While most of Augusta is still abuzz about famous actor Clint Eastwood’s appearance in town last week while filming his latest project, “The Mule,” the Garden City is also continuing to attract positive attention and praise from national magazines.
Just this week, Forbes published a story called, “Why Augusta, Georgia, May Be The South’s Best-Kept Secret,” in its travel guide section.
The story proclaims that Augusta is more than just the “epicenter” of golf during the first week of April.
“With exciting restaurants, attractions and cultural happenings, Augusta is ready to prove that it can score in the summer and fall just as well as it does in early spring,” stated the article written by DeMarco Williams.
While the story recommends guests to the Augusta area stay at the recently renovated Partridge Inn, it falls a little flat by also suggesting that visitors travel 85 miles to The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Oconee.
(Sure. That’s a great hotel, but Augusta has a lot more hotel options these days, so guests shouldn’t have to travel more than an hour away to spend the night.)
But as far as the article’s food and recreation recommendations, Forbes did Augusta proud.
“When you think about how the destination has one bare foot squarely planted in the deep South and another wearing galoshes near the Atlantic coast, all the flavors start to make sense,” Williams wrote. “For proof of the city’s love affair with seafood, visit Abel Brown Southern Kitchen & Oyster Bar. The 2014 eatery welcomes you with a clean, soft color palette, an amicable staff and a menu filled with smoked fish charcuterie, white shrimp and grits, and fresh oysters. Pair your lobster roll with a crisp chardonnay and you’ll swear you’ve been swept away to a restaurant in coastal Carolina.”
And, without a doubt, Forbes couldn’t resist visiting one of local chef Sean Wight’s restaurants.
“If you have a hankering for something with even more sustenance, stop by one of chef Sean Wight’s two Farmhaus Burger locations for some smoked-Gouda-topped, Angus-stuffed awesomeness,” Williams wrote. “But Wight doesn’t stop there; he does steaks, swordfish and lamb all with equal splendor across his four Augusta restaurants (beyond Farmhaus, Wight helms Frog Hollow Tavern and Craft & Vine). We could sing his praises for much longer — and we actually did that (in a March 30, 2018, article featuring Wight and his views on the city’s culinary scene) — but we’d rather tuck into another handful of his cauliflower popcorn.”
But another popular local restaurant also received big praise from the Forbes article.
“The bites at Broad Street’s Whisky Bar Kitchen are nearly as delectable,” Williams wrote. “From slow-braised apple honey wings and lava shrimp tacos to a Far East chicken bowl doused in ginger, scallions and a lip-smacking teriyaki sauce, the Asian-tinged kitchen does its magic with each dish. We can say the same for the bar that works its rocks-glass-filled sorcery with more than 200 kinds of whiskies.”
The article also praised one of two of the breweries located in Augusta: River Watch Brewery.
“The first business of its kind to open in Augusta since Prohibition, River Watch exudes the same hard-working, no-nonsense attitude of the city from a come-as-you-are tasting room just off Laney Walker Boulevard,” Williams wrote. “Though the taps flow with a set of core pours (including a blonde ale and red IPA), River Watch does a lot of experimenting as well. We had a Hippies Use The Side Door (a honey lavender pale ale) this past spring that was so good we almost made the executive decision of putting it on the permanent menu ourselves.”
Along with featuring the local restaurants and brewery, the Forbes article encouraged visitors to explore the Riverwalk, the Morris Museum of Art, the Augusta Museum of History with its collection honoring the “Godfather of Soul” James Brown and the Augusta Canal Discovery Center with its Petersburg boat tours.
Williams also didn’t ignore our neighbors across the river.
“Keeping with the river theme, the just-opened SRP Park is the gorgeous, 5,000-seat home of the Augusta GreenJackets Minor League Baseball team sitting right along the water’s edge,” Williams wrote. “The $40 million stadium, which will host GreenJackets games through early September, offers state-of-the-art videoboards, a kid’s zone, picnic porches and a terrace where you can take MVP-level selfies in front of the Savannah River.”
Back over to downtown Augusta, Williams also commented on the incredible reopening of the Miller Theater.
“Some of the season’s bigger events will take place at Miller Theater, a 1940-erected hall that completed a seven-year, $23 million restoration in early 2018,” Williams wrote. “When you peek at the dashing venue’s calendar, you might be surprised to see names like Indigo Girls (July 17), magician Mat Franco (Aug. 17) and Chris Isaak (Sept. 11) on the roster.”
According to Williams, it’s worth the drive to Augusta.
“When you take a moment to reflect on all the surprising food and sights you’ve experienced in a city best known for golf, the impressive lineup should actually feel par for the course,” Williams wrote.
The entire article was a tremendous endorsement of the Garden City.
Augusta is definitely getting positive national attention these days.
Just last year, Fortune magazine included Augusta in its article called “7 Cities That Could Become the World’s Cybersecurity Capital.”
“This small city is a dark horse when it comes to winning the race to be a cyber capital,” Fortune reporter Jeff John Roberts wrote on April 6, 2017. “But while some scoff at the idea of Augusta emerging as a major player (skeptics point to the city’s out-of-the-way location and small size), it does have some distinct advantages — most notably nearby Fort Gordon, which the Pentagon designated as the new home of the Army’s Cyber Command.”
What Augusta doesn’t have in population size, the city makes up in cyber security preparedness, Roberts wrote.
“Brooks Keel, the President of Augusta University, says the town is preparing for a ‘cyber tsunami’ of approximately 4,000 families, and the school will provide complementary education to support this,” Roberts wrote. “Meanwhile, Augusta is hoping a $50 million cyber grant from the state and presence of firms like Unisys and Raytheon will lead to a bonanza of spin-offs and startups.”
According to Fortune, the cybersecurity industry is slated to pull in more than $100 billion a year by 2020 and the industry is looking for home, otherwise known as regional hub or “cluster.”
“Clusters represent a geographic region where an intangible mix of people, education, and economic factors create an interdependent network of businesses and institutions,” the Fortune article stated in 2017. “As those ties become stronger, it becomes virtually impossible for a competing city to disrupt or replace the cluster. That’s why, despite innumerable efforts to copy them, there’s still only one Silicon Valley or Hollywood.”
So which other six cities were included in Fortune’s list of possibilities for the world’s future cybersecurity capital?
None other than Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Atlanta, Boston and London.
That’s quite an impressive list of major metropolitan areas around the world.
Augusta should really be holding its head high.