Madison, Georgia

When I was in Georgia, between playing at the lake and spending time at my parents' new condo, My Mom and I spent a morning exploring the nearby town of Madison.

It has quite a history, to say the least. Madison was founded in 1809 and grew quickly as the cotton economy expanded. Wealthy plantation owners built gorgeous homes in the area, many of which are still standing and have been carefully restored.

Although a few big fires destroyed much of downtown (including the courthouse above) at different points in the 1800s, it was rebuilt and has been called the most beautiful small town in the country (or something like that).

Oh, and did you know that Madison is known as "the town Sherman refused to burn"? Yep, it's true. People say it's because Madison was too beautiful, but I hear Sherman passed on torching the place because a pro-Union senator lived there. It's all about politics, baby.

On this trip, we didn't spend much time exploring the old neighborhoods and their antebellum architecture (although I hope to do so soon). Instead, we focused on the lovely downtown area with its cute shops, tasty restaurants, and many antiques stores (Madison is part of the Georgia Antiques Trail).

One of my most favorite stores is called In High Cotton. I loved pretty much everything in there, from the bike parked outside

to the silverware chandelier

to this little set of drawers that I wished desperately would fit in my suitcase.

Then we wandered over to the Icehouse and discovered (a) upstairs is a private residence, so don't try to go in there and (b) down below, you'll find a ton of little shops worth exploring

and even a restaurant.

Of course, there was plenty of small-town, Southern character in the antiques stores too. Particularly in this one, which was full of an odd assortment of things: an entire floor-to-ceiling shelf of salt-and-pepper shakers, guns, old weapons of indescribable origin, ridiculously over-the-top diamond rings, animals of all kinds mounted on the wall, fine china, you name it.

And the first thing we saw when we talked in the door? A KKK robe. But not just any KKK robe. This one was for the Grand Poobah. Er. That's not right. The Grand Wizard? I think that's it. Anyway, the Grand Wizard's robe can be yours for $300-some, if you're so inclined. I wasn't. I was a bit horrified actually. And I was too creeped out by that store to take any pictures of the interior, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Of course, there were more antiques shops that were much less ... uh ... random. We're talking serious antiques. This one was two floors and had more booths than you could possibly imagine. I found about 20,000 things I wanted to take home with me, but sadly none of them would fit in my carry-on suitcase.

(OK. I exaggerate. It was only 10,000 things. Including this handsome fellow.)

And then we at lunch. And I was hungry. So I stopped taking pictures. But I'll be back for more soon (I hope).

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