Thomasville, Georgia, is the quintessential Southern town bursting with charm, grace, and sophistication. Years ago, I passed through on a road trip and stopped for lunch at Jonah’s Fish & Grits. I 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. Here is my ultimate guide to Thomasville, Georgia, for those seeking a visit.
Things to See
The Thomasville Rose Garden is a must-see in the “City of Roses”. Situated by Cherokee Lake Park, the Thomasville Rose Garden has over 1,500 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 1920s held the fourth weekend in April.
Pebble Hill Plantation is a 3000-acre mansion with an incredible array of antiques, famous artworks, and splendor. A foundation operates Elisabeth “Pansy” Ireland Poe’s spectacularly preserved home. 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.
Browse the Thomas History Center, a working museum filled with antiques, artifacts, and memorabilia from early life in Thomas County, Georgia. A unique find is the Rufus Smith Log House (c. 1870), Roberts Garage (home of 2 Model T’s, an antique fire engine, and carriages), and the 1896 private bowling alley.
Things to Do in Thomasville, Georgia
The Taste of Thomasville Food Tour offers plenty of history and walking to discover downtown Thomasville, Georgia. It is one food tour you will not want to miss. Sample favorite dishes from local restaurants and enjoy learning about Thomasville’s history. Stops on your excursion might include Moonspin Pizza, Jonah’s Fish & Grits, Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop, Grassroots Coffee Co., and George & Louie’s Restaurant.
When was the last time a town you came to gave you something to come? Thomasville does! Once visited by President Eisenhower, the town’s enormous Big Oak was born in 1685 and had 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.
Our guide to Thomasville, Georgia, includes adorable retail boutiques that 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’re shopping on Jackson Street. Pick up a scorecard from the Thomasville CVB that also gives you hints. Some quail are more challenging to spot than others.
Lapham-Patterson is one of Thomasville’s most elegant Victorian homes. It featured one-of-a-kind craftsmanship and 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’s both a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Where to Eat (and Drink) in Thomasville
One of my favorite Southern coffee shops is Grassroots Coffee Co. on Broad Street. Choose from your favorite coffee, tea, espresso, Italian sodas, housemate pastry, bagel, or cookie. You’ll see all ages and walks of life in this hospitable shop.
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), Jonah’s menu is full of Southern staples and fresh seafood plates.
The Q Cafe is a newer popular eatery in Downtown Thomasville. I recommend breakfast, such as the Low Country Benedict or the Farmer’s Pride with a side of gravy. The cathead biscuits pair perfectly with the creamy gravy, and the service was commendable.
Get your Mexican and margarita fix at Frida’s Mexican Bar and Grill. This cute space serves up delicious Chicken Fajitas for two and discounted house margaritas ($3) during certain times. Don’t miss the yummy cheese dip!
Sip a wine flight at Farmer’s Daughter Vineyards, a beautiful tasting room with a cool offering: chocolate and cookie pairings. Enhance your wine experience with four varieties of organic chocolates, shortbread cookies, and local cheese plates. Farmers Daughter Vineyards’ wines all have creative names, such as Daredevil, Heartbreaker, and Bombshell.
One place you can’t miss in Thomasville is Liam’s Restaurant, offering creative dishes, a killer happy hour, craft cocktails, and a fun atmosphere. Be sure to add a customized cheese board to your order.
If you read Southern cooking magazines, you should be familiar with the Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop. Although this local business is known for its dairy cheese selections, they also serve lunch and dinner. 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.
Where to Stay in Thomasville, Georgia
Thomasville’s South Eden Resort plantation was built in 1825. The home’s Showboat Theater held the first 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.
The Paxton is another excellent choice for accommodations in Thomasville, a historical house dating back to 1884. The rooms are superiorly decorated and the common spaces are gorgeous. Carol, the sweet owner, treats you to a breakfast fit for a king on the most amazing dishes and stunning rooms. You’ll never want to leave!
Read my full review of The Paxton in this post.
Thomasville, Georgia: A Town You’ll Love!
Thomasville, Georgia, is a great place to check off a bucket list of amazing Southern hosts, sites, 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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