• Built in 1884 and renovated around the turn of the century, Shorter Mansion is open year-round, serving as the headquarters for the Eufaula Heritage Association and the home of the Eufaula Historic Museum.

    Eufaula1

    Built in 1884 and renovated around the turn of the century, Shorter Mansion is open year-round, serving as the headquarters for the Eufaula Heritage Association and the home of the Eufaula Historic Museum.

  • Four gardens will be on display during this year's pilgrimage.  Visitors will see dogwoods, azaleas, roses, fountains and more.

    Eufaula2

    Four gardens will be on display during this year's pilgrimage. Visitors will see dogwoods, azaleas, roses, fountains and more.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - If you like Southern charm and elegant antebellum homes, consider visiting Eufaula, Ala. This tiny city - the population is fewer than 15,000 - sits about 50 miles south of Fort Benning on the 45,000-acre Walter F. George Lake. It boasts excellent fishing, quaint shopping and everything else you'd expect in your typical small town, and their biggest shindig of the year is April 9 to 11.

Now in its 45th year, the Eufaula Pilgrimage features tours of several public and private residences, churches and gardens. There will also be showings of cars, art, antiques and quilts, book signings, live music, a wine tasting, a living wax museum and a living history encampment. Best of all, admission to the homes is free for active-duty and retired service members.

If you enjoy architecture, you won't want to miss seeing any of the buildings, which date from the 1800s. More than a dozen are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. They feature examples of Italianate, Greek revival, Gothic and Victorian design.

Elsewhere, you can view a 70-year-old pecan processing plant, hand-carved Indonesian furniture, a Gothic sanctuary, antique baby beds and a former plantation.

If you choose to tour the buildings, you have the option to select a daytime tour, a candlelight tour or both. The later tour includes special surprises, such as an encounter with the spirits of Eufaula's past - locals in period costumes who ham it up in a comedic skit.

If that puts you in the mood for more ghostly sightings, take a 40-minute legend-filled ghost walk or see Tales from the Tomb, a dramatic presentation of former Eufaula natives. Both are $3 per person.

Pilgrimage ticket prices range from $27 to $90, depending on how many homes and gardens you want to see. Individual garden tours cost $4 while individual home tours cost $7. If you just want to sit on a porch, rock away and enjoy refreshments, that's an option, too. Front Porch Sittin' is just $2 a person. Church tours are free.

If you bring the kids, be sure to check out the historic treasure hunt from 1 to 5 p.m. April 11. Kids seek out historic treasures at different locations, receive a goodie bag and then relax with Front Porch Sittin'. It's free for children 12 and younger and $20 for adults.

For more information, visit www.eufaulapilgrimage.com.

Page last updated Thu April 1st, 2010 at 16:50