by: Nelson Hicks Updated:
ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. - The sun has set on another summer of fun across the south. Vacations are a memory now as thoughts turn to early-morning bus rides and homework.
Sure, it'd be great to get away, but with school in session, there's no time to make the five-hour trip to the beach on a Friday after school, only to return less than 48 hours later. Luckily, there's an option closer to home.
"We're about an hours drive from most any part of Atlanta," Greg Teague of Barnsley Gardens told wsbtv.com. "The unique thing is we don't have any water. We don't have snow; we don't have skiing; we don't have any of those things that are attractive to most people who go to resorts. What we do have is just this quiet, peaceful, serenity that works for both the business client and the leisure couple."
GALLERY: Barnsley Gardens
Barnsley Gardens is in Adairsville, about an hour north of downtown Atlanta. Enchanting, old world atmosphere with unique accommodations, outstanding restaurants and incomparable service is how the company describes itself.
It's named for the Barnsley family, who acquired the property in 1845. The family survived the civil war at the 10,000 acre estate, but the last of the family left the property in 1941.
"Godfrey Barnsley was a very talented young man, very interesting young man from England," Barnsley Gardens historian Clent Coker said.
"He left England in 1824 and came over to the United States, landed in Savannah, Ga.," Coker continued. "He went to work as a clerk for a cotton broker and in less than five years after his arrival, he had developed a whole new system for shipping American cotton to the foreign mills and markets. It worked and it made him wealthy."
Nearly 20 years later, he moved to what is now the site of Barnsley Gardens to build an estate for his wife, Julia. She was in declining health and he thought the northern Georgia climate would be better for her. She died three years later.
The estate was vandalized during the Civil War and a tornado hit it in 1906. When the final member of the Barnsley family died, the estate sat untouched for 40 years.
Nearly 25 years ago, a resort was developed on the property.
There are gardens on the property, but Barnsley Gardens isn't like a formal botanical garden. It's a resort that happens to have gardens.
And for some visitors, a visit here is spent touring the property, viewing the gardens and relaxing. For others, there are plenty of activities to keep them busy, too.
Barnsley Gardens offers golf, spa services, clay target shooting, horseback riding, bike riding, swimming, badminton and croquet to name just a few. There's hunting nearby, too.
"With all the things (Barnsley Gardens does), it gives an opportunity for just about every member of the family to something," Skip Smith of Barnsley Gardens said. "If they're not into one activity, there's plenty of other things they can do and keep busy with during the day."
GALLERY: Firefly Nights at Barnsley Gardens
One of Barnsley Gardens' specialties is its special events. The recently concluded Firefly Nights included drinks, dancing and live music in the ruins on the property. The property even has a fairy godmother on staff to make your weekend away magical.
Just imagine a cool fall weekend away with friends. The guys play some golf and catch the game, the women spend some quality time in the spa. That's followed by dinner and some time in front of the fire with drinks. Maybe vacations aren't such a distant memory any more.
Barnsley Gardens sponsored this story.