Visiting Travelers Rest State Historic Site

Visiting Travelers Rest State Historic Site 1

Travelers Rest State Historic Site is a hidden gem in the Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites division. It does not get a ton of visitation (we were the only ones there on a beautiful Saturday morning) and is a bit off the beaten path – there’s no Interstate or major route nearby.

Honestly, I went only because I’m trying to visit every Georgia State Park and Historic Site. But it exceeded expectations!

Preserves an Odd & Forgotten Period in Georgia History

Travelers Rest State Historic Site dates to a time that I did not learn about in school. It’s from that time in Georgia history when Georgia was a frontier state with white settlers continually pushing further inland (and taking, buying, negotiating, stealing, etc) land from the Creeks and Cherokee.

Since Georgia was one of the 13 original colonies, I had this idea that Georgia was old and settled – like Massachusetts or something. It wasn’t. Most of Georgia was the original Wild West for decades after the American Revolution.

Travelers’ Rest is a site that was a stopover for people traveling from upcountry South Carolina into the frontier. The house, originally built in the late 18th century, was once a bustling inn and plantation home that provided respite to weary travelers on the frontier.

The inn’s strategic location on the Old Federal Road, a major thoroughfare that connected Georgia to Tennessee, positioned it as a crucial hub of activity. It wasn’t just families passing through; soldiers, traders, and Native Americans frequently used the road, and the inn became like this melting pot of cultures and stories. It was pretty interesting to see all the maps of where all people were headed in Georgia.

The Site Itself Is Very Well-Preserved

The main house is really well-preserved, with its sturdy architecture and period furnishing. You can walk all throughout the house and check out the same rooms that once hosted diverse travelers. Since it wasn’t crowded when we went, the kiddos could general wander freely (assuming they didn’t touch anything).

Outside the main house, the site isn’t crazy big, but it’s also not too small. It’s surrounded by a rural neighborhood. The outbuildings, including the barn and slave quarters, provide a broader understanding of the workings of an early 19th-century inn and plantation. There’s working tools and rooms open to check out.

The only downside is the introductory movie. When we went, it was a circa early 1990s VHS on a very old TV screen. We did better pulling up YouTube on my phone.

It’s Worth a Day Trip from Tugaloo, Victoria Bryant or Tallulah Gorge

I don’t think I’d recommend a stand alone trip to Traveler’s Rest. But! If you are in the general area or exploring other State Parks, it’s an interesting place to check out. The site pairs well with reading an Empire of Liberty and/or What Hath God Wrought.

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