Best hidden gems of Cobb County

With its quaint cities, charming neighborhoods and abundant recreation, Cobb County showcases the best of small-town living. Mixed among it all are hidden gems worth exploring. Here are a few must-see places around the county.

The hotel that Sherman spared

On his way to the sea, Gen. William T. Sherman burned many of Atlanta's historic buildings. But he spared the Kennesaw House, then the Fletcher House Hotel, because the son-in-law of its proprietor was a Yankee spy. Today, the building houses the Marietta Museum of History (1 Depot St., Marietta, Ga. 30060), where you'll find exhibits telling the story of Cobb County.

Alton Brown's favorite eats

Chefs always know the best places to eat. When he's in town, celebrity chef Alton Brown frequents The Butcher The Baker (23 N. Park Square, Marietta, Ga. 30060) on Marietta Square, which features a menu of charcuterie worth sharing.

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If you're in the mood for a burger without the frills, head to The Red Eyed Mule (1405 Church St. Extension, Marietta, Ga. 30060). Start your day off right with a biscuit during breakfast hours.

Brown has been singing the praises of Seed Kitchen & Bar (1311 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 504, Marietta, Ga. 30068) for years, saying in an interview with Eater that he frequents the restaurant at least once a week.

The best views of Atlanta from the suburbs

Next time you go to an event at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre (2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, Ga. 30339), head up to the second-level balcony overlooking the grand lobby. There, you'll find a picturesque view of the Atlanta skyline.

You also can enjoy a panoramic view of the city from Shoupade Park (4757 Oakdale Road, Smyrna, Ga. 30080) while you take in a bit of history. The park is made up of the ruins of nine arrowhead-shaped forts used by the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The only publicly displayed Bonsai Garden in the state of Georgia

Kennesaw's Smith-Gilbert Gardens (2382 Pine Mountain Road, Kennesaw, Ga. 30152) offers 16 acres filled with 3,000 varieties of plants, 30 sculptures, a Koi pond and the only publicly displayed Bonsai Garden in Georgia. During warmer months, the Bonsai Garden is home to 71 unique trees.

The trail to Alabama

The Silver Comet Trail is 61.5 miles long and starts at the Mavell Road Trailhead (south of Nickajack Elementary School on Mavell Road, Smyrna, GA 30082). The jewel in the crown of Georgia's motor-free greenway offerings, the trail is open to walkers, hikers, bicyclists, horses and dog walkers. In Alabama, the trail connects to the Chief Ladiga Trail, making the combined trail one of the longest paved trail in the U.S., stretching nearly 95 miles.

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