Written by Lindsey Lowe Osborne
My husband, Caleb, and I had the great fortune to get away to Callaway Gardens for part of our honeymoon after our December wedding this past year. Neither of us had been to the resort before, but we knew what we were interested in; after an incredibly busy few months for both of us—I was planning a wedding and he was completing his first semester of medical school—we knew we wanted to spend our honeymoon relaxing. A few days after Christmas, we found ourselves at The Lodge and Spa at Callaway, located in Pine Mountain, Georgia.
Spoiler alert: Relax we did! Tucked away at Callaway, you really don’t have another option: You must take lots of deep breaths, take in the beauty, and relax. But before I go on and share with you all of the great ways Callaway allows you to do this, I have to tell you my very favorite part of our trip. It’s going to sound silly—a tiny detail—but to me, it was the epitome of the attention to detail the staff at Callaway and the Lodge and Spa are sure to bring to all of their guests’ stays.
We arrived on a cold, rainy Friday night, and to my delight, we were greeted with a roaring fire in the Lodge lobby—as well as hot cider and warm chocolate chip cookies. Nothing says “come in from the cold” like a warm drink and hot cookies—nothing! It was the perfect way to say hello to Callaway, and every night, I was sure to snag a couple of cookies and a cup of cider as we went through the lobby (They also offered cold fruit water during the day, which we took advantage of often.) It was just the perfect “extra.”
Since it was December, Caleb and I initially wondered what we might do at the resort, which boasts beautiful gardens, trails, restaurants, cabins, and more on some 1,400 acres of breathtaking nature. We did find ourselves dreaming of visiting again in the spring, when flowers along the trails would be in bloom, but Callaway sure offered lots of fun in December.
Of course, the December treat that people come for from miles around was the Fantasy in Lights, a drive-through Christmas light display with more than eight million lights. We made sure to grab cider from the Lodge before we left, and there we were: Two adults, staring in wonder the entire time. We talked about bringing our (someday) kids back, too—there’s a Christmas Village with Santa visits and snacks for the kiddos. We skipped that in favor of more cider back by the fire at the Lodge.
During our stay, we took in many of Callaway’s sights (staying at the Lodge affords you an all-day pass to the gardens.) We visited the Day Butterfly Center, which was like a tropical getaway in the middle of winter. Bursting with flowers and tiny fliers, it was a gorgeous escape from the cold winds outside; of course, it would fit right in with a spring or summer trip. We also visited the Pioneer Log Cabin while we were in the area—so cool! It reminded me of reading Little House on the Prairie as a little girl; it was like Little House had come to life.
We also went to a Birds of Prey show, which showcases nearly a dozen species of birds that—you guessed it—are hunters. These birds were magnificent to watch, and we found it a great mix of informative and entertainment (and all of Callaway’s birds are rescue birds that, for some reason or another, wouldn’t be able to make it in the wild. They are happy to call Callaway home.)
While at Callaway, we were lucky enough to find ourselves at the Lodge’s Piedmont Grille—once for breakfast and once for dinner. Breakfast is offered buffet-style, with options from a southwestern scramble to an oatmeal bar. That night, Caleb ordered a steak for dinner, which he raved about, but I fell in love with the Gouda mac and cheese—so decadent after a day of bird watching and hiking.
The incredible thing about Callaway is that every trip you take is a whole new experience—this is our trip, but you could find yourself filling your days in completely different ways. With so many dining and lodging options, it’s a place that grows as your family grows. Caleb and I did lots of relaxing on this trip (we made great use of the Lodge’s hot tub), but we can see ourselves here for years to come, hiking, zip-lining, biking with our kiddos. No matter your stage in life, Callaway is the perfect retreat.