There is something intriguing about a honeymoon destination that began with a love story from another century - a place where ancient brick walls of the Manor House Ruins echo whispers of promises made and promises kept. Steps from the ruins, squeeze through the maze of the historic English gardens and listen to the rhythmic drops from the fountain…setting the mood for your first days as Mr. and Mrs. You will experience a timeless moment of beauty where you can plan your future or revel in the moment. With careful attention to detail, past love stories are carefully preserved on brown pages, and new ones are celebrated with exquisite facilities, upscale lodging options, and amenities.
It was the fascinating history that first drew my husband and me to Barnsley Resort. The story begins in the 1840s when owner Godfrey Barnsley started building the Italianate mansion for his beloved wife, Julia. Resident historian and museum curator, Clent Coker, can fill you in on the “rest of the Barnsley story” including fulfilling night dreams. A century later a Prince steps in to save the day! Set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains 60 miles north of Atlanta, in Adairsville, Barnsley Resort sets itself apart as an outdoor playground for adventure situated among 3,000 acres.
The English-inspired, pedestrian village makes you second guess if you are actually in Georgia. Barnsley Resort comprises 150 guest rooms and suites spread out among 37 free-standing, individually romantic cottages and the Inn at Barnsley Resort—the most recent lodging addition. The six Arbor Cottages are a favorite for newlyweds. These free-standing cottages are private, and include a spacious bedroom with an en-suite complete with a large clawfoot tub. The living room has comfortable seating for watching dancing flames from a wood-burning fireplace during the months from October – March. Ask for the secluded Wilderness Arbor Cottage or Arbor Cottage number 1775.
Along the Village Green, I fully expected to see Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes (characters from Downton Abby) walking to their Arbor Cottage. Show your competitive spirit with an old-fashioned game of croquet and a variety of lawn games on the Village Green. Enjoy the fire pits and ask for complimentary Smores’ kits to enhance your romantic “nightlife” experience.
The Inn at Barnsley Resort debuted in March 2018, and features stained and hand-scraped hardwood floors, exposed beams, and scattered area rugs. The Living Room is adjacent to the registration area with chairs that are difficult to abandon. Inspired by the style and scale of works by noted British architect Edwin Lutyes, the atmosphere is like staying at a fine country estate. The Executive Suite is the noted honeymoon haven of the Inn. The expansive 800 square feet of space is pure luxury. The bedroom with a king-sized bed and living room, are complimented by the 55-inch LED televisions. Two fire pits are located adjacent to the Inn as well.
For exceptional dining, experience Woodlands Grill with all the charm and décor of a country house hunting lodge complete with roaring fires and golf course views. The food can be best described as upscale Southern and American fare. The Southern Grilled Scottish Salmon was outstanding for dinner, and Hoppin’ John stew was our favorite at lunch. You must try the restaurant’s Cathead Biscuit. How Southern is that? This huge biscuit is more than enough breakfast to fuel the day! The Rice House is located in a historic house and is known for their delicious gourmet dishes. Find your special spot on the property and ask for a picnic basket. You can request a private dinner in the Bamboo Garden or the Manor Ruins at dusk…very romantic.
For active couples, Barnsley Resort is the perfect honeymoon destination. After mastering 18 holes of golf on a Jim Fazio-designed championship course, relax in the hammocks near the course. For expert equestrians or beginners, reserve a 90-minute guided Wilderness Ride or History on Horseback tour. Add a picnic lunch to the tour, and your morning is complete. After your ride, visit the friendly animals at the Barnsley Barnyard, original from the 1840’s. There were baby goats, calves and our favorite, the lovable swine, Boss Hog. If he flops by your feet, no worries…that is your cue to rub his back or stomach.
Barnsley Resort is home to one of the South’s premier sporting clay facility where lessons are available. Try your hand at Fly Casting where a flick of the wrist is an art. Rent a bike or hike the numerous trails and FIT Trail. Couples have access to canoes and kayaks or fish along the 10-acre lake. Pedal down to the expansive pool where spectacular views of the mountains are picture perfect.
Nothing relinquishes stress like a Lavender Relaxation Couples Massage at the recently renovated Spa at Barnsley Resort. The Swedish massage features lavender blossom oil—the ultimate in relaxation. The resort offers a massage in the privacy of your guest room as well. Lavender and Mint products are in the Spa and in your room. I couldn’t get enough of the aroma, so I purchased products to relive our time at the resort. It works!
For couples who are searching for a wedding venue and honeymoon retreat, Barnsley has wedding venue options for any size wedding. The Manor House Ruins are the popular backdrop for ceremonies and receptions. The north lawn, with its natural vines swooping over an arch of the Manor House, is picture perfect for nuptials.
The new Georgian Hall has taken weddings to a new level of Southern sophistication. The design features soaring vaulted ceilings with exposed rafters, stained hand-scraped scissor trusses, and a grand floor-to ceiling fireplace. The Savannah Ballroom can accommodate up to 380 seated banquet-style. The room flows out onto the Savannah Terrace. My favorite spot is the Georgian Veranda, an expansive southern style porch with comfortable rocking chairs for guests to view the meadows and the Manor House Ruins. The Georgian Estate Lawn, complete with a rotunda, is a great space for outdoor weddings. Ask about numerous venue options at Barnsley Resort including Birch Cottage. The Wine Library at Woodland Grill is perfect for after rehearsal dinners.
I have thought about Clent Coker’s assessment of Godfrey and Julia Barnsley. He said, “It is one of the most intriguing love stories of all time.” That statement is still true today for newlyweds beginning their story and to all who experience the magic of Barnsley Resort. For you see, love never ends here. Leaving Barnsley Resort is never easy for us, but “next time” is already in the planning stage.
For Barnsley Resort Reservations call 770-773-7480 or visit www.barnsleyresort.com
Style equals chains, but creativity will set you free. I am a freelance travel journalist who specializes in romance and honeymoon articles.
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