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- Thomasville's Rich History
- 1. Sink Your Teeth into the Best Southern Cuisine
- 2. Pair Local Wine with Chocolate
- 3. Explore the Crown Jewel of Thomasville, Georgia
- 4. Snap and Sniff at the Thomasville Rose Garden
- 5. Taste Your Way Through Thomasville
- 6. Get your Dairy On!
- 7. Have Your Picture Taken at the Big Oak: No Selfies Needed!
- 8. Tour the Jack Hadley Black History Museum
- 9. Visit the Lapham -Patterson House
- Will Thomasville, Georgia Be In Your Future?
If you’re building a southern road trip, add Thomasville, Georgia to your itinerary. Why? You’ll find that the City of Roses has a rich history, decadent food, Victorian mansions and Southern charm. What more could you want? Here are the top things to do in Thomasville.
Southwest Georgia is home to a small town that fascinates me. Located about 40 minutes north of Tallahassee, Florida, Thomasville is steeped in Southern traditions. It is worth visiting due to its impressive historic buildings, yummy dining options, charming shops and friendly locals. I fell in love with this town on a random hop off the interstate during a lunch quest years ago. I could not wait to go back to Thomasville, Georgia and explore all that it has to offer with my daughter, Taylor.
Thomasville’s Rich History
Start your visit with a stop at the Thomasville History Center. You’ll learn how the city became a getaway for wealthy Northerners, looking to escape harsh winters. We call them snowbirds now.
Victorian era visitors to the winter resort of the south enjoyed the great outdoors by fishing, playing golf and quail hunting. With luxurious hotels and fine dining, the city of Thomasville developed and retains a legendary reputation for hospitality.
Here are 9 things not to be missed while traveling in adorable Thomasville.
1. Sink Your Teeth into the Best Southern Cuisine
Jonah’s Fish & Grits is a Thomasville icon – the epitome of tasty dishes, hospitable service and a mission that the owner, Caleb, shares with his hometown. Best known for their shrimp & grits, Jonah’s menu has all of the Southern staples and fresh seafood dishes. Thomasville locals and visitors love Jonah’s Fish & Grits. Their shrimp & grits even made it to the Georgia’s 100 Plates Locals Love article.
The Cajun Shrimp & Grits that I tried was wonderful. The creamy goodness of this dish sent my taste buds into a frenzy. Taylor said that this was one of the best meals of her life. She loved everything from the Cyclone Shrimp to the creme brûlée dessert.
2. Pair Local Wine with Chocolate
Farmers Daughter Vineyards Winery & Tasting Room has something unique to the wine world – cookie and chocolate pairings to go with their wine. Four varieties of organic chocolate plates, cookie platters and local cheeses may be purchased to enhance your wine experience. The clever names of the wines available are Daredevil, Heartbreaker and Bombshell, to name a few, and have adorable labels.
Taylor stopped in Farmers Daughter Vineyards to pick up a souvenir bottle of wine for her husband. While there, I opted to try their cookie offerings. I selected the lemon rosemary shortbread cookie, which was superb! I didn’t expect to be wowed by a pastry in a wine tasting room. Too bad we didn’t discover this cute tasting room sooner.
3. Explore the Crown Jewel of Thomasville, Georgia
Pebble Hill Plantation is a fabulous 3,000 acre property and mansion with an incredible array of pricey antiques, famous artworks and splendor. This grand 20th century home of Elisabeth “Pansy” Ireland Poe is operated by her foundation and spectacularly preserved. Pansy was an avid sportsman, horse jockey, philanthropist and gardener, all of which is apparent at this 29 room Pebble Hill landmark.
Unfortunately, I cannot showcase Pebble Hill’s treasures with you as pictures were not allowed. Just seeing the exquisite craftsmanship of this Thomasville home is impressive enough. My favorite parts of the sporting estate were the gorgeous magnolia lined road leading up to the main house, the vintage Louis Vuitton trunks and Pansy’s first edition collection of Audubon’s Birds of North America prints.
4. Snap and Sniff at the Thomasville Rose Garden
If you’re lucky enough to be in Thomasville in the spring, you can’t miss the Thomasville Rose Garden. Over 1500 rose bushes come alive to delight your senses. Many of the species have fun names. Have you ever seen a Flintstones’ inspired Yabba Dabba Doo rose? Well, you can in Thomasville. The Garden’s handy map will guide you to each of the varieties. The Rose Garden hosts an annual Rose Show and Festival in April.
The Rose Garden is a two-fer attraction in Thomasville. Once you’ve had your fill of the flowers, head over to the park’s Cherokee Lake. A walking trail wraps around the water and there’s a playground for the littles to run off some energy.
5. Taste Your Way Through Thomasville
The Taste of Thomasville Food Tours is in its ninth year of operation, proving they were cool before food tours became all the rage. With plenty of history, walking and good food, these tours are not to be missed. Plus, there is no better way to get to know a town than through its food. While walking around downtown Thomasville, Deborah (owner) shared stories about the history of Thomasville. She was a teacher in Thomasville and if it happened there, she knows about it. I was impressed with her great knowledge.
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While strolling the streets of the historic downtown, we sampled popular dishes from locally owned restaurants: pizza and breadsticks from Moonspin Pizza (don’t miss the breadsticks and pesto/marinara sauce), tea and coffee from Grassroots Coffee Co., Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop, zesty shrimp & grits from Jonah’s Fish & Grits and a smorgasbord of their specialities including Fried Green Tomatoes and Greek Salad from George & Louie’s. My favorite plate was the Taste of Thomasville (what a coincidence!) Cheese Board with Pimento, Thomasville Tomme, Asher Blue and Green Hill cheeses, all paired with pecans, pickles, preserves and crackers.
6. Get your Dairy On!
If you read Southern cooking magazines, chances are you have seen the award winning Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop in them. Visiting their Thomasville shop was a noteworthy experience for me. Sweet Grass is known for their cow’s milk cheeses, with Jersey cows who are fed using the rotational grazing option, which sounds complicated, but makes for a superb product. They subscribe to sustainable agriculture and humanely raised cows, both practices that are near and dear to my heart.
Taylor and I sampled the Taste of Thomasville cheese board (Asher Blue, Green Hill, SGD Pimento and Thomasville Tomme) with glasses of wine. Our cheeses were paired with roasted pecans, green tomato marmalade, strawberry fig preserves, crackers and house made bread & butter pickles. They all went perfectly with Sweet Grass Dairy’s delicious cheeses.
The shop’s located on Broad Street. Take your time exploring the rest of the downtown boutiques while you’re there.
7. Have Your Picture Taken at the Big Oak: No Selfies Needed!
When was the last time a town you visited gave you something free just for coming? Thomasville does! The town’s enormous Big Oak, once visited by President Eisenhower (I’m a Presidential fanatic!), was born in 1685 and has a circumference of 26 feet.
Have your picture taken in front of The Big Oak by calling (229) 236-0053 and smiling at the camera across the street. When you return home, log onto the Big Oak’s website and download your picture. Search by the month you visited. Simple, huh? Taylor and I were in a big group so our photo was not very sharp, but it was still fun.
8. Tour the Jack Hadley Black History Museum
This not to be missed collection of African American artifacts was established in 1995. One man, James “Jack” Hadley acquired over 4,500 items essential to Black History, both locally and nationally.
An important focus of the Jack Hadley Black History Museum is on the important contribution made by Black veterans, including the Buffalo Soldiers. Serving in the West after the Civil War, the Buffalo Soldiers served as America’s first park rangers, protecting the national parks from threats like illegal poaching.
9. Visit the Lapham -Patterson House
They don’t make houses like this anymore. That’s what you’ll think when you visit the Lapham-Patterson House in Thomasville. A Victorian gem, the mansion was built between 1884-1885 as a vacation home for the Lapham family.
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975, the Lapham-Patterson House is operated as part of the Georgia State Parks system. Guided tours are available and there’s a picnic area so you can pretend to be the lady of the manor while you eat your lunch.
Where to Stay in the Rose City
Thomasville’s South Eden was built in 1825. The home’s Showboat Theater held the second private showing of “Gone With the Wind.” My husband is the biggest fan of that classic Southern movie so he was jealous of this trip.
Today, South Eden is a grand resort venue and luxury resort, offering cottages, guest suites, an indoor 1934 Pool House, spa, meeting rooms and several eateries. You don’t have to be a guest at South Eden Resort to visit or enjoy its amenities; Thomasville locals and visitors are always welcome.
If you prefer accommodations that are more intimate, consider one of the city’s bed and breakfast inns.
Find Additional Places to Stay Near Thomasville, Georgia
Will Thomasville, Georgia Be In Your Future?
Thomasville, Georgia is a town that you should definitely get to know. Take a step into a town without heavy traffic or huge crowds, like Atlanta, and enjoy true Southern hospitality. I am thrilled to share my Thomasville, Georgia finds with you. I hope that during your visit you will come to love it as much as this Southern Traveling Mom does.