Designer Jennifer Hendrix and Vickie Hunt pause for a photo in Hunt's apartment during the tour the weekend of Oct. 4-6. Photo by Jesse Walker

Designer Jennifer Hendrix and Vickie Hunt pause for a photo in Hunt’s apartment during the tour the weekend of Oct. 4-6. Photo by Jesse Walker

By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation held its Fall Ramble, titled “Madison Unseen,” in Madison and Morgan County last weekend. The Georgia Trust, one of the country’s largest nonprofit preservation organizations, host two Rambles each year in different cities around Georgia. The Rambles offer tourists the chance to tour historic homes and buildings that are not usually open to the public.

Traci Clark, director of communications for the Georgia Trust said that there were nearly 600 participants during the Ramble.

Georgia Trust President and CEO Mark McDonald, who attended the Madison Ramble, said that he “enjoyed being with all the Georgia Trust members and meeting all the Madison preservationists that have been such great stewards of their historic buildings.”

“The purpose of the Rambles is to expose the public to the incredible charm of Georgia’s historic cities and to encourage heritage tourism in this dynamic communities, said McDonald. “Historic preservation is a very effective economic development tool and no city exemplifies this more than Madison does.”

For the Fall Ramble in Madison, 40 historic private homes were on the itinerary, which covered Friday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 6.

Friday’s theme was the “Mansions of Madison,” and Ramblers – as guests of the Ramble are known – had the opportunity to tour Madison’s Hilltop, the Burney-Ponder-Rushing house, and the Terrell Plantation, among others. The Variety Works hosted evening guests for a “four-star dinner” to end the first day of the Ramble.

On Saturday, the Ramblers got to explore the area’s “Town and Country.” After a barbecue lunch in Bostwick, Cedar Lane Farm, the Edmund Walker Town House, and Summershade were on the docket for the day. Saturday evening guests enjoyed cocktails and dinner at Bonar Hall.

The Ramble ended Sunday with “In Town Living – Loft Life,” with guests experiencing nine “contemporary loft homes” in Madison, including the 1885 Farmers Hardware Building, the Ice House, and the James Madison Inn.

“What I enjoyed most was the warm hospitality that the citizens of Madison and Morgan County showed us,” said Clark. “We are grateful to the many property owners and volunteers who made this event possible.”

Jane Royal, who co-chaired the Madison Fall Ramble with Christine Lambert, said that the Ramble was “a huge success.”

Royal said that she and Lambert were approached about a year ago by the Georgia Trust concerning the possibility of a Madison Ramble, and they started planning the event in January of this year.

The decision to include Bostwick in the itinerary was received well by the Ramblers, according to Royal.

“I had a lot of positive feedback about going to Bostwick,” said Royal. “It’s something we wanted to recognize.”

Royal also wanted to acknowledge the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, which served as co-host for the event and played an essential role in getting the Ramble together

“People really, really loved it,” said Royal about the experience of the Ramble as a whole.

“That was wonderful.”

Click here for more photos of the Georgia Trust Fall Ramble.

Itinerary for Ga. Trust Fall Ramble, “Madison Unseen”

Friday Guests toured the classic antebellum Hilltop, an 1838 home which sits on one of the highest points in Madison; the Burney-Ponder-Rushing house, a stunning three-gabled Victorian-era cottage; and Terrell Plantation, which was once home to George Terrell, upon whom author Joel Chandler Harris based his famous fictional character Uncle Remus. Dinner at Variety Works.

Saturday Overview of the area at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center. Barbecue lunch in Bostwick, home of the Annual Cotton Gin Festival. Tour private residences such as Cedar Lane Farm, a lovely antebellum home with award-winning gardens owned by Georgia Trust founding trustee Jane Symmes; the Edmund Walker Town House, a beautifully restored 1838 Plantation Plain style town house; and Summershade, a unique 55-acre property that was featured in “Garden and Gun” magazine. Cocktails and dinner on the expansive grounds of Bonar Hall, a landmark property that features an 1839 Georgian manor house with 13-foot ceilings on both floors, detached brick kitchen, flanking summer house, orangery, formal gardens and orchard.

Sunday Brunch on the expansive lawn of Town Park, part of the extensive 2004 redevelopment project for the downtown area. Tour of nine contemporary loft homes including the 1885 Farmers Hardware Building that has been adapted into a creative live/work space that includes an abstract art gallery and couture design business; the “Ice House” residence, converted from a 1910 brick warehouse into a unique space featuring Arts and Crafts furnishings and Cherokee artifacts; and three stunning penthouse apartments of The James Madison Inn, beautifully decorated and featuring panoramic views of Madison.