Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 28, 2012

Dunham Farms: Big view of coastal Georgia

— Imagine exquisite dining and restful sleeping on a plantation loved by the same family since 1755.

Dunham Farms in Sunbury, Ga., is the place: 10,000 lush acres of live oaks, long views across riverbanks, marshes feeding seacoast ecosystems – wrapping around a bed and breakfast inn.

The same family now sharing these woods, waters, gardens and Colonial trails started with a Kings’ Grant Apr. 11 and 12, 1755: land grant the first day, marshes the second.

Find official family records from the British Crown in Atlanta; find Laura and Meredith Devendorf walking groomed trails, cooking in the gourmet kitchen, guiding kayakers on the waters.

This passionate, knowledgeable mother-daughter team carries on the family tradition, as they say it, “of preserving this section of Georgia’s coast for perpetuity, and for everyone.”

Undisturbed acres, centuries of family and now weekenders, girlfriend getaways, family vacationers. Destination weddings and retreats too.

They recently donated 2,300 acres called Melon Bluff for public access, scholarly research, conservation and education.

Ever heard of Sunbury? Think Savannah: 30 miles south.

Sleep in the Dunham Farms barn, or choose the 1840 Palmyra Plantation Cottage: heart pine, high ceilings, two bedrooms, kitchen, living and dining rooms.

Nine elegantly furnished rooms with private baths in the barn—some ground floor former stalls, some upstairs in the hayloft.

You’d never know you were in a barn if the Devendorf women didn’t tell growing up tales about their horses.

Hear their passion for undisturbed upland forests, beginnings of life in marsh mud and grasses, vast numbers of birds.

Storytellers supreme, this historian/arborist/culinary-artist, inn-keeping duo.

They also care about the depth of experiences within 15 minutes of their land. Sunbury’s a happening place once you know.

Should you venture:

-- Fort Morris State Historic Site: Revolutionary War and War of 1812

-- Seabrook Village: African American living history community

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