I’ll admit it, I was a little shocked there were so many things to do in Thomasville, Ga. I’d heard of a world-class food tour in Southwest Georgia. Well, ok, that would be a reason to visit for a day, but a whole weekend?
Let me tell you, my cousin and I visited for three days and only scratched the surface. I don’t just mean the standard girlfriends getaway where you sit around drinking too much wine, then have a spa treatment.
You can definitely have a spa vacation in Thomasville, but I like to include active adventure in my getaways and Thomasville has plenty of those too.
If you are like me, read on.
Chat Up the Locals
Most of the establishments in Thomasville are locally owned and operated, it’s one of the things that gives this Southwest Georgia town it’s unique flair. So go ahead and ask for the manager and talk to the shopkeepers. They’ll tell you what’s going on and probably invite you to join them.
Go Quail Hunting. The southwest region of Georgia is known as the quail capital of the world. To truly absorb the character of the area, go on a quail hunt at one of the nearby plantations.
We visited Quail Country Plantation just a little over an hour outside of Thomasville. Owner LeeAnn Dalrymple is the third generation to run the plantation and she is a perfect hostess. Heading into the fields gun on your shoulder, watching the dogs work, it’s empowering and not something you can do anywhere – and no experience is necessary, I’d never hunted before our trip.
Can’t imagine shooting a bird? No worries, Quail Country has a five stand shooting clays course – but honestly, you’ll miss something if you don’t get to watch the dogs work.
Rock Out at First Friday. Visit during a Friday between March through December (except July) to mix and mingle with the locals at First Friday. This monthly event usually includes chilling on the lawn for a concert at the Amphitheater.
Pack a picnic from Sweetgrass Dairy Cheese Shop, with a bottle of wine from Farmer’s Daughter, or just get some nibbles from the food truck, this is a low-key good time that will make you feel like a local.
Bike the Red Clay Trails. Every Saturday morning at 8 am, the folks at Hubs and Hops lead a ride along part of the 300 miles of trails in the area, including through oak lined plantations you won’t get to see any other way.
All abilities are welcome and if you don’t have a bike, just call owner Roger Hawkes a few days ahead and reserve one. Afterwards, relax with a craft brew or glass of wine on the patio at Hubs and Hops.
Big Oak. Dwight Eisenhower put a picture of this live oak in the White House. Be sure to get the girls together for a photo too. The Big Oak Cam takes your photo in front of the tree and you can download it. Make sure to do a crazy one as well.
The The Hare and the Hart owner Amy Hart. You can paint your own version of the hare and elk.
Learn Something – Get Something Unique to Take Home
Paint Your Own Keepsake. Yes, you can do the painting parties pretty much anywhere, but at The Hare and the Hart gift store your painting is an outline of one of artist Maddie Hart’s woodland animals. Maddie is the daughter of owner Amy Hart, so you won’t find these designs in any other shop. It’s like an adult coloring book on canvas.
Knit a scarf. One of the coolest shops in Thomasville is The Fuzzy Goat, a knitting store that also hosts classes. Walk away with a new skill AND a new addition to your wardrobe.
Novices are welcome, and if you think knitting is only for your grandmother – you need to see this cozy, funky shop, feel the deliciously soft yarns, and talk to owner Cadence Kidwell. You’ll walk away knowing that knitting is hip.
Get Off Your Duff and Get Active
Taste of Thomasville Food Tours. One of the first activities on your list should be a Taste of Thomasville food tour. Owner Debra Smith is passionate about the food she showcases, as well as the history of Thomasville.
This well paced tour gives you a great overview of the city – from its history to its food. You’ll taste some of the best dishes in the town from local chefs, and learn town lore that will make the rest of your trip more interesting.
Go Bowling. Yes, you can bowl at home, but you can’t bowl in the second oldest bowling alley in America, located in the backyard of a historic mansion. Say what?
The Thomasville History Center is located in the former home of Oliver Ewart, who built the bowling alley/gym/shooting range for his tween son. You can see the bowling alley on a tour of the History Center, but the museum has also been known to host public events at the bowling alley where you can test your skills. Sign me up.
Wacky House Tour. While you are at the History Center, go across the street and see the weird and quirky Lapham Patterson House, a quirky example of Victorian era architecture. None of the windows or doors are the same height. There are 50 different exits, and the house is built around a hexagonal shaped room. And then there are the eccentric owner stories.
Pebble Hill Plantation. Pebble Hill Plantation is a more traditional home, but still has lots of interesting stories. I enjoyed the house tour, but preferred wandering the grounds even more.
We said hello to the horses, wandered through the cemetery, which sits right next to the original tennis courts, and even walked through the hedge maze. After so much activity, it’s nice to relax on a gorgeous day and just take in the beauty.
Shop – It’s a verb
We’ve already told you about two of our favorite shops, the open and airy The Hare and the Hart and the funky Fuzzy Goat. Here are three other boutiques you’ll want to visit while you are in Thomasville.
SouthLife Supply Co. SouthLife Supply buys rattlesnakes. It says so on a sign at the check out. They also make stunning shotgun shell jewelry and beautiful leather goods for men and women onsite in a workshop above the store.
Love the cowhide purse with the shotgun shell closure, but wish it had longer handles, a pocket, or a monogrammed plate? SouthLife Supply owners Kelly and Heather Abbott will work with you to design your creation and bring it to life. And if you do happen to bring in a rattlesnake, they can make that into something special for you too.
Kevin’s Fine Outdoor Gear and Apparel. You can’t visit Thomasville without visiting Kevin’s. Even the double wood door entry is strong, inviting and exudes class. This is where the folks who come to hunt the nearby plantations gear up.
Owners Kevin and Kathleen Kelly have everything you need for a day on the plantation from the guns, to the clothes, to boots that will keep your legs from the briers out in the quail fields.
Afterwards dress for dinner in something casual but sophisticated – Kevin’s has that too. And if you want to look like a local, be sure to pick up a Kevin’s t-shirt.
The Bookshelf. Every downtown worth its salt needs a stylish bookstore. In Thomasville that’s The Bookshelf owned by Annie Jones. If you have kids with you, give them some time to play in the award-winning children’s section of the store. They can cozy into a teepee with a good read while you peruse the carefully curated titles in the adult section.
Like many shops in The Hare and the Hart and Fuzzy Goat, The Bookshelf also has events and classes, so do a little homework before your trip to find out about upcoming events to make your shopping trip even more active.
Relics. You have to make a stop in this comfortable antique store where you’ll find plenty to take you back to simpler times. Our favorite find, a pink 1950’s hairdryer that had been turned into a floor lamp! My cousins and I both went home with slate tiles from an old plantation that we plan to use as cheese trays. If we had more time, I’m sure we would have found a few more gems too.
Paxton Inn owner Carol Whitney puts the finishing touches on breakfast.
Experience Thomasville at the Paxton House
It’s always more fun to visit a friend who has the inside track on your destination than to just check into a hotel – especially in a town like Thomasville. That’s why the place to stay is The Paxton House on Remington, just a few short-walking blocks from Downtown.
This luxurious bed and breakfast has a mixture of antiques and modern furnishings giving it a comfortable feel versus a museum like some B&B’s. Owner Carol Whitney, a gregarious cheerleader for the town, often partners with local merchants to create themed weekends.
It turns out that wide front porch, perfect for hanging out and drinking too much wine with the girls, is also perfect for a knitting circle or book club. The recently renovated modern kitchen at the Paxton is a prime spot for cooking demonstrations too.
Think you might want to do a girls shooting weekend? Carol is part of GRITS – Girls Really In To Shooting and can help you plan it.
What Else Can You Dream Up?
These are just a few ideas for your active girls getaway in Thomasville, Georgia. What I found talking to all the amazing local merchants is they can do just about anything you can dream up.
I was raving about my trip to a friend and she told me she’s been to Thomasville for a cheese-making workshop at Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop.
Locals regaled us of by-gone events like a wagon train out to a plantation with a private dinner under moss-draped oaks. And I’m guessing you could convince the local chocolate shop to do a candy making class or workshop too.
And if wine is on your list of activities, stop by the Farmer’s Daughter shop on the bricks downtown for a few samples in their tasting room.
But if all the activity is too much for you, then by all means, sit a spell in the wicker chairs on the front porch at the Paxton with a libation as you wait for your spa appointment. With three local day spas, Metta, Namsong and Blush, Thomasville is a perfect place to do that too.
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