(CNN) -- Just as its namesake is a gem of ancient history, so Athens, Georgia is the quintessential college town, with charming streets, classic collegiate eateries, and a music scene of almost mythical proportions.
Athens was named for its Greek counterpart, as a center of learning. The town has grown up alongside the University of Georgia, a sprawling campus of white columns and red brick, traversed by almost 30,000 backpack-toting students a year.
Chartered in 1785, UGA was the nation's first state university. Its founders chose this bucolic site, about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta, to keep budding minds isolated from the temptations of urban life. Since the university was established in 1801, the town has developed plenty of its own distractions from intellectual pursuits.