The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

Spotting odds and ends in Athens

Times Staff Writer

Free attractions: State Botanical Garden of Georgia, 2450 S. Milledge Ave.; (706) 542-1244,{tilde}botgarden . This 313-acre preserve has five miles of nature trails and a three-story tropical conservatory. Specialty gardens and collections include a Georgia heritage garden where rice, indigo, cotton, peaches and pecans grow. The garden is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily in summer, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. in winter. Garden Room, (706) 542-1244, serves lunch Tuesdays through Fridays and Sunday brunch.

U.S. Navy Supply Corps Museum, 1425 Prince St.; (706) 354-7349. In a 1910 building on the campus of the Navy Supply Corps School, the museum displays artifacts from the USS Maine of Spanish- American War fame, vintage uniforms, ship models, historical photographs and World War II memorabilia. There is a pretty garden adjacent. Open 9 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Because of heightened Navy security, visitors should call in advance.

Local oddity: The double-barreled cannon on the grounds of City Hall. Built at the local foundry in 1863 as a Civil War super-weapon, it had two balls connected by a chain, designed to "mow down the enemy." Its test firing was a flop. The chain broke and sent the cannonballs flying willy-nilly. Some claim a cow was killed, others that a chimney was felled. Locals mention that the cannon points north from its perch at Hancock and College avenues.

Runner-up oddity: The tree that owns itself. A local professor so loved the great white oak on his property that in 1832 he willed it — and the land within 8 feet on all sides — to itself. That tree toppled in a windstorm in 1942, but the one that stands today at Finley and Dearing streets was grown from one of its acorns.

Place to shop for someone who has everything: The Junkman's Daughter's Brother, 458 E. Clayton St.; (706) 543-4454. A cavernous, incense-infused space with an eclectic mix of merchandise, including bulldog cookie jars, plastic herons for the garden, Piggly Wiggly T-shirts and insect-eating plants.

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