Georgia’s Historic Inns & Hotels
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| Winter 2023

Georgia’s Historic Inns & Hotels

Discover Southern Charm and Luxurious Accommodations

By Tony Jenkins

Learning about Georgia’s history can be a relaxing and even romantic

adventure. There are many hotels and inns throughout Georgia where history, luxury and Southern charm intersect. Encompassing both grandeur and quaint, elegant charm, here are just a few of Georgia’s historic hospitality venues.

The 1842 Inn

A quaint bed and breakfast in Macon, the 1842 Inn was a home built by the city’s former mayor, John Gresham, in, well, you can guess the year. There are 19 guest rooms found within the main, Greek Revival-style antebellum house and the adjoining Victorian cottage, as well as four hospitality parlors. Antique paintings, oriental carpets, heart pine flooring and 12- foot ceilings accentuate each room, and many include fireplaces and whirlpools. To bolster the relaxing and romantic vibe, there’s a 17-columned wrap-around veranda where you can sip on iced tea (or other beverages) while overlooking the courtyard. 1842inn.com

The Fitzpatrick Hotel

After a fire decimated much of Washington, Georgia’s public square in 1895, brothers J.H. and T.M. Fitzpatrick returned to the city, between Athens and Augusta, and began construction on what would become The Fitzpatrick Hotel. After opening in 1898, the historic hotel went through several ownership and name changes and was eventually closed in 1952. More than 50 years later, after the hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places, The Fitzpatrick was restored and reopened. By using old photos and original memorabilia and purchasing period antiques, the new owners retained the hotel’s original Victorian grandeur and charm, while including modern-day conveniences like HDTVs and Wi- Fi access. thefitzpatrickhotel.com

The Gastonian

What’s better than one mansion? Two adjacent Regency-Italianate mansions have been turned into a four-diamond award-winning bed and breakfast in a charming residential area of Savannah. The two mansions that now make up The Gastonian were built in 1868 and exemplify the Southern charm one would expect from a history-laden city like Savannah. From the grand décor and period antiques to the fireplaces and tranquil gardens, The Gastonian was recognized by Conde Nast Traveler magazine as one of the finest places to stay in the world. It’s a great location, too: The Gastonian is in the Savannah historic district within walking distance of Forsyth Park, Colonial Park Cemetery and several of the city squares. gastonian.com

Barnsley Resort

Located on about 3,000 acres in Adairsville, Barnsley Resort offers luxury accommodations in the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills. Completed in 1848, it was built first as a manor by Godfrey Barnsley in honor of his wife Julia, who unfortunately died before it was finished. According to the hotel’s website, the home and its gardens were inspired by landscape designer Andrew Jackson Downing, a promoter of Italianate and gothic revival architecture. Starting in 1942, the property changed ownership twice before being sold in 1988 to a Bavarian prince, who revived and expanded the historic gardens, which three years later were opened to the public as a museum and garden. In 1999 Barnsley Resort opened, and today it includes guest cottages, a golf course and a spa and offers outdoor activities including horseback riding, sporting clays and hiking. In 2018 it opened a traditional inn building to give guests another lodging option. barnsleyresort.com

The Georgian Terrace

Opening for business in 1911, The Georgian Terrace is located in Midtown directly across from another Atlanta landmark, the Fox Theatre. The elegant hotel has hosted an impressive guest list over the years, including Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Walt Disney and Charles Lindbergh. In 1939, the Terrace hosted the premiere gala for the movie “Gone With The Wind,” and stars like Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh were right at home amid the turreted corners, floor-to-ceiling windows, gorgeous chandeliers and wraparound verandas. In the 1970s, the hotel played host to musical acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Kiss and Billy Joel in its Electric Ballroom. After avoiding demolition in the 1980s by being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, there was a brief stint as an apartment building. In the early 1990s, The Georgian Terrace reopened as a luxury hotel. Now billed as “Where Atlanta’s Thriving Culture Begins,” the Southern charm remains, but is complemented by modern features, including award-wining fine dining at the Livingston Restaurant & Bar. thegeorgianterrace.com

Jekyll Island Club Hotel

People like J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer and William K. Vanderbilt played roles in the history of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, which was founded in 1886 as a private club that included members from some of the world’s wealthiest families. Designated a historic landmark in 1978 and reopened as a resort hotel in 1985, it is now one of the top resorts in Georgia. In addition to a history tour, the hotel includes six restaurants, a pub, a swimming pool and a nearby private beach club, among other amenities. The location, on one of the state’s four coastal barrier islands, provides a lush and unspoiled backdrop for the elegance and Victorian charm you’ll find at every turn. Even if you don’t stay the night, it’s worth a visit for the architecture alone. jekyllclub.com

The Piedmont Hotel

When it opened in 1876, The Piedmont Hotel in Gainesville was a three-story, 36-room, U-shaped structure owned and operated by Confederate Gen. James Longstreet. Throughout the years, Longstreet hosted several high-profile guests, including Gens. Joseph Johnston and Daniel Sickles, writer Joel Chandler Harris and President Woodrow Wilson, whose daughter, Jessie, was born on the ground floor of the hotel. Today, it’s the only floor of the hotel that remains, after a last-minute decision saved it from being demolished with the rest of the hotel in 1918. However, it has been renovated and is headquarters of The Longstreet Society, open Tuesday through Saturday. Visitors can learn about the hotel’s history, including visits by a past president and the ghost that occupies the remaining structure. longstreetsociety.org

The Marshall House

Opening in Savannah 1851, The Marshall House is one of the city’s oldest hotels, exuding Southern charm and history. According to its website, the hotel was founded by businesswoman Mary Marshall, who saw the need for accommodations and housing during the railroad boom of the 1840s and ’50s, when Savannah doubled in size. The hotel, which has also served as an apartment building over the years, was at one time the home to the aforementioned Harris. The Marshall House was closed in 1957, with the second through fifth floors abandoned but the first one kept open for shops until 1998. A year later, it was carefully restored as a hotel. Today it has 65 rooms and three suites and features the building’s original floors and doors and has tall ceilings and unusual architecture. Since reopening as a hotel, The Marshall House has earned a bevy of awards. Believed to be haunted, it was named the No. 2 Best Haunted Hotel by USA Today in 2021. marshallhouse.com.

 

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