Friday, September 30, 2011

Waverly Trip

Saturday we decided to go on an adventure. I've been looking around online for interesting things for us to do around here and found a little bit of information abour a historical sight I was really interested in. We loaded up into the car and headed out for West Point, Mississippi. West Point is a small town about half and hour's drive north of us. It's where we go to church on Sunday. About ten miles outside of West Point is the Tennessee/Tom Bigbee waterway. It's a huge river that is a major shipping line. It connects a large area of Eastern Mississippi and the surrounding states with the Mississippi river. I know it doesn't look amazingly huge in this picture, but I'm pretty sure that what looks like the other shore is actually an island in the middle of the river. By the time we got that far, Erik was hungry, so we found a little picnic area on the river banks and I sat in some shade to feed him while Ethan went exploring and picture taking.

When Erik was finally full, we backtracked a short ways back up the road we were on to get to our main objective for the day, which was the Waverly Plantation Mansion. Waverly was built in 1852 by the Young family. In its hayday it sat on 50,000 acres of rich river bottom land and was one of the biggest plantations in the south. It had its own cotton gin, brick kiln, lumber mill, leather tannery, and hat manufacturing operation. It is thought to be the first place in America where saddle blankets were commercially manufactured. It was home to the Youngs, with their 10 children, as well as hundreds of slaves, sharecroppers, and tenant farmers. Around 1913 it was left vacant by the family, who couldn't agree what to do with the house after the last of the 10 children passed away. It sat there empty and unused until the 60's, when a family of antique dealers heard a story of a beautiful old house sitting abandoned in the woods and they went and foud it and bought it. They'be been living in it and restoring it over the last 50 years and have done a beautiful job. While they were unable to get any of the original furnishings, they've filled it with period pieces from their family antique collection, using photos of the house's original decorations and furnishing to get it as close as possible to the original set up.

This was Erik's first time in the baby pack, and I think he really liked it. We're standing just inside the front gate getting ready to head up the walkway to the house.

Taking pictures of the inside of the house is technically against the rules, so I can't show you the true magnificence of the house. It was INCREDIBLE! You walk in the front entry hall and it's open all the way to the cupola above the third floor. There are huge gold plated mirrors(some of the few pieces in the house when the new owners moved in) that hang on either side making it all seem even bigger than it is. The first two floors each have four rooms on them, one room in each corner of the house. On the ground floor you have the sitting room, parlor, dining room, and master bedroom. On the second floor are four bedrooms.

Erik was a huge hit with the woman giving us our tour (she's the daughter of the couple who bought the house and has lived in it since childhood), and she gave us permission to take his picture on the bed in the master bedroom. Aparently this is a traditional place for every baby in their family to have their pictures taken.

The bedspread on the bed was exquisite and is just a small example of the quality of the furnishings and decorations in the house. It was handknitted, and the woman who made it started it as a teenager and finished it as a great granmother. Erik wasn't too happy about being woken up and taken out of his carrier for the pictures.

After we'd seen all the rooms on the first floor, the tour guide sent us up to the second floor on our own. As we were heading up the stairs, she said we could take pictures from the balcony. She didn't specify whether the camera had to be looking outside or not, so we did both.:) This is looking down into the grand entry hall, towards the back door. The light fixture is original to the house. All the original light fixtures are still there. In fact, despite having been abandoned for so long, the house was in great shape. Three huge gold plated mirrors still hung on the walls unbroken. Almost all of the glass was intact; the outside windows, and the glass in several display cases and china cabinets that were built into the different rooms. All the doors were still there with their original knobs. Every room had its own fireplace, complete with the original italian marble mantles. All the hand carved spindles on the stair and balcony rails were still there.

Here's looking up past the third floor into the cupola.

The doors on either side go into the four bedrooms. Every room in the house has a walk in closet so big the current owners were able to turn some of them into full modern bathrooms. Every room also has a door out onto a balcony or porch.

This is the view off the balcony back toward the main gate. Visitors aren't allowed past the second floor, so that's all the pictures we got of the house. After touring the house we wandered the gardens for a while. They were sure pretty!

We thought the pond was pretty. The murky green water was a surprisingly good reflector and it made for some pretty pictures.

While Ethan was taking pictures of the pond, I was looking around at the plants and happened to notice what turned out to be Ethan's favorite part of the day.

Ethan loves frogs and would love to have one as a pet, but they're not allowed in our apartment. Otherwise I think this little guy would have found himself living in a new home.


  1. That looks so fun! I wish I had a house like that! (as long as I had 100 maids to clean it). Erik is getting to be quite the chubber, he's pretty dang cute :)

  2. That is so fun! The photo with you with Erik in the back pack thing is so cute/funny. Reminds me of Brigham Simba.

  3. I don't know why I missed this the first time around, but wow! What a fabulous house. Makes reading a civil war novel a new experience, huh?