The Botanic Garden in Statesboro is a gem worth visiting. It is fascinating that the 11-acre parcel of land adjacent to Georgia Southern University’s main campus was once a thriving small family farm.
Catherine and Daniel Bland met in 1916 at the First District Agricultural and Mechanical School, now known at GSU. Nearly 100 years ago, they forged a partnership that would transform the land and the way we view it in the present and preserve it for the future.
Toiling a living out of the sandy coastal plain soil, they managed to run a small dairy farm that raised livestock, grew pecans, pears and row crops early in the century. Georgia Magazine deemed the Bland Farm as a model farm in Georgia Magazine 1929.
A self-taught naturalist, Dan Bland was really ahead of his time. He had a keen sense of botany and understood that planting native plants, while raising animals, would allow the farm to be self-sustaining and preserve the region’s landscape. As a result, he and Catherine established a legacy for the future, and area residents and visitors are now the beneficiaries of their vision.
The Bland farm, now the Botanic Garden at Georgia Southern University, boasts a myriad of progress and activity. The acres of gardens on the original farmstead provide wandering trails, paths and courtyards that allow visitors to explore natural terrain of the southeastern coastal plain. Here you will find over 20 of the state of Georgia’s most protected species while seeing first hand farm history, including instruments such as plows that once hand toiled the land.
The Garden is a showcase of annual and seasonal flowers, plants, trees, original structures and the like. It is a popular place to visit in Statesboro for all ages. There are family friendly things to do there; you can explore, learn, participate and grow your knowledge of the past, present and see the vision for the future of this area highlight.
Because of the popularity of The Botanic Garden, an exciting plan for expansion and development has been established, and momentum is catching to move forward. The current facilities, including a Heritage Pavilion, Children’s Learning Garden, Butterfly and Hummingbird borders, Heritage Farmyard, Weathervane Barn Rural Life Exhibit and Bland Cottage to name a few, are a marvel to enjoy and explore.
What you see now is just the beginning, as exciting plans for growth are underway for additional features.
Education is a big part of the mission there. School aged children visit daily for an opportunity to explore nature and man’s partnership with it. Adults can participate through the monthly Lunch and Learn Series, with upcoming programs on November 10th and December 10th. These delightful lunches allow supporters and interested visitors to enjoy a delicious lunch while learning about a variety of topics, such as organic cooking to the latest in coffee roasting.
If you are visiting Statesboro or live here and haven’t been out to the Botanic Garden lately, you need to set time aside to do so. You will be delighted to see nature at it’s finest and discover what a beautiful treasure we have tucked away from the hub of campus activity while being right next-door. Be sure to visit the website for hours, programs and specific areas of interest for you, your friends and family.
For more information read: http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/garden/.
Do you realize how lucky Statesboro is to have a thriving arts community? The Averitt Center for the Arts is integral to the development of art, theatre, and culture in the region. The mission of the Statesboro Arts Council, operating under the name David H. Averitt Center for the Arts, is to provide quality arts opportunities for our community and to serve as a centerpiece for a vibrant, historic downtown. We think the Averitt Center is outstanding and gets an A+!
The facilities are a testimony in downtown development. Housed in two historic landmarks, the old Bank of Statesboro building (circa 1911) and The Georgia Theater (circa 1936), we now know these as the David H. Averitt Center for the Arts and the Emma Kelly Theater. The addition of the Center for Performing Arts/ Whitaker Black Box Theater on W. Main Street has expanded the artistic capabilities.
If you are traveling to Statesboro, be sure to check the Averitt Center’s calendar to see if you can catch a performance or participate in a program or event. Under the capable leadership of Tim Chapman, the twenty-two member staff does an outstanding job of organizing and careing for the facilities in order to reach thousands of citizens.
The galleries in the Averitt Center house ongoing art shows throughout the year. Currently, The Raven: Prints from Larry Vienneau, has a public exhibition through November 14th. Next, Statesboro Regional Arts Association Annual Juried Exhibition will be available for public viewing from November 20th through December 19th.
The 2015-16 Main Stage Performance Season in the Emma Kelly Theater will next feature The Rocky Horror Picture Show, October 30th, Calendar Girls, November 6th, and an annual favorite, The Nutcracker, November 20 – 22nd. Season tickets are available for a variety of productions including dramatic, musical produced nationally and locally.
The Averitt Center is intricately involved with downtown Statesboro community events, such as the Main Street Farmers Market, First Friday Events with the Downtown Development Authority, and seasonal events like Scare in the Square. They also sponsor events like pre-performance dinners.
Local productions involve community stars that audition, act and dance their way into patrons’ hearts. This thriving aspect of the Averitt Center allows talented citizens, of all ages, to shine on stage to the adoration of the community. South Pacific auditions will take place November 14th at the Center for the Performing Arts, Black Box Theater.
Learning the arts has no age barriers at the Averitt Center. Youth benefit from the Averitt Center with theater, ballet classes, chorale, strings and visual arts classes. Adults also can take continuing education classes in drawing, painting, acting and even ballroom dancing.
Yes, the Averitt Center receives an A+ for their commitment to excellence and quality arts experiences for their patrons. Operated by the Statesboro Arts Council, the Center receives funding from grants through various sources that include the City of Statesboro, Georgia Council for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and Southern Arts Federation.
As the weather begins to change with cooler temperatures, easy breezes in the air and falling leaves, we begin to think about pumpkins, corn mazes, hayrides, costumes and apple cider. The good news is there are fantastic fall activities happening throughout October and November for locals and visitors alike to attend. Let’s take a look:
October 9 & 10th – Ol’ Scarecrow Statesboro Whaddaya Know Medicine Show – Emma Kelly Theater – Free to All 3rd Grade Classes in Public and Private Schools in Bulloch County
October 19-24th – Ogeechee Fair – Kiwanis Fair Ground, Highway 301 South
October 3rd – November 11th – Old Freeman Family Farm Fun – Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch – Cooperville
October 27th & 28th – Rocky Horror Picture Show – Emma Kelly Theatre
October 30th – Ghost Tours by Lantern – Averitt Center for the Arts – Downtown Statesboro
October 31st – Halloween Concert by the Statesboro Youth Chorale – Emma Kelly Theatre
October 31st – Scare on the Square – Best Halloween Events in Bulloch County – Downtown Statesboro
November 7th – Nevils Elementary School PTO Fall Festival
November 14th – International Festival – Mill Creek Regional Park
November 21st – 8th Annual Turkey Trot – Downtown Statesboro
November 21st – George L. Smith Annual Sugar Cane Festival, George L. Smith State Park
November 24th – Shopping by Lantern Light – Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market – Charlie Olliff Square – Downtown Statesboro
Each of these events is geared to families and will help you enjoy a variety of offerings to help you “fall” into fall. So grab your kids, family and friends and come enjoy yourselves. Get into the “spirit” while you enjoy the season!
For more information of these events see:
It is always great to have visitors who come to Statesboro to attend a special event. As a great host city, Statesboro offers many different and unique venues to make you and your guests feel our southern hospitality. In order to know what the ‘Boro has to offer, read more about some great locations you can book or visit.
The largest venues can accommodate guests up to 500 people. Georgia Southern University offers several facilities, including the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center ballroom, the Russell Union ballroom and the Bishop Building, which is perched above GSU’s Paulsen football stadium. A premier exterior location is the Garden of the Coastal Plain, which is a beautiful green space with entertaining space. Each offers a variety of floor space, catering capability and parking.
In the private sector, you may find yourself at The Belle House, located at 380 Westside Road. Nestled in Georgia pines, this large multi-purpose venue lends itself to indoor and outdoor socializing. The Southern Hospitality Conference Center on Highway 67 and Veterans Memorial Highway has recently been refurbished with new carpet and paint. The lovely pre-function area and large dividable room is ideal for a variety of events.
The Hall by 40 East is a unique banquet facility located in downtown Statesboro. Found at 19 E. Vine Street, the room has a by-gone era feel with exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. 40 East Restaurant provides the food and bar for this location for event-goers. Snella’s Place at 17 Allen Circle is perfect for weddings, receptions, family reunions and more. It is located on the north side of Statesboro.
The Holiday Inn at 455 Commerce Drive near Veterans Memorial Highway provides smaller multi-purpose event rooms along with hotel space. The Robbins Nest is a repurposed home that has a gazebo and pool to compliment the interior open space. This facility has been home to retreats, weddings, receptions and birthday parties. The Historic Statesboro Inn at 106 S. Main Street has an attractive multi-purpose room in the back building that is the right size for an intimate gathering. The Averitt Center for the Arts has a cozy second floor multi-purpose room available for small groups. For a location with a twist, Meindhart Vinyards and Winery opens up its out-of- town wine production facilities and garden area for events and local wine.
If you are visiting Statesboro for a wedding, reunion, conference, retreat or special gathering, rest assured you will find yourself in good hands. If you are looking for a venue here, be sure to investigate the many options available for groups of all sizes. Statesboro specializes in southern hospitality, so let us entertain you!
For antique junkies, Stateboro and surrounding areas can be a goldmine. Whether you like perusing aisles of consignment booths, want to find antiques or repurposed furniture, there is something for you in Bulloch County.
Starting at 67 Antique Mall right off I-16’s exit 127 at 6700 GA Highway 67, you will find 12,000 square feet of indoor space as well as an outdoor market. Check out every consignment booth to find a myriad of collectibles. Having a wedding or special event that needs some antique décor? 67 Antique Mall has a “Prop Rental” program where you can rent items to enhance your next special event, film or theatrical production. This is worth the stop for a fun antiquing adventure. For more information, visit their website.
Next up is Hodges Antiques. Located at 9990 GA Highway 67, the furniture inventory is always changing. Known for their finds of unique estate pieces, as well as their renovation work, Hodges is a place to check regularly as it has a loyal following. As one customer reports, “A ‘must visit’ shop outside of Statesboro. Great variety of accessories and furniture plus custom finishes in house.” Find them on Facebook.
Downtown Statesboro hosts several antique stores. Humble Abodes has opened at 39 West Main Street and has a large showroom showcasing antiques, furniture, home décor and more from the decades. They are specialists in “reincarnation” of furniture pieces, taking such items and refurbishing as well as turning them into something new all together. Vintage and Vine Antiques and Interiors at 21 East Vine Street has collectibles and furniture. Find them on Facebook.
Plunderosa is always a treat to walk through. They have a mix of old and new purchases at 64 E. Main Street. From mid-century to country style pine pieces, if you are in the market for some good buys, stop by. Heirloom Antique Store, located at 17 S. Main Street, has become a popular place to visit and follow on Facebook. The owner is great about posting pictures regularly of items he has “picked” and rehabbed. The appealing storefront on Highway 301 South delights travelers by rotating pieces that generate interest.
There are many other wonderful antique destinations in Statesboro, and it is important to know this area is a great destination for your “picking” pleasure. You never know what you will find by visiting these and other businesses in the Bulloch County community. So come see what’s in store for you!
Statesboro enjoys a thrust of visitors throughout football season, both high school and college. With seasons underway, the community will experience Friday night-lights at local high schools and Saturdays in Paulson Stadium, welcoming fans and the “competition” to area restaurants, hotels and activities. Schedules will keep weekends busy throughout September, October and November with possible championships in sight.
While stadiums are the likely destination, visitors should think ahead and make plans to enjoy any of the varied dining options available, add on a little shopping excursion, or see one of the many tourist attractions the area has to offer. Area hotels can accommodate your overnight needs comfortably and provide a home base for maximizing out an entire weekend’s worth of memories.
Tailgating is fun for all, and picking up some great eatables is easy. Well-known favorites in the area can provide b-b-q, fried chicken, wings and drinks to satisfy all. Bakeries offer sweets such as brownies, cookies and cupcakes to finish off with dessert.
Fan gear is popular throughout the local stores, in logo clothing items and accessories as well as color themed spirit wear. Showing team spirit never goes out of style!
As a football town, Statesboro takes pride in all its teams. Winning games and championships is definitely exciting, but the pulling together of boosters, families, students, athletes, community supporters, teachers and businesses through the game of football is a natural way of life that develops hometown pride. If you live here or are visiting to enjoy fall football, catch the enthusiasm for the sport that brings people together to cheer on their team. Whether your team wins or loses, remember it is not only how the game is played, but consider yourself welcomed where the game is played. And…come back soon!
Being “home grown” in Statesboro, Eagle Creek Brewing is Statesboro’s only craft beer production facility. It is located at 106 Savannah Avenue and hosts tours and tastings on Friday and Saturday nights at 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm for anyone over 21, many times featuring musical artists. The Low Country Ale, the Spot Tail Light Blonde Ale, Georgia Tea Party Amber Ale, Grass Roots Lemon Lime Hefeweizen and Puff’s Magic Dragon Dry Stout round out their regulars. Tours and tastings are the only time the brewery is open to the public.
In Georgia beer news, Governor Nathan Deal just signed into law new beer regulations allowing for take-home products starting later this summer. Growlers, six packs, glass souvenirs and other swag may be purchased at Eagle Creek Brewing Company with specific limitations on the take-away alcohol.
Another local business to visit is Southern Growlers, established in 2013 as the “Beer Filling Station” of Statesboro. Located at 514 S. Main Street across from Gnats Restaurant, this unique business in Statesboro features “the best fine beer collection in Southern Georgia.” It includes a full range of craft beers from about twenty regional and national craft breweries. Customers can visit the store with their growlers in hand and try a variety of choices on tap that rotate continuously. Hours are Mon – Friday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am – 10:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 pm. The store offers its own swag for the local beer enthusiast.
The young adult generations in particular have embraced craft beer, so being in a college town makes sense for these two craft beer businesses. Have no doubt, beer lovers of all ages appreciate the taste offered through beers that include flavors all across the board, from hoppy to citrus, light to heavy stouts. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy the opportunity to taste fresh, home grown beers as well as those throughout the region and the world right here in Statesboro, Georgia.
A live eagle at Georgia Southern University? Makes perfect sense as the long time mascot of the university. However, until 25 years ago, the idea never occurred to anyone.
“I cannot believe the announcer just called that Turkey Vulture a bald eagle. That’s not acceptable,” said Harry Mathews. That day at a GSU football game in 1990, an idea was born that would evolve into today’s Center for Wildlife Education. An outdoor enthusiast, GSU graduate and biology major, Harry made a pitch to bring a real bald eagle to campus as the official mascot. He felt it was important for students, staff and GSU supporters to recognize, respect and preserve the national bird. The concept met with interest, but the eagle would need a home and someone to care for it.
With Steve Hein at the helm, The Center for Wildlife Education has served as a leading environmental educational facility and tourism show stopper for over twenty years. Located on 17 acres within the GSU campus, the mission is to provide wildlife encounters for the 17,5000 school children and citizens of the region annually, as well as for visitors seeking a unique experience while in Statesboro.
Using wild animals to demonstrate their habitats, visitors learn about the species natural to this region of Georgia and the United States. Humans observe and even interact with the wildlife in their environment through programs and live demonstrations.
Children can immerse themselves during the summer in Junior Naturalist Camps entitled CHALLENGE 2015 “Survive the Wild.” Full of exciting events and teamwork, students will employ critical thinking skills that challenge young naturalists. Ages 6 – 13 years will learn about king snakes, alligators, hawks and eagles. With limited spaces available, be sure to register your youth now.
Check out weekday presentations during June, July and August (closed weekends); visitors should visit the Center’s website (http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/wildlife/visit/schedule/) to discover ongoing activities. This gem is worth the visit for all ages!
Listed as the #1 thing to do in Statesboro according to Trip Advisor, this clean, affordable and fun water park has a day of adventure waiting for you! Who better to listen to than travelers who have visited the park?
Annej from Savannah says, “Just an overall fun place to swim and all sorts of water things to play with like beach balls, etc. The water slide as well as the huge floating things to get on which take you through and down the little ‘streams’…the unexpected water squirts are thrilling.”
JugsBunnyBear from Savannah adds, “This water park is unbeatable when it comes to being family friendly. The toddler splash pad and play area is PERFECT for the 1-4 year old crowd. It allows for the young ones to have a great time and splash around in just a few inches of water without being trampled by the big kids.”
Ticket prices range from $6.00 – $12.00 and are based on height and time spent at the park. Children ages 2 and under are FREE. Discounted tickets are available for individuals with proof of Bulloch County residency, current military and Georgia Southern University & Ogeechee Tech staff and students. Picture ID is required to receive the discounts. Buy your tickets online and save time!
2015 Waterpark Season Passes are ON SALE NOW! Season Passes are $60 for the first pass, and each additional is $50. Special benefits and regulations apply. Drop by Splash in the Boro Aquatics Building or call 912-489-3000 to purchase yours. Cash, check, VISA, Mastercard and Discover cards are accepted. Group rates are available for making family and friends memories!
Hours vary, so refer to the Splash website at http://splashintheboro.com/plan/. Here you will find all kinds of great information about what to bring, where to stay, special news and events, highlights and attractions of the park. Be sure to check out the programs available, such as swimming and diving lessons, water aerobics, as well as the concessions available to meet your hunger needs.
When deciding where to fill your summer days, choose Splash in the Boro!
Read below what they had to say about the Boro!
Summer getaways close to home: Statesboro and Vidalia offer tasty culinary tourism destinations and more
By T. Wayne Waters Special to the News Sentinel
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Statesboro, Vidalia offer culinary tourism destinations and more
Georgia is a state blessed with ample agricultural products, particularly the South Central and Southeast sections of the state, tagged the Magnolia Midlands. Georgia earns its Peach State moniker with plenty of the plump, juicy fruit picked all spring and summer. Barbecue is another Georgia staple, as are boiled peanuts, an addictive sho’nuff Southern snack found over much of the state at roadside stands, farmers markets, gift shops and even convenience stores.
Situated about 55 miles northwest of Savannah, Statesboro, Ga., is one town with a goodly number of appealing culinary and agri-tourism spots. Home to Georgia Southern University, Statesboro has grown considerably in recent years but still has small-town charm and Southern hospitality going for it.
Your first taste of Statesboro might rightly be Vandy’s Barbecue at its iconic downtown location. It’s a small, squat, no-frills building with only a handful of tables but you don’t go there for atmosphere. You go because it’s about the best barbecue in the state. Vandy Boyd opened his first namesake barbecue joint in 1929, and the present downtown location opened in 1943. They slow-cook the meat over a wood fire pit out back and also offer some mighty tasty Brunswick stew, potato salad, fries and other accompanying dishes. They also serve a variety of other sandwiches, seafood and meat-and-vegetable offerings — all of it good — but for the love of all that’s Southern, do yourself a favor and get a barbecue plate. Mercy!
After chowing down on some Vandy’s, beer lovers might want to walk it off to the Eagle Creek Brewing Company less than half a mile away on the other side of Statesboro’s compact downtown. The first craft brewery in the Boro, Eagle Creek these days is pouring a light blonde ale, a lemon-lime wheat, a dark and roasty dry stout and perhaps its best, the Low Country Pale Ale. Low Country has citrus and pine notes with just a touch of subtle sweetness. Tours are available on Friday and Saturday early evenings. Just for laughs, ask them how Eagle Creek got its name.
If it’s a Saturday between April and November, stop by Main Street Farmers Market for a grand selection of local produce, meat, dairy products, baked goods, honey, jams and preserves and other goodies.
Statesboro also offers several foodie favorites on the outskirts of town and out in the country. Braswell Food Company is a little over a mile out off of Highway 301. The family operation has been producing award-winning jams, jellies, preserves, relishes, sauces, marinades, salad dressings and more since 1946. Their products can be bought at grocery stores and food shops all over the South and beyond but you can stop and shop at the company’s retail store at their Statesboro headquarters. Try the pear preserves, the very first (and only) product founder Albert Braswell, Jr. made in the beginning. Or maybe some of Braswell’s new special flavored teas.
The only operating grits mill in this part of Georgia is about 6 miles southeast of downtown Statesboro. Freeman’s Mill is a family-run operation that mills grains the old-fashioned way on machinery almost a century old. White and yellow grits and corn meal are their specialties, along with wheat bran. Whole wheat flour is available spring to early summer. If you want to visit Freeman’s Mill, you’ll need to call ahead. Tours of the mill can also be arranged.
Some 10 miles south of downtown Statesboro, Meinhardt Vineyards and Winery offers a tasting bar, winery tours and scenic views, as well as dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. Their specialties are a white and a red made from local muscadine grapes but they offer a variety of fruit wines.
Hunter Cattle Company is an appealing agritourism destination just outside of Statesboro in nearby Brooklet. Located about 16 miles southeast of the city off Highway 80, this family-owned farm offers its own farm-raised grassfed beef, pastured pork, pastured lamb, free-range turkey, free-range chickens and free-range eggs at MooMa’s Farm Store. Hunter Cattle Company’s animals are raised in humane conditions and without antibiotics, steroids or hormones. Their pork sausage won in the 2013 meat category, garnering a “Flavor of Georgia Award,” and their meat products are used by a number of award-winning chefs.
Hunter Cattle Company has two barn loft rentals available in a structure built with original wood from the farm’s barn. One sleeps four ($110); one sleeps six ($130). An “Authentic Farm Experience” is also available that includes a farm tour and participation in some of the easier hands-on farm chores like egg collecting and animal feeding. The extra charge is $50 per person and it requires a two-night stay.
The Beaver House Restaurant is a former stately residence turned elegant boardinghouse-style restaurant on South Main Street in Statesboro. The Classical Revival structure, painted white and featuring two-story-tall columns in front and one-story columns at intervals along the front porch, was built in 1911 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The meals are always, as the proprietors put it, “traditional Sunday dinners” served for lunch (every day) and dinner (every night save Sunday) at tables large and small. Fried chicken is a classic, though their pork chops, ham and other meats are equally good. A mouth-watering variety of vegetables, made-from-scratch biscuits, fresh relishes, chipped Vidalia onions — requesting second servings is not only acceptable but fine and dandy. Sweet tea is the norm though you can get it unsweet if you must.
For lodging in Statesboro, you can’t do better than The Historic Statesboro Inn & Restaurant, another former home on the National Register of Historic Places, this one dating from 1904 and of similar design elements as the Beaver House. Sitting next door to it is the historic Brannen House, also part of the lodging accommodations for the Inn, making 17 elegant rooms total. Each of the rooms are unique and the property provides the best of traditional style and service along with modern conveniences. Meals are served in a cozy nook of the main house by the inn’s congenial and attentive owner, Denman DuBose, who lives onsite.