From gardens to gourmet fare, Barnsley Resort is an ideal destination for a weekend getaway.
“Pull!” I yelled the word, squinted into the sun and took aim at the neon clay that flew into the air in front of me. I curled my index finger around the trigger and blew my target to pieces. And it felt fabulous.
It was a Saturday morning in May and the day before, I’d made the less than two-hour drive from Midtown to Barnsley Resort in Adairsville for a little weekend revelry.
After checking in, I drove over to my personal cottage that was equipped with a porch, rocking chairs, a minifridge and an exquisite deep-soaking tub. First thing first, I enjoyed a little wine on the porch before wandering around the gardens and the ruins of the old Barnsley home for a bit.
Although it’s known locally as an ideal weekend escape, Barnsley’s history is fascinating. The original manor that stood on the property and the gardens around it were built by British shipping magnate and cotton trader Godfrey Barnsley for his wife, Julia, in the mid-1800s. (Barnsley came to America in the 1820s, and married Julia Scarborough of Savannah a few years later.)
Over the years, the home was damaged by the Civil War, a tornado and neglect. In 1942, with the property in ruins, the Barnsley family sold off what was left of the house and grounds. In the late 1980s, an ambitious restoration revived the gardens and the house ruins, and eventually the property was opened to the public.
The resort debuted in 1999 and has been growing ever since, offering guests golf, fishing, horseback riding, paintball, and more. And a 55-room Inn at Barnsley Resort and a new event space are slated to open in early 2018.
Before I knew it, it was time to stroll over to the The Woodlands Grill for a cozy dinner of roasted heirloom tomato soup and a Reuben sandwich. That’s one of the beautiful things about a visit to Barnsley—you can walk almost anywhere on property. But if you’d prefer to rent a bike or a golf cart, that’s always an option, too.
The next morning, I woke up bright and early to return to The Woodlands for the breakfast buffet that included everything from made-to-order omelets to biscuits and gravy. Then came the moment I’d been waiting for. It was time to head over to the SpringBank Sporting Club on the grounds to meet up with my shooting instructor.
When we got out to the course, it took me a little while to get into the shooting groove. But once I started hitting the clays, it felt so rewarding. After an hour or so, my arms tired, so I headed back to The Woodlands for a celebratory Bloody Mary.
Rain started to fall not long after, so I enjoyed a few hours of down time on the porch until it was time for my spa appointment—a 60-minute Swedish massage that was much-needed after hoisting that gun earlier in the day.
With hunger burning in my belly, I made my way to the Rice House, Barnsley’s white-table-cloth dining option. There, I paired a glass of Sancerre with striped bass. The best part? I didn’t have to walk home—after a quick phone call placed by my server, an escort arrived at the restaurant in a golf cart and whisked me back to my cottage across the property.
Sunday morning kicked off with a workout in the property’s well equipped fitness room, and then it was time to grab one last breakfast out on the patio of The Woodlands. Here’s a tip: Although you won’t find them on the buffet, you can also ask your server for an order of hot waffles and pancakes.
After taking one last walk around the gardens and ruins, it was time to gather my things and head back to the city. But that’s the beauty of Barnsley. Before I knew it, I was home and totally charmed by this property and its beautiful gardens.
Barnsley Gardens Road
STORY: Amelia Pavlik