Callaway Gardens: A Virtual Tour

I have a small image of the setting of “Red Clay and Roses” on my blog site in a slideshow  that shows a few images of Callaway Gardens, a place mentioned a couple of times in the novel.  Although the novel only offers a slim glimpse of Callaway Gardens through a couple of references, I thought I would give you a virtual tour. As a side note to the book, Callaway Gardens was a “whites only” resort until the 1970’s due to segregation policies. It is now enjoyed by all.  Pine Mountain has its own airport, even though it is a small town of only 700 residents in the town proper. There are many antique malls and quaint shops in Pine Mountain. I have many of my own photos but most of these are from TripAdvisor show much more than mine.  If you are looking for a nice vacation spot for spring or fall, Callaway Gardens is the place to go.  It is located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, about 100 miles Southwest of Atlanta, and 40 miles North of Ft. Benning, near Columbus, Georgia.  I raised my family on a farm near Pine Mountain, and there was always something to do there.

CALLAWAY GARDENS HISTORY

Open since 1952, Callaway Gardens is nestled in the southernmost foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Founders Cason and Virginia Callaway longed for a place where man and nature could abide together for the good of both. More than six decades later, their retreat continues to offer solace, inspiration and discovery for all who come here.

A 13,000 acre, year-round horticultural display garden that offers the Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center, Birds of Prey Show, Day Butterfly Center, Sibley Horticultural Center, Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden, Walking Trails, Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel and Pioneer Log Cabin as well as golf, tennis, fishing, fly fishing and biking. Seasonal events and educational workshops are offered throughout the year. Four lodging types, a spa, nine restaurants and two lounges are available.Golf Courses; Gardens; Nature/ Wildlife Areas.

Golfers seeking a real test of their abilities look forward to playing 7,057 yard, par 72 Mountain View, designed by world-famous golf architect Dick Wilson. Tight, tree-lined fairways are characteristic of this true championship course. Mountain View was home to the PGA Tour’s Buick Challenge for more than a dozen years. One of Mountain View’s most intriguing holes is the par 5, number 15 where the threat of water looms over both tee and approach shots. This hole was ranked as the fourth most difficult par 5 on the Tour by USA Today.

All but a few Photos are courtesy of TripAdvisor.  The Chapel photos and some others of flowers and the bike trails are my own.

View from the top of Pine Mountain over Callaway Gardens.

View from the top of Pine Mountain over Callaway Gardens.

Entrance sign to Callaway gardens.

Entrance sign to Callaway gardens.

The Mission sign from the early beginning.  there are now 17,000 acres.

The Mission sign from the early beginning. There are now 17,000 acres.

These pink and whites are the azaleas that The gardens are famous for, they bloom in march and April at their peak.

These pink and whites are the azaleas that The Gardens are famous for, they bloom in March and April at their peak.

There are eleven miles of drive through the shady woodlands, around the lakes and streams that are patched with azaleas.

There are eleven miles of drive through the shady woodlands, around the lakes and streams that are patched with azaleas.

You can stay in one of the delightful cabins or condos.

You can stay in one of the delightful cabins or condos.

Or in the hotel across the hwy.  It used to be a Holiday Inn until Callaway bought it.  It has several restaurants and a couple of lounges in it.

Or in the hotel across the hwy. It used to be a Holiday Inn until Callaway bought it. It has several restaurants and a couple of lounges in it.

My favorite place to stay are the cottages because they are inside  The gardens, nestled in the trees, within walking distance of most of the attractions.

My favorite places to stay are in the cottages because they are inside The Gardens, nestled in the trees, within walking distance of most of the attractions.

One of the first things you will see is the beach at Robin lake, It was one of the largest man made beaches in the world for many years.  there are little ice cream shops, beach gear shops and sunwear botiques all along the sidewalk by the beach and a huge pavillion just east of it.  The Masters water ski tournament used to be held here annually.

One of the first things you will see is the beach at Robin Lake, It was one of the largest man made beaches in the world for many years. There are little ice cream shops, beach gear shops, and sunwear boutiques all along the sidewalk by the beach and a huge pavillion just east of it. The Masters water ski tournament used to be held here annually.

Children love the beach in summer.

Children love the beach in summer.

You will start your drive through the azaleas in spring.

You will start your drive through the azaleas in spring.

And pass the many glass still lakes with the arched and meandering bridges.

And pass the many glass still lakes with the arched and meandering bridges.

The green golf courses attract a lot of attention. The Gardens hosts many renowned golfing tournaments.  this is the famous Mountain View course.

The green golf courses attract a lot of attention. The Gardens host many renowned golfing tournaments. This is the famous Mountain View course.

Lake View course has many water traps and is the location of The Veranda Restaurant overlooking the greens.

Lake View course has many water traps and is the location of The Veranda Restaurant overlooking the greens.

The FSU Flying High Circus is there under the big tent every year near the beach for the kids to enjoy.  Also around the beach are the choo-choo train, putt-putt golf, and playgrounds.

The FSU Flying High Circus is there under the big tent every year near the beach for the kids to enjoy. Also around the beach are the choo-choo train, putt-putt golf, and playgrounds.

Independence Day brings the fireworks display on the beach, which you can look DOWN on from the mountaintop.

Independence Day brings the fireworks display on the beach, which you can look DOWN on from the mountaintop.

There are many arched stone bridges across the several  lakes on site.

There are many arched stone bridges across the several lakes on site.

Fishermen can rent boats for the day or half day.

Fishermen can rent boats for the day or half day.

Canoes are also available for going out onto the water, a lovely way to see  The Gardens from a different perspective.

Canoes are also available for going out onto the water, a lovely way to see The Gardens from a different perspective.

The peddle boats are fun.

The peddle boats are fun.

Probably my most favorite way to view The Gardens is by bicycle.

Probably my most favorite way to view The Gardens is by bicycle.

The boardwalked bike trails through the woods are nice any season.

The boardwalked bike trails through the woods are nice any season.

When leaves are out or not, they meander through the woods and over bridges crossing the lakes and mountain streams.

There are lacy shadows over the trails whether leaves are out or not,.The trails meander through the woods and over bridges crossing the lakes and mountain streams.

A pretty way to see the wild azaleas that bloom along the water's edge.

A pretty way to see the wild azaleas that bloom along the water’s edge.

Most of the bike trails are paved for a smooth ride, and if you just can't do the full eight miles, you and your bike can take the ferry back to the boat house.

Most of the bike trails are paved for a smooth ride, and if you just can’t do the full eight miles, you and your bike can take the ferry back to the boat house.

As you pass by the serene lake pools you will come upon the Sibley Center.

As you pass by the serene lake pools you will come upon the Sibley Center.

The Sibley Center is a hug open air glass walled greenhouse with several conservatories to show off the beautiful plants.  Here is a nice place to sit down awhile and relax.

The Sibley Center is a huge open air glass walled greenhouse with several conservatories to show off the beautiful plants. Here is a nice place to sit down awhile and relax.

There are water features upstairs at the Sibley Center, and it will cool you off just to look at them.

There are water features upstairs at the Sibley Center, and it will cool you off just to look at them.

Another view of the waterfall.

Another view of the waterfall.

The water flows to the goldfish and koi ponds below.

The water flows to the goldfish and koi ponds below.

You don't want to miss Cason Callaway's vegetable gardens and orchards.

You don’t want to miss Cason Callaway’s vegetable gardens and orchards.

The Victory Garden TV show on PBS was filmed here.

The Victory Garden TV show on PBS was filmed here.

Another place to see is the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center.

Another place to see is the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center.

This is the back view of the butterfly house.

This is the back view of the butterfly house.

There are many unusual butterflies in the Butterfly Center.  They import the chrysalis and place them into special windwoed chambers where you can watch them emerge and then they set them free into the Conservatory.

There are many unusual butterflies in the Butterfly Center. They import the chrysalis and place them into special windowed chambers where you can watch them emerge, and then they set them free into the Conservatory.

In the conservatory the butterflies  are free to fly around and feast on flower and fruit.  the children and adults alike love it when they land on their noses.

In the conservatory the butterflies are free to fly around and feast on flower and fruit. The children and adults alike love it when they land on their noses.

These are the wild yellow azaleas from Texas, but the pink ones are native to georgia.  They have a different flower that looks like a honeysuckle bloom up close.

These are the wild yellow azaleas from Texas, but the pink ones are native to Georgia. They have a different flower that looks like a honeysuckle bloom up close.

The mountain laurel blooms all around the embankments  surrounding the chapel.  There is a rocky creek that runs nearby.

The mountain laurel blooms all around the embankments surrounding the chapel. There is a rocky creek that runs nearby. They are hard to see in this photo, but the wild dogwood and azaleas are all blooming at the same time as the mountain laurel. It is a gorgeous sight to behold.

The chapel is a spot you don't want to miss as you drive through.  You can spot it across the lake before you make the turn to drive up close.

The chapel is a spot you don’t want to miss as you drive through. You can spot it across the lake before you make the turn to drive up close.

The Callaway Chapel is one of the most photographed sites at The Gardens.

The Callaway Chapel is one of the most photographed sites at The Gardens.

Ida Callaway, whose inspiration initiated the gardens, has her portrait hanging in the chapel..

Ida Callaway, Cason’s mother, whose inspiration initiated the gardens, has her portrait hanging in the chapel..

Stained glass image from inside the chapel.

Stained glass image from inside the chapel.

Stained glass image from the opposite end of the chapel.

Stained glass image from the opposite end of the chapel.

Little stony  brook flowing over stone near the chapel.

Little stony brook flowing over stone near the chapel.

Blossoming mountain laurel outside of the little Callaway Chapel.

Blossoming mountain laurel outside of the little Callaway Chapel.

Native azaleas.

Native azaleas.

Azaleas that line the walkways and bike trails of Callaway Gardens.

Azaleas that line the walkways and bike trails of Callaway Gardens.

There is also a small pioneer cabin near the chapel and the butterfly center that often has shows on how to make soap, candles or spin yarn.

There is also a small pioneer log cabin near the chapel and the butterfly center that often has demonstrations on how to make soap, churn butter, dip candles or spin yarn.

From Thanksgiving through New Year's there is a display called Fantasy in Lights.  You can take a trolley car or drive the 8 mile drive through display after display of colorful brightly lit Christmas shows that are spread out between the trees, like the Winter Wonderland, the Poinsettia Show, Santa's Workshop, and the Manger Scene.  The forest comes alive with the multicolored Christmas lights hanging from the trees and the displays set up along the roadside.

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s there is a feature called Fantasy in Lights. After dark, you can take a trolley car or drive the 8 mile drive through display after display of colorful, brightly lit Christmas scenes that are spread out between the trees; like the Winter Wonderland, the Poinsettia Show, Santa’s Workshop, and the Manger Scene. The forest comes alive with the multicolored Christmas lights hanging from the trees and the displays set up along the roadside.

Jonquils and pansies on display around the gardens.  I just had to leave you with one more picture of the flowers that make The Gardens so special.

Jonquils and pansies on display around the gardens. I just had to leave you with one more picture of the flowers that make The Gardens so special.

Hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of lovely Callaway Gardens.

Hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of lovely Callaway Gardens.

36 thoughts on “Callaway Gardens: A Virtual Tour

    • It was a wonderful place to raise a family, but you have to drive 20 to 40 minutes to get anywhere. So it makes a great escape. Unless you work for Callaway, finding a job locally is difficult.

    • It takes us about 6 1/2 hours to drive straight through from Orlando up the Turnpike to I-75. I don’t know the best route for Jacksonville. We get off in Tifton and go through Albany and Columbus. I most often stay with my dad and his wife 17 miles North in LaGrange when we go up, unless we have a big crowd. It is a gorgeous and most inspirational place. You would enjoy, I’m sure. The Callaways have opened The Gardens up for residential living now. The great-grandkids are selling real estate inside The Gardens, and people are putting in multi-million dollar mansions. It is sort of changing the flavor of The Gardens and they have a management company doing most of their landscape management now. Not as pretty IMHO as it once was. Not as many all season blooming plants put about.

  1. Wow! I want to go there – it is beautiful and looks like it would be a very relaxing and restful place to be with all those beautiful flowers and butterflies (and I’m partial to butterflies). Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • You “Like”? This would be a great place for a writer’s conference. The Gardens Mountain Creek Inn has plenty of accommodations for that sort of thing. I could spend a good two or three weeks there easy writing and including some much needed R&R.

    • I thought you might like the golfing there. I don’t know where you live, but it is a short 1 1/2 hour drive from Hartsfield international Airport in Atlanta. Many people from Atlanta have second homes in Pine Mountain’s resort community. Well worth the trip. The place has a national reputation and is becoming more international.

  2. Wow . . . just wow. That is an incredibly beautiful place.
    And as an added bonus, you reminded me of the plant that we saw all over Ireland, which I was trying to remember for a bit of description – bright pink azaleas! Thank you for sharing that beauty and for jogging my memory!

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