Drive about an hour south of Atlanta, and you will find one of the South’s sweetest small towns full of friendly people, historical sites, great restaurants, and enough shops to keep you busy for a day or more. Forsyth, Georgia, is nestled between Atlanta and Macon-popular tourist destinations.
Forsyth and Monroe County have their own claim to fame. The movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” was shot in Juliette in the early 90s. The Whistle Stop Cafe attracts thousands of visitors each year. And yes, they do serve famous Southern delicacies there. It’s worth a visit.
But if you don’t visit downtown Forsyth, you miss out on some of the best the town offers. The centerpiece of the city is the county courthouse. Built in 1896, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Surrounding the courthouse, you will find a time capsule buried in September 2021 as part of the county’s 200th-anniversary celebration. Walk around to the other side to view the Monroe County-Forsyth War Memorial created to honor residents who served in the armed services.
History buffs can learn more about the town at the Historic Brick Train Depot that houses the Monroe County Museum. Trains traveling between Savannah and Atlanta regularly stopped at the depot. Forsyth residents could take the train to Atlanta, shop, and return home the same day.
The Historic Stone Train Depot, built in the 1840s, also pays homage to the area’s history. Just across the tracks from the depot was Tift College, which served female students from 1849 until it closed in 1987. Several collections in the stone depot depict life at the college.
Shopping in Forsyth
Downtown Forsyth is a shopper’s paradise for those looking for things you can’t find in a mall. Women will love the selection at the CoTique Boutique and BMonroe Boutique. The Branded Starr Boutique offers western wear, boots, and gifts for a western look.
Soaps and bath bombs are popular now. The Girl and a Goat have an incredible selection of bath bombs and other homemade soaps. You will find some pretty cool artwork there, too.
The 1823 Artisan Guild is also a must-see when visiting Forsyth. Once located downtown, the guild is moving to a larger location. The space includes handmade goods of all types–jewelry, pottery baskets, photographs, and paintings. Suppose you have time, you can sign up for one of their many classes. You may even find something you want to take home with you.
Take your appetite and wallet to the Old Mill Market Company. When you walk inside, you are greeted with the sweet smells from the bakery. The market has various gifts and accessories, from homemade scarves to everything you need to create a perfect kitchen.
Strolling through the Makers Mart, you will find Inspired to Enrich, a unique game designed to encourage learning through story coins. Red Dirt Vagabond has everything for the outdoor lover, from maps to binoculars. If you want a coffee mug, they have that, too.
The Rose Theater
Theaters were once central to small southern towns. The historic Rose Theater is a gorgeous centerpiece downtown and is beautiful when lit. Plan a visit when the Backlot Players perform and take in a show.
You don’t have to move your car to find a great restaurant to quell your hunger. Downtown Forsyth has something for every palate. The Pickled Okra has great sandwiches and an appetizer plate with everything from fried pickles to cheese curds.
Enjoy lunch or dinner at Grits Cafe, one of the town’s most recognizable eateries. If you are lucky, you will visit when they serve their delectable steak. For those wanting a spicy cuisine from south of the border, try the tacos at Sol Tacos and Tequilas. Are you craving pizza? Grab a slice at Jonah’s on Johnston.
Her Majesty’s Kitchen is a delight you don’t want to miss. The pop-up restaurant serves a different menu weekly, Thursday through Saturday. Chef Chelsia Ogletree showcases her New Orleans-style menu to Georgia with dishes ranging from crawfish pasta to brisket and red beans. Two things you have to try if they are available–her amazing cornbread and creole salad dressing.
Forsyth and Monroe County: Bursting with Greatness
Downtown Forsyth is the hub of Monroe County, but you will find more on the outskirts of town. We did not get to explore the great outdoors at High Falls State Park or walk through the historic cemetery. The county is full of stories we want to learn about and tell. We did visit Hamlin Farms and purchased some great produce. I can attest that their outhouse is the cleanest one in Georgia, based on my experience.
You will also find plenty of comfortable accommodations for a weekend stay or longer. We were hosted at Comfort Suites and spent a night at the Holiday Inn on a separate visit.
Planning your trip is easy, thanks to the great resources at the Forsyth Convention and Visitors Bureau. We have a lot more to see, and we will be back.
This article was written by Kim Jarrett of Southern Places and Faces.