Sometimes the best treasures are concealed within plain sight.
If you’re looking for a new memorable experience not far from home, check out these seven hidden gems in Gainesville.
Did you know that the Quinlan Visual Arts Center has an etching by the legendary Dutch artist, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn? The piece, “Rembrandt’s Father in a High Hat,” was donated by the late Charles and Lessie Smithgall in 2015. The ink etching on paper dates back to 1630, displaying what is believed to be Rembrandt’s father wearing a cloak and cap. People can view this piece of art for free at the Quinlan.
Beulah Rucker Museum property
If you live in Gainesville, you’ve probably either visited or heard of the Beulah Rucker Museum off Athens Highway. If you peek through the woods toward the back of the facility, you’ll find ruins of two buildings once buzzing with children and veterans. Charred, with only remnants of walls standing, is the old Industrial School’s gymnasium, which lies next to the former veterans’ night school. Rucker added these options to the property after establishing the Industrial School in the early 1900s to serve Black students.
Green Box Mushrooms
There’s a mushroom farm in Gainesville bustling with activity. Green Box Mushrooms, which opened in 2019, grows oyster mushrooms used by local restaurants and nearby Asian grocery stores. On Saturdays, the farm offers free tours for those wanting to learn about its bottle cultivation method and see the different stages of fungal growth. At the end of the experience, you can pick and purchase your own oyster mushrooms. To schedule a tour, visit greenboxmushrooms.com.
Green’s Grocery deli
This one is already becoming a not-so-hidden secret. In the back of Green’s Grocery is a prime spot for subs, brisket, steak and other mouth-watering delicacies. The deli keeps weekly sandwich specials, including the hot Italian sub, which has gained a devoted following. Born from the mind of Shawn David Cozad, the sandwich is crafted with an Italian roll packed with mortadella, hot capicola, Genoa salami, fresh mozzarella, marinated tomatoes and shredded lettuce. Trust us, you’ll want to try this savory, acidic sub.
Genealogy section of Hall County Library in Gainesville
Interested in learning something new about your family’s history? The Hall County Library System’s Sybil Wood McRay Genealogy & Local History Collection offers access to numerous resources, including the Federal Census of the U.S., Georgia Historic Newspapers database and Heritage Quest Online. The downtown Gainesville facility recently added the MyHeritage Library Edition database that features over 9 billion historical records from the U.S. and other countries.
Where: 127 Main St. NW, Gainesville
Mural of local legends
Behind the Midtown Villages at Melrose are the faces of prominent Gainesville figures, forever gazing on those in the public housing apartments. The mural began to take shape in June with the help of local artists, children and art faculty and students from the University of North Georgia. Those depicted in the mural are Faye Bush, Johnny Vardeman, Beulah Rucker, Dr. Emmett Ethridge, Gene “Mr. B” Beckstein and Norma Hernandez. Below each vibrantly painted face is a brief description of their impact on the city.
Where: 854 Davis St., Gainesville
Rock Creek Veterans Park
In a shaded greenspace on the corner of West Academy Street and Northside Drive, lies Rock Creek Veterans Park. The property offers an amphitheater, benches, pond, multi-use trail, a memorial dedicated to veterans of all 20th-century wars and individual monuments honoring veterans from the Vietnam War and Korean War. It also serves as the gateway to the Rock Creek Greenway, linking parks from downtown Gainesville to Lake Lanier.