A Side Trip to Andersonville
Just 21 miles northeast of Plains (take U.S. 280 to Americus, then Ga. 49 North) is the site of the most infamous of Confederate prison camps, Andersonville. It was built to hold 10,000 but at one time had a prisoner population of more than 32,000, struggling to survive on polluted water and starvation rations. Nearly 15,000 prisoners died here. The commander, Capt. Henry Wirtz, although powerless to help the situation, was tried and hanged after the Civil War on charges of having conspired to murder Union prisoners. Today you can visit the Drummer Boy Civil War Museum (tel. 229/924-2558), open August to mid-September Thursday to Sunday 1 to 5pm and mid-September to November and February to July Thursday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. You'll see slide shows of the camp's sad history, as well as the remains of wells and escape tunnels. Legend says that Providence Springs gushed up in answer to the prayers of prisoners during the drought of 1864. Andersonville National Historic Site (tel. 229/924-0343; www.nps.gov/ande) is open daily from 8am to 5pm; admission is free.
After visiting the historic site, browse the antiques shops in the adjacent village of Andersonville. Stop by the Andersonville Guild Welcome Center (tel. 229/924-2558; www.andersonvillegeorgia.com) in the old train depot and meet Peggy Sheppard, a gregarious, transplanted New Yorker who spearheaded the village's rejuvenation. The center is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.