By Hope S. Philbrick
Thomson is one of our favorite small towns in Georgia, in part because it’s host to some of the state’s best adults-oriented events: the Blind Willie McTell Music Festival and the Belle Meade Hunt Opening Meet.
A new event this November promises to add another to that list. The inaugural Augusta Boucherie at White Hills Farm is set for November 8 & 9, 2019, and is a tasty reason for foodies and food-loving grownups to head to Thomson. The boucherie (butchery in English) is a traditional communal livestock harvest. Join teams of local farmers, chefs and regional experts preparing and sharing hog, poultry, fish, venison, and other animals of the Savannah River area. Tasting and learning is key to this festive outdoor cooking event. (Tickets are limited, so book now to be sure you don’t miss out.)
But you don’t have to wait for a special event to visit. Here are some great ways to have some adult fun in McDuffie County any time of year.
White Hills Farm is a boutique lavender and herb farm. Over 14 types of lavender are cultivated on 14 acres of this 30-acre property, along with rosemary, thyme, basil, calamint (a native Georgia mint), roselle, and other edibles and/or sniffables. Enjoy a farm tour, stock up on oils, teas, sachets, and other goodies in the shop, and/or take a hands-on class to learn how to bake with lavender, make your own soaps, grow your own herbs, and more in a delicious-smelling setting.
Deep South Cheese and Grill (4591 Augusta Hwy in Dearing; 706.699.7067) is an unexpected foodie find: Who’d have thought you could dig into the absolute best poutine in Georgia of all places? Canada’s famous dish of gravy-smothered French fries and cheese curds is 100-percent authentic here, since the restaurant chef/owner is a Canadian who’s committed to fresh, house-made ingredients—he makes fresh cheese curds daily, to ensure they have that signature squeak. He swears his burgers are the best, too, but we’ll have to take his word for it since we couldn’t stop eating the poutine.
McTell’s 12-String Strut public art project in Thomson showcases over a dozen seven-foot-tall hand-painted Stella guitar replicas designed by local visual artists. Pick up a free brochure at the Visitors Center (149 Main Street in Thomson) for a map detailing all 15 stops.
Paddle the Little River, which flows through the 15,000-acre Clarks Hill Lake Wildlife Management Area into Clarks Hill Lake. The water trail has three sections (Storks Bend, Smith Mill, and Raysville), making for easy day trips or multiple outings. The trail runs 20 miles along the Warren, McDuffie, and Wilkes County lines from the Woodruff Bridge at Highway 80 to Raysville Campground on Clarks Hill Lake. While paddling look for bald eagles, river otters, turtles, and other native animals and plants. You can also fish for bream, crappie, catfish and bass.
Shop at more than 11 unique boutiques in Thomson to find funky original art, chic housewares, and locally-made products including soaps, leather goods, pottery, foodstuffs, clothing, and more. Love antique stores and thrift shops? You’re in luck: Five shops are within easy walking distance of one another in downtown Thomson and they all carry an eye-popping array of treasures.
Hiking & Biking Trails weave around the McDuffie Public Fishing Area, just pick up a free map at the MPFA office (4695 Fish Hatchery Rd. SE in Dearing, 706.595.1684). There are 2 miles of multi-use single track trails plus over 3.5 miles of gravel/sand/dirt roads open for mountain biking. The Blackwater Swamp Trail is about a one-mile boardwalk on bottom-land swamp. The Longleaf Pine Trail is a short 0.8-mile trip through pine forest.
At Highrail Southern Eatery in downtown Thomson sip beer, a specialty cocktail, or whatever you prefer in a setting that makes it easy to kick back and relax. The food menu showcases fresh ingredients across the menu that offers a variety of appetizers, salads, entrees, and sides. On select evenings, live local entertainment performs for visitors and local guests.
Distance to Thomson from…
Augusta GA = 32 miles
Columbia SC = 103 miles
Atlanta GA = 119 miles
Macon GA = 121 miles
Savannah GA = 167 miles
Charlotte NC = 191 miles
Charleston SC = 208 miles
Birmingham AL = 264 miles
Montgomery AL = 273 miles
Jacksonville FL = 287 miles
Visit Thomson-McDuffie County Georgia
149 Main St.
Thomson GA 30824
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.