Thomasville, Georgia is the quintessential Southern town bursting with charm, grace, and sophistication. Years ago, I passed through on a long road trip and opted to check this town out. I parked my car, ate lunch at Jonah’s Fish & Grits, walked around downtown, and just like that, I fell in love with Thomasville. From delicious food and attentive service to locally owned shops and Victorian bed and breakfasts, I was hooked.
After recently revisiting Thomasville, Georgia, my love for this town has been reaffirmed. I hope that you will share my enthusiasm for this Main Street USA Town. With that, I present to you:
The Ultimate Thomasville, Georgia Bucket List
Smell the Thomasville Rose Garden
Celebrating its 95th anniversary this year, the Thomasville Rose Garden is a must see in this “City of Roses”. Situated by Cherokee Lake Park, the Thomasville Rose Garden has over 1500 rose bushes. The garden beds are themed, such as Heroes (Let Freedom Ring/We Salute You) and Famous People (Barbra Streisand/Elizabeth Taylor). Plan your visit to Thomasville during the Rose Show Festival, a tradition since the 1920’s, held the fourth weekend in April.
Sink your Teeth into Delicious Southern Cuisine
Jonah’s Fish & Grits is a Thomasville icon: the epitome of delicious dishes, friendly service, and an adorable owner on a mission that he humbly shares with his hometown. Known for their Shrimp & Grits (featured as one of Georgia’s 100 Plates Locals Love), the menu at Jonah’s is full of Southern staples and fresh seafood plates. Save room for their Creme Brûlée! Jonah’s is only one of Thomasville’s exquisite and scrumptious locally owned restaurants.
Explore the Crown Jewel of Thomasville, Georgia
Pebble Hill Plantation is a 3000-acre mansion with an incredible array of antiques, famous artworks, and splendor. Elisabeth “Pansy” Ireland Poe’s home is operated by her foundation and spectacularly preserved. Pansy was an avid sportsman, horse jockey, philanthropist, and gardener, all of which came to life at Pebble Hill. Tours start with a 10-minute video explaining the history of the plantation. Afterward, you are free to explore the 29-room mansion and its grounds.
Sip Local Wine and Nibble on Chocolates
Farmers Daughter Vineyards Winery & Tasting Room offers something very unique to the wine world: chocolate and cookie pairings. Enhance your wine experience with four varieties of organic chocolates, shortbread cookies, and local cheese plates. Do not miss the Lemon Rosemary shortbread cookies; they are superb! Farmers Daughter Vineyards’ wines all have clever names, such as Daredevil, Heartbreaker, and Bombshell.
Have Your Picture Taken at the Big Oak
When was the last time a town you visited gave you something for coming? Thomasville does! The town’s enormous Big Oak, once visited by President Eisenhower, 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.
Eat a World Famous Hot Dog
Thomasville’s Billiard Academy is home to the world’s best hotdog. 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. Best of all, your meal will only cost you a couple of bucks!
Tour the Off-Kilter Lapham-Patterson House
One of Thomasville’s most elegant Victorian homes, with one of a kind craftsmanship, was the winter home of Charles Lapham. To quote Thomasville’s CVB, “The Lapham-Patterson House is a monument to the imagination, creative engineering and craftsmanship of the Victorian Era.” It is a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Resister of Historic Places.
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.” 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 restaurants. You do not have to be a guest at the resort to come and enjoy its amenities; Thomasville locals and visitors are always welcome.
Eat Your Way Around Thomasville
The Taste of Thomasville Food Tour is in its 4th year of operation. With plenty of history and walking, this is one food tour that you do not want to miss. Sample popular dishes from locally owned restaurants and enjoy learning about Thomasville’s history. Stops on your tour might include Moonspin Pizza, Jonah’s Fish & Grits, Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop, Grassroots Coffee Co., and George & Louie’s Restaurant.
Visit the Thomas County Historical Society and Museum
Browse this working museum filled with antiques, artifacts, and memorabilia from early life in Thomas County, Georgia. Do not miss the Rufus Smith Log House (circa 1870), Roberts Garage (home of 2 Model T’s, an antique fire engine, and carriages), and the 1896 private bowling alley.
Get your Dairy On
If you read Southern cooking magazines, you might be familiar with the Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop. Although this local business is known for their dairy cheese selections, they also serve traditional lunch and dinner plates. Try Sweet Grass Dairy’s Taste of Thomasville cheese board with roasted pecans, green tomato marmalade, strawberry fig preserves, crackers, and homemade bread & butter pickles paired with Asher Blue, Green Hill, SGD Pimento, and Thomasville Tomme cheeses.
Tour Thomasville on an Electric Bike
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 and 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 downtown Thomasville on two wheels. Rent a bike all day or just for a few hours. Helmets are available but not required for adults.
Shop Local in a Historic Downtown Setting
Thomasville’s adorable retail boutiques will charm any shopper. Whether you are looking for clothing, gifts, souvenirs, housewares, children’s items, or books, these downtown shops have it all. Favorite shops are Firefly, Harden’s Taxidermy, The Bookshelf, The Shoe Box, Smallcakes, and Kevin’s Fine Outdoor Gear & Apparel. Downtown Thomasville also boasts 12 hidden bronze quail. This is a fun activity for when you are shopping Jackson street. Pick up a score card from the Thomasville CVB that also gives you hints. Some quail are harder to spot than others.
Participate in Thomasville’s Historic Walking & Driving Tour
Walk or drive around scenic Thomasville to see their gorgeous historic homes and mansions. Pick up a map from the Visitors Center, which gives descriptions and addresses of the homes. Some of the more popular sites are the Royal Miller House, Thomas Drug Store, Ephraim Ponder House, and 1884 Paxton House, now a stunning bed and breakfast inn. Historic churches and other points of interest, such as the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, were also mentioned and mapped out.
Thomasville, Georgia Bucket List Complete
Thomasville is a great place to check off a bucket list of amazing Southern hosts, places, foods, and activities for the whole family. I hope you will enjoy the Victorian storefronts, brick streets, and laid-back charms of this adorable Southern gem as much as I did.
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