Day Trips: Georgia's Premier Car and Beer Destination - Cartersville, GA

This charming small town in the North Georgia mountains is the perfect place to visit when visiting Atlanta

Day Trips: Georgia's Premier Car and Beer Destination - Cartersville, GA

When traveling, sometimes you will want to take the road less traveled. While I don't mind touristy spots, I also crave moments away from the tourist crowds. Whenever I embark on a journey, I typically rent a car and allocate one day or night for a scenic drive in the vicinity. During my stay in Las Vegas, I took advantage of my rental car and embarked on a drive through the desert at night, taking in that cool desert air with the windows down. In other cities, I often indulge in long drives between attractions to unwind and find solace. Although I usually have a few destinations in mind, I choose a specific city as my "home base". In this particular instance, I hadn't initially planned on dedicating an entire day to visiting a small town in the North Georgia mountains. However, upon hearing about a car museum there, I decided to explore it. To my pleasant surprise, I ended up extending my stay and thoroughly enjoyed my day trip from Atlanta back in June of 2023.


Savoy Auto Museum

This particular museum is nestled in a valley with the North Georgia mountains surrounding it. It’s a huge facility, with lots of acreage, but more importantly lots of parking. I distinctly remember exiting my rental car and taking in how beautiful the environment was surrounding the museum. This appears to be a new place, but the cars on display are truly magnificent. Car museums are a new interest for me, it’s an extension of history where you can see the evolution of these vehicles in real time. Vehicles represent a point in time where certain features were more fashionable than others. Think about the features your car has, versus what your friends or family has. It’s the ultimate expression in individual freedom. On the outside of the museum, I noticed a few iconic vehicles.

Ferris Buellers Day Off Cameron Frye GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I proceeded to enter the museum. The atrium is gorgeous, then you proceed into the building itself, and you can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the cars. These cars are meticulously cared for, and are in mint condition. Savoy maintains five galleries, four of which are temporary galleries showcasing a specific theme. At the time of my visit, I noticed a lot of older models of cars and it was truly like stepping back in time to see these cars look like they once did.

At the time of my visit, I noticed many legendary vehicles were in front of me. The DeLorean used in Back to the Future was on display, and as an avid fan of that film series, this struck a huge chord with me.

This particular car museum was one of the more approachable museums I have seen. Usually, museums like this attract only the die-hard car enthusiasts, but this one seemed to cater to both car lovers and those who aren't necessarily obsessed with cars. What caught my attention were the informative displays beneath each car, detailing its history and specifications. You will easily spend a few hours in this place, so much so I made a day trip out of it!

As I spent a majority of the day at this museum, I thought I would check out a nearby brewery in town.


Drowned Valley Brewery

I love craft breweries as these are generally small business owners who make incredibly creative and tasty beers. Whenever I travel, I always make it a point to explore the local breweries in the towns and cities I visit. These places often serve as gathering spots for the community, and this one was no different. Nestled within the walls of an old factory building, this brewery not only offered a wide range of craft beers but also provided a vibrant atmosphere with live music and local food trucks. Additionally, they even allowed patrons to order food from nearby restaurants. The outdoor area was a haven of relaxation, complete with a cozy fire pit and an abundance of seating options like picnic tables and adirondack chairs. I recall it being quite relaxing and cozy! The name of the brewery is also historic, and the website goes into detail on its history:

Drowned Valley Brewing Company derived it's name from the historic town of Etowah, GA. Founded in 1845 by Mark Anthony Cooper the city was eventually destroyed by fire in 1864 during Sherman's March to the Sea. The only two remaining artifacts not submerged below Lake Allatoona are Cooper's Furnace and the Old Trestle visible from HWY 41. We chose our name and logo for many reasons, one of the most important reasons was for people to create conversation and to think more into the story behind our brewery's name, the story behind our great city, and the forgotten history that is more than likely always around us. We utilize our surrounding area and this local history in how we think about and name some of our beers. This is all to create a more immersive experience for you, our guest!

Spending an late spring afternoon here, on a very pleasant day, and you couldn’t help but take in the surroundings and enjoy yourself. The fire pit was also a nice attraction, as I have a love of fire pits and love to sit in an adirondack chair nearby with a beer or some type of adult beverage and enjoy the fire, especially at night.

The beer was amazing! I'm a fan of Belgian-style beers, and this brewery had a great one on tap. They also had some unique options, like a Blueberry Maple Pancake "Sour" beer that was delicious! I decided to try a flight of taster beers to experience all the different flavors. I even brought along a bag of pistachios from a nearby gas station. It's always a good idea to have some snacks while enjoying tasty beers!

Out of the flight I had, my favorites were:

  • Kitchen Sink: This was a very flavorful, but light and crisp beer that’s deceptively easy drinking.
  • Belgian Dark Strong Ale: It’s a belgian beer because it’s light feel but also for it’s almost banana flavor, but also has a coffee taste to it. Excellent.
  • Qualusi Malbec Stout: Combining a red wine I really enjoy with a stout sets the bar pretty high and it surpassed my expectations. Smoky with some notes of cocoa and chocolate. An excellent beer.
  • Honorable mention obviously goes to the Blueberry Maple Pancake Sour beer. Sour beers are not like sour candy (they shouldn’t be anyway), these are generally considered “fruit beers”, and are usually based on some type of fruit. This one I recall tasting like a maple blueberry pancake. Now you’re hungry, aren’t you?!

Takeaways

I spent most of the day at two different places, but let me tell you, this town is definitely worth a visit when you're in Atlanta. It's conveniently located between Atlanta and Chattanooga, making it a short drive if you're exploring Tennessee. Plus, the North Georgia mountains and parks are just a quick drive away. Trust me, this town is really accommodating and has a nice vibe. Even if you're not a car enthusiast, you should definitely check out the Savoy Auto Museum. And if you're into beer, the Drowned Valley Brewery is a must-visit. You can order food from local restaurants and enjoy some amazing beers in a laid-back atmosphere. And isn't that what a day trip is all about?