I’ve been redecorating for-ev-er! Seriously…I started with my office in October 2015 and I’m still reworking rooms.
Decorating is sort of a visceral experience. There’s a certain amount of science that goes into it but at the end of the day it’s all about your gut. And the size of your car! You have to have room to carry the right piece home!
Jim and I just updated the foyer. We weren’t planning this particular bit of redecorating…it just kind of happened. A trip to Pier 1 also just kinda happened right before. We both fell in love with this table (technically I fell in love with the 6 foot tall wooden giraffe first but he talked me off the ledge) and it fit in the car. It was serendipity or something.
It would have been serendipitier if we didn’t have 40 foot tall walls in the foyer and no way to paint them. I’m not a white wall kinda girl. But I am an ‘afraid of heights’ kinda girl. Fear won out…the walls stay white.
I’ve talked about Southern Pines before…but it’s become one of our favorite day trips. Jim and I drove down recently to explore and then just a short while later Candice and I made a day of it…
Nestled in the Sandhills between Pinehurst and Aberdeen, is the quiet town of Southern Pines. Founded in 1887 by steel magnate John T. Patrick, Southern Pines was originally intended as a health resort. Breathing in fresh pine air was considered quite healthful and many people in the area actually built sleeping porches which they used year round.
Today Southern Pines is home to the Historic Weymouth House, built by railroad magnate James Boyd; the 1200 acre estate originally had stables, a tennis court, gardens and a 9-hole golf course. In the 1930’s his grandsons, James and Jackson, divided the house, pulling half of the structure by mule across the street and establishing what is now the Campbell House and home to the Arts Council of Moore County. James and his wife enlarged the original house and entertained the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe and William Faulkner throughout the 1920’s and 30’s. Today the Weymouth House is open to the public and serves as Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities. The family donated 1,000 acres of the original estate to become the Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve. Somewhere inside the preserve is a 465 year old long-leaf pine tree, the oldest of its kind.
Also in Southern Pines are the historic Shaw House built in 1820, and the Sanders Cabin built in the 1700’s. Both are classic examples of early settler’s homes. And while you’re in the neighborhood plan to visit the Garner House with its handmade brick fireplace and authentic pine paneling.
Donald Ross, the famous Scottish golf course architect who built the acclaimed course at Overhills in Fayetteville, also built three courses in and around Southern Pines. In Pinehurst you can still play a Ross course at the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Pine Needles, Mid Pines, and in Southern Pines at the Southern Pines Golf Club. During his career Ross built nearly 400 courses, and favored the sandy terrain here, which reminded him of his home on Dornock. His courses are notable in that they often incorporated naturally occurring elements instead of the modern method of reshaping the land and introducing new elements.
If golf isn’t your thing, try shopping the historic district on Broad Street. Both sides of the street are a consumer delight with everything from gourmet coffee, fine dining, antiques, and cutting edge fashion. The Sunrise Theater, built in 1898, began as a hardware store before being converted in 1940. Today the Sunrise Preservation Group offers all manner of entertainment: original release movies, concerts, live broadcasts and theatrical performances. And across the street is the historic train station, also built I 1898. Today it operates as the Southern Pines Amtrak Station so it’s both beautiful and functional. Southern Pines, with its charming shops, world renowned golf courses and rich history has something to offer every visitor.
Four hours and twelve minutes from Fayetteville is the historic city of Savannah. Founded February 12, 1733 by General James Oglethorpe, who designed the now famous ward system of streets and parks, the city was originally created as a buffer colony to protect South Carolina from Spanish occupied Florida. During the American Revolution the city was occupied by the British until the Americans won the war, and Eli Whitney…famous for inventing the cotton gin, lived and worked in Savannah as a tutor on the Mulberry Grove Plantation. In January of 1861, after 13 of the Southern colonies rejected ties to the Union over State’s rights and the issue of slavery, Georgia became the fifth state to secede from the Union.
Today downtown Savannah is a thriving marketplace rich in history and culture. The River Walk is part is the jewel of their historic district. Many of the buildings date back as far as 1817 when Savannah was the leading Atlantic cotton seaport. The Cotton Exchange, built in 1887, and the row of red brick buildings soon became known as “Factor’s Row’ or ‘Factor’s walk’ after the cotton factors (brokers) who traded cotton along the river banks.
Today the entire district is thriving with hotels, restaurants and retail shops for the history enthusiast. While the cotton ships are long gone, the river bank is now a docking station for colorful paddle boats and historic sail boats. Just south of the River Walk are 22 of the original 24 squares designed by Oglethorpe…9 of these squares are fabulous parks with amazing statues and their own historical points…like the park bench Forrest Gump sat on to tell his amazing story. At the corners of Abercorn Street and Oglethorpe Street is the Colonial Park Cemetery or ‘The Old Cemetery’.
Established in 1750, it’s been estimated more than 9000 people are buried here, including many of the 700 people who died in the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1829. During the Civil War Union soldiers stabled their horses in the cemetery and desiccated many of the graves…looting them for valuables and altering dates and names. Most of those grave markers are now attached to the eastern wall.
Five miles south of the River Walk is the Bonaventure Cemetery made famous in John Berendt’s best-selling book Midnight in the Garden of Goodand Evil.
The Bird Girl, statue made famous by the book cover, was sculpted by Sylvia Shaw Judson in 1936. A family in Savannah purchased on of the four bronze castings, named it ‘Little Wendy’ and placed it in their family plot in Bonaventure. Now it’s on loan to the Telfair Museum and can be seen at the Jepson Center for the Arts.
French for ‘good fortune’ Bonaventure was established as a formal cemetery in 1847 by Peter Wiltberger and is the final resting place for some of Savannah’s most notable figures: Conrad Aiken – poet and 1929 Pulitzer Prize winner, Johnny Mercer – a singer and songwriter who penned hits like ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘Hooray for Hollywood’, many of Savannah’s founding members, and veterans of the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. The grounds are breathtaking and the grave markers are some of the most interesting and often reflect the life’s work of the deceased. Noted artist John Waltz sculpted dozens of statutes used throughout the cemetery and the grounds are sprinkled with a liberal dose of live-oaks and Spanish moss.