COVINGTON, Ga. – More than 45 historic homes and sites will be open for tours during the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s Fall Ramble in Covington and Newton County, Oct. 12-14. The event will offer visitors a rare opportunity to explore private historic homes and buildings, most of which are not usually open to the public.
Often called the “Hollywood of the South,” Covington and Newton County boast an array of historic homes and sites that have been featured in movies and television shows.
On Friday, ‘ramblers’ will have the opportunity to explore the rich architectural history of Covington and Porterdale. Visitors can stroll down the tree lined streets of Covington’s historic district and explore impressive Victorians, beautifully restored Craftsmans, and stately Greek Revivals, including the 1838 antebellum home, Dixie Manor, which is a hot spot for film productions that include "In the Heat of the Night," "Miss Evers Boys" and "The Vampire Diaries." In Porterdale, one of the most intact mill villages in the South, participants will visit several restored and in-progress mill cottages and lofts, as well as the Preservation Award winning Porter Memorial Gymnasium ruins, one of the village’s most beloved structures.
Guests will spend Saturday enjoying more of Covington, rambling along the most prominent streets in town and discovering the many excellent examples of high style and vernacular architecture of the city’s historic districts. ‘Ramblers’ will then finish the afternoon in the historic town of Oxford, the birthplace of Emory University, exploring historic Oxford College; Old Church, the oldest non-residential structure in Oxford; and High Point at Chestnut Grove, a stately Greek Revival home.
On Sunday, attendees will wrap up the Ramble weekend by traveling off the beaten path and discovering the charming towns of Mansfield and Newborn. Mansfield, developed along the Middle Georgia and Atlantic Railroad track, features many historic homes from the turn of the century. Participants will also visit the beautifully restored Sandtown Place, a private residence built in 1840 that features a general store from the 1880s. Newborn, a short drive from Mansfield, is one of the oldest settlements in Newton County. Guests will tour the beautiful gardens and the circa 1890s Second Empire manor house of Porter Manor, a former dormitory for young women who attended the Palmyra Institute located in Newborn.
The Ramble also includes special dining experiences held at historic sites throughout the weekend. On Friday night, attendees will enjoy cocktails and dinner in Porterdale at the impressively rehabilitated Mill at Yellow River, built in 1899 and operated as the largest producer of twine until the 1970s. Saturday morning, breakfast will take place at Covington First United Methodist Church, where a brief historical orientation will be given. On Saturday night, guests will dine on the picturesque grounds of Emory’s oldest structure, the Old President’s House at Oxford College, which was built in the late 1830s by Emory’s first president, Ignatius Few. On Sunday, participants will start the day with brunch at Burge Plantation in Mansfield, a historic 1,000-acre private hunting and shooting club that has remained in the same family since 1809.
A wide variety of registration options is available. Whether you plan on touring for one day or spending the weekend, there’s something for everyone as we explore historic Covington and Newton County. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaTrust.org. Proceeds benefit the Georgia Trust.