After traveling to big cities for 40 years, Southern TravelingMom, Melody, has found that nothing makes her happier than exploring small towns loaded with hospitality and character. One town that really knocked her socks off was Thomasville, Georgia, the City of Roses. Its rich history, decadent food, Victorian mansions, and Southern charm has caught her attention for years. She most recently visited with daughter, Taylor. They really sank their teeth into this delightful Georgia city.
Southern Georgia is home to a city that fascinates me. Thomasville, steeped in Southern traditions and history, is worth visiting due to its impressive mansions, decadent dining options, charming shops, and friendly locals. I fell in love with this town on a random hop off of the interstate lunch quest years ago. I could not wait to go back to Thomasville, Georgia and explore all that it has to offer with my daughter, Taylor. We found 9 things not to be missed while traveling in adorable Thomasville.
#1 Sink Your Teeth into the Best Southern Cuisine
Jonah’s Fish & Grits is a Thomasville icon – the epitome of tasty dishes, hospitable service, and a mission that the owner, Caleb, shares with his hometown. Best known for their Shrimp & Grits, Jonah’s menu has all of the Southern staples and fresh seafood dishes. Thomasville locals and visitors love Jonah’s Fish & Grits. Their shrimp & grits even made it to the Georgia’s 100 Plates Locals Love article.
The Cajun Shrimp & Grits that I tried was wonderful. The creamy goodness of this dish sent my taste buds into a frenzy. Taylor said that this was one of the best meals of her life. She loved everything from the Cyclone Shrimp to the Creme Brûlée dessert.
#2 Pair Local Wine with Chocolate
Farmers Daughter Vineyards Winery & Tasting Room has something unique to the wine world – cookie and chocolate pairings to go with their wine. Four varieties of organic chocolate plates, cookie platters, and local cheeses may be purchased to enhance your wine experience. The clever names of the wines available are Daredevil, Heartbreaker, and Bombshell, to name a few, and have adorable labels.
Taylor stopped in Farmers Daughter Vineyards to pick up a souvenir bottle of wine for her husband. While there, I opted to try their cookie offerings. I selected the lemon rosemary shortbread cookie, which was superb! I didn’t expect to be wowed by a pastry in a wine tasting room. Too bad we didn’t discover this cute tasting room sooner.
#3 Explore the Crown Jewel of Thomasville, Georgia
Pebble Hill Plantation is a fabulous 3,000 acre property and mansion with an incredible array of pricey antiques, famous artworks, and splendor. This grand home of Elisabeth “Pansy” Ireland Poe is operated by her foundation and spectacularly preserved. Pansy was an avid sportsman, horse jockey, philanthropist, and gardener, all of which is apparent at this 29 room Pebble Hill landmark.
Unfortunately, I cannot showcase Pebble Hill’s treasures with you as pictures were not allowed. Just seeing the exquisite craftsmanship of this Thomasville home is impressive enough. My favorite parts of the plantation were the gorgeous magnolia lined road leading up to the main house, the vintage Louis Vuitton trunks, and Pansy’s first edition collection of Audubon’s Birds of North America prints.
#4 See Thomasville from a Different Perspective
Joyride is a local company renting electric bikes. This is a unique bicycling experience where you pedal as much or as little as you want; the bike takes care of the rest with the push of a button. The wide tires make even the novice bike rider feel comfortable and grounded as they explore Thomasville on two wheels. Helmets and other safety accessories are also available for use.
Taylor and I went for a spin on Joyride’s bikes. It was exhilarating to have some extra pedal power so we could enjoy the ride and still sightsee. Now I want my own electric bike!
#5 Taste Your Way Through Thomasville
The Taste of Thomasville Food Tour is in its fourth year of operation, proving they were cool before food tours became all the rage. With plenty of history, walking, and good food, this tour is not to be missed. Plus, there is no better way to get to know a town than through its food. While walking around downtown, Deborah (owner) shared stories about the history of Thomasville. She was a teacher in Thomasville and if it happened there, she knows about it. I was impressed with her great knowledge.
Along the way, we sampled popular dishes from locally owned restaurants: pizza and breadsticks from Moonspin Pizza (don’t miss the breadsticks and pesto/marinara sauce), tea and coffee from Grassroots Coffee Co., Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop, zesty shrimp & grits from Jonah’s Fish & Grits, and a smorgasbord of their specialities including Fried Green Tomatoes and Greek Salad from George & Louie’s. My favorite plate was the Taste of Thomasville (what a coincidence!) Cheese Board with Pimento, Thomasville Tomme, Asher Blue, and Green Hill cheeses, all paired with pecans, pickles, preserves, and crackers.
#6 Get your Dairy On!
If you read Southern cooking magazines, chances are you have seen the award winning Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop in them. Visiting their Thomasville shop was a noteworthy experience for me. Sweet Grass is known for their cow’s milk cheeses, with Jersey cows who are fed using the rotational grazing option, which sounds complicated, but makes for a superb product. They subscribe to sustainable agriculture and humanely raised cows, both practices that are near and dear to my heart.
Taylor and I sampled the Taste of Thomasville cheese board (Asher Blue, Green Hill, SGD Pimento, and Thomasville Tomme) with glasses of wine. Our cheeses were paired with roasted pecans, green tomato marmalade, strawberry fig preserves, crackers, and house made bread & butter pickles. They all went perfectly with Sweet Grass Dairy’s delicious cheeses.
#7 Have Your Picture Taken at the Big Oak: No Selfies Needed!
When was the last time a town you visited gave you something free just for coming? Thomasville does! The town’s enormous Big Oak, once visited by President Eisenhower (I’m a Presidential fanatic!), was born in 1685 and has a circumference of 26 feet. Have your picture taken in front of The Big Oak by calling (229) 236-0053 and smiling at the camera across the street. When you return home, log onto the Big Oak’s website and download your picture. Search by the month you visited. Simple, huh? Taylor and I were in a big group so our photo was not very sharp, but it was still fun.
#8 Eat a World Famous Hot Dog
Thomasville’s Billiard Academy is home to the world’s best hot dog. It opened in 1949 as a gentlemen’s establishment; the restaurant still uses the window created for women and children. Place your order at the counter and it will be ready in a few seconds. Being that I am a hot dog fan, I cannot say it was the best ever, but it was certainly worth the $2 price tag. I take chili, mustard, and cole slaw where I am from. How about you?
#9 Treat Yourself at the South Eden Resort
Thomasville’s South Eden plantation was built in 1825. The home’s Showboat Theater held the second private showing of “Gone With the Wind.” My husband is the biggest fan of that classic Southern movie so he was jealous of this trip.
Today, South Eden is a grand resort venue and luxury resort, offering cottages, guest suites, an indoor 1934 Pool House, spa, meeting rooms, and several eateries. You don’t have to be a guest at South Eden Resort to visit or enjoy its amenities; Thomasville locals and visitors are always welcome.
Will Thomasville, Georgia Be In Your Future?
Thomasville, Georgia is a town that you should definitely get to know. Take a step into a town without heavy traffic or huge crowds and enjoy true Southern hospitality. I am thrilled to share my Thomasville, Georgia finds with you. I hope that during your visit you will come to love it as much as this Southern Traveling Mom does.