A Tale of Two Cities: North Augusta and Augusta
By Vanessa Infanzon
Although the Savannah River separates North Augusta, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia, they work in tandem for a great day adventure or weekend getaway.
North Augusta, South Carolina
The charming town of North Augusta is just across the Savannah River from Augusta by way of 13th Street. The street changes names to Georgia Avenue and opens to a walkable downtown with shops and restaurants. A quick bite at Your Pie, Gary’s Hamburgers, Sno-Cap Drive-In or Dandelion’s Café will keep you fueled. Treat yourself to a malt, float, shake, banana split or a hand-dipped ice cream cone at the Pink Dipper, an old fashioned ice cream parlor.
Pick up handmade chocolates at Impressions of the South, gifts and women’s clothing at High Cotton Downtown or handcrafted art at the Arts & Heritage Center Gift Shop. Several other shops offer gifts, wine and jewelry.
Visit Riverside Village for several activities and attractions. The North Augusta Greeneway, named for former Mayor Thomas W. Greene is perfect for walking, biking or jogging. This seven-mile paved trail offers views of the Savannah River, a 180-foot pedestrian bridge and a 90-foot flatbed railcar that serves as a bridge across a creek.
While in Riverside, see the Augusta GreenJackets play in their award winning ballpark — the SRP Park. It was named Ballpark of the Year by Ballpark Digest 2018 and BaseballParks.com in its first year. The team is the Class A affiliate for the San Francisco Giants.
Take a 10-minute walk on the Greeneway and head to Hammond’s Ferry, a quaint neighborhood with colorful homes, beautiful gardens and tree-lined streets. Manuel’s Bread Café’s outdoor patio offers a view of the neighborhood while sampling sandwiches, homemade desserts and a cocktail.
North Augusta’s Rosemary Inn and Lookaway Inn offer a bed and breakfast experience in Southern mansions. The brand new Crowne Plaza North Augusta in Riverside Village offers traditional accommodations. Its onsite restaurant, the Salt + Marrow Kitchen features Grillworks, an artisanal grill, and Southern heritage menu items such as oysters, seafood and grits.
Named for the Princess Augusta of Wales, the city has been the state capital of Georgia twice, home to the Augusta National Golf Club since 1933 and the stomping grounds for James Brown, “The Godfather of Soul.” Visit the Augusta Museum of History for more details on the city’s past.
Start with a tour of downtown Augusta using “The Walking Map,” found free at local shops, hotels restaurants or Augusta & Company at 1010 Broad Street. Follow the trail for photo ops of the James Brown statue, an area designed by architect I.M. Pei, the Augusta Commons and the Signers Monument. Stroll down the Riverwalk for views of the Savannah River, and make time to stop by the exhibits at Morris Museum of Art and the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art.
Hop on a Petersburg boat at the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. One-hour guided tours highlight historic textile factories, mill houses and landmarks that shaped the city of Augusta from the days of the Civil War. Get a front-seat view of plants and wildlife — and perhaps spot an alligator. Learn how the community saved a bridge on the canal with the slogan, “Save Our Butt!” [Spoiler: The bridge is named for Augusta-born Major Archibald Butt who went down with the Titanic after leading women and children to the lifeboats.]
There are plenty of places to recharge. The New Moon Café in downtown features paninis, sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads. Head to Abel Brown (with reservations) for tasty dishes such as the Johnny cake and the bacon crusted salmon. Drink like a local and order Savannah River Brewing Company’s No Jacket Required.
Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center offers guest accommodations within walking distance of downtown’s amenities. The on-property restaurant, Augustino’s, features Italian cuisine such as shrimp and Italian grits and creamy Tuscan chicken.
Just 15-minutes from downtown Augusta is the Phinizy Swamp & Nature Park. Explore the park and keep watch for frogs, beavers and otters. For organized activities, sign up for a full-moon hike, bird or migration walk, bike tour or an adult class.
Whether it’s a dining experience, art tour, nature adventure or history lesson, these two cities along the Savannah River offer something for all types of travelers.
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Pro tips for visiting North Augusta, SC and Augusta, GA
- Stop at Manuel’s Blue Clay Farm in Hammond’s Ferry to see goats, chickens and bunnies. The farm is a sustainable community vegetable garden.
- Grab a drink at The Hammond’s Ferry Larder’s Bloody Mary Bar on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Listen to Music In the Park in North Augusta during May, June and July.
- Plan your visit around North Augusta’s annual Nike EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League) Peach Jam in July. Watch the best high school basketball players compete at the Riverview Park Activities Center.
- Order the Tea Hive at Abel Brown Southern Kitchen & Oyster Bar in Augusta. It’s delicate and refreshing flavors are created by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, St. Elder Natural Elderflower Liqueur, chamomile tea, orange blossom honey and lemon.
- See a show at the Imperial Theatre, Augusta’s oldest theater in downtown Augusta. Check out the Miller Theater for concerts and holiday shows.
- Visit Augusta & Company, the new visitor experience center, at 1010 Broad Street. Pick-up brochures and maps and view the rotating art gallery.
- Kayak, canoe or paddleboard on the Augusta Canal with Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental. Reservations recommended.
(Go Magazine May/June 2019)