The once sleepy streets of Ball Ground have transitioned into an emerging destination as tourists and locals flock downtown to enjoy a variety of activities ranging from a weekend concert at the park to grabbing a milkshake and burger at one of the bustling restaurants.
By Sampson Jenkins // Photography by Kathryn Ingall
With the town hitting all-time highs in population and new businesses occupying the historic buildings that once housed shuttered rock shops, Ball Ground’s Main Street area is a place to take the family and enjoy a peaceful, fun and exciting day or night on the town.
“Downtown Ball Ground has been brought to life by our many new businesses as well as the favorites that have been here for a while,” said Ball Ground Main Street Director Karla Weaver.
The north Cherokee city of 1,500 was spotlighted last summer when movie star Tom Cruise filmed, “Mena,” along the streets of downtown and the surrounding area.
The Ball Ground Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. The district is centered on Old Canton Road and Georgia Highway 372. Most of the homes date from the 1880s to 1950s, ranging from two-room workers’ cottages to expansive hilltop landmarks.
As you enter the city and make a brief stop at the four-way sign at the top of the hill, you are drawn to the historic look and feel of Ball Ground.
Whether you are in the mood for a delicious burger in a historic trolley at Burger Bus, an authentic spaghetti dinner at Chef Rosario’s Italian Restaurant, a bag full of candy and a milkshake at the local Martin’s General Store, or a venue for a night of wedding celebrations at The Corner District or the Wheeler House, Ball Ground offers that and more. Other enticing stops include Frankfurt Doner & Meats and Les Bon Temps Louisiana Kitchen.
As soon as visitors reach the railroad tracks, they are instantly drawn to look to their left as a historic renovated trolley bus awaits those who want to try delicious, authentic, 100 percent Angus beef burgers, where the menu may change but the great taste always stays the same.
“Our newest addition to the menu is a fried green jacket, which consists of a Georgia staple: fried green tomatoes and homemade pimento cheese, and a homemade Wasabi ranch sauce,” said the manager and head chef of Burger Bus Dylan Brown.
Burger Bus also offers a breakfast burger for those early birds wanting to catch a bite to eat before work or those breakfast lovers who want to top off their night with some sweet maple syrup.
“Another local favorite is the Dad’s On Death Row burger, which is basically breakfast on a burger, with refried grits, a fried egg, bacon, cheddar and maple syrup. If you don’t mind a few more calories, then the chili cheese tots supreme are worth a try with crispy tater tots, homemade chili, cheese, jalapenos, and onions,” he said.
After a long hot summer day, what better way to cap it off than with a delicious hand dipped ice cream cone or milkshake from Martin’s General Store at the bottom of the downtown hill? Delicious ice cream is not all owners Bridget and David Martin and family offer.
“We decided that we would have produce, hand dipped ice cream, nostalgic candy, jellies, jams and marinades,” said Bridget Martin. “As time went on, we have added wooden toys and farmhouse decorations as well. Ball Ground has since gotten a lot busier with foot traffic and there are several new businesses in town and more businesses are gradually being added.”
Ball Ground offers the perfect blend of friendly small town atmosphere with plenty to do, so take time to come for a visit and see why Ball Ground is booming.