Our amazing ATSCC group recently spent a lovely afternoon at the Barnsley Resort in North Georgia.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch after which we explored Barnsley Gardens and historic ruin, with a guided tour of the flora and fauna on the grounds of the resort. There were over a dozen attendees on our spring day The weather was perfect for an outdoor hike through the gardens of the Barnsley Estate.

Barnsley Resort, a 160 acre property, was originally purchased by Godfrey Barnsley, a British broker, to build a house for his wife, Julia, a Savannah native.  Designed by architect Andrew Jackson Downing, the Italian style mansion with gothic accents named “Woodlands” was constructed with bricks that were made from soil of the property, giving them that deep rust color and possibly contributing to the walls withstanding time and weather.

Sadly, Julia died of a lung ailment before she could live in the house. A year after her death, Godfrey visited the property and sensed Julia’s presence in the gardens, feeling she would want the family to live in the mansion.

For generations Barnsley family descendants lived in the home until 1906 when a tornado damaged the roof beyond repair resulting in the home standing empty and abandoned for another eight decades. In the decades around the 1930s two of the Barnsley brothers quarreled resulting in one fatally shooting the other.  At this point the estate was bought and sold by a few casually interested parties but it wasn’t until 1988 when Prince Hubertus Fugger purchased the property that he began to restore the ruins and repair the gardens to create an oasis for travelers finding themselves in the northwest corner of Georgia.  His grounds crew discovered that the original boxwoods had survived around the house, and because of their care for them the parterre gardens are currently classified as one of the few existing antebellum gardens in the southern states. Can you just imagine the secrets they hold?

Barnsley Resort has an 18-hole Fazio designed golf course, a spa, horseback riding, sporting clays, and hiking trails.  Its remote location allows for guests to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a bit to relax and pretend for the moment that they are the owners of this beautiful estate, with such an interesting history. I think we need another trip to Barnsley Estate, and can I request that we stay at least one night?

Nancy Flaherty, an ATSCC member with her husband Mike since 2016, was looking for news or topics to write about for her job as a journalist for the Toulouse lifestyle magazine “Captendance” when she came across the Google item “Atlanta Toulouse Sister Cities Committee” and she has adored this group ever since!

Nancy Flaherty

Author, “French Flair – 10 Essential Items for Style and the History that Makes them so Iconic”


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