Lake Oconee offers many sporting opportunities: golfing, fishing, swimming, biking, but we must not leave out that favorite sport of shopping! Although there are no malls or outlets in our towns, the Lake Oconee area has many smaller stores that offer more personalized shopping places, ones that often typify the local Southern and lake cultures. One location that offers lunch and shopping to visitors is Downtown Greensboro. North of I-20, Greensboro is a favorite destination for groups who carpool or bus in for the day from the surrounding area, as well as visitors to Lake Oconee. Many shops are within the 4 block area of the downtown making this a walk-able place to shop .
There are a number of stores operating in Downtown Greensboro, but I will describe only a few highlights in this space.
A favorite lunch destination is the Yesterday Cafe on Main Street. The Yesterday Cafe is a typical Southern “meat and three” restaurant complete with a bar. The walls inside are hung with old photos of past Greensboro people and places. The buttermilk pie is to die for!
Even before you leave Yesterday Cafe, one can go through a connecting door to enter a charming gift shop, Traditions Old & New. This shop has it all. It is a great place to buy baby gifts, decorative items, jewelry, and candles. I often find the perfect house-warming gift for clients in this shop.
Shopping downtown Greensboro should always include a trip to the “Big Store” originally built in 1858. It served as a department store, as well as a blacksmith shop, with a funeral home in the back. A friend of mine started the Greensboro Antique Mall in the 90s, creating a market place where antique vendors could showcase their wares in separate booths. (Look on the plaster remains on the brick wall for the stenciling I did for the new shop on the right side ceiling, halfway down!)
The building invites your entry by a display of plants and antique iron work on the sidewalk outside. Today the Mall is home to over 50 dealers selling quality antiques, collectibles, and decor. I go there periodically to buy an item, learn more about the local culture, or simply to amuse myself by browsing the booths.
Another must see shop is Genuine Georgia, directly across the street from the Antique Mall. Genuine Georgia is also housed in a historic building that last served as a restaurant where the locals gathered. It is an example of the Victorian “painted lady” style exterior.
Only the work of artisans in the state of Georgia are sold there. Among the items sold are jewelry, pottery, woven goods, paintings, as well as foods such as jams, grits and sauces. Artisans are often in the store giving demonstrations of their skills. This store is a good place to pick up a souvenir from Georgia, a hostess gift, or decorative item for your own home.
The Lake Oconee area lifestyle will give you the opportunity for a taste of the Old Southern history when you visit the stores and walk the sidewalks of Historic Greensboro. You will always go home (as I do!) with a package or two from these local shops.