THERE IS SOMETHING a little magical about a getaway to Barnsley Resort. Perhaps it’s the romantic history found among the historic house ruins, the sweet as molasses Southern hospitality or the “Mayberry-esque” grounds that serve as a reminder of simpler times, when neighbors felt more like family and time seemed to crawl at a snail’s pace. Or maybe it’s the great outdoors that beckon at every turn, whether canoeing on the lake, reeling in a whopper, or meandering down wooded trails on horseback. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s one of the few places left that makes you happily hide your cell phone and sink back into an Adirondack chair and relax. Either way, there is something for everyone at this grand Southern estate in Adairsville.
A ROMANTIC PAST
The very heart of Barnsley Resort can be found among the Manor ruins and glorious boxwood gardens created in the 1840s by Godfrey Barnsley in honor of his beloved wife Julia. Modeled after the designs of Andrew Jackson Downing (considered the founder of American landscape architecture) and inspired by the romance of an Italian villa, the new home was meant as a gift for his treasured wife. But with many epic love stories, a happy ending was not meant to be, as Julia passed away before the building was complete. Heartbroken at first, Godfrey ceased construction, but later said he felt her “presence” in the gardens cheering him on to finish the work for him and their children. The manor later survived a Civil War battle, a tornado in 1906, and weathered the depression while slowly crumbling into ruins.
But that is not the end of this love story. In 1988, Prince Hubertus Fugger of Bavaria fell in love with the deteriorating property and helped restore its history and legacy by turning the once family estate into a resort, which now offers a grand inn, cottages, spa, dining and a bounty of recreational activities to enjoy. So, despite the family tragedies and the house nearly being forgotten to the ages, the idyllic manor ruins and restored gardens have become a monument to their love, and now boast more than 200 varieties of roses and a kaleidoscope of irises. Today, Barnsley Resort offers one of the few surviving antebellum gardens in the southern United States and is a true treasure to be savored in North Georgia.
FEELS LIKE HOME
Guests at the Inn at Barnsley Resort will feel as though they are visiting a cherished friend in a grand English country home. The three-story inn was added to the grounds in 2016, along with the Georgian Hall for special events, and was designed to complement the estate’s pedestrian-friendly English-inspired village ambiance, replete with rental cottages, outdoor fire pits, three scrumptious restaurants and a variety of lawn games and activities.
Families can choose a room at the inn or from one of their charming 39, one- to seven-bedroom cottages, for either a romantic getaway, a family sojourn or a fantastical reunion or group celebration. And the special touches will make you feel like you are snuggling at home, whether catching up with a good book in front of a fireplace or soaking in a clawfoot tub or relaxing on your screened-in porch. (See our virtual tour of a one-bedroom cottage on North Georgia Living’sYouTube Channel.)
Barnsley Resort serves up three restaurants, the Rice House, Woodlands Grill and alfresco Beer Garden. For fine dining, take a jaunt to the Rice House, a 19th-century farmhouse that prides itself on its garden-to-table delicacies. Looking more for a warm hug from a friend, then consider the Woodlands Grill, which was recently renovated with an English hunting lodge atmosphere. (And no true Southerner can resist the pimento cheese beignets with red pepper-bacon jam…just delicious.) For a relaxing weekend evening, nothing is finer than grabbing some barbecue or pizza and a local brew at the outdoor Beer Garden. Illuminated by swinging Edison lights and shaded by towering trees, here you can unwind outside and play a game of checkers or tic tac toe while listening to live music and catching up with friends, both new and old. Oh, and did we mention this is a “pet-friendly” resort? So, you may spy the resort’s fluffy cat lazily sleeping under a picnic table as well as a leashed four-legged guest waiting for an errant French fry or sporting a new “tie” from the resort gift shop. Yes, furry babies are not only welcome on grounds but cherished as part of the family.
NEVER-ENDING FAMILY ADVENTURES
There is so much to enjoy on this pristine 3,000-acre wilderness estate, you will feel as though you never want to leave. Book a relaxing afternoon at the boutique spa or a round at the 18-hole Fazio-designed golf course. Bring the pup on miles of hiking and biking trails or explore the environs on horseback. There is also a 10-acre lake for catch-and-release fishing and canoeing. Looking for a little more pop? Check out the seasonal wing shooting, ax throwing and archery along with a 28-station sporting clay course as well as shooting instruction and shotgun fitting at the resort’s Beretta Shooting Grounds. And for hunting enthusiasts, there is a 1,800-acre preserve located just five miles from the resort with quail hunting available seasonably.
While some excursions and activities require reservations and additional cost, included guest amenities are bountiful—evening S’mores kits, firewood bundle, admission to Manor House and Gardens, use of hiking, biking trails, fitness center, playground, lawn games and pool seasonally, as well as complimentary fishing rods, canoes, paddles and life jackets at the resort’s Outpost Experience Center. At the barn, you can book a wonderful horse adventure, like horse painting, popular with young children, and beginner corral rides and horsemanship, or take an introductory class for ax throwing or archery, for those 8 years old and up. If you prefer four wheels instead of four legs, then check out High Adventure UTV Trail Riding experience. Should you ever want to explore outside the resort, you can enjoy a visit to historic downtown Adairsville, Cartersville and Rome, all within a short drive of the resort. Honestly, you could plan an eternal vacation at Barnsley, as just like true love, your quest for adventure will never end.
597 Barnsley Gardens Road
Adairsville, GA 30103