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on location: south ❖

dave bodle

SOUTHERN MANSIONS

Maymont, an example of Gilded Age opulence in Richmond, Va., boasts 33 rooms.

Plantations, cabins and other homes steeped in history enhance itineraries in the 11 Travel South states

T

he South’s mountain ranges, endless plains, abundant harbors and magnificent rivers can all tell stories of our nation’s history. However, if walls in the historic homes

could talk, what wonderful tales they might spin. From palatial plantations to humble cabins, so much of our culture can be Savoring a taste of Old England during Summer City Fest at Agecroft Hall in Richmond, Va.

seen and experienced. Each home is unique for its residents, its use and its place in our past.

VIRGINIA Virginia’s presidential homes or its James River Plantations may come to mind first, but just off I-95 in Richmond two special houses welcome groups. A visit to Agecroft Hall is a step into 15th century Europe. Built in England during the late 1600s, Agecroft was the home to the distinguished Langley and Dauntesey families. Upon falling into disrepair it was purchased at auction in 1925 by Richmonder Thomas C. Williams. He had it dismantled, crated, shipped across the Atlantic and reassembled in a Richmond neighborhood known as Windsor Farms. With authentic pieces from as early as 1485 to 1660, the Tudor estate brims with history. (agecrofthall.com) During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, often termed America’s Gilded Age, vast fortunes were amassed. Maymont, its 100 acres and 25 outbuildings are a testimony to the wealth of James Dooley and his wife Sallie. The Dooleys’ gift of May26 April 2012

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Where every visit creates lasting memories Motorcoach travelers know that Pigeon Forge is the perfect place to make memories. Could be because there’s so much to see and do here … shopping, shows, Dollywood® or the majestic beauty of our Smoky Mountains. Or it could be that warm welcome they receive, kind of like visiting an old friend. Whatever the reason, they know that every visit creates memories that will last a lifetime.

PigeonForgeTours.com 1-800-285-7557

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April 2012 27


on location: south ❖ mont to the City of Richmond is a tribute to their generosity.

The Franklin B. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Mu-

Watch for the 24th annual Maymont Flower & Garden Show, a

seum in Myrtle Beach serves residents and visitors of Horry

spectacular event held in early February at the Richmond Con-

and Georgetown counties. In 1924 textile mogul Eugene Can-

vention Center. (maymont.org)

non built a large wood-frame, oceanfront cottage in what is today Myrtle Beach. Twenty years later the house was sold to

WEST VIRGINIA

another textile titan, Colonel Elliot White Springs. By 1975 the

Today so much of West Virginia’s appeal is tied to its spec-

house was being surrounded by high-rise condominium build-

tacular mountains and outdoor recreation. Early settlers,

ings and the family traded the villa for a new home. Through

though, farmed a rich, fertile land and played an important role

generous donations and community effort, the home by 1997

in the Civil War.

had been moved to its present location and established as a

In Philippi you’ll find Adaland Mansion and Historic Barn. The barn was built in 1850 and the brick mansion followed in

wonderful art museum with expansive ocean views. (myrtlebeachartmuseum.org)

1870. The original owners farmed, and emancipated slaves

Just off I-95 in Yemassee sits the Frampton House, serv-

from the farm worked on the construction of the house. In June

ing as the Lowcountry Visitors Center and Museum. The house

of 1861 the first land battle of the Civil War was fought in

was part of the original King’s Grant to the Frampton family in

Philippi. (adaland.org)

the 1700s, but in 1865 the house was burned by General Sher-

Although the most famous battles of the Civil War took

man’s troops. Rebuilt in 1868 in today’s location, the house

place in other states, West Virginia experienced its share of

saw major renovations in 1930. In 1993 Wymann Boozer do-

tragedy. The Dr. Robert B. McNutt House was the only build-

nated the Frampton House for creation of the visitors center.

ing left standing in Princeton after the town was burned during

(southcarolinalowcountry.com)

the Civil War. It was used as headquarters for Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes and Sgt. William McKinley, who both went on to become U.S. presidents. (pmccc.com/mcnutt_history.htm)

GEORGIA Few Southern states have cities matching the cosmopolitan sizzle of Atlanta, but we often forget that Georgia is also a win-

NORTH CAROLINA

dow to our past.

From the coast to the mountains the historic homes of North

Located on the Georgia College campus in Milledgeville,

Carolina reveal much about our culture and spirit. Two in par-

the Old Governor’s Mansion was completed in 1839.

ticular play to our creativity.

As the residence of Georgia’s chief executives from 1839-

Affiliated with Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, the

1868, the National Historic Landmark showcases the

Reynolda House Museum of American Art is the restored

antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Slavery, the

19th century country home of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Com-

difficulty of the social order and gender positions all shaped

pany founder. In addition to works by Mary Cassatt, Fredric

the history of the building. On Nov. 22, 1864, Gen. William

Church, Jacob Lawrence and Georgia O’Keeffe, the museum

T. Sherman claimed the mansion during his March to the

features changing exhibits. (reynoldahouse.org)

Sea. (gcsu.edu/mansion)

The memory and literary insights of author Carl Sandburg

The Isaiah Davenport House in Savannah portrays an

are on display at Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site,

appealing story of the American Dream both then and now.

located in Connemare (near Asheville and Henderson). The

The tale begins with a young New England carpenter

National Park Service is the steward of this first historic site to

achieving success in his adopted city. A demonstration of

honor an American poet. Sandburg, an Illinois native, moved

his building skills, Davenport’s fine home, noted “for the

there in 1945. More than one third of his works were penned in

simplicity of the exterior and the charm of the interior,”

this peaceful, 262-acre farm setting. (nps.gov/carl)

housed his family and the enslaved people that worked for him. In the mid-19th century the house passed out of the

SOUTH CAROLINA

Davenports’ hands and became a dilapidated tenement by

With Charleston’s colorful Rainbow Battery, the magnifi-

the mid-20th century. The work of seven Savannah women

cent rice plantations and the Upstate homes from the colonial

coming together in 1955 saved the house and led to the

era, South Carolina is a treasure chest of history. South Car-

founding of the Historic Savannah Foundation. (davenport-

olinians, an ingenious people, have put many of those great

housemuseum.org)

homes to work. 28 April 2012

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The art of COUNTRY, BLUES and ROCK ’N’ ROLL .

Blues in Helena-West Helena

Entertainers Hall of Fame, Pine Bluff

Go on tour around The Natural State – cruise the Rock ’N’ Roll Highway to visit the places where legends were made, explore the musical birthplaces of the Delta, and pay respect to the greats in the Entertainers Hall of Fame. 'ĞƚŵŽƌĞŝŶĨŽƌŵĂƟŽŶĂƚ

ArkansasGroupTravel.com or call 1-800-872-1259

un i q u e vi s it s

DeGray Lake Resor t State Park

888-AT-PARKS • ArkansasSt at eParks.com

Johnny Cash Music Festival, Jonesboro


Make the high point of Arkansas WKHKLJKOLJKWRIWKHLUWRXU 7UDYHOWKH0RXQW0DJD]LQH6FHQLF%\ZD\WR0RXQW0DJD]LQH6WDWH3DUN:LWKXQVXUSDVVHG YLHZVIURPDWRSWKHKLJKHVWSRLQWLQ$UNDQVDVWKLVSDUNRIIHUV\RXUWRXUJURXSV XQIRUJHWWDEOHH[SHULHQFHV*UDFLQJWKHPRXQWDLQ¡VVRXWKEOXII WKHSDUN¡VUHVRUWPRXQWDLQORGJHLVWKHSHUIHFWHQG WRDGD\RQWKHURDG&DOOIRUVSHFLDOJURXSUDWHV

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 b2 March 3 – September 16, 2012

The St. Louis Cardinals

“Play Ball� will feature decades of memorabilia from one of our country’s most storied franchises, the St. Louis Cardinals. This exhibition will feature over 100 items such as the World Series trophies from 2006 and 2011 and championship rings. For A Limited Time Only! t+VMZ+VMZo8PSME4FSJFT5SPQIZ t+VMZ4FQUFNCFSo8PSME4FSJFT3JOH t"VHVTU4FQUFNCFSo4UBO.VTJBMTOFXMZSFTUPSFEVOJGPSN +PJOVTBTXFSFnFDUPOUIFKPZ UIFIFBSUBDIFBOEUIFGVOUIBUDPNFTXJUI being a baseball fan.

On loan from St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame & Museum 1SFTJEFOU$MJOUPO"WFOVFt-JUUMF3PDL "SLBOTBTttDMJOUPOQSFTJEFOUJBMDFOUFSPSH


on location: south ❖ KENTUCKY

the Civil War. As a courier, he was captured in November 1863,

With the Civil War Sesquicentennial being commemorated

and upon suspicion of espionage and failure to divulge informa-

through 2015, it’s a good time to ponder Kentucky’s place in

tion, the Union Army executed him after a captivity of only seven

that history. Although a Southern state that accepted slavery,

days. He died on his 21st birthday. Davis’ story, a rallying point for

Kentucky refused to secede from the Union. Curiously, the

the Southern cause in the closing days of the Confederacy, is re-

presidents of both the USA and Confederacy were born in Ken-

vealed at the Sam Davis Home in Smyrna. Southern clergy

tucky, less than 100 miles apart.

often spoke of him in Christ-like terms. (samdavishome.org)

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville focuses on Lincoln’s early childhood from his 1809

ARKANSAS

birth and portrays our 16th president’s humble beginnings. Sit-

There are hundreds of ways to explore the beauty of

uated on 116 acres of Thomas Lincoln’s Sinking Spring Farm,

Arkansas. Part of that scenic attractiveness is the wealth of

the birthplace features an early 19th century Kentucky cabin

magnificent Victorian-era homes.

symbolizing the one in which Lincoln was born. The cabin is

The Victorian era, which corresponds with the reign of

enshrined within the Memorial Building, the first building to

Queen Victoria in England from 1837 to 1901, was noted for its

honor Abraham Lincoln. Events surrounding Lincoln’s time in

attention to high morals and modesty—with a few exceptions.

Kentucky helped mold his formative years. A land dispute

The prominent apple green-and-cream structure in Fort Smith,

forced the family to move north when Lincoln was seven years

Miss Laura’s, was a bordello in its earlier days. Originally built

old. (nps.gov/abli)

as the luxurious Riverfront Hotel just before the 1900s, the

Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site in Fairview

city’s premier bawdyhouse now serves as the town’s Visitor

is a Kentucky state park preserving the 1808 birthplace of the

Center. Completely restored, Miss Laura’s is the only former

president of the Confederate States of America. The birthplace

house of prostitution listed on the National Register of Historic

home is no longer, but in 1924 construction of a magnificent

Places. (fortsmith.org)

monument was completed. At the age of 3 young Jefferson and

On a more genteel note, the entire town of Eureka Springs

his family moved to a Mississippi plantation, but by age 7 he

is on the National Register of Historic Places as the Eureka

was attending schools back in Kentucky. Born just a year and

Springs Historic District. The city has steep winding streets filled

100 miles apart, Lincoln and Davis both strived to preserve the

with Victorian-style cottages and manors. Built in Carthage in

Union. However, after South Carolina’s secession the latter felt

1891, the Queen Anne Mansion was dismantled, moved to

compelled to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives

Eureka Springs and reconstructed 100 years later. German and

and return to his Mississippi home. Soon after he was named

Italian artisans carved classic Victorian oak and cherry fireplace

president of the CSA. (kentuckytourism.com)

mantels as well as pocket doors. With more than $400,000 of antique furnishings, it is considered an elegant place for wed-

TENNESSEE

dings and receptions. (thequeenannemansion.com)

Although many travelers are familiar with Elvis Presley’s Graceland and Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, some are discovering Tennessee’s less heralded historic homes.

ALABAMA To the pleasure of many travelers this is the “Year of Ala-

The James K. Polk Ancestral Home in downtown Colum-

bama Food.” Although groups are similar to armies and move

bia is the only surviving home of the 11th U.S. president (outside

on their stomachs, you will need to take a break from the table

the White House, of course). Built in 1816, it displays original

and explore an historic home. We’ll have you back for dinner.

belongings of President and Mrs. Polk. The Polk family moved

On July 4, 1881 the Tuskegee Normal School was estab-

from North Carolina to Tennessee when James was 10. Polk

lished by the State of Alabama to educate newly freed slaves.

was focused on politics his whole life and began his career in

At the age of 26, Booker T. Washington became the first princi-

1823 in the Tennessee House of Representatives. In 1844 the

pal of the newly formed school. His home, The Oaks, was built

Democrats were having difficulty nominating a candidate and fi-

in 1899 using bricks made by students. At the time it was the

nally nominated Polk on the ninth ballot. He narrowly defeated

only residence in the county with running water and electricity.

Henry Clay. During his term the United States extended its ter-

Today the home (with original furnishings) is part of Tuskegee

ritory from the Atlantic to the Pacific. (jameskpolk.com)

Institute National Historic Site, located on the campus of

Called the “Boyhood Hero of the Confederacy,” Sam Davis

Tuskegee University. The National Park Service site also in-

served in various combat roles in the Confederate Army during

cludes the George Washington Carver Museum. (nps.gov/tuin)

32 April 2012

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Play Well With Others

On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, just east of New Orleans, you’ll find a Tour Operator’s dream. A place of natural beauty, boasting 62 miles of coastline graced by centuries-old live oaks. Add the excitement of 11 casino resorts and you’ve got a real winner! Go to www.gulfcoast.org for all the information you need to plan your next tour, including sample itineraries, step-on guides, and tour friendly restaurants and lodging properties. Let our sales staff take care of everything, so you can play!

Play Your Way!

Convention & Visitors Bureau

www.gulfcoast.org

Call: Janet Harrington, Manager Leisure Sales Group Travel at 888-467-4853 (Ext. 228) Email: janeth@gulfcoast.org

Biloxi Historic Tours/Biloxi Tour Train Contact: Carla Beaugez Phone: 228-374-8687 Email: info@biloxitourtrain.com

Salute and Lookout Steakhouse Contact: Rob Stinson Phone: 228-343-1755 Email: RRS1@cableone.net

Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant Biloxi South Beach Biloxi Hotel & Suites Contact: Sherry Queen Contact: Talia Simms Phone: 228-388-2627 Email: taliacsimms@gmail.com Email: squeen@sbbiloxihotel.com

Welcome to Biloxi. Celebrating 51 years, we invite all aboard for this genuine adventure through Biloxi’s cultural history! The original Biloxi tour is like no other and guests love it! Relive our colorful past and learn of our spirit as only Carla can share them. Come for history, for the fun, or just to enjoy the ride!

Whatever you need, you’ll find at Salute and Lookout Steakhouse. Busloads of hungry tourists can dine on the same cuisine as Mississippi’s locals. Whether your mouth waters for authentic Chicken Parmesan from Salute or Lookout’s Shrimp & Grits you can all sit down together to an affordable meal served by the Gulf Coast’s finest staff.

Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant Biloxi is scheduled to open Summer 2012. The resort will have a 26,000 sq. ft. casino, a signature Margaritaville restaurant, a buffet uniquely themed and a multi-purpose events center. The marina will have complete facilities for 12 vessels and tie-up space for an additional 30-40 boats.

Welcome to Biloxi’s only beachfront hotel located on the sandy shores of the Gulf Coast. Close to Casino Row and popular Biloxi attractions, South Beach Biloxi Hotel & Suites is a one-of-a-kind, ultra luxury, allsuite hotel. Expect the best in guest suite amenities, the best in scenic views, and personalized service beyond your imagination.

Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum Contact: Robin K. David Phone: 228-435-6320 Email: schooner@maritimemuseum.org

Four Points by Sheraton Biloxi Contact: Fallon McClain Phone: 228-546-3111 Website: www.fourpointsbiloxi.com

Silver Slipper Casino Contact: Aissa Wiggins Phone: 1-866-SLIPPER Email: a.wiggins@silverslipper-ms.com

Edgewater Mall

Take a step back in time! Sail the twomasted Biloxi Oyster Schooners! Full-day, Half-day, 2.5-hour charters and Walk-on sails. Pier complex is available for special events, reunions and weddings. Visit our museum located at Edgewater Mall, Biloxi for one of a kind artifacts.

Work or play, stay the way you like at the all new Four Points by Sheraton, Biloxi Beach Boulevard. Relax in one of 195 stylish rooms featuring beautiful gulf views and “four comfort” beds. From our Terrace you can relax by our saltwater pool overlooking the Gulf, or enjoy GT’s Restaurant & Bar. Four Points has you covered.

30,000 sq. ft. of non-stop gaming action with exciting new promotions and the best Southern Hospitality on the Gulf Coast! Group packages available: 1-866-Slipper, 228-469-2712 or a.wiggins@silverslipperms.com. Website: www.silverslipper-ms. com.

Great stores. Great style. Great all-weather shopping. It’s all in the largest enclosed mall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You’ll find us on the beach and you’ll find everything you love!

Contact: Michelle Rogers Phone: 228-388-3424 Email: mrogers@edgewatermall.com


on location: south ❖ In 1820 Alabama became the nation’s 22nd state, and in Tus-

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: For a sampling of great Southern festivals, see the article at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=26866.

Robert Snow in 1962. (wpnet.org/waverley_mansion.htm)

cumbia a simple home was built and became known as Ivy

Prior to the Civil War, when “cotton was king,” Natchez

Green. Just east of the main home is the annex that became

boasted more millionaires per capita than New York City. Today

Helen Keller’s birthplace. Later it became her residence along

many of their palatial mansions are open for tours. Lyman

with teacher Anne Sullivan, “The Miracle Worker.” The moving

Harding, a Massachusetts transplant, acquired considerable

story tells how a child living in darkness overcame blindness and

wealth in Natchez and had a young cabinetmaker, Levi Weeks,

deafness. Helen Keller went on to become an extraordinary

design and build a plantation home. Auburn Museum & His-

woman, bringing courage and inspiration to millions. Decorated

toric Home, the first built in Natchez utilizing an actual archi-

with much of the family’s original furniture, the home and mu-

tectural plan and a model for buildings that followed, features

seum display mementos, books and gifts accumulated during

an entirely unsupported spiral staircase. (auburnmuseum.org)

Keller’s lifetime of travel and lectures. (helenkellerbirthplace.org)

MISSISSIPPI

LOUISIANA Louisiana portrays fullness for life in its food, music, culture

Mississippi’s collection of historic homes is impressive.

and recreation. The constant thread, though, is the state’s

From antebellum mansions and the home of a Nobel Prize

incredible history as viewed though its antebellum plantations.

winner to the simple birthplace of “The King of Rock n’ Roll,” Mississippi’s famous houses graciously welcome visitors.

On the Great River Road near Vacherie, Oak Alley Plantation’s magnificent, quarter-mile mile passageway formed by 300-

Located between West Point and Columbus, Waverley Man-

year-old live oaks exemplifies what many picture as the “Old

sion is considered one of America’s astonishing homes. Visitors

South.” The site for the plantation had its beginnings in the early

with an architectural interest marvel at its self-supporting, curved

1700s when a French or Spanish settler planted the oaks that

staircases and octagonal cupola. The mid-19th century grandeur

would become the alley. The real history begins in 1836 when

of Waverley sat in ruins for years until purchased by Mr. and Mrs.

Valcour Aime sold the plantation to J. T. Roman, his brother-inlaw and dear friend. Construction on the home began in 1837; its elegance reflected the epitome of Creole society. Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, the family was forced to sell. Hard times continued and eventually the property was boarded. In 1925 Andrew and Josephine Stewart, the last resident owners, purchased the plantation. Recognizing its significance, Mrs. Stewart established a non-profit foundation to keep the legacy alive after her death. (oakalleyplantation.com) Laura: A Creole Plantation, a short drive form Oak Alley, shares a similar story of Creole culture. A sugar farming complex, Laura Plantation at one time encompassed more than 12,000 acres. It had its beginnings when Guillaume Duparc, a French naval veteran petitioned Thomas Jefferson for land. It was granted and in return Jefferson received Duparc’s loyalty to the new United States. Construction of the home began in 1804. From the 1820s to the 1840s Laura Plantation saw unprecedented profits due to the high demand for sugar and cotton. The Civil War and its aftermath saw the demise of Laura Plantation. (lauraplantation.com) LGT

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April 2012 35

Travel South  

Plantations, cabins and other homes steeped in history enhance itineraries in the 11 Travel South states on location: south ❖ dave bodle VIR...