Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 2/28/24
Barnsley Resort, where John and I can Escape Together! ️ Just a little over an hour North of our Atlanta home, John and I spent Valentine’s weekend enjoying Barnsley Resort and each other. You feel so far away here from the city but are so close! Everything from the stunning Manor House Ruins and garden, tree-covered walkways, cute and cozy cottages, immersive historical tours, lovely dining options, golf, activities, and so much more, Barnsley Resort has something for everyone.
Driving in, you’re greeted with a smile by the security guard at the gate! One-part welcome party, he sends you to the Inn at Barnsley to check in. The Inn has become the heart of the property since being completed in 2018. With gathering areas, warm wood, and beautiful English architecture, the Inn boasts 55 rooms. Downstairs in the lobby, join in on the 5pm whiskey tradition, or hang out near the fire pits. Also, don’t miss lounging in the lobby seating area by the fire or the fun key wall behind check-in.
Our Room, Cottage
On our weekend, we got to stay in one of the many cottages that dot the landscape around the town square. Walking through them is straight out of a Hallmark movie! Inside, you’re welcomed with a large living space, wood burning fireplace, and sweeping hardwood floors. The bedroom is tucked away behind a pair of French doors with a large comfy king bed, large oval window, and entrance to your own private porch. Then, attached to the bedroom is the luxurious bathroom with pedestal sink, ornate claw foot tub, standing shower and overlooking the tub is a large oval window. We stayed in a smaller cottage, but they have them in all sizes for any family large or small.
Experiences and the property
The first thing we did after we got settled in our room was the Wine, Cheese, and Love Stories historical tour where we explored the Barnsley Resort property. Here we literally learn everything there is to know about the property, all while enjoying Barnsley’s very own Santa Clara Valley Estate wine paired with a local farm’s cheeses!
We started back at the Inn at Barnsley Resort with Pimento Cheese and Santa Clara Valley Cab. We had a meet and greet with our tour guides and learned about the history of Barnsley, the new Inn building, and more. We find out that Prince Fugger bought the property in 1988 after many years of disrepair and turned it into what it is today, a resort destination, in the Southeast!
Our second stop is at the Rice House, which was moved from Savannah and brought to the property in 3 pieces. There we saw our guide Sabre off the top of Barnsley’s grand Cuvée Brut sparkling wine and got paired with a warm brie fondue and dark chocolate fondue. This is the best pairing!
Our third stop was the breathtaking Manor House Ruins! It is a must-see garden and ruins right in the middle of the property! Godfrey Barnsley brought his wife and children to the property in 1840s and started work on their lavish mansion. Julia, his wife, passed before it was completed. Work stopped. But he had a dream of her in the garden telling him to finish it for her. So, he did, it is his love letter to her. Then, in 1906 a tornado took off the roof and back wall and the family moved into the kitchen house, and it was never repaired. There we sampled the Monterey Chardonnay and had Tomme cheese, nuts, and fruit.
Our final spot was in the kitchen house where we saw the Barnsley decedents washer, wood stove, and where we heard the tale of Preston Saylor (KO Dugan), a prize fighter who later shot his brother and killed him. They have memorialized and enclosed the spot where the blood stain is to this day. There we enjoyed the Santa Clara Valley Meritage merlot and hard cheese spread with fruit!
Other places you can explore and enjoy activities are the central beer garden where the staff says “the eternal flame” of the property is, the firepit! They are looking to expand and renovate it in the coming years. Attached to the Rice house is a wedding, concert, and large venue for any occassion. If you’re a golfer, they have a large 18 round golf course with a lake! Like out of the box adventures? They have everything from archery to horseback riding to skeet shooting. There is really something fun to do around every corner.
Dining Experiences at Barnsley Resort
We attended the Rice House’s incredible 5-course Valentine’s meal Friday evening paired with either carefully curated wine or crafted cocktails! We cannot say enough good things about how wonderful the food and drinks turned out and the impeccable staff! They really made you feel special. Here’s the full food review from our experience.
We started with the delicious Amuse Bouche with Nicolas Feuillate Champagne, France. This is a meaty and divine meat pate that comes off smoky and creamy to the palate. This is paired with a tangy sauerkraut and a honey drizzle for a hint of sweet. The amuse bouche is served with bread. The perfect flavors of the light creamy meat with the bubbly champagne.
Our first course started with the Truffle & Foie Gras Stuffed Quail with North Star Merlot, Washington. The Quail is savory, salty, rich, crunchy, earthy truffle, meaty foie gras stuffed and paired with a tangy dried fruit vinaigrette and creamy polenta. Divine! This was served with a light red wine to go with the earthy truffle and hearty meat. The other first course item we got was the Seasonal Beet Tart paired with the Attems Pinot Grigio from Italy. This dish is a crunchy, flaky, buttery tart filled with creamy and earthy beet and goat cheese then adorned with popping passion fruit pearls for a sweet, fruity burst, plus a bright salad on the side.
You can’t go wrong with the second course, the homemade Mushroom Truffle Tagliatelle with Erath Pinot Noir, Oregon. This might just be the best pasta dish ever starting with the herbaceous and earthy, rich marinated locally foraged mushroom. Tender pasta stuffed with a delectable creamy, herbaceous sauce and topped with shaved truffle. Just wow! The light bodied Pinot Noir really brings out the rich flavors of the pasta.
Of the entrees, John got the Seared Wagyu Tenderloin with Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, California. This amazing steak is perfectly cooked and flavorful with a rich and deep demi glaze served with a creamy dreamy potato cake. This went so well with the Cabernet Sauvignon’s deep flavor paired with the meat and demi glaze. I opted for the Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Scattered Peaks Fume Blanc California. This super light and buttery fish is crisped on the outside for a crunchy bite. The balance between the melt-in-your mouth fish and the champagne cream gives it a nice creaminess that’s bright yet light. The light bodied white pairs with the cream so well, and the lightness of the fish.
As for the dessert, they brought out the Chocolate Espresso Mousse with the Decadent Cocktail. This rich chocolate mousse is super rich and decadent in an arrangement of different flavors from creamy to bold. The Decadent cocktail is their take on an espresso martini, and they were able to make this one decaf for me! Creamy, bold, rich, and literally melts into the flavors of the chocolaty mousse. Yum.
Whiskey Tradition in the lobby 5pm daily
When we arrived, the front desk invited us to a special tasting, Whiskey Tradition. It is a tradition that is open to all guests at 5pm each day to try their smoked pecan infused Woodford Reserve whiskey! They take the Woodford and infuse it through smoked pecans right there in the lobby! The smoked pecans are smoked on property and when they change them out, the pecans go on their desserts!
If you’re looking for something casual, we’d recommend the Woodlands Grill! A beautiful homey building right on the golf course with sweeping golf course and lake views! The morning we went, we enjoyed an intimate brunch featuring a sensational eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. These were paired with potatoes. John got the regular breakfast with eggs, bacon, and more. They also serve lunch, dinner, and drinks in Dugan’s bar.