Antebellum homes, expansive gardens and lots of history are found in Newnan, while nearby Senoia features a charming small town that has been the backdrop for numerous television and film productions.
A visit to Cowetta County in West Georgia provides visitors plenty of adventures as they explore Newnan and Senoia.
Newnan, which is the county seat of Coweta County, is filled with historic homes, churches and buildings. Founded in 1828, Newnan was spared some of the ravages of the Civil War because homes, churches and the courthouse were used as hospitals for both the Confederate and Union troops. Many historic homes survived and are featured in annual tours of homes. Self-guided driving tours are also offered and brochures and other information can be found at the Coweta County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Elizabeth Beers offers Tours By Elizabeth with narrated tours of the history and architecture featured throughout Newnan. She is a wealth of information and enjoys sharing facts about her town with visitors. One of the tours offered is a driving tour of the historic homes. It’s a great opportunity to find the stories behind these grand homes and get an overview of the town.
Our tour with Elizabeth also went through historic Oak Hill Cemetery which includes a section dedicated to the Confederate War. In 1868, the Ladies Memorial Association was instrumental in marking the graves of those who died during the Civil War in Newnan.
Also plan to spend some time at Dunaway Gardens in Newnan, where visitors can stroll through the impressive grounds which are filled with fragrant blooms and rock formations as they take in amazing views of the countryside. It’s a relaxing way to spend a few hours enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
During our visit, antique cars were on display in front of the gardens. Many collectors are in the county and they enjoy displaying their cars with visitors. The cars are used at exhibits and special events put on by the historical society.
Dunaway Gardens originally opened in 1934 as a theatrical training ground for some of the country’s most beloved stage performances. Among the famous visitors were Minnie Pearl and Walt Disney.
For hours and more information, go to www.dunawaygardens.com.
Visitors should also plan some time to shop in downtown Newnan, which is filled with eclectic boutiques. For more information on what is offered in Newnan, go to www.mainstreetnewnan.com.
Senoia is a 150-year-old town that has been the home to Riverwood Studios since the 1980s. More than 20 films, including “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Driving Miss Daisy” were filmed at Riverwood Studios. “Drop Dead Diva,” a Lifetime television series, is filming now in Senoia.
As studio owner Scott Tigchelaar said, it is located “25 miles and 100 years from Atlanta.” The family chose Senoia for their movie studio because of the beautiful homes and scenery.
Downtown Senoia is filled with quaint shops and restaurants, as well as a museum, The Buggy Shop Museum, is filled with antiques from the area, including a 1930 Model A.
Senoia also has many historic homes and a driving tour is also recommended. Brochures can be found at the Coweta County visitor’s center. The latest Southern Living Idea House is also located at Senoia and is open for tours through Dec. 12.
For more information on visiting Senoia, go to www.enjoysenoia.com, www.exploresenoia.com or www.senoia.com.
WHERE TO DINE
Located in Newnan, Sprayberry’s Barbecue has scrumptious vinegar-based pork and some really good stew. The peach cobbler is a great end to the meal. Four generations of Sprayberrys have been serving barbecue for the past 80 years. The restaurant has two locations - 229 Jackson Street and Hwy. 34 at I-85 (exit 47). Country star Alan Jackson, who waited on tables while in high school, sometimes stops by when he’s in town. The late humorist/columnist Lewis Grizzard, who was born in Newnan, declared Sprayberry’s as “the best barbecue joint on earth.”
The Redneck Gourmet, with locations in downtown Newnan and Senoia, offers a deli and gourmet food store featuring southern style food. They have a large menu with a wide selection of sandwiches, salads, roll ups, hoagies, hot dogs and platters. Be sure to serve the Redneck Gourmet Cavier, a wonderful spicy salsa that is great with chips.
Something Special, located at 83 Greenville Street in Newnan, is a great place for special events. Our group had a wonderful lunch with wonderful salads and sandwiches. The home was built in 1859 and has been restored to its original antebellum splendor. Located in the historic district, the home is located were Newnan’s finest homes have been located. Extensive gardens surround the home and a small cottage is located in the backyard.
While in Newnan, be sure to stop in at Rick & Susie’s for some of their “scrumptious little gourmet cookies” and at Let them eat Toffee for some wonderful chocolates.
In downtown Senoia, stop in at the Senoia Coffee Company for a wonderful cup of coffee and pastry or for lunch.
A great place to make your headquarters during your visit to Newnan is the Hampton Inn, located at 50 Hampton Way. The rooms are spacious and the bedding is comfortable. The Hampton also features a complimentary breakfast for its guests. A waffle station, an egg dish, breads, pastries and cereals are among the items offered each morning. A "to go" sack breakfast is also offered for those who want to grab something to eat before heading out to explore Coweta County. For more information, go to www.hamptoninn.com.
For more information on visiting Coweta County, go to www.explorecoweta.com.
Angela Gary is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers Inc. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.