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Georgia Natural Wonder #163 - Gibbs Gardens - Ball Ground
October 23, 2020 07:31AM

Georgia Natural Wonder #163 - Gibbs Gardens - Ball Ground

Alright, I am free from the constraints of strictly Bartow County or Cave Wonders of Georgia. We are free to move about and I still have another few cookies in the oven for GNW choices. But my new girlfriend has shown me a (new to me) Natural Wonder that falls within our garden precedent set with Barnsley Gardens as GNW #162 or Callaway Gardens in GNW#50. I got to admit I was impressed and went overboard with photo's. And I guess I never went through Ball Ground Georgia before, and that was a neat City worth a tangent. Cherokee County is too big for a single post tangent, so I present Gibbs Gardens and just the City of Ball Ground as Georgia Natural Wonder #163.

About Jim Gibbs

Jim Gibbs is the retired President and founder of Gibbs Landscape Company, one of Atlanta’s leading landscape companies for more than 40 years. He and his company are the recipient of more than 250 awards. Jim began his career after graduating from The University of Georgia in 1965 with a B.S. Degree and a major in horticulture and a minor in landscape architecture. Ceremonies to present two of his national landscape awards were held at gala White House receptions.

Gibbs still lives here.

Jim is and has been a member of numerous trade organizations, serving as President and member of various Executive Boards and Boards of Directors. He is a founding member of the Atlanta Botanical Garden and serves as a lifetime trustee. He is a member of the Big Canoe Chapel and has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Jim is a firm believer in gardening genes. His two grandmothers were gardeners and one of his great aunts was an avid gardener. As a child he was fascinated with her beautiful gardens consisting of fountains, flowering shrubs and trees, annuals and perennials. He used to say “When I grow up I want a garden just like hers”. Jims’ mother was a blue ribbon floral arranger and she and her four sisters loved to garden. Some of the large English boxwoods in his garden were passed down to him from his aunt.

The boxwoods were grown from cuttings that came from his grandmother Eppes family in Virginia. Appomattox Manor, with its surrounding lands, was the ancestral home of the Eppes family. Francis Eppes received the property in 1635 as part of a 1,700 acre land patent; it is remarkable that Appomattox Manor remained in the Eppes family for the next 340 years before being acquired by the Federal Government. During the Civil War, Grant set up his headquarters on the front lawn of Dr. Richard Eppes home, Appomattox Manor.

Grant at Appomattox Manor

On April 9, 1865 General Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox court house. How interesting the past would be if only those boxwood could talk!

Appomattox Manor today.

Jim said, “Passing down seeds and plants from generation to generation provides a kind of love that only a gardener understands. I’m sure my three children and eleven grandchildren will enjoy this garden for years to come as I hope the general public will enjoy visiting and viewing the legacy I leave behind. A garden is fresh and alive from early dawn to the peace and tranquility of the setting sun.”

Gibbs Gardens

Jim Gibbs traveled for 15 years covering the nation and the world viewing gardens of every style and decided that he wanted to design and build a world class garden. He spent six years looking for a suitable site with a strong source of water and beautiful mature trees covering a rolling topography. It was truly “a dream come true” when he found the most beautiful site in the nation to construct the garden. The property is 292 acres and the house and gardens include 220 acres, making it one of the nation’s largest residential estate gardens.

There is a beautiful stream flowing through the middle of the valley, with hundreds of springs intersecting the stream. The springs are surrounded by millions of naturalized ferns making it one of the largest ferneries in the nation. Native azaleas, dogwoods, and mountain laurels provide additional seasonal interest.

He has designed 24 ponds, 32 bridge crossings and 19 waterfalls. The numerous garden rooms are planted with hundreds of varieties of plants and are carved into pockets surrounded by acres of deciduous trees that provide spectacular Fall color.

The house is a mix of European architecture. The north view is reminiscent of an English manor house with Palladian windows and doors. An archway connects the summer house which overlooks the gardens and in the near distance, the north Georgia mountains.

Architectural accents were purchased in Europe prior to building and used throughout the house, including a twelve foot 14th century French limestone fireplace, 17th century French interior doors and 18th century French beveled and leaded glass doors and windows. Antique heart pine and herringbone brick floors blend nicely with the iron staircase railing and European antique furnishings.

The grounds around the Manor House were started in 1980 and planted with 20 to 30 year old plants and trees to provide instant age and character. Large Japanese maples, American hollies and willow oaks were planted closer to the house with vines accenting the corners. The home site is one of the highest crests in northeast Cherokee County, Georgia, capturing a beautiful view of the north Georgia mountains. The house was placed 150 feet above the water gardens and 30 feet below the crest capturing the air currents to flow through the summer house.

Pool beside Manor.

The gardens are composed of 16 gardens including 3 feature gardens – Manor House Gardens, Japanese and Waterlily Gardens.

Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Hill and Pond Stroll garden, “Tsukiyama,” is over 40 acres and the largest Japanese Garden in the nation. Entered through a Torii Gate, a meandering walk descends subtly around seven spring-fed ponds with islands, bridges, massive boulders and rocks. Connecting an island to the shore with a natural stone bridge created the “Bridge to Heaven.”

Millions of existing ferns, native azalea, dogwood, mountain laurel, trilliums and wildflowers accompany masses of plantings including many 50- to 60-year-old plants used to bonsai. Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry trees blossom in spring as weeping willows reflect in the water.

Collections of stone Japanese lanterns, natural stones and Japanese Maples provide sculptural interest. Pagoda structures and a zigzag bridge add architectural interest.

Reflections of clouds, waterfalls, ripples, butterflies, birds, and fish provide movement in the garden. Impressive stones speak of stillness and serenity.

Daffodil Gardens

The Daffodil Gardens - the first gardens to bloom each year - feature over 20+ million daffodil blossoms - representing more than 200 varieties of early, mid & late bloomers covering 50 acres of hillsides and valley.

The annual Daffodil ColorFest begins February 14 and runs through April 2 as early, mid and late season varieties bloom, showcasing uniquely different varieties & colors .

Other early spring highlights include forsythia, quince, and spiraea, all flourishing under a canopy of white dogwood and flowering cherry trees. Explore our 300-acre estate garden, graced by 220 acres of artistically landscaped gardens surrounded by majestic forest, spring-fed ponds, streams, waterfalls and bridge crossings.

Manor House Gardens

Cascading layers of garden rooms and woodland embrace the home. Garden rooms flow from each side of the house and enlarge the lifestyle of the home.

An iron gate near the front door beckons you along a path beside the house that winds gently to the top of the Manor House Gardens overlooking the house and the North Georgia mountains. The path descends to the guesthouse where sounds of waterfalls lure you to a beautiful pool with colorful plantings. Latticed arches, including an arched opening to the right of the front door invite you to the stone terrace off the kitchen, dining and living rooms. This verandah is the heart of the house, garden and land.

Gardens, terraces, lawns, undisturbed woodland, North Georgia mountain vistas and sky are seen from here. The intrigue of Manor House Gardens begins with this view.

Waterlily Gardens

Five ponds showcase over 140 varieties of waterlilies in their natural environment. Each pond originates from the flow of underground springs. No artificial liners or concrete were needed for construction, creating the largest natural display of waterlilies in the nation.

These selected varieties of varying size, shape and color are from world-renowned hybridizers. Meandering paths follow each of the Waterlily Gardens resembling radiating waves of a pebble tossed in a still pond.

Monet’s Garden at Giverny outside Paris delighted Mr. Gibbs. The bridge, with its rolled steel beams, rails and arbor, was measured and reproduced with the same radius. An island was built to support the bridge for its proper span. Monet’s color choice was used and the wisteria-draped bridge casts dramatic shadows upon the water throughout the day.

Other highlights include wooden bridges, a covered bridge, a natural rock bridge, islands, waterfalls, a Japanese pagoda viewing deck and numerous benches.

Japanese Maples

There are over 3000 Japanese maples and 200 varieties at Gibbs Gardens. These ornamental trees display beautiful foliage in the spring, summer and fall.

Every year Jim Gibbs adds more to the collection. Some are propagated from seedlings in the Gardens and others are select cultivars like ‘Ryusen’ which is a weeping form that turns brilliant shades of orange and red late in the autumn.

A favorite selection that offers interest in every season is Acer patu‘Sangu Kaku,’ also known as the coral bark maple for its coral colored bark, especially evident on new growth.

Annuals and Perennials

Through out the Gardens during spring, summer & fall there is a kaleidoscope of colors from thousands of annuals and perennials.

My girlfriend leading me around.

From the vibrant colors of the Flower Bridges and the Welcome Center entrance to the Manor House Gardens you will be amazed by these displays.

Azalea Gardens

In 1980, after an extensive six-year property search, 292 acres were purchased to construct a world-class garden. Numerous native azaleas were a major consideration in buying the property. Hundreds of fragrant early-, mid- and late-blooming azaleas in shades of pink, orange, red and white perfume the many gardens.

Hundreds of ancient Rhododendron viscosum (Swamp Azalea) bloom in June filling the 70-acre native fernery with their unforgettable spicy, clove-like fragrance similar to Gardenia and Jasmine.

Hundreds of Kurume, Indica, Satsuki and Encore Azaleas have been added through the years to extend the color seasons. New azaleas and the existing native azaleas combine to create a view of more than a thousand azaleas. Blossoms span from April through November.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are one of the delights of early spring that you can miss if you don’t pay close attention. Typically they flower during March or April when the Daffodils are blooming. With cool weather the flowers will last for several weeks but a hot spell can cause them to quickly shed their delicate white petals. At the Gardens there are hundreds of Yoshino cherries, Prunus x yedoensis, the same ornamental cherry trees that bloom at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.

There are also Kwanzan cherries, which bloom later and have double pink blooms.

Crape Myrtle Gardens

During July and August, over 500 crape myrtle trees bloom throughout Gibbs Gardens. Near the entrance of the Gardens, looking down into the valley, are 100 white ‘Natchez’ crape myrtle trees sweeping the eye to a view of the North Georgia mountains. Another 40 ‘Natchez’ crape myrtles, with peeling cinnamon colored bar, form a serpentine walk from the Grandchildren’s Sculpture Garden to the Japanese Garden. Above the Rose Gardens, an allée of 100 ‘Natchez’ crape myrtles descend a gentle slope to a level viewing area, and then ascend a gentle slope to the Daylily Garden. The Daylily Garden has an allée of 70 red crape myrtles that provide shade for viewing the daylilies.

More crape myrtles, in several shades of pink, mauve, lavender, and red, are sprinkled throughout the landscape.

Daylily Gardens

For years, Jim Gibbs collected hundreds of varieties of daylilies. He grew the single division plants in a specialized nursery until over 1,000 were ready to transplant. A 3-acre undulating site was graded and contoured to flow with the naturalized surrounding gardens. Long curved walks were constructed and one was planted with an allée of 70 red crape myrtle trees providing plenty of summer shade.

The daylilies begin blooming in June and continue through August. One long curving bed is planted with pastel shades while the other beds are mixed with red, orange, yellow, purple, white, apricot and pink.

Further drama was added by framing all of the long curving daylily beds with green grass, a complementary color to the daylilies.


Hundreds of native dogwoods, Cornus florida, are located throughout the gardens.

Their beautiful white flowers (these are really bracts) usually appear in mid to late April. In autumn their red fruits are appealing to birds and squirrels.

Blooming later in the season is the kousa dogwood, Cornus kousa. A large example of this tree grows near the Manor House in combination with oakleaf hydrangeas.

Fern Dell

The Fern Dell, over 70 acres, is one of the largest in the nation. Millions of ferns—mostly New York, Chain, Christmas, Lady, Royal, and Cinnamon—form a dense carpet in the woodland glade. A stream fed by hundreds of springs winds through this valley. Walkways are carefully carved through the forest with several raised viewing decks above the stream and bogs. Wooden benches adorn the walkways and decks.

Nestled in a valley of deciduous hardwoods, flanking hills have a north and south exposure, providing contrasting ecological environments for many varieties of native plants to grow.

An ancient American holly glade with native bog plants greets one viewing deck, overlooking one of the few remaining true North Georgia bogs. Wildflowers thrive under a canopy of native azalea, sweet shrub and mountain laurel. Mountain laurel blossoms float through The Fern Dell along its stream. Falling water echoes in this valley as the stream twists and turns until fading out of site.

Grandchildren’s Sculpture Gardens

Sally and Jim Gibbs have 11 grandchildren and over the years have collected sculptures to represent each grandchild and their personalities.

Placed between the Waterlily and Japanese Gardens the sculptures creative placement in a natural environment exude the love of family, art and landscape.

Many of the sculptures are near water, casting reflections. A stream and several waterfalls fill this valley with sound. Children are at play in this peaceful area. Two grandchildren watch as another is releasing a goose. One grandchild is sitting on a bench reading a book. Another is on a tree limb playing the flute. Two grandsons are netting a fish while another is sitting on a log fishing. Two cousins, a boy and girl, are riding the back of a sea turtle.

One grandchild didn’t quite agree with the sculptor’s choice of hairstyle. A fact still making her grandfather smile.

Hydrangea Gardens

More than 1,000 hydrangeas, of 150 varieties, are interspersed with the rhododendrons and are planted on a forested north-facing slope of mature deciduous trees, with gentle sloping walkways gracing the hillside.

Their blossoms appear in May and continue until October. Colors include blue, pink, white, lavender and purple depending on the variety and soil acidity.

The Hydrangea Garden, with 5 months of blooms, tapers from the house to the start of the Pleasance Garden near the valley. Wooden benches provide rest along the path. Views are stunning from above and below.

The Rhododendron Garden

The Rhododendron Garden began in 1988 with 750 plants of 150 varieties.

More were added and the total is now over 1,000 plants, and counting. The rhododendrons are planted on a forested north-facing slope of mature deciduous trees with gentle sloping walkways gracing the hillside.

Blossoms appear in April and flower into June. Colors vary with many shades of pink, red, white, purple and lavender.

Rose Gardens

When visiting the gardens in spring, summer and fall, masses of roses are a stunning element of the design. Roses begin blooming in May and continue until the first heavy frost.

Roses near the Manor House are planted on four levels. Dry stacked Tennessee field stone walls buttress the rose terraces. Fragrant, climbing “New Dawn” blush pink roses are featured on a long serpentine wooden arbor and continually petal the walks. Another level provides metal arches that support climbing White Dawn roses with benches in their shade.

Roses are planted in long curved beds, flanked with lush green lawn, above the water gardens and other areas. Over 1,000 roses range in color from shades of red, pink, yellow and white.

The Pleasance

Before television, the Internet and cell phones, large estates had a pleasance, or pleasure garden. The Pleasance is a destination to amuse, enjoy nature, read a book, gather with others or be alone to write a letter. Between the Waterlily Garden and Japanese Garden, the Pleasance is carefully designed to mimic nature. Over 50 wooden benches are placed for viewing. A bit beyond, and in view, is the Fernery.

More sculptures and Miss Mary awaits me on a bench in the Pleasance.

Birds are drawn to the stream, food sources, and natural cover providing sanctuary and a birdwatcher’s paradise in the Pleasance.

Wildflower Meadow

In late summer the wildflower meadow begins to put on a show with native grasses, goldenrods, asters and other wildflowers including Pycnanthemums, also known as mountain mint. With the arrival of autumn, sumacs of different varieties turn brilliant shades of red and orange.

Located on a slope, a series of mowed paths traverse the meadow and afford sweeping views of color.

The Gardens are closed from mid-December until March.

Directions to Gibbs Gardens

Gibbs Gardens is located less than one hour north of Atlanta in the triangle between Interstate I-575 and SR 400.
You will enter Gibbs Gardens off of Yellow Creek Road in Cherokee County, from Hwy 53 to the north or SR 369 to the south.

From Intersection of I-75 and I-285

Go north on I-75 to I-575
Exit onto I-575 and continue north to Exit 19A-B (Hwy 20 East).
Exit 19A heading east toward Cumming.
Proceed 8.3 miles to Hwy 369.
Turn left onto Hwy 369 and go 2 miles to 4-way stop.
Cross Hwy 372 and continue straight for 1.8 miles then turn left onto Yellow Creek Road.
(See the Big Canoe sign and tree nursery on the right.)
Continue on Yellow Creek Road 6.4 miles and turn right on Gibbs Drive GARDEN ENTRANCE.

From SR 400 and I-285

Go north on Hwy 400 for approximately 30 miles to Hwy 369.
Turn left onto Hwy 369 heading west.
Proceed approximately 12 miles and turn right on Yellow Creek Road. (See Big Canoe sign and tree nursery on left)
Continue on Yellow Creek Road 6.4 miles and turn right on Gibbs Drive. GARDEN ENTRANCE.

From Chattanooga- I-75 South

I-75 S to Exit 312 Fairmont. Turn left, which is Hwy 53.
Stay on Hwy 53 for about 40 miles.
At Tate, turn left and continue on Hwy 53 for about 7 miles.
Turn right on Yellow Creek Rd. ( Gas station on right hand corner ).
GARDEN ENTRANCE is approximately 3 miles on the left.

Don't forget Gibbs gardens in the Fall.

Gibbs Gardens
1987 Gibbs Drive
Ball Ground, GA 30107

Plan on 3 to 4 hours to see Gibbs Gardens in its entirety or 1 1/2 to 2 hours to see either the Valley Gardens or Manor House Gardens.

TRD excess images

Ball Ground, Georgia

Ball Ground is a city in Cherokee County, Georgia, United States.

Settled many years before being incorporated on January 1, 1882, the 2010 census shows the city had a population of 1,433, nearly doubling between 2000 and 2010.


The town developed near the ball grounds, or fields where the Cherokee people used to play stick ball, a rough game similar to modern lacrosse. The large fields and abundance of freshwater streams made Ball Ground attractive for large gatherings of the Cherokee.

In 1755, it was the site of the decisive Battle of Taliwa between the Cherokee and Muscogee Creek peoples; the Cherokee won.

After Indian Removal in the late 1830s, the region began to fill with European-American settlers, some of whom used enslaved African Americans as laborers. The Civil War interrupted development; by the late 19th century, the community had two country stores and a few dwellings, and was surrounded by farms. Construction of railroads in the post-Civil War period, brought new businesses to the region. The community was incorporated on January 1, 1882, the same year that the Louisville & Nashville Railroad came through, to serve the marble industry.

In 1985, the Alfred W. Roberts House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only house in Cherokee County that has this recognition. Originally constructed in the mid-1800s and enlarged around 1900. It is a good example of an evolved house that reflects changing architectural tastes, a practice that was common in small towns in Georgia and the southeast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is important for its unusual eclectic style which encompasses ‘plantation plain’, Victorian and Classical elements–all a reflection of the historical development of the property between 1855 and 1932.

Important exterior architectural details include the balustraded porch with Doric columns, marble front steps, bracketed cornices, brick chimneys, and multiple gables with decorative feather-cut shingle patterns. Interior features associated with the late 19th century period include French doors, chair rail, baseboards, vertical panel tongue-and-groove wainscoting, picture rail, walls with horizontal boards, and original knobs and door locks.

On December 4, 2009, the Ball Ground Historic District was listed on the NRHP, for its significance to Native American and early national history.

Ball Ground Historic District is significant in the area of architecture for its excellent examples of historic residential, commercial, industrial, and community landmark buildings representing the common architectural types and styles found throughout Georgia in the late 19th and early-to-mid- 20th centuries. Architectural styles represented during this period of construction range from Folk Victorian to Ranch. The Ball Ground Historic District contains numerous, intact, excellent examples of late 19th- to early-to-mid-20th- century common house types and styles found throughout Georgia and defined in the statewide historic context by: House Types in Georgia and Georgia Historic Resources Survey Manual. The majority of the houses in the proposed district lie east, west and south of the central business district along or near Old Canton Road, A.W. Roberts Drive, or Gilmer Ferry Road.

In May 2015, Universal Alloy Corporation announced it was building a new factory in Ball Ground. The facility opened in 2017.

Universal Alloy is one of the largest employers in Cherokee County.

Alternate History through 1932

Contributing their own share in the development of Cherokee County are four incorporated towns besides Canton: Ball Ground, Woodstock, Holly Springs, and Waleska. The first three, situated on the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, which runs north and south through the county, and also on the arterial State Highway No. 5, have drawn much of their growth from the presence of excellent transportation facilities.

All of these towns are peopled with enterprising citizens, and are, if hardly frenzied centers of trade and industry, at least thriving, progressive communities from which trade and industry are by no means lacking. Each has an individual character, drawn from the advantages of its particular environment and from the nature of the part which it plays in the economic life of Cherokee County. And each has its record of participation in the history of the county.

Ball Ground, the largest of these four places, is a substantial town of eight hundred or more inhahitants, and is situated eleven miles north and slightly east of Canton. It is the northernmost town in Cherokee County, although a small portion of Nelson, three miles farther up the highway, extends from Pickens County into Cherokee.

The name of Ball Ground is a survival of Indian days, when the site of the present town was used by the Cherokees for their national pastime, the ball-play. The several hills on which the town is built sweep up from a broad level space to the south, probably the identical tract on which the Cherokees won a game of ball from their southern neighbors, the Creeks, for the prize of a thousand square miles of land.

Although its name has always been applied to the immediate locality, Ball Ground did not come into existence as a town until the railroad passed through it in 1882. Its development up to that year consisted mainly of two country stores and half a dozen dwellings. The community was almost purely agricultural.

When the survey of the Marietta & North Georgia line was run through Ball Ground in 1882, the officials of the road decided to put up a depot there and start a town to go along with it. Land for a townsite was contributed to the railroad by landowners of the vicinity, whose deed of transfer stated that “The consideration moving each of us in the establishing of this town is the enhanced value to our lands within and adjacent to the said town, and the general benefit to the country, by which we shall be benefited.” Those who donated land were Sarah E. Carpenter, Martha Carpenter, J.W. Byers, P.H. Lyon, F.M. Waldrup, A.M.F. Hawkins, Ancil Bearden, F.M. Waldrup, Ellen Byers, J.C. Carpenter, N.A. Lyon, Hester A. Byers, Berty Carpenter.

The railroad officials laid this land off into town lots and held a sale of them in April, 1882. Nearly all the lots were disposed of at once, and the town immediately began to build up. Within two years Ball Ground had an estimated population of 259, a large number of new buildings, three church organizations, a high school, a charter (from the fall term of the legislature of 1882), and a complete set of municipal officers. The incorporators of the town were W.A. Hayes, W.J. Boling, Captain Patterson H. Lyon, M.G. Bates, and J.A. Byers. The first officers of Ball Ground, elected in January 1884, were: Captain Patterson H. Lyon, Mayor; Dr. A.M.F. Hawkins, W.A. Hayes, R.J. Boling, and J.H. Kilby, Councilmen; J.N. Percell, Marshal.

A new charter was obtained for Ball Ground in 1911 extending its corporate powers, providing for public schools, and otherwise bringing the town up to date. Ball Ground has always been considered as one of the best business points on the railroad. In addition to providing a market for nearby agricultural sections, it has a number of well-developed industries, such as ginning, saw-milling, and wood-working.

The main industry in Ball Ground for a number of years, however, and the one for which it is best known, is the marble-working industry. Three sizeable concerns operate in this industry, the Consumers Monument Company, the Roberts Marble Company, and the Ball Ground Monument Company. Manufactured from marble quarried at Tate, Georgia, the products of these companies are widely known and used.

Ball Ground is a clean and attractive town, and a steadily-growing one. It has an excellent school system and two churches, Methodist and Baptist; supports a number of prosperous commercial establishments, including a bank and a hotel, in addition to its industrial enterprises; and contains many attractive homes. There are no finer people anywhere than its citizens.”

Historic Downtown Ball Ground was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

The City is currently working toward the goal of obtaining and installing historic markers on the buildings within the district that are listed as “Contributing Structures”.

This is Dot’s Restaurant on the main street in Ball Ground; it was the site of the old McKinney’s Store.


Ball Ground is located in northeastern Cherokee County, just north of Canton and south of Nelson. Ball Ground is along Interstate 575, with access from Exit 27, 4 miles south of the highway's northern terminus, and 48 miles north of Atlanta.

Quaint shops and eateries, a mix of residential options, and the beautiful scenery of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains - it’s a fun place to visit and a great place to live!

Fun things to do in downtown Ball Ground, Georgia

Main Street of old Downtown Ball Ground speaks to once what was and what could be once again. As Ball Ground the community gathers, it leaves a pocket of opportunity for small business owners to come in and set up shop.

Downtown Ball Ground is the place to buy jewelry offered by downtown merchants with a wide variety of lovely earrings, necklaces, bracelets and of course diamond rings. You are sure to find the top artisan brands and jewelry maker that brings a special touch to each piece offered.

Downtown Ball Ground hosts several events per year for your listening enjoyment but visit your piano shop to learn how to play and possibly purchase your grand, upright or digital piano. Don’t forget the specialty work involved such as tuning and moving which are performed by skilled technicians.

Downtown Ball Ground micro breweries have popped up in downtown corridors to quench the thirst of local or traveler who is looking for a one-of-a-kind experience for suds brewed on site. If you are looking for a light beer or something randy and dark, you are sure to find a wide assortment of options to choose from.

Rocking at Feathers Vineyard.

Downtown Ball Ground has that special dining venue and you are sure to find something to please with numerous meals served to satisfy each palette. A wide variety of restaurants and delis are available to choose from with a nice selection of entrees and especially desserts.

Mary and I on the Burger Bus.

The Wheeler House Wedding Venue History

Hidden treasures of the past help makes The Wheeler House one of the most sought after North Georgia Wedding Venue. Built in 1906 by the owner of The Wheeler lumber yard, the venue was shaped with top choice lumber. All 6,000 square feet of floors in our North Georgia Wedding Venue are heart pine tongue and groove, as well as the walls, ceilings, and two story wrap-around porches. It was not until February of 2010 that The Wheeler House underwent major renovation when owner, Lee Lusk of Canton, Georgia purchased it. For the first time since 1906, The Wheeler House was repaired, renovated, and upgraded.

Everything from the foundation to the roof and everything in between was restored to pristine condition, and in 2011 The Wheeler House Wedding Venue and Events Facility opened its doors to its first wedding.

Barn History

The addition of the barn was built in 2012 and serves as the reception site and as an option for a ceremony site if one chooses not to be married outdoors under the beautifully constructed arbor. The barn is climate controlled in order to accommodate your special day any time of the year. The barn has a spacious dance floor based on your floor plan, in which you will develop with our in house wedding coordinators.

The Wheeler House wedding venue offers a bridal suite and rooms for dressing and preparing for your ceremony, wicker beautifully and elegantly decorated. Each room has its own private bathroom and the bridal suite includes a large claw foot tub that is original to the house. The groom and groomsmen have the luxury of having their own climate controlled suite in the barn, including a television and plenty of space to change or store personal items. There is also a billiards room inside the house that can be used by the groom and groomsmen or can be enjoyed by guests during their time at the venue.

The barn was meticulously planned and designed by owner, Lee Lusk, so that the barn wouldn’t be taller than focal point of the historic home, yet still preserving the 100+ year oak trees that surround it. The footprint was tediously surveyed in order for the barn to sit between 3 major historic oak trees without having to remove any. The most importantly, the reclaimed lumber was then used to not only build the main frame of the barn, but to cover the exterior of the barn as well. Lusk bought the old piers of the Panama City pier after the Florida city decided to build a more permanent concrete pier.

Additionally many of the poles came from the Panama City bay where the old airport runway went out over the water. After the international airport was built the old one was commissioned to be minimized. When they removed the piers, Lusk bought them, shipped them on a logging truck to Ball Ground, and had a local gentleman hand cut each pole with an old fashion circular saw. This reclaimed lumber still has the saw marks, and you might be able to find holes from where boats tie offs were. While this was extremely expensive and time consuming, Lusk knew the special pressure treatment that protected the poles from corrosive ocean salt water was among the best and that the north Georgia climate couldn’t touch them! As the reclaimed wood ages and seasons, the exterior wood siding will grey and become even more beautiful and unique with age.

McGraw Ford Wildlife Management Area is located in Cherokee County on the Etowah River. The 2,255-acre property has hunting opportunities for deer, bear, turkey, small game, dove and waterfowl. The wildlife management focus is to provide archery deer and bear hunting during the fall, season long dove hunting on the 22 acres of managed dove fields, and spring turkey hunting. With access to about 5 miles of river frontage, the area provides unique fishing and paddling opportunities. No ATVs are allowed on the property.

This section is highlighted by the beautiful shoals in the McGraw Ford Wildlife Management Area that harbor much of the Etowah's fish diversity, including the federally protected Etowah darter. Along the way it flows over fish weirs, past significant Native American and gold mining sites and even lends its water to North Georgia’s chicken industry at the Pilgrim’s Pride rendering plant. The shoals of McGraw Ford are the primary obstacle to navigation, though the stretch between Old Federal Road and Settingdown Creek is frequently clogged with cross river strainers that require portages.

That wraps up our visit to Ball Ground and the Gibbs Gardens. I must say I am trained now cause my girlfriend bought me a membership and we anticipate going back for the azaleas and daffodils. Flower Power boys! Another opportunity for some Garden GNW Gals.

Edited 15 time(s). Last edit at 10/29/2020 11:33PM by Top Row Dawg.

Georgia Natural Wonder #163 - Gibbs Gardens - Ball Ground

Top Row Dawg256October 23, 2020 07:31AM

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