Visit Fayetteville, Georgia – a Real Study in Contrasts!


When we moved to Fayetteville, Georgia, about a year ago, I didn’t have any pre-conceived notions about what life would be like when we actually lived here. (Fayetteville is about 25 miles south of Atlanta, and about 15 miles north of Senoia, that other famous nearby town, where zombies roam.) But the longer we’ve been here, the more I’ve found to really love about this place! 

We enjoy our neighborhood with its sidewalks, community pool and playground. The Southern Ground Amphitheater is nearby, where nationally known groups perform during the summer months. They have some local shows and activities there too. And a variety of shopping options are just a short drive away.

by elaine allen

The old original courthouse still stands in the center of the Square, although it’s now the home of the Fayetteville Welcome Center. Built in 1925 and remodeled several times, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Georgia’s oldest courthouse.

Just up the street is the Holliday-Dorsey-Fife House Museum, an 1855 Greek revival antebellum house, perhaps best known as the home of Doc Holliday’s uncle. It’s open Thursday through Saturday from 10am – 3pm. In addition to artifacts from the Civil War and other periods in Fayetteville’s history, there is a Gone With the Wind exhibit featuring memorabilia from Margaret Mitchell’s book as well as the 1939 movie.

by Cdrcody via wikimedia commons

Because, you see, Margaret Mitchell’s grandmother attended the Fayetteville Academy, (which was the model for the fictional Fayetteville Female Academy in GWTW) and stayed in the Holliday-Dorsey-Fife House when it was used as a student dormitory. And Mitchell based many of Scarlett’s escapades on stories she heard from her grandmother.

If you’re really into Gone With the Wind and Margaret Mitchell, you’ll be excited to hear that the 2500-acre-cotton plantation bordering the Flint River, the boundary between Fayette and Clayton Counties, was owned by Mitchell’s great-grandfather, Phillip Fitzgerald. The story goes that her grandfather’s plantation, called Rural Home, became the model for Tara – the farmhouse Tara of the book rather than the enormous columned mansion of the movie. Anyway, there’s a lot more Margaret Mitchell history in Fayetteville.

by Elaine Allen

The Margaret Mitchell Research Library is now located in what was the first Fayette County Margaret Mitchell Library. It currently houses the Fayette County Historical Society and also contains much of the Fitzgerald family records and history. Members of the Fitzgerald family are buried in the Historic City Cemetery.

Another well-known southern author with ties to Fayetteville is Dr. Ferrol Sams, the country doctor who also became a novelist after more than 40 years as a physician. He and his wife, Dr. Helen Sams, practiced medicine in Fayetteville from 1951 until 2006, when they retired.

His books, based on his early life in Fayette County, include Run With the Horsemen, The Whisper of the River, and When All the World was Young. Dr. Ferrol Sams died in January 2013, and his devoted wife died less than a month later. Dr. Helen was the first female physician to work in Fayette County.

If you’d like to find out more about the history of Fayetteville, there are several  tours available, depending on which part of local history interests you. You’ll find more information at the Fayetteville Visitors Center in the old courthouse.

by elaine allen

History is all around in Fayetteville. But new things are happening too! This past weekend, the first ever craft beer festival in Fayette County was held on the grounds of the old courthouse. Called Suds on the Square, it featured Georgia craft breweries and was sponsored by the Fayette County Kiwanis Club as a fund raiser for numerous non-profit organizations in Fayette County.

If you love fresh fruits and veggies, you’ll be glad to know that Adams Farm in Fayetteville will open for the season in mid-April. Located just down Highway 54 toward Peachtree City, this local favorite roadside market offers “You Pick” strawberries,  as well as loads of other local fruits and vegetables, most of them grown right there on their property. Since its humble beginning in 1977, it’s grown into a large market where visitors come from miles around to stock up. But it’s only open from April through August or September, so you have to plan accordingly.

There’s a large medical presence in Fayetteville – lots of doctors’ offices near the Piedmont Fayette Hospital, which is adding more beds to its emergency facilities.

by elaine allen

But probably Fayetteville’s best-known new resident is Pinewood Studios. The full-service film and entertainment production facility opened last year and is already building Phase 2, which will bring the total to 11 sound stages and thousands of square feet of additional workshop, office, and tenant space. They even have their own Home Depot!

And the Fayetteville campus of Georgia Military College is under construction just down the street from Pinewood.

While Fayetteville has always had a number of excellent restaurants, including Frank’s @ the Old Mill , the Old Courthouse Tavern on the Square, La Hacienda, and Truett’s Pizza (the only Chick-fil-a pizza place), there are a few new additions.

Twisted Taco opened last summer right on the Square. It sports a roof-top patio and cool jail-cell booths in the back room. And around the corner, also on the Square, Downtown Scoops opened a couple of weeks ago, offering ice cream and all the goodies that go with it.

by elaine allen

Another Truett Cathy contribution to Fayetteville, the last restaurant he created, is Truett’s Luau, a Polynesian blend of good food and fun.

There are, of course, the usual chains and fast-food joints as well as other excellent independently owned restaurants and a couple of chain hotels.

But the coolest thing in Fayetteville, to me, is the corn field about a block from the Square. Since there’s a for sale sign on the property now, I was afraid it might be “gone with the wind” too, but the farmer (whose name I don’t know) has cleared the old stalks and plowed to plant again. I’m so glad.

Fayetteville – a real study in contrasts. I love it!

Next: Walking Dead in Senoia Georgia

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