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Town of three rivers

  • photo
    A view of downtown Rome from Myrtle Hill Cemetery.
    Photo by (Daniel Varnado varnadophotography.com)

Picturesque downtown, surroundings make Rome a nice getaway

You couldn’t ask for a more scenic backdrop or plentiful downtown than you’ll find in Rome, Ga.

The town is steeped in remnants of its Civil War history and offers a wealth of outdoor and cultural opportunities to locals and tourists alike.

The massive Berry College campus north of town provides a cultural center with numerous activities for visitors.

For a quick getaway, visit the campus, take in a Braves minor league ballgame or try Broad Street’s shops and restaurants.

BEST THING TO DO

Check out downtown

• The historic Between the Rivers District holds many restaurants, boutiques and antique shops downtown on Broad Street.

• Check out the Victorian architecture in the city center, where you’ll find houses and churches stretching from Broad Street to the Etowah River.

• Just off Broad Street, you can see the scenic spot where the Oostanaula River merges with the Etowah River to form the Coosa River.

Source: Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau

BERRY COLLEGE

Private school a public prize

• This co-educational private institution of about 2,000 students boasts the world’s largest contiguous college campus, with more than 26,000 acres. The campus is open to the public from dawn to dusk.

• Enjoy miles of hiking/biking trails, fields, forests, lakes and mountains on the sprawling grounds. There’s also a huge deer population that is used to humans and a 40-foot overshot waterwheel known as the Old Mill.

• Visit the campus dairy, part of the strong work-study program, where more than 100 cows live. Milking time is around 3:30 p.m. and tours are available.

• Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum, 24 Veterans Memorial Highway, offers student-led tours of founder the college founder’s pre-Civil War family home, museum and surrounding gardens ($5 for adults, $4 for students and $3 for seniors; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, excluding holiday weekends).

Source: Berry College

BEST KEPT SECRET

Cemetery brings history to life

• Enjoy views of the city from its highest point in the cemetery, which is reminiscent of an outdoor sculpture garden.

• The cemetery is the final resting place for many Confederate soldiers, and a few Union soldiers are rumored to be there, too.

• Ellen Axon Wilson, President Woodrow Wilson’s first wife, is buried alongside her family here, making her the only first lady to be buried in Georgia.

• Don’t look for Martha Berry here — she’s buried on campus near the Berry College Chapel.

Source: Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau

LIST OF FESTIVALS

Fall’s full of festivals, fun

• Running Water Powwow-Cherokee Homecoming & Ripe Corn Festival — Held the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day, this festival highlights the area’s Native American cultural history in Ridge Ferry Park.

• Wings over North Georgia Air Show — This inaugural event will offer a range of aircraft on site and in the air at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport, in addition to barbecue, live music and an auto show (Sept. 28-30).

• Chiaha Harvest Fair — This two-day event includes an arts and crafts festivals and food vendors (Oct. 27-28).

Sources: Individual festival websites

BEST PLACE IN TOWN TO EAT AND WHY

Dinner at the show

• Guests have enjoyed the Southern fare at the Partridge since 1933, making it Georgia’s third-oldest operating restaurant (open 11 am. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

• The joint keeps in the old-timey theme, with period music overhead and wait staff dressing in 1930s-styled black and white dresses and aprons. The restaurant is housed in a former theater — you can’t miss the neon marquee out front.

• Food is served family style at lunch and dinner with a breakfast menu. You can choose from a variety of all-you-can-eat meats and sides each day.

• The restaurant has new owners, but the last of their predecessors, 93-year-old Karemy Domain Jacobs, still comes in to eat every day.

Source: The Partridge

Always bustling

• Population: 35,303

• Biggest employers: Floyd Medical Center, Floyd County Schools, Harbin Clinic, Redmond Regional Medical Center, Floyd County government

• Number of miles from downtown Chattanooga: 56

• Landmarks or geographic features: See fish, turtles, snakes and wildflowers at the Rome/Floyd ECO River Education Center in Ridge Ferry Park.

• Date founded: 1834

• Historic Info: Rome is one of few towns to see continuous action during the four years of the Civil War. Much of the city was burned by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops on Nov. 10, 1864.

• Most famous resident: Martha Berry, founder of Berry College

• Odd/unique tradition: First Friday concerts — the city hosts these free public music events each month May through September at the junction of the three rivers in downtown Rome. Bands are usually from the area or the greater Southeast region.

• Unique characteristic: From April to September, the Rome Braves, a Class A minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, plays at State Mutual Stadium.

Sources: Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce