Michael Wolff. Photo credit Sky Lawson
Michael Wolff. Photo credit Sky Lawson

Entrepreneur highlights Augusta’s ‘magic’ on tours

Perhaps it’s the influence of a personal hero or maybe it’s simply his love of Augusta that gives Michael Wolff his perspective when it comes to the town he calls home.

“I like to highlight the magic of Augusta,” said Wolff, who operates Augusta Adventure Tours.

A longtime fan of Walt Disney, who has been quoted as saying “there’s no magic in magic; it’s all in the details,” Wolff majors on the minors that make the city unique when he does his tours.

“I love the hidden history; the hidden details in plain sight,” he said.

Wolff first moved to Augusta in the early 1980s when his father came to the Medical College of Georgia. Wolff bristled at the greetings he received. “Welcome to Disgusta” was quickly followed with “there’s nothing to do here.”

“That always haunted me,” said Wolff, who believes neither of those statements are valid and has set out to prove it.

Michael Wolff of Augusta Adventure Tours. Photo credit Sky Lawson

Life took him away from Augusta for a few years, but he returned as part of the Disney Store in the early 1990s. He planted himself in the Garden City and dove into what he sees as the city’s rich history and culture.

The avid Disney fan wants to spread his own brand of pixie dust around Augusta and show people the magic that is in their own backyards because he still hears that  lament of there’s nothing to do in Augusta.

Wolff has given tours in the city off and on for many years. He did trolley tours at one time. COVID quashed his efforts for a while, but he’s back and giving them year-round. He’s even ramping up new ideas.

“I want to reach hometown tourists,” he said. “Just because you live in an area doesn’t mean you know it.”

 And through the questions he’s asked people on tours, he’s learned that many Augustans simply don’t know all there is to do in their own city leading them to reason “there’s nothing to do.”

He offers different types of tours. Inspired by Janis Parks’ book Gravely Mistaken, which highlights the graverobbing led by the Medical College of Georgia in the 19th century, Wolff created his haunted jaunt through the streets of Augusta.

It’s the tour he’s most associated with. People often only peg this as a Halloween happening, but that’s not the case. He’s offering it year-round, even in the dead of winter.

Most of his tours are during the evening hours, but he’s working on a daytime tour and one that incorporates food into it as well.

Michael Wolff on a recent tour. Photo credit Elliot Sturman

 He’s just been tapped as the “official tour guide” for a new public art walking tour with the Greater Augusta Arts Council. The first one will be Feb. 11 and highlights the sculptures and murals in downtown Augusta leading to an indoor mural experience by Baruti Tucker at Humanitree House. Get tickets here.

As if Wolff doesn’t have enough on his tour guide plate, he’s working on a book to augment anyone’s Augusta adventures. The book will serve as a passport to the city, and he hopes it will spark people to become that hometown tourist who can promote their city. He hopes for a spring book release.

And for those who take a tour with Wolff, don’t be surprised if he uncovers a Disney Easter egg hidden in plain view.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for more than 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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