Conveniently located 45 miles north of downtown Atlanta via I-75, with a friendly population of just over 20,000, Cartersville-Bartow County embodies small town charm with a “Cowboys and Indians in Georgia” vibe, welcoming visitors to embrace its Southern hospitality coupled with unexpected big city offerings. The Booth Western Art Museum, within walking distance of downtown, highlights Western art as well as touring exhibits of Ansel Adams, Saturday Evening Post Cover Art and photography from National Geographic, to name a few. The Tellus Science Museum, which has hosted well over one million visitors since opening in 2009, also finds a home in Cartersville, which is the smallest town in the nation to play host to two Smithsonian Affiliate museums. For those on a hunt to find the quirkiest roadside offerings, Cartersville delivers with Old Car City USA. Billed as the world’s largest known classic car junkyard, the attraction has evolved into 34 acres and six miles of rusty gold, finding new appeal in the photographer’s lens. Other oddities onsite include the owner’s extensive Styrofoam cup art displays, folk art paintings and Elvis Presley’s last automobile. Cartersville is also home to the World’s First Coca-Cola Outdoor Painted Wall Advertisement. Sports-lovers know Cartersville for its world-class LakePoint Sporting Community, featuring several venues for athletic competition. LakePoint is ever-expanding as the southern home of Perfect Game Baseball. Thrill-seekers of all ages and skill levels will enjoy wakeboarding at Terminus Wake Park.
Visitors can continue active pursuits and satisfy cravings for outdoor excursions with kayaking trips or fishing adventures along the Etowah River and hiking miles of trails at Pine Mountain Recreation Area overlooking Lake Allatoona. Red Top Mountain State Park is a natural vacation retreat where guests can enjoy free Mountain Music and boat rentals at Park Marina, plus ranger-guided events in the park’s Outdoor Classroom. Exploration continues with historic sites like Rose Lawn Museum—a beautifully restored Victorian mansion once home to renowned evangelist Samuel Porter Jones, for whom Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium was built—and the Bartow History Museum. Visit Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, a major Mississippian Period Cultural Center that was home to several thousand Native Americans from 1000 to 1500 AD. More stories abound with the area’s poignant Civil War sites including the Allatoona Pass Battlefield, Kingston, Cassville and Historic Adairsville–listed in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places. Georgia’s first state park for African Americans–George Washington Carver Park–is just one site along the area’s African American Heritage Trail, which also includes Noble Hill–north Georgia’s first Rosenwald School–and the Euharlee Covered Bridge built in 1886 by African American craftsmen Washington W. King.
Rest easy between adventures at any of Cartersville’s upscale accommodations or relax in luxury at beautiful Barnsley Resort, a storybook setting whose pages reveal a compelling true story that reads like fiction. Refuel at your choice of the 14 chef-owned-and-operated restaurants in historic downtown Cartersville. Regional favorites include Table 20, Appalachian Grill, and two recently tapped by Georgia Eats as “100 Plates Locals Love”–Swheat Market, and Maine Street Coastal Cuisine. Or, stage your own foodie competition to determine which downtown multi-generational lunch counter–4-Way Lunch or Ross’ Diner–serves up the best burgers and dogs. Pair this with great art galleries, boutiques and other only-in Cartersville finds for one great eat-and-repeat destination. www.VisitCartersvilleGA.org.
Fast Facts & Trivia
- Cartersville-Bartow is home to:
- The world’s first Coca-Cola wall sign, at Young Brothers Pharmacy in downtown Cartersville.
- The last Civil War soldiers buried in the South. Hastily buried where they fell during the Civil War, these soldiers spoke from the grave during a séance. With aid of the information they shared, the Confederates were identified and reinterred in 1974 at Adairsville’s East View Cemetery, 110 years after their death.
- The last Civil War monuments erected in the South, which were established in 2016 at Allatoona Pass Battlefield.
- The largest camel herd in Georgia, found at Pettit Creek Farms.
- The world’s largest know’d junkyard. You read that right! Thats what the sign says at Old Car City USA.
- The only styrofoam cup art gallery on the East Coast, also found at Old Car City USA.
- The first Georgia State Park for African Americans, George Washington Carver Park.
- Georgia’s oldest restaurant without a telephone: The 4-Way Lunch, which has been operating successfully without the technology since 1931.
- Public Enemy #1 Pretty Boy Floyd was born in Adairsville.
- The first female U.S. Senator, Rebecca Latimer Felton (served 24 hours in 1922), is from Cartersville, and, to date, is the only female to ever represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate.
- Adairsville was the first Georgia town to be listed in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places (December 1987).
- The Civil War brought much action to Adairsville, including the Great Locomotive Chase on April 12, 1862. The Chase is probably the war’s best known escapade, made famous by a Walt Disney movie of the same name. Each fall, the Great Locomotive Chase Festival, a three-day celebration the first weekend of October, is held in remembrance of the event.
- Cartersville is the smallest town in the nation to play host to two Smithsonian Affiliate museums.
- The Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site is a major Mississippian Period Cultural Center that was home to several thousand Native Americans from 1000 to 1500 AD. The largest mound stands over 63 feet high and covers three acres. The impressive archaeological museum interprets life in what is now known as the Etowah Valley Historic District.
- Southeastern Cowboy Gathering & Chuck Wagon Invitational – March, BoothMuseum.org
- BBQ and Brews Festival – NEW April 1, BBQandBrews.com/Cartersville
- Atlanta Steeplechase – April, AtlantaSteeplechase.org
- May Market at Rose Lawn – May, RoseLawnMuseum.com
- Dixie Highway 90-Mile Yard Sale – June first Fri-Sun Facebook.com/DixieHighway90MileYardSale
- RockFest at Tellus Science Museum – June, TellusMuseum.org
- Pine Mountain Fireworks Watch Hike – July 4, VisitCartersvilleGA.org
- Night at the Museum – August, TellusMuseum.org
- Pine Log Arts & Crafts Fair – September (weekend following Labor Day) – VisitCartersvilleGA.org
- The Arts Festival at Rose Lawn – A September tradition since 1976 – VisitCartersvilleGA.org
- Great Locomotive Chase Festival – 1st weekend in October, VisitAdairsville.org
- Cartersville Bluegrass & Folk Festival – October, CartersvilleBluegrass.com
- Heavy Metal in Motion – October, TellusMuseum.org
- Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium – October, BoothMuseum.org
- The Grand Theatre Entertainment Series – November-April, TheGrandTheatre.org
- Pine Mountain Moonlight Hikes – Monthly on the full moon, VisitCartersvilleGA.org
Must-See Limited Exhibits
- From Clay to Copper: Minerals and Artifacts of Etowah on display at Tellus Science Museum through October 1, 2017. On loan from the Smithsonian Institution, these never-before-seen artifacts from Cartersville’s Etowah Indian Mounds have returned to Georgia for the first time since they were unearthed more than 100 years ago.
- Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe at Booth Western Art Museum April 15-August 28, 2017. Coinciding with President John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday (May 29), this impressive exhibit was recreated from ashes, as Lowe’s negatives were stored in the World Trade Center. Using the photographer’s contact sheets and prints, 70 iconic and intimate images were recreated depicting the legendary Kennedy presidency known as “Camelot”.
- Ansel Adams: The MasterWorks at Booth Western Art Museum April 8-October 29, 2017. An exhibition featuring 30 iconic images from Ansel Adams’ famed Museum Set. Believed to be among the best he ever captured, these works are loaned from the private collection of Ansel’s granddaughter, Virginia Adams Mayhew.
- Western American Art South of the Sweet Tea Line V features 90 works covering 100+ years of art history from private and public Southern collections. Curated by the Booth Western Art Museum and displayed there September 16-December 31, 2017.
- The Wildlife Art of Guy Coheleach one of the world’s best wild animal painters and the unprecedented eight-time winner of the Society of Animal Artists Award of Excellence. On display at the Booth Western Art Museum June 28, 2018-October 7, 2018.