Frogmore makes Top 30 list

Published 1:23 am Saturday, July 14, 2007

FERRIDAY — Local antebellum plantation Frogmore has been named one of the top-30 “can’t miss” destinations in the Southeast.

Map company Rand McNally added the historic plantation and cotton gin to its new Southeast Getaway Guide, a vacation destination book.

Lynette Tanner, who owns Frogmore along with her husband Buddy, said she had no idea the plantation had been selected until she received a letter informing her so.

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“I was surprised,” she said. “It was quite an honor.”

Tanner said she hopes the recognition will not only bring more tourism to Frogmore, but to the area as a whole.

“Our goal here is not to compete with the old homes in Natchez,” she said. “Our goal is to complement Natchez.”

Since Hurricane Katrina, there have been fewer tour groups to visit the plantation from the northern United States and Europe, Tanner said.

The business the plantation mostly sees now is what Tanner called the “drive market,” or those who can make the trip just by driving in.

That shift in business is a new thing, Tanner said.

“In these old areas, we don’t tend to tour amongst ourselves,” she said.

The tour at Frogmore begins at the plantation store, where historically sharecroppers on the plantation would have come to buy goods.

The store serves as both a bookstore and museum, Tanner said.

Each building on the tour has its own historical conversation, and the tour is non-cumulative, so those taking it do not have to see one building before exploring another, Tanner said.

“It really makes a difference when you go back and hear it from someone who was actually there instead of someone who has just gathered information,” she said.

The Smithsonian Institute has told the plantation the historical, steam-powered cotton gin featured in their tour is the rarest of its kind in existence, Tanner said.

The gin has all its original parts and is housed in its original building, moved from Rodney, Tanner said.

“We don’t just show antiques,” she said. “We tell lifestyle.”