Editor’s Letter: On the Road Again

“The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” — Psalms 121:7-8


Thressea H. Boyd, Editor

Consider Willie Nelson’s popular tune: “On the road again, goin’ places that I’ve never been, seein’ things I may never see again, I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

For some people, that might be easier said than done. In 2018, about 40 percent of Americans had unused vacation days at the end of the year—that’s nearly 768 million lost days.

If you find it hard to unplug from your day-to-day activities, especially for a weeklong break, join an increasing number of workers that are opting for mini-vacations. According to a survey from Cornerstone, 87% of American workers consider three-day weekends as a better option for stress relief than more extended vacations.

In this issue, we’re giving plenty of options for weekend trips to “Discover Scenic Southwest Georgia,” including quaint downtowns, outdoor excursions, vineyards and wineries, museums, historical sites, unique accommodations, and locally owned eateries sure to impress even the most discerning of foodies.

South Georgia Welcomes Excursion Train

For Jamie Cater and Chris Parrott, owners of CaterParrott Railnet, operating a passenger train has been part of the company’s “big picture” for many years. Finally, that dream became a reality with the start of the Azalea Sprinter, the region’s new excursion train.

The Azalea Sprinter’s primary route is a relaxing 34-mile journey through fields and woodland before crossing the Alapaha River on its way to the rural community of Willacoochee.

This year’s fall schedule will include the Willacoochee fall foliage rides and dinner trains, holiday-themed Santa train rides, and Willacoochee to Valdosta trips on Nov. 6 and Dec. 4 that includes a barbecue boxed lunch.

Mitchell County Has Deep Roots

Nestled in Southwest Georgia’s primarily rural landscape, there is more than agriculture growing in Mitchell County. With the Flint River defining its western border, Mitchell County—with less than 25,000 people—spans 514 square miles and is home to Camilla, Pelham, Baconton, and Sale City.

Encompassing more than 171,000 planted acres of rich farmland, Mitchell County is among the state’s top-producing agricultural counties, generating more than $370 million annually, according to the 2019 University of Georgia Farm Gate Value Report.

Mitchell County is also home to numerous businesses supporting the ag industry, including Hays LTI. This family-owned and operated company has grown its business in Camilla for more than 50 years.

When Darwood Manufacturing announced its closing—after 60 plus years—Pelham and Mitchell County officials immediately started looking for a suitable replacement. Within a few months, Ohio-based Fire-Dex, a manufacturer of personal protective equipment for first responders, purchased the Darwood facility.

If you’re in Pelham, it’s not hard to find the Hand Building. The massive four-story structure has been part of the downtown landscape for more than 100 years. Once a bustling department store that sold everything from groceries to clothing and houseware items to farm equipment, the building sat empty for several decades. Now, with a new purpose, the Hand Building provides affordable housing, something the rural community desperately needs.

Are You Listening?

South Georgia Insider Podcast features conversations with business and civic leaders and community influencers about the region’s exciting and sometimes challenging issues. A supplement to South Georgia Business Magazine, the podcast provides another platform to share engaging stories that promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.

Don’t forget to listen and subscribe on Apple Podcast, Spotify, iHeart Podcast, or online at southgeorgiainsider.buzzsprout.com.



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