Live Like a Local: Six Great Metro Atlanta Day Trips & Foodie Spots

October 2014

Barnsley Resort Georgia

One thing I loved about my recent ‘live like a local’ girlfriend getaway to Georgia was exploring the many ‘out of the city’ indie shops, restaurants and attractions that have set up shop within a short drive from metro Atlanta. We flew into Atlanta, hopped into a van and spent four days traveling through many of Georgia’s sweet small towns, eating authentic southern food and having tons of girlie fun outside the city limits.

We were lucky enough to have a couple of girl’s getaway experts from ExploreGeorgia on this trip to help us find some fun foodie spots and day trip locations. They have kindly shared with us their secret favorite hangouts all within a short drive of the city. These would be great additions for any short day trips on your next Georgia girlfriend getaway.

1. Stop for Snacks in Sandy Springs Georgia

We started our trip with a quick stop in Sandy Springs, one of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, to stock up on yummies to help sustain us on our journey to Rosewell where we would spend our first night, a long, long half hour away!

Susansnaps – Ginger Snaps gone gourmet. These are perfect for a car trip, or for an evening snack in a hotel room, or before ordering food in a restaurant or for any time at all!

We loved the story behind the founding of this company. It is: a labor of love, a family business, a support for cancer survivors, and a mom and daughter success story. Laura, the founder of Susuansnaps, had both her husband and daughter diagnosed with cancer in 2003. She baked gingersnap cookies to ease their nausea during chemotherapy treatments, and after their recovery she went on to open Susansnaps with her daughter. The store sells a variety of delicious snaps and donates a portion of the proceeds to cancer research.

Atlanta Day Trips - CalyRoad CreameryCalyRoad Creamery – Next door to Susansnaps we met Robin Schick, owner of CalyRoad Creamery, and we sampled quite a few of the store’s delicious artsian cheese. Our favorite? The beer washed rind cheese, my oh my! This was another wonderful woman owned business we were delighted to discover in Sandy Springs.

2. Next Up: A Southern Home Tour, Shopping and Fantastic Food in Roswell Georgia

Roswell is a great spot for a day trip out of Atlanta, located an easy half hour drive north of the city and the town is bursting with tons of fun girl getaway activities.

We adored the historic homes in Roswell, boutique shopping on Canton Street and checking out Georgia’s new hot spot for fantastic new restaurants.

Historic Attractions

You can easily tour several of Roswell’s lovely southern homes in an afternoon with the “Southern Trilogy” pass purchased from the Roswell Visitor’s Center or at any of the three homes.

Our favorite historic property in Roswell was Bulloch Hall. This gorgeous antebellum gem was the family home of Mittie Bulloch; mother of US President Theodore Roosevelt and paternal grandmother of Eleanor Roosevelt. Touring the house gives you a sense of how the wealthy upper class lived in the South before the Civil War, and the attached research center gave us an accurate and realistic depiction of the role of slaves during the history of the property.

Where to Eat in Roswell

During your tour of homes, we recommend you stop into the Mill Kitchen and Bar, located next to Bolloch Hall, and snack on a few deviled eggs with candied bacon. I don’t normally eat deviled eggs but I couldn’t eat enough of these yummy concoctions.

Table and Main Restaurant Table and Main Restaurant – Nestled in a cute little house in downtown historic Roswell, you will find a wonderful Southern bourbon bar and restaurant called Table & Main. I ordered the southern fried chicken, it was real fried chicken, the kind my grandma would have made if she lived in the south, bless her heart. It was, hands down, the best I’ve experienced in a very long time. Beautifully presented with a side of broad beans the chicken, fried to a perfect golden brown, was to die for. It was honestly. That. Good. My serving was large and there came a sad point where I had to concede defeat, as hard as I tried, I could not finish, not even close. If you are a glutton for punishment, order the chicken with a side of fried green tomatoes and you will be in southern fried heaven.

Shopping on Canton Street

Railford Gallery, Roswell GARaiford Gallery – We decided Raiford Gallery was divine during our tour of fab shops on Canton Street. Owner Judie Raiford has been a jeweler since 1970 and uses traditional metalsmith techniques in creating her one-of-a-kind designs. Judie also carries a wonderful selection of carefully curated items from over 400 great Southern artists all available for purchase in the gallery. This store is the ideal place to pick up a great gift for someone special or for your own very special self!


3. Hummingbird Cake and Antiques in Adairsville

If you love antiques you will love Adairsville! We stopped into Maggie Mae’s Tea Room and I discovered they offer up plenty of the two things I love to do while on the road: Antiquing and Eating.

It was hard to tear myself away from the great finds to sit down for lunch but I was glad I did, especially when I sampled a piece of Hummingbird Cake. This old southern cake was divine, surprising because you’d think a combination of banana, pineapple and cream cheese icing wouldn’t really work. But it does, I ate every single calorie laden crumb on my plate. Click here for the recipe and try it out for yourself!

Barnsley Resort

Five miles outside of Adairsville we stopped for a tour of the luxurious Barnsley Resort. See Jan Ross’s review of her visit to the resort last year. We explored the resort, taking a peek into a few of spacious guest cottages and I made a mental note to myself. This place was a definite ‘must-visit’ again destination for, with me staying over next time!

Our favorite spot at the resort was the beautiful ruins of the Old Woodland Estate, a fairytale idyll originally built by Godfrey Barnsley for the love of his life – his wife Julia.

Rome Georgia Clock Tower4. When in Rome Georgia, Roam Around Town!

Located an easy hour’s drive from the city, Rome Georgia is an ideal spot for an active day trip from Atlanta. Bring your bike or if you’re staying at the downtown Hawthorne Inn, take out one of the hotel’s bikes provided free of charge to all guests.

Rome has tons of bike trails; and the picture perfect Berry College, with it’s many historic buildings, is always a favorite spot to bike in the city. If you want to spend some time on the water, try kayaking or river tubing. Rentals are available at Cedar Creek Park, a 15 minute drive from Rome.

Rome is famous for its cool old clock tower and if you’re a scenic view junkie you can actually climb up the tower, which is located on one of Rome’s Georgia’s ‘famous’ seven hills. The Rome History Museum hosts the free tour, which includes climbing the 107 steps to the “top of the clock”.

The Clock Tower tour is held on the 1st Saturday of the month, from March to November, 12 noon until 1:15pm. The climb is worth the effort, you get a great birds eye view of Rome’s two rivers, the Etowah River and the Oostanaula River joining together to form the Coosa River as well as a panorama of downtown Rome. It’s also the perfect place to take an up close and personal shot of the Clock!

While in Rome, One Must Eat!

After an afternoon of biking or kayaking, you’ve worked up an appetite and after burning those calories you deserve a treat! Grab the girls and head over to the very popular Harvest Moon Café for some fantastic southern food. You must order the sweet potato chips and the glorious Gorgonzola and bacon dip. The dip is the perfect blend of creamy, savory ‘n sweet. We inhaled this sucker and asked for more please! Best bets for an entrée: Shrimp and Grits or the Red Headed Stranger Burger.

While in Rome, Stay at…

We stayed at the lovely Hawthorne Suites in downtown Rome. What we loved about the hotel:

  • the well equipped bike rentals available to hotel guests.
  • the beautiful restoration done on what was previously a 109 year old warehouse. We were given a tour of many of the available rooms, not one was like the other, forget cookie cutter rooms here. The suites are huge and so pretty, a big bonus -all come with a little kitchenette.
  • A must visit is the sweet little boutique in the lobby, chock full of unique items from local artists.

Cowgirls at the Boone Western Art Museum5. Getting our Cowgirl Fix in Cartersville Georgia

Who hasn’t dreamed of growing up to be a cowgirl? Get your cowgirl and western art fix at the Boone Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, it is well worth the hour drive from Atlanta. This enormous museum houses the largest permanent space for Western American art in the country and it would be easy to spend the entire day looking the many art forms of all things western.

6. Coke, and a Taste of Louisiana in Acworth

Who knew a Coca Cola sign could be such a big attraction but we were immediately drawn to it during our quick lunch stop in Acworth Georgia. Maybe the attraction is the beautifully restored 1920’s sign displayed on the side of an old downtown brick building or perhaps it’s the very lovely antique cars parked next to the sign. It all made for a great photo op and I wasn’t the only one snapping pics, many cameras and phones were evident during my short visit to this cute little town.

Large Coca-Cola sign Acworth Georgia

A meal at Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth alone is worth the 30-minute drive up the I-75 north from Atlanta Georgia. This restaurant has serious Cajun cred., Chef Henry Chandler’s love of authentic Cajun cooking came from spending time in the kitchen with his Nanny Castelle in rural Louisiana. After honing his culinary skills in London England, Henry set up shop in Acworth, making fine food and fast friends in Georgia. Henry’s legendary southern hospitality means you are pretty much guaranteed a chef visit while enjoying your grits, all part and parcel of the fun and good times found in this sweet spot in Acworth.

Best bets for an entrée: oh so hard to choose! We recommend the Louisianna Ooh La La. Chef Henry describes his signature dish as “sex on a plate”. Ooh la, la! Made with shrimp, oysters, or crawfish, flash fried and tossed with tasso, spinach and roasted garlic in Henry’s Cajun Cream Sauce, this most delicious combo is then spooned over angel hair pasta. After tasting, and maybe licking my plate clean, I can see why it won the ABC’s Nightline People’s Platelist contest in 2010. BUT make sure you also try the hush puppies, and the po’ boys and… everything on the menu☺

We hope you have as much fun as we did traveling around the outskirts of Atlanta and exploring the many ‘off the beaten path’ attractions that make Georgia such an awesome place to visit!

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