When my husband and I were planning our wedding at Peachtree Golf Club, I told my sister-in-law we were getting married in an antebellum home.
“What’s antebellum?” she asked. Being a California girl, the phrase we southerners use for something existing prior to the Civil War was foreign to her. After all, California was a latecomer to the United States party. It just became a state in 1850.
But if you’ve traveled much in the South and ever toured an old home, you’re familiar with the phrase and with antebellum architecture, generally associated with the Greek-revival style. Think of Tara in the movie “Gone with the Wind,” although that’s nothing like what author Margaret Mitchell had in mind when she wrote the book.
What Hollywood did get right in that book is the burning of Atlanta. Which means people in Atlanta have to travel to stay in a home with the characteristic elements of large columns and wide front porches. While there are some close by to tour, there are no pre-war inns to visit in the city. His name is still cursed in some parts of the South, more than 150 years later.
I recently stayed in the charming Antebellum Inn in Milledgeville, Georgia, where we enjoyed farmhand-size breakfasts, evening wine hours and a perfect location to explore this small former capital city of Georgia.
The six rooms include four suites, one room with twin beds and a cottage behind the pool that can sleep four. All rooms have private baths, 1200 thread count sheets, robes, free wifi and smart TVs. I was in the Garden Suite, which overlooked the pool and had the advantage of a large tub. Tubs seem to be disappearing from hotels everywhere, and I am not happy about it.
Despite its name, the home is not actually antebellum, as it was built in 1890. I’m willing to forgive that slight historical inaccuracy because the place does ooze southern charm. It was built for Judge Rufas roberts, and is also formerly known as the Roberts-Myrick-Jones House for subsequent owners. The pool and cottage were added in the 1980s.
The current owners, Kim and Marty Martin, bought it in June 2013. While they live in New York now, Kim has family there and she went to school at Georgia College & State University located just a few blocks away. They also own Soho Lofts, four loft-style suites, in downtown Milledgeville.
Our stay there was comfortable and pleasant. My only regret is that damp weather and a busy schedule precluded any porch-sitting time, as I do love a wraparound porch.
Every afternoon the Inn hosts a wine hour. Oh, how I love a wine hour to wind down after a busy day seeing the sights. The coffee table in one of the two parlors was filled with a tray with nuts and cheeses, and we were brought a glass of our selection of red or white wine.
I went down to breakfast the first morning and helped myself to granola, coffee, yogurt and some yummy butterscotch baked things in the sunny dining room with a fireplace and a sign reading “There is always something to be grateful for.”
But wait, there’s more! What I thought was breakfast was just a prelude. Out came a huge, hot meal with bacon, sausage casserole and cheese-laden hash browns, garnished with an orange and pineapple slice. The next day I was prepared and went a little lighter on course #1. Then I spied these yummy-looking mounds – were they scones? I couldn’t identify quite what they were, but one bite told me they were some of best biscuits I’d ever tasted.
I motioned to innkeeper Julie Bryan, and whispered, “Do you all share the recipe for your biscuits? They are fabulous.” She got an amused look on her face, and said, “I’ll get it to you in a bit.”
A few bites of a delicious French toast later, she pulled me into the kitchen where she began searching around, finally pulling a wrapper out of the trash. “Here’s the secret,” she said.
And now, with her permission, I’ll share with you the world’s easiest, best biscuit recipe. I made a plate full recently, and enjoyed remembering the flavors of The Antebellum Inn.
The Antebellum Inn is at 200 North Columbia St.,Milledgeville, Georgia; 478.453.3993. Rates start at $159.