Highway 301 a Georgia Grown Trail
By Heidi Jeffers
You see them all the time when traveling across the rural South Georgia landscape. Signs that proclaim the bounty of the land: “Fresh Peaches!” “Boiled Peanuts This Exit!” “World’s Largest Corn Maze!” For travelers, stopping to spend time at these places is like rediscovering America’s backroads.
The increasing popularity of these agricultural stops with the public is something the tourism industry is recognizing as Agri-tourism, a category that includes everything from pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farms to apiaries with home-grown honey; from pumpkin patches to dairy farms; from wedding venues to vineyards.
Now eight counties along U.S. Highway 301 have united to create an Agri-tourism corridor known as the Georgia Grown Highway 301 Trail. Along the 301 Trail there are over 60 official “Trail Stop” opportunities to sample locally produced food, wine, and dairy products abundant at pick-your-own farms, vineyards, vegetable stands, farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants.
But that’s not all. Ever been farmer for a day? Picked strawberries? Visited a Pumpkin Patch? You can experience these and other farm adventures, too. Educational farm experiences are part of the 301 Trail’s allure. There are establishments dedicated to preserving and sharing local recipes and traditions; and time honored and progressive crops and farming techniques.
When it’s time to rest for the night, the 301 Trail offers unique lodging opportunities including everything from tent camping to barn-loft bedrooms, plus many standard hotels providing comfortable modern lodging along the way.
Statesboro is the largest city for an overnight stay on the Georgia Grown 301 Trail, and Bulloch County has the greatest concentration of attractions.
“It’s well known that in this area of the state agriculture is our primary industry,” stated State Representative Jan Tankersley, “I think the Georgia Grown 301 Trail provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase this through Agri-tourism attractions which introduce travelers to charming venues like the Main Street Farmers Market and the Garden of the Coastal Plain.”
“I think this marries two of our state’s largest industries – agriculture and tourism,” stated Barry Turner, Vice President of the Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors. “It’s a logical fit.”
“There is a much greater opportunity when you partner with neighboring communities to showcase our part of the state as a whole,” said Heidi Jeffers, SCVB Executive Director. “The new Georgia Grown 301 Trail will give us another way to promote our great region to tourist and visitors, plus give them another great reason to stop and stay awhile.”