Trip Ideas

From Simple to Grand, 10 Historic Houses You Must Visit

Explore Georgia's history from the mountains to the coast through house museums that share the stories of life in the South.

  • Hardman Farm State Historic Site

    Built in 1870 by Captain James Nichols, the Big House at the Hardman Farm State Historic Site is a grand example of Italianate architecture.

Whether it's a stately Southern plantation, a small slave's quarters or a writer's haven, walking through a historic home is an intimate journey into the past. Here are nine historic house museums that showcase different eras and lifestyles that have contributed to the Georgia we know today.  

Old Governor's Mansion, Milledgeville

Old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville

If you only have time for one house tour in Milledgeville, this is the one to take. Completed in 1839, the Old Governor's Mansion was the residence of Georgia governors for more than 30 years. Imagine the elegant balls thrown for heads of state, as well as get a glimpse of servant life by touring the basement kitchen.

Andalusia Farm: Home of Flannery O'Connor, Milledgeville

Photo courtesy of Andalusia

Andalusia Farm was the home of author Flannery O’Connor. O’Connor was considered one of America’s greatest fiction writers, and it was here that she wrote all her published work. The farm was recently turned over to Georgia College and is undergoing a refurbishment with plans to open to the public as a historic house museum in summer 2018.

Heritage Hall, Madison

Heritage Hall in Madison

Madison is known for its stately antebellum homes, but Heritage Hall is the grand dame. Once the home of a prominent physician, the splendid architecture is only part of the story in this small town.

The Rogers House & Rose Cottage, Madison

Rogers House & Rose Cottage in Madison, Georgia

The modest Rose Cottage was the home of Adeline Rose, an African-American washwoman who was born to enslaved parents. The house has been moved and now sits next to the historic Rogers House, which pre-dates the nearby Morgan County Courthouse in Madison by almost 100 years!

Stately Oaks Plantation, Jonesboro

Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro, Georgia

Those seeking Tara from "Gone With the Wind" fame will delight in a visit to Stately Oaks Plantation, an actual 1839 planters home.  The real life story of resident Rebecca McCord will sound hauntingly familiar to Scarlett’s tale in the Margaret Mitchell classic. In addition to the plantation house, several period buildings, such as an 1839 cookhouse, school and country store, have been moved to this site in Jonesboro, creating a truly unique step back in time.

The Taylor-Grady House, Athens

The Taylor-Grady House in Athens, Georgia

A wealthy Savannah planter named Robert Taylor built this home as a summer residence for his family, moving in full time when his sons attended the University of Georgia. He later sold the home to Henry Grady, a Confederate soldier, and father of legendary newspaperman Henry W. Grady. The older Grady never lived in the home, but his son did from 1865-1868 while attending UGA. The Taylor-Grady House is one of several on the Athens Museum Mile Tour, a tour that not only focuses on exterior architecture, but also the decorative arts, furnishings and the lives of those who lived in the homes.

Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, Savannah

Owens-Thomas House in Savannah

One of the main attractions for this national historic landmark home is the inclusion of the original slave quarters on the property. The dwelling, which also served as the carriage house, is the only intact urban slave quarters open to the public in Savannah. A tour of the main house, gardens and servants' quarters offers visitors a rare glimpse of the complete antebellum lifestyle, showcasing the life of both members of the wealthy family that owned the home and the reality of life for those who served them.

Tybee Island Lighthouse/Museum, Tybee Island

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Maintaining an island lighthouse was a full-time job and required keepers to live on site. The light keeper’s home on Tybee lets visitors peek at what it was like to grow up on Tybee Island at the turn of the century. 

Bacon-Fraser House, Hinesville

The Bacon-Fraser House in Hinesville, Georgia

The Bacon-Fraser house was built in 1839 by Mary Jane Bacon on what was the edge of Hinesville at the time. It is the only building remaining in Hinesville from this early settlement time period. In addition to the historic structure, the landscape surrounding the home is filled with 19th century flowering shrubs, including azaleas, camellias tea plants and Bankshire rose bushes. Giant live oaks and sycamores fill the property, as well. The home remained in the Bacon-Fraser family until 2017, when it was graciously sold to the Liberty County Convention & Visitors Bureau. If you're visiting Liberty County, make the Bacon Fraser house your first stop!

Hardman Farm State Historic Site, Sautee Nacoochee

The Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound is a favorite landmark near Helen with exceptional ties to Native American history.

This Georgia State Park Historic Site was the home of Anna Ruby Nichols, the namesake for nearby Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area. But before Captain James Nichols built the Farm, this hidden gem was a burial ground for native Indians. You can still see the Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound at The Hardman Farm, which is now located in the cow pasture.


Sue Rodman is Georgia's official Smart Travel Explorer. Find more of her budget-friendly tips and trip ideas on ExploreGeorgia.org.

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