It’s the most wonderful time of the year…and the most wonderful place to celebrate the start of the season is Barnsley Resort. This is the kind of place that gives you the “oh my gosh I feel like a kid again” Christmas feeling.
Every inch of the property is dripping with lights, the fireplaces are covered in lush holiday greenery and garland, silver, gold, red and green ornaments and woodland creatures oozing Southern flair. There aren’t many places on property where you can’t hear the crackling of a fire or holiday music. If Santa decided he wanted to move the North Pole someone a little warmer, and who could blame him, Barnsley is move-in ready. It’s THAT festive.
Once you’ve decided that you simply can’t spend another holiday season without experiencing the magic of Barnsley Resort, you’re going to need a plan to maximize everything the resort offers, while making sure you block off enough time to drink up and enjoy the hundreds of holiday displays throughout the 3,000 acres. It’s no easy task, but tis’ the season. Let’s begin.
During the day while the sun is still up I recommend exploring the miles of hiking trails, taking a horseback ride (please say hi to Luke and Cactus for us) and then you CAN’T MISS clay shooting at Spring Bank Plantation. Leave some time for holiday shopping – because their selection of outdoor great is incredible. We also got enough stocking stuffers for Bocephus, the pup, for the next three years.
But here is the tricky part…you need to be back with enough time to do one of two things before the sun sinks:
- Scotch. Dugan’s Tavern, the bar in the Woodlands Grill, has an unbelievable menu of Scotch whisky representing various regions including The Lowlands, Islands, Islay, The Highlands and Speyside. Nothing says holly jolly like an amazing Scotch. FACT.
- Beer. The outdoor beer garden needs to be a daily stop on your trip. And if you aren’t staying on property you’re going to need to make up for lost time and visit twice. Order a bratwurst, hot dog or pretzel and a Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale (a local Atlanta brewed beer) or Creature Comforts Tropicalia (brewed in Athens, GA). Grab a spot by the fire. This is what is going to go through your head “there is no place on earth I would rather be.”
Then…s’mores…right when the sun is going down. Each evening the Barnsley Resort staff rolls out the red carpet for the official dessert of the bonfire crowd. Guests get complimentary graham crackers, amazing chocolate candy bars and marshmallows to make s’mores over the picturesque outdoor fire pits scattered between the lit trees. Pro tip: if you get carried away with the marshmallows the resort staff will not judge you. Even if you get a mallow stuck in your hair. In fact, they will pour you another beer and cheers you for your passion. That’s the kind of place this is. These are my people.
AND NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE LIGHTS! Thousands of them. They start popping out of the darkness and you really feel like you are part of Christmas coming to life…and it’s not just the scotch talking. Although, at this point it’s probably time to order a Hot Toddy or hot chocolate because gosh darn it, it’s COLD outside, y’all! Head over to the ruins, all that remains of a beautiful home Godfrey Barnsley built for his wife Julia, a shipping heiress from Savannah, who died before it was ever finished. If you listen really closely you can hear Julia singing Christmas carols to Godfrey…okay at this point it could be the Hot Toddy talking.
It’s magical and I simply can’t do it justice. But I had to try. It feels more like Christmas at Barnsley Resort than anywhere else I’ve experienced in the world. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Thank you to Barnsley Resort for hosting us in this storybook setting for a holiday getaway! It was a trip of a lifetime. All recommendations and statements are mine – including the marshmallow hair incident. We can’t wait to go back!