Enduring Farmlands Scenic Byway
Explore the Bucolic Farmlands of Southwest Georgia
|Mileage||59 miles (95 km)|
|DurationThe duration is an estimate of a one-way drive and does not include any stops or side-trips.||1 hour, 17 minutes|
|SeasonsThe seasons listed are the best seasons for this scenic drive. If Winter is not mentioned, the road may be closed during the winter.||All Seasons|
|Roadways||Georgia Highways 11, 112, 233, and 30, US Highway 129, Broad Street, Commerce Street, and Main Street|
|ServicesThe cities or towns listed have either Food or Services such as gas, pharmacies, etc.||Cochran, GA▼, and Hawkinsville, GA▼|
4.4 average from 25 votes
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This drive through the bucolic farmlands of Southwest Georgia showcases quaint historic towns that thrive on rich agricultural fields. A veritable bounty of food is grown here, strawberries, watermelon, olive, cotton, peanuts, peaches, apples, pecans, corn, soybean and more. Make sure to stop at the roadside stands for fresh picnic goodies.
The scenic drive begins in Hawkinsville, at the Hawkinsville Opera House (A1). Completed in 1908 and renovated in 2000, the Opera House hosts a variety of performances of all genres. The surrounding Hawkinsville Commercial and Industrial Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Just across the street, the Hawkinsville Better Hometown Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 8am-3pm where you can sample seasonal local produce and baked goods, and shop for crafts, antiques and collectables.
The towns along the byway happily boast grand superlatives and host festivals. Hawkinsville is known as the “Harness Horse Capital of Georgia.” The Georgia red clay and mild year-round temperatures are perfect for conditioning young horses at the Lawrence L. Bennett Harness Horse Training Facility (H1). Tours available from October — May. The Annual Harness Horse Festival is held here in April and features music, art and craft vendors, fireworks, children’s activities, fair-style food and of course harness racing.
A destination for paddlers and river enthusiasts, the 200-mile Ocmulgee Water Trail (H3) winds its way from Macon to Hazelhurst. There is a launch point in Hawkinsville, which is approximately mid-point along the trail.
We continue on GA-11. The byway criss-crosses through the region, so some backtracking is required to see it all. Feel free to explore in a different order.
At the intersection of GA-233 make a right and continue to Rochelle. Downtown Rochelle is lined with historic homes and industrial buildings used for processing peanuts. Train buffs will like the Seaboard Airline Railroad Train Depot which is in the process of being restored.
Once here, you may want to consider a side trip to Cordele, the “Watermelon Capital of the World". This charming town hosts the Annual Watermelon Days Festival during the month of June to celebrate the watermelon harvest with a watermelon dance, watermelon eating contest, watermelon chunking contest, a seed spitting contest as well the gamut of typical festival activities. Georgia Veterans State Park (H2) is situated on the 8,700-acre Lake Blackshear. A museum features artifacts from the Revolutionary through the Gulf Wars, including aircraft, armored vehicles, uniforms, weapons, and medals. Recreation abounds, with swimming, fishing, boating (rentals available), hiking, camping or join enthusiasts at the R/C Model Airplane Flying Field. The Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club offers a championship golf course, lodging and dining. Discover more of Southwest Georgia aboard a 1949 vintage train car. The SAM Shortline Excursion Train (A5) runs from Cordele to Plains, the hometown of President Jimmy Carter. There is a depot stop in the Park. A fee is charged for the train ride and a small parking fee is charged at all Georgia State Parks. Before leaving Cordele, continue along I-75 to Arabi (about 15 minutes) for picturesque views.
The byway officially continues from Rochelle to Abbeville along GA-280 east to Abbeville, known as the “Wild Hog Capital of Georgia". The Ocmulgee Wild Hog Festival is held the Saturday before Mother’s Day each year, with food, arts and crafts, live music, clogging, and wild hogs from the Ocmulgee Swamp.
Built in 1903, the Wilcox County Courthouse (A2) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Note the Confederate Memorial commemorating the Battle at Breakfast Creek.
Make a left on Cannonville Road to continue to Pineview. You will pass rustic barns, pasture lands and agricultural fields of cotton, peanuts and soybeans. Pineview was the site of the last battle between the Creek Indians and white settlers on March 9, 1818.
From here you can catch the stretch of byway missed by heading south on GA-122 back to Rochelle or return to Hawkinsville by taking Richland Church Road back to GA-11.
If you can’t resist visiting more superlatives, don’t miss the “World’s Largest Peanut” in Ashburn (Exit 82 off I-75). The 10-foot tall peanut makes for a quirky roadside stop, or head south to Albany, the “Quail Hunting Capital of the World".