Traveler’s Rest today. This stagecoach inn and plantation home was built around 1815 by James R. Wyly.
He strategically located it along the Unicoi Turnpike (formerly an Native American footpath), which was an early highway over the Appalachian Mountains.
Wyly operated the inn until 1833 when he sold it to his neighbor Devereaux Jarrett, the “richest man in the Tugaloo Valley.” Jarrett continued to operate the inn but also doubled its size to make it the home place of his 14,400 acre plantation along the Tugaloo River.
Three generations of Jarretts lived at the inn. Then in 1955, the state of Georgia purchased the remaining few acres of the once-vast plantation for $8,000.
In 1964, the Inn was placed on the National Historic Landmark directory, thanks in part to its architectural significance and its role in the early history of the State. Visitors can tour the house and see many original artifacts and furnishings, some of which were crafted by Caleb Shaw, a renowned cabinetmaker from Massachusetts.
In 1837, English Geologist George Festherstonhaugh wrote, “Here I got an excellent breakfast of coffee, ham, chicken, good bread, butter, honey, and plenty of good new milk for a quarter of a dollar. . . . What a charming country this would be to travel in, if one was sure of meeting with such nice clean quarters once a-day!”
The Inn has long hallways and even the porch is the same: Perfect for moving old trunks around that were used for travel in the 1700 and 1800’s. Also perfect for conversation between friends and strangers!
Here are the remaining stage coach steps! Can you imagine what it was like to be at this busy location with stages coming and going and people boarding them to travel north of this point? Women with long full dresses would simply board stage coaches via these steps.
I don’t think you can really see it, but the Inn still has it’s original windows. It is climate controlled so the original furnishings are safe from extreme changes in the climate. The wiggle in the glass means it is original leaded glass.
I must really like the steps—lots of character here. I wonder what the holes are from? They are certainly weathered with age.
Here’s a quick glance of one of the fireplaces in a bedroom.