Location: Pine Mountain, Georgia
Type of Venue: Off-site, Garden
Capacity: More than 1,000 guests
Nearby Accommodations: The Lodge and Spa at Callaway
It was a beautiful sunny day in 1928 when Cason J. Callaway and his wife, Virginia, decided to take a break from their hectic city lives and venture out to the countryside with their friends for a leisurely picnic near Blue Springs in Harris County, Georgia. The landscape enchanted Callaway and Virginia so much that two years later, they purchased 2,500 acres in Harris County on which they would soon make their home.
For nearly two decades, the family settled and cultivated the land, only to realize that their love for the property was quickly outgrowing their private acreage. They decided the property was just too beautiful for one family to enjoy. So in 1940, they began work turning their pastoral retreat into a public garden.
Set in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the Calloway Resort and Gardens opened to the public in 1952 and has welcomed millions of visitors to the manicured grounds since its inception. The garden’s mission has remained the same since it was founded, dedicated “to connect man and nature in a way that benefits both.”
Guests now have access to numerous hiking and biking trails along the 2,500 acres of beautiful gardens and lakes of the Callaway Resort and Gardens. The property also includes four types of accommodations, more than a dozen options for dining and the gorgeous grounds of the gardens themselves. Visitors can start at the Discovery Center before making their way to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, where more than 1,000 butterflies make this butterfly conservatory one of North America’s largest. Azaleas make up a good portion of the gardens, but there is also have a dedicated Azalea Garden and Azalea Bowl on the property, where walking paths allow guests to meander through the colorful blooms.
The Calloway Gardens are owned and operated by a not-for-profit organization, so groups meeting within the grounds are able to directly support the growth of the gardens and their future by simply showing up and exploring.
The 12 venues at Callaway Resort and Gardens are wide-ranging, with elegant ballrooms and meeting rooms, flourishing outdoor spaces and scenic lakeside viewing points. Spaces include the Longleaf Ballroom, for up to 1,000 guests; the Loblolly Ballroom for up to 600 guests; the Cypress Conference Room for up to 200 guests; the four Sourwood Breakout Rooms, for up to 60 guests each; the Sourwood Boardroom, for up to 20 guests; and the four Bayberry Breakout Rooms, for up to 60 guests each. Outdoor spaces are also available for rent.
The team of chefs and catering staff at the Callaway Resort and Gardens has catered countless events over the years, specializing in customized banquet menus that feature locally and regionally produced foods. The team welcomed a new award-winning chef in May who has added a signature touch to a series of new menus that include break, breakfast/brunch, lunch, reception, dinner and beverage menus. Each of the new menus showcases the craft and quality from the local fishermen, farmers and artisans of the South. Alcohol is allowed and available for events and meetings at the gardens.
Aside from complimentary entrance to the gardens, which includes regular shows and events each week, meeting groups can also book a range of interactive experiences for an additional cost, like the Sangria Mixer, which is a cross between a scavenger hunt and charades. Other team-building activities include the TreeTop Adventure zip-line course, the Photo Rally photo scavenger hunt, the Ropes Course challenge and a number of other activities such as sports, cultural exhibits and shopping. The events team can arrange for boating excursions for groups and even guided fishing trips; also available are off-site excursions like a class in herbal vinegar-making or a container gardening session.
Callaway Gardens allows guests to connect with the great outdoors no matter the season. During their free time on property, guests are invited to take in the vibrant blossoms of spring on more than 2,500 acres that are marked with numerous hiking and bike trails and two world-class golf courses.
Summer days are spent on the water, where guests can try their hand at watersports on Robin Lake, which features the world’s largest man-made white sand beach. Fall getaways are filled with wildlife experiences, a relaxing day at the spa or a quiet day of fishing. Christmas at Callaway includes Fantasy in Lights, a National Geographic-acclaimed light display.