Tuesday, 2 March 2010 12:00 AM
Georgia's Antebellum Trail is a 100-mile heritage trail encompassing seven historically significant communities, and the perfect way to experience this southern US State's unique history.
It's the state's first official tourism trail and includes the towns of Athens, Watkinsville, Madison, Eatonton, Milledgeville, Gray/Old Clinton and Macon.
This year Georgia will hold the second annual Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage on April 21-25, 2010. During the Pilgrimage weekend, communities along the Trail will offer museum tours and special events as well as entrance into private historic homes not generally open to the public. A flexible Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage Pass provides admission to a choice of seven events or attractions in any or all of the communities.
The April Pilgrimage dates will allow visitors to Georgia to combine the Pilgrimage with spring festivals and annual events.
The northern gateway of the Antebellum Trail is Athens, (named a Distinctive Destination in 2009 by The National Trust for Historic Preservation). Patrons can tour four house museums featuring four architectural styles from four different time periods. One featured attraction is Athens' oldest surviving residence, the Church-Waddel-Brumby house, which was influenced by the Federal style.
Watkinsville, a former frontier town on the edge of Creek and Cherokee Indian territories, is home to the Eagle Tavern. The Eagle Tavern was built in the late 1700s and is one of the city's earliest surviving structures. It served as a stagecoach stop and tavern throughout the antebellum period. In addition to the Eagle Tavern, Pilgrimage patrons can experience eclectic shopping in the town centre which features antique shops, art galleries and specialty shops.
Madison, known as "the town Sherman refused to burn," is a national treasure of antebellum architecture. Featured stops on the Pilgrimage are the Rogers House, a fine example of Piedmont Plain style architecture and the Rose Cottage. Other highlights include Heritage Hall and private antebellum homes not usually open
to the public. Over 160 antique vendors plus 45 specialty shops grace the downtown square.
Participants will also visit Eatonton, the birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris, author of the famous Uncle Remus Tales. Patrons can tour the Uncle Remus Museum which contains many first editions of Harris' work featured homes include the Adams-Young-Rivers home, a Greek Revival cottage and Napier-Reid-Rainey-Stubbs-Eagle Tavern, a Greek revival remodelling of an original Piedmont Plain style home. A self-guided walking tour is also available to see countless examples of Greek revival Queen Anne and Folk Victorian as well as Gothic Revival homes.
Milledgeville is known as Georgia's Antebellum Capital. Featured on the Pilgrimage is the restored Old Governor's Mansion, where Sherman himself slept! Completed in 1839, the Old Governor's Mansion is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the nation. Georgia's Old Capital Museum, which is housed in the first public building designed in the Gothic Revival style and location where Georgia legislators voted to secede from the Union. The museum will hold re-enactments for Pilgrimage patrons. Milledgeville also boasts a Museum District that includes preserved mansions, haunted historic sites and eclectic art galleries, while the historic district boasts 20 architectural landmarks.
In the quiet, rural village of Gray/Old Clinton, visitors can get a glimpse back in time to the former bustling town on Georgia's western frontier. Patrons can walk the grounds of Jarrell Plantation State Historic site, a 1850s cotton plantation and state park. Only a half mile from the plantation, Hitchiti Nature trail offers hiking trails and a four-mile loop that follows Little Falling Creek to the Ocmulgee River.
The southern tip of the trail is Macon, home to the Hay House. Tour patrons can enjoy an intimate "tea party" hosted by period costumed docents in the formal gardens at Cannonball House. Patrons will also re-live the Civil War era with recounts of the 1864 attack on this once privately-owned Greek Revival home. Patrons can end the evening with a scenic drive or a leisurely stroll through Macon's town illumination tour, a unique, self-guided tour which showcases over 30 public and private mansions.
Tickets for Georgia's Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage can be purchased at any of the Welcome Centres along the trail prior to and during the Pilgrimage or online at the Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage website. Tickets are $25 and include access to the ticketholder's choice of any seven participating attractions or events.
For more information see the Visit Georgia website.
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