On Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, Pattie Merritt, Main Street Coordinator, represented Douglas as the American Camellia Society and Georgia Tourism announced the Georgia Camellia Trail at Massee Lane Gardens in Ft. Valley. The Camellia Trail features 30 stops throughout Georgia that are considered visitor friendly. The formal garden located at the Douglas Visitor Information Center (Ashley-Slater House) is listed as one of the stops on the Camellia Trail.
“We are so excited about the Douglas Visitor Information Center’s camellias being featured on the Georgia Camellia Trail,” says Georgia Henderson, Public Information Director. “We are busy preparing the garden and planning for a special ceremony soon to celebrate this honor.”
The opening ceremony at Massee Lane Gardens consisted of a welcome from America Camellia Society Executive Director, Celeste Richard followed by a history of the Georgia Camellia Trail by Cindy Eidson (GDEcD) and Bruce Green (Georgia Camellia Trail Consultant). State Representative for District 139, Patty J. Bentley, spoke about the economic impact of the Camellia Trail on local economy. Special guest, First Lady Sandra Deal, shared her thoughts on the Georgia Governor’s Mansion Garden. After the closing address by Ms. Richard, those in attendance enjoyed a Japanese Drumming Exhibition, Japanese Tea Ceremony, and a catered Asian inspired Luncheon.
The Douglas Visitor Information Center, located at 211 S. Gaskin Avenue, has a total of 11 camellias that normally bloom in late January – February depending on the weather. For more information about the Georgia Camellia Trail,http://www.exploregeorgia.org/itineraries/georgias-camellia-trail.