Enter a majestic land unveiling spectacular gardens, trails and historic charm at the quaint Barnsley Resort in Northern Georgia. The enticing escape boasts of 3,000 acres of land, offering a range of outdoor activities including horseback riding, fly-fishing, clay shooting and more. The resort, located in foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains 60 miles north of Atlanta, enchants visitors with its Southern hospitality and leisurely pace.
The Barnsley Resort is built upon a story of love, hardship and vision. Godfrey Barnsley, a wealthy businessman purchased the land in the 1840s and wanted to build an Italian style mansion for his wife Julia. From the outdoor gardens to the underground plumbing, Barnsley tended to every detail of the construction. He imported tiles, doors and paneling from London and marble from Italy and plants from around the world. He brought every variety of roses and had modern conveniences as hot and cold running water and a cooking spit to roast meat, The momentum came to a tragic end after his love died from illness. The motivation for Barnsley to complete the construction came to an abrupt halt until he had a vision of Julia telling him to finish building for the family. It later succumbed to post war perils and was engulfed in a thicket of vines and trees.
In 1988, Prince Hubertus Fugger and his wife Princess Alexandra from Bavaria, discovered the fortress and worked diligently to rebuild what was destroyed and preserve any remnants. Today the village-style resort offers stunning cottages, which offer a blend of modern country luxury and antique charm.
Within a three-hour drive from Nashville, visitors enter a land of tranquility. The cottages reflect Italian gothic and American Victorian styles with cozy and spacious interiors. I stayed in a quaint three-bedroom unit, which featured an antique claw tub in the upstairs bathroom. The covered front porch offers scenic views of green landscape and neighboring villas, which I enjoyed with my morning cup of coffee. Walking trails connect the units to restaurants, the museum and more. Staff are readily available for rides in golf carts as well.
For an outdoor activity, I took a horseback ride through the winding woods and steep hills. Skilled guides were in front of and behind me, which was helpful as we ascended and descended the heights.
After a ride in the woods, I toured the 19th century Manor House Ruins, which tell the story of Barnsley and his family. From the kitchen to the cellar, each room is filled with historic artifacts telling the tales of love and hardship. The ruins of the mansion, adjacent to the museum, stand boldly against the beautiful gardens. The night I was there, attendants were preparing for a reception. Strings of outdoor lights illuminated the rustic stone walls with a chandelier at the entrance. Floral centerpieces brightened the white linen tables and a classic white sofa against the old gray wall was a picturesque view.
Horticulturalists will delight in the gardens throughout the property, from begonias to bamboo to ivy. A replica of the original Italian fountain imported from India, sits in the parterre garden in front of the ruins. There is a bamboo garden where proposals often occur.
For some deep therapy, take advantage of the Spa at Barnsley Resort and nourish the soul. The Signature Relax and Refresh body treatment releases stress and quiets the mind as an expert masseuse uses the exclusive Barnsley lavender-mint oil.
For a nighttime activity, enjoy fellowship with friends and family around one of the firepits located throughout the property. It is effortless as attendants take care of everything from lighting the fire to bringing more marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. The main guesthouse provides all of the complimentary fixings. There are corn toss and botchy ball stations near some of the pits.
Barnsley Resort has three restaurants, the Rice House offering fine dining, the Woodlands Grill, which is more casual and the outdoor Beer Garden.
I headed to the Rice House for an elegant Southern style meal. I felt pampered throughout the evening, as assiduous staff would replace each china dish after each course. The food was remarkable, starting with the succulent flavors in the rabbit gumbo and delicate texture of the crab cakes. For the entrée, the trout was spectacular, offering a rich blend of flavor. Chefs utilize the gardens onsite to prepare fresh daily specials.
The Barnsley Resort is perhaps one of the bestkept secrets of Georgia, where guests are made to feel at home from the moment they drive up the stone gravel road. It’s a haven for play and rest, where all ages and dogs are welcomed. Coming soon is the Inn at Barnsley Resort which will offer 55 guest rooms and suites as well as the Georgian Hall for meetings and special events. Both are anticipated to open in early 2018.
For more information:
Address: 597 Barnsley Gardens Rd, Adairsville, GA 30103
Phone: (770) 773-7480