Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/11/23
Just a few hours south of Atlanta in South Georgia, Valdosta is the perfect stopping point to relax on the way to Florida or even better for a weekend getaway. They call it finding your “ahhh.” Downtown has everything you could imagine with delicious food destinations, a brewery, a wine bar, shopping, boutique hotels, a local playhouse, artwork to see, all wrapped up in a walkable adventure! Start with staying at the McKey boutique hotel, have dinner at 306 North, take a walking tour of the artwork and murals around downtown, stop for a brew at Georgia Beer Company, and stay for brunch at Downtown Social. So, whether you stop through or stay a while, it’s ahhhmazing. Let’s explore.
Where can you stay in Valdosta that SOAKS up everything downtown has to offer? It’s The McKey! A brand new, luxurious 12-room boutique hotel in the historic McKey building. It is steps from restaurants, bars, and shopping. Fun fact: all the suites in the McKey are named after tenants that at one time we’re in the building, like restaurants, law firms, or historical facts like the year the building was constructed, or year the first pecan tree was planted. Each room has its own tribute and photos to go along with it!
We stayed in the S&K Suite that is named after the S&K diner, a local hang out spot nicknamed “sit and kiss,” the suite is thought of as their bridal suite. Feast your eyes upon this one bed, one bath suite, with a spectacular bathroom boasting a massive soaker tub that has changed my mind about baths, a large full-length mirror and sitting area, two spacious vanities, a separated shower and toilet area. If I could have a bathroom at home, this would do! Then, on to the bedroom where there is a large, comfy long bed with a view of downtown right out the window! In the sitting area and kitchenette, it’s the perfect spot to relax with a glass of wine and chat about everything you want to do in downtown Valdosta!
Southern fare was on our mind, so we visited 306 North in downtown Valdosta! They have elevated traditional Southern dishes like fried green tomatoes, fried duck, salads, and even Tuna Tataki, all paired with a great cocktail menu, wine list, and beer selection.
Starting with this fresh Tuna Tataki, the fish is lightly seared and surrounded by creamy, spicy mayonnaise, a wonderful cilantro soy vinaigrette, pickled ginger, and a spicy wasabi cream to round out the dish. It is a delicious start to our meal. Then, we paired it with their amazing fried green tomatoes. The tomatoes themselves are crunchy yet tender and topped with a sensational, sharp pimento cheese and a spicy, sweet pepper jelly. It’s a flavor train!
To drink, we tried their Manhattan. This one is boozy with hints of cinnamon and cherry! A delicious accoutrement with our main, the duck breast! On the side, we started our main dish with the wedge salad. It is creamy and cool, crisp bacon, tomatoes, and peas atop a mild blue cheese dressing. The perfect pair for the Maple Farms Duck breast.
The Maple Farms Duck Breast is lightly fried and crunchy out, tender and juicy in, then topped with a delicious and tangy, sweet blackberry jam reduction that is just stunning with the savory of the duck. On the plate with the duck, we got the Balsamic Mushrooms that are savory and deep, earthy and the honey-truffle sweet potatoes are sweet and tangy, tender, hints of truffle and honey!
Georgia Beer Company
After our scrumptious meal, we took a short walk to look at the murals and artwork around Valdosta, GA! All on the way to a great brewery, Georgia Beer Company! They have a large list of brews to choose from, like stouts, sours, IPAs, lagers, and everything in between. The space is large and open with a long bar, table seating, and a huge outdoor space with live music!
Some of the beers we sampled included the Destress Express sensational coffee milk stout with a coffee forward nose and on the palate then mellowing into a creamy yet slightly bitter aftertaste. Being only 6.5% it is more like a cup of Joe than a boozy stout. Another favorite was the Blueberry Field Party Blonde Ale, a 5% blueberry forward beer on the nose and palate, very fruity. If you love sours, Grandmas Jelly Mayhaw Berry Sour is a 5.3% tangy and tart beer but not overpowering and refreshing.
Of the rest we sampled, the Foggy Bottom is a 7% west coast IPA, large hops, bitter on the back, while Azalea City amber ale is a 5.5% malty yet balanced, mellow, and smooth amber. Dark 30 Black IPA is a 6% beer that’s both toasty and hoppy, while the Back Nine Lager is a smooth, sippable light beer that only has 130 calories! You really can’t go wrong with any of these beers from Georgia Beer Company!
One morning, we were craving brunch, so we headed just around the corner from The McKey over to Downtown social. Their shareable brunch was right up our alley! Downtown Social is an incredible boutique bowling and game destination with a large full bar and shareable bite menu! We enjoyed the shareable brunch board, mimosa flight, breakfast empanadas, and even a bowl of tot-chos!
We just couldn’t resist their shareable brunch board stuffed with all the brunch goodies like sweet and crispy waffles, crunchy, tender chicken tenders (Pro tip: make chicken and waffles), savory egg frittata, flaky, buttery biscuits with savory sausage gravy, sweet French toast sticks, fruit, jam, honey, and a helping of bacon and sausage on the side! It will blow your mind! To pair with this we got the super cool mimosa flight with sweet and floral pea flower, bright pineapple, sweet cherry, and tangy orange!
The other two dishes we tried were the Breakfast Empanadas and the Tot-chos. The empanadas were crunchy outside warm in with spicy chorizo and jalapeño surrounded by egg, paired with bright pico and a sharp beer cheese. For our side, we got an amazing fruit bowl filled with blueberries and strawberries. Another fun dish is Tot-chos. Starting with a savory egg that’s over a bed of crispy warm Tots with sharp beer cheese, savory pulled brisket, and tangy peppers. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
Valdosta has so much to do, you should get down there for a weekend trip and soak up all the relaxation and fun you can!