Small Town Peach Picking.

We were out at the family farm one rainy weekend with a whole bunch of nothing to do this summer. Now that's a rare occasion for us these days and as I'm sure I'll come to find out, even more rare as the days go on.

This particular day I decided to accompany the guys to the gun store, a two-hour scenic drive from the farm through back roads and adventures I was sure. Because that's just what you do on the weekends in the country and just why we love escaping the city as much as we can.

Dickey Farms / Georgia peaches / heirloomed small town travel

We had nearly reached the store, passing small town after small town with a whole lot of farm land and cows in between when we reached the little town of Musella, GA. The signs screaming "ice cream" caught the attention of the boys so we promised to stop in to see what this particular farm was all about. Well, I'm so glad we did.

The tiniest strip of town was built around Dickey Farm, a peach grower + packer. Directly beside it sits the Musella Gin and Cotton Co, a simple metal building with hand lettered typography that I continue to fall in love with. But the gem of the little town sat directly across the street.

musella gin and cotton co / heirloomed travel

C.F. Hays & Son General Store opened in 1900 and is still operated today by the grandson of Mr. Hays himself. Stocked inside with fixtures and wares that look to be so authentic to the original period you'd swear you had just stepped back in time. 

CF Hays and Son General Store / Musella GA / heirloomed travel
dogs on the porch of a country general store / heirloomed travel

On this particular Saturday they have the smoker going with turkey legs and real BBQ, and baked beans the gentlemen told us had been picked down the street and had soaked all night. There were two dogs on the front porch that have clearly seen their fare share of barbecue over their days there, and they weren't shy about asking for more.

smoked bbq at country general store / heirloomed travel

Old metal signs and fuel pumps adorned the exterior of the building and you can tell they're not the reproduction kind but instead ones that have been collected from old-school advertising techniques of the brands they've stocked over the last 118 years. Still brilliant. And a restored Coca-Cola mural on the side of the building that I'd love to know the story behind as well. The highlight of the front door for the kids was the little iron on a pulley that acted as a door weight, going up and down as you opened the front door to keep it closed.

old metal snuff sign / heirloomed travel
front door of general store / heirloomed
vintage metal general store signs / heirloomed travel
Coca-Cola Mural / CF Hays and Sons General Store / heirloomed travel

So the boys ate their barbecue and then we headed across the street to Dickey Farm to enjoy some fresh, homemade ice cream. Being that it as a rainy summer day we didn't partake in any picking ourselves, but we did enjoy some fresh peach and strawberry ice cream. Clearly homemade and freshly picked from only yards away absolutely blows away anything stocking the shelves at the grocery store.

Dickey Farms peach picker / heirloomed travel
dickey farms peach grower / musella ga / heirloomed travel
eating ice cream at the peach farm / heirloomed travel
dickey farms eating homemade ice cream / heirloomed travel
fresh strawberry ice cream / heirloomed travel

Though the point of this trip was the gun store I was so glad to have stumbled up on this gem of a little town. I hope you'll seek it out and visit for yourself #HEIRLOOMEDTRAVEL.



heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

Small Town Squares : Monticello, GA.

Well, I must say I am totally *overjoyed* to finally be launching this new series, Small Town Squares. If you've followed me for any amount of time, I used to do a #smalltownsquares hashtag over on Twitter and Instagram from time to time and people were really into it. For obvious reasons, at least in my mind.

The South, where I am, is literally bursting at the seams with tiny town squares - some bustling, others complete desolate. The old signage, gorgeous architectural details and buildings, historic homes, statues and community markers all tell a rich story full of history and spread across generations. I love road trips and always beg Shane to stop and let me out to explore, town after town after town, but he knows otherwise if there's an antique store within the vicinity ...

To kick off the series, which I'm hoping will soon be way more than just a few words + pictures, we are starting with one of my favorite towns - Monticello, Georgia.

Monticello Georgia historic town square monument statue and city hall / heirloomed

Like many town squares across the South, this one is no different in its prominent statue at the very center of town, flanked by greenspace that boasts a little farmers market on the weekend and a festival from time to town, like the Deer Festival. Which, much to my oldest sons dismay, we've never actually made it to. 

You see, Monticello is where my husband's family farm is so it's a special place to us. We lived at the farm for 9 months while we were building our home and I ran my business remotely from there. Being in the middle of the country, I had to drive in every day to receive my packages from the post office and to delivery our outbound packages to the UPS and FedEx stores, which were several towns away. Needless to say, I became very familiar with the charm and detail of the town, including the interior of the old post office. 

Monticello Georgia city limits welcome sign / home of Trisha Yearwood / heirloomed

With a welcome sign like this, you don't need to travel too far into the actual town square to know it's going to be amazing.  Home of (the wonderful) country music singer Trisha Yearwood, you can certainly tell the town has had its share of ups and downs over the years. Her song "Jasper County Line" is just one of the nods to her upbringing here in, you guessed it, Jasper County, Georgia. 

HISTORIC HOMES

One thing I love about the streets surrounding a true small town square is that you can literally see how the town evolved around the bustling little square. Spawning out from the square you can almost always find a few streets with some old, historic homes from the original settlement  of the town. 

grande historic white home in Monticello Georgia / heirloomed
historic wooden home in Monticello Georgia / heirloomed

The grande, historic old homes here are just to. die. for. Am I right? I mean, I could literally just stop here with the pictures and I must say this one home is probably my favorite in all the town. But there are quite a few more we could have captured, standing after so many years in all their glory. Some in need of repairs, others that have been nicely restored. 

The details in the architecture are just amazing , and here especially there are a quite a variety of styles, each of quintessential Southern design but each so unique and gorgeous.

historic home on Monticello GA town square / heirloomed
historic home with chipping paint front steps and southern front porch / heirloomed
chipping paint front steps in grey blue / heirloomed
charming white southern historic farm house in Monticello GA / heirloomed

The upper ceilings of the porches are painted that signature "porch blue" to keep bugs at bay here in the South, and the paint is chipping off wooden staircases and columns more times than naught. The gardens surrounding the home are well established, with overgrown bushes and trees from years of landscaping growth. 

And yet when you get into the outskirts of town, like where the farm is, you find the breathtaking pastures filled with cows, pecan trees and rolls of hay that only the country can provide. It's a beautiful balance to me.

farmland cow field in Monticello Georgia / heirloomed

LOCAL BUSINESS

The town square here in Monticello is certainly not one that I'd describe as bustling in it's current state. There are quite a few vacant buildings, and like most small squares, the City Hall is most certainly the grandest of them all, one that seems to be filled with fireplaces if judged by the number of chimneys seen from the outside. 

Monticello Government Complex / Benton Supply Co Building / Monticello GA / heirloomed
Historic architectural detail from Benton Supply Co building in Monticello GA / heirloomed

The Monticello Government Complex building, which was originally owned entirely by the Benton family, has a rich history that I gathered from my research here. The Benton's had many roots here in the town and you can see their effect on their business here still today from the hand-laid floor mosaics at the front of the building and hand-painted signage in the still-original glass front window displays. 

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town square alley and metal gate in Monticello ga / heirloomed
Historic Benton Supply Co building in Monticello GA  / heirloomed
Benton Supply Co floor mosaic / historic storefront in Monticello GA / heirloomed

There are a variety of smaller shops that take up the buildings along the square. A thrift store has recently closed, a few restaurants, a drug store and an adorable children's shop that is almost displaced here among the vacancies. I often wonder what would happen if you popped in a quaint deli, general store, barber shop and gift store and just let it go and give it the chance to flourish, if little towns like this could support it if given the chance. 

Monticello Farm and Garden Center in Monticello GA / heirloomed
Monticello Family Foods store / heirloomed
D B Benton floor mosaic Monticello GA town square / heirloomed

There was once a fabulous restaurant in town called the Tillman House that served the best fried chicken around. It has since closed and the Monticello Newspaper has moved into their old space inside of a building that was clearly once someones home. Their original newspaper building stands just next door, a tiny building with large vertical windows that is so charming to me. And an old car dealership or service station just across the street from that, it too is vacant but the shell and interior details are rich. 

RELIGION 

Monticello United Methodist Church
Historic church Monticello Georgia
Historic Monticello United Methodist Church / heirloomed
renovated cemetery at Monticello United Methodist Church / heirloomed
cemetery gate in Monticello Georgia

One of my best discoveries while wandering off the beaten path in Monticello one day in route to the Post Office (again) was the discovery of this huge, vacant church from 1895 that stands just on the outskirts of the square. The original Monticello United Methodist Church, which was replaced by a new building to accommodate a growing congregation, now stands vacant in all its glory.  

With towering heights and beautiful stained glass windows, to say it's a shame for this holy building to remain empty and unused is quite the understatement. An old cemetery surrounds the property on two sides with tombstones that have recently been cleaned, repaired or replaced by pristine white markers. You know I'd much rather the old stained and mossy varieties but I'd love to know the story behind this complete renovation.

I hope you've enjoyed exploring a tiny glimpse into this town with me, as much as I've enjoyed sharing it. I'd love your thoughts on some other towns that might be good to explore and celebrate as part of this on-going series. And as I mentioned before, be sure to stay tuned as my passion for these tiny towns continues to grow and evolve into what I hope will be a beautiful project. #HEIRLOOMED


heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com