Gone With The Wind in Georgia
Barnsley Gardens is the estate of Godfrey and Julia Barnsley, and while Margaret Mitchell did not model Tara after the home, she did incorporate Barnsley heavily into the character of Rhett Butler. Barnsley was a Savannah businessman who led the city's Chamber of Commerce. He was heavily involved in both shipping and cotton, and was one of the 10 wealthiest men in the South.
The Barnsley Estate is now an upscale golf resort and is well worth the stay. You can play golf, visit the remains of the Barnsley Estate (destroyed by a 1906 tornado) or visit a near-by bauxite mine. Spend the night at Barnsley Gardens.
From Barnsley Gardens return to I-75 and go south to exit 267. As you leave the road, stay in the left-hand lane, which merges with Highway 5. This becomes Church St. Keep in the right-hand lane on Church, which becomes a right-turn only lane at the 120 Loop. Turn right and get in the left-hand lane. At Whitlock Ave, turn left. The Gone With The Wind Museum is on the left. There is not much parking here, but there are parking places around the antebellum square just a block ahead.
From The Gone With The Wind Museum return to I-75 and go south to I-285. Take I-285 east to GA 400. Travel north on GA 400 to exit 6, Northridge Rd. Head west for .5 miles to Highway 9. Turn right and continue 2.8 miles to Highway 120. Turn left, then make an immediate right on Mimosa. Follow the signs to Bulloch Hall.
From Bulloch Hall return to GA 400. Take this south to the merge with I-85, then continue to the merge with I-75. This road is known locally as the Downtown Connector. Go east from the 10th Street/14th Street exit. The Margaret Mitchell house is on the right. Turn right on Crescent Avenue and use the parking lot on your right.
Where it began
After visiting the apartment house and making a stop in the gift shop, the tour crosses the street to the modest Gone With The Wind Museum, which has material the book, Tara's front door on loan from the Talmadge family in Swainsboro and a short video on the movie premiere in Atlanta on December 15, 1939.
From the parking lot, turn left on Cresent, then right on 10th. Take this to Monroe Drive (at the far end of Piedmont Park on the left hand side of the road.) Turn right. Piedmont continues south to Oakland Cemetery, where Margaret Mitchell is buried. The road changes its name to Boulevard south of Ponce deLeon Avenue. At Memorial Drive turn right, then make the first right to the entrance.
Oakland Cemetery is the final resting place of Margaret Mitchell. The grave has an excellent view of the huge towers that now comprise the heart of the city and occasionally people leave personal items. To visit the grave, look for the bell tower as you enter the cemetery. Oakland's office is in this building.
From the cemetery return to Boulevard. Turn left. Take I-20 west to I-75 south to GA 36 (exit 201) west. Continue for 11.2 miles until GA Highway 36 forks. Take the left fork and continue through downtown. Tyler Street on the right is your signal to slow down. Turn right on Byrd Street and go one block to Greenwood Street. Tarleton Oaks is directly in front of you. Turn left on Greenwood and make an immediate right into Tarleton Oaks' driveway.
A Stay in Antebellum Georgia
The highlight of this tour is a stay in an antebellum Greek Revival mansion developed as a "Gone With The Wind" themed attraction. Tarleton Oaks is home to the The Gone With the Wind Hall of Stars Museum. This collection is an astounding piece of history and a must-see for any Gone With The Wind fan. Actor Fred Crane and his wife Terry Lynn allow visitors to view their personal collection of memorabilia. Many of the items are one-of-a-kind. Crane played Brent Tarleton, who had the opening lines in the movie.
Evenings at Tarleton Oaks Fred narrates a slide show presentation based on the original photographs of Fred Parrish, still photographer on the set of Gone With The Wind. Fred punctuates the lively discussions with memories of the actors and actresses and has a wealth of knowledge on Hollywood in general. In the morning Fred and Terry serve breakfast to the guests in the Tara dining room.
Return to I-75 and head north.
Jonesboro, Georgia was the town where Mitchell placed the fictional Tara, so it is only fitting that the city have a museum about Gone With the Wind. In the stone railroad depot, which replaced an earlier structure near the Patrick Cleburne Confederate Cemetery, is the Road to Tara Museum, a small tribute to the book that put this hamlet on the GWTW roadmap. Here you will find a variety of original pieces of memorabilia collected by Herb Bridges.
That marks the end of the Atlanta-area Gone With the Wind tour
Return to Tours of Georgia