No one is sure how Marietta got its name, but it entered into history when, in 1864, General Sherman marched through the city … and spared it, before going on to burn Atlanta. Today you can visit the Confederate Cemetery to honor those who died in his wake; but the area is not just about the Civil War! There is much more to see and do when you stay at one of the Marietta, Georgia hotels listed below and explore the many local attractions, which include:
Start your visit at Marietta Square, which surely feels like the pulsing heart of the city. The park itself is beautiful—it is watered from a private lake during droughts to keep the flowers blooming—and just the place for a picnic. And you can put that picnic together on the spot from the Saturday farmer’s market! Surrounding the park are antique shops, boutiques and restaurants, including the “Cupcake Wars” winner’s shop if you are in the mood for something sweet. You can take a horse-and-carriage ride here or watch one of the plays that Theatre on the Square presents in the park in the summertime.
Currently the home of the Atlanta Lyric Theater, the Earl Smith Strand Theater was built in 1935 as a major motion picture house but closed in 1979 and sat in disrepair for 30 years until its renovation in 2009, bringing the theater back to its Art Deco splendor. It would be worth a visit just to look around, but you would miss out on a lot if you did, starting with the “mighty Allen theatre organ” that provides concerts and accompanies silent films at the Strand; the Allen replicates the sound of the large Wurlitzer theatre organs from the 1920s. Plays, concerts, musicals and of course the screening of classic films all provide a show in an atmosphere you will not soon forget.
A solemn reminder of the past and a good educational opportunity for your kids is available at the Marietta Confederate Cemetery, where historical signs will guide and inform your visit. This is one of the largest burial grounds in the nation for the confederate dead, having become the resting-place of 3,000 soldiers who died on nearby battlefields. You can easily find where each state’s dead are buried, as there are marble markers, and take a moment to note the ages of many of these very young men.
It is not just the Civil War that you will learn about at the Marietta Museum of History: in fact, its newest exhibit is the aviation wing, located in a 15-acre park and featuring civilian and military aircraft from the latter half of the 20th century. The general history room is a great introduction to Marietta’s past, from Native American culture to gold mining to influential early businesses. Check out the Homelife Gallery to see how people lived in the 19th and 20th centuries (have your children ever seen an icebox or a rotary phone?), and the Andrews’ Raiders Room to uncover the Union’s daring plot to damage Confederate supply lines. Note that there are special “Mice Tours” offered by the museum to toddlers and their parents, so your smallest children do not need to feel neglected.
Speaking of your children, they are probably ready by now to step back into the present, so why not enjoy an afternoon at Marietta’s Monster Mini Golf, where it is Halloween all year round? It is an indoor attraction located in a warehouse that lives up to its “monstrous” name, with spooky lighting, music and creatures just waiting to scare your socks off. You can choose the color of your ball, which then fluoresces under the black lights while you golf. A separate space offers arcade games as well as air hockey and pool tables.
For an overview of local history without tramping through museums and cemeteries, take the Historic Marietta Trolley Tour. There are two tours offered: the regular daytime ride through downtown, the cemeteries, the battlefield and the historic Antebellum houses, and the “Scary-etta” ghost tour. Note that the latter makes several stops that involve some walking. The tours operate Thursdays through Sundays and leave from Marietta Square. The trolley itself is comfortable and the guides are knowledgeable; taking a trolley ride is one of the best introductions to any area, and this one is no exception.
Marietta is home to some of the finest architecture in the south, as well as offering great cultural, historic and recreational options for visitors. Stay at one of the Marietta, Georgia hotels listed below and enjoy the southern hospitality that will make you feel like you have a new home-away-from-home in the heart of the Peach State.
Kennesaw, GA, US, 30144
Kennesaw, GA, US, 30144
Austell, GA, US, 30168-7719
Atlanta, GA, US, 30341
Peachtree Corners, GA, US, 30071
College Park, GA, US, 30349
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