Posts Tagged ‘things to do in Greensboro’

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).

Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight! at Carolina Theatre in September

August 14th, 2013 by Judy Horn

Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain

I don’t know if famed author Mark Twain ever visited Greensboro, NC, during his lifetime, but next month Mark Twain, as embodied by actor Hal Holbrook, will appear at the beautiful and historic Carolina Theatre. Holbrook has been presenting his one-man show Mark Twain Tonight! for more than 50 years. The performance has won Holbrook, acclaimed as the best Twain impersonator, a Tony award and an Emmy award nomination. It’s said that Holbrook knows Twain as well as he knows himself. The show goes beyond simply quoting Twain’s most memorable lines. Holbrook updates the show regularly to reflect the way Twain would likely have viewed contemporary events.

Mark Twain Tonight!, part of the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro’s 17 Days Arts and Culture Festival, will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at $47.50, $37.50 or $22.50. A $2.50 theatre restoration fee will be added to each ticket.

The Carolina Theatre, located at 310 S. Greene St., in downtown Greensboro, is about a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. It’s one of Greensboro’s gems. The theater originally opened in October 1927 as a vaudeville theater. It was considered to be the finest theater between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. It was the first commercial building in North Carolina to be air conditioned. Today, 86 years later, the beautiful Carolina continues as an exceptional place to see classic movies, live touring acts, and local talent. (Be sure to ask innkeeper Larry about his experience performing on stage at the Carolina!)

To learn more about Mark Twain Tonight! and the Carolina Theatre, visit their website or phone 336-333-2605.

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.

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.

Greensboro Museum Tells How Sit-Ins Were Catalyst for Civil Rights Movement

November 27th, 2011 by Judy Horn

If you ever doubted that a small group of people can spark significant and meaningful change in the world, be sure to visit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC. The museum, located at 134 S. Elm St. in the historic 1929 F.W. Woolworth building in downtown Greensboro, tells the story of how four college students at NC State A&T began the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins. Their actions served as a catalyst in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Museum docents lead visitors through the chronologically arranged exhibits, explaining the conditions under which blacks lived in this country from its founding to the 1960s. The exhibits help build an understanding of the Injustices experienced by African Americans in times when segregation and “Jim Crow” laws permeated society. Through a variety of videos, interactive exhibits, and displays of artifacts, visitors are transported back to a dorm room at the nearby NC State A&T campus so see what went through the minds of four black college students — Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond – as they planned to sit at the “whites only” lunch counter of their local Woolworths. They intended to ask to be served food seated at the counter rather than having to pick it up as carryout at the end of the counter. This original lunch counter and stools where the four students began their protest on Feb. 1, 1960, are preserved at the museum. In the six months following the initial Greensboro sit-in, the non-violent sit-in movement expanded to other college campuses elsewhere in North Carolina and in Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, GeWoolworth Building (1929), 132 South Elm Street (corner of Elm Street & February One Place), Greensboro, North Carolinaorgia and Mississippi. As a result of the movement, Woolworth stores as well as others took down their “whites only” signs and and permitted all customers to eat at the counter.

At our recent visit to the museum, docent Anita Johnson did a fantastic job of leading our group through the exhibits. Her compassion for teaching about civil rights was evident, and she truly brought history to life.

Greensboro is filled with history from the Revolutionary War to modern times. I highly recommend a visit to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. (It’s less than a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn.) The high-tech displays are especially well done and the docents are enthralling. I found the hour-long visit very moving, educational and extremely worthwhile. The museum is appropriate for all ages although more sensitive visitors should be aware that there are a few graphic images that help tell the story of some of the violence inflicted upon African Americans. For hours and admission fees, visit http://www.sitinmovement.org/index.asp.  

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If you’ve already been to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, share with me your thoughts about the museum! This museum is just one reason why Life in Greensboro is good!