The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site (tel. 229/824-4104; www.nps.gov/jica) is 77 acres administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. An old-fashioned railway depot from 1888 is the headquarters of the visitor center -- it also served as Carter's campaign headquarters in 1976 and again in 1980 when he lost to Ronald Reagan. The depot is filled with campaign memorabilia and is open daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day) from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free. An information booklet costs $1.25.
The one-story, ranch-style brick Carter home is on Woodland Drive; when the Carters are in residence, the Secret Service is stationed in booths at this entrance and at the one on Paschal Street (you can get a pretty good look at it by walking and driving west on Church St.). Then there's the Plains Methodist Church, at the corner of Church and Thomas streets, where Jimmy asked Rosalynn for their first date. When he's in town, Jimmy teaches Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church. Visitors are invited -- check the notice in the window of Hugh Carter's Antiques on Main Street. Archery, a 2 1/2-mile drive west of town on U.S. 280, is where Jimmy Carter lived as a child when his father operated a country store.
In 2001, the Depression-era Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm, signposted off Route 280 West (tel. 229/824-4104), opened to the public. The last living occupant of the one-story, white-frame house, the former U.S. president himself, was an adviser to the restorers of the house. The former president took such an interest that he spent 2 days supervising the reconstruction of a privy in back of the house. He wanted it to be as "authentic" as memory served him. The farm has been restored to its appearance in 1937 before electricity was put in.
Mr. Carter lived in the house from 1928 to 1942 until he went off to college. The historic site lies 2 1/2 miles west of Plains and 120 miles south of Atlanta. Visitors can explore the former Carter home, a reconstructed barn, a small farm store, a windmill, a buggy shed, a pump house, and a blacksmith shop on 15 acres of what originally was a 360-acre farm. Several walking trails are along the property. Hours are daily from 9am to 5pm, and admission is free.
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