Sometimes you just need to escape to the great outdoors to disconnect from our fast-paced, technological world and recharge with nature. I recently had a fantastic opportunity to do just that at the Barnsley Resort in Adairsville, Georgia. This place is so much more than your typical luxury resort. This is a historic Southern estate spread across 3,000 stunning acres in North Georgia. I very quickly fell in love with Barnsley Resort thanks to its five star features, natural landscapes, fascinating history, fine dining, and a variety of outdoorsy activities.
Annie Get Your Fun Package
I enjoyed the Annie Get Your Fun Package, which is the perfect way to live out an Annie Oakley-esque lifestyle at Barnsley Resort. This adventurous package is perfect for a girls getaway that is gutsy, gritty, and just the right amount of rowdy! It includes three nights accommodation in one of their luxurious cottages, along with a shooting lesson at the clays course at High Adventure Shooting Grounds which is located on the resort’s property. You get to apply a $100 activity credit per person, going towards several of their fun activities like horseback riding, golfing, fishing, and much more. If that weren’t enough, this package also includes breakfast for two daily to start your mornings off right!
A Rich History
It is impossible to fully appreciate Barnsley Resort without learning about the rich history surrounding the property. The original manor was called Woodlands, and it was an estate built by Godfrey Barnsley in the mid 1800s. Barnsley came over from England in the 1820s and made his fortune in the South through the shipping business and cotton trade. He wanted to build Woodlands, an Italianate villa, for his wife, Julia, who was the love of his life. Sadly, Julia passed away before the home was completed, but Barnsley carried on and finished building it in her honor.
This luxurious manor house featured elaborate gardens inspired by the work of Andrew Jackson Downing, a pioneering landscape designer and proponent of Italianate and gothic revival architecture. The house itself had impressive modern plumbing, along with marble from Italy and France, and furnishings from around the world. During the Civil War, the estate was in the direct path of a battle and suffered as a result. Even more damaging was a tornado in 1906 which tore away the original roof.
Despite all of these hardships, descendants of Godfrey and Julia occupied the estate until it was auctioned off in 1942. The gardens and manor house fell into disrepair until 1988, when Prince Hubertus Fugger of Bavaria purchased it to not only restore the Manor House Ruins, but to expand the Historic Gardens as well. Barnsley Gardens were first opened to the public in 1991, and, finally, Barnsley Resort opened its doors in 1999 – enhanced with luxury guest cottages, a Jim Fazio-designed golf course, The Spa, restaurants, and so much more.
Luxurious Guest Cottages
I was lucky to stay in a one bedroom cottage suite at Barnsley Resort. These cottages are the perfect home away from home with luxuriously cozy features. I could have easily spent all afternoon reading a book on a rainy day next to the fireplace, or soaking in my clawfoot bathtub at the end of an adventurous day.
Barnsley Resort offers 90 cottage rooms and suites which feature hardwood or carpeted floors, generous full bathrooms, private porches, and detailed amenities that make your time there so comfortable, easy, and enjoyable. I loved my spacious living room and plush king-size bed. Listening to the sound of birds chirping nearby while enjoying my morning coffee out on the porch was a highlight for me. This truly felt like a home, along with luxurious hotel amenities. The best of both worlds!
If you’re traveling to Barnsley with a bigger group, they also offer six Manor Cottages with four bedrooms, porches, and a shared living room perfect for families and larger parties traveling together. I loved walking around this English-inspired village every day and seeing all of the charming cottages sprinkled throughout the estate. Along with the gorgeous cottages, there is also a recently renovated Inn on the property with 55 rooms, so there is plenty of room for parties of all sizes.
Fine Dining in Unique Settings
From outdoor forest dinners to lunching in a beer garden, we enjoyed so many unique dining experiences while at Barnsley Resort! They truly understand here that every taste, palate, and mood is different which is why they offer such a widespread range. I particularly love how they take pride in growing their own fresh produce in their carefully tended gardens. These ingredients are then integrated into meaningful meals that their chefs prepare. Garden to Table is not just a passing trend here at Barnsley, it is a way of life!
For our first night, we found ourselves at Silverbell Hill which is perfectly nestled in the forest. Barnsley Resort created a magical woodland setting for a dinner outdoors, complete with a chandelier in the trees, a long table of delicious food, and a Bourbon Cocktail tasting section. I was blown away by this beautiful setting and attention to detail.
Jonathan Mattson wiped up two of this speciality drinks the White Dog Smash and Whoa Black Betty. For dinner we had a selections of salads and meats for dinner.
Most mornings, we went to the Woodlands Grill for breakfast which offers the ambience of a country house hunting lodge. This restaurant overlooks the picturesque golf course and surrounding Georgia hills. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, I enjoyed the French Toast accompanied with eggs, and a biscuit.
Another fantastic restaurant at Barnsley Resort is Rice House. We dined in this 19th century farmhouse one evening for dinner. Chef de Cuisine Evan Babb and his team strive to blur the lines between farm and restaurant to create a truly “yard to fork” experience. On the Chef’s off time, he spends precious hours alongside the resort’s purveyors at local farms, ensuring the freshest available ingredients are incorporated into the Rice House menus every night, and they certainly did not disappoint!
Our menu consisted of four hearty courses: a garden salad with boiled peanut, benne seed hummus, and baby vegetables, followed by Riverview Farm Grits accompanied by butter-braised baby bok choy, gooseberries, redeye gravy, topped with a quail egg. Next came a roasted spaghetti squash and for dessert, a sumptuous dark chocolate mousse. Each entree was paired with a glass of wine.
If you want a more casual atmosphere, then the Beer Garden is the place for you. This laid-back, outdoor restaurant has an excellent fire pit, and lovely trees strung with twinkling lights. We enjoyed a delicious lunch here one afternoon. Their menu offers a great selection of salads, paninis, bratwurst, as well as more than 30 craft beer selections including the Monday Night Barnsley Resort Englishman ESB – a beer that’s brewed exclusively for Barnsley Resort!
Last but certainly not least was our unforgettable dinner inside the 19th century Manor House Ruins. This evening transports guests into a fairytale with its magnificent setting inside a crumbling, yet charming building and overgrown greenery. Executive Chef Jason Starnes shared his deep passion for Southern food and fresh ingredients.
Thanks to the Annie Get Your Fun Package, I enjoyed a multitude of outdoor activities at Barnsley Resort. Shortly after arriving, I strapped on my riding boots and went on a guided horseback ride to properly explore the sprawling resort! It was the perfect introduction to this historic estate and it helped me to quickly adjust to the relaxing, outdoor lifestyle that is offered at Barnsley.
In order to see more of Barnsley’s 3,000 acres, the next day we went on a Southern Safari Ride at the High Adventure Shooting Grounds.
We were surprised with some adorable animal encounters along the way such as miniature horses, donkeys, and goats. The stunning views of the rolling hills and peaceful surroundings made this safari a definite highlight of the trip. I felt so far away from the hustle and bustle of the real world.
Staying true to the name of the package, we became Annie Oakley for an afternoon with a clay shooting lesson! The High Adventure Shooting Grounds at Barnsley Resort offers one of the top sporting clays facilities in the Southeast, so we were certainly in good hands. Two 14-station clay courses boast a diverse layout of shots in the open field, under a natural canopy in the woods and over water with two reclaimed bauxite mine ponds. Our instructor was an absolute expert, and I quickly got the hang of clay shooting. It gave me such an adrenaline rush as it was my first time doing this activity, and I absolutely love learning new things.
Spa and Fitness
The Spa at Barnsley Resort offers a variety of massages, facials and body treatments along with nail and beauty services. Barnsley truly goes above and beyond to provide a variety of ways to unwind and recharge. You can take an hour or two to relax in their 10 treatment rooms, as well as a separate relaxation rooms for men and women, each complete with a steam room and sauna! If your prefer to spend time outdoors relaxing, they have a wonderful pool that is open seasonally with priceless views of their golf course. Other than swimming, you can burn off some calories (from all the delicious food offered at Barnsley) in their Fitness Center. Here you can choose from top-tier treadmills, elliptical trainers, as well as circuit training with free weights.
Exploring the Georgia countryside and enjoying the luxurious comforts of Barnsley Resort was such a memorable adventure! Everything from the architecture, to the history and the food absolutely charmed me. I would recommend a visit to Barnsley for anyone searching for a unique, outdoorsy getaway!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Barnsley Resort, but all opinions here are my own.