By Kathie Farnell
Photos by Jack Purser, Jr.
Callaway Gardens—the historic resort and nature preserve in Pine Mountain, Georgia, has long been a place where visitors can enjoy peace and quiet in a remarkable natural setting enhanced with spectacular plants and flowers.
The Gardens’ new Lodge and Spa offers luxury with a natural touch. The Lodge’s 150 guest rooms and suites feature lavish amenities along with superb views of the wooded Georgia hills. The 13000 foot Spa Prunifolia, named for the Prunifolia Azalea that brightens the Gardens each spring, provides restorative treatments with a focus on natural products. The Spa’s signature massage combines therapeutic Swedish massage with the benefits of natural herbs.
Visitors can choose from a variety of organic and herbal aromatherapy oils inspired by the gardens themselves. I opted for the Evergreen Hot Towel Body Bliss, which as the name implies is just the thing for sore muscles after a day of exploring the gardens. Afterwards, I sequestered myself in the Relaxation Lounge for a cup of hot tea in front of the fireplace. More ambitious visitors may choose to use the dry sauna or steam room, or investigate the Fitness Center. The Spa’s Image Center offers complete hair, makeup and nail services.
The Lodge’s rooms, decorated in an upscale rustic style, feature flat-screen televisions, wireless Internet access, mini-bars and balconies providing a view of the lush landscaping and woods. The swimming pool includes a cabana-style bar.
Dining at the Lodge centers around the Piedmont Dining Room, which serves three meals a day. By night, the Piedmont is Callaway’s premiere steak house, featuring Black Angus beef as well as fresh seafood. Breakfast here includes omelets prepared to order, along with a breakfast buffet including Callaway’s iconic speckled grits.
The Ironwood Lounge, right next door, features a large fireplace and serves pub food.
Recreational opportunities at Callaway Gardens include the Mountain View golf course, ranked among the nation’s best; it served as the site for the PGA Tour’s Buick Challenge. Callaway is also home to Lake View, the original course, and Sky View, a nine-hole executive course. Clinics as well as individual and group lessons with the resident pro are available.
A four-season resort, Callaway is famous for its springtime display of azaleas, its Labor Day hot air balloon festival, and its autumn steeplechase. During the holiday season, its annual Fantasy in Lights display of more than eight million lights creates larger than life holiday scenes over a route stretching six and one half miles through the gardens. The display, which began in mid-November, runs through December 30. Special overnight holiday packages which include accommodations and breakfast are available.
Callaway Gardens is located about one hour southwest of Atlanta at Pine Mountain,
Georgia. For more information, check the website at www.callawaygardens.com or telephone 1-800-CALLAWAY.
Columbus, GA (30 miles)—Take Interstate 185 North to Ga. Hwy. 18 East (exit 34). Turn right off Hwy. 18 to the entrance of Callaway Gardens.
Atlanta (70 miles)—Take Interstate 85 South to Interstate 185 South (exit 21). From Interstate 185, exit at U. S. Hwy. 27 (exit 42). Follow Hwy. 27 South to Pine Mountain. In Pine Mountain, turn right onto Hwy. 354 West. Proceed to Ga. Hwy. 18 and turn left into Callaway Gardens.
Macon, GA (80 miles)—Take U. S. Hwy. 80 West to Ga. Hwy. 208 West to U. S. Hwy. 27 North. Proceed through Hamilton and past the Callaway Gardens Store (approximately 10 minutes). Remain on Hwy 27 and turn left into the Callaway Gardens Hwy 27 entrance.
Montgomery, AL (110 miles)—Take Interstate 85 to Ga. Hwy. 18 East (exit 2). Turn right off Hwy. 18 to the entrance of Callaway Gardens.
Albany, GA (110 miles)—Take Corridor Z (Ga. Hwy 280) to Columbus. In Columbus take Interstate 185 North to Ga. Hwy. 18 East (exit 34). Turn right off Hwy. 18 to the entrance of Callaway Gardens.
Birmingham, AL (150 miles)—Take U. S. Hwy. 280 East to Opelika and take Interstate 85 North to Ga. Hwy. 18 East (exit 2). Turn right off Hwy. 18 to the entrance of Callaway Gardens.
Tallahassee, FL (200 miles)—Take U. S. Hwy. 319 North to Thomasville, then U. S. Hwy. 19 to Albany. Proceed using directions listed above for Albany.