If you’ve been reading this blog for the last few weeks or followed along on Twitter, you know that I’ve been following what’s known as the Antebellum Trail between Athens and Macon, Georgia. This area is steeped in history and namely pre-Civil War buildings. There wasn’t much that General Sherman’s troops left standing, but these towns have withstood over 200 years. In these posts, I will go into detail about what Antebellum activities you can see in each town as well as a few of my own favorites.
The third stop on my trip was Madison, known as “the town Sherman refused to burn,” not because of the town’s charm, which it has in spades, but because of a relationship between the general and a Madisonian’s brother. For whatever reason, the town was left relatively unscathed by the Civil War, which is how it became known as “the most cultured and aristocratic town on the stagecoach route from Charleston to New Orleans.” Antique stores cover the town square, all facing the majestic Morgan County Courthouse. If you have time, I recommend picking up a self-guided tour brochure from the visitor’s center.
Heritage Hall– The stunning 1811 Greek Revival home was built for Dr. Elijah Evans Jones. The home’s imposing columns and window etchings are the most prominent features. It was a private home until 1977 when it was sold to the Morgan County Historical Society. 277 South Main Street
Hilltop– Built in 1838 as a wedding gift, Hilltop is a private home only open to the public a few times per year, including the Tour of Homes every spring and winter. The Greek Revival is outfitted with antiques and family photos. 543 North Main Street
Rogers House and Rose Cottage– The 1809 Piedmont Plain Style home was built by Reuben Rogers and pre-dates the iconic Morgan County Courthouse. Its furnishings are representative of the mid 19th century. The Rose Cottage belonged to a freed slave. 179 East Jefferson Street
Madison Morgan Cultural Center– The Romanesque Revival building was the first graded school house in the Southeast and now is home to a museum representing the South through the years. It’s broken down into The Land, The People, The Way, At Work, At Home and In the World. There are also restored classrooms, parlors and the theatre. 434 South Main Street
Other Things to See
Morgan County Courthouse– The 1905 Beaux Arts courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places. Hancock Street
Where to Stay
Super 8 Madison– I went cheap during my stay in Madison since I wouldn’t be staying for long and found the Super 8 basic, but well priced. Breakfast was included and it’s right next to the highway and restaurants. 2091 Eatonton Road
Brady Inn– This 1885 Victorian bed and breakfast has seven bedrooms with all the necessary amenities and comes recommended by Southern Living. 250 North 2nd Street
Madison Oaks Inn– As the top accommodation in Madison, the inn’s rooms are impeccable and it is a popular place for weddings for the sprawling gardens. 766 East Avenue
Where to Eat
Amici Madison– After getting caught in a thunderstorm and tornado as I was walking back from the cultural center, I warmed up with a heaping buffalo chicken sandwich from Amici. They also offer pizza, wings and pasta for reasonable prices. 113 South Main Street
Tequila Express Cafe– This Mediterranean and Spanish restaurant is the most highly rated in Madison for the quesadillas and Greek wraps. I didn’t get a chance to eat here but hope to on my next trip. 270 West Washington Street
Ye olde colonial– As one of the oldest establishments in town, the building was a bank in the 1800s and has been a restaurant since the 1930s. The cafeteria menu is all Southern staples. 108 East Washington Street