24-Hours in Thomasville, GA
Tucked in the shade of the Big Oak, Thomasville, Georgia, offers a retreat to yesteryear with a modern pulse. Just 35 miles northeast of Tallahassee, Thomasville earned a reputation as the “Winter Resort of the South” during the Victorian era, when wealthy Northerners flocked to bask in its Southern warmth and hospitality. Its tourism legacy left the town with a lasting downtown charm, plantation heritage and arts scene. Today, a weekend in Thomasville is the perfect family destination and getaway for adults alike. Here, you’ll walk the streets of the thriving downtown, feast your eyes on the architecture and immerse yourself in a foodie heaven.
Shop in historic downtown
Thomasville’s downtown was adored by the crème de la crème during its luxury vacation era. Today, window shoppers are gleeful in the historic downtown, adorned with resorted Victorian storefronts and brick paths. Consequently, Thomasville is one of less than 100 U.S. cities to receive distinction as a Great American Main Street City, celebrated for maintaining the town’s historic fabric while fostering modern vitality and economic success. Venture beyond the windows of downtown boutiques, antique stores and restaurants for a true oasis of Southern charm. A popular shop, Firefly, is a “unique, eclectic treasure,” as described by owner Nan Myers, hosting natural and homemade décor, jewelry and kids’ items. Another must-see is Kevin’s, a fine outdoor gear and apparel mainstay. Among Thomasville’s many antique shops is A Different Drummer Gallery, a sporting art gallery located in a two-story house with a breathtaking courtyard garden.
Travel back in time
The true “Georgia Belle” of Thomasville is the Pebble Hill Plantation. The pre-Civil-War-era farm and later shooting plantation transports visitors to days gone by with a display of life in the antebellum South. On a tour of the grounds, experience the exquisite Main House and buildings that once supported it, including the plantation store, horse stables, antique automobile garage – and even a dog hospital. On a one-hour guided tour of the Main House, you’ll find the priceless collections of fine art and antique furniture that landed the building on the National Register of Historic Places. Continue your visit on a self-guided grounds tour on the plantation’s 75 public, polished acres. The peaceful landscape stuns with expansive gardens, a picnic area by the pond and a reflecting pool.
Play in the great outdoors
Thomasville is famous for its game-hunting heritage, especially revered for its history chasing the secretive bobwhite quail. After supporting the plantation town for nearly a century, the quail population has since declined. In a tribute to the quail’s contribution to Thomasville’s culture and economy, locals are raising awareness and habitat restoration efforts to usher in another prosperous century for the bird. Now, a dozen bronze quail statues pepper the city, eager to be “hunted” by scavenger-hunt-loving kids and nature enthusiasts. Try to find all 12 while exploring downtown on the Historic Thomasville Walking-Driving Tour.
In an afternoon strolling the Thomasville Rose Garden, you’ll see and smell why Thomasville earned the nickname, the “City of Roses.” The garden features 500 rose bushes, floral-lined paths and relaxing gazebos. While you’re there, visit the adjacent Cherokee Lake Park for fishing spots, a playground and a 1-mile walking trail around the lake.
Eat, drink and be merry
Thomasville’s food is so good you’ll want to taste it all. Luckily, The Taste of Thomasville Food Tour offers a three-hour walking and tasting progressive lunch through downtown’s homegrown eateries. The tour visits six award-winning food artisans, sharing Thomasville’s culture and history along the way. Adults travelling will enjoy seeing the town by moonlight during the After Hours tour; visiting five spots for beer, wine and cocktails, with paired foods. For a taste of the area’s delicacies, try specialized wine and cheese stores, Gin Creek Wine Thomasville Tasting Room and Sweet Grass Dairy and Cheese Shop. Take home your favorite handcrafted cheese, named the area’s must-have souvenir by Explore Georgia.
The chance to stay in one of Thomasville’s historic homes turned bed-and-breakfasts is a romantic getaway, wholesome family retreat and history lesson – all wrapped into one. The Pebble Hill Plantation offers two locations on its property for guests looking to immerse themselves in the living museum. Other Victorian homes restored for the 21st-century guest include The Paxton Historic House Hotel, Freedom Oaks Bed-and-Breakfast and Magnolia Leaf Bed-and-Business Retreat. For a traditional hotel, high-rated options include the Best Western and Rose City Conference Center, Baymont Inn and Suites, and Hampton Inn.
Thomasville offers something magical – a charm that is better felt than seen. A 24-hour escape here will leave you feeling rejuvenated with a heart full of appreciation for simpler times. Make the trip, and Thomasville will be calling you to “come back quick.”