Cartersville Caters to Tourists
By Katie Wheeler, Canton Resident
If you and your family enjoy fun-filled day trips or weekend stays, Cartersville is the perfect place to visit. A quick thirty-minute trip from Cherokee County puts you in the heart of historic downtown Cartersville. When you’re eager to browse boutiques, treat the family to a fine dining experience, or enjoy an outdoor adventure, Cartersville has activities for every member of the family.
Historic downtown Cartersville bursts with a multitude of locally-owned shops and restaurants that will have you skipping down the sidewalks for hours. For example, Blue Sky Outfitter has the best outdoor gear for summertime adventures. Cartersville Antique Gallery has an assortment of unique items, including a vast collection of pottery by W. J. Gordy, a local resident. Local clothing stores like HayParker Boutique feature one-of-a-kind gifts, jewelry, and clothes. Olive Tree and Vine offers ultra-premium olive oils and balsamic vinegars, as well as wine tastings open to the public on the weekends.
This summer the downtown district of Cartersville will also host “Listening Hours” when two live musicians perform.
New in 2021 is Cartersville’s Entertainment District, which allows visitors to shop while enjoying alcoholic beverages to go on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
The Bartow History Museum is another top destination for visitors. Exhibits feature two hundred years of history, from Cherokee Indian artifacts from the early 1800s to current events. While you’re downtown, don’t forget to admire the Coca-Cola sign outside Young Brothers Pharmacy. Completed in 1894, it is the first Coca-Cola Company outdoor painted-wall advertisement. For lovers of the arts, Cartersville is home to the Booth Western Art Museum, the second-largest art museum in Georgia, and a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. Paintings and sculpture depict Western culture through the eyes of many nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first-century artists. Honoring our region’s close ties with Native American history, the Booth Western Art Museum also features more than two hundred Native American artifacts. The Presidential Gallery contains a photograph and original signed letter from all forty-three United States presidents as well. Exhibitions rotate at the Booth Western Art Museum all the time, so it is a must-see year-round. From May through September the Booth Museum will feature Ross Rossin’s Captivated: Rossin’s Southwest and Beyond. Another educational experience that appeals to children and adults alike is the Tellus Science Museum. A little outside of downtown Cartersville, the expansive science museum has many hands-on exhibits for all ages. Mineral and fossil galleries have fascinating artifacts, along with the Science in Motion gallery that highlights transportation technology. Interactive activities such as Gem Panning and Fossil Dig will be the highlight of your child’s visit. In June Tellus will host RockFest, featuring gem, mineral, fossil, and jewelry dealers with rare treasures you can purchase. It will also offer many presentations and activities for children. The Solar House is an outdoor exhibit created as part of the 2015 U. S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The house features interactive components for visitors to learn about energy-efficient technology and design. For an out-of-this-world experience, visit the Bentley Planetarium at Tellus Science Museum for an awe-inspiring journey through the galaxy. This May Tellus will host a National Astronomy Day event with stargazing, a movie showing, and other family activities.
Upcoming in late 2021 a new sister museum to all three aforementioned Bartow County museums will spark the hearts of car junkies everywhere. The Savoy Automobile Museum will feature four exhibition galleries, a presentation theater, a thirty-thousand-square-foot storage garage, and an outdoor pavilion for car shows, concerts, cruise-ins, and more. The museum will be dedicated to the history and diversity of automobiles. Educational experiences will interest all ages, and events will engage the community year-round. Once you’ve toured the shops, browsed the art, and panned for gems, there’s still much to do outdoors in and around Cartersville. Red Top Mountain State Park boasts fifteen miles of hiking trails, a sandy beach on Lake Allatoona, and picnic shelters, so you can stop for lunch. Lake Allatoona has many recreational facilities on its shores with campgrounds, parks, and fishing spots. Lovers of watersports enjoy boat rentals on the lake and paddling activities on Bartow’s stretch of the Etowah River. Pine Acres Retreat is Bartow’s newest property on Lake Allatoona. It offers space for group getaways, family reunions, church outings, corporate picnics, and more. Bartow County has a rich Native American history. You can immerse yourself in its culture by visiting the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site. You will see six earthen mounds, a plaza, a village site, borrow pits, and a defensive ditch, all home to several thousand Native Americans from 1000 A.D. to 1550 A.D., according to the Georgia State Parks website.
To finish your day full of sight-seeing, shopping, adventure, and museum hopping, you’ll want to enjoy one of Downtown Cartersville’s exceptional restaurants. Located in historic buildings around the square, these restaurants create an experience and ambiance you won’t find at chain eateries. For example, The City Cellar and Loft features southern classics such as fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and brown sugar buttermilk pie. Yum! Named Most Charming Restaurant in Georgia by LoveFood.com, Appalachian Grill is another outstanding restaurant in historic downtown. It offers refined southern dishes as well as classic entrees. Menu items include Kentucky bourbon salmon, sea scallops arrabbiata, and crème brulee. Trip Advisor named Ate Track Bar and Grill a Traveler’s Choice in 2020. The quirky eatery in downtown charms folks with its rock and roll theme and vintage music collectables. Fill up on its specialty burgers, taqueria-style options, hearty sandwiches, and vegetarian offerings. Follow up dinner with family fun at Lakepoint Station. Whether you’re nine or ninety, you will enjoy the attractions at this destination. Bowling, miniature golf, laser tag, rock climbing, and an extensive arcade keeps the whole family entertained for hours. Lakepoint Station can be an all-day excursion of its own. It even offers educational field trips, special events, and parties.
Cartersville and Bartow County overflow with places for every interest. Families, couples, adults, and children all find something to enjoy together in this charming city. Cherokee County’s close proximity allows for a short day trip to visit your favorite attraction or a prolonged stay to experience them all.
The next time you lack plans for the weekend, consider the alluring attractions in our neighboring county. You will be thrilled.