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  • Kentucky State Page: Freelancer Betsa Marsh outlines the latest renovations at Federal Hill; the home that composer Stephen Foster visited is within "My Old Kentucky Home State Park."


  • Virginia State Page: An article on Presidential Mansions of Virginia by Sharon Cavileer details the home features and happenings at Mount Vernon, Monticello, Staunton and many others.

Homes & Plantations
Southern Chautauqua: DeFuniak Springs, FL

When the railroad came to northwest Florida in the 1880s, DeFuniak Springs -- with its large, perfectly round lake fed by natural springs -- was discovered by visitors eager for a warm winter getaway. The community of intellectuals embraced the Chatauqua movement, which celebrated learning, art, culture, politics and recreation. Today, more than 150 of the town's homes and other buildings are on the National Historic Register. Join Editor Susan J. Young for a turn 'round this quaint destination.
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Charleston's "Low Country" Plantations

Encircling Charleston, SC, are multiple historic plantations that -- in style and aura at least -- seem to slip back into the past.

Drayton Hall delivers architecture from the 18th Century Federal Period.

In contrast, the Boone Hall Plantation with its dramatic oak-lined entry road was featured prominently in the 1980s mini-series "North and South".

Gardens and eco-areas draw visitors to Magnolia Plantation & Gardens.

And Middleton Place was to a great extent destroyed in the War Between the States but its magnificent landscaped grounds and English gardens remain. Sheep often graze on the front yard.

For a peek into Charleston's plantation past and what's available today to see at each mansion, check our piece by freelance writer Natasha Lawrence.
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Southern Charmer: Natchez on the Mississippi

For a vacation that bundles historic mansions, Southern culture and cooking, African-American and Native American heritage, tales of cotton barons, gaming action, antiquing and, most of all, friendly folks, head for Natchez, MS.

Two annual "Pilgrimages" showcase floral blooms, cultural programs and home tours. Nine homes are open year-round. Join travel writer Marcia Levin in uncovering the allures of Natchez.
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Exploring Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' Cross Creek

"Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time," Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote in "The Yearling." Today's visitors who explore the area and Rawlings' farmhouse in the north FL countryside will still find those natural elements in abundance. You may also tour her 1930s farm, stroll amid the orange trees she so loved, and view the typewriter (shown at left) she used to write about rural life.
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200 Years at Belle Meade

What did Kentucky Derby winners Secretariat, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and Barbaro have in common? These illustrious horses all could trace their roots to the horse breeding operation at Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. In fact, even President Andrew Jackson boarded his horses at Belle Meade.

In 2007, the plantation celebrated its 200th anniversary. A day trip to Belle Meade makes an entertaining outing for those within driving distance. And for overnight visitors to Nashville, it's a must-do activity if you wish to gain a good sense of the area's past.

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PHOTOLOGUE: Images of Destrehan Plantation, LA

When it was time for the Photos of the Week of Destrehan Plantation in Louisiana to be removed from our Front Page, we wanted to retain them for readers. So we've moved them here.

Take a look at these snapshots of the oldest continuing operation plantation in the lower Mississippi River Valley. Destrehan is one of the most popular Louisiana plantations for visitors. It's easily accessible -- just eight miles or so from New Orleans International Airport.
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