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A Present from the Past

A visit to Madison warms the heart at Christmas.

An easy drive from Fayette County, Madison offers visitors a present from the past.  It’s a heartwarming gift, especially during Christmas.

With its numerous historic homes and charming downtown, national and regional publications have consistently named this quintessential small town, established in 1809, one of the country’s most beautiful. Norman Rockwell would feel right at home here.

Sarah Lynn Holbert, executive director of the Morgan County Historical Society, said people enjoy visiting Madison, which has one of Georgia’s oldest and largest historic districts, not only for the historical aspect of the community but also because it takes them back to a simpler, possibly happier time.  

“I think people from out of town probably appreciate it more than some of us that grew up here,” she said, adding that Madison draws visitors from across the country and around the world.  

This year, Madison rolls out the welcome mat for its annual Christmas Tour of Homes on Dec. 1st and 2nd with self-guided daytime and candlelight tours.  “It’s more than a tour,” Holbert said. “It’s really an experience.”

Already missed the tour dates?  Not to worry.  Christmas in Madison lingers through early January and there’s still plenty to see and do. Stop by the Madison Morgan County Welcome Center and pick up a free, self-guided walking tour that includes historic homes, buildings and landmarks. Local museums including the Museum of Madison & Morgan County housed inside the Madison Morgan Cultural Center and the Morgan County African American Museum offer a deeper insight into the community. The Historical Society also maintains several house museums open year-round Tuesday through Sunday except for major holidays. Heritage Hall, a Greek Revival mansion built in 1811 and used as a private residence until 1977 is decked out for holidays with natural decorations as it would have been between 1830 and 1870.  Built in 1810, The Rogers House offers an example of Piedmont Plain architecture prevalent in the rural United States. And a woman born in 1864 to an enslaved family who earned her living washing and ironing, built Rose Cottage in 1891. Both homes are decked out with period Christmas decorations as well.

“Everybody likes pretty lights, and Madison is really beautiful at Christmas,” Holbert said. “The whole town’s lit up.  We’ve got lots of wonderful restaurants downtown that participate, and all the homes and stores are decorated. It’s almost like a Hallmark Community.”

Easily walkable, downtown Madison is lined with shops filled with unique treasures. “We have a lot of really good gift shops and a lot of antique shops,” Holbert said, adding that there are also unique restaurants and coffee shops including a new French bakery.

After shopping and noshing, Town Park is a great place to take a breather. And if one day is not enough for your Madison getaway, several B&Bs, Inns, and hotels, are available as well as farm stays and cabins.

To purchase tickets for the Christmas tour of homes, visit www.mchistorical.com.

For information about the spring tour of homes on April 19th and 20th, 2024, visit www.mmcc-arts.org, or to plan your visit to Madison visit visitmadisonga.com.

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