Poplar Grove Plantation operates as a museum in Wilmington, North Carolina where visitors can explore a pre-civil war slave owning homestead manor of the 19th century.

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© Poplar Grove Plantation

Poplar Grove Plantation is one of the last plantations in North Carolina. Located in Wilmington, the Plantation dates back to 1795 where it was formerly a sweet potato and peanut plantation under operation of the Foy family. Poplar Grove remained within this family all the way until 1971.

The home as it is today was built by Foy family slaves around 1850. The manor is now in the care of Poplar Grove Foundation Inc. which also preserves the outbuildings that make up the plantation community. The 15 acres of homestead are under control of the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust.

After the last of the Foy family interested in farming died in the 1970’s and the Poplar Grove Foundation acquired the property, restoration projects began. The Plantation home officially opened for tours in 1980 and featured a restaurant in the basement until 1993 which has since moved to a different location in the neighborhood.

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© Poplar Grove Plantation

Poplar Grove Plantation home and grounds is the main attraction. Poplar Grove is always closed on Sundays and tour times do vary by season. Visitors should make sure to check out their website for updated schedules and times.

Conservation efforts and major renovation efforts were also underway in 2016 and Spring of 2017. The green house was being renovated and the layout of formal walk ways and extensive irrigation systems were being installed; as well as seeding and fertilizing being done. These efforts revitalized the grounds of the plantation.

Manor Home- Greek Revival Style home built to admire the Federalist period of architecture. Built on a fully brick raised basement, the 4,284-square foot, two story home boasts Doric pillars, a dominate front porch and rear two-tiered porch that runs the entire length of the home with exterior stairs from each level of the home. The interior of the home is completely symmetrical. The entrance of the home features a grand walnut staircase. Ceiling heights range from 8-12 feet with ornate chandeliers decorate many of them.

The Stables- The stables at Poplar Grove are home to animals that reflect those that would have lived on the farm in the early 19th century. Some of these include sheep, rabbits, goats, pigs, horses, and roosters. There are also special exhibits that are part of the stables that teach visitors how these animals helped create income for the Foy family such as through creating textiles in the weaving exhibits, or laying eggs, and farming. The Stables at Poplar Grove are also involved in Equine rescue and rehabilitation and work with local law enforcement to help abused horses get to safety. The Stables operates as a sanctuary for horses that need a free-roaming, safe environment.

The Grounds- Explore the grounds of the plantation and learn about what the slaves had to do to keep the property running smoothly. Tours include a visit to the basket making studio, black smith shop, weaving studio, kitchen and herb cellar, smoke house, cook house, gardens when in season, and gift shop.

Abbey Nature Preserve- 67 acres of plantation land was placed into the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust and turned into the Abbey Nature Preserve which is free to be explored during daylight hours all year around. A wooden walkway connects the pond with walking trails and several wooded areas around the plantation outskirts. Parking is on the north side of the Manor House and trail access is across from the livestock stables.

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3.Special Events and Festivals

Special Events and Festivals
© Poplar Grove Plantation

One of the biggest draws to Poplar Grove Plantation are the special events and festivals that take place on the grounds throughout the year. Some of the most popular events include:

Farmer’s Market- The Farmer’s Market runs every year from April through October in the Gullah Geechee Corridor of Poplar Grove and is free and open to the community. Located off highway 17, there are blacksmith exhibits, peanut farming demonstrations, basket weaving, art and produce for sale, exhibits on slavery, and much more.

Herb and Garden Fair- Yearly in April, this fair is the longest running plant and garden sale in the area and also features lots of activities and exhibits related to gardening and agriculture.

A Merry Little Christmas Festival- The entire month of December the Plantation is decked out for Christmas with special activities and festivities happening every weekend. There are bonfires, vendors, visits from Santa and Mrs. Clause, reindeer, Christmas movie presentations and much more.

There are also lots of other events such as BBQ cook outs, paranormal ghost tours and much more planned throughout the year as well as overnight experiences for youth and adults. The grounds can also be rented or private events such as weddings, birthday parties and meetings.

More Things to Do in Wilmington NC

10200 US Highway 17 N, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28411, Phone: 910-686-9518

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Poplar Grove Plantation in Wilmington, North Carolina