Visiting Madison, GA

After a four-hour drive south, I arrived in the quaint town of Madison, GA. My plans included walking tours to see historic homes, visiting antique stores, eating good food, and reading a book in the shade.

Some of the fabulous homes date to the early 1800s.

I discovered that even an alleyway apartment could be delightful.

The view from my tiny balcony at the James Madison Inn is above.

Madison has many parks and green spaces, so I spent a few hours in the Town Park across the street from the Inn. The swings were the perfect spot to read during the day’s heat.

This story captured me after only a couple of pages. The Light Between Oceans is here.

The kaftan is here.

Since the temperatures were slated to be in the nineties, I took lightweight dresses. The only new one is the kaftan pictured above.

I’ve been recovering from a severe allergic reaction to the new eyeglasses I shared in an earlier post. Oozing blisters, swollen eyes, and peeling skin are certainly not a good look. Many of you have written to ask if all is well with me since I haven’t shared a post in a while. Thank you for your kindness and concern.

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  1. So happy to hear that all is well with you now and sorry to hear you have had eye problems. I have been missing you. I have always been in the habit of checking for your post with my first cup of coffee.
    Glad you have had a beautiful rest and recuperation, hope you can repeat often.

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed your stay in Madison. I live just a few miles down the road and, I agree that it is just lovely.


  3. Yikes, that certainly would not be a pleasant experience! Hope all is well with you now. I was wondering if there was a health issue with any of your family as you had not posted. So happy you got away for a little respite. Looks like a lovely and peaceful place to visit. I admire the fact that you take care of yourself.

  4. Very sorry to learn you had such a bad reaction to your new glasses.  Wishing you a full and speedy recovery! Your new dress is very nice, perfect for summer heat. I’m sure you look great in it.  Did you wear similar shoes as shown on the model?  Do you think flats would look good with a dress like that? Hope you have a good weekend!

  5. Good morning, Susan.
    Such a shame your new sunglasses caused such a difficult reaction. I am glad to hear both that you are on the mend and were able to enjoy a nice getaway.

  6. What a lovely place to visit! I’ve never heard of an allergic reaction to glasses! Sounds like you were miserable, and very unlucky! I had been checking for your posts, and hoping you were ok. Take care!

    1. I never considered that the frames could be the problem, so it escalated while I tried to figure it all out. I’m on the mend now. Thanks for your kind comments.

  7. Madison is lovely and seems like a perfect place to slow down and recover. What an unusual and awful allergy to experience. I had a similar experience with my high school class ring. Be well.

  8. So sorry about your allergic reaction. Was it the plastic frame ? The caftan is one I will consider. Lovely.

  9. Oh dear, I was wondering too if someone was ill, so glad you’re doing better. Your trip sounds just lovely and relaxing, beautiful, would love to visit there!

  10. Susan, I always enjoy your thoughtful and very informative posts. You have a style I admire very much. Glad you are feeling better and thank you for the lovely tour!

  11. Love the photos Susan! Lovely Kaftan 🙂 Happy for you to have a pleasant time away! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  12. So sorry your beautiful glasses caused so much anguish! I’ve worn glasses for years, and my last several pair have been titanium frames as suggested by my husband. Titanium is very light weight and durable. The extra expense is totally worth it!
    Madison GA is such a lovely quaint town. Have you visited Beaufort, SC? Check it out online! Beautiful in the spring before temps are too oppressive.

  13. Yes, it was worrying not to see any posts from you for such a long time.
    Sorry to hear you’ve had such trouble with your eyes – who would have thought that the plastic frames of glasses could do such a thing? But glad to hear that you’re on the mend and had such a pleasant break.
    Best wishes.

  14. I wish you would provide just a little more detail about your allergic reaction. Was your reaction to the material in the frames? What else could it be? I just happen to be in the market for new frames and I want to avoid that material if possible. Glad to know you’re better.

    1. The glasses frames were plastic ones from Tom Ford. Various substances may cause allergic reactions from eyeglasses frames including plasticizers, UV stabilizers and nickel are the most common.

  15. Just ordered the book from Amazon. Thank you for the link. Are you sensitive to nickel that could have been in the hinges of the glasses?

  16. Hi Susan, So glad to hear you’re recovering from the terrible allergic reaction to the new glasses. That’s very scary! I was concerned when you hadn’t posted for a couple weeks.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful homes in Madison, I want that alleyway apartment, so charming, secret and tucked away.
    I clicked on your link to “The Light Between Oceans” to order, recognized the plot and then realized I’d seen the movie a few years back. The movie was very well done and enjoyable. Usually I read the book first, but it’s always a pleasant surprise when a movie is true to the feeling of book and brings it to life.
    Hope you continue to recover and have a great holiday!

  17. I was wondering what was happening. Who would have thought you would have had a reaction from glasses. That’s too bad. But glad you got it figured out and you’re on the mend.
    It looks like a very nice town. Thanks for sharing the pictures of those beautiful houses. Take care. I’m going to check out the book. I’m always looking for a new one.

  18. Oh, NO!! I remember your “new glasses post”…because I got new ones around the same time and were similar. So sorry to read of your reaction to them…CRAZY…it was something in the frames that you reacted to??
    Now, to your GA trip….what a sweet town…how was it you chose to go there or even find it?? Thank you for sharing…admire how you find such delightful spots and just take off on your own to enjoy. Continued good healing with your eyes…
    Blessings, Suzanne

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. I’ve wanted to visit Monroe and Madison, GA, for a few years. I learned about all the antique stores in Monroe when I lived near New Orleans in the early 2000s. When I read about all the historic homes in Madison, I decided to make the trip to see them for myself. Monroe is thirty minutes away from Madison. Both towns are very charming.

  19. I hope that you enjoy(ed) The Light Between Oceans. I read it several years ago and would definitely recommend it.

  20. As so many others, I was wondering if you were okay. You have been certainly been missed and I’m so glad to hear you are better. What a terrible allergic reaction!! And who would have thought it would have been to new sunglasses. Thank you for giving us an update and continued healing.

  21. I have never heard of anyone being allergic to a pair of eyeglasses! I’m sorry to hear you had a reaction. That sounds pretty miserable. Do you know what it was that caused your problem?

    1. Plasticizers, UV stabilizers, and nickel are the most common allergens in eyeglass frames. I’ve never had such a severe reaction to anything, but I have very sensitive skin.

  22. Oh noooo! Did you find out what glasses won’t cause that reaction? I’m about to order glasses and would not want that to happen! Glad you’re better!

    1. We don’t know what the chemical make up of the frames were, so I don’t know what caused my reaction. I have returned them and gotten a refund. Make sure you can return glasses if they don’t work out for you.

  23. So sorry to hear about the awful reaction to the new glasses frames. Thank you for writing about it.

    The pictures of Madison were lovely. I am in the U.K. and I love those houses with verandas.

    Sue B

  24. It was so nice seeing this post. Actually, the last three were filled with so many things to savor. I echo the sentiment of your subscribers in saying we were concerned about you. I had hoped it wasn’t your parents or Mr. M. Your allergic reaction made me think of a dear friend of mine who had a terrible reaction to nickel. So glad you are feeling better. Madison is lovely with its architecture, art galleries, museums, and reading that it has more than 45 pre-Civil war homes! I love historic districts with lovely homes. It’s as though you can step back in time for a moment, making all those wonderful discoveries. The kaftan is lovely – I didn’t see the length of it listed. Did I miss that detail? Great choice in your latest read based on the life of a lighthouse keeper and his wife. I read the book and saw the movie. Glad you’re back – you were missed!

  25. You’ve been missed! Sorry to hear about your allergic reaction. No fun! Nice to get away, and hope you feel better. Rest is best. I was missing your posts and hoped you were okay.

  26. I love Madison and all the wonderful old homes. I also enjoyed staying at the James Madison Inn. I know you will enjoy your stay. There was a great little cafe/ grocery on the downtown square. I hope your eyes get well fast.

  27. Susan, I sympathise re the glasses and so glad you mentioned it as I thought it was just me.
    Last year, I purchased a pair of wonderful French glasses (with script – $A800). If I wear them for more than a couple of hours, I develop blisters on the bridge of my nose and pimples along the edge of where the frames touch my cheeks.
    I no longer where them and instead, purchased a pair of super-trendy specs from China for $A20.00 and had my script lenses inserted. Absolutely no problems.

    Do you know how we can find out if frames contain the likely allergy concerns? Glasses are a big but necessary expense and it would certainly help, wouldn’t it?
    I do hope you heal quickly.
    Take care.

    PS: The movie of The Light Between Oceans was partially set on my home island of Tasmania, in a little fishing village called Stanley. We stayed there just before Covid.

  28. Aren’t those homes gorgeous? I have always wanted to visit – now I MUST!
    I have never heard of a reaction to eye glasses. I bought new sunglasses two weeks ago and I noticed that one eye lid is red and tender – like a sunburn. I have no clue why, seems better today. But I am watching it. My skin changes as I get older and thought that might be part of it.
    Thank you for sharing your journey and beautiful clothing!

  29. Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry to hear about the allergy to the glasses. That must be difficult!

    I noticed you had not posted, but I figured you were busy with summer activities. In any event, I enjoyed seeing your photos of your latest trip. Beautiful homes! Take care!

  30. So sorry you’ve had a bad allergic reaction. Allergies can be so scary! That book is one of my favorites, a truly moving story.

  31. I started to yesterday and am glad hear all is well. Although the allergic reaction to the glasses is awful. Almost anything causes me to have problems now so I empathize with you.
    Happy 4th.

  32. I’m so glad you are on the mend. I missed you & was concerned a family member was ill.
    You’ve inspired me to visit Madison.

  33. Glad you are recovering now. I am not that far from Madison, but far enough, that I would love to spend a few days there to take it all in. It sounds like you were solo traveling, and glad you enjoyed your trip. Missed your blog. Take care and Godspeed.

  34. Beautiful pictures! I was glad to see your new post. I was concerned that someone was ill. Eye problems are no fun. Hope you are on the mend now.

  35. My goodness, what a beautiful city – thank you for sharing those pictures! Sorry you had an allergic reaction to your new glasses – hope you are well on the mend & enjoying your trip!

  36. Sorry to hear you have had an allergic reaction to your new glasses. What were they made out of? Hope you are better now. Your stay in Madison looks lovely. The architecture is beautiful. Enjoy your holiday.

  37. Hope you get better soon. Madison is just a few miles from where I live in Athens. It is indeed a beautiful little town, its old mansions saved from burning by Sherman when a brave resident and GA leader requested he spare the homes and burn only buildings of military significance.

    The town has some great antique shops. I hope you had a chance to peruse some of them.

    1. Madison Markets ~ Antiques & Interiors was my favorite, but I visited all of them and then drove to Monroe and visited several there. It was such fun!

  38. I am so sorry you had such a terrible reaction. Who wants misery? Hoping all your symptoms go away quickly and your allergy is noted and there will be NO repeats. Double check every new purchase in the future because everyone is so scatterbrained now, you do not need a repeat. All the best to you!

  39. Lovely photos, I’ve forwarded them to a couple of people I think will enjoy them. The reaction to your eyeglasses sounds dreadful. I’m glad you figured it out and are healing. It’s good to hear from you again!

  40. Like so many others, I was worried about you. With such a severe reaction I hope you carry an epi pen in case of an emergency. Love seeing your gorgeous pictures from your trip, looks like the perfect place to recover.

  41. Thank you for sending such lovely photos of beautiful homes , sounds like you had well deserved break after problems with glasses resulting in such a
    nasty reaction .Do you think it was the frames themselves or maybe some optical glasses spray used to clean glass by those that sent them ?
    Just a thought .Once when on holiday in Spain we visited an exotic plant garden centre when we got back to Villa my eyes were itching and a rapid eye infection
    developed out of nowhere. I had all the symptoms you described .
    I ended up on systemic antibiotics and antibiotics eye drops , it was frightening at the time . On another holiday in Spain my husband and daughter caught severe eye infections from communal pool, but my son and I didn’t , we ended up with a nasty bout of tonsillitis !
    Do take care Susan and like everyone else yes I missed you.
    Kind regards , Pamela from Wales UK .

  42. The “small apartment” is actually a home, 2500+square feet, home to Dr. Sammy McFadden, DVM and his wife, Ginger

  43. I too missed you. So sorry to hear what you experienced. You are a lovely lady and I admire you more than you know.
    Kathy from North Carolina

  44. Susan, I am so sorry to read about your reaction to your new glasses. My goodness, I have never heard of that!! Hope you heel quickly. Thanks for this post about Madison, it is now on my list of short trips since it is also a mere 4 hours plus from me.

  45. Oh my! So sorry to hear about the allergies from your glasses! That is definitely something I would never think would happen! Glad you are on the mend. I love to see where you travel to. My husband and I love to check out interesting places on our way to and from Florida each year (we travel from Michigan) and I may just add Madison, GA, to our list! Get well soon!

  46. So sorry to hear you are not feeling well. We were at Madison in December for a tour. A lovely town. I want to go back and see more and shop. Take care. I live in Marietta Ga.

  47. I’m so sorry to hear about your allergic reaction. It sounds very painful. Hope you are recovering quickly.

  48. Never heard of an eyeglass allergy… a chemical in the plastic I guess? Take care!!

  49. Madison looks lovely. Enjoy your mini vacation. I hope you recover quickly from your allergy problems xxx

  50. The pictures are beautiful! So sorry to hear about your allergic reaction to the glasses. Try wire frames. They are light and so many cool styles now. Never had any reaction to those. Get well soon!

  51. I’ve been wondering why there were no recent posts, and checked yesterday to see if I had missed one. I love to travel, and enjoy visiting older homes and churches. I looked, and Madison is only a 2 hour drive from where I live. This might be a long fall weekend! So sorry about your health issues, praying you are now on the road to recovery. Happy 4th to you and Mr Mickey!

  52. I’ve missed your posts. So glad you are feeling better. Madison looks like such a wonderful place. I am definitely going to order that book. Love to read! Thanks so much.

  53. Prayers you’re feeling better., Susan. I always enjoy reading your posts. Glad to hear you were able to enjoy a nice getaway.

    1. According to the website, it still hasn’t opened, so I didn’t take the drive this time. I hope to return to the area soon since I enjoyed being there.

  54. I hope you are feeling better. What a odd thing to have happened & I know you felt miserable as well. I am so sorry.

  55. Well my dear, you are visiting the town I loved and lived in as a second home and a retirement home from 2006 to last fall before moving to Virginia. There are is a lot of positive energy and things happening there that you may not have seen . . . conservation, Boys and Girls Club, Ferst Foundation for Readers . . . ChamberMusic Festival and so much more. I am glad you enjoyed it and hope that you return often. Cheers! Ann-Marie Walsh

  56. Beautiful lady Susan…continued healing and thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures as well.
    Bless you

    I have followed your website when it was ‘Fifty Not Frumpy” and look to it for making wardrobe decisions.
    I live in Ontario, Canada

  57. Glad to see you are back and recovering!! Yay!! Could you share how you store your toiletries and makeup while traveling.? I have been using a hanging toiletry bag and find it cumbersome and bulky. I need to come up with a better system.

  58. Hi Susan,

    I have missed you and your posts. How sad about your new eyeglasses! I know you were so excited about them. Hang in there. Healing prayers for you. Your Madison trip must have been lovely. Glad you got away. Happy Fourth to you and Mr. Mickey!!

  59. I was wondering if you were on an extended vacation or busy with your duties as a caregiver. As a faithful reader of your blog (and US Navy veteran myself-Boot Camp Orlando 1973), I’m glad you’re back!

    I did a little digging around on the internet and found this reference from the NIH National Library of Medicine on PubMed about eyeglass frame dermatitis. It may be unusual, but it’s not unknown. Some folks have recommended metal frames, but I have sensitive skin and have found some metals irritating. Here is the link if you choose to keep it in my reply:

  60. Susan,
    Your getaway destination is beautiful. Just four hours away too. I love the historic buildings and the peaceful natural surroundings.
    Sorry that your skin reacted badly to your new glasses and the return was made without a problem. Sensitive skin is always a concern for me too. Especially when it’s on my face.

    Like many of your followers, I look forward to your posts!

  61. Oh, Susan, I was concerned, too. Thought you were on a long vacation or taking a leave from your postings. Glad you are back. I bought the white denim collarless jacket and relaxed light jeans you liked. Also, white jeans, too We also visited Abingdon because of your post. Take care, Linda

  62. Happy to see your post. You were missed. The kaftan looks very comfortable and dreamy. I have had some unexplained allergic reactions and will never know what triggered them. Hope you are recovering.

  63. Dear Susan,

    What lovely homes. I have relatives that live in Georgia. There are lovely homes here in Nevada, but nothing like there is in your part of the country.

    Sorry to hear to about your eyes. Hopefully they are healing or are already healed.


  64. Lovely Susan,

    What a generous lady you are to share your delightful trip when are having such a bother with your skin.
    Look after yourself. You are much appreciated.

  65. Susan,
    I am so sorry to hear about your recent issue with your eyeglasses. I missed your post and thought you might be enjoying some time away. I always watch for your posts. Prayers for your continued recovery. I really enjoyed the pictures from your trip to Madison. May better days be just ahead!

  66. So sorry about that reaction to your glasses. How disturbing.
    Nice to hear about a lovely getaway.

  67. Beautiful pictures, the houses are gorgeous! Hope you’re healing & fully recovered soon!

  68. I’m sorry you have been sick! That sounds awful. Get well soon. PS I love the caftan. If you can, post a pic of you in it, I’d love to see what shoes you put with it vs. the model in the pic.

  69. Oh my goodness that doesn’t sound good. Hope you are not in too much discomfort now. I wish you a speedy recovery,enjoy the rest of your holiday. Kind regards Teresa.

  70. Dear Susan,
    I am so sorry to learn you have been dealing with an allergic reaction to new glasses! Who could have imagined that would happen! Bless you and I do hope you get relief and heal soon!
    I’ve been looking for your posts and yes, was wondering if all was well. In the meantime, I think I have read every one of your posts! Thank you for teaching me so much!
    Praying you recover completely very soon,
    Grace McConnell
    Trussville, AL

  71. Hi Susan. Hope you are feeling better from your allergic reaction. I need to get new blades and now am worried. Love all your posts for years. You are a lovely lady and class act. I have my own Mr Mickey for 40 years. Hi to yours!

  72. OMG I’ve never heard of such an allergic reaction. It sounds terrible! Glad you are on the mend and enjoying a little get away. Take care

  73. Oh, no!! So sorry to hear about your allergic reaction. Hope you’re on the mend and feeling much better soon!!

  74. Yes, we’ve missed you! Are you allergic to the material in the glasses? I’ve never heard to that. Hope you are doing okay and glad you were able to get away. Looking forward to “seeing you” soon!

  75. So sorry to hear about your eye allergy problem. Glad to hear you figured it out and are feeling better!

  76. Susan, I hope by now you have dealt with the glasses and are back to normal. How awful! Your trip must have been enchanting, but I would have to go in more temperate weather.

    Rest up; I miss you!

  77. Loved the beautiful Homes!! I would love to visit this place and it looks so peaceful!! Thank you for sharing!!

  78. Sorry to hear about those glasses.
    An eyeglass store close to my dentist had Tom Ford frames in the window and I was considering whether I ought to go in and try some one based on how nice I thought yours looked.
    I’m very allergic to latex and have been advised to stay away from tree-related products. I wonder whether the resins could have been tree-based and had some allergen in them.

  79. Dear Susan, I am so sorry to hear about your drama with the new glasses. I hadn’t realised what you have been through. I was following your post re new glasses and thought your last ones were fabulous. I recently needed new glasses, couldn’t decide on frames, and let the receptionist help choose. I now have red frames,fun and goes so well with my white hair. Also have conservative frames too. My Virgo trait.I hope you recover soon. Patricia Osborne

  80. I read the book in this post. I had a hard time getting into it, then it grabbed me and wouldn’t let go, and I finished it this morning and sobbed for the sadness of it. Thank you, I enjoyed the recommendation.

  81. Hi Susan!! I live in Madison, and I enjoy our pretty small town so much!! I’m so happy you visited! I would have happily treated you to lunch. I’ve followed you for quite awhile and love your content! Thanks for sharing your visit to Madison!

  82. My daughter, Melinda, married into a prominent family, the McHughes, in Madison 38 years ago and has lived there since then. rearing a family and is a retired teacher. Through the years we’ve visited many times including Christmas Candlelight Tours, Spring Tours, etc. Highly recommend a visit to Madison!

  83. Susan, After submitting my comment, looking above I see my daughter, Melinda (Mindy’s comment)! We both enjoy your posts!

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