Where trendy meets transcendental, Roswell, Georgia, interweaves modern-day fun amidst charming historic sites.
Just 20 minutes north of Atlanta, Roswell entices with an eclectic mix of old and new. Tap toes to live music throughout the city in wide-open spaces and revitalized venues, or step back in time to take in the area’s vibrant Civil War history. In Roswell, visitors can go for a slow stroll among historic grounds or keep in step with the beat pulsing through the heart of downtown. No matter what guests choose to do in Roswell, they have the creative liberty to set the tempo.
Roosevelt meets Roswell
Time travel more than a hundred years into the past with a Southern Trilogy Pass (www.VisitRoswellGA.com/what-to-do/history/historic-home-tours/
). At only $18 for adults and $15 for students, the pass transports guests nearly two centuries back in time with access to three gorgeous Southern homes.
Barrington Hall sits on seven acres in downtown Historic Roswell. In the 1830s, Barrington Hall’s builder, Barrington King, and his father, Roswell King, co-founded the colony which became Roswell. The family comes to life in furnishings, artifacts and stories spanning from 1838 until the city of Roswell acquired the home in 2005. On the grounds, explore the only antebellum public garden in the greater Atlanta area, along with original outbuildings.
Slaves built the Greek Revival inspired Bulloch Hall in 1839. The dining room of Bulloch Hall was the backdrop for the wedding of Mittie Bulloch to Theodore Roosevelt Sr. on December 22, 1853. The couple’s son, Theodore, became the 26th President of the United States. In October 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt traveled through the southern states and came to Roswell specifically to visit his mother’s childhood home. Mittie and Thee’s other son, Elliott, was the father of Eleanor, who married Franklin D. Roosevelt and became our nation’s First Lady. Another fun fact–Mittie is believed to be the inspiration behind “Gone with the Wind’s” Scarlett O’Hara!
In 1838, the Smith family and 30 of their slaves left two struggling plantations along the Georgia coast to make a new start with 300 acres of cotton farmland north of the Roswell Square. The family’s slaves built Smith Plantation in 1845, which three generations of the Smith family preserved. The home has since become one of the best examples of vernacular architecture found in the region. Explore servant’s quarters, a cookhouse, smokehouse and more while on the grounds.
On the banks of Vickery Creek lay the ruins of the Roswell Manufacturing Company, constructed in 1839. Workers created the waterfall when the creek was dammed to provide water power. However, Union forces burned the mills on July 7, 1864. The mill standing today was built in 1882 and has been restored as office space. The ruins are part of Old Mill Park, with hiking trails, complete with interpretive signs and a pedestrian bridge that connects the Roswell trails to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, providing trails on the other side of Vickery Creek. The original machine shop can also be viewed from the interpreted trail and rented for private events.
During the Civil War, the Union Army captured and deported some 400 mill workers, mostly women and children, for the treason of manufacturing Confederate uniforms and tent fabric. Lives were torn apart and little was heard of them afterward. Check out the monument in their remembrance on Sloan Street. For a spooky thrill, ghost tours of the historic area are available. Locals report hearing children laughing and playing, or seeing a swing going full speed while others sit perfectly still–but no one is there. Roswell Ghost Tours also take guests around historic homes, local restaurants, a cemetery and more. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children and can be purchased at RoswellGhostTour.com
Rock n’ stroll
Continue to walk down memory lane on Canton Street. Now home to sidewalk cafes and storefronts that are the stuff of shoppers’ dreams, these fun and modern establishments are housed in historic buildings. Roswell is home to a plethora of independently owned restaurants, and Canton Street is home to many local favorites. Savor Southern fare at Table and Main (1028 Canton Street, Roswell, Georgia; www.TableandMain.com
), feast on Cajun classics at Adele’s on Canton (1169 Canton Street, Roswell, Georgia; www.AdelesCajun.com) or order upscale gastro-pub favorites at Salt Factory Pub (952 Canton Street, Roswell, Georgia; SaltFactoryPub.com). Sit and savor delicious dishes or fill up bags while shopping at unique boutiques. With a stroll down this picturesque street, visitors experience the perfect mix of yesteryear and today that makes up Roswell.
The live music scene in Roswell is growing and ever evolving to include new spaces and events. The musicians who frequent here capture the life of the city, uniting people together with good times and good tunes.
Check out Music on the Hill every second Friday from May through October. Spread a blanket out on the lawn at City Hall, lift your glass, uncork a bottle and unwind to the sounds that fill the Georgia air. Roswell.gov
Alive in Roswell is a free family-friendly monthly festival held from 5-9 p.m. every third Thursday, April through October. The festival is held concurrently on Historic Canton Street, East Alley, City Hall Lawn and at Historic Roswell Town Square. Explore food trucks, interactive vendors, kids’ games and, of course, live music. AliveInRoswell.com
Enjoy the ambiance of Riverside Sounds. Held at lush Riverside Park on Riverside Road, where beer, wine and sangria flow at each concert every first Saturday of the month from May through October. Come hungry! Food trucks also dish out eclectic plates that entice. Roswell.gov
What better way to wrap up the weekend than an evening under the stars listening to live music at Sundays on the River Concerts at the Chattahoochee Nature Center? Musicians fill the air with both sweet and funky beats every second Sunday from May through September. Whether visiting Roswell solo, with a loved one or in a group, Sundays on the River concerts provide the perfect backdrop for the evening. ChattNatureCenter.org
Find a show almost any night of the week at Gypsy Rose. Known for hosting some of the best up-and-coming Georgia artists around, visitors are swept away by live entertainment, delicious food, a fully stocked bar and an overall vibe that feels like a home away from home. GypsyRoseMusic.com
Sip on suds at Gate City Brewing Company. This two-story space used to be two mechanic shops and is now a brew house with a 3,000-square-foot taproom. Choose from 20 house-brewed beers on draft while listening to live music weekly. GateCityBrewingCompany.com
From the Earth Brewing Company is where passionately crafted beer and food meet. Sip on internationally inspired ales and indulge in a chef-inspired menu inside this rustic and elegant setting. Catch live performances every Thursday night. FTEBrewing.com
Whether guests like a trip that is slow and steady or fast and friendly, Roswell has it all. Stretch legs while exercising the mind at Roswell’s historic homes and sites or get groovy at one of the many live concerts playing throughout the city. Whether taking in the intriguing and challenging stories of the past or keeping things light and airy at an outdoor music venue, all who enter Roswell’s city limits leave with a heart enriched.