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This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of visiting a local college campus that I had vaguely heard of since I live in Metro Atlanta. However, until recently, I had no idea how uniquely beautiful this school was, so I had to plan a visit to see it in person for myself. But first, here’s a little background: Berry College is a private, Christian college which was founded in 1902 by Mary Berry, the daughter of a well to do planter and cotton broker in Mount Berry, Georgia.
After realizing that the local planter’s children were illiterate, she decided to open the school and devoted her life to assuring that they learned the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. They earned their keep by helping to build what is now known as Berry College.
The campus is so picturesque that Hollywood has come calling several times to film movies like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Remember the Titans”. Come along with me as I discover the surreal beauty of this campus.
before you enter
When you enter the main gate, you will see signage directing you to the far right lane. A security officer will come out to greet you, scan your driver’s license, give you a map and explain how to get to all of the significant points of interest. Southern hospitality is alive and well here at Berry College. She couldn’t have been nicer!
the main campus
After passing the Hermann Hall Administrative building, we decided to take a right on the roundabout to take in the glorious beauty of the Ford Complex which is a fantastic take on nouveau English Gothic architecture. This complex was gifted to Mary Berry by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford as a show of their commitment to supporting her work. I can’t express how amazed we were to see what stood before us:
This complex houses the school’s Alumni Center, Music conservatory, student residences, dining hall, Admissions Office and Gymnasium. It was early serene and peaceful Saturday morning, so we opted to spend some time walking around and taking in our surroundings. We felt privileged to have the complex to ourselves before everyone else woke up.
Next, we decided that we wanted to take a look at the rest of the campus buildings like the chapels, the other classroom halls and any other unique features that might pique our interests.
more than a college
We drove around and took note of all of the various buildings that housed more student residences, Child development centers, Health, Residence life and Student centers, SGA, bookstore and Lecture Halls. Each building was special in its own right. There were three guest cottages to house visiting family members which made sense because the campus is so large and its easier than renting a distant hotel room.
The chapels were gorgeous. Many people reserve them for weddings, and I can certainly see why. The Berry College Chapel was the only one that was locked; presumably, in use by personnel. We were able to enter Barnwell Chapel which was built in 1911 and was the most rustic of the three. Rehabbed thirty-one years ago, it retained a log cabin feel.
Frost Memorial Chapel was the most beautiful. Built in 1936, it featured wooden beamed ceilings, a flagstone floor, leaded glass windows, slate roof, and three beautiful stained glass windows. We found it occupied by a lone visitor, a woman who was listening to music while doing yoga. It was such a lovely surprise; I asked if she wouldn’t mind me taking a picture of her doing one of her poses and she consented.
Most of the acreage, comprised of towering trees of varying autumnal colors, featured roaming wildlife.
The Old Grist Mill was a favorite. Built in 1930, it has a reflection pond. It is off the beaten path on campus, so be prepared to drive on a long unpaved road to get there. It’s worth the trouble, though!
If you’re planning to visit Atlanta, you should add this to your itinerary. Be sure to pack a lunch and make a day of it.
For more information contact:
2277 Martha Berry Hwy NW
Mt Berry, GA 30149
Phone: (706) 232-5374