Thursday, May 17, 2012

Charleson, South Carolina

This week we are in Charleston, SC for the WHOLE WEEK! It's nice to have a break from all the driving and stay put for a bit. It feels like we've been on the road forever, but our road trip is, in fact, just a little over two weeks old!

Since April 30th, we've been to San Antonio, Texas; New Orleans, LA; Gulf Breeze, FL; Savannah, GA and now Charleston, SC. Not to mention a few stopovers along the way that actually aren't worth mentioning!

Charleston is a beautiful small city, old, gracious, charming, elegant and easy to navigate. So far, we've enjoyed the downtown area twice, gone out to the beach at Kaiwah Island, and visited Magnolia House - a former plantation with beautiful gardens and grounds. Today I'll post the pictures from Magnolia House, and I'll put together a Charleston montage later in the week.

So here we go:

This is actually the 3rd home on the site. The original plantation was struck by lightening and burned down. The second home was burned to the ground by the Yankees as the Civil War ended. This house is a combination of the family's hunting cottage that was picked up and moved down the river, (that's the part to the left of the tower); and an addition to the home by the daughter who inherited the house (the larger part starting with the tower and to the right).


The Drayton family built the plantation in 1676, when they arrived from Barbados with slaves in tow. The eldest son inherited the house, but one day, when riding his horse back from a hunt, his rifle accidently went off, mortally wounding him. He rode down the oak-lined avenue until he reached the house, where he dismounted and died on the front steps.





These giant oaks with the Spanish moss hanging from them are typical of plantation homes and this part of the south. The moss does not steal nutrients from the tree. It's very beautiful, but on a dark night, it would be spooky!


The youngest son, a minister, never expected to inherit. But upon his brother's death, he came back. He was inspired by one of the slaves, who created and tended lovely gardens there. Together, they worked with the natural environment to create a variety of garden spaces, including walkways that meander past lagoons and under the giant oaks, bridges, a maze and secret spaces for walking and contemplation.

The minister-owner defied the laws of the day by teaching his slaves to read and write. This of course, was not compensation for their enslavement, but he viewed it as such. Always interesting to see how people were able to justify their actions - especially in this case,  a "man of God" as the preacher was. It's hard to understand how someone like that wouldn't be able to take a higher stand for humanity - how he could overlook the obvious.

Peacocks roam the plantation gardens

Magnolia Plantation is known for the beautiful gardens throughout.
There are many "secret gardens" and special spots like this.


Donkeys roam the open field

RVPainter in front of the plantation. It was his birthday Tuesday - he turned 72 - doesn't he look great?

Pink hydrangeas

Hangin' out on the porch, waiting for the house tour and for someone to bring him a Mint Julep ;)



The Magnolia House grounds and house were lovely and the history was interesting. It's not though, what we typically think of when we think "plantation." I think of something like Tara from Gone with the Wind. Magnolia House is relatively modest in size and grandeur, and of course none of the original home or outbuildings remain (except the front and back steps - which are original to the first house).

We also thought it was quite over-priced at $15 general admission (just to walk around) PLUS $8 if you wanted the house tour, PLUS $8 more if you wanted to take the tour where they ride you around on little carts. Still, we enjoyed the peace and beauty of the grounds and learning about another piece of the past.

If you missed my New Orleans pictures, they are in the previous post. I tried making a slideshow, and thought I'd succeeded, but for some reason, Blogger isn't loading it to my page even though it looks like the gadget is there. Ah, the mysteries of Blogger :)

Will get more Charleston pictures up before we head out on the road again on Sunday. The word that comes to mind to describe Charleston is "gracious." You could also say "genteel."

21 comments:

  1. Touring the Magnolia Plantation was a lot of fun - another great day in Charleston SC.
    I never got my mint julep - so perhaps today I can treat you to a mocha and a sweet treat!

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  2. Is it okay to admire your hubbie lol???? Yes, he does look great.
    So nice to see South Carolina and an honest to goodness plantation house. My husbands family came from there .. Rawlins Lowndes I believe he was a Governor from 1778 to 1779. I think there is a family plantation there as well Wicklow Hall I think it's called.

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    1. It's really SO lovely here - we're glad we picked this as a stopping place. That's neat about your family history

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  3. It's a beautiful building, but I'm not sure of the politics in admiring something with such a horrible past.

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    1. It's true - with almost every historic site, there is some aspect that is related to sadness and inhumanity - here at the plantations, in San Antonio at the Japanese Tea Garden - I think we are meant to reflect on such things and strive to do better.

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  4. My parents visited there and said it was a lovely, lovely town. Various parts of the US are so very different that they're like being in other countries almost. You will have such fun traveling around experiencing it all. :)

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    1. That's so true - we've experienced such different cultures in just two weeks - San Antonio, New Orleans and Charleston, and such different physical environments too - we went from the desert southwest, to muggy Texas, to tropical rainforest at Palmetto Island, to Caribbean-like sand and water at Gulf Breeze, and now to the Atlantic.

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  5. Thanks for the pictures and the mini history lesson. You've made many interesting stops in just two weeks.

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    1. I wasn't tired until I started thinking about it :D

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  6. I was in Charleston about 25 years ago. Loved it, didn't spend enough time there, and have always wanted to go back...someday. I'm enjoying your travels!

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    1. It's got a lot to offer for a small city - really lovely.

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  7. Looks like a lovely place to visit. So glad you had the time. It does sound a little costly. Your pictures are beautiful. I love the moss on the trees and the bridge is so pretty. (nice reflection) Stay safe with your travels.

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    1. Thanks Debby - there is much beauty here indeed.

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  8. What lovely photos and special memories! Sounds like you are having an amazing adventure.
    Donna

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    1. It's an adventure of a lifetime - never imagined it for myself! And, we ARE having fun!

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  9. A belated Happy Birthday to RVPainter. And a huge thank you for the tour you took us on - without charging anything. Those gardens looked incredible.

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    1. Can't beat the price of admission! I'll pass on your birthday wishes to my sweetie.

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  10. What beautiful pictures! The "secret garden" is just amazing. It's fun to share in your adventures with these virtual tours!

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  11. Your pictures of the plantations are so much better than the ones I took when I visited in January. I was in Charleston for the GOP debates but had to visit a plantation and like you mentioned it was nothing like I pictured in my mind.
    I did love the interesting history of it and learned a lot about that area during that time period.
    Have a wonderful weekend
    Maggie

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  12. PS
    Looking forward to being a new follower and getting to know you
    Maggie

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    1. Hi Maggie, nice to know you too :D. I've got some more pictures from Charleston to get up here soon as I can.

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