Less than an hour outside of Atlanta and conveniently located along I-85 is the family-friendly city of LaGrange, Georgia, where authentic small town values meld with modern convenience. Its tree-lined downtown is laid out much the same as it was at its 1828 founding, and much of its antebellum architecture was preserved when in 1865 a group of 40 female militia calling themselves The Nancy Harts marched down Broad Street to meet 2,500 advancing Federal troops and demanded that their homes be spared the torch. The commanding officer was so impressed with their gumption that he agreed, and asked the ladies of LaGrange to put down their rifles. The story of The Nancy Hart militia can be explored at LaGrange’s Legacy Museum on Main, where many more stories of LaGrange and Troup County are told using state-of-the-art technology and visual displays. Also downtown, find an array of boutiques, galleries, antique malls and restaurants, including Cakes By Debbie, two-time winner of TLC’s “The Ultimate Cake Off.”
Not far from LaGrange’s historic LaFayette Square is Hills and Dales Estate and Gardens, a 1916 neoclassical mansion forming the centerpiece of the Callaway family’s beautiful gardens, originally laid out in the early 1830s, and meticulously cared for by successive generations until the house became a museum in 1998. Kids will love chasing butterflies through the boxwood paths cultivated by Ida Callaway, mother of Cason Callaway, who eventually founded Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain. After spending some time outdoors, visit The Explorations in Antiquity Center, soon to be renamed The Biblical History Center, an educational center detailing what life was like for real people living in ancient Israel, and examine the artifacts in the Biblical Life Gallery, featuring over 250 antiquities from both Old and New Testament times displayed in replicas of their original settings to give context to the Bible, the Torah and the Quran.
Plan to visit during one of LaGrange’s special events, such as: March’s Azalea Storytelling Festival, featuring nationally-acclaimed storytellers sharing their gifts at LaGrange College. It’s kids-only at July’s Sweet Land of Liberty Parade, celebrating its 33nd year in 2017. Kids from anywhere can participate by riding a non-motorized vehicle as long as they register the morning of the event (so come into town early to hold your kids’ spot!). In October, the nearby town of Hogansville hosts its Hummingbird Festival. And when Christmas comes to town, some 15,000 spectators will travel from far and wide to see LaGrange’s popular holiday parade, always the first Thursday after Thanksgiving.