Thursday, September 27, 2012

Further little adventures

After having my picnic lunch on Tuesday at the Edenton National Fish Hatchery, Emma and I got back in the car to head home.  I didn’t know it then, but there were a few more small adventures awaiting us in the afternoon.


As I was driving the two lane roads back to US 64, I was surrounded by farmers’ fields on both sides of the road.  Much of the crops consisted of soybeans, but there were quite a few cotton fields.  Having grown up in the north, I had always wanted to see a cotton field up close and see what cotton looked like before it was a shirt or pair of pants.  What it looked like to me from the roadside was a field of snowballs on stalks!

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This field brought to mind memories I had from watching a movie a number of years ago.  I figured out it was “Places in the Heart” starring Sally Fields.  In it, as I remember it, she portrays a mother trying to provide for her family by growing cotton.  In the movie I remember them picking cotton by hand and ending up with their hands bleeding all over from the sharp spines cutting them.  You know I had to pull over to see if this was true or just some Hollywood stunt to make the movie more poignant.  Well, after getting out and walking in the field, I’m here to tell you that it is for sure true.  There is no way I’d want to pick cotton by hand. 


Once we got back on US 64 and were approaching Columbia, I once again noticed a big brown sign saying to exit to see Somerset Place.  I had no idea what Somerset Place was, but you know how it is when you’ve seen one of those signs so often from traveling down a familiar road.  I finally decided there was no time like the present to give it a look see. 

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Somerset Place turned out to be a further seven miles down several back roads, but was well worth the time it took to get there.  It is a North Carolina State Historic Site that gives the visitor, that seeks it out, a comprehensive view of life on an Antebellum Plantation.  I was the only person visiting on a Tuesday afternoon, so I had the whole place to myself.  I only regret that the Collins Family Home (top left) was closed due to renovations being made to it’s foundation.

Somerset was an active plantation from 1785 – 1865, and encompassed as many as 100,000 acres.  It became one of North Carolina’s most prosperous rice, corn, and wheat plantations.  100,000 acres is big!  I had also suspected that their main crop would be cotton, but not so.

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Of course, the plantation era was ended by the outcome of the Civil War.  During it’s history more than 800 enslaved men, women, and children lived here.  The small slave cabin pictured above would typically provide a home for up to fifteen people. 

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                          Behind the slave cabin was a small garden and a couple of goats. 


What a historical gem Somerset Place was to find down some of the less traveled roads available to the typical Outer Banks visitor.  The size of the trees on the plantation impressed me.  I’m guessing they are as old as the plantation itself.  I’m sure glad I took a little detour and found this place on my drive home.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy