Thursday, September 24, 2009

Washington News-Reporter Coverage of the 2009 Fall Ramble

Georgia Trust Ramble brings fourth visit to historic homes to see 'treasure in our state'
- The News-Reporter

Docent Bill Ramsur tells Georgia Trust Fall Ramble visitors about the restoration of the Gilbert-Alexander-Wright home.
Photo: Kip Burke
Some 275 members of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation braved occasional torrents of rain Friday and Saturday as their annual Fall Ramble returned for a fourth visit to the historic homes and churches of Washington and Wilkes County.

"We were overjoyed by the quality of the historic sites that were open to our members and are very grateful to the people of Washington, especially our planning committee led by Betty Slaton," said Mark C. McDonald, President and CEO of The Georgia Trust. "Washington is such a treasure in our state. It contains so many wonderful buildings that are extremely well-preserved."

The local planning committee led by Slaton included Ashley Barnett, Peggy Barnett, Betty Jackson, Jane Bundy, and Katharine Sanders.

The Trust gained 45 new members at the Fall Ramble, he said. New members were welcomed at a reception at Wisteria Hall Friday evening.

Visitors agreed that the highlight of the Ramble was the first public showing of Robert Aiken's magnificent ongoing restoration of Fairfield Plantation, the Gilbert-Alexander- Wright home in Washington. "We were most pleased to see the Gilbert- Alexander-Wright home," McDonald said. "It is a perfect example of what preservation is all about. Robert Aiken is doing a wonderful job of rehabilitating and presenting one of Washington's most historic homes."

After touring several homes and churches in the Danburg area of Wilkes County - causing the only traffic jam Danburg has seen in decades - Ramblers enjoyed a reception and dinner on the grounds of Bill and B.J. Degolian's Peacewood Plantation.

Saturday morning found Ramblers enjoying breakfast at Washington's First Baptist Church catered by Alfred's On The Square, followed by orientation in the sanctuary. After welcoming comments from Wilkes County Commission Chairman Sam Moore and Washington City Councilman Ames Barnett, Dr. Mark Waters spoke on the historic importance of Wilkes County and the varied architectural styles seen throughout the county. Lunch, catered by Talk of the Town2, was hosted by the First United Methodist Church.

Many of those attending the Ramble also visited Cherry Cottage, a Georgia Trust Revolving Fund property that is for sale "to the right person who is willing to restore this home to its original charm."

Visitors to the Ramble came from all over Georgia, the South, and even from New Jersey. "We've had a wonderful time, rain and all," said Liz McClure of Cashiers, N.C. "Washington is just the most exquisite town in Georgia, and just has a coziness and sophistication in its casually elegant old plantations."

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