Southwest Georgia is the land of peach orchards, pecan groves, and Jimmy Carter. It's also a land of giant textile mills, pulp and paper plants, and manufacturing centers for automobiles, metal, chemicals, and furniture that bear the definite stamp of the New South.

Macon, the cherry tree capital of Georgia, is only 84 miles southeast of Atlanta and might easily be your gateway to the state's southwest. Home of rock legend Little Richard and birthplace of Southern poet Sidney Lanier, Macon is filled with white-columned antebellum buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

After visiting the historic heartland of Georgia, you can cut southwest through two very different tourist districts, which Georgia dubs "Presidential Pathways" and "Plantation Trace." The first honors two presidents: Franklin Roosevelt, who sometimes lived at Warm Springs, and Plains's own Jimmy Carter. Steeped in history, this land is one of rolling hills and green forests. It also encompasses Pine Mountain, the gateway to the 2,500-acre Callaway Gardens -- the most beautiful natural setting in Georgia. Along Plantation Trace, Native Americans and frontier soldiers have given way to farmers and timber barons. Its pocket of posh is Thomasville, which in the 1880s became the center for winter sunshine for the wealthy from the North.