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“Full of History”
Review of Vance Birthplace

Vance Birthplace
Ranked #2 of 17 things to do in Weaverville
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Welcome to the Vance Birthplace State Historic Site! Learn about North Carolina mountain life and culture on this reconstructed farmstead set in the picturesque Reems Creek Valley. Step back in time to explore life for a wealthy farm family and the enslaved people who worked the land in the early nineteenth century. Tour a 1790s slave cabin, several 19th century outbuildings, and the reconstructed log home of the Vance family. Explore the exhibit in our visitor center to learn more about the life of Zebulon Vance and his political impact on the state. Check out our calendar of special events or drop by for a Mountain Farmstead Tour, offered Tuesday-Saturday at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00. No time for a full tour? The site is completely self-guided. Just grab a map and explore! We also offer special group tours and field trips for schools and summer camps.
Reviewed July 9, 2018

Visiting the Vance Birthplace was like taking a step back in time. My Husband and I really enjoyed exploring around.

Date of experience: October 2017
Thank Emily W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VanceBirthplace, Assistant Site Manager at Vance Birthplace, responded to this reviewResponded September 14, 2018

We are so glad you enjoyed your visit to the site, and thank you for the positive feedback!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"civil war"
in 14 reviews
"north carolina"
in 6 reviews
"visitor center"
in 5 reviews
"small museum"
in 5 reviews
"step back in time"
in 3 reviews
"a small gift shop"
in 3 reviews
"spring house"
in 3 reviews
"nice stop"
in 2 reviews
"the blue ridge mountains"
in 2 reviews
"beautiful valley"
in 2 reviews
"state historic site"
in 2 reviews
"school groups"
in 2 reviews
"old homestead"
in 2 reviews
"out of the way"
in 2 reviews
"self guided"
in 2 reviews
"short drive"
in 3 reviews
"cabin"
in 8 reviews
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2 - 6 of 73 reviews

Reviewed July 3, 2018 via mobile

Nice stop in the parkway. Think about the past. In terms of big houses it’s small but worth visiting.

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank Christy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VanceBirthplace, Assistant Site Manager at Vance Birthplace, responded to this reviewResponded September 14, 2018

We're glad you enjoyed your visit to the Vance Birthplace!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2018

This is a beautiful historic site. It's out of the way and well maintained. The visitor's center has a superb small museum to introduce visitors to Zebulon Vance, nineteenth century politics, and the history of the region. I have to say, this exhibit text is exceptionally well written. There is a small gift shop in the visitor's center as well.

The cabins, well houses, and other structures are the real draw of the site. Tours are self-guided (which I prefer) and the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. If you are anywhere near the Asheville area, this is a worthwhile stop.

Date of experience: October 2017
Thank rglaze2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VanceBirthplace, Assistant Site Manager at Vance Birthplace, responded to this reviewResponded September 14, 2018

Thank you for your very kind review. We are so glad that you enjoyed your visit here and hope to see you back again someday!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2018 via mobile

Home site is well maintained and easy to view. Once a large farm is now only 5 acres, and only about 1/2 acre of the home site. The visitor center does have a large amount of readable facts on the walls and a movie.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank Tom L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 14, 2018

Zebulon Baird Vance is one of North Carolina’s most venerated native sons. As soldier and statesman, he earned a lasting place among the state’s best-remembered leaders. The Vance Birthplace State Historic Site features a reconstructed home, several dependencies, and a small museum and auditorium.

Born May 13, 1830, Zeb Vance was of Scots-Irish decent. His grandfather, David Vance, was a soldier during the Revolutionary War and was among the earliest settlers of Buncombe County, building a sturdy log dwelling along the banks of Reems Creek. Vance served the county and state as clerk of court, militia colonel, and state legislator. Zeb’s father, David Vance Jr., likewise served in the military, achieving the rank of captain during the War of 1812. In 1825 he married Margaret Baird, daughter of Zebulon Baird, a successful merchant who had served terms in both houses of the North Carolina general assembly. With such ancestry, Zeb Vance seemed destined to a life of public service.

Vance graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1852 and passed the state bar soon thereafter. In 1853 he married Harriette Espy, and the couple would have five children together. His political career began in 1854 when he won election as a representative of Buncombe County on the Whig ticket. In 1858, he was elected to fill a vacancy in the U. S. House of Representatives and was reelected to Congress in 1860.

Although he took an active role in trying to maintain the Union, Vance could not support President Lincoln’s call for North Carolina troops to take arms against fellow southerners. When North Carolina seceded May 20, 1861, Vance joined Buncombe County’s Rough and Ready Guard. He distinguished himself in action at New Bern and Malvern Hill, and his name was soon mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate for the 1862 election. Convinced by friends that he could ultimately be of more service to the cause as governor than as soldier, Vance reluctantly accepted nomination.

Opposed in the election by Charlotte banker William Johnson, Vance refused to leave the army to campaign. He nevertheless won election to the office of governor in 1862 by more than 34,000 votes. In 1864, he won reelection over Raleigh newspaperman and former supporter W. W. Holden. After three arduous years as North Carolina’s “War Governor,” Vance followed a two-month imprisonment at the end of the conflict with a move to Charlotte, where he resumed a private law practice. Perhaps his most famous case was his unsuccessful defense of Thomas Dula (better known as “Dooley”) for the murder of Dula’s rumored girlfriend Laura Foster. Although Vance won election to the US Senate in 1870, the radical Republicans controlling Congress denied him his seat. In 1876, Vance was reelected governor, and it was during his administration that Union occupation ended. In 1878, he was once again elected to serve his state in the US Senate, this time being allowed to take his seat. He was serving a third term in Congress when he died April 14, 1894.

The reconstructed home site contains some original fixtures of the Vance home and a few family processions. Outbuildings include a loom house, smokehouse, spring house, and reconstructed slave cabin. A small museum traces Vance’s political career, and a 15-minute slide show covers highlights of his remarkable life. Museum artifacts include the revolver presented to Vance by his staff when he served as colonel; Vance’s writing desk; and a copy of the Asheville newspaper reporting his death.

Date of experience: June 2017
Thank D2958ZXgarym
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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