Thanksgiving Day we decided to drive east along 1-20 from Atlanta in order to head south along 441 (the Antebellum trail) on our way to Savannah. This trip required an intermediate stop and with the luck of the Irish we picked Milledgeville – inspired! However, in driving along there was not a plantation house to be seen. We pulled into the RV Park which had a pool and a hot tub; things were looking better. The next challenge was where to go for Thanksgiving Dinner – we opted for Ruby Tuesday’s and had very nice seafood platters followed by tiramisu for dessert. So…we will be looking forward to our Turkey dinner at Christmas.
Historic Milledgeville, which was the Capitol of Georgia from 1801-1868 was our destination the next morning and what a lovely surprise this town turned out to be. We picked up a “walking tour” town map from the information center which presented an immediate challenge which way was North, South, East and West on these maps. As #1 was the information office, off we headed for the rest of the tour - each place of interest was numbered, had a little history of the house/building and a line drawing enabling us to know that we were looking at the correct place - this was a great help. On our walk we passed the Old State House, a Gothic building, which now houses the Georgia Military College; this is a most unusual building in a large park. Up and down we walked passing Churches, houses, shops and the Old Governor’s Mansion, we even walked through the graveyard.
As we walked down a residential road we said “hello” to a man who was going into one of the featured houses and he invited us in. This was one of his houses and has been for sale for the past 4 years - he lives elsewhere in the town now. The interior was beautifully decorated and furnished, we remarked on this and he told us his wife is an interior decorator. One notable feature was that the hall is wide, as are the stairs and landing; is this because the ladies dresses were so long and wide in the late 18th early 19th centuries?
He told us that he was a retired psychologist from the State Lunatic Asylum which is near town; this had a patient population of over 10,000 at one time, now there are close to 1,000; makes one wonder if this is the result of cutbacks in the healthcare system. After having taken our leave from this gentleman we noticed that many of the houses on this particular road had “for sale” signs out front.
Milledgeville is also home to Georgia College and State University which takes up a very large area in the center of town. Built of red brick in the Neo-classical style it is very elegant and is laid out in a lovely parkland setting; one of its features is the Flannery O’Connor Room. This was a very warm day so we frequently sought the shade of the many trees that lined the roads.
We stayed two days in this area and then headed down 441, by-passing Dublin 70 miles to the west of Savannah, and onto I-16 making our way to Savannah.