Step off the beaten path and visit a town that encourages relaxation and exploration.
From acres of rose gardens to rare exhibits of Southern dinosaurs and cowboy art, Cartersville offers a variety of adventures.
Hike the 11 trails along Alatoona Lake, visit the Etowah Indian Mounds and see the two Smithsonian-affiliated museums that highlight North Georgia's history as well as national artifacts.
Take your family to the annual festivals that feature gunfight re-enactments in the fall and the Great Locomotive chase in nearby Adairsville.
• The Tellus Science Museum features an Appalachiosaurus in the fossil gallery - a Southern version of a Tyrannosaurus found near the Alabama-Georgia state line.
• Within the science museum's 120,000 square feet, visitors can also see exhibits on space travel, helicopters, learn about the stars, dig for fossils and pan for gems.
• Kids can play with light, rainbows and mirrors and learn how electricity works in the Collins Family My Big Backyard gallery.
• Discover unique Southeast and Georgia gems and minerals in the Weinman Mineral Gallery.
• The Booth Western Art Museum features nearly 100 paintings with scenes from Western National Parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite and Teton and parks closer to home like Cumberland Island and the Appalachian Trail.
Source: Tellus Science Museum, Booth Western Art Museum
Dancing and cocktails under the stars
• Barnsley Gardens Resort offers unique promotions during the year including its Firefly Nights in the summer offering dancing and drinks under the stars.
• Godfrey Barnsley built the resort on his Italian-style villa in honor of his wife, Julia, in the 1840s.
• Today the resort offers cottages, an 18-hole championship golf course, three restaurants and full-service spa.
• Within the resort are the 160-year-old Heirloom Gardens that feature hundreds of varieties of roses and other flowers.
Source: Barnsley Gardens Resort
Pioneers and cowboys
• Pioneer Days Festival: a Labor Day weekend annual festival featuring carnival rides, an arts and crafts show, concerts and a firework display that attracts thousands to the area.
• Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium: features a unique experience of gunfight re-enactment and exhibits of Western art throughout the country. The festival is held on the Booth Western Art Museum grounds and is scheduled for Oct. 25-28.
• Great Locomotive Chase Festival: an annual street festival in downtown Adairsville, where William Fuller boarded the locomotive Texas during the famous Civil War chase later named the Great Locomotive Chase. The festival is the first weekend in October featuring crafts, live music, food and street dances.
Source: Newspaper archives
Road map to the past
• The 1869 Bartow County Courthouse was restored more than a year ago and turned into the county's history museum featuring a road map to the county and surrounding area's history.
• Within the red brick building, guests can trace their past and research the North Georgia area using the museum's extensive archives from Tuesday to Friday.
• Visit exhibits of the Cherokee Nation. Learn more on the farming, mining and textile industry and see Civil War artifacts, from cannon balls to bullets.
• Research local landmarks and find a guide for antebellum homes located through the county.
Source: Bartow History Museum
Tiny town, big history
• Population: 19,731
• Biggest employers: Shaw Industries, Toyo Tires, Plant Bowen, owned by Georgia Power
• Miles from downtown Chattanooga: 75
• Landmarks or geographic features: Allatoona Lake, Coopers' Furnace Trail, Etowah Indian mounds
• Date founded: 1850
• Historic info: Before Cartersville was founded, the area was known as Birmingham. Col. Farrish Carter, who owned plantations in Chatsworth and Milledgeville, was a frequent traveler across the state route to Rome, Ga. Carter suggested the town should be named Cartersville, and it has been ever since.
• Most famous residents: baseball star Rudy York; Baptist missionary Lottie Moon; Robert Benham, Georgia's first black Supreme Court chief justice; actor Wayne Knight, who played Newman in the TV show "Seinfield."
Source: Cartersville-Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau