Located in west-central Georgia, convenient to I-75, three hours south of Atlanta and only two hours north of I-10, an ideal stopping point when en route to Florida, Americus, Georgia, offers a vibrant downtown area full of unique local shops. A welcome surprise to visitors who may not know about the area’s ties to the White House, surrounding Sumter County is also known for its homegrown products, specifically green beans and peanuts. Take a tour of and have lunch at Koinonia Farm, the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity. For coffee drinks, light breakfast, good company and coffee by the pound, head to Café Campesino, Georgia’s first and only 100% fair trade, organic coffee company, also with ties to Habitat for Humanity. One of only three counties in the United States with two national historic sites, explore the area’s Andersonville National Historic Site, the largest and most famous of 150 military prisons of the Civil War. Make time to visit Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, which pays homage to the nation’s 39th President. Visit the six-acre Habitat for Humanity Global Village and Discovery Center to see life-size Habitat houses from countries around the world and gain insight into the organization’s mission and impact. Head to the Glass Blowing Studios for a factory tour and take a peek into the art and community behind it—Americus is the #1 place in the world for glass blowing! Relax among the gorgeous flowers and near perfect weather in the spring or cool off during warmer months at Lake Blackshear. The community comes together every fall for festivals as well as during the winter months for outdoor ice skating. Plan to visit during year-round special events, including February’s Chili Crawl, April’s Hot Glass Craft Beer Festival, The Taste of Sumter and Plains Peanut Festival—both in September, the Andersonville Historic Fair in October or Christmas celebrations throughout November and December. Between adventures, refuel at Sweet GA Baking Co., winner of one of Georgia’s Top 100 Plates for their famous Chicken Salad, reward yourself with Southern meats smoked and pulled to perfection at Bird Dog BBQ or savor sips at Wolf Creek Plantation, known for their Muscadine wine. At the end of the day, rest easy at the historic Victorian Windsor Hotel, celebrating 125 years in 2017, built in 1892, and located in the heart of downtown.
Fast Facts & Trivia
- Americus was founded in 1832 and is the county seat of Sumter County. The city was incorporated on Dec. 22, 1832 and is home to the Historic Windsor Hotel & Rylander Theater, Habitat for Humanity’s International Headquarters and Global Village, as well as having a vibrant downtown and two colleges: Georgia Southwestern State University and South Georgia Technical College.
- Population estimates (latest)–Americus, 17,041; Sumter County, 30,856.
- Agritourism plays a major role in Sumter County. Americus alone is home to: Koinonia Farm, Thirteenth Colony Distillery, Café Campesino Roastery, and Wolf Creek Plantation.
- Plains, Georgia, is home to the 39th President of the United States–Jimmy Carter. From Peanut Farmer to Nobel Prize Laureate, former President Jimmy Carter is still an active citizen in his community.
- Andersonville, Georgia, is the number one stop for many people coming to Sumter County.
- Over 40% flock to visit the Andersonville National Historic Site. Established in 1970, ANHS has three main features: The only National Prisoner of War Museum, The Prison Site, and Andersonville National Cemetery.
- Across the street from the NHS is the Andersonville Civil War Village: Featuring The Drummer Boy Museum, Pioneer Farm, and the Anderson Station Restaurant.
- Sumter County is the only county in Georgia with two national historic sites It is one of only three counties in America with two national historic sites: Andersonville and the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site—which contains the Plains Depot (restored to its 1976 appearance as Carter’s campaign headquarters,) Carter Boyhood Farm & Home, a Plains High School (now a museum and visitor’s center,) and the actual Carter Home.
- Koinonia Farm is located in Americus Georgia and is home to an “intentional community” that has welcomed guests since 1942. Guests come from all over the world for many reasons—to enjoy nature, to rest, to explore their legacy, the writings of Clarence Jordan, their commitment to peace and social justice, their farming practices, to see the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity, the Fuller Center for Housing, Jubilee Partners, and to shop at their onsite store.
- Leslie, Georgia, is one of the many gateways into Sumter County (coming from I-75.) There the Georgia Rural Telephone Museum houses the largest collection of telephones and telephone memorabilia in the world.
- Lake Blackshear is located on the edge of Sumter County and is home to a multitude of water based activities: Fishing, boating, tubing, and skiing.
- SAM Shortline Excursion Train, a rolling Georgia State Park makes stops in Leslie, Americus, Plains, and Archery most weekends. The train tracks that ran from Savannah to Alabama were used by the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railroad Company during the 1880s, headed by Colonel Samuel Hugh Hawkins of Americus.
- Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village is a popular attraction. While there, guests get to tour the Habitat houses from around the world; see furnishings, decorations, and clothing; experience examples of poverty housing conditions and learn how construction methods differ in various countries.
- The Historic Rylander Theatre in Americus, Georgia – Designed by C.K. Howell of New York with interior design by William Saling, also of New York, the Rylander was a visual feast of ornate plaster work, beautiful stencil patterns, and painted murals. Closed for more than 40 years, the theatre still has much of its original grandeur intact. Having reopened after an extensive restoration (4.8 million dollars), the Rylander Theatre is nothing less than stunning and is once again reclaiming its title as “The Finest Playhouse South of Atlanta.”
- The Historic Windsor Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Americus, is a breathtaking example of Victorian Architecture. Built in 1892, to attract winter visitors from the north, the Windsor is a 53 room, five-story Victorian masterpiece architecturally designed with tower and turret, balconies, and a three story open atrium lobby. It occupies nearly an entire city block. The hotel closed its doors in 1972 after almost 80 years in operation. In 1991, the hotel re-opened after a $6.5 million dollar renovation.
- The Americus Hot Glass Craft Beer Festival is the world’s largest gathering of hot glass blowers in the world. Each spring, watch as internationally recognized artisans fire up some of the most dazzling pieces before your eyes–all while enjoying a craft beer from around the state.
- Charles Lindbergh took his first solo flight from Souther field Airport in Americus in 1923. This site is one of the most important heritage sites in aviation anywhere. The airport is also known as Jimmy Carter Regional Airport.
- Enjoy a historic driving tour of 47 homes from Victorian to Antebellum and other beautifully designed homes. The oldest home in Americus dates to 1833. (Just one year after the founding of the city.)