Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 26, 2013

Peer into antebellum homes and lifestyles in Georgia

Yankee me following the Antebellum Trail in middle Georgia got goose bumps.

Something powerful about visiting homes where families grappled with big passions; equally daunting to visit places where secession was drafted.

Remarkable thing about this 100-mile Trail of seven Georgia communities is the abundant look into 19th century life, and earlier. Not glimpses but in-depth, backed with scholarly research.

Enter the back edge of the Civil War, not battlefield center. This Trail connected me to Revolutionary War veterans and families too.

The years leading to 1860 are the focus and the Antebellum Trail adds special events for the Pilgrimage.

Choose April 18 – 21 for 19th century home visits and behind-the-scenes museum tours. $25 covers entrance to everything, every town these four days with the pass available at each community’s welcome center.

Find those addresses at www.atpilgrimage.com. Take a group of 10 or more and pay only $20.

Macon and Athens are the larger towns book-ending the Antebellum Trail. Here’s a look into the smaller middle cities.

Eatonton is the 1848 birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris so go to the 50-year-old Uncle Remus Museum. Go to the source. You know these tales.

Change your mind if you lack enthusiasm for visiting the Old School History Museum in Eatonton.

This is classy. And fascinating. The National Endowment for the Humanities thinks so too.

Head for the corner with the 1840 weathervane and look up. Used to show the wind direction on top of the Denham Tannery until 62,204 Union troops burned the tannery where shoes for Confederate troops were made.

Descendants of the freedman who fashioned this weathervane have come to see it. Honored I could too.

Sleep in Watkinsville because the Ashford Manor wraps visitors in history and hospitality. Choose the 1840s cottage with three suites for an antebellum night or the main house, an 1893 Queen Anne.

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