Playing Tourists in our Own Town

Have you ever been a tourist in your own town? I too love a good “staycation” ~ but I’ve learned that I have to be intentional about actually doing it.

Since moving to Thomasville six years ago when we (a) became empty nesters and (b) moved our shop up here from Tallahassee, Chris and I have settled into life as “Thomasvillians” – and it is such a good thing!

We enjoy living life beautifully in the historic district, where we can walk to restaurants and the other shops, attend events like the TEF concert series and Due South, and enjoy the slower pace of life in a small (but vibrant) town.

Even then, we can get stuck in patterns (I’m not going to call them “ruts”)! So, a few weeks ago, when we were deciding what to do in celebration of our 32nd (yes, 32nd!) wedding anniversary, we debated boarding our pooch Rugby and heading out of town somewhere… oooooorrrrr … staying home and staycationing in our own town!

To be honest, once we’d decided that, we were both so busy leading up to our Friday off that we hadn’t nailed down exactly WHAT we were going to do.

And then Chris read my weekly Friday email ~ and when he came to the bottom and perused my weekly curated list of things to do in Thomasville, he said, “Why don’t we go on the Pebble Hill grounds and garden tour today?” Lightbulb moment!

We’ve been going to Pebble Hill for years (decades really), either to bring out-of-town guests on a house tour or to attend weddings and other events like the annual Pebble Hill Polo Classic (the running of the Live Oak Hounds from 2023 is pictured above). BUT, we’ve never done the extra things like the guided grounds and gardens tour, which is rarely offered. (House tours and self-guided grounds tours are ongoing year round.)

What a lovely morning it was! Our guide was Kitty Spivey, who is on staff at Pebble Hill as the program coordinator. The other guests on the tour with us were several ladies up from Tallahassee and one from out-of-state, none of whom had been to Pebble Hill previously. What a fun group!

Kitty was impressive in her passion and knowledge of Pebble Hill and its history. In the first 5 minutes of the tour alone, we learned many things we’d never heard before ~ and then it went on and on!
Kitty took us through: the stable complex, the tack room (a treasure trove!), the carriage room, the stable courtyard, the dog hospital (yes, they had a dog hospital onsite!), the firehouse complex (and yes, an onsite fire wagon!), the infirmary, and the laundry house, which was so airy and modern it was dubbed “The Waldorf” by the staff in 1929 when, like many other buildings onsite, it was designed by Abram Garfield, son of President Garfield.

We also saw the family cemetery, the kitchen garden, the schoolhouse, and the newly restored Kennel Cottage ~ aka "Mack's House" ~ which was home to Mack McQueen and is now an exhibit with furnishings, photographs, and artifacts representing the history of Pebble Hill workers from 1901-1970s , including Mr. McQueen.

We learned much more about Kate Hanna Ireland Harvey, who inherited the estate in 1901, and her daughter, Elisabeth “Pansy” Ireland Poe, two women who were known their benevolent and generous spirits as well as their love of animals. There is too much about them and their accomplishments to share here ~ you’ll need to go on a tour!

But here’s one fun fact: Did you know that Pansy was an accomplished equestrian and a pioneer in the sport of polo, becoming the first woman to play in the US Polo Association (she registered using her initials!)? Nowadays, the Pebble Hill Polo Classic, featuring all-women polo teams, occurs every March on the beautiful grounds of Pebble Hill. Save the date of March 8, 2025, and join us in the fun; we will be there!

This summer there are even more curated tours and events at Pebble Hill; please see them in my event list at the bottom of these weekly newsletters. If you are local, I highly recommend checking them out! If you are a friend from afar, I highly recommend putting Pebble Hill on your “to do” list when you come to Thomasville (after visiting The Hare & The Hart, of course!)
The icing on the cake of our first staycation day was an anniversary dinner at St. James, a newer addition to Thomasville’s nationally recognized food scene. If you go to St. James, you must have a cocktail (here is a picture of my pretty one ~ I forget what it was called!) and oh-my-goodness, the OYSTERS! Best I’ve ever had. All so good.

Of course, this wasn’t all that we did on our extended staycation weekend. Some things will be told later ~ because there are a few surprises coming soon as a result!


1 comment


We have loved getting to know y’all since we first met in your very early Thomasville days! Glad to have you as part of the community and always good to see you at the Thomasville Entertainment Foundation performances!

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