Dunaway Gardens: A Photo Journal of Atlanta’s Secret Paradise

Dunaway Gardens was once a large theatrical training ground for producers, directors, and performers.  This garden is the South’s largest natural rock and floral garden, and was built by the husband of Hetty Jane Dunaway (Sewell.) It saw the likes of Walt Disney and other famous figures.  Sarah Ophelia Colley lived here as a director for several years, known for her character Minnie Pearl.

Dunaway Gardens

After Ms. Dunaway passed in the early 60s, the gardens fell into disrepair.  In 2000 the gardens were purchased by a private owner and restored through a painstaking process.  It opened to the public in 2003 and sits on the National Registrar of Historic Places. While regularly open for private events, it is only opened to the public on certain days of the month.

I wasn’t sure how my young boys would fare, but they loved it! I gave them a bit of back history which they assimilated quickly. In fact, they commandeered my iPhone and proceeded to make videos at each section of the garden…pretending they were stage performers of old.

There are 12 scenic stops, including three waterfalls, several ponds, and more.  The amphitheater and Great Pool were their favorites.  We spent about 90 minutes leisurely touring the grounds. My 2 year old needed help on the stone stairs, but otherwise walked the entire way himself, mesmerized by the flowers and water.

Entrance, Arrowhead Pools, and Gazebo

Dunaway Gardens

Dunaway Gardens


Dunaway Gardens


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Hanging Gardens

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Wetland Overlook

Dunaway Gardens

Sunken Garden

Funny story about these concrete boulders…my oldest said they looked like the trolls in Frozen. haha.

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Japanese Gardens

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Great Pool

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Wedding Tree and Pink Patio

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Lesli Peterson

Lesli Peterson

Lesli made her way to Atlanta over 20 years ago, after living in Germany, Japan and six U.S. states. She relishes the discovery of obscure, offbeat and unwonted places, and she will chat up any willing stranger to uncover a new secret locale.

After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.

Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.
Lesli Peterson

2 Comments on "Dunaway Gardens: A Photo Journal of Atlanta’s Secret Paradise"

  1. This is a beautiful place. Tks for featuring it! I will be taking my family down to visit in a few weeks.

  2. Wendy Miller | 06/15/2018 at 8:49 am | Reply

    So, where is this?

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