Lauren Davis, Campus Carrier asst. arts and living editor
Southern Living published an online article on Nov. 2 titled “15 best things to do in Rome, Georgia.” The number one spot on the list highlights Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum, while spot number two encourages visitors of the Rome area to tour Berry College. The 13 other spots are dedicated to esteemed local businesses, restaurants and historical locations.
With Southern Living’s recent recognition of Rome as a top destination, visitors can expect to be spoiled for choice with an abundance of activities and attractions to explore. But beyond the celebrated Oak Hill and Berry College, the city’s vibrant community is buzzing with excitement, eager to welcome visitors and share their hidden gems. Romans, college staff and local business owners are excited to see their names put on the map and shared internationally with people who plan to visit Rome.
Chris Kozelle, director of public relations, works to connect Berry and the local community. According to Kozelle, Berry has been mentioned and highlighted in several Southern Living articles throughout the years past. She believes that the recent Southern Living article has done the best Job of depicting the environment at Berry College and gave wonderful information regarding the campus and the Oak Hill museum. She has recently posted the article to Linkedin and it has received major positive feedback from Berry alumni.
Kozelle is also a member of the Rome Tourism Board which includes a variety of hotel owners, restaurant owners and others that are involved in local tourism. During her time on the board, she has always heard that Berry is one of the biggest promoted tourist places in town. This is reflected in the Southern Living article due to Berry’s high placement on the list.
“Berry is an integral part of the tourism in Rome,” Kozelle said.
Due to the high amount of tourism Berry draws in and will continue to draw in after the publishing of this article, Kozelle was clear on Berry’s security guidelines for outside visitors. Kozelle says that all of Berry’s visitor guidelines can be found on the college web page.
“We have been an attraction for quite a while because of the beauty and campus security is very aware of how to control the heavy visitor traffic coming in and out,” Kozelle said.
One of the local businesses highlighted in the article is the town’s beloved Blossom Hill BBQ & Burgers. The restaurant is described in the article as “a hit among locals thanks to its delicious food and expansive indoor-outdoor dining and play spaces.”
Kevin Dillmon is the proprietor of Collective Hospitality, which includes Honeymoon Bakery, Aventine, Grace Events and Blossom Hill. He began his own chain of local food services, catering and event coordinating in Rome in 2007 when he opened his first business Honeymoon Bakery. This evolved into his 3 other locations. Each place holds a different experience under the same collective goal which is to work as a team to create a welcoming enviorment.
Dillmon was honored to have Blossom Hill recognized in the Southern Living publication. He believes this establishment was highlighted in the article as a tourist destination because it is very inviting to people and is a family-friendly environment. According to Dillmon, the goal in Blossom Hill’s layout was to create a nice outdoor space where people can hang out and that would be popular in the community coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Dillmon, the recent increase in Rome tourism has had a huge positive impact on his businesses. Dillmon said that people have started to travel from Atlanta to dine at the establishments and enjoy a night in a different environment than what they are used to back home. Festivals and concerts in Rome have also had a big impact on the foot traffic in and out of Dillmon’s businesses. He said that even if tourists decide not to eat in the restaurants that day, they will see the establishment and want to come back.
“Blossom Hill can be very inviting for people,” Dillmon said. “Our environment speaks for itself at Blossom Hill.”
Dillmon hopes that as the business grows, more Berry students and staff will dine with Blossom Hill and enjoy the environment they have to offer. Dillmon said that he hopes Berry Students will utilize the outdoor space to come relax, play some games, and get away from campus life. According to Dillmon, Blossom Hill has hosted alumni for Mountain Day over the past two years.
“Berry has supported all of our businesses well,” Dillmon said. “We are only two years old, so I think that the Berry College kids are finding us.”
Kristi Kent, communications director of Rome, communicated with Southern Living in regards to this publication. According to Kent the Public Information and Marketing team of Rome had previous connections to Southern Living, so the magazine reached out to Kent to ask for some recommendations for things that people should do while visiting Rome. Kent sent them a large list of things to do in Rome with specific details and information regarding the activities. She also provided Southern Living with a dropbox link of high resolution photos of all of the recommended activities. From there Southern Living condensed the options down to fifteen top things to do in Rome.
Kent was happy to see that Berry College and the Oak Hill House and Museum was at the top of the list. According to Kent, Berry is one of the number one ways people find out about Rome.
“Berry has been a great way to put Rome on the map,” Kent said. “We are very fortunate to have Berry as a part of our community”.
To check out the Southern Living online article and to learn about other things to do in Rome you can go to southernliving.com under the “Travel Southeast” tab and then click on “15 Best Things To Do in Rome, Georgia.”