Charming Downtowns in Cherokee – Things to do in Historic Cherokee County, GA

So you’re looking for things to do in Cherokee County, GA. Well, so am I! Or I was until I peeled myself from this desk and got to exploring. Some of you may know that we are new here to Cherokee County, also known as Northern Georgia or the Historic Highlands. Having just purchased a home here in January, we’ve been eager to explore all that our new zip code has to offer, especially its downtown scene. So we hooked up with Carriage Kia of Woodstock who sponsored this article and loaned us a 2019 Kia Sorento EX for a week and hit up Downtown Ball Ground, Canton, and Woodstock. And boy were we delighted! Here are some of our favorite places in these charming downtown districts that are all under 15 minutes from our home.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County Georgia

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA

Our Favorite Digs in the Historic Downtown Districts of the Historic Highlands

 

Whether you’re looking for that local lunch spot that’s been around forever, a boutique shop where you can find unique gifts, home decor or fashion, or just the ambiance of the downtown atmosphere, these historic downtown districts have it all. There’s even a little bit of local legend and lore! We are falling hard for Cherokee County, and not just with its charming downtown areas, but its southern hospitality. The people are friendly, the families hold strong values and everyone is just happy to be happy. We truly love all these downtown locations. Each spot has its own charm and things that stand out. Who knew there were so many things to do in Cherokee County, GA?

 

What We Loved About Downtown Ball Ground

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground

 

Downtown Ball Ground is one of those places that you wouldn’t know about unless you are a local. And even then, you might overlook it because of its size. But don’t let that fool you! This sweet little historic district once known for its Coca-Cola Bottling Co. offers a variety of places to eat, boutique shops, and that friendly southern charm. You can also find historic Coca-Cola antique signage.

 

The first time we went we arrived too late. It’s important to know that Mondays are an off day for most of the stores. Sundays they close early and the rest of the week they are open until about 6:00 pm.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground

I love the flowers! Details!

 

The Burger Bus

 

We were starving and couldn’t help but notice the 50’s era bus/burger joint called “The Burger Bus” right in the middle of Downtown Ball Ground. My son and I ordered the “Dad’s on Death Row” burger and it was delicious! Like next level burger delicious. It was like every detail of this burger was handcrafted and pieced together for the perfect texture, taste, and blend.

 

I loved that they have a craft beer selection. And the atmosphere while sitting in the bus to dine is one of a kind.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Burger Bus

How cool is this?

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Burger Bus

Love the old Coca-Cola logo here.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Burger Bus

Dining in the bus!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Burger Bus

I love the Dad’s on Death Row Burger

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Burger Bus

Dad’s on Death Row Burger, fried egg, bacon, grits and maple syrup!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Burger Bus, Gamer Gauge

Driving not driving.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Burger Bus

Local craft beer, yes please.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Burger Bus

This kiddo!

 

 

Locally Yours

 

Our first stop was a little boutique shop called, “Locally Yours” a farm-style home decor shop filled with handmade decor and trinkets. The staff is super friendly like they were your neighbor for a 100 years friendly. And super bonus, there is a wine tasting bar in the back! I had the chance to taste several local wines and I kid you not, they were all amazing. I even brought one home. It’s now gone. I have to get another. Yup, that good.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, Locally Yours

There’s a secret wine tasting bar on the lower level!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, Locally Yours

Well it’s not REALLY a secret.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, Locally Yours

Local wines, delicious!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, Locally Yours

Tasting wine, yum!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, Locally Yours

And puppy love!

 

The Mysterious Nameless Gem Shop

 

Of all the things to do in Cherokee County, GA, this is perhaps one of the most bizarre finds. Oscar the “Rock Man’s” Gem and Mineral store in Ball Ground is a real-life mystery. My son loves collecting gems and cool rocks so as we passed by its ghost-like storefront, we were both immediately intrigued.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Rock Man, Oscar Robertson

He still stares into this window every time we walk by…

 

At this point, I had zero inkling of what this store was other than it seemed to be closed for the day. It was filled with tables upon tables of just about every rock, crystal and mineral you could think of, as well as a few spiritual trinkets and figures. Among them a sign that read, “Staurolite Minerals and Mines”. Staurolite is the State Mineral of Georgia and is also referred to as, “Fairy Cross”.

 

There is a 2,000-year-old Cherokee legend about the Fairy Crosses. It’s quite remarkable and worth a read if you want to know what the Fairy Crosses are good for as well.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Rock Man, Oscar Robertson

Fairy tears!

 

Straight away we wanted to make another trip to this store just so we could explore it. Still, I left the storefront with this odd feeling. It just seemed like this place was frozen in time. As if the entire town behind us was a ghost town.

 

As I began my research for this article I realized that the photo I had taken of what I thought to be the storefront sign was just decoration. So I dug a little deeper. I quickly discovered that this store was actually abandoned following the death of Mr. Oscar Robertson, an eccentric rich man who left behind him not only his fortress of rocks but a myriad of mysterious local legends and lore that has yet to be proven or debunked.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Rock Man, Oscar Robertson

So many stories surround this man.

 

While you will never be able to enter this store, a visit to its eerie storefront will surely leave you guessing and may even inspire you to strike up a conversation with some of the locals.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Rock Man, Oscar Robertson

So many rocks and gems!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Rock Man, Oscar Robertson

Looking at his collection is so cool.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Ball Ground, The Rock Man, Oscar Robertson

He managed to make himself a local legend.

 

What We Loved About Downtown Canton

 

While Ball Ground is about ten minutes south of our house, Downtown Canton is ten minutes south. We reside in Canton. This historic district is a bit bigger than Ball Ground but offers the same southern vibe. Boutique stores, eateries and a nice little park can be found here, making it a perfect spot to unwind, dine, shop and play. P.S. if you’re looking for pet-friendly places in Canton, check out where Noreen has been with me in town.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton, R and M

 

There are a few more hills here than Woodstock and Ball Ground which adds to the charm. This is also where the County buildings are so you’ll see a few law offices as well.

 

R&M Hoagie Shop

 

Without any knowledge of Downtown Canton, I was immediately drawn to this sandwich joint. And man am I glad I went in. Not only was the food outrageously good, but the owner himself was there so I was able to learn quite a bit about Downtown Canton.

 

I’ve been looking out this window since I was in the 8th grade” – Owner Ray DeLuca

 

There’s a lot to be said for a restaurant that’s been in the same spot for nearly fifty years! Owned by the same family since day one, this is the kind of small-town vibe people love. You don’t get to fifty years by having anything but exceptional service, a nice atmosphere, and great food.

 

The atmosphere here is entirely themed around historic Canton with large photos and antiques to embellish the vibe. Learn more about R&M Hoagie Shop here.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton, R and M

I love the Atomic Age decor!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton, R and M

R&M Menu

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton, R and M

My Reuben was UH-MAY-ZING!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton, R and M, Christa Thompson

A good sandwich make me smile!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton, R and M

The walls showcase Canton history.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton, R and M

Antiques

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton, R and M

Loving the details in this shop.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton, R and M

Owner Ray DeLuca

 

The Canton Theater

 

This is Downtown Canton’s historic theater. Its Art Deco design brings character to Main Street and is notably an anchor in the Canton landscape. Here you can see Broadway performances and special film showings. During summer, you can bring your kids for $1 movies. Check their calendar for events.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton theater

Historic theater.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton theater

Summer films.

 

Park and Playground

 

It’s almost as if kids have playground radar. There we were just about to leave when my son spotted a cool playground located at the City of Canton Utilities building. Of course, we stopped by. I caught up on my emails while he did his thing. A perfect spot to get out and enjoy the historic vibes while still getting some work done and entertaining my kid. Mom boss level achieved! There is also a nice little park with a gazebo right in the middle of downtown. It’s a great reading, meeting and relaxing spot for just about anyone.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Canton

A nice place to read and relax.

 

What We Loved About Downtown Woodstock

 

Downtown Woodstock is notably the largest of the three historic downtown districts of Cherokee County. With its iconic railroad running right along Main Street, it was a stop on the Nashville and  Louisville Railroad. It’s got the same variety of shops and dining on a bigger scale while still maintaining the quaint southern feel of a tucked away Georgia city. Added to the dining and boutique shops are live music, a coffee shop, and a record store.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock

Can’t miss this!

 

Rootstock and Vine

 

Rootstock and Vine is a classy yet never stuffy tapas and wine bar at the head of Downtown Woodstock. It has a lovely rooftop area where you can watch the city as you sip perfectly paired wine and nibble on crafted tapas. This is a great place for a date, a meeting, or just stopping through after a long day at work. The service is great and their sommelier, Taurean Philpott will tell you just about anything you want to know about their wines and more. You can also purchase bottles to take home making it a great spot for a gift wine if you’re looking for something special.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock Rootstock and Vine

They have a huge rooftop level too!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock Rootstock and Vine

Wine and tapas!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock Rootstock and Vine

The shrimp was amazing! I ordered 2.

 

The Wright Stuff Records

 

I am SO GLAD there is a vintage record shop near me! When I first walked into the Wright Stuff Records I was in awe at the collection. So many good records! And in the back, a comic room! Here you can get super geeky finds for your stash from collectible toys to Pokemon cards. I love this place!

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock, The Wright Stuff Records

I spent a chunk of my time in here.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock, The Wright Stuff Records

Need to pick a few keepers for real.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock, The Wright Stuff Records

My heaven.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock, The Wright Stuff Records

Toys and more toys!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock, The Wright Stuff Records

I about died when I saw this!

 

Copper Coin Coffee

 

My son and I really liked Copper Coin Coffee. For one it’s huge inside, so you’ll never feel Starbucks cramped. There are loads of places to pop open your laptop or book and chill with a good sandwich and or coffee. There’s some fabulous art on the walls too! We had lunch here and the food was great. Gourmet sandwiches, breakfast and light food for your midday work grind.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Gamer Gauge

Gauge looks like he’s floating!

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, The Copper Coin

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, The Copper Coin

Cool art.

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, The Copper Coin

Cool coffee spaces.

 

Pineapple Park

 

Okay, remember how I said I just bought a house? I am in full nesting mode. I absolutely LOVE home decor. There is no material possession more important to me than my nest. And making sure it’s inviting is everything. As a busy travel blogger, home is my favorite place to be.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock, Pineapple Park

I need a million dollars.

 

When I first stepped into Pineapple Park I was immediately captivated by their signature candle scent. If Heaven has a smell, this is it. Kudos to whoever pushed that idea. I could have sat in there for weeks. The store itself is inviting, obviously decorated by professionals with an eclectic display of farm style meets chic pieces. And one of my FAVORITE things about this store is that the staff was eager to help me pick out pieced for my house by looking at my photos.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock, Pineapple Park

Maybe 2 million.

 

They also offer design house calls! For $550.00 they will come to your house and help you design it professionally. I was basically in home decor Nirvana. I easily would have spent $5,000 in that store had I planned for it.

 

I will 1000% be going back to Pineapple Park to get some new pieces for my home.

 

The Woodstock Concert Series Sponsored by Carriage Kia of Woodstock

 

Now, this is quite possibly one of my favorite things about living in Cherokee County when it comes to community events. Coming from Florida, I have had my share of outdoor community events and they are absolutely miserable. So many people flock to the same spot, it really becomes more of a pain than it’s worth. The Woodstock Concert Series, however, is really well done with plenty of room for everyone at the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater.

 

Things to do in Cherokee County, GA, Woodstock, Woodstock concert series

10k people here!

 

The Amphitheater features multiple grass terraces and fits up to 10k people making it the perfect place for live music throughout the summer. And, it’s a pet-friendly venue! For updates on performances go to the Woodstock Summer Concert Series homepage.

 

The 2019 Kia Sorento EX Sponsored by Carriage Kia of Woodstock

 

Carriage Kia of Woodstock was cool enough to offer us a babe of a ride while we explored these downtown districts. As a Sorento owner myself, I always love supporting the Kia brand and I truly believe in their products. At Carriage Kia of Woodstock, I know the staff is always friendly and eager to help me with all my Kia needs. Getting the chance to test out the 2019 Kia Sorento EX was tease! Now I totally want one.

 

2019 Kia Sorento EX

Love this blue!

 

While I love the sleek body style and luxurious cabin, what I love the most about the 2019 Kia Sorento is its advancement in safety and smart technology. The EX comes with:

 

  • Projection headlights with LED positions lights – So your light goes where it’s supposed to. Living in Cherokee where I am surrounded by beautiful woods, I feel safe from hitting deer and other animals at night.
  • UVO eservices built in with 7” LCD screen for hands-free technology, music, and phone use so I can keep my eyes on the road.
  • Blind spot collision warning with lane change assist so I can avoid common accidents.
  • Rear cross traffic collision warning so I can pull out of my parking space with confidence.
  • Forward collision warning makes parallel parking in downtowns a breeze.
  • Driver attention warning which tells me that I need to keep my hands on the wheel.
  • Lane departure warning lets me know if I’m getting out of my lane.

 

These are so important to me when driving my family around. They make me feel confident behind the wheel and distraction free. And that is everything.

 

2019 Kia Sorento EX

This is always a good view!

2019 Kia Sorento EX

Leather is nice.

2019 Kia Sorento EX

Cabin is big and sleek.

2019 Kia Sorento EX

Lots of room back here.

 

In Closing

 

We learned a lot about things to do in Cherokee County, GA. We loved the historic downtown districts and all the charm of Downtown Ball Ground, Canton, and Woodstock. The food, people, shopping, and experiences really made us proud to have claimed a piece of Cherokee for our own. You can bet I’ll be following up on this Fairy Cross folklore and digging a little deeper into the mysteriously abandoned rock store. If you see us around, say hi!

 


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

17 Comments on this post

  1. Let me start with the pictures: Inviting. Hubby and I have been to Ball Ground by accident while venturing on his motorcycle, but we have to go back to Cherokee County if for nothing else to visit the restaurants. Thanks for sharing.

    Serena Hale / Reply
    • Oh I’m so glad you liked it! Yeah, I had no idea! Can you even believe I live 6.5 miles from there and had no idea! Glad I’m adventurous or I would never have made that turn!

  2. Oh wow that bus diner is amazing! We love anything that has to do with mining, or gemstones. This may be a good trip for a weekend get away because its not to far away, we are just in NC.

    Kansas Bonanno / Reply
  3. So beautiful, these all reminds me of a small town in Savana Georgia. I love the dine in the bus vibe, and the dollar movie theatre, I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those. Thanks for sharing!

    Maureen / Reply
  4. I have never been in that place but definitely adding this to my bucket list for our next trip. You really have a very stunning and very inviting photos and I am so excited to see every beautiful spots that this place have.

    Emma Riley / Reply
  5. It seems an interesting place to visit with my family. There are many amazing things and foods.

    Jeannine D. / Reply
  6. I love the retro feel of some of these places. They would be top of my list

    Laura / Reply
  7. yes yes and yes this sounds exactly like the kind of places I would visit; Rock shops! Comics! Burger buses! Artsy Cafes! oh yeaaaahhh!

    Ranelle Emma / Reply
  8. This looks like a super cute town. We aren’t far from Georgia, I’ll have to stop by Cherokee country next time we our out that way.

    Alexis / Reply
  9. That coffee place and little park look so fun! I Love little store shops too, what a fun advventure!

    thebusyboymama / Reply
  10. This reminds me of the small town I grew up in Colorado…I love them charm and all the down home goodness of places like this. I will definitely have to check it out if I am ever in the area

    mamadews / Reply
  11. Wow that sandwich at the hoagie shoppe looks so amazing! Haha probably partly because I can’t have gluten or dairy anymore:(

    Jess / Reply
  12. Hi great website. Will definitely be reading all your blogs. Keep up the good work.

    Simon / Reply
  13. I would love to visit Georgia someday! Thanks for the tips.

    Cecilia Harvard / Reply
  14. This looks like such a quaint town indeed. There seems like some lovely things to do and enjoy here! Thanks for the tips.

    Elizabeth O / Reply

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