Laura Eliese

Musings on Life & Designs

What I’ve Been Up To Part II & A Tour of My Great-Grandma’s Home

Hello Blog Friends! I’m back with part two of the adventures I have been up to lately! Summer is flying by so quickly that I better get this posted before this season is over! This season has been a busy one for my family {as it is with many}– between graduations, babies, and traveling to visit family, I could not have wished for a better summer so far!

My grandpa on my dad’s side, Papa, recently celebrated his 90th birthday!  He and my grandma live in Georgia, so my parents, husband and I drove from Dallas to Georgia to spend a week with family  in honor of my Papa. It was such a special week! We just don’t make it over to Georgia as often as we would like to, so this was such a sweet time with my dad’s side of the family. They are the kind of people that I would be friends with even if we weren’t related. Both sides of my family are so special to me, and we lived with my grandparents for a short time growing up, so Georgia feels like home to me {so does Dallas :)}. My Papa is one of my very favorite people in the world, and he always has been. I am the oldest grandchild on this side, and both of my grandparents treated us grandkids like we were really something. They have always been so proud of us all, and take the time to listen and impart wisdom when necessary. My Papa has truly walked out a life of integrity and I will always look up to him. Over the past ten years, he has struggled with his health, including multiple strokes. He has more will to live than anyone I have ever known. That is why this trip to Georgia for Papa’s birthday celebration was especially meaningful.

My Papa, Ray Avirett, is a World War II Veteran. After he returned from the war, he went to college at Mercer University where he met my grandmother, Ruth Baker Avirett. They married a short time after that and settled in a small town in the middle of Georgia and still live in the house my dad grew up in. Together, they had my father and my aunt, Laura, whom I am partially named after {My mom also has a sister named Laura, so I am named after both my Aunt Laura’s}. They have five grandchildren.

We had a small birthday celebration for Papa, with family who drove in. We were still missing several family members who unfortunately were not able to make it. In all, we had a great time and Papa loved being the center of attention!

My beautiful mom and my wonderful cousin, who is like a sister to me.

We displayed photos of Papa and his military awards for party guests to look through.

In addition to celebrating Papa’s 90th birthday, we also did a lot of perusing local boutiques and gift shops, stuffing ourselves enjoying Southern home-cooking, and visiting the home that my great-grandmother grew up in.


The home near Cochran, GA where my great-grandmother, Pearl Green Baker, was born and grew up in until she was 18. The antebellum mansion was built in 1842 by the Coley Family. We were able to meet the current owners. Once we told them our connection to the house, they were so gracious in letting us tour it. Come to find out, we are distant relatives of the current owners and the home has always been occupied by one connection to our family or another! What a small world! The home now features a restaurant downstairs and is also used for weddings. The home has always been called the Coley Plantation, but the current owners have dubbed it  Sajewinds Plantation.

While my great-grandmother grew up here, there was a small store on the several acres surrounding the home that was run by my great-great grandfather, Jarrett Green.


Here is another shot of the Coley Plantation at dusk. Isn’t it gorgeous?!

The home is so beautiful! The porch ceiling is painted sky blue, as almost every porch in the south is.

My husband and I on the front porch. This home was a really neat piece of our family history!

Me with my adorable, 5′ Grandma at the home her mother was born in. I am thankful for the 30+ years of genealogy work that my grandparents have conducted and have taught us a lot about our family. This day was a special one for my Grandma; it was the first time for her to tour the home her mother was born and raised in.

The main hall of the home. Keep in mind that it is now operating as a bed and breakfast and restaurant. I wish I could decorate it in keeping with the period of the home. You can see though, the gorgeous original hardwood floors through out the home. Almost all of the home is original.

Behind the staircase is this charming butler’s pantry that is completely original! So beautiful!

The living area {all the rooms currently function as dining areas since the bottom floor  is a restaurant now} to the left of the main hall. Love the tall ceilings. Don’t love the bright blue walls.

The room to the right of the main hall.   While the decor may not be my taste, the home is stunning! I loved imagining my Great Grandma, Pearl living here at the turn of the century. I never knew my Great Grandma but my family tells me that I look like her.

Out front there is a large circle drive with beautiful Gypsy Vanner horses. In the background, you can see the original stables and servants’ quarters.


My cousin, my mom and I. I treasure these women! It was a great trip and flew by way too fast! I always love visiting Georgia- I love their accents, their Southern hospitality, and magnolia trees. It is magical to me! We were ready to get home to our 3 pups but treasured the time we had with family!