Monday, June 24, 2013

Mooresville - Oldest Town in Alabama

A week ago, Hubby and I spent a little time in Mooresville, Alabama seeing the sights and eating ice cream.  It's a town that dates to 1818, one year older than the state itself!
Built around 1840, Mooresville boasts the oldest post office in Alabama and everyone in this tiny town receives their mail in one of the 48 original boxes.  The U.S. government wanted to shut it down but, due to popular demand, agreed to let them keep limited hours - 7 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday.
This brick church is even older than the post office (1839) and contains its original pews.  Although regular worship services no longer take place here, the historic structure is used for weddings and special occasions.  One of those occasions was the making of Disney's Tom and Huck.  In fact, the whole town stood in for Hannibal, Missouri in the movie.
However, the real purpose for our visit was to see the inside of this adorable little shop -
Lyla's Little House.
We had come to Mooresville when my friend, Ceekay, came for a visit but the shop was closed then.
Lyla's is only open Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There are only two rooms on the bottom floor where Lyla sells various items and her delicious homemade ice cream.  I know it's delicious because I had two different flavors!
Dating to about 1890, the home was built and owned by Uncle Zack Simmons, a black carpenter, and his wife, Aunt Mandy.
Our hostess and her husband bought it and, after doing some repairs, filled it with all sorts of goodies.
A steep narrow staircase leads to one room upstairs filled with even more treasures.
We had a wonderful visit with Lyla and some ladies from Huntsville that stopped in to do some shopping and ice cream eating.  Definitely worth the trip!
Over the weekend we visited three more plantations/mansions in the Nashville area. 
Stay tuned for more pics of some gorgeous homes!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Manor at Twin Oaks Bed and Breakfast

During our visit to Murfreesboro, Tennessee we stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast -  quite possibly our favorite of all the ones we've stayed at over the years!
This lovely home is located a few miles outside of town.  However, it was originally located in downtown Murfreesboro where it was built in 1886.
Doyle and Cindy Boyd purchased the house in 1983 and proceeded to do the impossible.  Under Doyle's direction the house was cut into seven pieces and moved to their farm, Twin Oaks.
After many years of hard work they opened it to guests just two years ago.
Our lovely hostess, Cindy, was the epitome of southern hospitality as she checked us in and showed us around.
Each guest room has a different theme and I had chosen Southern Nights.  I loved my choice!
All the guests rooms are located on the second floor.
You could watch other guests arrive from the second floor veranda.
Cindy encouraged me to take all the photos I wished so I snapped a few of the guest rooms that were not yet occupied.  This is the Seaside room.
Our host's love for Arizona is displayed in the Sundown room.
Or perhaps you'd like something a little more exotic in the Shangri-La room.
Then we headed downstairs for more photos.
The Boyds had spent time in the military stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona and brought home few of the treasures displayed in the living room.
The living room opened to the dining room where the tables were already set for breakfast.
After a very restful night's sleep we headed to the back porch with coffee cups in hand to await breakfast.
If you're quiet you might spot wild turkey or deer.  (We weren't quiet enough!)
All too soon it was time to head inside.
We had already scarfed down a delicious plate of scones and pumpkin bread when Hubby reminded me that I was supposed to take pictures!
Blueberry pancakes topped with vanilla ice cream were beyond delicious.  Who knew?!
Doyle and Cindy had made us feel like we were welcome friends in their home and we hated to say good-bye.  If we are ever back in the area we will definitely make this the place to stay!  For more info on this wonderful bed and breakfast check out their website at  You'll be glad you did!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Two Plantations in One Day

A week ago Hubby and I headed north to historic Murfreesboro, Tennessee the site of Stone's River National Battlefield.  Before visiting the battlefield we toured two plantations - and, no, they wouldn't allow me to take pictures inside!
First stop was the Sam Davis Home and Museum.  Sam is known as the "Hero of the Confederacy."  Due to his knowledge of Middle Tennessee he was selected to be part of the elite Coleman Scouts and carried important military messages and reports.
He was captured by the Union during a mission in 1863.  They tried him as a spy and sentenced him to hang.  Then they offered to spare his life in exchange for the names of his fellow Scouts and commanding officer.
Refusing to betray his friends, 21-year-old Sam Davis was executed on November 27, 1863.  His body was retrieved by his family and brought home to be buried on the family's plantation.
Sam began life in this log house before his father built the large white home.
There were a lot of outbuildings including the "necessary room" on the right.  It wasn't called an "outhouse" back then because there were so many "houses" outside the main house.
Like all the other homes of this time period, the kitchen was located in a separate building from the house.
All the food was carried by servants, or slaves, into the house to be served to the family.
One of the best collection of log architecture in a historical setting is located at the Sam Davis Home.  At present, four small log buildings remain of the once numerous slave quarters of the plantation.
Next stop was Oaklands Plantation.  The house was begun around 1818 and by 1860 was the center of a 1500 acre plantation.
During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate armies camped on the plantation.  On July 13, 1862, Confederates attacked the Union troops encamped at Oaklands.  Late that afternoon their surrender was accepted during a dinner at the mansion.
From a side view of the house you can see how the house was changed.  The middle section was built first, then the back section and finally the Italianate facade and porch in the front.
Hopefully, you can zoom in this sign to learn more about the family that lived here.
After visiting the plantation were went on to our bed and breakfast, The Manor at Twin Oaks.  We had a wonderful stay!  And they let me take all the pictures I wanted to inside the house!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Helen Keller's Home

Last week, a friend and I drove over to Tuscumbia, Alabama to visit the home of Helen Keller.  Helen was born a healthy child on June 27, 1880 to Captain Arthur H. and Kate Adams Keller.  At 19 months of age she was stricken with a severe illness which left her blind and deaf.
Helen's home, called Ivy Green, was built in 1820 by her grandparents.  It survived untouched through the ravages of the Civil War and, since 1954, has been a permanent shrine to the "miracle" that occurred in a blind and deaf, seven-year-old girl's life.
Unfortunately, the day we arrived, the museum was having a press conference so we didn't get a proper tour.  However, we were allowed to take pictures inside the house!
To the right, inside the front door, is the bedroom that belonged to Helen's parents.
The "crazy" quilt on the bed was made by Helen's aunt and the clothing in the wardrobe is Helen's.
To the left, inside the front door is the parlor.
The home is decorated with much of the original furniture of the Keller family and by hundreds of Helen's personal mementos, books and gifts from her lifetime of travel.
The living room is connected to the dining room where the half-wild, deaf and blind girl would steal food off every one's plate.
At the age of six, Helen was taken by her parents to see Dr. Alexander Graham Bell.  Because of this visit, Helen was united with her teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan.  Helen and Anne shared this bedroom upstairs.
Thanks to "Teacher," by the age of 10, Helen had mastered Braille as well as the manual alphabet and learned to use the typewriter.  By the time she was 16, Helen could speak well enough to go to preparatory school and college.
Her two half-brothers shared a room across the hall.
Helen's early learning took place in the cottage where she was born, situated just east of the main house.
This picture of Helen was taken in 1904 after she graduated 'cum laude' from Radcliffe College.  Teacher stayed with her through those years, interpreting lectures and class discussions to her.  Helen Keller became one of history's remarkable women and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, is remembered as "the Miracle Worker" for her lifetime dedication, patience and love to a half-wild, southern child trapped in a world of darkness.