North of Atlanta, get more pampering and more bling for the money.
By Hope S. Philbrick
A valid argument can be made that the only ingredients you really need for a fun overnight with your gal pals is a bottle of wine and a place to sit and gab late into the night. Add some extra treats to the itinerary, though, and that grownup slumber party can be more productive while still letting you reconnect, relax and rejuvenate.
Three Ss are a welcome part of any girlfriends’ getaway: spas, sweets and shopping. Roswell, Georgia delivers all of those, plus boasts interesting architecture, craft breweries, historic home tours, nature trails and more. Roswell has a 640-acre historic district, is linked with the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, and its Canton Street—a linear shopping, dining, arts district with period storefronts—has been designated a “Great Street” among the “Great Places in Georgia.”
Roswell is about a 20-minute drive north of Atlanta, but it feels a world away for those of us who live, work and play in the city. When my friend Jan Schroder (who’s also an Atlanta-based travel writer) and I decided to escape for some relaxation, we chose Roswell for its convenience and its luxuries.
I expected to have fun. I didn’t expect to discover bargains—the sort of get-more-for-the-money deals that I’ll return for again soon. Sometimes, it pays to break routine.
Atlanta has plenty of great spas, but both of the spas that we visited in Roswell impressed with high-quality treatments, skilled technicians, and most especially with value prices. I’ll definitely be returning to both of these spas knowing that I’ll get more ambiance and relaxation for the same amount of money than I’ve found closer to home.
Jolie Beauty Spa & Nails – There are mani/pedi salons where the objective seems to be to get you in and out of the seat as quickly as possible and then there are those that manage to take what is otherwise a beauty routine and transform it into a moment of decadent zen. This place falls into the latter category: No wonder it’s the highest customer-rated day spa on spafinder.com. Walk through these doors and you’re not assaulted with chemical smells; a lemongrass aroma hangs in the air. This facility is 98 percent chemical free and uses non-toxic eco-friendly products. The technician who worked on my nails did an excellent job, was efficient yet thorough; the experience felt pampering not rushed. In addition to nail care, service offerings include reflexology, reiki, massages, facials, and body wraps. A mani/pedi is $35. Several $100 packages are offered including a one-hour Swedish massage and one-hour deep pore facial combo.
Plum Tree Salon & Spa – This is not only the salon where Santa gets his hair done—literally, one of the stylists here specializes in haircare for the many men who live in the area and serve as stand-ins for the big guy in the red suit—but also for ladies who need color corrections, trims, new styles, highlights and the full range of haircare services. Eight stations are positioned throughout three adjoining rooms, all individually furnished which adds to the charm of the restored historic house in which this salon and spa is located. There are also two spa treatment rooms, staffed by a certified esthetician and a certified massage therapist. As is to be expected, the salon part of the house is buzzing with energy and conversation so I wasn’t immediately convinced a massage here could be relaxing. But glass doors in the hallway separate the two spa treatment rooms from the rest of the house to muffle noise. Once I climbed onto the warm cushioned table between crisp clean sheets in the private room, I put my face into the hole of the head support as instructed and forgot everything; soft music playing helped ensure that I heard no other houseguests. The massage was truly awesome, combining long strokes with pressure points, hands and warm stones. I left feeling a whole lot more relaxed at the end of the massage than I had upon arrival. A quick hair wash and blow dry afterwards erased all traces of lotions and oils that might have crept up into my hair and helped me leave feeling totally refreshed. Jan got a facial and seemed to glow; her skin was enviable. A sign out front advertised Swedish massage treatments for $50!; when that special ends, the regular price for a one-hour treatment is $75, still a deal in Atlanta.
Roswell is home to more than 200 independently owned restaurants. Whatever you crave, from classic Southern to ethnic, creative contemporary to casual traditional fare, options abound. Among the mouthwatering destinations…
Adele’s on Canton – Calories don’t count when they’re shared with friends, right? Sink your teeth into puffy, sugary beignets. One order includes three of the traditional New Orleans-style pastries topped with a generous amount of powdered sugar. These decadent treats are a bit messy, so perfect to share on the restaurant’s outdoor patio where it’s no problem if some of the sugar hits the brick floor. Servers are attentive, the ambiance relaxed. The menu also offers a range of Cajun classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner with several options throughout the day priced under $10.
Peachtree Diner – The menu at this casual eatery is so extensive making a decision about what to order may be the biggest challenge of your day: It offers a variety of seafood dishes, steaks, chops, comfort foods, salads, pastas, burgers, wraps and more. No matter how many gals are in your group, there’s something to appeal to every palate here. Servings are generous. There’s also a full bar—and bottles of wine are half-priced every Thursday. Servers are attentive and the dining room is large so can be full of energy if crowded, though you might also have the entire place to yourself as we did.
Salt Factory Pub – Billed as a “gastropub that offers modern and approachable cuisine with an unbeatable beer list,” this upscale restaurant buzzes with activity throughout lunch and dinner service. Expect attentive service, quality ingredients, expert preparations. Food options range from burgers and pizza to blood orange glazed salmon, veal and mushroom meatloaf, poached pear salad, pulled pork tacos and various interpretations of dishes from the South to overseas. The bar menu offers more than 50 different draft and bottled brews, plus wine and bourbon. The dining room is small and cozy, modeled after English pubs with brick walls, wood floors and dim lighting; sidewalk seating is also available if you prefer to watch folks strolling and driving along Canton Street. Several menu options are less than $15.
On Canton Street, you can stroll from shop to shop browsing an assortment of goods that ranges from antiques to fine art, tchotchkes to kitchen essentials, clothing to wine, local foodstuffs to handbags and so much more. Each boutique is eclectic and genuinely unique so you really don’t know what you’ll find, and that’s half the fun. Among the dozens of shops…
Raiford Gallery is helmed by Judie Raiford, who has been a gold/silversmith since 1970 and specializes in jewelry. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other baubles of her design are for sale, as are works by over 400 other artists working in glass, ceramics, paintings, jewelry, turned wood and other mediums. “Most people do white box or craft,” says Raiford about her decision to display fine art and crafts side-by-side in her gallery. “They’re not supposed to cross, but I always felt that was an unofficial boundary. You can live with both arts and crafts.” Indeed, her gallery proves any distinction among creative works may be arbitrary. This gallery is a can’t-miss stop on any Roswell visit—because you never know what you may find, and anyway it’s always fun to look. I bought a print and jewelry.
Gifted! Artist Market & Gift Boutique stocks jewelry, home décor, clothing, garden art and other goods that range from humorous to glamorous. At this store, I bought several pairs of earrings that are higher-quality than my go-to online store and much more unique than what can be found at department stores.
Spirited is a bohemian boutique with one-of-a-kind jewelry, hats and apparel.
Southern Style stocks clothing, footwear, accessories and gifts that are made in America.
At The Bilt House, everything is for sale from the rugs on the floor to the art on the walls, but it’s the stylish women’s clothing on the racks that may most catch your eye.
Roswell Provisions offers specialty cheese, cured meats, wine, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, plus oils and more.
There’s more to explore! You and your friends may leave Roswell like Jan and I did: With a promise to return.
Where To Stay…
Holiday Inn Atlanta/Roswell
909 Holcomb Bridge Road
Roswell, GA 30076
Several national brand hotel chains have locations in Roswell; this Holiday Inn is the most recent to get a total renovation. The location is convenient and you can walk to Peachtree Diner. Guestrooms meet expectations. The hotel restaurant serves a surprisingly extensive breakfast; tables have white tablecloths yet all of the utensils are plastic, a silly juxtaposition. Artwork throughout the hotel nods to the brand’s past in a bit of quirky fun.
- Free parking
- Free Internet
- 102 guestrooms; 11 ADA accessible rooms
- Check in begins at 3 p.m.; check out by 11 a.m.
- Must be age 21 to check in—yippee! (though Odds of Encountering Children are high since kids under 12 stay free in their parents’ room)
- 24-hour business center
- Outdoor pool
- Fitness center
- Cocktail lounge
- On-site restaurant for breakfast; also within walking distance of Peachtree Diner
- No pets (service animals permitted)
- Undergoing a renovation of the public space through July 31, 2017
Roswell Visitors Center
617 Atlanta Street
Roswell, GA 30075
Stop in the Visitors Center to learn more about Roswell, pick up maps and coupon books, and get some insider tips and recommendations about what to see and do.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.