Georgia's Historic Towns
Take a Charming Tour of the Past
LEFT TO RIGHT: The county courthouse is one of the many sites near Warm Springs; Madison offers unique places to shop; historic homes line the streets of Madison, Ga.
BACK IN TIME
DahlonegaSituated in the rustic Appalachian foothills, Dahlonega gave America its first gold rush in 1828. Today, visitors can learn more about that gold rush at the Dahlonega Gold Museum housed in the state's oldest surviving courthouse. While on the town's historic square, visitors can grab a treat at the Picnic Café and Dessertery inside the century-old Price Building or do a little shopping at Parks Clothing Store, a local shopping staple since the late 1940s. After dinner at the Historic Smith House Inn, which was built in 1898 atop a rich vein of gold, visitors can take in the award-winning Mountain Music & Medicine radio show at the Holly Theatre or drop into the Crimson Moon Café to check out one of the great singer-songwriters that play there several nights a week. (706-864-3513 or visit www.dahlonega.org)
MonroeNestled right between Atlanta and Athens, Monroe was the birthplace and home of four Georgia governors, earning it the nickname "the City of Governors."
Visitors can tour the McDaniel-Tichenor House, a stunning example of the region's Italinate and Neoclassical architecture styles. Monroe also enjoys a reputation as the cradle of the cultural arts in the Georgia midlands. The Monroe Art Guild hosts frequent events, including an upcoming exhibit of glass art this November. On the nights of Dec. 8, 15 and 22, enjoy Candlelight Shopping in the charming shops of downtown Monroe's historic town square. When you're done, drop into the Sweet Shoppe & Soda Stop for an old-fashioned soda fountain experience or wind down with a great Greek dinner at Zoe's Café and Bakery. (770-267-6594 or visit www.waltonchamber.org)
WAR AND PEACE
JesupJesup, Georgia, features prominently in the state's colonial history. Once the only path between Georgia's interior and its coastal regions, the area around Jesup was fought over by the English, Spanish and natives before once again becoming a central battleground in the Civil War. Visitors to Jesup can tour historic ruins, shop in the town's revitalized downtown shopping district and attend Arch Fest, an annual festival featuring arts and crafts, live music, kids' activities and a BBQ cookoff. In December, a reenactment of the Battle for the Doctortown Railroad Trestle, a prominent battle during Sherman's March to the Sea, features weapons demonstrations and a funeral for long-lost Confederate soldiers. Later that month the town's streets turn into a charming Christmas village with music, merriment, the Santa House and shopping in antique shops, fine clothing stores and unique Southern gift emporiums. (912-427-2028 or visit www.jesupga.gov)
Warm SpringsSteeped in Southern charm, the warmth of this town's citizens did as much to win the heart of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as its natural warm springs, which he sought for treatment of his crippling polio. Visitors can tour the "Little White House," the six-room cottage believed to be the birthplace of the New Deal. FDR died here on April 12, 1945.
Today, guests to Warm Springs can visit a touch pool to feel the waters, which remain at a constant 88 degrees year-round. The area is also home to Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge, Georgia's longest remaining wooden bridge. On Nov. 18 and 19, the 60 specialty stores housed in the 100-year-old buildings lining the town square stay open until 10 p.m. during the Candlelight Tour Festival. Runners can participate in the Candlelight Tour 5K Run, which winds through a holiday-lit downtown. (706-655-2558 or visit www.warmspringsga.com)
MadisonKnown as "the city Sherman refused to burn" because the general refused to put a match to the home of pro-Union Georgia Senator Joshua Hill, Madison boasts more original examples of antebellum architecture than any other Georgia city.
Autumn in Madison brings local farm tours, pumpkin patches and fall festivals. The holiday season kicks off with Christmas in the Country from Nov. 18-20 and an old-fashioned Christmas parade on Nov. 29. Plan a romantic getaway at one of the town's many B&Bs and enjoy shopping for fine art and antiques, relaxing in one of three local spas, and soaking up this beautiful town's magnificent history. Made-from-scratch vittles at Ye Olde Colonial Restaurant will satisfy your hankering for authentic Southern cuisine, but if you're looking for something more upscale, locals swear by the Ice House and Town 220, all located on the town square. (706-342-4454 or visit www.madisonga.org)
This South Georgia town has more than 70 unique historical sites, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. From antebellum homes to the historic church where Jackie Kennedy attended mass during her six-week retreat following her husband's death, Thomasville holds a wealth of Georgia history. Stay in one of its maqny charming B&Bs and enjoy shopping in its historic district, where you can find everything from antiques and high-end fashion to hunting gear. Thomasville offers something for everyone with unique attractions including the Big Oak, a 326-year-old oak tree; historic cemeteries; and the unusual Lapham- Patterson house, which has no rectangular or square rooms. The Deep South Fair comes to town Oct. 4-7, and visitors can enjoy the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival Nov. 19 and 20. (229-228-7977 or visit www.thomasvillega.com).
Special Focus: Traveling in Georgia
Plan your visit to these charming destinations and experience what makes Georgia so unforgettable.
Visit Lawrenceville, where you will experience a destination set in the history and heritage of one of metro Atlanta’s oldest cities. History lovers won’t want to miss the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse grounds, art galleries and Veterans War Museum. Other must-sees include the Historic Female Seminary and Gwinnett History Museum, as well as the Historic Lawrenceville Cemetery. Discover the true stories of Lawrenceville’s past along its self-guided history walk, which includes everything from a World Heavyweight Champion to tipsy mules. To add live storytelling and haunts to your history, dare to join a creation of the Aurora Theatre—the now very popular Lawrenceville Ghost Tours—for bizarre and spooky tales from the city’s quiet streets and alleys.
Lawrenceville’s storybook appearance is just the book’s cover to an incredible community of families and fun that create Lawrenceville’s wealth of character. Add civic and annual events to the mix, and the 190-year-old town remains a vibrant commercial and cultural hub with a strong, hometown business core. A main stage for both Georgia and the Southeast, the city—already rich with history and small-town hospitality—has generations of residents and newcomers working to maintain, revitalize and share its unique sense of place. To plan your visit, call 678-226-2639 or visit www.visit-lawrenceville.com.
A small but growing city, Adairsville was founded in 1836 as a railroad town. Though trains stopped rolling through in the mid-1900s, the city has retained much of its railroad town personality. The 1847 depot building—downtown’s centerpiece—features an expansive mural of the Great Locomotive Chase and houses a welcome center and museum celebrating the town’s history. Visitors can also wander through Public Square, which features restaurants, antique shops and a bakery, all housed in elegantly restored turn-of-the-century buildings.
A historic town nestled in some of the nation’s most beautiful scenery, Adairsville is characterized by easy-going spirits and friendly conversation. It’s easily accessible from metro Atlanta; halfway between Atlanta and Chattanooga, the town is easily reachable via major interstates and state roads. For more information, call 770-773-1775.
Escape to an elegant era where you can relax in the serenity of a bygone time. Located 30 minutes north of the Florida border and with easy access via three major highways, Thomasville enjoys a climate of refreshing falls; short, mild winters; and glorious springs. Come experience a piece of Georgia paradise where the air is clean, the people are friendly and traffic jams are unheard of.
Thomasville’s historic downtown is a shopper’s dream come true, offering dozens of charming retail shops, antiques, art galleries and restaurants. Set apart from many tourist destinations because of its award-winning downtown and attention to historic preservation, Thomasville is truly worth the trip! Plan your visit now and enjoy the fall, festivals and more. For more information, call 866-577-3600 or visit www.thomasvillega.com.