"The plantation’s distinguishing mark was its peculiar social order which conceded nearly everything to the slave owner and nothing to the slave. In theory, the planter’s rule was complete. The Great House, nestled among manufactories, shops, barns, sheds, and various other outbuildings which were called, with a nice sense of the plantation’s social hierarchy, “dependencies,” dominated the landscape, the physical and architectural embodiment of the planters’ hegemony."
- Many Thousands Gone, Ira Berlin
This North Carolina mountain plantation, tucked in the Reems Creek Valley, explores daily life in the early 1800s in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visitors can peek inside our historic structures, including a loom house, tool shed, spring house, smoke house, and corn crib.
For a more in-depth experience, interpretive guides lead visitors through a 1790 slave dwelling and discuss the eighteen enslaved people that lived and worked on the Vance farm. Tours conclude at the reconstructed 1790s Vance home. Zebulon Baird Vance, one of North Carolina's Governors and U.S. Senators was born on this property in 1830. Guests will learn about the life that would come to shape him and his policies later in life.
Zebulon Vance’s notable career would begin long after his family left this farm; visitors are welcome to explore the exhibit in our visitor center to learn more about his time as governor and how this early mountain life would come to shape him and his policies.
Hours and Location
Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday, and most major holidays
Admission is free. Donations are accepted and appreciated.
The site is entirely self-guided, but for a more in-depth experience visitors can request a 45-minute guided tour, staff permitting. Please call the site in advance to discuss guided tour options.
Effective October 1, 2019 a suggested cash donation of $2 per adult, $1 for children ages 5-12 and seniors is requested for guided tours of the Vance Birthplace. This request does not apply to scheduled school group tours or activities. Admission to the site and self-guided tours remain free.
Tour schedule is subject to change. Due to the size of the buildings, space is limited. Reservations are encouraged for large groups.
An original 1790s slave house; nineteenth century smoke house, tool house, and corn crib; reconstructed spring house and loom house; and the reconstructed Vance home, rebuilt around the original 1790s brick fireplace and chimney.
Exhibits outlining how early Appalachian life shaped the political career of Zebulon B. Vance; a gift shop featuring local items, books, and historic gifts; and a classroom and meeting space.
Trails, Monuments, Outdoor Exhibit
Waysides examine aspects of Appalachian Mountain life and culture.
The visitor center and restrooms are accessible to all visitors. Wheelchair-accessible picnic tables are available. Access to the historic buildings is limited. Visitors can request a tour by golf cart to access the grounds (seats 3 in addition to the driver).
An accessible picnic shelter and tables are located on the grounds, with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Our gift shop features handmade items and gifts, books, historic folk toys, souvenirs, and post cards.
Experience the Vance Birthplace in photographs by visiting the online home of Brenda Scott's history-based photography exhibit, The Mountains are Calling: At Home in Western North Carolina. Created at the Vance Birthplace, this exhibit centers on North Carolina mountain culture from c.1790 to c. 1830. These beautiful photographs serve as a window into the lives of the people living in the Reems Creek Valley during this early period of Appalachian history.
Programs, Group Activities
Annual events include a spring lecture and our children's Patchapalooza program in April, a Storytelling Program in October, and our Appalachian Christmas Carol in December. We also host additional workshops, lectures, symposia, and other events throughout the year.
Take a peek at the most recent edition of the Vance Birthplace newsletter, The Stump, to stay up-to-date on our site's events and programs!