A Tourism Rock Star – The ROCK Garden in Calhoun, GA
It’s very rare when you visit a tourist attraction that surpasses your expectations. So many “hidden gems” are hidden for a reason. However, the ROCK Garden in Calhoun, Georgia is one of the most unique, inviting places I’ve seen in a long, long time. This spectacular and unique garden is overflowing with miniature structures all made of rocks, art, and other building materials. Simply put, you haven’t seen anything quite like it before.
The ROCK Garden in Calhoun is a volunteer-built, folk art wonderland. What’s even more incredible is that this one-of-a-kind place is on the edge of a creek bank, with trees surrounding it…and it’s at the back of the Calhoun Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In addition to the acre of flowers and beautiful blooms, there is the artistry of more than 50 diminutive buildings. The buildings, crafted from stones, shells, tiny rocks…even china… are designed to imitate their larger counterparts. There are pint-sized churches, houses, castles, and cathedrals. For example, there is a structure modeled after the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, complete with stained-glass windows. There are even porcelain figures of people and animals, some as small as two inches high. A decidedly not-to-scale music pavilion towers over it all, providing a place for music performances.
Origins of the ROCK Garden
The ROCK Garden grew out of a game Dewitt Boyd played with his eight children, in which he would create a village of tiny houses and tiny alter-ego porcelain figures as toys for each child. Boyd started creating the Rock Garden in 2007, as the latest “edition” of the game. Boyd, also known by the name “Old Dog”, has a sign greeting visitors. The sign, which reads, in part:
You are welcome here. Be at peace. The ROCK Garden began in September 2007. It is a place to meet with God. The Rock Garden is a place of joy, wonder and discovery. It is a place to be with those you love. It is also a wild place with beavers, otters, snakes, wasps, and snapping turtles. Please leave our snakes alone; this is their home. Please do not harm our little porcelain people. Each one is quite expensive. They are hand built from fine English porcelain and then fired to 2000 degrees. Be careful!
Through trial and error, Boyd developed his building methods. Previously, when Boyd and his family lived in the Midwest, they built their miniature town out of clay but discovered that the structures broke into shards when they froze in the winter cold. The work is slow and is truly a labor of love. For example, the Notre Dame Cathedral took 27 months to build.
In addition to the Notre Dame Cathedral, The ROCK Garden contains miniature versions of several famous structures, including the Colosseum in Rome and Japan’s Himeji Castle.
The ROCK Garden Committee, the stewards of the attraction, created a mile-long walking trail that meanders through the Garden and among the greenery. It’s the perfect place to take the family (and the family dog) for an evening stroll.
The ROCK Garden in Calhoun is truly one of the more unique tourist attractions you’ll find. This labor of love will provide you with a relaxing, peaceful, and educational experience that will provide lasting memories.