Somerset Place offers a comprehensive and realistic view of 19th-century life on a large North Carolina plantation. Originally, this unusual plantation included almost 110,000 acres of densely vegetated swampland bordering Lake Phelps in present-day Washington County. From 1785 – 1865, over 861 enslaved persons converted thousands of acres into high yielding fields of rice, corn, oats, wheat, beans, peas, and flax. Meanwhile, enslaved and free millwrights operated sophisticated sawmills that turned out thousands of feet of lumber. By 1860, Somerset Place was one of the Upper South's largest plantations.
Hours and Location
Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday, and most major holidays
2572 Lake Shore Road
Creswell, N.C. 27928
Directions and Special GPS Notice
Many visitors report trouble using GPS navigation when driving here. We suggest taking exit 558 from highway U.S. Route 64. Then follow the brown signs to Somerset Place. Lat: 35.789148/Long:-76.403627 / 2572 Lake Shore Road / Creswell, NC / 27928
From U.S. 64 follow the brown signs for Somerset Place into downtown Creswell. Turn left onto Main Street (which becomes Spruill’s Bridge Road) for approximately 2 miles. Turn right onto Thirty Foot Canal Road. Proceed for approximately four miles, then turn left onto Mail Route Road. After approximately one-half mile, turn right onto Park Road. At the end of the paved road, turn right onto Lake Shore Road and park in the parking lot with our large entrance sign. For buses, follow the Bus Parking signs to the separate bus parking lot. For handicapped parking, proceed straight from Park Road onto the gravel carriage trail. Park at the end of the trail near the brick walkway.
Admission is free.
Effective October 15, 2020 guided tours will cost:
- Adults: $2.00
- Children (ages 5-12): $1.00
- Seniors (ages 65 & older): $1.00
We offer 90-minute guided tours upon request, with the tours beginning no later than 3:30 p.m. The tour includes a 10-minute orientation in the Visitor Center and a walking tour of the reconstructed buildings in the enslaved community and the original structures in the owner's compound. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and appropriate clothing. See the Educational Program link for student group tours.
We are also offering a special new tour, entitled Somerset Place in the New South: From Plantation to State Historic Site, 1865 - Present. Visitors will learn about the post-Civil War history of Somerset Place on this 75-minute tour, including the demise of slavery, the period after the Collins family’s ownership, and the lives of newly-freed African Americans. Interpreters will examine how Somerset Place was preserved as a public site and how memories and interpretations of its history changed from the Jim Crow Era to the present. This new tour will be offered the 3rd Saturday of every month at 1:00 pm or by reservation. This tour is designed for participants of high school age and up. There is a special tour fee of $3.00 per person.
In addition to our guided tours, visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the grounds by using the Clio website or app. Visitors may also take a virtual 360° tour of the site by clicking here and selecting “Somerset Place Plantation” from the list.
To learn more about the historic landscape around our site and the places, sites, and features that were once associated with Somerset Place, take our new driving tour of the Creswell area.
- Historic Structures
- Visitors tour the Collins Family Home (ca. 1830) and related domestic dependencies including the Dairy, Kitchen/Laundry, Kitchen Rations Building, Smokehouse, and Salting House. Reconstructed buildings related to the enslaved community include the Suckey Davis Home, Lewis and Judy's Home, and the Plantation Hospital. Archaeological remains of several other buildings and the plantation grounds (including stocks where enslaved individuals were punished) can also be explored.
- Exposed foundations of buildings within the enslaved community include the Meat Rations Building, Kitchen complex, and the Lake Chapel.
- Visitor Center
- The Visitor Center in the Colony House features a timeline of the plantation's history from its creation in 1784 until the establishment of Somerset Place State Historic Site in 1969.
- Trails, Monuments, Outdoor Exhibits
- The Pete Thompson Memorial Garden, completed in 1996, is adjacent to the parking lot. Nature trails link Somerset Place with Pettigrew State Park and the Pettigrew family cemetery.
- Somerset Place welcomes anyone with disabilities. Visit our Accessibility Guide for detailed information about accessibility and accommodations. For questions, please call the site at (252) 379-6020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Handicapped parking is available. The first floor of the Collins Family Home is accessible to all visitors and restrooms are ADA compliant.
- Picnic Facilities
- Camping and picnic facilities are available in the adjacent Pettigrew State Park. Benches are also available in the outdoor learning center and Pete Thompson Memorial Garden.
- Gift Shop
- Relevant literature, period toys, souvenirs, local crafts, and novelty items are available at the gift shop located in the Visitor Center.
Hands-on educational and STEAM programs are available from March 1st through November 15th for scheduled groups. Please see the Educational Program link for more information.