A centuries-old tradition of agriculture makes the Moore-Web-Homes Plantation in eastern Alabama a fascinating destination.
“It’s quite a history — our farm will be 200 years old in 2019,” said Jenny Holmes, one of the plantation’s owners through Homestead Co. “In that length of time, it’s been in the same family. It’s amazing to me — I married into it and have been a part of it for 40 years. In that time, it’s been consistently farmed. Now the seventh generation is working on the farm.”
The plantation originated in 1819 when a family of homesteaders arrived from South Carolina and began working 80 acres. Over the years, it has grown to more than 35,000 acres, growing cotton, soybeans and other crops. Today, the families focus on raising beef cattle and timber, as well as introducing visitors to their rich heritage via more than a dozen original historic buildings that sit on the farm site.
“Each little building on the plantation site is a museum in itself,” Holmes said. “The carriage house has an oxen yoke because that’s how agriculture started here. We have historic photographs on display in our old country store. You also see the cotton gin, the smoke house and the plantation home.”
From the historic farm site, visitors can see some of the cattle pastures across the road and the tall pines of the timber fields in the distance. Groups can have a meal in the 1923 overseer’s home, which is now a bed-and-breakfast that features antique furnishings and food from the on-site organic vegetable garden.
To see the farm at its best, visit during the fall festival, where beef is smoked in the historic smokehouse and hands-on experiences are offered.
The Rock, Georgia
Set deep in the country, about a 45-minute drive from Macon, the Rock Ranch is both a working farm and a notable Georgia tourist attraction. The ranch was opened in 1989 by Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A restaurants and today consists of 1,250 acres of agricultural and recreational land.
“We’re a cattle farm, so we do a lot of demonstrations and talking about cattle products,” said ranch spokesman Jeff Manley. “We also do a lot of you-pick strawberries, blackberries, muscadine and pomegranates. We have a little produce market as well and a fabulous kitchen, so groups really enjoy coming for a meal stop.”
Many groups combine the shopping and tasting experience with a hayride around the farm, where they’ll see agricultural areas, the on-site lake and other recreational spots. Tours also often include a trip to Truitt’s Barn, a building that holds numerous agricultural oddities.
“There’s a truck with 47 air horns on it, a truck with toys glued all over it, and a 1927 popcorn wagon,” Manley said. “We also have horse-drawn wagons and John Deere tractors.”
Other attractions at the ranch are a petting zoo, a garden, pony rides, a cow train and cane-pole fishing. Adventurous visitors can get a thrill on slides (both aboveground and underground) and even a zip line.
The Rock staff also puts on special events that coordinate with various seasons of the year. Traditional fall features such as a 16-acre corn maze are complemented by themed celebrations, with festivities focused on cowboys, Thanksgiving or sustainability. Folks go over the top for Pumpkin Destruction Day, when the staff uses air cannons, trucks and even an airplane to smash pumpkins all around the property.