A Local’s Guide to Dining in Oconee

Finding good local restaurants can be hard to do when you are not from the area, or don’t want to venture too far off your route. Throughout Oconee County there are a number of local spots to grab a bite to eat that aren’t as hidden as you may think. Check out this local’s guide to dining in Oconee County.

Breakfast

Suncatcher Café

You can’t beat a biscuit for breakfast. A great new spot to get a biscuit is Suncatcher Café in Watkinsville. With cathead biscuits, pancakes and some tasty bite-size hash browns on the menu, it’s a great choice for the whole family.

 

 Local’s Tip: Parking may seem limited in front of the restaurant, but there is ample free parking in walking distance throughout Downtown Watkinsville.

Photo submitted by Monica C. via Google.

 

“The food is amazing, the prices are so great and the service was the hometown friendly feel! So glad a place like this is on my way to work! Great breakfast option everyday!” – Amanda E. via Facebook

Panaderia Tacuari

Panaderia Tacuari, also known as Tacuari Bakery, is a Uruguayan restaurant that opened their new location here just a few months ago. The baked goods like fresh breads, cookies and other pastries are terrific. Breakfast is served all day so you can get a savory omelet filled with fresh vegetables any time of the day.

 

Local’s Tip: Traveling with kids? The restaurant has a play area filled with toys, puzzles, and coloring sheets.

“Cinnamon rolls and bollios con queso” submitted by Rebekah T via TripAdvisor.

 

“If you are ready for some variety in your pastry choices, this Uruguayan bakery has many offerings to help with a change of pace from doughnuts and bagels. Additionally they offer breakfast and lunch sandwiches -all reasonably priced.” – Jay S. via Yelp

 

Lunch

Hot Thomas BBQ

When you think of good ‘ole southern BBQ you are envisioning Hot Thomas BBQ. Located on Highway 15 a few miles south of Watkinsville, Hot Thomas has been the go-to place for pulled pork, ribs, chicken, and stew for generations. You’ll feel right at home here. Dine in or grab a pound of pork to go.

 

Local’s Tip: Try the barbecue spot’s delicious cobbler.

Photo provided by Hot Thomas BBQ.

 

 “Hot Thomas BBQ — My childhood on a plate! For those of you looking for that “quiet, hideaway spot” that “only the locals know”… Hot’s is the place to get barbeque in Oconee.” – Casey G. via Yelp

Dominick’s Italian

For an intimate dining option, Dominick’s serves Italian dishes using fresh ingredients and family recipes. Pair a wine from their extensive list with a fresh salad and Stuffed Pork Chops served over penne pasta in a gorgonzola cream sauce for an experience you won’t quickly forget.

 

Local’s Tip: Get the best pricing at lunch with their $6.99 lunch specials.

Photo provided by Dominick’s Italian.

 

“ I eat here often for lunch, and visited recently for dinner. Dominick’s never disappoints! From the incredible garlic bread with marinara, to the monstrous portions of delicious entrees, everything I’ve ever had here has been a winner!” – DD680 via TripAdvisor

 

Afternoon Treat

Thomas Orchards & Greenhouse

Located on Highway 441, and known for their nursery and fresh buckets of peaches, Thomas Orchards also serves up some delicious homemade ice cream. Peach is the most popular flavor, but other flavors are available too and change occasionally.

 

Local’s Tip: There is a patio area with outdoor seating, so stay a little while and browse their greenhouse and gift shop.

Try peach ice cream and sweet peaches at Thomas Orchards.

 

“This is a lovely place to stop even if you don’t like ornamental plants, tasteful gifts galore and wandering in an out of greenhouses set off by the region’s finest pottery. The homemade ice cream alone is worth the trip.” – Jackie C. via Google

 

Dinner

Rachel’s Southern Style Restaurant

A good home cooked meal like grandma used to make is what you will find at Rachel’s Southern Style Restaurant. Tucked away in a small complex off Hwy 53, Rachel’s offers your typical “meat and three” type meal. The daily specials like meatloaf, fried pork chops, or country fried steak vary from day to day, but are posted right when you walk in.

 

Local’s Tip: The restaurant has an awesome carrot soufflé.

Meatloaf, macaroni & cheese, string beans, and corn bread at Rachel’s Southern Style Restaurant.

 

“I love the variety of veggie’s and have tried all the meats and they are delicious, as well. The little biscuits are heavenly. I could go there and just eat them!” – Cheryl D. via Facebook

Taqueria La Parrilla

Known simply around here as “La Parrilla” this place is busy almost every night of the week and for good reason. Order a burrito, Mexican tacos, Texas fajitas, or their chicken tortilla soup and you won’t be disappointed. Outdoor seating is available for those that want to enjoy the evening weather.

 

Local’s Tip: Their guacamole is made fresh daily.

Photo submitted by Stanley Beasley via Google.

 “My husband raved about his chicken quesadillas and the rice was on point. The pico de gallo was delicious! We definitely have this restaurant on our list of regulars” – Joy H. via Yelp

 

Sunday Brunch

Girasoles

This small Mexican-Mediterranean fusion restaurant in the heart of Watkinsville serves the best brunch in the area. Chef Jose is a talented chef, and his restaurant exudes true hospitality. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday, you can get made-to-order crapes, pancakes, waffles and omelets to pair with a full buffet. This is a must-try on the weekend.

 

Local’s Tip: Don’t see what you’re craving on the menu? Name your dish, and Chef Jose will accommodate your request.

Photo submitted by Curtis C. via TripAdvisor.

“We love this place. Eat here at least once a month on Sunday. Sunday buffet. Very good choices, everything is excellent. Breakfast bar omelettes are fantastic, blueberry pecan pancakes are to die for! Salad is superb, Desserts taste so yummy! Best of Watkinsville. Hidden treasure.” – mah720 via TripAdvisor

Burgers ‘n Beers

It’s Georgia Restaurant Week, and we’re celebrating the flavors of Oconee County! Let’s explore some of the best burger and beer pairings in the area. Get your taste buds ready as we travel from Downtown Watkinsville to Epps Bridge with burger and beer flavors you must try.

Chops & Hops

At Chops & Hops, located in Downtown Watkinsville, try the restaurant’s Bacon Jam Burger paired with the Southern Brewing Company’s Hobnail. The burger includes house-made bacon jam, pepper jack cheese, fried spicy pickles, mixed greens, and red onion served on a H&F Bread Co. bun. The Hobnail is locally-brewed out of Athens, and is described as “crisp with a clean citrusy finish.”

Chops & Hops Bacon Jam Burger paired with The Southern Brewing Company’s Hobnail. Photo provided by Chops & Hops.

“Great food and service, but the beer selection tops any in the area. Great variety of local and regional breweries’ offerings on tap, as well as in bottles and cans.” – John G. via TripAdvisor

 

Traveling Hobo Cafe

You’re in for a treat at The Traveling Hobo Cafe. This popular burger spot offers some of the wildest and flavorful burgers you can think of. Try the restaurant’s 8 oz. Bison Burger topped with melted cheddar cheese, crispy fried onion rings, and for even more flavor — chili! Top off this western flavor with the diner’s root beer float served Southern-style in a mason jar with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The Traveling Hobo Cafe’s popular bison burger. Photo provided by The Traveling Hobo Cafe.

“After hearing EVERYONE at work talking about it, I decided to try it and OHHH MMMMMM GGGGGGG it was sooooo great!!! I would recommend this to anyone who likes hole in the wall deliciousness. This place is [definitely] my new favorite place” – Mindy Lacey via Facebook

 

Pour Restaurant & Bar

Pour Restaurant & Bar is one of the newest addition to Downtown Watkinsville, and offers delicious beef sliders on their list of appetizers. Served on Hawaiian sweet buns and topped with a teriyaki glaze, the beef sliders offers sweet moisture to the taste buds. The Oberon Ale is a perfect pairing with mildly fruity aromas, described as a classic summer beer.

Pour Restaurant & Bar’s Trio of Beef Sliders paired with Oberon Two Hearted. Photo provided by Pour Restaurant & Bar.

“What a fabulous addition to the downtown Watkinsville restaurants! Great Food and Service!” – Robert Rainz via Google

 

Catch22 Gastropub

In for a surprise? Catch22 Gastropub’s customers highly recommend the Chef’s Choice Burger. Be surprised with anything from burgers topped with BBQ and pork skins to a cheesy jalapeno fest. Pair these flavor-filled burgers with the pub’s flight of beers to find the perfect match to the chef’s creativity.

“Great Burgers & Beers” submitted by WAHMto5 via TripAdvisor.

“Excellent beer selection and a diverse menu that does not overwhelm you with options. I had the “Chefs Choice” burger and was completely blown away with the creative license taken on this work of beefy, cheese, jalapenoey art. It felt like an episode of Man v. Food.” – Jokiga8 via TripAdvisor

 

Groove Burger

Located at Epps Bridge, Groove Burgers is perfect for those looking for traditional burgers or something with a twist. Try the restaurant’s firecracker burger topped with jalapenos, spicy ranch, and Havarti cheese to pair with Terrapin Beer Co.’s Hi-5 IPA. The local brew has a tropical, citrus flavor with biscuit and caramel malt notes that perfectly pairs with the spiciness of the firecracker burger.

“Yummy! Great service!” submitted by Sarawilson8 via TripAdvisor.

“Everything we ordered was delicious! The burgers are fresh and the sides are original and yummy. The atmosphere was perfect for visiting with the family and watching the games. Great service. Will be back!” – Terry Chadwick via Google

 

Let us know your favorite pairings to enjoy in Watkinsville-Oconee County. Also, taste these pairings and share your favorites by tagging us in your photos online using the hashtag #OconeeEats.

2017 Oconee County Restaurant Poll Winners

This week we kicked off Georgia Restaurant Week with our annual restaurant poll. See the results of the poll below. With more than 50 restaurants throughout the county, there are endless options for our visitors to indulge in some of the best cuisines in the state. Try these favorites during your next visit, and explore more of our dining options, here.

1. Overall Favorite Restaurant: Chops & Hops

Chops & Hops led Oconee County’s list of restaurants as the overall favorite. The restaurant offers a variety of options including lamb chops, steaks, salmon, salads, burgers, and more. Patrons also enjoy extensive bar options including locally-brewed beers.

2. Best Burgers: Chops & Hops

The results for the best burgers in town were close. Chops & Hops led The Traveling Hobo Cafe, Catch 22 Gastropub, and Groove Burgers only by a few points to claim the title of best burgers in Oconee County.

3. Best Southern Cuisine: Hot Thomas BBQ

Hot Thomas BBQ has a longstanding legacy in Oconee County, and was able to redeem itself this year as the best BBQ spot and southern cuisine in the county. Try their classic BBQ sandwiches, tender ribs, flavorful chicken, and array of desserts.

4. Best Biscuits: Golden Pantry

Golden Pantry wins the title for the best place to get a biscuit. Offering chicken, bacon, and variety of sausage biscuits, there’s something for everyone.

5. Best Burritos or Tacos: Taqueria La Parrilla

Taqueria La Parrilla was the local favorite for Mexican and Southwestern cuisines. Try some of their popular dishes like the fish tacos, chalupa, Mexican pizza, taco salad and more!

6: Best Fine Dining: Chops & Hops

Looking to wine and dine your partner? Chops & Hops is also the place for a special night out. Pair a glass of wine with one of Chops & Hops’s quality steaks, tuscan chicken, or seafood dishes and enjoy the romantic ambiance of the restaurant.

7. Best Dessert: KiKi’s Bakeshop

Travel Downtown Watkinsville for freshly baked sweets at KiKi’s Bakeshop. The bakery has an extensive selection of baked goods including scones, cupcakes, pies, cookies, and cinnamon rolls.

 

 

The stories behind the rooms of Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast

 

The Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast located in the heart of Downtown Watkinsville.                              Photo by Matt Brewster.

On a summer afternoon, I sat in the main room of the Victorian-style Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast with owners Dave and Mario. The owners took me on the journey of the inspirational stories behind three of their most-talked about rooms: the Asian Room, the Safari Room, and the Penthouse Suite. The décor in each room tells the stories of the owners’ personal experiences and styles– stories shared by guests after an intimate stay at the bed and breakfast.

The Asian Room

The Asian Room decorated in Japanese kimonos and collectibles found  in Asia.

Inspired by Dave’s two-year stay in Kyoto, Japan in the late 1980s, the Asian room is filled with items collected from the Toji Temple in Japan. Dave compares the Toji Temple to Athens, Georgia’s J & J Flea Market, except filled with traditional Japanese items that dates back 200 to 500 years. In the Asian room, guests are surrounded by traditional kimonos, a collection of Japanese dishware, a rare Netsuke collection, and other items collected from his and his family’s journeys in China, Korea, and Indonesia.

“Each of the rooms were unique and creatively decorated. We stayed in the Asian room and I spent a great deal of time just looking at the artifacts and interesting items arranged about the room.” –Unguidedmissal via TripAdvisor

Japanese dishware collected from the Toji Temple.

 

The Safari Room

The Safari Room filled with an eclectic collection of travels, mostly in Africa.

Dave and Mario describe the Safari room as an “eclectic mix of travel souvenirs,” mostly from travels in Egypt and Kenya. The room gives off an exterior vibe with mosquito netting and a tin ceiling, and actually is entered through the outside porch of the manor. Interestingly, the bathroom of the room was built using re-purposed wood and windows from the Ashford family’s picnic house, which was damaged  and unused when the current owners bought the home.

“Our room (the Safari Room) was fantastic! It was filled with all sorts of wonderful world travel details-even in the bathroom. The location was great, being situated on the main street of an old town area.” – Marion H. via TripAdvisor

The outside entrance of the Safari Room.

The Penthouse

The bedroom of the Penthouse Suite.

The Penthouse Suite, the owners say, is the collective aesthetics of the owners. The sitting room is described as “French Provincial” with pink drapes and floral arrangements. Guests then take the stairs to a cathedral-like, Gothic bathroom with two skylights revealing the peak of the bed and breakfast and the peak of the Ashford Church next door. The bedroom of the suite is architecturally unique being the highest point of the manor. Dave’s late brother, Jim—who worked at the late singer Prince’s Paisley Park— embraced his theatrical background to design the bedroom in hues of black, gray, and silver.

“I stayed in the Penthouse and felt like royalty! It has everything you could possibly need. The staff was so friendly and helpful and the breakfasts were phenomenal.” –Pam B. of Lantana, FL via TripAdvisor

The sitting room of the Penthouse Suite described as “French Provincial.”

The Gothic, cathedral-like bathroom of the Penthouse Suite.

 

Immerse yourself in the stories of these rooms and others by booking a stay at Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast located in the heart of Downtown Watkinsville. The manor is walking distance from a dozen restaurants, art exhibitions and galleries, and specialty shops.

4 Facts about Elder Mill Covered Bridge

The Elder Mill Covered Bridge is one of 13 functioning covered bridges left in Georgia.

Oconee County’s Elder Mill Covered Bridge is one of Georgia’s 13 covered bridges that carries traffic. The bridge is a popular attraction in Watkinsville, and is the only covered bridge featured along Georgia’s Antebellum Trail. Check out these four facts about the bridge, including some of the notable people who influenced the bridge.

1. The bridge once connected Watkinsville and Athens

Before its move to Elder Road off of Highway 15 in 1924, the Elder Mill Covered Bridge connected Watkinsville and Athens-Clarke County. The two neighboring cities share a long history, as Watkinsville initially served as the county seat of Clarke County before the founding of Oconee County in 1875. Watkinsville is only a stone’s throw from Athens, with Clarke and Oconee sharing the city of Bogart and some parts of Athens existing within the county lines of Oconee.

 

Once connecting Athens and Watkinsville above Calls Creek, the bridge now sits above Rose Creek.

2. Its structure is known as Town’s Lattice Truss

Most of America’s covered bridges were built between 1825 and 1875. The maker of the Elder Mill Covered Bridge, Nathaniel Richardson, built the bridge in 1897 using Town’s lattice truss form, which was patented by architect Ithiel Town in 1820 and 1835. The structure utilizes a large number of smaller planks for easy labor. The Elder Mill Covered Bridge is one of the few covered bridges in the state that carries traffic without the additional support of steel beams.

 

The bridge was built in 1897 by Nathaniel Richardson using Town’s lattice truss structure.

3. The bridge was saved with funds granted by former U.S. President and Georgia Governor, Jimmy Carter

In 1974, the bridge endured termite damage and was deemed unsafe for traffic. An Oconee resident who oversaw much of the upkeep and traffic of the bridge reached out to former President Jimmy Carter, Georgia’s governor at the time, and received $2,500 to repair the bridge. Three years later, President Carter began his presidential term, serving until 1981.

 

The Elder Mill Covered Bridge provided access to the Elder family’s mill in 1924.

4. It’s named after the family of David Elder, soldier in the Revolutionary War

David Elder, born in Brunswick County, Virginia, arrived in Oconee County after his military service during the Revolutionary War granted him land in Oconee County. Descendants of the family have lived in Oconee County for more than 200 years, long after his death in 1853. After the bridge’s move from Calls Creek, the bridge provided access to the family’s mill—Elder Mill (hence the name of the bridge and road the bridge sits on). David Elder’s memorial stone can also be found along Highway 15 in the Elder Cemetery, approximately 2 miles from the covered bridge.

 

 Sources: Athens Banner-Herald & Georgia House Resolution 224

Walking in Watkinsville

William Massey’s “Object of Wo(man)” along Main Street in Downtown Watkinsville

There is a lot to do on foot in Watkinsville. Park your car and explore public art, locally owned restaurants, and walking trails all within a 1-mile streak. Start at the Oconee County Welcome Center in Downtown Watkinsville, and pick up a map highlighting the area’s unique shops, historic sites, dining and parks.

 

Public Art

Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation Sculpture Garden

Known as the Artland of Georgia, the city of Watkinsville features two public art exhibitions in its downtown area. There are a total of 27 art sculptures and art panels as part of two exhibits: Public Art Watkinsville: A Pop-Up Sculpture Exhibit and Artscape Oconee: The Monuments of Artland. Many of the pieces are within walking distance of each other, and can be enjoyed while shopping and dining in the city. You can find a guide on this collaborative effort by the City of Watkinsville and the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) in the welcome center. Also, stroll through OCAF’s on-site sculpture garden, a tranquil garden featuring sculptures in a variety of mediums.

Locally Owned Restaurants

Photo by Gary Kufner.

Within a 5-minute walk from the Welcome Center, you can enjoy a dozen locally owned restaurants specializing in baked goods, BBQ, steak, burgers, Mediterranean dishes and more. There is an endless option of dishes from local favorites like Kiki’s Bakeshop, JB’s Smokin’ Pig BBQ, Chops & Hops, The Traveling Hobo, and Girasoles. Keep your adventures outside and enjoy these restaurants’ outside dining patios, or dine-in to experience the ambiance of the dining establishments, which occasionally feature live music.

Walking Trails

Harris Shoals Park. Photo by JR Charles.

Watkinsville Woods is only a short walk off of Main Street, with six acres of greenspace. The wooded walking paths continue reading . . .

This post was first published on blog.exploregeorgia.org.

Oconee ranks #1 best county in Georgia

 

Niche ranked Oconee County as the #1 best county to live in Georgia for the second consecutive year! The county leads communities like Forsyth County and Metro Atlanta communities Cobb and Fayette counties in the 2017 ranking. Rankings are based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities from U.S. Census, FBI, BLS, and CDC reports. Remarkably, Oconee County moved to #12 on Niche’s list of best counties to live in the United States from #24 on last year’s list.

Niche rigorously analyzes dozens of public data sets and millions of reviews to produce comprehensive rankings, report cards, and profiles for every K-12 school, college, and neighborhood in the United States. View Niche’s list of best counties to live in Georgia, here, and Oconee County’s Niche profile, here.

 

“There are many many opportunities to get involved in the community. I have interacted with well over 50 local businesses, helped non-profits, and utilized the school’s abundance of options. If myself as a senior in Highschool can be this involved, imagine what you, as a prospective business owner/homeowner/parent, can do!” – Current Resident

 

A Weekend Guide to Perspectives, Georgia’s Premier Pottery Event

 

Georgia’s largest pottery showcase and sale is on the horizon! PERSPECTIVES: Georgia Pottery Invitational is a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event hosted by the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF). The 20-day event in Watkinsville features pottery exhibits, demonstrations and studio tours. From Aug. 25 to Sept. 13, 2017,artists and art lovers will experience a showcase of 6,000 handmade, functional pieces by 50 Georgia potters. Here’s a weekend guide to Georgia’s premier pottery event of the year.

Where to Stay

Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast located in the heart of Downtown Watkinsville. Photo provided by Matt Brewster.

Just a short walk from OCAF is the Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast. Listed as one of the top inns to stay in Georgia, the bed and breakfast provides an inviting and relaxing environment with a pool and beautiful garden. The Victorian-style manor also features themed rooms raved about by national and international guests.

For a traditional lodging experience, the award-winning Springhill Suites by Marriott Athens is located just a few short miles from OCAF with on-site and off-site gym and pool access. Book your room soon; the popular hotel fills fast!

What to Do

One of three exhibits at Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational.

Friday

On Friday, arrive at your hotel to view the three-part pottery exhibit and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces. Items will include mugs, cooking dishes, tea pots, large pots and much more. The Opening Gala will take place on Aug. 25 at Rocket Hall. Enjoy refreshments and live jazz music performed by local band Period Six. The opening reception is an exclusive opportunity to view and purchase pottery before the exhibits are open to the public.

Saturday

After a full breakfast complimentary of your stay, head over to the Rocket Hall Courtyard, where potters will perform pottery demonstrations focused on wheel throwing and hand building techniques. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 26-27, renowned artist Naoki Izumi will lead a workshop on the methods and secrets of Echizen pottery, one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan.

Dining at Chops & Hops in Downtown Watkinsville.

In your free time, enjoy shopping in Historic Downtown Watkinsville with unique shops that feature art galleries, clothes and accessories, home and garden décor, antiques and more. You can also explore popular lunch options in the area like unique burgers at The Traveling Hobo Café, ribs at JB’s Smokin’ Barbeque and a classic BBQ sandwich at Hot Thomas BBQ. End the night with dinner at Chops & Hops, an unforgettable fine dining experience. For more dining options, visit visitoconee.com/dining.

Sunday

Wake up to Sunday brunch at Girasoles with Mexican-Mediterranean fused dishes crafted by Chef Zambrano. On Sept. 3 and Sept. 10, well-known Georgia potter Michael Pitts will host Gallery Talks with discussions on pottery styles, clays, glazes and firing techniques.

The Elder Mill Covered Bridge built in 1897.

Finally, a serene view and a classic photo at the Elder Mill Covered Bridge is the perfect way to end your trip before traveling home.

For more information on Perspectives, visit visitoconee.com/perspectives.

This post was first published on blog.exploregeorgia.org.

3 places to grab souvenirs in Watkinsville

Whether you’re a domestic or international visitor, journeying to the small towns of Georgia and the South makes for authentic experiences you can’t find anywhere else in the world. In Oconee County, you won’t find souvenir shops filled with “I ♥ [insert city]” keepsakes at every corner as you would in the busy streets of Atlanta, New York City, or Los Angeles. Instead, you will travel scenic roads and explore historic downtowns to find unique gems to remind you of the one-of-a-kind experiences you had in rural Georgia. Here are three places to grab souvenirs in Watkinsville.

 

Happy Valley Pottery

Enjoy 15 minutes of scenic beauty from Downtown Watkinsville to purchase handmade art at Happy Valley Pottery. Local artists and owners of Chappelle Gallery and Happy Valley Pottery transformed an old chicken house into artists’ studios, where you can watch artists in their element creating glass art and pottery. After witnessing the creation of these local artists, you can purchase their art pieces used for both décor and functional purposes.

 

Empire South

 

Photo by Emily Faz. Model: Braden Bruce

 

Dress like the locals and show your love for Georgia with Peach State Pride shirts. The brand celebrates Georgia’s history and culture, and is headquartered right here in Watkinsville. You can find the shirts and other Southern-made items at Empire South located in Town Center in Downtown Watkinsville.

 

Oconee County Welcome Center

 

Share your travels with family and friends or remember your journey with postcards featuring historic sites like the Elder Mill Covered Bridge, the Eagle Tavern Museum, and the Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast. Visit these sites and stop by the Welcome Center located on Main Street to collect postcards to add to your postcard travel boards or journals highlighting your most memorable travel experiences in Oconee County, Georgia.

Oconee County: Then and Now

The historic community of Oconee County has undergone quite a few transformations while maintaining some of its historic beauty. Take a glimpse of what six historic sites in Oconee County looked like in the past:

 

 

Left photo courtesy of Oconee Historical Society on Facebook.

The Eagle Tavern Museum formerly served as a 16-room stagecoach stop for travelers in the mid-1800s. The building, which was built circa 1801, now serves as a house museum in its original Plain-style structure. The right picture shows the Eagle Tavern in the mid-1900s before the building’s restoration. Today, you can visit the Tavern and stand on its original flooring which is more than 200-years-old!

 

 

Left photo courtesy of Oconee Historical Society on Facebook.

The Oconee County Courthouse has always sat directly across from the Eagle Tavern in some form along Main Street in Downtown Watkinsville. The county has had four courthouses since its founding in 1875. The structure to the left was built in 1887; the current structure was built in 1939.

 

 

Left photo courtesy of Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast.

Also located along Main Street in Watkinsville is the Ashford Manor. The manor was the home of William and Louisa Booth Ashford and their family in the mid-1800s. However, the original home is no longer standing. The now standing Ashford Manor was built in 1893 by the couple’s son, A.W. Ashford. The picture to the left was taken in the 1920s. The Victorian-style manor now serves as a bed and breakfast surrounded by beautiful gardens.

 

 

The history of Downtown Watkinsville continues to live on along Main Street. Pictured to the left is the Ashford Store. Built before 1900, this building is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Watkinsville. The building now houses Orchard Street Boutique and neighbors MR Comic Shop and Main Street Barbershop.

 

 

To the left is Main Street in Bishop, GA circa 1918. Downtown Bishop is located along Highway 441, connecting Watkinsville and Madison. Once a post office, the building shown is now home to one of the many antique stores in Bishop, Tracks of Time Antiques.

 

 

To the left is Main Street in Bogart at the turn of the 20th century. The street runs parallel to the railroad, where a few structures in the shown area still stand today occupied by small businesses.

 

Be sure to visit these sites during your trip to Oconee County. For more information or assistance with planning your trip, contact us.