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Headed to Augusta, Georgia for the Masters Tournament, April 7-13, 2008? Outside the gates of Augusta National there is so much to discover in this historic southern city.
 
HISTORY
Make your first stop the Augusta Visitor Information Center inside the Augusta Museum of History during regular business hours (Monday-Saturday 10:00 - 5:00 and Sunday 1:00 p.m. ' 5:00 p.m.) to pick up an Augusta Gallery Pass, a one-price ticket good for admission into Augusta attractions and museums. The $20.00 cost offers a 50% savings off regular adult admission prices. The attractions included in the pass represent some of the most popular in the city: The Augusta Canal Interpretive Center; Augusta Museum of History; Ezekiel Harris House; Georgia Golf Hall of Fames Botanical Gardens; Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History; Meadow Garden House Museum; Morris Museum of Art; National Science Centers Fort Discovery and the Boyhood Home of Woodrow Wilson.
 
Augusta Museum of History
560 Reynolds Street
Augusta, GA 30901
Phone: (706) 722-8454
Visit Website
 
SCENERY
The very leafy, very green Augusta is positively thriving along its waterfront. Tour Riverwalk, a lush and scenic two-level park featuring adjacent cultural and educational attractions grouped together along the Savannah River, many of which are featured on the Gallery Pass. The Augusta Riverwalk also features a collection of shops, restaurants, nightlife spots, hotels, and more.
 
SHOPPING
Shoppers will think theyve hit a hole in one with the opening of a multi-million dollar expansion at The Augusta Mall. The new 180,000 square feet open air village setting center features new lifestyle retailers, restaurants and additional amenities.
 
EATERIES
More than 300 eateries in Augusta offer everything from Southern favorites to international cuisine. Those looking for food thats good for the soul will find the best fried chicken, peach cobbler, and macaroni and cheese in all of Georgia at either Caf 209 or the Blue Sky Kitchen. Barbeque is also a sure bet in Augusta. Sconyers, so famous for its pulled pork that former president Jimmy Carter had it flown to the White House during his term in office, is still wildly popular. North and South cuisines come together at Mally's Bagels & Grits. Get a taste of Germany at the Sunshine Bakery and fill up on bratwurst or their famous potato soup. Luigi's, serving traditional Italian, is a favorite hangout for many of the greats of Masters Week. The Verandah Grill at the venerable Partridge Inn is consistently voted the best Sunday brunch in town. Favorite fine dining spots include La Maison, Bistro 491, Cadwalladers and Calverts.
 
But if you havent secured your accommodations and Masters badges, dont fret. Augusta is an affordable and fascinating destination the other 52 weeks of the year.
 
It didnt start out that way. For nearly 50 years, from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, before the railroads ran to Florida, Augustas gentle climate made it the leisurely winter playground of the rich, famous and powerful in America. U. S. Presidents vacationed here in grand hotels as golf was being introduced to America; ladies strolled the grounds and played tennis; Ty Cobb bought a home here, and Bobby Jones later built his dream golf course.
 
WHAT ELSE TO DO
Today, theres far more to do, and one doesnt have to be a millionaire to enjoy the area. As the second largest city in the state, Augusta has become a magnet for tourism year-round. Everyone can Play Augusta, GA by choosing from arts and cultural attractions, historical sites, outdoor recreation, unique shopping and antiquing opportunities, and authentic dining experiences. More than 20 new restaurants and shops have opened downtown in the past few years.
 
While you wont be playing Augusta National unless youre a member or a friend of one, there are twelve excellent public and semi-private golf courses that offer affordable rates ' and its easy get a tee time before or after the first full week of April each year.
 
You can still stay at The Partridge Inn, the last of the grand hotels. A Historic Hotel of America, The Partridge Inn reigned as one of the countrys premier resort destinations during Augustas Golden Age and is still renowned for a quarter-mile of beautiful verandahs, classic columns, stately Magnolia trees and unparalleled personal service.
 
Located approximately 150 miles east of Atlanta, Augusta is easily accessible to most of the Southeast via its prime location on Interstate 20. Augusta Regional Airport (AGS), served by Delta and US Airways, has undergone a major expansion that includes a new passenger terminal.
 
The city has been cited for its efforts to preserve its historic places, and it hosts a variety of year-round sporting, recreational and cultural events. Augusta is often called the Garden City of the South because of the citys many large private gardens and springtime blooms that rival those on the grounds of Augusta National. The Historic Sacred Heart Cultural Center is the focus for classic southern gardening during its 17th Annual Garden Festival, April 25- 27, 2008. Tour seven extraordinary private gardens on both sides of the river, including the historic Summerville area. Find rare plants, and learn from Master Gardeners.
 
Georgias only designated National Heritage Area, the Augusta Canal ' once the site of the Confederate States of America Powder Works ' combines history and recreation along nearly nine miles of bird- and wildlife-filled towpaths and waterways. Visitors can explore the history and significance of the canal by visiting the interpretive center. The award-winning interactive exhibits take visitors from the Canals initial conception and construction in the 1840s and expansion in the 1870s, through its role in the Civil War and its aftermath to the New South industrial growth and electrification of the city. Displays include functioning textile looms, life-sized models of canal construction and depictions of mill worker life.
An Interpretive Center tour takes 45 minutes to an hour and is included in the price of a boat tour, or tickets can be purchased separately. For more information visit
their website.
 
The Augusta Canal is the nation's only industrial power canal still in use for its original purpose, an 8.5-mile waterway built in 1845 to power industrial mills. Federally designated as one of 18 National Heritage Areas, the Augusta Canal and the canal towpath are the perfect places for a picnic lunch, a canoe or kayak trip or a bike ride. To explore the Canal the way they did prior to the turn of the century, take a tour on one of the Augusta Canals Petersburg Boats.
 
From world wide recognition for golfing greatness and sporting events, to roots deep in history, Augusta has it all. Visit and you too can say I Played Augusta, GA. For information on accommodations, attractions and a calendar of events, click here website.
 
EVENTS DURING MASTERS WEEK, APRIL 7-13, 2008
Monday, April 7th at 6:00 pm is the Mayors Masters Reception honoring professional golfer Ben Crenshaw. This public, free event will be held at the Augusta Botanical Gardens. It is a chance for visitors and residents alike to meet a world renowned golfer and to honor him for his achievements in golf and past success at the Masters Tournament.
 
Tuesday, April 8th Rock for Dough, Drive for Show
The benefit concert for First Tee golf course of Augusta will be hosted by Hootie and Blowfish and will feature new artist Colbie Caillat and Augusta native Josh Kelley. After four months as MySpaces top unsigned artist and about 10 million song plays, Colbie signed a record contract and promptly landed her first single, Bubbly on the Billboard Top 10 where it remains today. Josh Kelley has been on tour and performed with Seal in Europe in 2007. Kelley has also been working on his new album Special Company, which will be available in February. Kelley is married to Knocked Up star Katherine Heigl.
 
The First Tee is a nonprofit whose mission is 'To impact the lives of young people in the Central Savannah River Area by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-devlopment and life-enhancing values through the game of golf, and to provide an afforadable and accessible golf facility, primarily to serve those who have not previously had exposure to the game and its positive values.' For more info on The First Tee of Augusta visit its website.
 
JUNIOR GOLF IN AUGUSTA
For kids age 7-14 remember that GOLF CHANNEL's presentation of Mutual of Omaha Drive, Chip & Putt will be in Augusta on April 22, 2008. Click here to register.