Posted by: Mickey Goodman | December 19, 2009

Barnsley Garden’s own Fairy Godmother – Adairsville, GA

Fairy Godmother, aka Denise Webb

A white heart-shaped balloon follows me around the Fairy Godmother’s secret lair at Barnsley Gardens resort in Adairsville, Ga. It trails behind when I turn left, shadows me to the right and bumps my nose when I reverse. I giggle. “It means love is coming your way,” she says. “And as you know, a Fairy Godmother never lies.”

Fairy is no figment of the imagination. Nor is she a clever holiday season gimmick. Denise Webb has been one of the resort’s best loved assets for the last 10 years. Her illustrious title and magical powers were bestowed by former owner Prince Hubertus Fugger of Bavaria. “He sat me down on a very special rock in the woodland gardens and made me a Fairy Godmother,” she says. “Then he gave me my own crystal wand and charged me with enchanting people’s stay.” She’s extended her powers to become the Furry Godmother too, catering to the four-legged “children” guests wag along.

With a fertile mind constantly dreaming up magical schemes, Fairy brings a new dimension to Barnsley Gardens, named one of Conde Naste’s Top Ten Small Luxury Resort for 2009.

Ruins of Godfrey Barnsley's once palatial home

Her home base – the 1,400-acre resort in the North Georgia foothills – is nothing less than a magical site all year long. The guest cottages, spa, restaurants and non-denominational church form a quaint English-style village framed by the well-manicured greens of the championship 18-hole golf course, the haunting ruins of Godfrey Barnsley’s palatial home and a garden with 166 varieties of heirloom roses. Add 900 acres of pristine woodlands, meadows and lakes for golfing, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing and hunting and you have a dream resort just an hour’s drive from Atlanta.

Barnsley cottages

The holiday festivities began Thanksgiving evening and continues through New Year’s day. Milk and cookies parades, cookie decorating, soap bubble wars in the village, games with the Grinch, and lady bug tea parties make the resort fun for all ages.

Special plans are afoot for New Year’s Eve. “New York has the giant Ball Drop; Atlanta has the Peach Drop. “We’re having a Frog Drop (as in ‘if you want to marry a prince, you must kiss a frog’),” she says with a twinkle. As if that weren’t enough excitement, there will be froggie favors and froggie games and lots of people fun.

Perhaps it’s the magic wand, perhaps it’s the magic in the North Georgia air, but just being around Fairy is fun. “Adults come here to be kids and kids come to be adults,” Fairy says. “My job is to create memories.”

And does she ever! Her love spells include “Memoirs of a Geisha” (candles, parasols, champagne and Geisha outfits), “Fiesta, No Siesta” (margaritas, sombreros, mariachi band cutouts); “Bubble Bliss” (bubble bath in an oversized balloon-filled room and champagne). The latest is “Love Me S’more,” complete with yummy marshmallow, graham cracker and chocolate snacks . Fairy will even shop for busy execs and fill the couple’s room with the flowers he likely forgot to order. She’ll also dream up one-of-a-kind tailor-made experiences.

Before leaving, I beg Fairy to teach me to become a Fairy Godmother too. “It’s not hard,” she says. “Anyone who does good things for others without asking for a ‘thank you’ can be a Fairy Godmother. You don’t even need a magic wand.”

Travelgram Tips:

  • Follow the directions at http://www.barnsleygardensresort.comnot those on your GPS.  Mine led me on a merry chase.
  • Guest houses are so luxurious you’ll want to move in. My fave: The Julia.
  • Plan to spend lots of time out of doors. So much to see and do!
  • Book a spa treatment and tee time when you reserve your room.
  • Equally wonderful for family, dogs and romantic getaways.
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Responses

  1. What a lovely post, Mickey!

  2. Thanks, Debbie. I LOVE blogging…no deadline, no edits (maybe that’s not a good thing!), just the joy of writing, which I had pretty much lost.

  3. Hi Mickey, I clicked on your name when you responded to my post on The Elder Storytelling Place and realized that I know of you as a “real” Atlanta writer. I then followed you to your story about Barnsley Gardens, a place I hadn’t even heard of until a few weeks ago. As karma would have it, I’m going there today for the wedding of one of my wonderful teaching colleagues, and now, thanks to you, I know so much more about it.
    Thank you so much for your kind response to my post. It is, indeed, a small big old world.

    • Marcia, What a wonderful location for a wedding. I hope you enjoy Barnsley as much as I did. If you run into the Fairy, tell her “hi” for me.
      Mickey

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  5. Mickey, Enjoyed your blog. We are going to Barnsley Gardens for the first time in August. Do you have any knowledge of the Wheaton Cottage which we are currently booked? The website, while nice, doesn’t have much in the way of pictures of individual cottages. The ones they do have show a variety of decors from ‘way too country’ for my comfort to fairly masculine (Godfrey) but the ones I would enjoy look to be what I call “Southern Elegant” but there are no tags of which that may be. Also, do you have any feel for how large a ‘kid population’ there may be by Aug 5th (I’ve been told some GA schools are back in session by then but some are not.) Any additional tidbits you could offer would be great Thanks, Kim in St.Louis

    • Hi Kim,
      Sorry to take so long to reply. I’ve been away with friends. I know you will LOVE Barnsley. I’m not familiar with Wheaton, but all the cottages I’ve seen are wonderful. They all seem very comfortable and tastefully decorated. I’m not sure about the school schedule, but think the teachers are back at school on August 5, but not the students. You could check either the Cobb or DeKalb County school calendars to get the scoop.

      • Thanks for the reply. I get the impression that, to a certain extent, this may not be a resort that’s over-run with kids at any time – perhaps I’m wrong. And it certainly is not that we don’t like kids – far from it. Now that mine is grown, I just tend to enjoy “QUIET”. Thanks again, Kim

  6. I think you’re right, Kim. It’s much more popular with adults, but they do have programs for kids. I’m with you on the “quiet!”
    Mickey

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