Nestled in the back roads of Bartow County is the stunning, picturesque Barnsley Resort.
Stepping onto the resort property was like entering a fairy tale world…and in north Georgia, who knew? Your stress melts away in the spa. Each meal is perfectly paired with its wine companion. The entire resort drips in Southern charm. Before I talk about my perfect girls’ getaway at Barnsley Resort, I’d like to give y’all a bit of history about the resort.
Barnsley Resort’s namesake, Godfrey Barnsley, was a wealthy Englishman who came to Georgia to work in the cotton industry. Barnsley purchased the land, some 4,000 acres that once belonged to Cherokee Indians, in the 1840s. He dreamed of building an estate to please the love of his life, Julia, but she died young and did not get to see his hard work. Barnsley devoted the rest of his life to creating the perfect estate and gardens to honor Julia. Barnsley’s later generations kept the estate up and running until the 1940s. It became Barnsley Gardens Resort in 1991, after being purchased and restored by a Bavarian prince.
Now, Barnsley Resort is a destination for hundreds of families in the region. Needless to say, it was the perfect place for a girls’ weekend with a wonderful group of Atlanta-area bloggers. I was fortunate to experience the beauty and charm of the resort with the #BRGirlsGetaway gals, and did we have a fantastic time.
The girls’ getaway kicked off with an incredible lunch at the Woodlands Grill. When we sat down, we had cheese and charcuterie plates waiting for us, on top of ordering our entrees. And, on top of that, they treated us to small plates of their other appetizers, including fried green tomatoes, shrimp, foraged mushroom flatbread and more. I hardly had any room for my (enormous) Woodlands Burger after munching on cheese and treats.
After lunch and a short tour of the resort property, half of the group headed to the spa, while my group hopped on horseback for a trail ride through the meadows surrounding Barnsley. That was my first time on a horse in at least 10 years, and I think I handled it pretty well! I didn’t fall off, so that’s a step in the right direction.
Another highlight of the day was my hour-long “Inner Peace” spa treatment. Talk about relaxation! My specialist dry-brushed all my dead skin away, treated me with anti-inflammatory ginger oil, gave a foot massage and finished off with a face treatment with Thai herb balls. I didn’t fall asleep, but I came mighty close. That was definitely the most relaxed I’ve felt in a long time. The other ladies spoke highly of their detox treatments, full massages and facials, too.
Before the evening’s activities, I had a chance to explore my romantic guest room. Barnsley Resort offers 90 guest rooms and suites, each inspired by 19th-century European village cottages. Each guest room is decorated differently, making each one uniquely luxurious. Adding to the European flair was a plate of orange-cranberry scones, apple cider butter and crabapple jam waiting for me as I walked in the door. Had I been whisked back to England? I’ll never say no to scones and jam, even if I know a wonderful dinner is fast approaching.
Dinner at the Manor Ruins was magical. We were welcomed with small appetizers–mini lobster rolls and deviled eggs–and met the resident historian and storyteller, Clent Coker. He shared a history of the resort and told a few treasured stories before we sat down for a five-course dinner prepared by executive sous chef Roberto Guzman. But not only did we enjoy an amazing meal: each course was paired with a wine by Barnsley’s “wine snob” Greg Teague (seriously, “wine snob” is his actual job title). I’m usually not a red wine person, but the Corte Alla Flora paired wonderfully with the braised duck appetizer. I absolutely loved my bison ribeye entree, and I could have eaten three helpings of the chai creme brulee.
And all of that was just in one day! I didn’t get to stick around for day 2 of shooting clays and more delicious food, but I know I’ll be back again. There’s so much more to Barnsley Resort than can be experienced in one day alone. Chattanooga isn’t but an hour away.
Want to see more from the #BRGirlsGetaway adventures? Check it out on Twitter and Instagram!
Kate Robertson is a features writer for Pretty Southern and a Virginia Tech alumna. She also holds an M.A. in Interactive Media from Elon University.
Born in North Carolina and raised in Georgia, Kate hopes to further her career as a social media maven and kick-ass writer in the lovely southeast.