It’s a beautiful day outside. A red, wooden, vintage trolley stops in front of your hotel. You hop on board and it takes you downtown. On the way, you admire the old farmhouses and wrap around porches. You notice the abundance of old brick buildings – one in particular has faded white letters that read ‘Department Store’.
You notice an old prominent home freshly painted white with four columns and bright green grass in front. That’s the town hall. You pull the cord to stop the trolley and step outside. Antique shops overflowing with vintage goods, restaurants with guests eating on the patio and sounds of an outdoor concert on the Town Green – you’ve arrived in downtown Braselton.
The charm of this Georgia town is hard to miss, probably because it is kept so true to its roots. Many of its historic buildings have been restored, and now serve as antique stores, restaurants or municipal buildings. This makes it feel like you’re stepping back in time. But it’s also the mom-and-pop shops that give this town the small town vibe we’re all looking for.
The town all started with the Braselton Brothers Department store, a mercantile built in the early 1900s to serve the local farming community. This iconic building is now home to many small businesses and serves as a central part of Braselton’s downtown. The classic white letters painted on its brick wall tends to be a popular photo op for visitors.
Inside you’ll find one of the local favorite spots to grab a bite, the Galloping Gallette. With some of the best brunch in town, this French creperie restaurant is the real deal. Owned by Yannick and Vivianne Fonfrede from western France, this place serves up savory galettes and sweet crepes that will blow you away. They also sell homemade French caramel sauce, in case you needed extra convincing.
I think we can all agree that one of the most iconic parts of downtown Braselton though is the trolley. There’s something about an old wooden streetcar that really warms the heart, and this one is no exception. The whole circuit takes you all across town, so no need to drive at all. This is especially good news if you stop at the winery on the way home.
The walkability factor of this small town makes it extra enjoyable. The Braselton LifePath is a 10-foot wide path for walking, biking, jogging, etc. that connects you to everything you need to see. And the Mulberry Riverwalk is a beautiful trail along the Mulberry River that gives you a chance to taste the serene nature of this place.
Afterwards, the Braselton Brewing Company is a great spot to grab a beer on a hot afternoon. Located in the old historic cotton gin, this place makes for a fun environment to take a little break. Later on, get you some fried chicken at Papa Jack’s Country Kitchen, and top it off with some bourbon salted caramel ice cream at Juke N Jive Creamery a fourth generation, family-owned ice cream parlor.
But whatever you do, make sure you take the trolley over to Chateau Elan at some point. This stunning, French chateau-inspired winery is one of the main attractions of Braselton, as it produces some of the most award-winning wine on the East Coast. On top of that, some of the best restaurants in town are here, including Paddy’s Irish Pub and Marc Restaurant.
If you’re looking for that small town vibe with a little something extra, Braselton surely delivers. Just hop on that trolley and enjoy the ride.