Shake off the big city hustle and bustle. Step into countryside views where French Country meets the Georgia mountains in Braselton, Georgia. Just an hour commute from the major hub of Atlanta, see why visitors are finding sanctuary in this quaint, Southern vacation town.
A French Chateau, Where?
My college roommates and I have been consistently scheduling a girl’s weekend for the past 28 years. Through babies, crazy work schedules, and the fact that we live in New York City, Atlanta, and Boston, it takes dedication to make it happen year after year, but you better believe it is priority we take seriously! This year we discovered an amazing hidden gem, staying on the grounds of a 17th century-style French chateau on a sprawling 3,500 acres of vineyards, canopied forests, and quiet nature trails, without traveling all the way to France. Welcome to Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia. Its world-class luxury with Southern hospitality. With an award-winning European spa, a sparkling outdoor pool and hot tub, onsite dining, wine galore. It was the perfect setting for recharging jumping right back into the comfort and laughter of old friends, and toasting to year 29 of friendship. My favorite experience at the chateau was an onsite cooking class we took. As we arrived in the teaching kitchen inside the winery we were greeted with a complimentary glass of wine, and the most beautiful ingredients laying out for our use. With an array of cooking skills, we all enjoyed the process of creating stunning dishes that tasted even better.
The Birthplace of the Modern-Day Mall
Although we could have easily never left the grounds of Chateau Elan, I am glad we took the time to get into town to see quaint Braselton. Its Southern roots were planted in the late 1800s as a center for farming and commerce, but really made its mark when the three Braselton brothers built “The most handsomest and most completely arranged brick structure in this part of the State,” as quoted by the State Magazine. Braselton Brothers served as a pre-cursor to the modern-day mall with 70,000 square feet of retail space and everything one could need under one roof. In order to stay true to the town’s history we new it was time to do some shopping! We started where it all began in the former Braselton Brothers shop which now serves as the Braselton Antique Mall, among other things. It was full of precious finds, one of the most enchanting was that the patio was hosting the local farmers market on the day of our visit! We loved chatting with the farmers and artisans and buying local Georgia goods. Another shopping highlight was Naked South Boutique, also housed in the Braselton Brothers building with trendy clothes, vintage jewelry and lovely home goods.
A Town to Stroll
We strolled over to the Town Green where families and friends were enjoying the afternoon sitting on the amphitheater steps reading a book or eating a picnic lunch. There was a great stage, where we were told events take place throughout the year. From the Town As we enjoyed Downtown Braselton, we felt as if we had stepped back into a simpler time as the Braselton Trolley rolled by and passengers waved out the window. We passed the Town Hall with the Historic Old High School Bell out front, that for decades beckoned students to school and community members to town events just like mama ringing the dinner bell. Green we could smell something buttery and delicious and followed our noses to The Galloping Gallette, a quaint French Café serving delicious sweet and savory crepes. We could tell this place was authentic when we overheard one of the chefs speaking to a cook in French, and the food confirmed we were absolutely right. My airy crepe filled with savory goat cheese, bacon, mushroom, and chicken was a true taste of France. Braselton is the kind of town that you don’t walk or rush, rather you meander and stroll, and it provided the perfect getaway for four old friends who needed just that.