Barnsley Gardens Resort in Adairsville, GA (near Rome) is a little over a 2-hour drive from Birmingham, about an hour northwest of Atlanta and a million miles from the cares of everyday life. The Resort has received dozens of awards and recognitions, including being named by Travel & Leisure Magazine among their 500 World’s Best Hotels.
Unlike other upscale getaways, Barnsley wasn’t originally designed as a resort, but began as the estate of Godfrey Barnsley, who, under the direction of pioneering landscape designer Andrew Jackson Downing, created a magnificent gardens and Italianate mansion for the love of Barnsley’s life, Julia Scarborough of Savannah, Georgia.
The couple wed in 1828 and a little over a decade later – in the early 1840’s – Barnsley bought the 4,000 acres where he would build the perfect home for his beloved Julia. The mansion was still under construction when poor Julia succumbed to a lung ailment. Brokenhearted, Barnsley halted work at the northwest Georgia estate.
In 1846 Barnsley returned to the estate and, while wandering through the formal garden, saw a vision of his wife. Julia urged him to finish the estate for the sake of their children and future generations. Mindful of what he had witnessed, Barnsley restarted construction of the manor house and completed the work sometime in 1848.
The Civil War showed no civility in its treatment of Woodlands and the Barnsley estate, as damages inflicted during the conflict brought the home to an irreparable state. Descendants of Barnsley continued to hold onto the property, but it was finally auctioned in 1942 and left to decay thereafter.
Finally, in 1988 Prince Hubertus Fugger purchased the estate and began revitalizing and expanding the historic gardens, assuring the survival of over 200 varieties of roses. The remains of the manor house were restored and, in 1991, Barnsley Gardens Resort opened to the public as a gardens and museum.
Today Barnsley is its own private world, complete with beautiful guest houses, cottages, manor house, restaurants, shops, golf course and luxury spa. Onsite activities include swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, tennis, horseback riding, clay shooting and more. There’s a fitness center, a museum highlighting Barnley’s history and, of course, spectacular gardens.
The gardens alone bring many visitors to Barnsley. Tours are complimentary for resort guests and $10 per person for day visitors, with seniors paying only $8 and children under 12, $5. Staff gardeners work year-round to keep the entire area beautifully bedecked in seasonal colors and greenery. Included in the heirloom gardens are antique roses and an ever-changing variety of other flowers and foliage.
Another great reason to make Barnsley a day trip destination is the food. Barnsley’s Woodland Grill serves up very impressive breakfasts, lunches and dinners; the Rice House opens for dinner only; and all restaurant guests receive FREE tours of the gardens and museum and use of the hiking trails and lawn games.
How about staying at Barnsley? Is it pricey? Yes. Luxurious? Beyond description. Yet while by no means an economy spot, this upscale resort does offer specials and off-season bargains. For example, right now their “Why Wait Until The Weekend” special begins at $329 a night (per couple) and includes a 1-night weekday stay in a Suite or Arbor Cottage; breakfast for two the following morning; and a $100 activity credit. (Holidays are excluded from this offer.)
The Resort is becoming increasingly popular as a wedding destination since it has every amenity to perfect the ultimate wedding, reception and even honeymoon, plus provides accommodations and activities to keep the family members and wedding guests comfortable and well entertained.
The best bargains are offered during slow season between November and February. Past deals have included FREE weddings, including the cake and reception room; and FREE meeting rooms. Follow Barnsley on Facebook to keep up with the latest offerings. And when you spot a great special, book it – these deals get scooped up in a hurry.
Visit their website, www.BarnsleyResort.com, or phone (877) 773-2447 for more information.