautiful bent grass greens, and expansive clubhouse. Its championship golf course features several water holes with Lake Oconee exposure and at 7,050 from the tips, it offers plenty of challenges.

A unique feature is two drivable par fours on each side. The short, 323-yard downhill par four 7th challenges a tee shot over Lake Oconee to get home. On the back, the 281-yard, downhill par four 15th hole begs a golfer to try and roll one on the green.

A day at Harbor Club is an opportunity to experience both championship golf and championship service at a reasonable rate for the level of service and golf.

University of Georgia Golf Club

A favorite among the Lake Oconee and Athens area is the University of Georgia Golf Club. As Athens’ only true public course, it provides a demanding layout designed by Robert Trent Jones and updated by Love Golf Design. In 2022, Golfweek ranked it 11th in its “Best Courses You Can Play: Georgia” lineup and 5th in 2021.

SPRING 2023 | LAKE OCONEE LIVING 29 | up to par | 2
TOP: Harbor Club on Lake Oconee. Photography by J. Steadman ABOVE: The No. 13 green at the University of Georgia Golf Club. RIGHT: The 18th hole at UGA. Photos courtesy of UGA Athletics

The Creek at Hard Labor Creek State Park

The Creek at Hard Labor, nestled in Hard Labor Creek State Park along the outskirts of Rutledge, is a beautiful and demanding course characterized by the natural contours of the land and distinct lack of residential development.

The Creek offers what many golfers consider one of the most difficult starting holes in the state. Its signature hole, number 14, is testament to the course’s unique harmony with the local setting. A waterwheel leftover from a 1930s working grain mill still churns the water along the creek bordering the fairway.

This year, The Creek received the 2022 Georgia State Parks “Outstanding Golf Course of the Year Award.”

Arrowhead Pointe at Lake Richard B. Russell

Built on a 27,000-acre undeveloped lake, Arrowhead Pointe at Richard B. Russell State Park in Elberton offers one of the most serene environments to play a round of golf. With 10 out of its 18 holes lying along the shoreline of Lake Richard B. Russell, this serenity can lull golfers into a false sense of security, only to be surprised by a challenging round of golf with undulating, hard-to-read greens. The course is difficult but fair, and holes

16 and 17 offer perfect examples of the beauty, serenity, and overall difficulty of the course.

Highland Walk at Victoria Bryant State Park

Rounding out the state park golf courses highlighting the finer points of public golf is Highland Walk at Victoria Bryant State Park in Royston. Highland Walk offers challenging golf with a scenic backdrop with 18 holes seamlessly intertwined with the rolling hills of the upper Piedmont. Sloping greens are countered by generous landing areas on this course.

30 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | SPRING 2023 | up to par | 3
The Creek at Hard Labor’s signature hole No. 14 features a working water wheel. Photo courtesy of Georgia State Parks
Designed and handcrafted in New York Located in Downtown Madison 177 West Jefferson Street | 706-752-0105 Follow our social media Whidby Jewelers Fine Diamonds Since 1901
Vahan ®, Alwand Vahan ®, Moiré Pattern ® are Regd. Trademarks. Designs © Alwand Vahan Jewelry Ltd. Made in the USA with ethically sourced materials from around the world.
Centered on 62 acres of green space surrounded by lush pines, The Sixty-Two is a luxury wedding and event venue located in beautiful Madison, Georgia. Contact us to schedule a tour and start planning your event today! WWW.THESIXTY-TWO.COM
Pre K - 12 Grade College Prep School with Christian Values Contact Libby Rainey, Admissions Director | 706-485-8231 x1300 139 Phillips Dr. • Eatonton, GA 31024 Follow us on social media @gatewoodschool We Are Gatewood


a course called U.S. Senior Amateur Champion, Rusty Strawn, is putting down roots at Lake Oconee

Rusty Strawn watches his shot during the Canadian Men’s Senior Championship in Red Deer, Alberta. Strawn won the tournament less than a week after he also won the U.S. Senior Amateur. Photo courtesy of Golf Canada

Everybody should have a year like Rusty Strawn did in 2022.

The 59-year-old Strawn, who plays out of Cuscowilla, turned in what several golfing publications dubbed a “dominating” year, winning four USGA senior amateur tournaments, including the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship and the Canadian Men’s Senior Championship in back-to-back weeks.

Strawn also won the Trans-Mississippi Senior Championship, the Society of Seniors; Dale Morey Championships and had three second place finishes for the year.

This year, the juggernaut golfer has his sights set on establishing a new home course.

The Strawn family is currently building a home at Cuscowilla and Rusty says he can’t wait to get moved in to a neighborhood and a golf course he admires.

“I’ve always been a fan of the design,” he says. “That course plays very difficult. That golf course is very challenging. It teaches you to think your way around. It’s a cerebral course.”

Rusty Strawn, 59, made birdies on three of his last eight holes to win the 60th Canadian Men's Senior Championship title in September. Photo courtesy of Golf Canada
“That golf course is very challenging. It teaches you to think your way around. It’s a cerebral course.”

Currently ranked 443rd in the world, Strawn says in his late 40s after the insurance agency his father founded continued to prosper and his three children had grown older, he reached a defining point in his life. Always a golfer, he decided to dedicate time and energy to see “how good can I become.”

So far, he says, the effort has led to an interesting and amazing life.

Playing as a ranked amateur, Strawn has played golf all over the world. Often, he says, his wife of 36 years, Jennifer, accompanies him on tournament trips and has caddied for the golfer. The Strawns have three daughters.

“I couldn’t count the number of meaning relationships I’ve acquired from golf all over the world,” he says. Strawn says following college, he made a conscious decision to focus on work and family. While he considered making a run at playing professionally, his family and the family business beckoned. “There’s not a doubt in my mind I could have made it out there but the question is,

to what expense? I wasn’t willing to sacrifice that to play professional golf.” But, he says, he never gave up on the game. “I’m a golfer, that’s what I enjoy doing the most.”

To return to a tournament level, Strawn says he focused on health and relied on his faith to round out his game. Strawn says he stretches at least 45 minutes a day and incorporates some light weight lifting and

ABOVE: Cuscowilla golfer Rusty Strawn with members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after winning the Canadian Men's Senior Championship. Photo courtesy of Golf Canada. BELOW: Two weeks earlier, Strawn took home the Championship trophy after winning the 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur. Photo courtesy of USGA Museum.

cardio into his routine. The process, he says, has been a joy and comfortable with his nature.

“I’m very disciplined in most areas of my life,” he says. “I’m goal oriented and develop both a process and a plan in everything I do.”

His faith, he says, keeps him grounded and patient. “I ask God to give me a calming presence. Whatever happens, I just honor and glorify Him at the end to the day. I’m blessed to have that relationship with the Lord.”

Through it all, the plus 2.5 handicap player says, stretching is the most important physical component of a senior game.

“A lot of people underestimate stretching and what it can do for your golf game,” he says.

From his bag, he hits a driver between 265 to 275 yards; a two wood

235 to 250; a three iron hybrid 210 to 225 and his four iron can go as far as 215. His 150 yard club is an eight iron and a pitching wedge can go 130. Every practice and every round is geared toward consistency and remembering that the counter intuitive nature of the game is filled with challenges.

He relishes challenges, he says. “When I have to hit a shot I’m uncomfortable with and then you pull it off, that’s a small victory. Holding up under pressure, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

The short par three 11th hole at Cuscowilla, a 100 to 125 yard shot to a green on the shores of Lake Oconee is Strawn’s favorite at Cuscowilla. During the summer, he says, when boats line the shoreline and lubricated boaters cheer or jeer tee shots into the green, the hole provides both

tension and reward.

“It’s so short you’ve got to assume you’re going to hit the green,” he says. “That puts a lot of pressure on you.”

Soon, Strawn will have plenty to time to perfect the hole, between opening the newest branch of the Strawn & Co., Insurance at Lake Oconee and moving his family to Cuscowilla.

There, he says, he will continue to work on a game that continues to show promise and will continue to settle into the patient rhythm of both his practice and life.

He’ll get in a game every once in a while with his father Norman, 86, and keep his interest and natural curiosity in others active and alive.

“It’s more about the journey than the destination,” he says. “I enjoy what it takes to play at the level I’m playing at today.”

Celebrating 37 years of Hospitality and Sporting Entertainment 696 Selwood Road, Alpine, AL | 800.522.0403 | SELWOODFARM | @SELWOODFARM | @SELWOODFARM
Authorized dealer of Krieghoff Firearms


The inside of The Dining Room glows. There are 46 light fixtures that hover, almost as if in mid air, over white linen tables with silverware meticulously placed, surrounded by multiple wine glasses for, of course, multiple wines.

Chef Ryan Caldwell, a 36-year-old man who has earned his place as executive chef, takes a sip of mineral water and reflects. It has taken him one and half years to get to this place with MAD

Hospitality and their stable of Madison-based restaurants. His time was spent creating The Sinclair, a hip breakfast, small plate, wine and drinks restaurant housed in an old car dealer building; Mad Taco, an authentic Mexican restaurant located across the square from the Sinclair; and Hart and Crown, a British Pub that, since its opening, stays both comforting and full.

Caldwell’s last chef stint was as executive chef at the Malibu Beach

Photo courtesy of MAD Hospitality

where he defined the west coast cuisine for four years.

But now there is The Dining Room.

The high-end eatery is the brainchild of MAD Hospitality owner and real estate developer, Preston Snyder, who spent years working as a server during the Chef Gunter Seeger transformation of The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta while attending college and starting his real estate career.

The Dining Room, on Hancock Street, is the fourth restaurant Caldwell and Snyder have opened in downtown Madison in the last year and a half and brings a lineage, immediate heritage and gravitas found no where else. A bakery and breakfast restaurant are also in the works.

For a chef, Caldwell says, The Dining Room offers a chance to shine. Open Thursday through Saturday and

Executive Chef Ryan Caldwell, right, creates each course at The Dining Room from locally sourced ingredients and tailors his menu based on what’s available, what’s fresh, and what’s going to give patrons an unforgettable dining experience.

Photography by Josiah Connelly


accepting 36 reservations per night, The Dining Room offers a sophisticated menu, typically four courses, of locally sourced ingredients with thoughtful wine pairings. In the year and a half Caldwell has spent in Madison, he used that time to establish a network of providers for freshness.

“It’s a painstaking process,” he says. “It’s trial and error. You give everybody a shot but it doesn’t always work.”

Recently The Dining Room featured a suckling pig sourced from Milledgeville’s Comfort Farms. Comfort Farms, according to its website, is a “sustainable small farm that help veterans transition from their time at war.”

At Comfort Farms, Caldwell found a Mulefoot pig. The well-marbled pig was butchered at the expansive kitchen that services The Dining Room, Hart and Crown and Mad Taco and was covered in aromatics, slow roasted and then wrapped in cabbage from Bread and Butter Farms in Sparta. Mona Lisa smiled. That’s the idea, Caldwell says. “This is a great product. The guy that raises them treats them with respect.”

The menu at The Dining Room changes, sometimes daily, to accommodate what was procured. Caldwell takes the best ingredients he can find and then creates. “It elevates everything,” he says.

“I order what they have and then I have to create. That’s the challenge and that’s the pay-off.”

The intimate space is adorned with original art. The four-top bar sits before a gleaming array of whiskeys. The service matches the linen table top. No detail is left to chance.

A recent offering was a first course of roasted beet root salad, house made ricotta, Rolling Branch Farms Satsuma orange with fresh fines herbs served with a 2010 Petites Sardines, Muscadet, France wine. Second course; Sunchoke veloute, Salmon roe, Saffron oil served with the “Pale Rose,” Provence, France. Third course; North Carolina Speckled Trout, Pine Nut and Curly Kale gremolata, and Crystal organics baby winter carrots, served with Hugel Reisling Classic, 2020, Alsace, France and a final course of vanilla panna cotta, kumquat compote,


Mastering THE MENU

On March 11, Michael McNeill will celebrate an notable anniversary. McNeill, a more-than affable 60-year-old distinguished man, was named the second youngest Master Sommelier in the nation in 1993 while he was working with Madison’s Preston Snyder at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta.

For an idea on the significance of the moment, know there are, currently, only 269 Master Sommelier’s in the world; 172 in the United States.

For Snyder, McNeill, who is currently the director of fine wine for the Georgia Crown spirits distribution company, has added his expertise and knowledge to create a unique, fine dining space in a downtown building that once held a wagon works company and, later, a funeral home. Snyder consulted with McNeill early to make The Dining Room a sophisticated and warm experience.

“Preston and I wanted to create an experience that is classic,” says McNeill. “We wanted to show the classic pairings with wines that have been around for centuries.”

During an expansive 10-course New Year’s Eve Dinner at The Dining Room on Hancock Street (located directly behind the Hart and Crown on East Washington Street) a caviar osetra, buttermilk potato pancake, dill dish was paired with the Rolland Champion Grand Cru Brut Champagne. A Miane Lobster Bisque third course came with Hugel Reisling. McNeill says the work through

Georgia Crown to The Dining Room has been gratifying and fun. “The customer’s reaction, that’s what we are working for. These kind of dining experiences are rare these days.”

McNeill says he not only studies the menu to determine which wine will make the dish sing, but he also becomes familiar with a chef’s tendencies.

“The sommelier is an extension of the chef’s hand,” he says.

“I look at the heart of the dish, the method of preparation and third, what’s the strongest flavor of the dish.”

The Dining Room Chef Ryan Caldwell has been an interesting partner, McNeill says. “He is doing some really great dishes.”

For Snyder, who was a waiter at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta, when McNeill was on the rise, working with the Master Sommelier, and friend, has been fulfilling on several levels. McNeill’s knowledge, paired with Snyder’s hospitality heritage (“My instincts are still a waiters,” he says) created a nexus of knowledge and heart.

“Wine is food,” says McNeill. “Wine is art, wine is cultural, wine is terroir. It’s what people care about.”

“We are excited he was creating the experience,” Snyder says. “This doesn’t exist anymore.”

candied almond, lace cookie served with Collosi Lipaarta Passito, Sicily, Italy.

The Dining Room also offers one set of alternates for each seating. For instance, on January 14, a diner could replace the third course trout with a roasted Callidora Farms ribeye, Bread and Butter Farms collard greens, turnip fondant with hollandaise served with a 216 Chateau Trois Moulins, Haut Medoc, Bourdeaux, France.

Caldwell says the beauty of The Dining Room is the challenge of utilizing locally sourced ingredients to make the experience shimmer.

“From today to yesterday it

Master Sommelier Michael McNeill, left, and The Dining Room owner Preston Snyder, right.

changes. You have to pivot. That’s the exercise, you have to make the product shine.”

Reservations for The Dining Room are requested. Go to the Mad Hospitality website at and follow the prompts. Cost is $95 each for the meal and an additional $35 if the wine pairing is selected. The restaurant is open from Thursday to Saturday with the last seating at 8:30 p.m. During Masters Week, the restaurant will be open each day.

The Dining Room, located on Hancock Street in downtown Madison, is housed in the former Simmons Funeral Home. The Dining Room shares this historic corner building with two other MAD Hospitality restaurants; Hart and Crown Tavern and Mad Taco. Photo by Josiah Connelly Dramatic lighting hovers over white linens throughout the wellappointed dining area. The intimate space is adorned with original art and layered with various textures. Photos courtesy of MAD Hospitality
404-769-5276 2451 Brownwood Road Madison, GA 30650 Trucking, Clearing, Grading, Mulching, Excavation & Demolition VISIT OUR NEWEST LOCATION: 1171 MONTICELLO RD. | MADISON, GA 30650 COVINGTON: 8155 HWY 278 | McDONOUGH: 1769 ZACK HINTON PKWY. At Newton Electrical Supply you’ll find a full range of electrical and lighting supplies for your residential, commercial, or industrial electrical needs. We carry an extensive range of electrical equipment and supplies from various manufacturers. 706-342-4450 SINCE 1967
NEW LOCATION - 939 Lake Oconee Parkway, Suite B, Eatonton, GA 31024, Lake Oconee: 762-220-1040 COVINGTON LOCATION - 1587 Access Rd, Covington, GA 30014, Covington: 678-625-0711 ATHENS LOCATION - 116 Commerce Blvd, Athens, GA 30606, Athens: 706-369-5311 Three Convenient Locations! Paul Courchaine, President • NMLS# 713284 Heath Edwards, Consumer/Commercial Lender • NMLS# 868575 706 . 342 . 7211 YOUR UNITED BANK Dream Team Jennifer Sides, Mortgage Lender NMLS# 1454040 Nelson Hale, Senior Lender NMLS# 713275 Krystal Dennis, Branch Operations Coordinator NMLS# 2351014 CONSTRUCTION | MORTGAGE | BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Reading Succeeding

‘Celebrity’ role models take part in new Mayor’s Reading Club program

Madison Mayor Fred Perriman can remember sitting in the sanctuary of the Springfield Baptist Church on Bethany Road in the early 1950s the moment his life changed.

A woman named Martha F. Stinson, Perriman’s first grade teacher at the segregated “church school” handed out dog-eared books passed

down from the white schools for the children. There was “Jack and Jill” and “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and other “rhyming books” designed to help small children learn to read, Perriman says. The farmer’s son was fascinated. Mrs. Stinson was there to help. “She was concerned about us,” says Perriman. The reading took, and Perriman says that one fundamental skill led

to others which led to a farmer’s son becoming one of the favorite city sons of Madison. Perriman is the city’s first African-American mayor elected in the last election by a landslide and, coincidentally, an ordained Baptist minister that still makes the more than hour drive to preach in the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Lincolnton.

Madison Mayor Fred Perriman read to Ashley Barnes’ third grade class at Morgan County Elementary School to kick off the new Mayor’s Reading Club in October.

Perriman doesn’t forget Mrs. Stinson and her hope for a generation. “It was the beginning of our lives,” Perriman recalls. “She wanted to make sure that we would succeed.”

But it all started with reading.

In celebration of his first teacher and in the skill that, he says, has allowed him to go far in his life, Mayor Perriman who also serves as the vice president of the Georgia Municipal Association, has joined with 35 other Georgia mayors to become part of the Georgia City Solutions (GCS) Mayor’s Reading Club Program.

Perriman says when he first learned of the program he couldn’t wait to participate. “President Barack Obama once said, ‘Reading makes all other learning possible. We have to get books into our children’s hands early and often.’”

To that end, Perriman, a 1968 graduate of Madison’s Pearl High School, has joined with the Morgan County Charter School System, Madison-based Ferst Readers and

city officials to work towards improving reading awareness and skills in Madison.

As part of the program, Perriman is organizing a group of “celebrity readers” at Morgan County Charter School System classrooms, including ESPN journalist and New York Times best-selling author, Mark Schlabach, Assistant Chief of Police Colin Campbell, and Dr. Pamela Hall.

In October, the mayor appeared in Ashley Barnes’ third grade classroom at Morgan County Elementary School to read a portion of “Georgia Caroline Visits City Hall.” The book provided by GCS, follows a group of children as they are led through the various departments and workings of a small Georgia city.

Perriman says the concept of reading to children should be fundamental in all households. “It is essential that we provide reading opportunities to our children early in their lives. Actually, reading should start when a child is in the mother’s womb and should

continue once the child has been born.”

Dr. Virgil Cole, superintendent, Morgan County Charter School System, said the program and Perriman’s appearance at the school is an affirmation that reading matters and the city of Madison notices. “It’s one of the most critical and foundational things we can do with our school system,” Cole says. The partnership with Perriman and the city will help Morgan County become a more effective school system.”

Cole also speaks from experience. His grandfather, Virgil Calvin Cole, was forced by circumstance to drop out of school in third grade and struggled with illiteracy his entire life. While his grandfather was a successful provider, Dr. Cole said he learned from watching as his namesake continued to try and learn. “He saw the limitations that came with illiteracy and fought to learn,” Dr. Cole says. “It was something that always inspired me.”

Perriman agrees. “Reading is

Morgan County Board of Education Member Cheryl Bland reads to students at Morgan County Primary School. A former educator, Bland says she embraced the opportunity to slip back into the classroom. ‘I love to read and I love to read to children,’ she says. ‘They need to see the importance of reading.’

a fundamental, essential life skill. It helps children enhance their learning, listening skills, vocabulary, concentration, imagination, creativity and self-confidence,” he says. “Through reading, our children learn empathy, how to develop positive perspectives and build stronger relationships.”

The Georgia City Solutions, a non-profit extension of the Georgia Municipality Association, says the program is designed to enhance a city’s ability to affect a child’s life. “Literacy is not just an education issue. It is an economic, workforce, and quality of life issue. We know that the major challenges which hold cities and their residents back are grounded in the outcomes of intergenerational poverty, such as low academic achievement, disengaged youth and a deficient pipeline of qualified workers to fill local jobs.”

ABOVE LEFT: Morgan County High School Bulldog T.J. Thompson, a noted football and basketball player, reads to second grade students at Morgan County Primary School after delivering a sports-related message of resilience and teamwork. TOP: Assistant Chief of Police Colin Campbell reads to students at Morgan County Primary School. Campbell says he was proud to be part of something that could have a positive effect on the students’ development. ‘It’s great to be part of a program that reinforces to the children the importance of reading.’ BOTTOM: Dr. Pamela Hall, of Madison Family Medicine in Madison, reads to students at Morgan County Primary School as part of Mayor Fred Perriman’s new Mayor’s Reading Club. Hall says she was impressed with the children’s zeal for reading. ‘The kids are as enthusiastic as ever. They are so receptive.’


Leaders who

“Not all readers are leaders,” wrote President Harry S. Truman, “but all leaders are readers.”

In this present-day era of TV and social media, we wondered if Truman was still correct. And there seemed to be no better way to test the sentiment than to interview the major mayors in the Lake Country area.

The key question asked was: “What is your favorite book?” What follows are their answers with a short synopsis of the books they chose.

Fred Perriman, Mayor of Madison

Mayor Perriman’s favorite book is “Man of Steel and Velvet,” by Dr. Aubrey Andelin. In these confusing times, it is easy to lose sight of the fundamental meaning of what it is to be a man and what it is to be a woman. Based on Christian ethics, “Man of Steel” helps readers gain a clearer perspective on true masculinity. It shows how the combined traits of the firmness of steel and the gentleness of velvet can make a man who is a good provider and devoted husband worthy of the respect of his wife and children. With wisdom, insight, and humor, Dr. Andelin offers his successful program for Christian harmony.

John Reid, Mayor of Eatonton

Mayor Reid’s favorite book is “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude,” by Napoleon Hill. It is a self-improvement book written to increase happiness and give readers the life of their dreams. Hill discovered secrets to greatness through questioning hundreds of prosperous people and communicating how their perspectives on life enabled them to get to the top. Hill writes that the mind

has two sides. One side is a positive mental attitude that naturally attracts the good and the beautiful. The other side is a negative mental attitude which can rob you of all that makes life worth living. According to Hill, your triumph, health, pleasure, and prosperity depend on how you make up your mind.

Cory Williams, Mayor of Greensboro

Mayor Williams’ favorite book is “Don’t Drop the Mic: The Power of Your Words Can Change the World,” by Bishop T.D. Jakes. Bishop Jakes tells how to effectively get a message across, whether speaking to thousands or just to a friend. What we say, and how we say it, matters. #1 New York Times bestselling author Jakes has been speaking in front of audiences large and small for decades, and over the years, has learned a lot about communicating with audiences. Drawing lessons from Scripture and his own life, Jakes gives career advice for those who have or want to grow into a speaking career. He also provides clear direction and insight for everyone who gives presentations, writes emails, or talks to other people in their work or at home.

Mary ParhamCopelan, Mayor of Milledgeville

Mayor Parham’s favorite book is “Developing the Leader Within You,” by John Maxwell. The book is Dr. Maxwell’s first and most enduring leadership book, having sold more than a million copies. In this Christian Leaders Series edition of this Maxwell classic, the reader discovers the biblical foundation for leadership Maxwell has used as a pastor and business leader for more than 40 years. These same principles and practices are available for

everyday leaders in every walk of life. It is a lofty calling to lead a group – a family, a church, a nonprofit, a business – and Maxwell promises the timeless principles in this book will bring positive change to all readers and those they influence.

Allen Haywood, Mayor of Sparta

Mayor Haywood’s favorite book is “The Last Juror,” by John Grisham. Haywood was a newspaper editor and owner for over 30 years. The book centers around a Mississippi weekly newspaper, The Ford County Times. The newspaper went bankrupt, and ownership was assumed by a 23-year-old college dropout. The future of the paper turned bright when a young mother was murdered by a member of the notorious Padgitt family and the paper reported all the gruesome details. The trial of murderer Danny Padgitt came to a startling end when the defendant threatened revenge against the jurors if convicted. Nevertheless, they found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison. But nine years later Danny Padgitt was paroled and returned to Ford County to begin his revenge.

“Reading is a fundamental, essential life skill,” said Madison Mayor Perriman as he launched the Mayor’s Reading Program. He echoes the sentiment held by all five major Lake Country mayors.

Leaders who read know that reading stretches the mind in the way exercise improves the body. Read on!

Chip R. Bell is the author of several award-winning, national bestselling books, and serves on the board of Georgia Writers Museum in Eatonton, which celebrates the life and work of world-renowned Georgia authors including Alice Walker, Joel Chandler Harris, Flannery O’Connor, and Sidney Lanier.

INSURANCE Madison, Lake Oconee & Covington • 706-342-4900 Athens & Atlanta • 404-477-6985 • Let Us Insure Your Most Valuable Assets Masters of Insurance! Insure your home with replacement cost coverage to make sure you don’t come up short. Call JEDT to review your insurance and make sure your coverage is complete.

Furniture & Accessories for the Home

• UPSCALE DEALER ORIENTED SHOPPING • 144 Academy Street Madison 706-342-8795 Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed Sundays
Explore 20,000 square-feet of shopping with 75 dealers offering a variety of upscale American and European antiques including vintage and new pieces The variety is endless, come see for yourself.
The Madison Assisted Living is an Upscale Assisted Living Community located in the Heart of Downtown Madison. Licensed Nurse Care Management, CNA, CMA and Certified CPR Trained 300+ Years Care Staff Experience, Locally Owned and Operated 706-343-9991 • 150 Hancock Street • Madison, GA

reflections a survival plan based on

“Who am I?” Jean Valjean in Les Misérables asks this question at a point in his life when he had a choice: remain silent and let another man who looked like him go to prison or speak up and then spend his years escaping being captured. Either choice made him reflect on his future: “If I speak, I am condemned / If I stay silent, I am damned.” Valjean felt connected to the people in his factories, to the adopted daughter, and to the priest who spared his life. By asking “Who am I?” he was reflecting on his life, his connections with others, how these reflections gave him confidence to create jobs as part of his new life, and finally the reflection changed his life’s path.

The pandemic has provided many people time to reflect on their lives: past, present and future. Those who survived with a positive attitude were asked to share their reflections of the last few years. What can be learned from other’s reflections? These people survived with a positive attitude because they made connections, used reflections as a way of life, and used reflections to change the direction of their lives.

Past / Importance of Connections

Braxton Barton is a land management employee of the State of Georgia who lives on the river in Morgan County. He consciously thinks about how his job of taking care of natural areas from middle to south Georgia creates a better environment for people to live.

Meeting at the Georgia Museum of Art on UGA’s campus, we talked among Kristin Leachman’s “Longleaf Lines,”

Emerging from the pandemic, people examine their connections to nature, communities, and to places

an exhibit focusing on the artist offering a space for contemplation and reflection upon Georgia’s ever-evolving longleaf story. Barton works among these longleaf pines.

For days working in the forests or out on a river, he would not see a single person. Once the pandemic happened, more people were out on the rivers. Though the national forests were closed, state public parks were open. Barton’s quiet job turned into crowd control.

Reflecting on those changes, he smiles. “We get hung up on things we can’t control.” He pauses, “we are a part of nature.”

He points to a piece of Leachman’s art and we discuss how her paintings articulate the relationships between painting and nature. She uses reclaimed earth pigments produced from minerals like iron oxide pulled from U.S. riverways historically polluted by mining. Her paintings link things living and nonliving, human and nonhuman. The hope she expresses in the exhibition’s notes is that balanced coexistence with nature may one day be possible. Barton agrees, his lifestyle and work connect him with nature every day. The longleaf pines remind him of how important it is to keep those connections alive.

Connections are important to Catherine Mills. She is the director of addictive disease at Advantage Behavioral Health Systems in Athens but quickly adds “first and foremost I am a person in long-term recovery.” She defines reflections as something that “can be visual, auditory, emotional and to some degree physical. I see it as a revisualization of something through many filters,” like a prism that turns a ray of light into a rainbow of colors. “Reflection is three dimensional where different pieces come into focus and is all about connections,” she says.

Reflecting on the pandemic, Mills saw an increase in mental health issues and substance abuse that challenged any engagement between health care workers and those who needed help. Using tele-health, staff needed to create a safe space and had to be hyper aware of what they did in front of a screen, not because of absence but of disconnection. This disconnection resulted in an alarming number of suicides. Trauma causes some people to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs and others to stop taking medications used for mental health issues. These people are disconnected with

those who might be able to help. Being disconnected was how Mills fell into addiction and using a social lubricant made it easier to connect. When she figured that out, she changed her lifestyle to be healthier.

“Two pieces of music speak to me,” says Mills, “Florence + the Machine’s ‘Free’ and Orville Peck’s ‘The Curse of the Blackened Eye’ as he plays his own depression. These are little sparkles that shine on me and I reflect,” says Mills. She gets it: she is a person in long-term recovery, the pandemic made connections all that more important to her.

“What was I missing?” says Dr. Aaron Meskin, head of the Department of Philosophy at UGA. “I miss the places,” he says. He missed meeting up with friends at The Ole Pal in Normaltown for drinks. And though some places like The Expat restaurant in Athens did a good job of take-out dinners with chef instructions on how to finish the meal at home, he was not satisfied with doing things at home. He felt it was much more than just the convenience.

“Places are important, similar to art works. There is a connection to art and also a personal attachment and a social sharing of places,” Meskin explains. “I missed the value of these places.” Meskin says that places are not valuable for just what we get, places like The Grit restaurant have historical meaning, a vibe, an aesthetic. Places are more than just eating and drinking out; they are social sharing, connecting people with others.

Present / A Way of Life

People who used reflection as part of their everyday life discovered that they stayed on course. Reflection strengthened them to continue.

Mark Ralston is an avid recreational cyclist and president of the Firefly Trail, Inc. Board of Directors. He has completed 6 or 7 centuries with the longest ride being 111 miles. He has ridden BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia), 55 miles per day for a week with one day off. Being outdoors and challenging himself by riding is one of his favorite


activities. During the pandemic, he kept riding—just not with groups. He noticed many new riders on the roadways.

The pandemic did not stop the serious cyclists; some transitioned to gravel riding. E-bikes became ideal for people like the 80-year-old who wanted to do BRAG but was slower and for another rider with allergies. E-bikes are the future, Ralston says. As he continues to ride his incumbent bike, Ralston says he stays in the moment. He thinks about the terrain, works through issues, writes fiction, or composes music. “Biking

has a cadence, a definite rhythm that changes with hills and valleys,” says Ralston, and he leans into that. A woman whose lifestyle has not changed during the pandemic is Kerry Fulford, owner and operator of Athens Yoga Therapeutics. She has spent the last 30 years following the yoga path and was given a yoga name: Gayatri (a mantra expressing hope for enlightenment). Throughout the pandemic she has meditated. “I allow myself to follow my mind. I observe my mind and it takes me to the past and the future,” she looks directly at me. “Be still

and know I am God, all the great masters say, if you are going to be holy you have to be in the present.”

One learns to be in the present through practice, Fulford says. She begins by watching her breath 10 times. After 10 breaths something inside of her shifts and that leads her to a moment of reflection.

Fulford began yoga because she had felt an imbalance and sought ways to have a more balanced life. She reflects on what she has learned, “I allowed myself to overcome the survivor’s guilt. There have been good moments like com-

Kristin Leachman, “Longleaf 1,” 2020. Oil on canvas on panel, 54 × 72 inches. Courtesy of Kristin Leachman.

munity bonding. It was a wake up, shake up call for things that were driving us crazy. It was a slowing down, more home time, and learning more about where resources come from.”

To Fulford, nature impacts both her mental and physical health. “I am out every day rain or shine; this connection is both a reflection and a remembrance.” The yoga principles promote a strong body, a compassionate heart, kindness towards others, and gratitude for many things.

Gratitude has been Ashley Garrett’s path for the past 25 years. She is the Internal Communications Manager at Athens Regional Health System and has been keeping a gratitude journal since the late 1990s.

“Having a written record of gifts in your life trains your brain to look for good things,” Garrett says. She discovered that she had good things to write down even on a bad day like the day her husband Richard died. He was 38. Garrett had discovered Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.” The essays encourage women to write down a minimum of five things to be thankful for that day.

“The journal gives insight,” says Garrett, “If I am feeling off balance, I get immediate feedback and set aside time for myself whether it is art, friend,


family, quiet, or being outside. The structural practice helps. It widened my lens of seeing things, strengthening my muscles. It’s like breadcrumbs through my life. “

Reflecting on what one has done in life can lead to better understanding of the self, or as retired psychiatrist William Charles Conner says, it is the coming out of the darkness of ignorance. In his memoirs, he refers to the shadow that crosses the moon, or the penumbra, and titles his third book “Out of the Penumbra.” His first book, “Eating Dirt” begins with his growing up in poverty with never enough of anything and his mother making do to raise five children without the father, who had left. “Boy Jumps Over the Moon” covers the three years he spent in the Navy where he was trained as a dental technician. His third book is about his college years where he was bullied and shoved down steps and had to learn how to deal with life. With no money and no family assets, he had to find a way to attend college and still support his mother. He received a full scholarship to medical school where he discovered psychiatry. And, as a trained psychiatrist, he learned to listen to what’s going on with other people. His retirement in 1996 has given him time to reflect.

“Reliving all those days… talk about painful experiences…has helped me get rid of the pain. I’m very glad I’ve done it. I’ve lived a life I never expected but I like


my perspective,” he says. “Mindfulness is a part of me. Our journeys change how we think.”

Conner is married to Lisa Thomas Conner, the daughter of artist Steffen Thomas (The Steffen Thomas Museum of Art is in Buckhead, Ga.), and they live in Morgan County. Conner writes about his life of 80 years and reflects on the changes he has experienced. By continuing to write his memoirs, Conner was able to cope with the pandemic years and turn his writing into a legacy for his sons.

Future / Changes to life’s path

March 8, 2020, is etched as the day Georgia shut down. Within these two years, some people who made time to reflect changed their life’s paths.

“I had to move,” says Nancee Tomlinson, a lawyer. “The noise of living in town triggered my PTSD.” She sold her house in Athens and moved to Morgan County in December 2020. “This opened me up to hearing my inner guidance,” she says.

Reflections during the pandemic also motivated her to begin a degree in social work. As a lawyer she feels she is forced into duality: innocent or convicted. “But one can see myriad options if they open their eyes to see,” she says. “Reflecting is how one can clear out what Jung calls shadows, if I can only clear out the noises,” that is why she moved and why she has to change her career.

She read Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” and began the practice of writing morning pages, three pages written quickly to find places of resistance. At the end of the day, she meditates to figure out the “why” of what she wrote. Tomlinson sits in silence to communicate with God. She believes that if we silence our mind, we can reach God and that the act of reflection is spending intentional time to think. “I don’t listen to music when I step back, I go outside and listen to nature. Listen to the rain. It is amazing in the dark.”

A quiet mind is explained in Robert Louis Stevenson’s quote: “Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”

Cameron Jay had to pause during his work to reflect. Jay, who has the Classic City Crime podcast, is finding strength in the “pause.” “I deal with heavy stories about crime and when I find time to pause, I can find lessons. I have learned how important it is to stop and listen.”

After two years of the pandemic and researching one

case, he reflected: “Once I finished Tara Baker’s case, I had to decide on whether or not I would take on one of 40 unsolved homicide cases in Athens since 1969. My heart was not ready to go with another unsolved case. Tara’s family and friends made me feel connected to her but the lack of resolution still keeps me up at night.” He looks away. “Podcast rules say that audiences like crime stories but I felt they needed a break to reflect on the lives of the people killed.” He has 1.2 million followers with a new season that started October 31, 2022.

Elected as a member of the Athens Board of Education has changed Heidi Hensley’s career path. Everything she has done in her life has gotten her to where she is today. “When I look back, I am at peace. Looking back builds on and creates who we are and then pushes us into the future,” says Hensley.

As a basketball star at Furman, Hensley wanted to do art but couldn’t because of the sport, an injury changed her life. She came to UGA, studied music and art, toured the country playing music but was lonely. She had poured her whole self into music. She wanted a child but knew that she could not be on the road and have a child. She shifted and now has six children. She poured everything into her art until her son said, “Mama, you’ve forgotten to play.” She shifted and cre-


ated “Artful Reminders” to connect with other people. “In reflection,” Hensley says, “there is something bigger—it’s the community.”

Then came the pandemic. All the little boutiques that sold her art closed. Her studio closed. She shifted and became an elementary school art teacher. “There was a disconnect between teachers and students and the administration. Everything was success driven, data driven, and had deleted the human aspect,” she says. So, she shifted and ran for the Board of Education and won. Her shifting caused her to reflect on Michael Singer’s “Living from a Place of Surrender” who allowed his life to go where the universe took it. Hensley now lives in the moment. “I had to sit still

and cherish the stillness especially with family and I try not to look where I am going.”

Linda Davis has faith that keeps her centered. She grew up in the Brooklyn community of Athens. She had a business career, retired, and returned to Athens. “I was at lunch when I got a phone call from a lady who said that with Obama in office the Brooklyn Cemetery [an African American cemetery] needed restoration and she had the means to get it done and wanted to do it, but did not want my help.” Davis thought for a minute. Her grandparents were buried in that cemetery. She was not trying to prove the woman wrong but out of love and respect wanted to bring dignity to the ancestors. She said no, thus her

Kristin Leachman, “Longleaf 2,” 2020. Oil on canvas on panel, 54 × 72 inches. Courtesy of Kristin Leachman.

life’s path changed; she became co-founder and trustee of the Friends of Brooklyn Cemetery and during the pandemic found ways to continue the cemetery restoration.

“I’m in the mirror,” Davis says, “so what do people see when they see me in the mirror?” She feels that the woman who called her saw a Black woman who was not up to the job. “When I walk through the cemetery, I see the people, the African-American community whose first act of courage was to survive the middle passage. They died away from home but were strong enough to endure and persevere. So, I marvel at the unknown stories of people buried there.”

As she walks through the cemetery, she remembers. “It is like I am walking through the Brooklyn community on Hawthorne Avenue. In Section A, Winnie Reese is buried. She sold cupcakes for 5 cents. Robert Flanigan down from her was the keeper of the church and made the fires to keep the congregants warm. Etta Flanigan/Stroud from out of Watkinsville, had an ice cream shop on Hawthorne.” In reflecting on that fateful phone call, Davis says, “I may not have all the skills to do it, but I have the faith,” and that faith has encouraged thousands of volunteers, many UGA professors

with their students, and neighbors to help restore the cemetery and honor the ancestors.

Reflections made during the pandemic have had some people stay steadfast through their connections to nature, to communities, and to places because of a past that was important to them, thus grounding them in a world that was changing.

Reflections kept other people in the present relying on their experiences, nature, and exercise to keep them on course and balanced. Others had already trained themselves to look for the good in life and how to find creative ways to spend time alone.

Reflections also changed some people’s paths by highlighting the disconnections in their lives so they moved, changed directions for work, or simply paused, all with a look to a more positive future. These people who have survived the pandemic with a positive attitude found a way to remain in the present and with “being in the present” they also go forth with hope for the future.

Jean Valjean had hope, “My soul belongs to God, I know / I made that bargain long ago / Gave me hope, when hope was gone / He gave me strength to journey on / Who am I? / Who am I? / Jean Valjean.”

- VOTED “BEST SPECIAL EVENT VENUE”202 N West St, Greensboro, GA 30642 | (706) 920-1177 | 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards
Thinking of the Nineteenth hole &

Restaurants, live-music venues, breweries and shops line the streets of the recently revitalized downtown area in Macon.

Weekend Getaways in the South

A celebration of music, literature, architecture and good food draw people to these three classic Southern towns

Macon may be best known for its thousands of Yoschino cherry trees that burst into bloom during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in March, but this mid-sized city 80+ miles from Atlanta has quite a few other lures. Head down I-75 for a dip into ‘70s rock, an Italian Renaissance

| backyard traveler | 3

mansion and a walkable downtown that’s been revitalized—just for starters.

Epicenter of soul and blues rock ‘n roll: Musical greats Otis Redding, Little Richard and The Allman Brothers all began their careers in Macon. Take a tour through Rock Candy Tours to walk or ride around town and hear about its rich musical history, or go DIY by visiting to learn about concerts, self-guided walking trails and more. Anybody can go on their own to the Capricorn Recording Studio and Museum, Otis Redding Museum or Allman Brothers Band Museum.

Downtown delivers: Stroll among the historic buildings for more culture, food and people-watching.

Macon’s downtown Visitor Center is a good place to start, and it’s within walking distance of the famed Tubman Museum—the nation’s largest museum devoted to African-American culture. When you’re hungry, go where the locals go downtown: The Rookery and Dovetail are favorite restaurants for a more hearty meal, but casual diners that are fun to try include H&H Soul Food and Nu-Way Weiners.

Ocmulgee BrewPub has a winning combo of locally made craft beer with custom burgers.

Good night’s sleep: Macon is often a “pass through” town for Atlantans, but for a thorough look, book a room at one of three downtown properties. The

78 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | SPRING 2023 | backyard
TOP: “The Big House,” a house-turned-museum dedicated to The Allman Brothers. LEFT: The Roy House. RIGHT: Joe Adams created a rentable pied-a-terre in this circa-1900 house. PHOTO COURTESY VISIT MACON

new Hotel Forty-Five has a modern-industrial vibe and particularly shows off at its rooftop bar, with views for miles. Two AirBnBs get high marks and offer an elegant approach to Macon architecture. A historic house set on gardens once featured in Garden & Gun magazine includes three bedrooms and two baths (AirBnb 41814693). Artist Joe Adams renovated a turn-of-the-century house with an upstairs “atelier” for rent, while downstairs is his vibrant art studio (AirBnB 36336991).

To get started on your trip:

If Beaufort (pronounced “Bew-fert”) seems like a town right out of a movie, that would be entire-

Beaufort, South Carolina

ly correct. This historic coastal town halfway between Savannah and Charleston plays a starring role in well-known movies such as “Forrest Gump,” “The Big Chill,” “The Great Santini,” and “G.I. Jane.” Consider its attributes: graceful Southern homes, live-oak trees filled with Spanish Moss, a charming downtown, and all sorts of water views from marsh to lighthouses on a rugged coast.

SPRING 2023 | LAKE OCONEE LIVING 79 | backyard traveler |
Beaufort River at Saltus River Grill.

Home base: The elegant Rhett House Inn (circa 1820) is everything you’d want in a bed-and-breakfast in Beaufort, from its lovely porches and gardens, antiques, wonderful staff and little touches such as iced tea and cookies in the afternoon, then dessert in the evening. Breakfasts are amazing—pick-your-own delights from a list of specialties, served on the porch or in a cozy dining room. When it’s time to explore, Rhett House Inn is just a few blocks from the downtown area, and even offers complimentary bikes for exploring. What to see: Often referred to as a mini-Charleston, Beaufort can be enjoyed for its architecture, fresh seafood and histo-

ry, with blocks and blocks of old houses, cemeteries and museums to explore. A local resident leads Janet’s Walking history tour (, covering 500 years of Beaufort history along two miles of neighborhoods. The Pat Conroy Literary Center celebrates the esteemed author and other writers. Nearby, the Gullah Art Gallery/Museum honors African-American culture on the coast. When it’s time to be outdoorsy, explore the salt marsh ecology with Beaufort Kayak Tours or head to Hunting Island State Park for ocean fun and the state’s only public lighthouse.

80 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | SPRING 2023 | backyard traveler |
RIGHT: The Gullah Art Gallery & Museum. BELOW: Low Country Produce. TOP: Hunting Island Public Lighthouse. BELOW: The Rhett House Inn.

Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville keeps getting better and better. This mid-sized city a little over two-hours from Atlanta is a model of great city-planning, starting with its urban water park that’s a scenic draw for visitors. Add in cultural events, walkable streets, a top-notch bike trail and award-winning restaurants, and now it should be on everyone’s rotation as a regular weekend getaway. USA Today recently called it the No. 1 most-friendly city in the country, and Money Magazine referred to Greenville as “picture perfect.”

Downtown delights: Stay downtown for the best experience. Many top hotel chains have facilities in

| backyard traveler |
Greenville is known for its urban water park just off Main Street Camp Greenville Restaurant
82 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | SPRING 2023 | backyard traveler |
TOP: The Juniper bar and restaurant. ABOVE: “The Big Dog” sculpture by Dale Rogers. RIGHT: The Swamp Rabbit Trail.

the heart of activity; one that captures the soul of Greenville is AC Hotel by Marriott. Its location on Main Street means you can head out the door in either direction to the attractions: Reedy Falls, art galleries, cafes and stores galore. Views from AC Hotel show the buzz of Greenville, with its mix of buildings old and new, and streets hopping with visitors and locals both. The city has more than 100 works of public art to spot, and when you’re thirsty, 20 breweries to discover.

Get ready to eat: The food scene has become a popular draw. Several rooftop bars and restaurants are fun to try, with Juniper (at the top of AC Hotel) being an Instagram favorite. Its views of the city, specialty cocktails, garden-décor and fun menu (appetizers such as crispy cauliflower with a buffalo-sauce spice, with a gorgonzola sauce on the side to cool things down) make it a must-see, and reservations are highly recommended. Pomegranate on Main is a good spot for lunch, healthy and delicious, too. Its Persian menu—think hummus, kabobs, and delicious salads—joins outdoor eating and original art for a memorable experience. New to Greenville is CAMP, which comes with the pedigree of the famed French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley; it’s already popular enough that reservations are a must, with guests wanting to sample the small plates and big ones, too. For more information, including spring events and itineraries:

February 14, 2023 | 8 Days

Ecuador & The Galapagos

March 21, 2023 | 9 Days

A Culinary Journey through Tuscany

May 4, 2023 | 4 Days

Kentucky Derby

July 19, 2023 | 9 Days

Alpine Swiss Villages and Rails

August 18, 2023 | 7 Days

Waterways & National Parks of Pacific NW

October 17, 2023 | 9 Days

Athens & The Greek Islands

November 29, 2023 | 9 Days

Switzerland & The Christmas Markets of the Rhine River Cruise


March 13, 2024 | 9 Days

Treasures of Ireland

May 13, 2024 | 8 Days

Mackinac Island, the Grand Hotel & Niagara Falls

July 10, 2024 | 7 Days

Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park

October 21, 2024 | 8 Days

Douro River Cruise - Spain

3 night Lisbon (Optional Extension)

December 6, 2024 | 5 Days

New York City Holiday

Various small trips will be added throughout the year!

Islands •
• Two nights in
• Two nights in Santorini •
• The Acropolis & Parthenon • The Acropolis
• The Plaka & Syntagma
• Ancient Olympic
• Mykonos • Delos Tour • Santorini Tour • Santorini Winery Visit & Tasting • Oia Village Walking Tour • Greek Island Ferry Rides Contact me today! NANCY BUCHANAN 478.451.7588 Specializing In Group Travels Let’s start planning your next travel adventure!
17, 2023 | 9 Days Single Supplement: +$1,025 • Trip Protection: $375pp (highly recommended) • Deposit: $500pp *Balance must be paid via check prior to July 15, 2023 to receive the Early Booking Price (Discount $100/pp) CALENDAR AT A GLANCE 2023/2024
The Greek
Three nights in Athens
Athens City Tour
Price* $4,325 pp double
AC Hotel by Marriott.

A Personal Injury Law Firm

John Milledge Aademy partners with parents to create a Christ-centered family environment that develops all students in mind, body and spirit.

a morning
the office for more information.
now offers
the Lake Oconee Area. Contact
86 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | SPRING 2023 706.999.0201 | Gutters Need Maintenance?... Let Us Handle It For You! NEW GUTTER INSTALLATION REPLACEMENT & REPAIR RESIDENTIAL • COMMERCIAL MULTIFAMILY • WHOLESALE COPPER GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS LEAF GUARD SYSTEMS GUTTER CLEANING Premier Service. Convenience. Affordability. Where would YOU rather be? Free Estimates

Spring 2023


March 2

The Plaza Arts Center in downtown Eatonton presents “One Night in Memphis- Presley, Perkins, Lewis and Cash” at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $55.

March 2 - 5

The 21st annual Madison Chamber Music Festival is held at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center. The festival kicks off Thursday with a free family concert at 4:30 p.m. featur-

ing the musical tales of Babar the Elephant, Ferdinand the Bull and Star Wars. Friday’s concert features Spanish Brass at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50. Saturday showcases “A Night at the Opera” at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday features the Georgian Chamber Players at 4 p.m.

March 3

Carpool, the #1 Cars tribute band, performs at Oconee Brewing Co. in downtown Greensboro at 8 p.m.

March 4

Oconee Brewing Co. in downtown Greensboro hosts the city’s Motown on Main event, featuring music by Jarvis and Friends at 7 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Greene County Family Connections.

March 5

The Old School History Museum in Eatonton presents a lecture by Dr. Eric Tenbus, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia College & State University, on “The History

| happenings |
Lake Oconee Academy’s Denim & Diamonds fundraiser returns April 22 to Collins Farm.

of Beer” at 2 p.m at The Plaza Arts Center in downtown Eatonton. The event is free, and light refreshments will be served after the lecture.

March 10

Rumours, a Fleetwood Mac Tribute band, performs at Oconee Brewing Co. in downtown Greensboro at 8 p.m.

March 17-19

The Lake Oconee Food & Wine Festival is held at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. The three-day event includes a launch party on Friday, the Grand Tasting on Saturday, brunch on Sunday and much more in between..

March 18

The Lake Oconee Area Builders Association holds its annual “Big Event” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lake Oconee Village. The Big Event will feature a wide variety of local exhibitors in the home industry and will also include food trucks, arts and crafts and Kids Zone.

March 18

The Madison Kiwanis Spring Classic 5K is held in historic Madison. The Peachtree Qualifier begins at First United Methodist Church with registration at 7:30 a.m.

March 23

The Artisans Village Guild in downtown Eatonton presents “The BIG little Project,” featuring small scale 6x6 works from artists in the Lake County and beyond, on sale for $40. An opening reception and art selection is held on March 23.

March 23-26

The Lake Country Players present “Noises Off” at Festival Hall in downtown Greensboro. Performances are held at 7 p.m.

nightly and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

March 25

Madison’s third annual Sweet Tooth Festival is held from noon to 5 p.m. at 1311 Fairgrounds Road. The event features a bake-off, cake sampling, food, games, arts and crafts and more. Proceeds benefit the Madison-Morgan Boys & Girls Club.

March 25

Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge offers Spring Wagon Rides with the Easter Bunny on select Saturdays through April 8. This guided wagon ride around the park takes place every 20 minutes. Tickets are $3 in advance. Wagon rides will take place March 25, April 1, April 2, April 8 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Through March 26

“A Pastel Palette,” featuring large abstracts and florals by Bev Jones, is on display at the MAGallery in downtown Madison.

March 30

The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center kicks off its Mainstage Concert series with LP & The Vinyl at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35.

‘Free to Be’ by Bev Jones, on display at MAGallery through March 26.

March 31

Oconee Performing Arts Society presents a performance by “Best New Artist” Grammar nominee Samara Joy at 7:30 p.m. at Festival Hall in downtown Greensboro as part of the OPAS Lounge Series.

March 31

An opening reception is held at the MAGallery in downtown Madison for Atlanta artist Bea McDowell from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

March 31 - April 27

The Georgia Artists With Disabilities (GAWD) exhibit opens at the Marlor House Art Center in downtown Milledgeville. An artists reception will be held April 14 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.


April 7

Nashville country musician Eric Dodd hosts a Masters of Songwriting concert featuring some of Georgia’s most prominent songwriters at 7:30 p.m. at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center. Tickets are $75.

April 7

America’s favorite game show, The Price is Right Live, comes to The Classic Center in downtown Athens.

April 14

The Oconee Area Resource Council holds a “Books, Boots & Bling” benefit at Thomas Cotton Gin in Watkinsville from 7 p.m.

90 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | SPRING 2023 4 | happenings |

to 10 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Call (706) 769-4974 for more information.

April 14 -15

The Madison Spring Tour of Homes is held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout Madison. The self-guided tour features a selection of treasured historic and modern homes. Proceeds benefit the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center. Tickets are $30 in advance.

April 15

The Southland Jubilee returns to downtown Greensboro, featuring live entertainment, arts and crafts, kids activities

and more.

April 20-23

The Plaza Alliance for the Performing Arts (PAPA) presents “The Odd Couple” at the Plaza Arts Center in downtown Eatonton. Performances are held at 7 p.m. nightly and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

April 20

The Lake Country Chorus presents “Singing 7 Days a Week” at Festival Hall in downtown Greensboro at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available from chorus members or Bank South at Lake Oconee.

April 21-23

The Spring Campout 2023 with Georgia Bushcraft is held in Watkinsville. The family-friendly weekend event features camping, cooking, trading and learning activities for outdoor lovers.

April 21 - June 2

The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation’s 28th annual Southworks exhibit opens in downtown Watkinsville. This nationally juried show features a range of artists working in several mediums.

April 22

Madison Fest Garden & Crafts Celebration returns to Madison’s Town Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free family-friendly event features garden plants, arts and crafts, regional food and live music. MadisonFest

April 22

Denim & Diamonds, Lake Oconee Academy’s annual fundraiser, is held at Collins Farm. The event will feature dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions, and live music by Haywire. Tickets are $150.

SPRING 2023 | LAKE OCONEE LIVING 91 Get 50% off your first mosquito service!* or Scan to schedule Available through 4.30.23 *Requires annual mosquito plan | happenings |

April 22

The Madison Artists Guild and MAGallery sponsors a “Plein Air Paint Out” during MadisonFest in downtown Madison from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by an exhibition of works on the Pavilion Stage from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

April 22

The Morgan County Landmarks Society presents its annual “Spring Ramble,” highlighting African American History in Madison and Morgan County. Time and location TBD.

April 29

The Artisans Village Guild in downtown Eatonton presents the 7th Annual Eatonton One Day Paint Out. The day consists of Plein Air Painting Workshops and a local Paint Out in downtown Eatonton with cash prizes. Artists must be 18 years of age or older and may register online at


May 5

An opening reception and Meet and Greet with Atlanta artist Lisa Guyton is held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at MAGallery in downtown Madison. Guytons’s works will be on display at the gallery through June 4.

May 6

The Madison-Morgan Conservancy holds its annual Derby Day event at 5:30 p.m. at the historic Foster-Thomason-Miller House in downtown Madison.

May 7

The Old School History Museum in Eatonton presents a lecture on “Chief Alexander McGillivray” (18th Century Creek Indian Chief) by award-winning author Mauriel Joslyn at 2 p.m. at The Plaza Arts Center in downtown Eatonton. The event is free, and light refreshments will be served after the


May 11

Festival Hall in downtown Greensboro presents “Art Blakey, the Father of Modern Jazz” at 7:30 p.m. as part of its Jazz Legacy Project series.

May 11

The Artisans Village Guild presents the 7th Annual Lake Country Juried Art Show. Entries for the show are due by March 30. The opening reception and awards will be held on May 11, from 5 p.m. to  7:30 p.m. at Barrel 118 in downtown Eatonton. The exhibit will be on display and for sale at the Artisans Village Art Gallery through early July.

May 12 - 26

The Allied Arts Oconee Art exhibit opens at the Marlor House Art Center in downtown Milledgeville. An artists reception will be held May 12 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

May 13

The Plaza Arts Center in downtown Eatonton presents the “Sounds of Georgia” concert outside on the Plaza lawn at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $50.

May 13

The Madison in May 5K/10K Road Race is held in the historic district and will benefit the Madison Lions Club.

May 13

The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center presents a performance by the Quebe Sisters, an American swing revival band base in Texas, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35.

May 17

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame star Bonnie Raitt performs at The Classic Center Theatre in downtown Athens as part of her “Just Like That..” world tour.

May 18 -20

The 22nd annual Madison Antiques Show & Sale returns to the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, featuring more than 20 dealers from across the nation displaying the best in American antiques and accessories. A preview party and early buying event is held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hall. Free lectures are held at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday in the auditorium before the show. Tickets for the show are $10 at the door. Preview Party tickets are $50.

May 22

The ninth annual Sweet Tee Off golf tournament to benefit the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce is held at Harbor Club on Lake Oconee.

May 27

Oconee Performing Arts Society presents its annual Memorial Day Weekend Patriotic salute, followed by The Music of Billy Joes, starring Michael Cavanaugh, at 7 p.m. at The Farm at Oconee

‘Joshua Tree’ by Lisa Guyton on display at MAGallery May 6.
SUBSCRIBE 259 N. Second Street, Madison, GA 30650 | 706.342.7440 | Receive a one-year subscription (now 4 issues) to Lake Oconee Living magazine for just $17.
SPRING 2023 | LAKE OCONEE LIVING 95 921 Harmony Road, Suite 2 • Eatonton, GA 31024 • 706-485-7200 • • LASER HAIR/VEIN • BODY WAXING • MANICURE/PEDICURE • FACIALS • BOTOX/JUVEDERM • SUNSCREEN • MEDICAL GRADE PRODUCTS • MASSAGE • YOGA Visit us! Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Gumucio by appointment Our expert team has over 25 years of aesthetic experience to serve you. GET YOUR sparkle springON FOR | advertising index | Advanced Audiology AgSouth Amelia’s Apparel Amici Cafe Athens Academy BankSouth Barkin’ Dogs Shoe Co. BB&G Bend The Trend Bug House Pest Control Chef Deborah Johnson Coldwell Banker/Simon Marshall Crowe Marine Cuscowilla Dermatology Consultants DOCK 103.9 Extreme Dirt Works Falanga & Chalker Law Offices Farmers & Merchants Bank Fat Boys Golf Carts Foundational Wealth Management 6 60 17 76 62 12 21 73 8 91 86 75 11 2 5 94 52 84 84 54 60 Gatewood Schools Greensboro Mainstreet Gutter Solutions Harbor Club JEDT Jennifer Vaughan Jim Boyd & Associate John Milledge Academy Keller Williams/Rhonda Smith Lake Country Outfitters Lake Oconee Ace Lake Oconee Food & Wine Festival Leon Farmer MAD Hospitality Madison Main Street Madison Markets Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Madison Square Collection Morgan Medical Center More Than Blinds Newton Electric 34 88 86 Inside Front 61 50-51 Back Cover 85 87 18 12 26 96 4, 53 91 62 93 73 7 76 52 Oconee Brewing Co. Oconee Bridal PDI Persnickity Interiors Rachael Bell Interiors Selwood Farm Sensational Travel Skiers Marine Southern Laser Medical Spa Spa Medical Stanton Home Furnishings Strawn & Co., Insurance The Madison Assisted Living The Sixty-Two TJ Bishop’s United Bank Whidby Jewelers Zeb Grant Home Zen Wellness Center 74 33 3 22 42 42 83 35 95 14 1 25 63 32 41 54 31 Inside Back 43
Enjoy Responsibly © 2022 NÜTRL® Watermelon, Pineapple, Distilled Spirits Specialty, Los Angeles, CA
Vodka. Seltzer. Real Juice.
706-342-2411 120 E. Washington St. On the square Downtown Madison Employee-Owned and Operated We have a large selection of A+ rated companies to insure all of your needs: auto, home, watercraft, business, health & life. For the best coverage and service, call us today and speak to one of our insurance professionals Trust & Quality Without Question since 1970

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook

Articles inside

Spring 2023

pages 91-96, 99

Weekend Getaways in the South

pages 79-89

reflections a survival plan based on

pages 67-79

Leaders who

pages 61-66

Reading Succeeding

pages 57-60

Mastering THE MENU

pages 50-51, 54-56


pages 47-49


pages 38-43, 45

5 Courses You Can Play

pages 29-32, 34-37

On Course for a Comeback

pages 25-27

Sablés Diamants

pages 22-24

Tea Time

pages 21-22

Spring Mix

pages 17-18

Hello, SPRING!

page 14

Spring 2023

pages 91-97

Weekend Getaways in the South

pages 79-89

reflections a survival plan based on

pages 67-79

Leaders who

pages 61-66

Reading Succeeding

pages 57-60

Mastering THE MENU

pages 50-52, 54-56


pages 47-49


pages 38-45

5 Courses You Can Play

pages 29-32, 34-37

On Course for a Comeback

pages 25-27

Sablés Diamants

pages 22-24

Tea Time

pages 21-22

Spring Mix

pages 17-18

Hello, SPRING!

page 14
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.