The Rose Lawn Museum is housed in a Victorian mansion. photo: Brian Little

A quick 45-minute trip from Atlanta has museums, shopping and more.

The Rose Lawn Museum is housed in a Victorian mansion. photo: Brian Little
The Rose Lawn Museum is housed in a Victorian mansion. photo: Brian Little

I’ve been to Cartersville before; it’s a good halfway stop to stretch your legs and grab a cup of coffee when traveling from Atlanta to Nashville. I knew its downtown had appeal, but a recent day trip had me bowled over with just how much there is to do, only 45 minutes from Atlanta’s city limits.

The Tellus Science Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate.
The Tellus Science Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Founded in 1850, Cartersville is known as Georgia’s Museum City, so I started my adventure by crossing three of the them off my list. The Savoy Auto Museum, which opened in 2021, was a delight, and gearheads will love pouring over its car exhibitions. The Tellus Science Museum kept me busy for quite a while, exploring minerals, fossils and space, among other displays. It’s a great way to spend a few hours, especially for anyone with kids ages 4 to 12. The grande dame of the three, Booth Western Art Museum, which along with Tellus is a Smithsonian Affiliate, took me by surprise. Over 120,000 square feet are dedicated to telling the stories of the American West through art, and I particularly enjoyed the interpretations on the contemporary floor.

The first outdoor painted-wall advertisement is on Main Street and features Coca-Cola.

The rest of the day was spent strolling Cartersville’s downtown, where I stopped for a coffee at Noble & Main Coffee Co. and for lunch at Table 20. Along my stroll, I passed the first outdoor painted-wall advertisement for Coca-Cola that dates to 1894. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it sits on the east wall of Young Brothers Pharmacy on Main Street. Older buildings, such as The Grand Theatre, which dates to 1910, were visually interesting as I walked.

I popped into shops like Olive Tree & Vine, an olive oil-focused retailer; ’Tis the Season, Cartersville’s only year-round Christmas store; and Canopy Home Decor. On Saturday mornings, Canopy hosts Kennesaw-based Bonnin’s French Bakery. I didn’t have time to go into the Rose Lawn Museum, but the beautiful Victorian mansion is going on a future to-do list, as it is packed with memorabilia of Rebecca Latimer Felton, the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate in 1922.

To end my day, I headed to Largos, a restaurant that opened in 2021 and offers New American cuisine. Helmed by Atlanta-based chef Matthew Jones (formerly of Bacchanalia and Boone’s), it was the perfect place to unwind with a cocktail and charcuterie board featuring Sweet Grass Dairy before heading back down I-75.


Barnsley Resort in nearby AdairsvilleBOUNTIFUL BARNSLEY

Barnsley Resort in nearby Adairsville is the way to go for those looking to extend a day trip into a weekend excursion. History buffs will love that the property dates back almost 200 years and has historical ruins of the original house and meticulously kept gardens, plus a museum. (Ask about the 200-plus-yearold Chinese fir tree in the front yard, as well as the murders on property.) Outdoor enthusiasts will have endless options to pursue, including golf, horseback riding, air rifles, axe throwing and Beretta shooting grounds. The property consists of an English-inspired village lined with cottages and an inn, completed in 2018. Pet- and kid-friendly, it has everything you need to relax after a day of hitting the pavement in Cartersville.


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