Tourists flock to Plains to honor Jimmy Carter as he continues hospice care at home

PLAINS, Ga. — Jimmy Carter’s hometown is seeing a surge in visitors a week after the Carter Center announced the former president would enter home hospice care.

Plains, Georgia only has a population of about 780 people, but its Main Street is bustling because more and more visitors are arriving every day.

Some of those visitors include Randy Mickelson and his wife from Minneapolis.

They are heading to Florida and left early to avoid a snowstorm impacting parts of Minnesota.

“I convinced my wife. You know, we left Minneapolis two days early so we had a lot of time to kill,” Mickelson said.

The couple told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that they had stopped in Cordele when Randy realized how close they were to Plains, a place he last visited more than 40 years ago.


“I can’t be this close and not come over. So we stopped over. I kind of remember this downtown and the Billy Beer. There’s empty cans they’re selling now, but back then it still had beer in it,” Mickelson said.

“I think it’s really cool. It’s interesting,” said Tori Smith, a student at Southeast Regional Technical College in Coquitt.

Michelle Weitzel is her social studies teacher and thought now would be a good time to bring her student over to learn about Plains and former President Carter.

“We’ve been studying presidencies, and because of Jimmy Carter being so close to home, we thought it appropriate to come down,” Weitzel said.

Some residents of Plains told Elliot that this past week has really given them time to prepare and to tell visitors and reporters about the former president and his legacy.