Archive for the ‘GSO Attractions’ Category

Blandwood: The Oldest Standing Example of Italianate Architecture in the U.S.

February 21st, 2014 by Judy Horn

When Reverend Sidney Bumpass built the home that is now the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed and Breakfast, a visitor would find few homes in the immediate area. One home, however, was only a third of a mile away, and it was already more than 50 years old when Sidney and Frances Bumpass moved into their home in 1847. That house, known as Blandwood, still exists today and is a national historic landmark that is open for tours.

Blandwood Mansion

Blandwood Mansion, considered the the oldest standing example of Italianate architecture in the United States.

Originally Blandwood was a simple two-story farmhouse constructed by Charles Bland. The earliest part of the home was completed in 1795. The house was later purchased by North Carolina Governor John Motley Morehead. In 1844, toward the end of the governor’s term in office, he commissioned renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis of New York to build significant additions to the house in the Italianate style. A central tower, stucco walls and symmetrical flanking dependencies were added. The additions were completed in 1846.

Today, Blandwood is considered the oldest standing example of Italianate architecture in the United States. The restored mansion operates as a museum and provides visitors a look into 19th century art, architecture, furnishings, and landscape. Some of the Morehead’s furnishings are on display.

Vistors to the mansion learn interesting aspects of the homes architecture as well as information about the governor and the Morehead family. Morehead earned the nickname “the father of Modern North Carolina” and was a strong supporter of statewide rail and water transportation systems; free public schools; and more humane treatment of deaf and blind children, prisoners, and the mentally ill.

While we are not certain, it seems highly likely that Frances Bumpass and her family were acquainted with their neighbors, the Moreheads.

To learn more about this treasure of architectural and historical significance, take a look at this video created by Preservation Greensboro Incorporated, the non-profit organization that operates Blandwood. Tours are available Tuesday through Sunday. An admission fee is charged. Guests at the Troy-Bumpas Inn can receive a discount coupon that offers one free admission with a paid adult admission (valid during 2014).

The Greensboro Coliseum

August 11th, 2013 by Judy Horn

Coliseum Complex

Greensboro’s largest entertainment complex is the Coliseum, a multi-building complex that offers a range of activities including athletic events, cultural arts, concerts, theater, educational activities, fairs, exhibits, conventions, and trade and consumer shows.

The Coliseum is just two miles from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast, so we frequently have guests who are in Greensboro for a Coliseum event. In recent months, guests have attended a major convention, participated in a regional diving competition, checked out RVs at a large exhibition, and attended concerts staring Rascal Flats and George Strait. Upcoming guests will be attending the Taylor Swift, Rod Stewart and Bonnie Raitt concerts and plays presented as part of the 2013-2014 Triad Best of Broadway series.

I was surprised to learn that this modern complex is 54 years old. Greensboro voters approved a bond for the project in 1956. Ground was broken in 1958 and the original complex opened in 1959 with a capacity of 7,100 seats, making it then one of the largest arenas in the East Coast.

Numerous expansions and updates later, today’s Coliseum complex includes a 23,500-seat arena, the 2,400-seat War Memorial Auditorium, the Greensboro Aquatic Center, the White Oak Amphitheater, the 300-seat Odeon Theatre, a 167,000-square foot special events center with three exhibition halls, a 4,500-seat mini arena and the 30,000-square-foot Pavilion.

The list of celebrities and performers who have appeared at the Coliseum during the past 56 years is too long for a single blog! The Coliseum has played host to Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Jackson Five played the Coliseum in 1970, and Elvis performed there in 1972. The Rolling Stones were there in 1975 and the Grateful Dead in 1991. American Idol came in 2005.

For many of our “Coliseum guests,” staying at the Troy-Bumpas Inn B&B helps make the event especially memorable and convenient. After the event is over, it takes just a few minutes to drive back to the inn to relax and reflect. To learn more about the Coliseum and upcoming scheduled events, visit their official website.

Triad Farmers Market — Food, Plants and Fun

July 30th, 2013 by Judy Horn

Tons of Tomatoes

If you love farmers markets, a visit to the triad area of North Carolina is not complete without a stop at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Located near Greensboro off Highway I-40 at the Sandy Ridge Road exit, the market draws thousands of shoppers each week. They come to buy produce, plants, meat and cheese from North Carolina farmers. As their website says, “here you can talk to the individuals who grew it and you can buy any quantity you wish.” The market is a great place to buy interesting plants; choose your own fresh and locally grown produce; and enjoy loads of people watching.

The Triad Market is one of four Farmers Markets owned by the State of North Carolina and operated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service. The market has two enormous permanent farmers buildings plus a retail building open year-round that offers locally grown foods including baked goods, candies, jams, jellies, honey, eggs, cheese, meats, nuts, ice cream and wine.  A separate garden center is complete with a greenhouse.

If all this shopping makes you hungry, you don’t need to go far. The Moose Café Restaurant on the market grounds is open daily and serves delicious meals family style. Farm-fresh vegetables right from the market make the food fresh and delicious.

The market has plenty of free parking and is free and open to the public daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (The Moose Café Restaurant is open until 8 p.m.) To learn more, visit the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market website. Located at 2914 Sandy Ridge Road in Colfax, NC, the market is a short 20 minute drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. It’s the Inn’s go-to place for locally grown and produced foods and wonderful garden plants.

Great Fun — The Greensboro Grasshoppers

July 21st, 2013 by Judy Horn

Greensboro Grasshoppers TM

Baseball has a long history in North Carolina. In 1862, captured Union soldiers played baseball while in a prisoner of war camp in Salisbury, NC. Trivia buffs may recall that Babe Ruth hit his first homerun at an exhibition game in Fayetteville, NC, in 1914. And present day North Carolina is home to eight minor league baseball teams.

Thanks to the movie Bull Durham, possibly the best known of North Carolina’s farm teams is the Durham Bulls, a Triple A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The names of the other NC minor league teams may not be as familiar, but they certainly are colorful: the Ashville Tourists, the Burlington Royals, the Carolina Mudcats, the Hickory Crawdads, the Kannapolis Intimidators, and the Winston-Salem Dash. Here in Greensboro, the home team is the Greensboro Grasshoppers, a class A affiliate of the Miami Marlins and part of the South Atlantic League.

The Grasshoppers play their games at NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade St. Greensboro, a beautiful, modern stadium within walking distance of the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. The ballpark opened in 2005 and cost $21.5 million to build. The red brick stadium seats up to 7,499 including 5,300 chair-back seats. Parking is available immediately around the stadium.

Greensboro Grasshopper games are among the best attended in the minors. Minor league baseball games have all the excitement of major league games, but with added fun and at a much lower ticket cost than the majors. Tickets, available online and at the stadium, typically are $6 to $9 each. Pre-game autographs are encouraged. There’s a kid-safe play area for children, private grandstand box seating, plenty of concessions, lawn seating and picnic areas, and special promotions like Thirsty Thursdays (when beer is bargain priced), Family Fundays, Money Off Mondays, and Bingo nights. Every Friday and Saturday when the team is in town, a spectacular fireworks show signals the end of the game.  (A common question at the Troy-Bumpas Inn’s breakfast table on weekends during the baseball season is about what all the booms were about!)

If you’ve never been to a minor league baseball game, add this as another reason to visit Greensboro. We’ll be sure to provide great accommodations at the Troy-Bumpas Inn B&B. To learn more about the Greensboro Grasshoppers, visit their official website.

Free Things to Do in Greensboro

March 31st, 2013 by Judy Horn

Greene StatueVisitors to Greensboro have a wide variety of FREE attractions to visit. Three of my favorite free history-related sites are listed below. A visit to these historical sites transports you to the time of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Both the Historical Museum and Walkway of History are within walking distance (or a very short car ride) of the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is a 15-minute drive from the inn.

Greensboro Historical Museum  Located in a former church that once served as a Confederate hospital, the Greensboro Historical Museum lets you discover Greensboro history through a wide variety of diverse exhibits. You can follow a timeline of Greensboro history in the Welcome to the Gate City exhibit; learn all about pottery produced in North Carolina at the Jugtown Pottery exhibit, and see one of largest collections of Civil War firearms at the Murphy Confederate firearms collection. The new 8,000 sq. ft. Voices of a City exhibit tells the story of Greensboro from the voices of its residents. The museum shop has a variety of items including children’s items, cookbooks, history books, tee shirts and much more.
Museum Hours: Tuesday to Saturday. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.;  Sunday,  2-5 p.m.
130 Summit Ave.

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park  Explore more than 220 acres of historic ground and 28 monuments honoring one of the most pivotal battles of the Revolutionary War where British General Cornwalis fought against Colonial forces led by Natanial Greene, for whom the city of Greensboro is named. Be sure to watch the movie at the visitors center to get a good understanding of the importance of the battle as well as how it was fought. The museum shop has, among other things, a large collection of history books.
Open daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2332 New Garden Road.

 Walkway of History  Located in the area of downtown that was home to the start of the civil rights sit-in movement in the 1960s, you can view sidewalk markers that chronicle six chapters in local African-American history. (The nearby International Civil Rights Museum is not free, but does an excellent job of explaining the history of the sit-ins and progress in civil rights both in the U.S. and internationally.) The sidewalk markers are located in downtown Greensboro at South Elm Street at February One Place.

A Dress that has Fueled Imaginations

February 7th, 2013 by Judy Horn

Dolley Madison's red velvet dress

Dolley Madison’s red velvet dress

This week a scarlet velvet gown that once belonged to former First Lady and Greensboro native Dolley Madison returned to the Greensboro Historical Museum. The gown previously had been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Starting on March 23, 2013, visitors to the Greensboro Historical Museum can view the dress in an exhibit titled “Draped in Legend: a Velvet Dress, a Carriage Trunk and a First Lady.”

So what might make this dress unique among first ladies dresses? Legend has it that the dress might have been made from White House drapes. Here’s the story:

In August 1814 (during the War of 1812) the British invasion of Washington, D.C. and occupation of the White House was imminent.  Determined to save items critical to our young nation, First Lady Dolley Madison helped gather important government documents, George Washington’s portrait and, maybe to cover these items, velvet scarlet curtains that hung in the White House. Fast forward many years later to when a conservator was examining the dress that had come to Greensboro along with other Madison artifacts. He noted the dress seemed to be made from drapery weight fabric. Was Madison’s dress made from the very drapes that were saved as she fled the White House? We may never know, but scientific examinations are continuing, and someday we may have a definite answer. You can read more in the June edition of the online Smithsonian Magazine.

I’m looking forward to seeing the dress so I can decide for myself. The exhibit runs through June 16 when the fragile dress goes back into protective care. The Greensboro Historical Museum, just a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed and Breakfast, is located at 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro, NC 27401. Admission is free and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m.

Things to Do in Greensboro: Replacements, Ltd.

October 3rd, 2012 by Judy Horn

One of the most popular tourist sites in the Greensboro area is Replacements, Ltd. You don’t have to be a dinnerware junky to appreciate this wonderful mega store, which is located about 15 minutes from the Troy-Bumpas Inn. Like many successful businesses, Replacements, Ltd. was the brainstorm of one man with a passion for collecting beautiful things.

About 40 years ago, Bob Page, an auditor for the state of North Carolina, began collecting china and crystal as a hobby. Before long, his friends started asking him to be on the lookout for pieces of their dinnerware to replace pieces that were broken.  His bedroom soon became a makeshift office from which he fulfilled china and crystal orders. His hobby soon became his business.

In 1981, Page left his auditing job and opened Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro, NC. Initially he had just one part-time assistant. Small ads placed in the backs of magazines met with tremendous response. Customer dinnerware requests were recorded on 3-by-5 inch index cards. Sales that first year were $150,000. By 1984, when the company began converting their database to computers, sales were close to $4 million. In 2008, sales exceeded $85 million. Products now include china, stoneware, crystal, glassware, silver, stainless and collectibles.

Today, Replacements ships more than 50,000 items a week to customers all over the world. The company, which has the world’s largest selection of old and new dinnerware, has 500,000 square feet of modern facilities and an inventory of more than 13 million pieces. People anywhere in the world can do business with them via their website. Customers can register patterns they are interested in and receive email notifications when items become available. About 85% of Replacements’ business is done online, but for those of us lucky enough to live in  or visit the piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, Replacements is just a short drive away.

The showroom is open seven days a week (except holidays) with free tours offered daily between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Unless you take the tour, you see only a small percentage of the merchandise on display in the 12,000 square foot showroom. The showroom also includes a museum that displays rare tableware pieces in beautiful, massive antique display cabinets and counters. The top 500 china patterns are displayed in a long hallway display aptly named “The Great Wall of China.” The tour walks guests through the huge Replacements warehouse where merchandise is neatly stored. The backroom area also houses the crystal and silver restoration and repair and the shipping departments.

Wall of most popular china patternsReplacements obtains its merchandise from manufacturers and from buyers throughout the country who seek out desired patterns at estate and yard sales. Many individuals also sell dinnerware that they no longer need to Replacements.

Replacements is an easy 15 minute drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn. Anyone who loves china and other dinnerware is certain to enjoy the visit and likely to find something beautiful to take home.  Even if you’re not into dinnerware, it’s fascinating to see how such a well organized company operates. Replacements, located at 1089 Knox Road in McLeansville, NC 27301. To learn more call 1-800-REPLACE or visit

Dentzel Carousel Near Troy-Bumpas Inn

July 13th, 2012 by Judy Horn

Burlington’s Beautiful Carousel

A short drive east of the Troy-Bumpas Inn is the Dentzel Carousel in City Park in Burlington, NC. The large carousel features a menagerie of beautifully hand-carved animals including 26 horses, 4 each of cats, pigs, rabbits, ostriches, and one each of a deer, giraffe, lion, and tiger. No two animals are alike.

The carousel is an historic treasure. It was built around 1906-1910 by the Dentzel Carousel Company in Philadelphia, PA. After installations at two Ohio amusement parks, the City of Burlington purchased the carousel in 1948.  The carousel and surrounding building were lovely restored from 1981-1985.

For just 75 cents, you can enjoy a ride accompanied by calliope music featuring several happy tunes from Disney movies. Visitors to the carousel include many parents with young children, but you’ll also see plenty of grown-ups enjoying a trip down memory lane! To learn more about the carousel, visit the Dentzel Carousel web site.

Greensboro’s Bog Garden at Benjamin Park

April 23rd, 2012 by Judy Horn

One of the hidden gems of Greensboro is the Bog Garden at Benjamin Park. This seven-acre park is tucked into an urban setting close to Greensboro’s large Friendly Center shopping complex. But what I love about the Bog Garden is the fact that while you are there, you feel as if you are in a peaceful nature preserve far removed from city life.

The garden has an elevated boardwalk and stone pathways that meander through natural wetlands. The bog is home to many wildlife species and native plants. Benches along the path make it easy to linger if time permits. But even if you only have 30 minutes or so, you can follow the main loop of the trail and escape from city life while surrounded by nature, artistic bridges, sculpture, a lake and assorted wildlife.

The Bog Garden, a short 3-mile drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn, is located at Hobbs Road and Starmount Farms Drive at Benjamin Park. You can easily park streetside at the entrance on Starmount Farms Drive, just southeast of the intersection of Hobbs Road and Starmount Farms Drive. Oh, did I mention that this lovely park is FREE! For nature lovers, this park is a must-see while you are in Greensboro. Click on the photos below to get a peak of the Bog Garden. These shots were taken during a visit in April 2012.

Boxwood House: Amalgam of Architectural Styles, Near Troy-Bumpas Inn

January 19th, 2012 by Judy Horn

One of the things I enjoy about being innkeeper at the Troy-Bumpas Inn is our neighborhood. The inn is located in Greensboro’s historic College Hill district. Part of the Greensboro College campus is directly behind the inn, and the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) is two blocks west.

Boxwood House

Boxwood House on Mendenhall Street, Greensboro

The Troy-Bumpas Inn is the second oldest home in the neighborhood; another home just two doors to the north on Mendenhall Street comes in as No. 3. This stately home was built in 1859, two years after the Bumpas House was built and just before the Civil War. The home was originally the residence of Rev. Nathan Hunt Daniel Wilson, Presiding Elder of the Raleigh District of the North Carolina Methodist Conference and a leader of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Wilson was a trustee of Greensboro College and was also involved in the early formation of Trinity College (which became Duke University), 

Rev. Wilson might not recognize his home if he walked by it today. Originally the home had simple lines appropriate for a member of the clergy. However, in the 1950s, then owner Julian Johnston, who operated a nursing home in the house that he called Boxwood, added a great deal of ornate trim and architectural detail salvaged from Greensboro residences that were being destroyed. Bay windows, eve brackets, finials, and interior features were pulled from the Bellemeade Mansion a short distance away. Gable ornaments were salvaged from the home of W. C. Boren, who had co-owned and operated Pomona Terra Cotta, one of the largest manufacturers of clay pipes and sewer lines in the nation. Windows and doors were recycled from other Greensboro sites. All of these additions remain, and so does the Boxwood name.

Nowadays, Boxwood is a true “painted lady,” a term used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. Boxwood was designated a Guilford County Landmark in 1990, two years earlier than when the Troy-Bumpas Inn became a Guildford County Landmark.

In the coming months, we’ll post more information about the wonderful homes in the College Hill Historic District, a place the Troy-Bumpas Inn is proud to call home.