Goin' to the Big House; baby do you wanna go?
Upon arrival in Macon, I felt a requisite visit to The Big House was in order.
Should you find yourself traveling through Southern Georgia, this must-see home at 2321 Vineville Ave is less than a mile off of I-75. For the uninitiated, The Big House was the base of operations for the original members of The Allman Brothers Band and their extended families, from 1970 to 1973. A significant number of their successful songs and lyrics were written at the big house, during their many jam sessions. The Big House was renovated by The Big House Foundation and opened in November 2009 as the only museum location devoted to the preservation of the history of The Allman Brothers Band.
If you are at all acquainted with the Allman Brothers, you will genuinely enjoy their 18-room, 4,440-square-foot home and museum. The first floor is full of music memorabilia from the band. Numerous gold and platinum records adorn the walls. Drum sets, guitars, posters, pictures, and other memorabilia are too significant too miss. Dickey Betts and his Girlfriend Sandy Blue-Sky lived in the parlor on the first floor. The band jammed and rehearsed in the next room with many instruments from Gregg Allman, his brother Duane Allman, Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson, Berry Oakley, and Butch Trucks.
The second floor has been left intact, much like it was in the early 1970s. Upstairs and to the right, you will find a bedroom belonging to Duane, his wife Donna and their daughter Galadrielle. Clothes, bed and furniture are still in place. Across the hall was Barry and Linda Oakley’s bedroom and another for their young daughter Brittany. Brittany’s rubber ducky is still on display in the bathtub. Berry Oakley's sister Candy Oakley, and Gregg Allman also lived for a time at The Big House.
Iconic photos from the Allman Brother’s Band in The Big House are on display in the appropriate rooms. A massive pool table is in the middle of one room and is loaded with hundreds of pieces of period Allman Brother’s Band memorabilia.
Dickey Betts wrote "Blue Sky" in the living room, where you will find the original written lyrics. "Please Call Home", "Ain't Wastin' Time No More", "Leave My Blues at Home" and "Midnight Rider" were composed by Gregg Allman here, and are on display.
Just outside the kitchen, where Betts wrote "Ramblin' Man", a well-stocked souvenir shop can be found, where you are sure to find essential items to bring home. The gardens outside are well-groomed with a stage that is used from time to time to play tributes.
Less than a mile away, you may visit the graves of Gregg, Duane Allman and Berry Oakley at the Rose Hill Cemetery. Duane died in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, 14 blocks from The Big House. A year later, in November of 1972, Oakley died after a motorcycle accident, just three blocks from where Duane Allman had his fatal crash the year before. Gregg died in 2017 at the age of 69, from complications with cancer.
In 1972, just four months after Duane's death, certified platinum and top selling album Eat a Peach was released, landing at number four on Billboard's Top 200 Pop Albums chart.
If you find yourself with an extra hour traveling north on I-75, I highly recommend stopping over and seeing this iconic collection of artifacts from the golden era of southern rock. The experience is well worth the moderate entrance fee and you will not be disappointed!