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“The Best Horses, Fabulous Bed & BLD, and Awesome Cookies” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Southern Cross Ranch

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Southern Cross Ranch
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3.0 of 5 Bed and Breakfast   |   1670 Bethany Church Rd., Madison, GA 30650   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 6 Madison B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cape Coral, Florida
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“The Best Horses, Fabulous Bed & BLD, and Awesome Cookies”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2009

My husband and I were looking for a weekend getaway that was unique yet incorporated several factors: B&B, Horses, and a place we could fly to with our plane from SW Florida. Southern Cross had it all, and then some. The staff was wonderful from Tom, who picked us up at the charming Madison Airport, to Monica, who checked us in to Inge, the talented German chef, to Floyd, Megan, Lance, and Conny, who put up with us City Slickers as we rode around the ranch to Noel who took us back to the airport. For those interested in quality riding and horses, this is the place to go. They rotate their Livery horses every few weeks so you never get a tired nag. The staff at the stables matched us up with appropriate mounts and it was one of our best riding experiences. The ranch had over 200 horses so there was a suitable horse for any level of rider. The ranch also offers a “bring your own horse program” so if you have your own horse you can vacation together – in separate buildings! The rooms were impeccably clean and larger than your average B&B, beautifully furnished and very comfortable. The food had a German flair, yet there were Southern Biscuits and Gravy, pizza, burritos, Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches and fresh fruit and vegetables, all homemade by the incomparable Inge and her staff. There was always something to suit the pickiest eaters and other than fresh vegetables, I did not see anything re-cycled or heavily salted as previously mentioned. Desserts were plentiful and included cakes, sorbets in natural fruit shells, pie, and cookies. The dining room was open 24/7 so you could have coffee, hot chocolate or milk and cookies and cake anytime. Inge surprised us Friday evening with “Gluvine” a hot, spiced, mulled wine just like they serve in the German and Austrian ski slopes. Yummo! If you and your family love horses, then head down (or in our case up) to the Southern Cross Ranch. We plan to be back soon and this time we are bringing friends to enjoy the Southern Hospitality and Horses.

  • Liked — King size bed, huge room, beautifully decorated!
  • Disliked — Nothing - it was perfect.
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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133 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Lewes
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2008

We had the most fabulous holiday at Southern Cross ranch. We are a family of 3, our son is 7 years old and he loved every minute of the holiday. The accommodation is superb as is the food and the horses. We have not stopped talking about the ranch since our return. Monica and Noel are so helpful and all the staff are very friendly making you feel instantly at home. A must for a stay at the ranch is a massage from the lovely lady who visits twice a week.......divine.

  • Liked — Large room with very comfortable bed, veranda right outside room.
  • Disliked — Nothing not to like.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2008

This charming southern ranch offers quality horse back riding on quality well mannered horses. The unique aspect about this horse ranch is that you have time to bond with your horse before (and after) you ride. The ranch allows you to brush and saddle your own horse as well as bath them when you're done. If you need help, the stable hands are there to assist. I thought this was especially nice compared to some stables that just give you a leg up on a horse that’s all ready to go. All the horses looked well cared for and the guides were very attentive. The ranch sits on many, many acres of woods, rolling hills and open pastures. On our trail ride, we saw three young fawns (still had their spots). This place is a little piece of heaven, and a great way to spend an afternoon (just an hour drive from Atlanta). The ranch also has over night accommodations (did not stay over night), but I did stay for lunch which was a huge all you can eat buffet. It was very yummy. The staff were hospitable and gracious. I can’t wait to come back.

Thanks, Birgit Bolton

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Mi
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2008

On the accommodation side, it is extremely comfortable. The rooms are big and are like being at home. The beds are good home quality, I slept very well. The food is incredible. Plan on eating a variety of southern favorites, and some new things too.

They are family owned and family oriented with big central game and eating area, pool and mountain bikes. Plenty of nicely appointed common areas for visiting with other guests and discussing the day's adventures. There is wifi + a computer for guest use.

On the riding side, this really gives you horseback adventure. You are involved with the horses from leading them to the tack area, brushing them and participate in the tack. After your ride you put the saddle and bridle away and help clean them up and leading them back to their pasture.

The barn staff pick a horse for you (out of 200+ horses!) based on your experience. The staff worked with us the first day to get riding, and then progressed us through more challenging horses as we got more experienced. There are several miles of trails over a large property to explore for a week's stay. The other factor is safety. While you get a chance to try new things, safety is always in the forefront. All of the riding staff pay attention to the riders: teaching, answering questions, encouraging and nicely correcting when necessary.

We spent a lot of time on the phone and figured most of this out before going, and drove from Michigan to get the right place for us. After staying, I can tell you it was the right choice. No regrets or problems. I would not have changed a thing. We will be back.

  • Liked — Total, overall quality. The family owned, family run nature made it a winner
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saugus, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2008

Where do you begin to write a review about a place that fulfilled all of my vacation expectations...and then went even further. Southern Cross is a beautiful inn/ranch where you leave your troubles at the driveway and enter a world of peace, quiet, and relaxation. My husband and I visited for our 4th anniversary. Speding time on a horse farm had been a childhood dream of mine, and he indulged me with this trip. From the welcoming tour by Monica, to the great food from Inga , the great trail rides from Megan and Lindsay to the cantering lessons from Floyd, I could not have asked for more. Our room, the Magnolia had a spectacular view of the pastures, was impeccabily clean and beautifully decorated. The food was wonderfull, plentiful and delicious. Even though most of the food was rich and hearty, there was always a choice of veggies and crisp salad items. the dessets were yummy and be careful the cookies are addicting. The riding experience was more than I has hoped for. The horses were beautiful and very well cared for. ( Hi T-bone!! I miss you!!)Take a lesson!!! It really helps if you are a beginner and you get great tips to help you on the trail. The barn help are there to assist you and really are a great bunch of people. Lance will help you find the horse for your riding level and for the experience that youare looking for. Trails that run throught the ranch are shady and peaceful. Go with a guide and you get to experience more trails and great conversations. Back at the house, you can relax on the porch, take a swim or do some puzzles. My husband and I met some awesome friends who we hope to meet back for our next vacation. I really thought about giving a bad review so no one else would find this wonderful spot but I just could not do it!!! Go, enjoy, and find your own slice of heaven!!!

  • Liked — Horses Horses Horses
  • Disliked — Having to go back home!!!
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntingdon, TN
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2008

My granddaughter spends a few weeks each summer with all the various grandparentsand family and this year I decided to take my part of it and surprise her with a surprise vacation here. She is 8 and has not ridden alone before, only just doubled up. The policy here is 9 to ride, but you may choose to pay the full child's rate and give them full riding priviledges which I did. From my first contact with them, via email, I had such positive thoughts. Monica, who handles the reservations, writes a hysterically funny email and could not be more helpful at easing any concerns and answering any question. I booked a cat 5 room which was fabulous! The bathroom is bigger than most hotel rooms with a shower that would hold a good half dozen people! We both loved our room, right on the first floor, no steps, and next to the guest kitchen. We never heard a sound with our door closed. The only negative I have here is the a/c which was a bit too warm for me. Owing to this having been a single family home originally (although hugely expanded now) the main portion of the house is all on the same central air which has to be set to try and accomodate everyone within. The ceiling fan certainly helped, but still, it was warm. The staff is great as has been noted many times. Nearly all of them, both 'horse' hands and house people live on the property and everyone, guests and staff eat in the same place and time. Gives you a nice opportunity to chat with them in a friendly environment. However, unless you approach someone you will never be bothered by any of them. It is a very intimate sort of place and in a matter of hours almost you will have met the other guests and staff. We were fortunate to have 8 little girls between 7-10 visiting the week we were there. My lizzy made so many new friends and had a ball. This is a very casual place, jeans to ride, shorts and tank tops or bathing suit the rest of the time. There are no valets, no bus boys, no bell hops. So if stairs and heavy luggage are problematic inquire about one of the lower rooms. You are given total freedom and can visit the barns or walk in the pastures any time and the main house has several gathering type rooms and decks. there is the 5 person hot tub next to the pool area and both are kept scrupulously clean. Dining is on a set time frame, breakfast at 8:00, lunch (the days main meal) at 1:00 and dinner at 6:00. Meals are served buffet style. While many previous reviews raved on the food I found it satisfactory and rather typical of 'buffet' food. Whatever was left from lunch you will find in another form for dinner. My biggest complaint about the food though is that it is all heavily salted. Heavily! I was not alone among the women there complaining about swollen hands and ankles every morning. It is typical southern fare, nicely presented. Don't be fooled over the web sites claim of home made desserts available at all times. There are freshly baked cookies there nearly always, but otherwise it is left over breakfast pastries/cakes. Desserts are something of a rarity most days. Oh, bring some apples and carrots and the horses will literally follow you all over the pastures! They also offer lessons at a reasonable price, $25 per hour with a second person for $5 additional. You take a lesson in lieu of a scheduled ride and especially for beginners they are well worth it. If you take one, ask for Floyd for sure. I say that not from personal experience but from observing the huge improvement I saw in his students. Youwill not be bored here, in fact you likely will be as exhausted as we all were. :) Basically you eat, ride, eat, ride, eat, swim and sleep...in that order! Then get up and do it again the next day. This is an almost magical place and if you have a young girl who is horse crazy you won't find a better vacation at any price. The horses are spunky and so well cared for. None of the typical riding stables skin and bones horses to be found. The horses are riden for about 2 weeks, then switched out to pasture for 2-3 weeks and so on. They have a horse to match nearly anyone, from total novice like my granddaughter to experienced riders. You may go with the guides, in small groups of 4-6, or ride off on your own. Frankly we nearly always rode with a guide, it's actually much more fun. don't worry, you will get all the trotting and cantering you can handle! The property is beautiful with acres of open pastures and acres of heavily wooded trails. And you can't get lost....just give the horse the rein and he will promptly take you straight back to the barn! :) How much did we enjoy our stay here? I booked the same time frame for next year before we even left and I was not alone in doing so. I can't give a higher reccomendation than that.

  • Liked — All around excellence in nearly every category
  • Disliked — food not remarkable and too heavily salted/seasoned
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norway
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2008

My husband and I stayed three nights at this excellent guest ranch. They have several room categories, ours was mid-range and we were quite pleased with it. Spacious, airy, clean and quiet. We had a king bed which was medium firm, just the way we both like it. The bathroom was a bit dated, but well kept and in good functional condition. We had the choice of several rooms when we arrived and chose the one called Seminole.

We were on the all-inclusive plan with up to four hours of horseback riding per day. The food was good and had several options for all the meals, varying from day to day, with an emphasis on Southern cooking and Mexican dishes. It was served buffet style and we could eat in the cheerful dining room or outside on the patio. They did not have a license to serve alcohol, but it was fine to bring your own and they had a large fridge for guests to use.

As with all things on Southern Cross, you had a choice to join a larger group at the table or to have a more quiet meal with your loved one. Not being a morning person, I liked having the last option for breakfast.

The pool area is really as pretty as in the pictures on the website. To get around on the big ranch, they have bikes you can use for free. We used them to get between the house and the stables.

The riding is what make this please really special. They have more than 200 horses there, and most of them are literally on vacation at any given time. The horses are working for a few weeks, then they are rotated out to the pastures again, so they don't get bored or turn sour.

We have stayed at several guest ranches and we have never come across horses like these. Gentle and well trained, these horses are so nice that you actually get to go out in the forest on your own with them. You must have a guide for your first tour, after that you can go without - unless you would rather have a guide along, of course.

They ask you to brush down your horse before and after riding. I think the idea is that you get to know the horse a bit better. We thought it was a quite nice experience, but we heard some people comment that they didn't expect to do that work themselves.

The horses on Southern Cross come in a variety of sizes. They have smallish ones for children and big strong Percherons for heavier people, Tennessee walking horses, paints, quarter horses - something for everyone! The wrangler will try to match you up with a suitable horse, and you can ask to have the same each time if you like.

The people who worked at the ranch, seemed to really enjoy their work. We found them friendly and easygoing. Don't expect a bunch of good old cowboys here, though, much of the stable staff were young German women.

It is possible to combine all-inclusive plan with B&B only, if you would like to have a non-riding day (parts of you WILL hurt unless you are an experienced rider!). We intend to come back again for a longer stay and will do a mixed plan then.

  • Liked — The horseback riding and the rocking chairs on the porch
  • Disliked — There was really nothing to dislike!
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Southern Cross Ranch

Address: 1670 Bethany Church Rd., Madison, GA 30650
Location: United States > Georgia > Madison
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 B&Bs / Inns in Madison
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Southern Cross Ranch 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Southern Cross Ranch is a new breed of dude-ranch experience that combines a working ranch with the comfort of a cozy bed-and-breakfast inn. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Southern Cross Ranch Hotel Madison

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