Orton gets a Southern farewell

By Kristy Ondo - bio |email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - As the owners of Orton Plantation prepare to close the gates to the public in just a few days, some local women wanted to hold a proper send off.

"This has been a fantasy of mine for many years, to come to Orton and have pictures of my dresses down in the sunken garden," said Kay Godwin, who is known for making the elaborate antebellum gowns worn by Azalea Belles during the annual Azalea Festival in Wilmington.

On Wednesday, Godwin's fantasy was fulfilled. The gardens at Orton were alive with color for one last hoorah.

"This is a view we might not see again for a long time," said Bill Randall, who came to see his wife, Christine, and more than 20 other women light up the old plantation in Godwin's gowns.

"Even though we are not the Azalea Belles, we are the Antebellum Ladies, and we still look beautiful in these dresses," said Godwin.

The beautiful ladies had a stunning backdrop for photos--a backdrop that may not be seen again by the public for several years.

The Sprunt family, which has owned Orton for more than a century, sold the bulk of the estate to Louis Moore Bacon, a billionaire who plans to restore and renovate the property. It may open to the public again, but no promises have been made. That's why Godwin got to work to make her fantasy a reality, and her dream came true just in time.

"I just hope it comes back in such grandeur as it is now," said Godwin.

The "Farewell to Orton" was made possible by women from Grace Baptist Church, the Cape Fear Garden Club, and the golfing group "Chicks with Sticks."

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