This multistory confection is not what it seems. Commissioned by cotton baron Haller Nutt in 1861, the interior of the home – the largest octagonal house in the US – is unfinished. Its exterior and basement were the only sections completed before laborers fled at the start of the Civil War. You can still see their abandoned tools on an upper floor. The family fortune in tatters, the Nutts lived in the basement after the war, the ghostly upper floors deserted.

The tour is fascinating, but docents could do more to clarify the roles and contributions of the slaves on the property. Beyond the house, you can take a short walk through the oaks to the family cemetery.

Buy your ticket beforehand so you can access the property at the gate.