What’s in the area
Not too much downtown, I have to say I had a bit of deja vu of my first and only trip to Montgomery, AL. From the moment I stepped off the puddle jumper airplane and entered the one building airport, I knew I was in for a very similar experience, except this time I had no rental car to help me explore…
Where I ate
In downtown Augusta, culinary options are not abundant nor particularly pleasing. However, there were a few gems that fancied my palette.
I went here for lunch twice during my trip. Fair warning, the portions are not for the faint of heart or stomach in this case. Be prepared to eat or share. I ordered the Step Daddy Shrimp nachos and was pleasantly surprised. For me, it’s all about the crispy chips to toppings ratio and this dish passed the test. I also had the Mahi Mahi tacos and chips/guacamole, which were the perfect lunch-sized portion and also quite good. The guacamole doesn’t compare to my fav at Rosa Mexicano but it’ll do if you’re craving or in the mood for chips and guac. I would also recommend the seizure deluxe salad with Mahi Mahi here. It comes with a jalapeno herb vinaigrette that’s not too spicy but adds a nice kick to the other wise “simple” salad.
On the atmosphere tip, think funky and fun. Definitely a bar vibe, from pictures of Prince and Bob Marley to original artwork. But, my favorite quirk are the window seats. I was lucky enough to grab one on my first visit. Gives you a front row to people watch and to be watched by people…
Located within the Marriott, this restaurant fares very well for hotel dining. The staff is exceptionally courteous and attentive and you’re almost guaranteed to have the manager stop by at least once during your meal to ensure everything is OK. I only ate breakfast here, so I can’t speak for the rest of the menu – for around $15 you can get a grand all-you-can eat buffet, a breakfast burrito, which is quite tasty or if you’re craving dessert at breakfast time I recommend the caramelized banana pancakes – delish!
I was pretty much resolved that I was going to have “good food for Augusta” for my entire trip, but FHT saved me from this and in the nick of time. They’re only open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner and I would highly recommend making a reservation, otherwise you might have what they call a “two drink” wait time. The place is cozy with an exposed brick wall and bar/lounging area, and the dinner menu features a substantial amount of local and regionally grown ingredients. What to eat here – definitely the mac and cheese, it’s delish! And, I had the fanciest catfish dinner I’ve ever had in my life and pretty much licked my plate clean. It’s not a regular on the dinner menu so hopefully you’ll go there when it’s one of their specials. The shrimp and grits are also a favorite among diners, my colleagues ordered it and said it was amazing!
Where I stayed
Overall, the hotel has that certain southern charm from the time you enter until the time you leave you’ll be greeted by the bell man, the concierge, the front desk and even the security guard. As someone who lives in NYC, I was a bit taken aback but it was also delightfully refreshing to know there’s still charm and politeness in the world.
My room wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but it was certainly spacious and had a wonderful A/C – a much needed accommodation for the Georgia heat and humidity. If you forget a few of your toiletries, don’t fret they offer the Bath and Body Works aromatherapy products to keep you so fresh and clean…
If you want to take a dip, that’s exactly what you can do in their tween-sized version of a pool – there’s no diving or laps when it only goes up to 3.5 feet! And, if you so desire to workout they also have a 24-hour fitness center and a Starbucks onsite for those who need their latte fix.
What I loved
Southern Charm. The hotel and downtown area is nestled along the Savannah River and the Riverwalk. No, it’s not like San Antonio but you do get a stunning view of palatial homes located on the banks and boats cruising the river. And, if you take a walk down Broad Street (downtown’s version of Main Street) you’re transported back in time and greeted with remnants of vintage store fronts…
Visiting Enterprise Mill lofts. I absolutely adore lofts and during my trip I had the great pleasure of meeting up with a couple of friends from college and it just so happened that one used to live in the Enterprise Mill lofts so we decided to stop by and visit. The building has a rich history dating back to the late 1800’s, but now it’s a mixed use property consisting of professional business offices, residential loft apartments, retail space and outdoor courtyards. We tried to finagle our way to see an actual apartment but proved to be unsuccessful, but our free reign of the first floor gave a glimpse into the past…
What to know
- If you arrive on Sunday, most places are not open or only open for short period of time.
- Be prepared if you checked your luggage. There’s a possibility it may not arrive at the same time you do. So, I advise to have at least a carry on with some toiletries and a change of clothes. Learned this the hard way years ago, going into a similar small regional airport, never make the same mistake twice!
- There are no pharmacies or convenience stores within walking distance of downtown. You’ll need a car or catch a cab to get one of these modern conveniences.
- Right now, it really gets no better than the Masters for this town – they make the bulk of their revenue when the tournament is going on. If you’re a nomadic entrepreneur, this could bode well for you. Check out the vacant store fronts on Broad Street and it just might be a good opportunity for you to bring home the proverbial bacon…