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#That’s So Macon

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THE LOCAL TOURIST

Visiting a new city can be exhilarating. New scenery stimulates senses that may have become dormant in the repetition of daily routines. The tongue never grows tired of trying new things. The eyes open as wide as they can to see all that there is to see. The nose knows no limits—a bakery with its door propped open, an old theatre with slightly musty seats. Going on vacation has endless possibilities, but only for a week. Being a tourist is limited because going some place eventually means leaving it too. So you make an air-tight itinerary and begin marching through the city, crossing one big item off after another. In the midst of all this marching and crossing it is easy to miss what a city is actually all about. It is possible to see a city without really seeing it at all.

Being a local tourist, however, means so much more than two additional syllables. When you are an active citizen in a city that you love (and occasionally hate, roll your eyes at, or tease like the embarrassing relative it is), your heart strings tend to get wrapped up and tied to some of the strangest things. For instance, if you haven’t paused at the entrance of Lawrence Mayer Florist to pet, pat, or pose for a photo with one of the purple lions, I would question how long you have actually lived here in town. Maybe you are not into PDA with orchid-colored animal statues, but have felt a tinge of pride, or perhaps just a smirk, when passing the regal pair—well, #ThatsSoMacon of you.

You might also feel a gentle tug every time you drive down Cherry Street, gliding over the pink line dividing the two lanes, and then pull into a parking space with the same. Big, pink blooms fading into the asphalt are also there to remind you of the past International Cherry Blossom Festival and future festivals to come. This annual event is also known as The Pinkest Party on Earth, and #ThatsSoMacon.

Speaking of pink, there is perhaps nothing more inherently “Macon” than craving that little red hotdog with chili on top. Nu-Way Weiners might seem wrong, but it feels so right. If you are a local tourist here in Macon, then you have probably already mourned the site of the original building, which burned down a few years back. Signs promising to rebuild bring hope, taking that seared heart string and securing another knot.

In fact, if you have ever stared into an empty storefront that once housed your favorite spot, shaking your fists at the sky, gritting your teeth, and wondering “Why?”—I hate to say it, but #ThatsSoMacon. If you pass by the building on Washington Avenue, once home to Joshua Cup, you can’t help but remember the sanctuary of sofas, good company, and hot coffee. The same can be said about the absence of Treasure Vintage on Cotton Avenue. The quirky, little vintage shop was a treasure, indeed! “Tis better to have loved and lost,” Tennyson wrote, “than never to have loved at all.”

Not all is lost, though. New businesses are constantly bringing something different to Macon, and a local tourist celebrates each and every one. A thrift store that supports the homeless community here in town? That’s WEAR and #ThatsSoMacon. A brewery [Macon] puns like nobody’s business, where you can hear a grown man lean over the counter and order a “Macon Love” without a hint of humor on his face? That’s Macon Beer Company and #ThatsSoMacon.

And there are several old, steadfast businesses still standing on solid ground. What’s more euphoric than snagging a table at one of downtown’s most coveted outdoor patios, and then immediately ordering a Bloody Mary to add a side of salt to your smugness? That’s the Rookery and #ThatsSoMacon. Is there anywhere more sacred than the book shop with black and white checkered floors, green shelves, and feline escorts? That’s the Golden Bough and #ThatsSoMacon.

Despite what every “Top Ten” list might tell you, the real beauty and brilliance of our big little city is in the details. It’s in the concrete slide on Coleman Hill; it’s in the dreamy little patio behind BJ’s Billiards; it’s in the constant noise and activity surrounding the fountain on Third Street. Macon is a one-of-kind city that is still growing and expanding every day. But here’s to hoping that some things never change!

Tours & Tastings – Every Saturday at 1:00 PM, Macon Beer Company

Eat a Nu-Way Weiner – Monday through Saturday, 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM (10:00 PM on Friday and Saturday), Nu-Way No. 3 in Mercer Village

Buy a Book/Pet a Cat – Tuesday through Saturday, 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Golden Bough on Cotton Avenue

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