With Christmas less than a month away, many are still seeking the perfect gift for friends and family. For those hoping to find gifts unique to the county, The Columbia County News-Times presents its annual list of hometown products.
Wear it proudly
- For those who prefer to wear their school spirit, Hometown Sports features area public and private middle and high schools on letter jackets for $145, including custom embroidery; athletic bags for $23; and shirts and jackets starting at $30. The store, at 4115 Columbia Road in Martinez, is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Call (706) 651-8777.
- Columbia County's newest school, Cedar Ridge Elementary, offers T-shirts for $10 and magnets for $15 with Parent-Teacher Organization membership. The items feature the school's owl mascot. Most schools have T-shirts and sweatshirts with school logos. The items are available from the school, PTO or booster clubs. Call the school for details. The last day of shopping is Dec. 20, the final day of school before the holiday break.
- One of Columbia County's newest sporting goods stores carries duffle bags imprinted with the names of some county high schools. Academy Sports, at 4210 Washington Road in Evans, has duffel bags customized for Evans, Greenbrier, Harlem and Lakeside high schools for $19.99. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
- Sunrise Grill in West Town Shopping Center sells products bearing the image of the restaurant's sunglasses-wearing, grinning sun. Mugs cost $5; T-shirts cost $15.
- The golfer on your list might like gear for the links including hats and shirts with logos from area golf courses. Hats cost $19.99 and shorts range from $32 to $67 at Bartram Trail Golf Club in Evans, (706) 210-4681. Hats cost $12 and shirts start at $25 at Three Oaks Golf Course in Harlem, (706) 556-1400. Hats range from $18 to $25 at Jones Creek Golf Club and shirts range from $25 to $130, (706) 860-4228. West Lake Country Club offers hats starting at $20 and shirts from $45 to $90, (706) 863-4642.
Read all about it ...
- Columnist Lucy Adams, whose work appears in The Columbia County News-Times and other regional newspapers, has published a collection of her humorous essays called If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. Adams, a Columbia County native and McDuffie County resident, is a teacher at Augusta Preparatory Day School and will be signing copies of the book at noon Dec. 10 in the upper school library. The book is available for $14.95 from the Web site www.ifmama.com and on Amazon.com.
- For those eager to delve into Columbia County history, there is To Seek a Newer World: A History of Columbia County, Georgia , by Dr. Gerald J. Smith. The book costs $25 and is available from any member of the Columbia County Historical Society or by calling Pat Hardaway at (706) 312-7254.
- Kiokee Baptist Church offers a look into its history with A History of Kiokee Baptist Church in Georgia, Georgia's First Continuing Baptist Church , by Waldo P. Harris and James Moesteller. The history of Georgia's oldest Baptist church is available at the church's office in Appling for $30, or $35 if mailed. Make checks payable to Kiokee Baptist Church, P.O. Box 430, Appling, GA 30802. Call (706) 541-1086.
- Jean Embry promises a holiday lift with her book, The First Piece of the Puzzle. The book, written by the Columbia County 4-H board member and active volunteer, is a mix of poetry and prose. The book is available for $20 at Borders, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and www.amazon.com.
- If the reader on your list prefers fantasy and fiction, consider Martinez Dr. Benjamin Towe's Trilogy of the Land of Donothor . The three-book series -- Deathquest to Parallan , The Orb of Chalar and The Death of Magick -- follows a group of characters in a great conflict through several fantastic worlds. The books are available at www.authorhouse.com, www.borders.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.
... and then cook it
- For a few new recipes to spice up holiday feasts, Stevens Creek Elementary School is offering a cookbook called A Spoonful of Excellence . The cookbook features 400 recipes submitted by Stevens Creek staff members, families and pupils. It is available for $3 or two for $5 from the school office.
- In honor of Harlem Baptist Church's 130th anniversary in 2004, the congregation compiled recipes into a cookbook -- 130 Years and Still Cooking! The cookbook is $10 and is available from the church. Call (706) 556-6439.
- Karin Calloway provides some easy holiday recipes in Quick Cooking II: A Second Serving . The cookbook is a compilation of recipes featured in the Columbia County resident's weekly column in The Augusta Chronicle . It is available at The Columbia County News-Times office for $12 or two for $20, plus tax.
Joining the locals
- The history lover on your list will enjoy a membership to the Columbia County Historical Society. Memberships range from $10 a year to $100 for a family lifetime membership. Call Pat Hardaway at (706) 312-7254 or Vermill Baxter at (706) 541-1683.
- While shopping for the disc golf enthusiasts, consider a membership to the Professional Disc Golf Association, based at Columbia County's Wildwood Park. Membership includes a PDGA logo disc, mini marker, rule book, member card and PDGA magazine. Members are able to earn PDGA points. Memberships range from a $75 annual professional membership to a $25 junior. Discounts are $5 for each person for family memberships. Call (706) 261-6342 or visit www.pdga.com.
- Avid readers and those who wish to pass the joy of reading on to future generations can get a membership to Friends of the Columbia County Libraries. Memberships range from $10 for an individual to a $500 "Best Friend." Members receive a 10 percent discount at Borders Books, Music and Cafe. Visit www.ecgrl.public.lib.ga.us and follow the links.
- For the animal lover on your list, a gift donation to the Columbia County Humane Society might be a good idea. The society is raising money for a dog park, low-cost neuter clinic and a shelter on Columbia Road in Appling. For more information, call (706) 860-0751.
- The art aficionado on your list should enjoy a membership to Columbia County Arts Inc., an organization that supports arts in the county.
Members receive an Arts Talk newsletter, invitations to special membership events and performances, and a 10 percent discount to performances and exhibits by Columbia County Arts groups including Stage III Ltd., the Choral Society and Columbia County Ballet. The group also offers networking opportunities for artists. Memberships start at $25. Call Beverly Smith at (706) 228-1666 or visit www.columbiacountyarts.org.
- Honor an Evans Middle School pupil by ordering a memory brick, which will be used to pave a walkway and covered outdoor classroom/shelter at the school on Hereford Farm Road. Each 4-by-8-inch brick costs $35, then $30 for each additional brick, and can be engraved with three lines of text with 19 characters per line. To order, call Lisa Thompson at (706) 868-6330 or Kristi Baker at (706) 855-1079 or visit www.brickrus.com/order/ems.
- The signature or name of a child can be engraved on a commemorative brick at River Ridge Elementary School. The bricks come in three varieties -- regular and signature for $50 and corporate for $500. All proceeds go toward paying for technology equipment. For more information, call (706) 447-1016, ext. 5816.
- Military members on your list might enjoy a commemorative brick that will be used to pave walkways around the Wall of Honor for Veterans in Grovetown. The pavers cost $40 each and can be engraved with as many as three lines of 14 characters each. Forms are available at the Grovetown City Hall on Old Wrightsboro Road. Call (706) 863-4576.
Holidays at home
- Bring some warmth into your home decor with an afghan featuring scenes from Columbia County from Strictly Country at 4313 Washington Road in Evans. The afghans cost $69.95. Call (706) 868-1348.
- The Busy Bees Quilting Club, based at Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Harlem, offers custom-made quilts starting at $35 for a baby blanket and up to $500 for a larger quilt. Proceeds from the sales go toward making quilts for the Medical College of Georgia and an Atlanta children's hospital. Call (706) 556-9596.
- A limited-edition Easter Seals Christmas ornament commemorates local history and helps the disabled. The ornament, featuring Oliver Hardy, is 24-karat gold over brass and costs $10, and like all Easter Seals ornaments from 2004 and older, are buy two, get one free. The ornament is available at the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Harlem and at the Easter Seals office, 1500 Wrightsboro Road, in Augusta. For more information, call (706) 667-9695.
- For the art lover on your list, visit Broadstrokes Gallery at the Veranda to purchase a piece of original art or to commission a work such as a portrait. The gallery, at 601 N. Belair Road in Belair Office Square, features works by several local artists including Gail Smith, Christina Rice, David Stuart, Tommy Lyles and Carol Kelly-Dorn.
The gallery also highlights pottery, fine art photography and handmade jewelry by Bob and Pam Harmon and Brenda Lang. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (706) 860-6055 or visit www.broadstrokesgallery.com.
- Get a little extra rest after a busy holiday season on a Serta mattress manufactured at the company's factory in Grovetown. Renaissance Fine Furnishings, in West Town Shopping Center, carries a full line of Serta mattresses ranging from $200 to $2,500. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Call (706) 650-2777.
Gifts on the move
- A little help with the lawn, especially from a John Deere tractor or lawn mower, is a gift for any homeowner. Some models are made in the company's Grovetown plant. Augusta Turf and Tractor sells a full line of John Deere mowers beginning at $400 and tractors starting at $12,000. Call the business, at 2804 Wylds Road in Augusta, at (706) 737-9191.
- To make a traveling around the yard, the neighborhood or golf course a little easier, consider a Club Car golf car. The cars, manufactured in Evans, are available from Transportation Solutions of Augusta, 692 Commerce Court, Evans. Prices range from $2,000 for used cars to $7,000 new cars. Four-wheel-drive utility cars cost up to $10,000. The store is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit www.tsagolf.com or call (706) 228-5525.
- A Columbia County license plate is available from the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce at 4424 Evans to Locks Road in Evans and at The Columbia County News-Times office for $5. Proceeds benefit Columbia County Arts Inc.
- A new CD by Evans native and independent Christian artist Stephanie Staples is available. New Journey Home, released in September, is Staples' fourth album. All the CDs are available at www.stephaniestaples.com.
- The pupils of Brookwood Elementary School are ready to put you in the holiday spirit with their compact disc Great Big Stars . The CD includes 15 traditional holiday songs and 15 additional songs for sing-alongs. It features pupils, teachers and staffers. The school also offers I'm Gonna Sing, a CD featuring spirituals, and Brookwood Sings America including patriotic and school spirit songs. All the CDs cost $4 and are available from the school. Call (706) 855-7538.
On the visual side
- Columbia County artist Lynell Widener is well-known for her paintings of streetscapes and landmarks such as the old courthouse in Appling, downtown Harlem and local churches. Call Widener at (706) 868-1356. Black-and-white and color prints are available. Some of Widener's original paintings that are not for sale can be viewed at Georgia Bank & Trust Co. at 4109 Columbia Road in Martinez and in many Columbia County government buildings.
- Carpenter's Art Gallery in Martinez offers custom framing. Prices at the gallery at 138 Davis Road begin at $30. The gallery also sells original artwork from several local artists, many of whom are Columbia County residents. Prices vary. For more information, call owner Jan Bryant at (706) 860-8054.
- The slapstick comedy of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy is sure to tickle the movie buff on your list. The Laurel and Hardy Museum in Harlem sells the comedic duo's movies on VHS and DVD, and has coffee mugs, Laurel and Hardy books and many other stocking stuffers. Items range from $3 to $20, and shipping is available. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call (706) 556-0401.
- For that nutty person on your list, head to Lucky Lady Pecan Outlet, the retail store of the Tracy-Luckey Co., which processes pecans in the plant in downtown Harlem. A 1-pound bag costs $10; an 8-ounce bag is $5.50; and a 5-pound box is $47.50. Flavors include praline, roasted and salted, angel honey, chocolate-covered and cinnamon-spiced. Fancy pecan pieces and Mammoth pecan halves, also are available. The store and plant are at 110 N. Hicks St., Harlem. Store hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (706) 556-6216.
A taste of java
- Mocha Mahn Coffee Shack, at 103 Maple Drive in Martinez, offers stainless-steel travel mugs bearing the coffeehouse's name for $4.99 and T-shirts for $9.99. Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Call (706) 364-6065.
- Abbi's Coffee Mill and Roastery, in Petersburg Shoppes at 408 Furys Ferry Road, sells mugs bearing the shop's name for $9.99. Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Call (706) 651-9111.
- The Daily Grind Coffee House and Cafe, in Liberty Square Shopping Center in Evans, has coffee and travel mugs with the store's logo ranging from $9.95 to $25. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Call (706) 854-8838.
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