Tag Archives: North Georgia Documentary

H & H Restaurant, Macon

Inez Hill and Louise Hudson, affectionately known as Mama Hill and Mama Louise, opened their H & H Restaurant on the corner of Hayes and Third Street in 1959, moving to Cotton Avenue for a time before finally settling at the present Forsyth Avenue location. The establishment soon became a Macon favorite and would go on to acquire iconic status for its association with the Allman Brothers Band. In their struggling early days, the band members came into H &  H and were so broke they had to share plates. Mama Louise, sensing they were hungry, made them all their own plates, free of charge. The musicians never forgot her act of kindness and promised to make it up to her when they made it big. In 1972, they took her on tour.

For serious fans of the Allman Brothers Band, no trip to Macon would be complete without a visit to H & H. It was the hospitality of Mama Louise that helped put the place on the map and nearly fifty years later people still make their way here to feel a connection to rock history. The memorabilia-lined walls never fail to amaze. The Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, and countless others were H & H regulars in Macon’s musical heyday of the early 1970s. It was also an important meeting place for Macon’s civil rights leaders and activists.

Of course, people come for the history and legend but return for the excellent food. Known as Macon’s “fried chicken specialist”, H & H also offers items like country fried steak, fried fish, oxtails, and more. The meats are great, but the sides are even better. I’m not a fan of collards, but I like H & H’s. Their mashed potatoes are creamy (not runny) and the squash casserole is as good as you’ll find anywhere. They top it with cheese to make it perfect.

Mama Hill collapsed while working in the restaurant in 2007 and died the next day at the age of 92. H & H briefly closed in 2013 but reopened in early 2015. It’s been called Georgia’s most iconic restaurant and while it fits the bill, it’s not a pretentious place. You’ll feel right at home when you walk in the door, with locals and tourists alike. The staff are some of the best you’ll find anywhere and the food will not disappoint.

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Filed under --BIBB COUNTY GA--, Macon GA

Mayflower Restaurant, 1948, Athens

These days, it’s’ hard to find any Athens landmark in its original location. Even the Varsity, in its second incarnation since the 1960s at the corner of Milledge and Broad, is about to pack up and move. And while purists and locals bemoan the proliferation of chains, especially downtown, the Mayflower is a standout. As its menus proudly proclaim, it’s been “Putting the South in Your Mouth” “Across from the Arch” since 1948. If you’re looking for healthy or trendy, forget about it, but if you crave a good old fashioned diner breakfast or lunch, stop by the Mayflower. The staff are friendly, even if you’re not a regular, and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

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Filed under --CLARKE COUNTY GA--, Athens GA

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker, Amicalola Falls

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When I was visiting Amicalola Falls I met several Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hikers just setting out on their journeys. This gentleman had just made the drive up from southern Louisiana and was surprised by the warm weather. The approach to the AT begins at Amicalola and winds its way up 8.5 miles to Springer Mountain, the trail’s southern terminus. Thousands of hikers pass through here every year with high hopes of making it all the way to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Most don’t quite make the grade, but all are drawn by the solitude and natural beauty of the trail. Whether seasoned hikers or first-timers, all come away from the experience with stories to tell.

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Filed under --DAWSON COUNTY GA--, Amicalola Falls GA

Ganache Bakery & Bistro, Maysville

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As I was walking around Maysville, Debbie Akins invited me into Ganache, the bakery and bistro she created out of an historic commercial space that would otherwise have been lost. She noted that the interior had to be completely rebuilt. It was a nice break and the place smelled wonderful. Her chef was preparing lunch and putting the finishing touches on the day’s fresh pastries. Debbie talked about the challenges of running business in a small town. She’s had several here in the past few years. She’s also restored historic houses and is presently working on the old Methodist church. Every small town should be so lucky as to have someone like Debbie working to revitalize their business districts.

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Maysville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --JACKSON COUNTY GA--, Maysville GA

Potter Allen Gee, Junction City

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Bulloch County native Allen Gee now lives and works in Meriwether County at the former home/studio of the late D. X. Gordy, one of several Gordy family members well-known for their pottery skills.  Gee’s traditional high-fired stoneware has earned him quite a following of his own and he works with a motorized washtub and electric wheel at festivals throughout the South to share the process with others. He says, “I mix the stoneware clay from a traditional recipe. After the clay is properly prepared, bowls, pitchers and mugs are turned on a pottery wheel. The glazes are made from local minerals including ground glass, hardwood ashes, and a gneiss-hornblende stone. These minerals are pulverized and milled to produce a fine powder that is mixed with clay ad water then applied to a bisque-fired pot.”

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He also notes, “The stoneware is fired in a wood-burning kiln or gas kiln where it reaches temperatures hot enough to melt the homemade mix into a permanent glaze. Hot embers and flames enhance the clay and glazes causing glaze runs, pooling, and fire flashing marks on the clay.”

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I have one of Allen Gee’s pieces and the quality is great. He creates a variety of one-of-a-kind pitchers, bowls, plates, pots and even face jugs.  If you’re interested in purchasing something, you can contact him at 23825 Roosevelt Highway, Greenville, Georgia 30222. (770) 927-0394. He can also be reached via email at geepottery@gmail.com

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Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--, Junction City GA

Louise Brown Making White Oak Baskets, Junction City

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Meriwether County artist Louise Brown and her sister, Catherine Johnson, learned the art of basket making from their father, the late John Reeves. He began selling his white oak baskets at the Cotton Pickin’ Fair in nearby Gay, Georgia, over thirty years ago. Mrs. Brown weaves and sells her baskets at Plantation Days each year and I was lucky enough to meet and photograph her at this year’s festival.

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Her patience and skill are evident in her attention to detail.

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The work of making the baskets begins by carefully stripping pieces of white oak from saplings, soaking the oak strips in water, and weaving them into different patterns and forms.

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Again, I’m very glad I got to meet Mrs. Brown (pictured here with her husband John Henry). If you’d like to purchase one of her beautiful creations, she can be reached at (706) 672-4326. Otherwise, find her at the Harvest Days festival or the Cotton Pickin’ Fair.

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Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--, Junction City GA

Fielder’s Mill, Junction City

Making Grits at Fielder's Mill Junction City GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

The historic Fielder’s Mill, one of the oldest continuous businesses in Talbot County, takes center stage at the annual Plantation Days in Talbot. It was built in 1930 on the site of the John Downs grist mill. There’s been a mill at this same location since the 1840s. The original mill was located on the far end of the present dam over the run of Patsiliga Creek. The timbers and foundation of the old site remain today.

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After a fire, the new mill was moved to the west end of the dam in 1930. The mill is powered by a Leffel-type turbine producing about 25 horsepower. Mike Buckner produces great cornmeal, grits, and flour at this water-powered mill.

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I believe my father began buying corn meal from Mike in the 1980s, when he was running to Manchester on the railroad. My family has used it ever since; it’s just not an option to run out as nothing comparable can be found in any grocery store.

Grinding Grits Junction City GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Here’s something from the Fielder’s Mill Cookbook, compiled by Mike & Debbie Buckner in 1994.

Washing Grits

Measure the amount of grits you wish to cook. Put grits in a deep bowl (I use a deep Cool Whip bowl for as many as 4-6 servings) and add plenty of warm water. Stir grits. Bran and specks will float to the top of the water; tilt the bowl to one side and pour the water and bran off. Do this procedure several times, usually three times or until the grits are “clean”. Place grits in a boiler, adding enough water to cover well. Cook on low heat for about 45 minutes. The water will cook out soon after heating; add more water or for a creamier taste add milk. There is more involved in cooking the course ground grits; however, the taste and added advantage of more dietary fiber make them an excellent substitute for quick grits. It seems the longer grits are cooked, the better they are, but you will have to add more liquid and stir them to prevent sticking. There are a number of variables so you may have to experiment and try cooking these grits a couple of times before you master their creamy goodness.

For busy cooks, try the Crock Pot Grits:

Wash grits as described above and place in the crock pot with appropriate amount of water, salt and butter before retiring for the night. Turn the crock pot on low and allow the grits to cook about 10 hours. Wake up the next morning to creamy grits. (If the grits are too stiff add water or milk-stir).

Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--, Junction City GA