Historic Smith Plantation

Historic Smith Plantation, dating to 1845, is one of three Georgia homes on the Southern Trilogy Tour.

One of the biggest social events to ever take place in Roswell, Ga., was the wedding of Martha “Mittie” Bulloch and Theodore “Thee” Roosevelt Sr. at Bulloch Hall on Dec. 22, 1853. 

The auspicious occasion might have faded into history if their union had not produced two sons who would impact our country’s history: Teddy Roosevelt, who became the 26th president of the United States in 1901, and Elliott Roosevelt, the father of one of the nation’s most beloved first ladies, Eleanor Roosevelt.

So important was the Bulloch-Roosevelt wedding that Margaret Mitchell, of Gone With the Wind fame, interviewed Evelyn King, the last living bridesmaid at the time, for a story published in the Atlanta Journal in 1923. 

According to King, following Mittie and Thee’s wedding, the Bullochs hosted a grand celebration which lasted an entire week and featured music, dancing, storytelling, teas, and lavish tables of food, including ice cream (a rarity in the South at that time). After seven days of merriment and fun, noted the bridesmaid in the story, everyone packed up and went home. (Rumor has it that Mittie Bulloch was the inspiration for Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara.) 

Built in 1839 by Maj. James Stephens Bulloch, grandson of Revolutionary Gov. Archibald Bulloch, Bulloch Hall is one of three surviving plantation homes in Roswell that are open for tours. The others are Barrington Hall, built in 1842 by textile magnate Barrington King and known for its antebellum gardens, and Smith Plantation Home, built in 1845 by Archibald Smith. Among Smith Plantation’s original outbuildings are slave cabins. All three homes are featured on the Southern Trilogy Tour.

These and other beautiful Roswell homes provide the perfect backdrop for the many festivals that take place around the town. Located just a few miles north of downtown Atlanta, Roswell hosts the Roswell Azalea Festival, April 1–30, the North Fulton Master Gardeners’ Garden Faire at Bulloch Hall on April 28, and Tea with Beatrix Potter at Barrington Hall on May 12. 

Free pop music concerts will take place at Barrington Hall on April 4, Bulloch Hall on April 22, and Smith Plantation on April 29. 

Visitors to Roswell also can enjoy its bed-and-breakfasts, restaurants, craft breweries, shops, and art galleries. There are tours focusing on ghosts, Civil War history, and the mills that built the town’s economy in the early days, too. 

Exhibits and programs are available at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, and the Chattahoochee River, which runs through Roswell, invites visitors to enjoy fishing, rafting, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and cycling.

 

Historic Garden Week in Virginia 

Nearly 25,000 visitors will tour homes and gardens across Virginia during Historic Garden Week, April 21–28. 

Established by the Garden Club of Virginia 85 years ago, the event includes 25 tours across the state. Horticultural enthusiasts can enjoy formal gardens, cottage gardens, herb gardens, and water gardens. Those interested in architecture and design can see renovated historic properties and contemporary residences. And, history buffs can check out historic places with links to the Revolutionary and Civil wars. 

Tours usually feature four to six private homes and gardens, many open to the public for the very first time, as well as historic sites of local interest. 

Gardens have been a part of the Virginia landscape since Colonial days. In 1929, the Garden Club of Virginia set out to preserve the state’s public gardens. Among the first projects were the gardens at Kenmore, Monticello, Mount Vernon, and Bacon’s Castle, as well as the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and the State Arboretum in Winchester. 

Proceeds from annual tours continue to fund the restoration and preservation of more than 40 of Virginia’s historic public gardens and landscapes, a research fellowship program, and a new initiative with Virginia State Parks. 

Program books and tickets may be purchased online at vagardenweek.org.

 

Beyond the Mid-Atlantic 

New Orleans is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year, with special events, concerts, fireworks, and an eye on the future as it builds a brand new airport, develops a medical corridor, and updates its historic riverfront. 

For three centuries, the port city has welcomed people from all over the world, beginning with the French who founded the city in 1718, and followed by Spanish, African, Irish, Italian, German, Greek, Vietnamese, and other immigrants. The city’s diverse heritage and its ability to survive devastating fires and storms, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, have made it unique. 

The Tricentennial Celebration, launched in late 2017, runs through December of this year. An exhibit at St. Louis Church in Jackson Square, which runs through June 30, explores the history of three centuries of Catholicism in the city via letters, portraits, photographs, and artifacts. Other exhibits include New Orleans, the Founding Era, through May 27, and Salazar: Portraits of Influence in Spanish New Orleans, 1782-1802, March 3–Sept. 2. 

Chevron’s French Quarter Festival, showcasing the city’s rich musical heritage — ranging from gospel to jazz, funk to classical, and Cajun to Zydeco — will take place on 23 different stages, April 12–15. Tall Ships of America, a unique collection of antique ships, will be displayed at Woldenberg Park during International Weekend, April 19–22.

Experience Real History: Alamo Edition debuts March 1 during San Antonio’s 300th birthday celebration and the 182nd anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo. 

The Alamo Reality app is free. It enables users to explore a dozen geo-targeted locations on the Alamo grounds where AR technologies will overlay the historic footprint of the Alamo onto the present-day site and incorporate the powerful stories of the diverse people who made it famous. 

The historic battlefield, located in downtown San Antonio and the most-visited battle site in Texas, will be transformed into what it looked like before, during, and after the famous 1836 battle. Users will be able to physically walk through time portal openings and experience the Alamo in a totally new way. 

With the launch of Book Lapland, an online booking service, the Arctic region will no longer be a destination for the specialist adventurer or the wealthy. Now independent travelers can check availability and book travel with providers in Norway, Sweden, and Finland at no additional cost. 

With more than 130 individual activity products available, Book Lapland is thought to have the world’s biggest range of Arctic activities, with live availability and online booking.

Carol Timblin welcomes travel news at ctimblin@gmail.com.

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