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A Surprising Weekend Getaway in LaGrange, GA
Why take a weekend getaway to Lagrange, Georgia? LaGrange, Georgia makes for a surprising weekend getaway in every sense. It is packed to the gills with things to do outdoors, art, food, gorgeous gardens, and of course, history.
With close proximity to Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama, LaGrange is a great weekend getaway from the city and take some time away for a surprising, restful, peaceful rejuvenation with a weekend getaway. Atlanta is only 62 miles from LaGrange, offering a relaxed drive of less than two hours. Birmingham is 108 miles, so still driveable at less than 3 hours. No matter what season you visit LaGrange, there is always something to do. LaGrange is a great weekend getaway!
When in LaGrange, Start at the Beginning with the Legacy Museum
The Legacy Museum on Main
The Legacy Museum on Main offers visitors a peek at the Who, What and How of LaGrange. Who build LaGrange, What is its history is, and How LaGrange is moving forward.
Housed in a historic former bank building, the museum offers a look at the history of West Georgia. Explore the history of cotton and the rise of successful textile businessman Fuller Callaway. Fuller Callaway is credited with this statement about cotton mills (from Wikipedia):
“It was like the measles in the South in those days. Every town wanted to build a cotton mill…. We did not have much of anything, but we got up a cotton mill and auctioned off the directorships. Anybody that would take $5,000 worth of stock, we would make a director; and if a widow with a son had $2,000, we would make the son a bookkeeper…. A good many of the laborers took stock in it. We had a great many poor white people with the highest type of morality and religion. They could not produce cotton at five cents a pound against the negro, and these men began to move to town as cotton mill operatives.”
The museum also pays tribute to the women of the Nancy Hart Militia, a well-trained female militia. The Nancy Harts faced down 2,500 Union soldiers on April 17, 1865, to defend LaGrange. The story of the Nancy Harts is fascinating. Formed in 1861, the women agreed to meet so they could practice target shooting and drill. Their name was borrowed from a heroine of the American Revolution, Nancy Hart. It's said that the women put on all of their dresses, to meet the Union troops headed by Oscar LaGrange. LaGrange is reputed to have told the women, “Give me tea and I won't burn your homes.”
Art and more in Surprising LaGrange
LaGrange Art Museum
Housed in a former 1890s jail, this gorgeous Victorian building is home to the LaGrange Art Museum (LAM). The building was built in 1892 as the Troup County Jail. In 1963 a group of local artists and patrons founded the Chattahoochee Valley Art Association, which is the artistic foundation of the Art Museum. The permanent collection of the museum began when Lamar Dodd, a homegrown artist with a national following, donated a painting. Today the museum houses an impressive collection of all types of art. LAM has a permanent collection on display, and rotating exhibits.
But art is not just for adults at the LaGrange Art Museum! Every 3rd Saturday of the month they offer a “Super Saturday” that brings the entire family together to create an art project. Following the family art project, adults can then join the “Sip and Paint” that evening. “Toddler Thursdays” is offered on the 3rd Thursday of every month from 12:30-1: 30 pm. For $15 each class will introduce kids age 1-5 to art and the Museum with short stories, activities and an art project using different mediums.
Sweetland Amphitheatre at Boyd Park
What was formerly the city park and pool, Sweetland Amphitheatre was built on its history as a spot for friends and families to gather and the home of LaGrange’s cherished Sweet Land of Liberty Parade. Established in 1935 as the City Park or Municipal Park, it became the anticipated summer “hangout” back in the day, with the addition of a swimming pool.
Today, it is again a great family hangout. In the winter, come out and enjoy ice skating, and the Sweetland Beer Garden – a heated tent serving up local craft beer and wine. In the summer, Sweetland hosts a dizzying array of concerts for the whole family and offers restaurant catering to enhance your concert experience. In October the amphitheater hosts a Craft Beer Festival – perfect for the beer lover.
History Comes Alive at the Biblical History Center in LaGrange
At its core, the Biblical History Center is an archeological museum that offers visitors an immersive peek into daily life in the ancient times. The goal of the Biblical History Center is to help people understand the Bible as it relates to the ancient times and culture. Where else can you sit in an authentic goat hair tent like the shepherds of old? Discover ancient treasures in the Biblical Life Artifacts Gallery? Ancient history can be fun for the whole family!
The Biblical History Center offers programs designed just for the young ones. The “Kids Archeological Dig” not only lets them dig in the dirt, but lets them learn the science behind the archeology while they are digging for artifacts. For young ‘foodies', there is the “Shepherds Bread Making Experience.” This hands-on class shows kids how food was once made.
Back to Nature at Hills and Dales Estate
Fuller Callaway got his start with a spool of thread that he sold, and with that money in hand, he bought more spools and thread and sold them. This entrepreneur then opened a mercantile store, that led Callaway to become a textile magnate and a fixture in the history of LaGrange. Hills and Dales sits on 35 acres. Originally owned by Sarah Ferrell, the home has magnificent gardens, which Sarah spent 61 years developing.
Fuller & Ida Cason Callaway purchased the property and commissioned their mansion to be built. The three-story mansion has 30 rooms, and the Callaways moved into their newly completed home in June of 1916, just in the nick of time to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
Like Sarah Ferrell, Ida Callaway, and later Alice Callaway loved the gardens. The greenhouse and walkways throughout the gardens are designed to have plants in bloom every month of the year. The visitor's center has a gorgeous gift shop, and guests can enjoy a short video that gives an overview and history of the grounds. There is a tram that will take you up the hill to the mansion. Hills and Dales is child-friendly for kids age six and up, and their events calendar includes special activities for the kids.
Celebrate the best of Outdoor Fun on West Point Lake
Thirty-five miles of beautiful lake beckons you to enjoy all it has to offer. There are hiking trails, swimming, boating, fishing, camping and bird watching.
Shopping Fun in Troup County
There are a plethora of locally-owned boutique shops located in LaGrange's downtown historic district. Clothing, housewares, and lots of antiques and vintage shopping. For arts and crafts lovers, the Hogansville Hummingbird Festival is a must do. Hogansville is just a short drive from LaGrange, and is held in the Fall and has over 200 local vendors.
Where to Eat and Drink
Biblical History Center
Take a step back in time as you sit down to a traditional biblical meal. The meal is a four-course meal with 15 different foods. You will be guided through the ancient meal practices, which will include Passover and the Last Supper. This unique experience is indeed one of a kind.
Taste of Lemon
Taste of Lemon offers one of the best lunches in the area! This locals favorite is housed in a former church, that was home to the Second Methodist Episcopal Church. Opened by Betty & Richard Daniels in 1982, the tradition is carried on by their daughter, Donna Close. Taste of Lemon's menu changes often, but diners have a choice of seven or eight meat dishes and 10+ vegetable sides. You absolutely must order the pineapple casserole – chunks of pineapple topped with grated cheddar cheese, and crushed Ritz crackers baked and served steaming hot make this a heavenly dish!
Mare Sol Restaurant
Locally sourced farm-to-to-table is what sets Mare Sol apart. Whatever you order on the extensive menu will delight your palate. Chef designed specials are offered every day, but are available in limited quantities. Billed as a Mediterranean restaurant, they offer so much more! Chef Devin White offers plenty to choose from, whether you are a carnivore or a vegetarian.
Wild Leap Brewery
Housed in a historic building that was once home to a Chevrolet dealership in the 1940s, and a Tire Company in the 1960s, Wild Leap brewery was begun by two Millennials who were passionate about brewing beer. In 2015 LaGrange contacted the duo about hosting a beer festival, and following the festival, they took a ‘wild leap' and began Wild Leap Brewing.
Wild Leap is one of the largest breweries on the East Coast, and they have a staff of 20. Now in the top 30% of craft breweries in the United States, Wild Leap has certainly surpassed their own expectations! In a nutshell, Wild Leap is all about taking chances and following their passion.
Where to Stay in LaGrange
There are lots of choices for places to lay your head in LaGrange. The newest offering is the Courtyard Marriot, located right on the historic downtown square. Modern accommodations (with plenty of plugs for all your electronics!), flexible spaces that allow for intimate conversation or meeting new friends, and a sleek modern look and vibe make this one of the top places to stay. Choose a King room that looks directly over the Marquis de Lafayette fountain for a birds-eye view of downtown.
Traveling with children? Then look no further than the Great Wolf Lodge, slated to open in May of 2018 in LaGrange. Great Wolf Lodge's indoor water park, with slides, lazy river and more, will keep the kids occupied all day long!
Wingate by Wyndham offers a great value for couples or families. With an outdoor pool, comfortable beds, and plenty of plugs, it is a great choice, and close to everything! There is a plethora of vacation rentals throughout Troup County.
For a get back to nature weekend, why not try a vacation rental on West Point Lake? In the summer there is no better day than one spent on or near the lake, swimming, boating or just hiking.
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Special thank you to LaGrange Chamber of Commerce for hosting me and sponsoring “A Surprising Weekend Getaway in LaGrange”
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