Nightmares at Nottoway

It happened. It was bound to really after such an amazing trip and staying in such incredible places, it finally happened… we were disappointed.

Nottoway is the South’s largest remaining antebellum plantation mansion. Rich with history and retaining many original features, it was a picture perfect place and one we were excited to visit and to stay in. It was completed in 1859 for a family of sugar cane farmers and has withstood the civil war and many a hurricane. 

We will certainly concede one thing – it is mighty fine to look at. But that’s about it.

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Arriving in the blistering heat we were checked in to our rickety old room complete with rocking chairs out on the porch. We were staying in an original room which had belonged to one of the sons of the family – thankfully they’d replaced the bed being as the typical height of a man then was 5ft 5.

So far, so cute. 

After a spot of lunch at ‘le cafe’ (a room where a lady made sandwiches) we went on a tour of the main part of the house. It is gorgeous but although refurbished and plenty of ‘period pieces’ being brought in to refresh its decor, still cracked and crumbling. I didn’t mind that so much but Rusty got all patriotic and compared it unfavourably to much older stately homes in the UK.

The tour was interesting in so far as we learnt about the family who lived there but not one THING was mentioned about slavery. Our tour guide referred to the ‘staff’ as ‘servants’ and glossed over the history of the time completely. She also stood strategically in front of the lamps fashioned like young black boys. When asked, she said that ‘not much was known about how the servants were treated but it’s felt that they were treated well by the family for the time’

Riiiight.

After the tour we hid away in our room listening to the sounds of the train tooting its horn (I’ll come back to that particular noise again later) and sorting out our wares as we were beginning our final leg home the next day.

We had been advised to make reservations for dinner and dutifully did yet when we arrived we were one of only two couples there. Cozy. Atmosphere pumping with the sounds of the 80s Muzak coming through the speakers we decided to make the most of the view and the food. My chicken was burnt and it got dark  – that’s the most of it. Halfway through dinner a kitchen pump decided it would join in with creating atmosphere and went mental. It was like trying to have dinner on a construction site with a jackhammer backing up your conversation. We had to ask what the incessant noise was and were finally apologised to and told it was because they were replacing soda. Why at dinner? No idea.

Anyway, after that we regained the use of our ears (not useful – but I’ll get to that) and went to sit at the bar. Except we couldn’t. Because all the boys who worked there were taking up the seats and had no intention of letting us sit there. So we perched in a corner and knocked back some beer.

Retiring for the night to our room, we soon noticed an influx of bloody mozzies. But how did they get in? You cry.

Through the massive bloody gap between the door and the door frame – that’s how! I had to climb on a chair and stuff towels into it to stop us from being gnawed upon. Having done that I successfully stalked and killed the buggers that were left in the room. Fun times. And then we settled down for sleeping.

But not for long!

That’s right, you saw it coming, the bloody train went by every hour on the hour tooting it’s bloody horn and waking us up. Finally at 6am we could stand it no longer so we got up, got a shower (then noticed what appeared to be rat faeces in the bath) and got the hell out of dodge.

We can safely say there’s not a chance we’d go back to Nottaway.

 

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