Thursday, August 15, 2013

Touring Bath's Historic Homes

Just a reminder to anyone visiting here for the first time, this is Bath, North Carolina, not Bath, England. Regarding historic home tours, there are only two in this tiny village of 250 people. The first is the Palmer Marsh House.   Built by Frenchman Michael Coutanch in 1751, the home transferred to Scotsman Mr. Palmer only ten years later.  This is the house front. The many windows demonstrate wealth, and the need for cooling breezes in the summer.
The house is large, luxurious, and impressive for its time. Bath was an important port in the early to mid 1700s.  Mr. Coutanch owned his own ship and was a member of the General Assembly, which met in Bath. My favorite aspect of the house is the massive double fireplace.
This is the back of the house. See the little sloped roof and brown door? It looks like a storage shed, but in fact it's the stairwell going down to the kitchen, which is beneath the house in the basement. I can't tell you how unusual it is to find a house with a basement in this area. Bath lies near Bath Creek, and is between two creeks and near the Pamlico River. If a basement is dug at all, it floods. How they kept it dry is beyond me!
No photos are allowed in the residences, unfortunately. It is well-stocked with period furnishings, but none of the original items from the house survive. This end of the house faces the street. This "side" door opens into a large room that would serve as a shop, business, or office.
The second home we toured is the Bonner House.  Mr. Bonner, who owned and lived on a plantation three miles outside town, built this home as his family's summer residence. They wanted to participate more easily in the town's social life during the summer months.
This would have been their view from the front porch (minus the benches and vehicle).
The doors are wide and short. The transoms and side lights allowed more light into the center hall, an important room in the house, and the largest one.
The back of the house has a large porch. The room on the left end was added later to have a downstairs bedroom.
Behind the house is a small formal garden with this sun dial in the center. "I count only sunny hours," it states.
Just off the garden is a small family cemetery where the Bonners are buried. Within the cemetery fence is a huge pecan tree, Adam says the largest he's ever seen. I couldn't get much perspective on the tree from the cemetery gate, whose iron arch you see here.
So I walked around into a field and took this photo. You see the white picket fence. You see Adam, standing in his blue shirt at the base of the tree to give you a sense of its size. I wish you could see the entire trunk.
And again ...
The tour was over, and we sat viewing the creek. Regarding trees, I wondered if all my friends out there in the world have seen a tree most familiar to me, as a Southerner here in the States -- the long leaf pine. I noticed the craggy, geometric shapes on its trunk. Isn't it interesting?
This is called a pine gall. After looking it up online, I'm really not sure what causes this odd growth. Websites call it a rust, a disease. There is fusiform rust, and there is gall rust. I'm not sure which this is.
The view of Bath Creek is soothing. We came here to relax, unwind, rejuvenate our personal batteries and nourish our marriage. I think Bath is a perfect place to do this, if you love quiet, quiet, quiet.


  1. I love the photos of the pecan tree! The houses are fascinating. I'd love to tour them.
    I'm so glad you are having a wonderful time.

  2. Oh, my, that tree is magnificent. Thank you for sharing it!


Hello! I hope you leave a word ~ I will get back to it as soon as I can!