From a world class art museum featuring works focusing on the American West to a huge science museum pointing visitors to outer space, Cartersville, Georgia has much to offer visitors to the area. George Washington Carver Park, an historic Indian mound, a dizzying collection of classic cars, a luxurious resort with shooting grounds and a county museum in a vintage courthouse round out the list of attractions appealing to a wide range of interests.
1. Tellus Science Museum
Since its enormous exterior and sign are prominent and visible from a heavily-trafficked interstate, the Tellus Science Museum may be the first attraction people associate with Cartersville, Georgia. Covering a wealth of information inside 125,000 square feet (11612.8 square meters) of space, Tellus exhibits spotlight minerals, fossils, transportation and technology, and the Bentley Planetarium makes the sky and the universe come into focus with experts in astronomy narrating spellbinding shows throughout the day. Hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 7days a week.
Adjacent to Tellus Museum is a Solar House built by students at West Virginia University. It is open for tours Thursdays through Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
2. Booth Western Art Museum
Booth Western Art Museum sets itself apart from all other museums in the southeastern part of the United States because of its dedication to Western United States. In addition to hundreds of paintings and sculptures detailing the life of cowboys and Native Americans, Booth Museum also has a Civil War Gallery and a large section dedicated to United States Commanders in Chief. In it, you will find a signed, one-page letter from every United States President from George Washington to Donald Trump. This is particularly popular with school groups and homeschoolers who make regular field trips to the museum.
The Booth Cafe near the gift shop in the museum serves wonderful sandwiches, salads, burgers and desserts, so it is convenient to make a day-long visit to appreciate everything the museum has to offer.
3. George Washington Carver Park and Pine Acres Retreat
George Washington Carver Park was the first park in Georgia established specifically for African Americans. At the beginning, it was considered a beach getaway for well-to-do black families in Atlanta because of the shoreline along Lake Allatoona. Little Richard and Ray Charles were some of the famous artists who appeared in concert at the park.
A portion of the shoreline was used by the Atlanta Girl Scouts Council and was known as Camp Pine Acres, but now it is Pine Acres Retreat managed by the Cartersville/Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It is a peaceful, wooded area open to the public and used for swimming, picnicking, family reunions and corporate retreats. Cabins and an event facility are available through advanced reservations.
4. Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site
Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site encompasses 54 acres (21.8 hectares) and 550 years of Native American occupation and history. Six earthen mounds, borrow pits, a defensive ditch and a v-shaped fish trap at the nearby Etowah River paint a story of a highly-developed way of life filled with rituals and artistic decorations and implements. Only a small portion of the site has been excavated, but that effort produced an abundance of artifacts and revelations.
At the historic site, you will find a museum, a gift shop, picnic tables and a nature trail. It is open every day except Monday, and there is a small admission fee.
5. Bartow History Museum
The Bartow History Museum is housed in the Old Bartow County Courthouse built in 1869. The exhibits provide glimpses of a 200-year span of life in and around Cartersville, beginning with the Cherokee Indians and proceeding to the present. Photographs, murals and artifacts tell the story.
The museum and gift shop are open every day except Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and there is a small admission fee.
6. Old Car City U.S.A.
Old Car City U.S.A. is fun, quirky and downright amazing. It is referred to as “the world’s largest classic car junkyard.” Now encompassing 34 acres (13.7 hectares) and over 4000 cars, it is a car enthusiast’s and a photographer’s dream location. Dean Lewis is the self-appointed Mayor of Old Car City and continues to maintain the property and business which dates back to 1931. Plan to spend a few hours there. You’ll get plenty of exercise and feelings of nostalgia as you gaze at these relics of the past.
Be sure to go upstairs in the general store at the entrance to see the styrofoam cup collection. The artistry, creativity and the sheer number will astound you.
Old Car City U.S.A. is a few miles outside of Cartersville, on Highway 411 in White, Georgia. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
7. Barnsley Resort
Barnsley Resort is on the property which was once the plantation home of Godfrey Barnsley, built in the late 1840’s. It is now a sprawling, countryside location with sumptuous dining, luxurious accommodations, a bucolic setting and exceptional outdoor experiences.
The Beretta Shooting Grounds and the pristine golf course are popular with guests to Barnsley, but the spa, the nature trails, saltwater pool, fitness facility and the immaculate formal gardens surrounding the ruins of the old plantation home also have a special allure.
Guests may choose from a range of overnight accommodations. Some may prefer a guest room at the inn while families or groups may opt for one of the large or small cottages, each with a distinctive floor plan and exterior. Three restaurants on the property are overseen by Executive Chef Nicolas Lebas and range from casual to truly elegant.
Firepits encircled with adirondack chairs scattered throughout the grounds provide a nice touch and create a sense of neighborhood and community.
This is a great place for a honeymoon, a weekend getaway, a corporate retreat or even a family vacation.
Barnsley Resort is in Bartow County but is a few miles from Cartersville in Adairsville, Georgia.
From the rustic to the sublime and everything in between
Cartersville will surprise many people with its range of attractions. If you want to learn and become informed, then the museums will more than fill that desire. If you want to relax in peace and quiet, the George Washington Carver Park would be a good choice. If you want to visit a site that is sure to become a conversation starter, then try Old Car City U.S.A. And, if you want to see luxury at its finest in a rural setting, then book a stay at Barnsley Resort.
These sites coupled with the interesting and eclectic shops on both sides of the railroad tracks in downtown Cartersville give you many reasons why a day or more in this town needs to be on your travel agenda.
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