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Escape To The Countryside At Barnsley Resort: A Historic Southern Estate

Escape To The Countryside At Barnsley Resort: A Historic Southern Estate


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.

Outdoor Activities

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.

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Her travels allow her the opportunity to pursue her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.


  1. Jeremy
    October 20, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Love the greens, and they are all so well kept and maintained ! I would love to try shooting some day ! =p

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      The property is stunning and with 3000 acres to explore you certainly can find plenty to do.

  2. Leah
    October 21, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Great article! There is so much of the South that I have yet to explore
    Leah recently posted…How I Wore $1,077 of Designer Clothing for $69My Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 22, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      It was a nice getaway, and it helped me unwind and relax a few days.

  3. Melody Pittman
    October 22, 2018 at 9:47 am

    OMG. I’m just in love with this place. I’d already added it to my travel list from your tweet and pin but THIS…. this does the resort much more justice than even their website. Gorgeous accommodations and the food… oh my!

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 22, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      Yes, the food was over the top. It’s a little hidden gem in the south.

  4. Lance
    October 23, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Barnsley Resort seems to have the best of both worlds. I love the luxurious meals and stunning cottage rooms. However, it must also be fun to go clay shooting, go horseback riding, and visit the goats and other farm animals. How exciting to be able to eat meals using produce direct from the garden. Oh my, I could spend an entire afternoon (or two) in the stunning gardens of Barnsley Resort.

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 29, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      It really does! What’s not to like?

  5. Arti @ artisdiary
    October 24, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Barnsley resort sounds and looks so charming retaining an old world charm enveloped in modern day luxury. As you say, best of both worlds meet here. The history is so interesting and the outdoorsy package so much fun! The way they have handled all the details for their guests in such a beautiful manner is really commendable.
    Arti @ artisdiary recently posted…How Saying Yes To The World Opens Your Heart To Love.My Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 29, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      You sound like an expert already! I was so impressed with the service, they really know how to pamper you.

  6. Heather
    October 24, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    Wow, I live in Birmingham and have never heard of the Barnsley Resort. I’m always looking for close weekend getaways so I will have to try this one out. I would totally love the Annie Get Your Fun Package-you’re right that sounds like the perfect girls getaway! It has such a rich history too…how did I not know about this? I’m so guilty of not even realizing what’s in my backyard but rest assured I have other countries covered. The guest cottages are so nice and I would love eating at Silverbell Hill too, how cool it’s in the forest! Sign me up for the horseback riding and all the rest of the fun!

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 29, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      It’s crazy how we never end up doing some of the coolest things in our home towns. If it weren’t for my vocation, I wouldn’t have done most of the funner things to do in South Florida. Hope you get to check it out!

  7. Punita Malhotra
    October 25, 2018 at 12:17 am

    The aerial pictures are the best!! What a quaint and wonderful manor house this is. Love the interiors, love the meals, love the bed and love the surroundings. A real escape to the countryside.
    Punita Malhotra recently posted…The most incredible sights in the historic heart of IstanbulMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 29, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      Aerial pictures always come out great. The place was so gorgeous, I hope to re-visit someday!

  8. Yukti
    October 25, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Barnsley Resort is really a luxurious property with full of natural surroundings. It is good they give safari rides to move around 3000 acres of whole property. I also loved the unique dining settings.

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 29, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      The natural surroundings definitely made this a unique experience, especially since I’m not often in this part of the country!

  9. Lara Dunning
    October 25, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    What a gorgeous estate. So sad that Julia never saw its completion, and interesting that a Bavarian Prince gave it a new life. The cottages are fabulous and the meals look really good. I’ve never gone clay shooting so the Annie Get Your Fun package would be perfect!

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 29, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      The historical aspect gives the place such an intriguing vibe! You should definitely check it out.

  10. Jas
    October 25, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    That’s beautiful that Barnsley continued building the resort in memory of Julia. And gosh, that bathroom decor with the tub is just gorg! That and the food, the awesome outdoor activities… Can defs see why you’d fallen in love with it! I’m all about escaping city life and taking digital detoxes so will for sure have to look into booking a stay here someday!
    Jas recently posted…Best Time to See Northern Lights in Iceland (With Forecast Chart!)My Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 29, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      The story behind this place is so romantic. It makes for such a great visit!

  11. Mei and Kerstin
    October 26, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    We visited a few beautiful estates in South Carolina and Georgia during our East Coast road trip 2 years ago, but didn’t stop at this place! It looks really wonderful and now we wish we had known about it two years ago! Hopefully we’ll get to stay there next time! Thanks for sharing this!
    Mei and Kerstin recently posted…Europe’s Best Destinations in November – Part 2My Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      October 29, 2018 at 2:08 pm

      That’s too bad, hopefully you can add it to your next trip in the area. I highly recommend it!

  12. Kevin
    December 9, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    thanks for alerting us to this amazing destination. So many awesome outdoor activities, and in such beautiful grounds, had no idea this existed so close to home!
    Thanks again
    Kevin recently posted…Leaf Blower TechniquesMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      December 11, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Happy to share, Kevin! I hope you can visit 🙂

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