Looking towards the peach state

While I often say I have had one leg in Georgia and the other in Tennessee since my childhood, I will always be drawn to the things that make the peach state great. I have driven its highways and back roads, played in its theaters and music parks and acted in endless hours of television filmed in the Georgia heat and cold.

If I am looking for a strong dose of Georgia, usually I don’t have to look farther than the writings of Augusta columnist Don Rhodes. Whether he is focusing his amazing skills for books on the life and times of some of our greatest sports and musical figures such as Ty Cobb or James Brown, or true stories of the unsolved or unexplained in his “Mysteries and Legends Georgia,” his dedication to detail finds both the unique and local flavor that makes each community in every state in our country stand vibrantly on the colors that they cherish and reflect.

That is much of the focus of his latest collaboration with photographer Jeff Barnes in his new project “Georgia Icons – 50 Classic Views of the Peach State.”

He shares a closer look at many of the places I have seen in my travels across Georgia and some that I will now make a point to see next time I am in that area.

Close to my own home in Northwest Georgia, Rhodes revisits the story of Chief John Ross which he featured in detail “Mysteries and Legends Georgia” to highlight the John Ross House in Rossville, Ga.

A statue of Brer Rabbit that stands tall on it back legs in Eatonton, Ga. reminds me of my childhood fascination with the stories of another columnist Joel Chandler Harris. Of course, I saw Disney’s “Song of the South” over and over again as a child.

On one of my final vacation trips with my late mother we walked down through her Georgia memories including the impact that World War II had on her and her Tennessee family. That trip took us to FDR’s Little White House, another Georgia icon the duo highlights from Warm Springs, Ga. The photo brought our visit vividly back to my memory.

What icons do you think of when you think of Georgia: peanuts, peaches, apples, cotton, Claxton Fruit Cake, Vidalia Onions, Coca-Cola ®,  – well they are all included along with landmarks recognizing stars from James Brown to Ray Charles.

The new coffee table book also highlights natural and geological wonders such as the coastal islands, Stone Mountain, as well as homes of Georgia notables such a Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, and writer Flannery O’Connor.

If you enjoy seeing and learning about places you have never been or simply want to find some new places to visit next time you are down in the peach state, I urge you to check out  “Georgia Icons” from Globe Pequot Press. It is available through Amazon.com and most Internet outlets.