Cowboys, science, history and performing arts heat up the season in this West Georgia destination
Beat the winter blues with scientific explorations, hiking adventures, performing arts and more in Cartersville, Georgia, 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.
Running September 16-December 31, the Booth Western Art Museum will host the fifth installment in their signature triennial exhibition series, Western American Art South of the Sweet Tea Line V, featuring seldom seen great works of Western art from public and private Southern collections. See more than 90 paintings, sculpture, photographs and objects in a wide range of media and styles spanning more than 100 years of art history.
Check all the good boys and girls off your holiday shopping list during the Christmas Village, November 3-4, at the Clarence Brown Convention Center, featuring 70 booths with baby items; baked goods; books by regional authors; candles; children’s books; Christmas art, decor and ornaments; clothing/women & children; cosmetics; doll clothing & accessories; essential oils; fudge; gloves & hats; hand forged knives; home decor; jewelry; lotions & soaps; mixed media art; oils/peanut, pecan & sunflower; pottery; purses & totes; repurposed decor; self-defense products; teddy bears; wood turned items & more!
Don’t miss the 105th Annual Stilesboro Chrysanthemum Show, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., November 4. The historic Stilesboro Academy (1859) is the setting for the oldest known Chrysanthemum Show in Georgia. The chrysanthemums are grown by members of the Stilesboro Improvement Club and are displayed in artistic designs based on a common theme. Ribbons are awarded in a variety of categories. Lunch is available for purchase in “The Tea Room,” which serves the same menu first created in the 1950s and includes homemade Brunswick stew, chicken salad and fresh baked cakes with plenty of iced sweet tea.
Begin your Christmas season with the annual open house at Grand Oaks, 2-5 p.m., November 19. Tour the home and enjoy light refreshments. A $10 donation supports the Thacker Memorial Scholarship presented through the Etowah Education Foundation.
Make memories with the Christmas Lights Display and Live Reindeer at Pettit Creek Farms, November 23-December 30. The display is open nightly 6-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 6-10 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Santa Claus visits with children Thursday-Sunday, so bring your camera. Visit the petting zoo to see Comet and Cupid, the farm’s live reindeer. A live Nativity can be seen on weekends. Warm up with hot chocolate, cider, marshmallows for roasting and s’mores kits. Pettit Creek Farms also sells #1 premium Christmas trees freshly cut and standing in water.
Plan a memorable evening with the 1902 Stock Exchange Dinner Theater in Adairsville. Throughout December, The 1902 Stock Exchange and Public Square Opera House will present “Every Christmas Story Ever Told,” a dinner theatre featuring a trio of rambunctious performers who try to cover all the bases when, instead of performing Charles Dickens’s beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, they decide to perform every Christmas story ever told. The result is a madcap romp through the holiday season and an evening full of memories and laughter. Dinner and Performance is $50+ tax per person. Reservations required.
Catch a performance of The Nutcracker, a beloved holiday classic presented by the Cartersville School of Ballet throughout December.
The Grand, established in 1910, as a cultural center for Cartersville and Bartow County, offers a series of events November 11 through April, featuring holiday, comedy and bluegrass performances. In December, plan to attend the Century Bank Entertainment Series: Atlanta Pops Orchestra concert, an annual Cartersville tradition returning for the 13th consecutive year, 7-9 p.m., December 9.
January 20-April 29, the Booth Western Art Museum will host “That Day,” The Photographs of Laura Wilson. Photographer Laura Wilson was first introduced to the art world through her work assisting Richard Avedon on his monumental Western project. She has since gone on to have a major photography career of her own. This body of work represents the highlights of her career, including such Western subjects as rodeo, Western movie making, and small town football. The exhibition showcases more than 60 large scale images
In March, plan to attend the Booth Western Art Museum’s Southeastern Cowboy Gathering, a three-day event. An annual event since 2004, this three-day celebration of the West includes art exhibitions, featured artist activities with Chris Navarro, a concert with featured entertainer, the largest chuck wagon cook-off east of the Mississippi, the finals of Writing Through Art Literacy Contest, children’s activities and much more.
Throughout winter, warm up inside with a day spent digging deeper into science and culture at Tellus Science Museum, which occupies more than 125,000 square feet (the length on one and a half football fields), and features galleries devoted to minerals, fossils, transportation technology and hands-on science experiences. The 120-seat digital Planetarium hosts a variety of astronomy programs, stargazing events, and family activities and 45-minute shows are shown throughout each day. The Weinman Mineral Gallery showcases one of the largest, most comprehensive collections in the Southeast, with more than 4,000 rocks, gems and minerals on display. The Fossil Gallery features Stan, a 40-foot Tyrannosaurus rex along with other dinosaurs and fossils, allowing visitors to trace the history of life on Earth. Collins Family Big Back Yard offers hands-on science exhibits introducing concepts from the physical and life sciences through backyard science experiences. Science of Motion allows visitors to re-live major developments in science and technology related to automobiles, aircraft, and space travel. In addition, Tellus includes a 200-seat presentation theater, a large multi-purpose room for events, four well-equipped science labs, an observatory, a full service cafe, and a gift shop that is almost equal in size to the Weinman’s original exhibit space.
Winter is an ideal season for checking out the area’s state parks and historic sites. No bugs or snakes, coupled with uninhibited views among bare-leafed trees makes for magnificent vantage points for site-seeing.
Head outdoors and hike the west trailhead of Pine Mountain during free monthly full moon hikes, 6:30-8 p.m. Take a guided 1.57 mile hike on the eve of the full moon to the David G. Archer Summit Overlook at 1,562 feet above sea level to enjoy a stunning view of Allatoona Lake, the Etowah River Valley and the lights of Cartersville. Participants should bring a flashlight. Hikes may be canceled due to bad weather. Time posted is arrival time, followed by approximate end time.
State parks and historic sites feature first Saturday events. Pay a visit to the ancient Indian city—Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site to explore more of this Woodland period culture, during Last Saturday guided hike, 3-4:30 p.m., December 30. Whether you want to learn some of the site’s history or just explore nature, enjoy this last day of the month at Etowah Indian Mounds while hiking with a ranger around the site. 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.
Shop local galleries for one-of-a-kind gifts to inspire holiday season generosity. The Downtown Gallery features original art by members of the Booth Artists Guild and Booth Photography Guild. Creations for sell include original artwork, prints, posters, books and sculpture. Inventory exhibits will change quarterly to depict a selected theme. More than 100 artists are featured. Unveil your inner artist at The Mad Krafter, a paint-your-own pottery and craft boutique with a wide assortment of handmade crafts. Explore area artist and pottery studios where you can meet with skilled artisans and purchase handmade items. For more information, visit: http://visitcartersvillega.org/connections/cat/artist-studios-galleries/.
Give the gift of relaxation this season with an escape to Barnsley Resort. After an action packed day, unwind at The Spa at Barnsley Resort. True story: they harvest their own loofa gourds onsite, yours to keep after your treatment! Indulge in options like the Relax and Refresh Body Treatment, blending the calming benefits of lavender with refreshing mint, a Deep Forest Detox—a detoxifying scrub and mask featuring sarsaparilla, honey tobacco and clay to exfoliate dry skin followed by hot towel compression therapy with oils, or a Reiki session, a Japanese technique used to relieve stress, promote deep relaxation and encourage natural healing. For a little more privacy, ask for a masseuse to come to your cottage.
Expand the experience with a return visit to the Inn at Barnsley Resort, expected to open first quarter 2018. This new three-story-high building, inspired by the works of noted British architect Edwin Lutyens, known for significant English country homes from the turn of the 20th century, will include 55 additional guest rooms and suites perfect for accommodating couples, families, corporate groups and wedding guests. The Inn will feature stained and hand-scraped hardwood floors, exposed beams and scattered area rugs. A new guest registration area and adjacent living room will serve as a relaxed gathering area for guests while a grand staircase and fireplace will be focal points, along with a boutique retail option. The bedrooms will range from 378 to 528 square feet with a mix of king and double queen beds and the Inn’s third floor will offer additional features such as dormer windows, sloped ceilings and window seats.
Plan your event
Barnsley Resort is also set to open another grand addition in early 2018—Georgian Hall, with vaulted ceilings, stained, hand-scraped scissor trusses, painted millwork, dormer windows and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace, featuring 4,700+ square feet of space in the Savannah Ballroom with 1,800+ square feet of pre-function space. The Savannah Terrace will offer an outdoor gathering space for up to 215 guests while additional indoor meeting and event space will include the nearly 1,340-square-foot Dalton room, the Georgian Verandah and the Estate Lawn. With state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, Georgian Hall will play host to corporate meetings, weddings and other special events, all in the picturesque setting for which Barnsley Resort is known.
Save the date! This February, plan to celebrate Black History Month at Cartersville’s George Washington Carver Park, founded in 1950 as Georgia’s first state park for black Americans. Recently extensively renovated after the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau took over management of the park, the park now features interpretive signage as well as picnic areas and scenic views.
Find more adventure at VisitCartersvilleGA.org.