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6 Most Beautiful Historic Homes to Visit in North Carolina

North Carolina is a state that is rich in history and culture, so it should be no surprise that some of the country’s most beautiful historic homes are found here. Whether you’re drawn to the beauty of the architecture or the intrigue of their history, you’re sure to find something you’ll love at each one of these regal homes.

Poplar Grove Plantation, Wilmington Poplar Grove Plantation, Wilmington
Credit: Poplar Grove Plantation, Wilmington by Poplar Grove Plantation

Poplar Grove Plantation, Wilmington

Dating all the way back to the late 1700s, Poplar Grove Plantation in Wilmington was a peanut and sweet potato plantation that stayed in the same family for six generations. In 1980, the original house was fully restored and opened to the public as a museum. Now, visitors can explore one of the last plantation complexes remaining in the state, which includes the original smokehouse, a slave tenant house, kitchen and two art studios that are set-up as a basket gallery and a blacksmith’s shop. An agricultural building also houses an original peanut thrasher and provides history on the peanut production industry. In addition to regular tours and ghost tours, the plantation also offers overnight experiences for two different audiences – a night filled with games, crafts and fun for the kids or a paranormal experience for the adults.

Duke Mansion, Charlotte Duke Mansion in Charlotte
Credit: Duke Mansion in Charlotte by dukemansion.com

Duke Mansion, Charlotte

Built in 1915, the Duke Mansion was tripled in size by its second owner, James B. Duke, in 1919 and then owned by a string of different residents until it was turned over to the Duke Endowment in 1977. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places and has since functioned as both a meeting space and a historic inn. Visitors to the mansion can stay in one of twenty unique guest rooms that are decorated to both reflect the house’s history and offer modern conveniences and amenities. There is also a guest library and massive book collection to explore, as well as four and a half acres of meticulously landscaped gardens and grounds.

Historic Hope Plantation, Windsor Historic Hope Plantation, Windsor
Credit: Historic Hope Plantation, Windsor by Historic Hope Plantation

Historic Hope Plantation, Windsor

Historic Hope Plantation is the former home of David Stone, who was the Governor of North Carolina from 1770 to 1818. Although the site is home to two historic houses, the most impressive is the Hope Mansion, built in 1803. The home, which is a combination of Georgian and Federal architecture, was restored and opened to the public in 1972 and includes many original period furnishings. The other house on the site, the King-Bazemore House that was built in 1763, was originally constructed four miles from Hope Plantation and was later moved. The Roanoke-Chowan Heritage Center was also added to the site in 1992 and offers a visitor center, museum, library, gallery, bookstore and classrooms, and is also available to rent for weddings and events.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem Reynolda House in Winston Salem
Credit: Reynolda House in Winston Salem by Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem

The Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston Salem first began as Reynolds Farm, a self-sufficient community and teaching facility for local farmers, owned by tobacco tycoon, R.J. Reynolds and his wife. The estate that spans a whopping 1,067 acres, includes a grand house, formal gardens, post office, greenhouse, smokehouse, power plant, dairy, golf course and several churches. Today, the house serves as a museum that displays American art from artists like Georgia O’Keefe and Stuart Davis. Although visitors cannot stay at the house itself, they can purchase one of several special packages that include tours of the museum and accommodations at a local inn or hotel.

Biltmore, Asheville Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
Credit: Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC by Biltmore Estate

Biltmore, Asheville

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, sits the largest undertaking in the history of residential architecture. Biltmore, a 250-room French Renaissance chateau that took six long years to build, was designed and owned by George Vanderbilt and was opened to friends and family in 1895. Spread across over four acres of floor space, the estate home contains 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and a whopping 65 fireplaces, as well as a library with 10,000 volumes, a massive banquet hall, an indoor pool and even a bowling alley. Visitors can choose from taking a guided tour or a self-guided tour that includes an audio recording that gives a basic overview of the estate. Daytime tickets include the self-guided tour, access to the gardens and Antler Village, admission to the wedding fashion exhibition and a free wine tasting at the winery. While overnight packages at The Inn on Biltmore Estate or the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate include overnight accommodations and additional perks like daily breakfast, souvenir guidebooks, as well as shuttle service to and from the estate.

Tryon Palace, New Bern Tryon Palace, New Bern
Credit: Tryon Palace, New Bern by Tryon Palace

Tryon Palace, New Bern

Tryon Palace, which served as the first capitol building for North Carolina, was built in 1770 for Governor William Tryon and his family. Now, visitors can walk in the same footsteps as other famous visitors like George Washington, and tour the more than 20 buildings and 14 acres of sculpted gardens that are on the property. History buffs will also love the interactive living history programs and live craft demonstrations. While you’re there, make sure to visit the North Carolina History Center and take in one of the many rotating exhibitions, more interactive history experiences, shopping and even waterfront dining.

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