Vandy’s Barbecue is the very definition of a “local institution.” Established in 1929, it celebrated its 90th birthday last year. Their iconic location at 22 West Vine street has been there since 1943, but that was not their original location. Vandy Boyd actually started his business in the town of Portal. He clearly knew what he was doing, since he moved his business into Statesboro’s downtown, taking up residence at the Simmons Shopping Center (formerly located on the block bordered by Elm Street, between North Main and North Walnut). Their “newest” location at the Statesboro Mall is over a generation old, established in 1970.
From their open-style barbecue pit (one of only six left in the state) they serve up roasted pork and chicken, alongside regional favorites like Brunswick stew. Since they use local oak wood to smoke their meat, you can say that everything they do is literally permeated with local flavor!
The restaurant has changed hands several times in the last couple decades but subsequent owners have maintained the local character of the establishment that has served the Statesboro community and beyond for over ninety years.
“It is all about the staff…We have a lot of great people doing a great job.” – Brandon O’Mahoney, Owner
Current owner Brandon O’Mahoney is tenaciously trying to keep the downtown location open for take-out and serving the community while respecting the restrictions around social distancing. O’Mahoney says “It is all about the staff…We have a lot of great people doing a great job.”
Their signature barbecue sauce is available on their website in case you find yourself missing your favorite sauce, or have since moved away and crave a taste of Statesboro.
These are unprecedented times, full of unexpected changes. Locals can take comfort in the fact that one thing that does not seem to change is Vandy’s.
These are difficult times for all of us, and local restaurants are no exception. They are one of the many industries that can’t “work from home” or survive long in a social distancing movement. In response to this, many Statesboro restaurants are making significant adjustments to accommodate the current situation.
The status of these restaurants changes every couple of days, but here is an update-to-date list being maintained by Grice Connect and the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce.
4 ways you can support your favorite local restaurants and eat local:
1. Purchase Gift Cards
Most restaurants offer some form of gift card or gift certificate. This is something you can do to ease their burden of the loss of your normal spending. This is also something you can do while staying at home. Many local restaurants will provide a way to order gift cards over the phone or online. Once things return to business-as-usual, use the gift card sparingly and spread out over a period of time to make sure these businesses have a steady flow of revenue afterwards. Or better yet, give it as a gift to a friend you’ve been trying to convince to try your favorite place!
2. Order Takeout
A lot of restaurants are streamlining their takeout services. Many dine-in restaurants are changing to take-out only. Even fast food chains, that normally thrive on takeout, are making adjustments to their order handling processes. Check your favorite dining establishments for how they are providing to-go meals.
3. Order from Market-2-Go
The Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market has a year-round online market where you can order locally grown and locally made products like produce, dairy, meat, herbs, plants, seeds, jellies, preserves, and more! Ordering must be completed by midnight on Tuesdays to be picked up at the Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau on the following Thursday. CLICK HERE for more information.
Several local restaurants are still open for business. Some have even adjusted their dining room to allow more space between customers, and staggering seating times to make sure safe distances are kept between parties. This means they are valuing social distance over the quantity of customers they can serve during this time.
In fact, all restaurants seem to be posting about stepping up their cleaning & sanitation game. And for food service establishments that already operate under stringent health codes this means quite a lot. Could you imagine if your kitchen was scrutinized the same way theirs are even under normal circumstances? Not sure we’d all get passing grades.
These are four simple ways to make sure that we all support each other during this time and to help ensure the recovery period afterwards goes quickly. Let’s be an example for others to follow and show the world why we’re The City that Soars!
Statesboro Landmarks Coloring Page
Looking for a few extra activities while the kids are at home? If you have a printer, feel free to click on any of these images for a printable PDF coloring page. There are also facts and summaries of each landmark you can use to teach your kids a little something about Statesboro.
The first coloring page is all of the landmarks combined and based on a vintage-style print available at the Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Averitt Center for the Arts
This beautiful building, constructed in 1911, was originally the Bank of Statesboro. Sadly, the bank closed down in 1932 after it could not recover from a “run on the bank” during the Great Depression.
The City bought the building in 1997 after decades of various uses and they established a community arts center for the downtown area.
The Averitt Center for the Arts has been very careful to upkeep the historical integrity of the building, and the old Bank of Statesboro now contains art galleries, visual and performing arts studios, classrooms, and office space.
Bulloch County Courthouse
The centerpiece of downtown Statesboro is the Bulloch County Courthouse. The courthouse was deliberately placed at a high point to permanently make it the most prominent landmark around. The commercial hub of the city developed around the courthouse square.
The courthouse was built in 1894 and renovated in 1914. Since then it’s been renovated several times using many different colors of brick. It was eventually completely coated in white plaster until the county commission decided to restore the courthouse to it’s original look by removing some of the plaster and painting over the rest. The courthouse is still in use today!
Eagle Nation on Parade
Eagle Nation On Parade is a public art project that salutes the University’s traditions, celebrates the unity of campus and community, contributes to the economic vitality and quality of life in Statesboro, and supports student scholarships and research.
These eagles can be seen all over Statesboro, each painted with a different theme. Create your own theme on this eagle!
For more information on Eagle Nation on Parade CLICK HERE
Emma Kelly Theater
Originally called the Georgia Theater, it was constructed in 1936 in the Art Deco style, reflecting the glamour of Hollywood. It was among the first of its kind to offer air conditioning and steam heat, as well as a coffee shop in the library.
The theater was operated as a movie theater until the 1970s, previewing movies such as Gone With The Wind in 1940.
In 1997, the City of Statesboro purchased the building for renovation as part of the Averitt Center project.
It was decided the theater would be named after local legend Emma Kelly, the “Lady of 6000” songs. She was dubbed this title by songwriter Johnny Mercer. Kelly sang for many U.S. Presidents and appeared in John Berendt’s ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.’
Allen E. Paulson Stadium
Paulson Stadium is the 25,000 seat home of the Georgia Southern Eagles Football team. It completed construction in 1984 and coined “The Prettiest Little Stadium in America” by legendary Coach Erk Russell. It has also become known as “Our House” by Eagles fans.
The stadium was named after the founder and owner of Gulfstream Aerospace, Allen E. Paulson, who donated $1 million to the project. A $10 million renovation was completed in 2014.
Fun Fact: The first touchdown in Paulson Stadium is credited to Tracy Ham (quarterback) after a 36 yard run in September of 1984.
City Hall / Historic Jaeckel Hotel
The current City Hall was once the social center of town. In 1905, the Jaeckel Hotel opened its doors to the booming tourist city. The hotel was constructed by local architect AJ Franklin for Berlin–native Gustave Jaeckel.
The first floor of the hotel contained a grand dining hall and gentlemen and ladies parlors. The porch on the second floor once sported a garden and canvas cover for use in the warm months.
The hotel played host to many guests like: Henry Ford, William Jennings Bryan, former Secretary of State; Blind Willie McTell who played countless songs on the hotel steps, and Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1935.
In 1994, the city purchased the hotel, and after a $1.5 million renovation, readapted it to become City Hall. The historic character of the Jaeckel is still present in the building and the old neon sign for the hotel hangs on the east side.
November in Statesboro is packed full of live performances, fall themed events, and family fun!
Click the thumbnail below to see the November newsletter:
Georgia Southern Eagle Football is back and nobody celebrates the season better than True Blue fans! The excitement doesn’t stop there, though! September in Statesboro is bursting at the seams with live music including country music legend Tanya Tucker, Victor Wainwright and the Train, and a celebration of the music of Tom Petty. Bring the kids to Brooklet for the 29th Annual Peanut Festival and be sure to get tickets early for The Addams Family Musical at the Averitt Center for the Arts. Check out our weekly calendar to see where you can kick back with karaoke or trivia and be sure to put the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market on your “to do” list when you Visit Statesboro..
Click below to view the newsletter!
The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tourism Division (GDEcD) today released the 2018 state culinary guide, Georgia Eats. The fourth annual digest-sized guide features the wildly popular “100 Plates Locals Love” list, as well as 10 flavor tours that showcase inspiring dining options, a gallery of the state’s most Instagrammable foods, unique festivals, delectable recipes from a few of Georgia’s celebrated chefs and more.
Georgia Eats was initially published in conjunction with the “Year of Culinary” campaign in 2015. The enthusiastic response from visitors led tourism officials to continue publishing it annually. Georgia Eats has become one of the state’s most popular marketing pieces with a print circulation of 187,000 and 62,000 unique page views via ExploreGeorgia.org.
With diverse and flavorful crops, farm-to-table dining, food festivals, cooking schools, award-winning wineries, agritourism trails, talented local chefs, u-pick farms, and much more, Georgia continues to emerge as a leading culinary destination in the South.
“There is no better way to immerse yourself in Georgia’s history and culture than through our unique food and dining offerings,” said Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner for tourism at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Whether you’re looking for local favorites or finding the best food festival for a weekend away, Georgia Eats is the perfect guide to delicious experiences you can’t find anywhere else.”
The cover of Georgia Eats features Chef-farmer Matthew Raiford, owner of The Famer and the Larder in downtown Brunswick, Ga. A 2018 James Beard nominee, Chef Raiford’s restaurant gives a whole new meaning to farm-to-table as many of the ingredients come from Raiford’s nearby family farm, Gilliard Farms, which has been in his family since 1874.
“It’s an honor to be featured in the Georgia Eats culinary guide; with the great bounty of food that Georgia has to offer and the openness we have received from farmers, fisherman, and ranchers all over the state, it has made cooking amazing food easy,” said Chef Raiford. “We are looking forward to many more years of bringing good food and community together!”
Since the inaugural issue of Georgia Eats, Georgia Tourism has designated the “100 Plates Locals Love” as a way to provide visitors with locally sourced suggestions. Nominations from around the state are gathered via ExploreGeorgia.org and evaluated by a panel of judges who curate the list down to the final designees. The list has been likened to recommendations that Georgians would share with family and friends, and it has received rave reviews from visitors as well as restaurant owners. View the full “100 Plates Locals Love” list online at ExploreGeoriga.org.
The Georgia Eats culinary guide is available at the state’s 12 Visitor Information Centers across the state and on the state’s consumer tourism website ExploreGeorgia.org. To learn more about Georgia’s rich culinary experiences through videos, tours and more, visit ExploreGeorgia.org/dining. Share your favorite food finds using #GeorgiaEats.
Sr. Communications Specialist
Georgia Department of Economic Development
Weather is warming and the outdoors call! For fresh water enthusiasts who prefer to spend their time around rivers and lakes enjoying fishing, hiking and birdwatching, Bulloch County has a lot to offer! As a home base, you can grab a fishing pole, kayak, canoe, boat, camping gear or your hiking shoes. There are places to enjoy in and around Statesboro to help you experience beautiful and natural surroundings.
Before you go, you might want to stock up on your favorite gear. Locally owned TC Outdoors is home to outdoor supplies of all kinds including fresh fish bait, along with lures, rods and reels. Once you have what you need, choose from several destinations for a day of relaxation, quiet and sunshine.
Staying local, check out Williams Landing at the end of Macedonia Church Road, the US Hwy 301 Bridge and Highway 24 Landing. All of these are public places to launch boats and fish off the banks of the Ogeechee River. Known as one of Georgia’s least spoiled rivers to explore, it will delight anglers of all ages. A best kept secret, the river begins in Green County and is a great place for outdoor recreational activity. Home to an abundance of fresh water fish, the action on the Ogeechee picks up in the spring and lasts throughout the summer depending on the water flow and temperatures.
Blackwater Preserve is located in Register, Georgia, nearby Statesboro. This privately owned preserve offers fishing (host to almost every fish you will find in a river), kayaking, canoeing and camping on Lotts Creek with back water of 200 acres. With pristine wetlands to explore, these are just a few of the adventures you can have as a member of Blackwater Preserve. They have a biologist on staff who can give walking tours for members, students and bird watchers. Duck, deer and turkey are on the menu for any hunting experience. Miles of waterways and land trails await for hours of fun. You can go fishing or just paddle through the cypress swamp to take in the numerous birds and animals in this unspoiled back to nature get away. Blackwater Preserve offers daily, monthly and yearly memberships along with fishing boats, canoes and kayaks. It is available for birthday parties and meetings.
There are several state parks within an easy drive from Statesboro. Magnolia Springs State Park is in Millen, Georgia. It has a fishing dock on Magnolia Spring Lake. Magnolia Springs is known for its crystal clear springs flowing 7 million gallons per day. A boardwalk spans the cool water, allowing visitors to look for alligators, turtles and other wildlife near the springs.
George L. Smith State Park in Twin City has a mill pond that beckons anglers and paddlers to explore thick stands of cypress and tupelo trees draped with Spanish moss. Canoeists and kayakers can join the Park Paddlers Club. While on the water, nature enthusiasts can look for beaver dams, blue heron, white ibis and other wading birds.
If you are seeking fresh air and outdoor activity that might possibly put dinner on your table, consider visiting Statesboro as your starting point. Remember that permission from a private landowner is always required in order to fish on private property, but there are great public and private places to meet your freshwater fishing needs.
For more information, visit any of these helpful sites:
If you want to know about the people, places, and things that make Statesboro a great area to visit and live in, pick up a Statesboro Magazine. It’s an enjoyable read to discover what makes Statesboro and the surrounding area one of America’s Best Communities. Outsiders and locals alike look forward to the bi-monthly publications filled with nuggets of information.
This is where you will find stories that often blend the history of the area into profiles of the dynamic people who make up the community today. From topics that range from agribusiness, to community events, leaders, history, and up to date economic development activity, this is the publication that has it all. As the stories unfold about people who are behind the businesses, government, arts, restaurants, entertainment, sports scene, education and so on, you will obtain a real sense of what makes Statesboro a special place.
With 25,000 plus regional readers, the Statesboro Magazine consistently showcases a community calendar full of events in order to know what is happening around town during each two-month period of publication. Distribution of 5,000 copies makes issues available in hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, and free standing magazine racks throughout the area.
You can easily find them in the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, Statesboro Regional Library, RJ’s Grill, The Chamber of Commerce, County Commission Offices, City Hall and many other locales. If you are flying in to Savannah, be sure to pick one up in the tourist information kiosk and learn about Statesboro before you arrive.
The Statesboro Magazine staff, headed by Editor Jenny Starling Foss, does an excellent job captivating readers with stories to interest, educate, delight and inspire. With guest editors, readers will learn from experts on all types of subjects as well.
The Statesboro Magazine is a full-color, coffee table style publication used as the leading Economic Development piece by The Chamber of Commerce, Visit Statesboro, the City, the County, Georgia Southern University and Ogeechee Technical College that promotes the area to newcomers, residents, visitors and tourists. Be sure to pick one up or go online and read current and past issues at: statesboromagazine.com.
The benefits of getting outdoors are so far reaching that a simple walk, bike or run can energize you and make you feel more alive! The connection with nature and how it affects your health, outlook and overall quality of life cannot be underestimated to good living lifestyle.
Statesboro has beautiful places to enjoy a walk during this beautiful springtime. Many walking trails have been constructed for this sole purpose, to encourage visitors and citizens alike to just get moving. Before the heat settles in, enjoy seeing Statesboro from an up close and personal point of view while on foot. There are several trails to enjoy as well as just beautiful neighborhoods with low traffic or side walks.
Consider the Blind Willie McTell Trail. You’ll ramble or cycle through a mile – and 7,415 square yards — of architecturally designed park, quirky art, and cobra lighting throughout that connects the Georgia Southern University campus to Downtown Statesboro. Bike racks, picnic tables and quirky art benches invite you to stop and enjoy lunch or the beautiful day.
If you want more distance, try the S&S Greenway. It is in the process of becoming an eight-mile stretch reaching from Statesboro to Brooklet. The first portion of the trail begins in Downtown Statesboro, starting with the Blind Willie McTell Trail. The trail then crosses over to the entrance at Gentilly Road and ends at Cawana Road. The S&S Greenway picks back up at the starting point across from Howard Lumber. The popular trail takes you through woods, under Veterans Memorial By-Pass, through fields and has bathrooms on either end. Perfect place to stretch your legs and enjoy some quiet time.
Of course you can visit Mill Creek Regional Park. With a 1.25 mile paved and lit pathway with exercise stations scattered throughout, it is a great destination for a breath of fresh air. The park also has state-of-the-art sports fields, playgrounds, picnic areas and plenty of wide opened spaces to enjoy. With a picturesque lake, the park is beautifully landscaped with over 300 hardwood trees.
If you are near Georgia Southern University’s campus, there is a great walking trail that encircles the Recreational Activity Center, better known as the RAC. The 70-acre M.C. Anderson Park, which is comprised of lighted playing fields, walking trails, high & low challenge course, large pavilion and amphitheater give you plenty to look at as you go. The facilities host state, regional and national tournaments ranging from archery to flag football to ultimate Frisbee. This outdoor space also provides the university community with a place to relax outside. There is usually activity of some kind going on, so it is a fun place to get some exercise and be entertained with college students staying active as well.
Neighborhoods are always a great place to enjoy some fresh air. The in-town area surrounding Savannah Avenue has sidewalks and quiet side streets with tree-lined plazas. This is a nice place to enjoy some of the historic homes that beautify Statesboro.
There is no doubt that people who get outside enjoy wellness benefits, such as less anxiety, depression, and mood swings. While you are in Statesboro, enjoy our beautiful outdoors while restoring your physical and mental good health!
For more information:
A resource that many take for granted is their local library. With technology increasing, some may wonder if a library is still a viable place for locals and visitors. The Statesboro Regional Library has a full range of programs and opportunities for everyone who wants to visit and participate…and it’s available to everyone.
From Genealogy Workshops, Adult Coloring Classes, Craft Night – Sip and Sketch, Job Search Workshop with Resume Writing to teen activities, there is something for all ages and interests. For the health conscious, holistic health series: Yoga & Essential Oils and New Year/New You – Food & Nutrition are features during January. A great way to preserve family recipes is the “Original Recipes Made to Last” program where the library staff will take original recipes and preserve them in a durable format by the Genealogy Coordinator.
There is even an open forum called “Our Community Talks!” This is a chance for people to come in and discuss issues/concerns/news within the community and find ways to get involved.
Book lovers can participate in a free Book Club once a month. There is also a Book to Movie Club. All of these wonderful activities are being held just in the month of January 2016. What a great way to start out the New Year!
The Youth and Family Services calendar is full of great programs, including Toddler Time and Teen Nights. Reading to Rover (children practice reading to therapy dogs), Lego Club and 52 Weeks of Giving are favorites.
For Genealogy enthusiasts, The Statesboro Regional Library has over 7000 books, magazines, bound periodicals, which includes oral history collections, census records, family histories, court records, marriages, land records, will abstracts, Civil War records and cemetery records to search. It would be easy to dig in and discover your family history here.
Of course, books in all genres are available in all forms. You can even load eBooks at the library and check them out just like a hard cover book.
There are so many reasons to visit the Statesboro Regional Library! Whether you are visiting or live in the area, there is something for you at the Library. Be sure to check out the website for a calendar of events, list of services, Book Club news and more: http://strl.info. You will be pleasantly surprised at the variety of ways you can enjoy Statesboro’s local library. Stop in soon!