By Rhetta Akamatsu
Photos by Takesi Ken Akamatsu
Saturday morning on a whim we decided to go to Macon, GA,about 2 hours from our house. We were mainly on the trail of Allman Brothers sites, and specifically wanting to see the graves of Duane. Berry Oakley, and Gregg. We stopped at the nearest rest stop to Macon, which had a visitor’s center with a very friendly, helpful young woman who told us how to get to Rose Hill Cemetery.
On the way, we saw a sign for the Otis Redding Museum and I was all excited because I love Otis Redding. Unfortunately, it was closed but we got a glimpse of some of his stage clothes and a few posters in the window. I was happy to know that museum was there.
Then we went to Rose Hill. It is a huge place and beautiful but not at all handicap accessible. I wanted to find Elizabeth Reeds grave but it was not possible in the heat and with the steep hills. We couldn’t find Gregg either in the time we had, but with the help of the sign on the office door we found Duane and Berry. I tried so hard to get to them but the hill they were on was too steep so my huisband Ken went up and took these marvelous pictures while I took comfort in being very close. I now know that Gregg is buried just across the walkway so next time we will find it.
Next we headed to The Big House, where all the band lived at one time. It is now an Allman Brothers Band Museum. eWe knew we weren’t taking the tour because even though $15 each is very reasonable we hadn’t planned the trip and we didn’t have it. We figured we would just take a picture or two of the house and yard and go in the gift shop, which we imagined would be fairly small. But if you look at the photos, you’ll see that the gift shop itself has several rooms full of memorabilia. My favorite thing was that blue piano. I loved envisioning Gregg playing it. I really look forward to going back and doing the whole tour soon.
The friendly man in the gift sjhop gave us a great map, which I wish we had had earlier.It listed some oiher sites we could have visited, like the ban’s first house and various apartments associated with members. Next time we will go there first, but it was getting late and we needed to head home. So we just drove to the locations where Duane and Berry had their accidents. We didn’t take pictures because they aren’t marked in any way, but it is one thing to read that they crashed their motorcycles at intersections 3 blocks apart,barely a year apart, but it is another thing entirely to see how close it really was. Butch Trucks was once quoted as saying he didn’t think Berry knew how to live in a world without Duane. It made me so glad they are buried so close together. I wish Gregg could have been buried there too but it is obviously not a big enough plot. At least his grave is very close.
Even unplanned and with no money, ,this was a very satisfying trip. I recommend it to any fan. Enjoy the pictures!