Distance: 87 miles, one and a half hour drive
Let’s slow down and step back in time shall we? A short road trip to the City of Forsyth might be what you need for a short escape from the hustle and bustle of urban living. Located about an hour and a half south of Atlanta, the City of Forsyth is situated right in the center of Monroe County providing easy access to several historical attractions, one-of-a-kind shops and charming southern restaurants.
Begin your exploration by heading east to a quaint town called Juliette. This little town is renowned for the filming of southern movie classic Fried Green Tomatoes. Speaking of fried green tomatoes, while in Juliette you must grab lunch at the real like The Whistle Stop Cafe. They have fried green tomatoes as an appetizer, atop a salad and nestled into a sandwich. If you’re not a tomato fan, no problem—TheWhistle Stop Cafe has many other options available on their menu to suit any craving.
Once lunch is finished it will be time to start your historic adventure. Heading over to Jarrell Plantation will offer the perfect balance of history and discovery. This time-worn plantation home is crafted from pine and one of the few survivors from Sherman’s March to the Sea. Considered a Georgia State Park and Historical Site, you can take a self-guided tour of the plantation buildings which include a blacksmith shop, syrup mill and a 30-horsepower steam engine— one of the few left in the United States. Jarrell Plantation is also home to the 17-acre Griswoldville Battlefield where the Griswoldville Battle took place on November 22, 1864. Finish out your tour with a trip to demonstration garden where sugarcane, corn and cotton are grown so visitors can experience how life was on the plantation many years ago. You can purchase tickets for your visit for a small fee once you arrive, but feel free to stay and visit as long as you would like.
Your next day adventure should have you head north to Indian Springs State Park. This park is one of the oldest in the state and features an artesian spring with actively flowing mineral water that has a strong sulphur smell. Many have visited this spring and collected the water that is chock full of minerals to benefit their health. If you’re not into mineral water, feel free to take a stroll along one of the four miles of hiking trails, play a game of miniature golf or rent a kayak.
After your day of sightseeing you might want to stop by Fresh Air Barbeque for a pick-me-up. This classic barbeque restaurant was established in 1929 and uses hickory and oak wood to smoke pork hams slowly overnight. Pork sandwiches and plates are available and can be topped with their famous tangy tomato-vinegar sauce. If you find yourself in love with the sauce. Fresh Air sells it by the pint, quart and gallon. All of your typical barbeque sides like Brunswick stew and cole slaw are available as well, but please don’t forget the pie for dessert!
Finally, leisurely shopping or just ambling may be a great finale to your trip. There are several sassy boutique options in and around Main Street in Forsyth. High Cotton Uptown features unique gifts, antiques and art while Sage & Sparrow offers perfectly polished women’s fashion. Hometown Treasures is another spot to stop in if you fancy handmade exclusive gifts and monogramming. Just walking around the downtown Forsyth Square is also an option. Be sure to put a visit to the historic train depot and war memorial on your to-do list to add in a bit more history to your road trip.
During this day of winding down, don’t forget to enjoy more southern fare. Grits Cafe is sure to please with lunch and dinner menus that will put a little southern spin on all dishes offered grits croutons on salads, a fried green tomato BLT, or maybe some grits fritters made from cheesy asiago fried grits with tomato basil cream and housemade chow chow. Finish off your meal with some chocolate caramel bread pudding and a specialty coffee from the decadent dessert menu.
The City of Forsyth may be small in size, but it is full of charm and history; a city where things move at a slower pace, but allow for travelers to relax, unwind and become entrenched in some rich Georgia history.