Is Lake Oconee a good place for shopping? This is a question that many women ask when contemplating a move with their family to the Lake Oconee Area. Twenty years ago when we first moved here, I would meet women who had relocated from large cities who wanted to move from here because there were few good shopping opportunities around the Lake Oconee Area. Back in the 90’s if my child said “I need a book for class” or “my teacher says we have to wear khaki pants for the field trip” I would panic – there was no store to sell those things nearby. Having moved from Atlanta, I was accustomed to having anything my family wanted in just a short drive away. Even if one does not think of shopping as a sport, we all need to buy a gift for someone, or add accessories to our home when we move here, so shopping is important to the Lake Oconee Lifestyle.
Fortunately, Lake Oconee has developed a variety of shops that fill residents’ needs and wants. As a last resort, there is always Atlanta stores a little over an hour away, or internet purchases which are delivered to your door. One of my favorite shopping destinations in Lake Oconee is Madison, Georgia. Located about 20 miles from both Greensboro and Eatonton, it has a good mix of shops for antiques, apparel, gifts, and restaurants for a rewarding meal after shopping.
Recently I went with my daughter and my sister to Madison for shopping and lunch. We met at the Madison Markets, a large indoor shopping mall located in a renovated group of turn-of-the-century cotton warehouses in the heart of this historic town. This large space is filled with booths of 75 dealers selling antiques, gifts, and art. I always look for new items sponsored by my friends in their booths, Alexandra’s, and Found Beauty. This market offers a wonderful combination of new and old items, and it is a fun place to browse.
After ambling down the first row of booths, we found ourselves at the interior entrance to Restaurant 220. We had a delicious lunch there of my favorite entree, Crispy Chicken Livers. These are a modern, lighter version of the Southern styled chicken livers I enjoyed growing up, served on a mound of sauteed vegetables. The service was efficient and friendly, and the room was full of sunlight from the large windows.
After lunch we visited another of my favorite stores, In High Cotton, a large gift store that has an interesting variety of reproductions of old-fashioned favorites, and unusual accessories. I bought a warm hat for the coming cool weather, and a reproduction of an old toy horn for my friend’s birthday.
A new shop that I often visit in Madison is Le Petit Jardin, a unique store that has plant, floral, garden and home accents with a European and vintage flair. When I am looking for a special gift, I often find it at Le Petit Jardin. The owner also provides flowers for weddings.
When people visit the Lake Oconee Area, I love to take them to shop, dine and browse in Madison. It is an old Southern town which was spared by General Sherman in his March to the Sea, and remains an example of the Southern culture and charm, today.