Archibald Smith Plantation House

Smith Plantation House in Roswell, GA

IMG_2195Roswell, Georgia – just a 30 minute drive from downtown Atlanta is an enclave of historic charm. The city’s historic downtown offers the Southern Trilogy Pass, where visitors can tour three historic, yet distinctly different early residences of the early settlers from the early to mid 1800s.

For spring break, one of my daughters and I journeyed to tour the Archibald Smith Plantation. Even though we’d been to historic Roswell many times, I never noticed the area where the plantation house is situated. Most of the surrounding land had been donated to the city of Roswell and the City Hall, a library and cultural center also lies on the land.

I had already toured the other two historic homes on the Southern Trilogy Pass – Barrington Hall and Bulloch Hall. I just assumed that the Smith homestead would be not as great since it was the home of the planter/farmer family, rather than the mill owner and founder of Roswell. I was wrong. First of all, this was a wealthy farming family. They were one of the first settlers to the area in 1838.

What makes the home so interesting is that it remained in the family until 1981. At that time, the house and surrounding land was given to the city of Roswell, but the caregiver of Mrs. Arthur Smith, Mamie Cotton, was allowed to live there until her death in 1994. The docent made an interesting point – that at one time the slaves lived in the slave quarters outside and just 120 years later, an African-American woman lived in the house as the owner for 13 years.

Besides the tour which is lead on the hour every hour between 10:00-3:00, the grounds are quite beautiful. The smokehouse, barn, kitchen, well and other outbuildings remain so one can envision what life was like for a household in the 1800′s. For more information, visit their website at www,

The well at the Archibald Smith Plantation

Blue Suede Shoes? Nope. It’s Blue Suede Cake!

photo_2My daughter, Thing 1, was with me at Target a few weeks ago. She spotted several new cake boxes. The first was Tie-Dye cake, then Zebra cake and lastly Blue Suede cake. They are made by Duff of Charm City Cakes and looked really different. Since then, she hasn’t stopped talking about trying them out.

I decided that Easter week would be a great time to bake one of these cakes. However, when I went back to the store, I saw even more neat choices: key lime cupcake mix, watermelon cake mix with green watermelon icing and even a pink lemonade cookie mix all by Pillsbury. I almost bought the watermelon cake mix, but decided against it since Thing 2 doesn’t like most fruits. Yes – I realize that it’s not real watermelon, but watermelon flavoring. Still, I wanted something everyone in the family would enjoy.

Since my choices were expanded, I went home empty-handed and told my children all the choices. Thing 1 still wanted either Blue Suede and Tie-Dye. Personally, I love red velvet cake, but a blue cake just doesn’t sound appealing. Back to Target I went yesterday. The Duff mixes were priced at $2.99, while the Pillsbury ones were $1.50. I really wanted to chuck the entire idea. I looked at the Tie Dye mix and it seemed more complicated. Once the batter is made, it has to be divided in separate bowls and then the food coloring is added. Too much work for a box cake. So Blue Suede cake it is with a container of cream cheese frosting.

Since this whole thing started with Thing 1, I had her bake it. She’s not much of a cook, so this was a great experience for her. Surprisingly, she knew how to separate the egg whites from the yolk since the recipe called for three egg whites. After adding the blueberry flavor and color packet, the cake was ready to bake. For the next 45 minutes, the kitchen smelled divine.

After allowing the bundt cake to cool, it was time to melt the frosting over low heat. After a few minutes, Thing 2 (with Thing 1’s permission), poured the cream cheese icing on the cake.The finished product!

When we cut into it, it looked like something made for the Smurfs – blue cake with white icing. We sliced it and ate it — and guess what? It was delicious! Who knew a blue cake with a funky name (and from a box mix) could taste good?