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Plantation near Charleston, which one to visit?

Plantation near Charleston, which one to visit?

Old Sep 9th, 2016, 03:12 AM
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Here's the itinerary used when I visited Savannah and Charleston a few years ago, from an older thread:

I spent two full days in Savannah as follows:

-Day 1. (morning) Savannah History Museum, Telfair Mansion and Museum, Juliet Gordon Low's Birthplace tour, (afternoon) Davenport House tour, Owen-Thomas House tour. Explored the River Street/Factor's Walk area in the evening. All done on foot.

-Day 2. (morning) Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, Andrew Low House tour, Green-Meldrim House tour, (afternoon) First African Baptist Church tour, Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, Forsythe Park walk-through. All done on foot.

While walking between the various sights, I also got to see nearly all the squares in the historic area.

Had I had a car, I would have considered spending a third day seeing Old Fort Jackson, Fort Pulaski, and Fort McAlister, all located a short distance away but definitely not within walking distance.

"Garden of Good and Evil" based sights are on some folks's must-see list here, but I had different priorities.

One thing that helps keep things to two days in the historic district is that the Telfair and Ships-of-the-Sea museums are not large. The house and church tours took about an hour. The civil rights and history museums were a little larger.

For Charleston, I did the following:

-Day 1. (morning) Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Nathaniel Russell House, Heyward-Washington House, (afternoon) Edmonston-Alston House, walk around The Battery, Gibbes Museum of Art, Old City Market, city bus to and from campus of The Citadel. Otherwise all on foot.

-Day 2. (morning) Drayton Hall, Middleton Place, (afternoon) continued Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation. Done using shuttle service via Charleston Chauffeur Company.

-Day 3. (morning) South Carolina Aquarium, Ft. Sumter, (afternoon), Aiken-Rhett House, Joseph Manigault House, Charleston Museum. All done on foot except water shuttle to and from Ft. Sumter.

The Charleston Museum is large and can easily take a few hours to experience. The three Ashley River Road plantations definitely take a day. The house tours took about an hour each. The Gibbes Museum is not that large, but has a much better collection than the Telfair.

I did not get to explore some of the other outlying attractions, such as Boone Hall, Cypress Gardens, Charles Towne Landing, the H.L. Hunley Submarine, or Ft. Moultrie.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2016, 02:01 PM
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Kathleen, I don't know if I missed it, but who do you recommend for the walking tour of Charleston? We are driving up there. I've heard so many good things! Thank you!
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 03:47 AM
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Sorry for the delay in response, we've been out of the country for the month. I've recommended Carol Ezell-Gilson who owns Broad Street Biz. http://broadstreetbiz.com/ I've taken almost every tour she has. They are fantastic--very thorough, very accurate.
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 07:09 AM
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Another option you may want to look into is to stay at the Inn at Middleton Place which includes the house tour. We found the rate there (we went last June) very reasonable and we enjoyed the change of pace from our time in Charleston.
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Old Nov 27th, 2016, 03:21 PM
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Since the OP is interested in history, Boone Plantation is all about that. From my TR:

Boone Hall is a working plantation in that they actually use their fields for growing produce that is sold to the public as well as a demonstration cotton field. We arrived after about a one minute drive [from our B&B]- paid our entrance fee and obtained a time for the house tour, a tour that was ok but not much more. The house is not particularly old, but it does have some interesting furniture and artifacts. They also have an enclosed butterfly garden that we looked forward to seeing, but it only had at most a dozen butterflies of what seemed to be only one species. So far it sounds that our impressions of Boone hall are negative. Not so. There is much to learn at the plantation. First, after visiting the house, we headed over to a row of preserved slave quarters. These are made of brick and housed the more "important" slaves such as those with special skills such as carpentry and those who worked in the house. Each of the 9 small slave quarter buildings had a display with recorded narrative of elements illustrating a slave's life and of the Gullah culture. Since we were interested in Gullah sweetgrass basketware, we particularly enjoyed learning from one display of historical basket designs. There was also a woman who was making baskets and we watched her work, asked questions and learned some more about the technique and background of the craft. The absolute highlight of the plantation visit was a 1/2 hour presentation of Gullah (apparently a shortened form of Angola the ancestral home of most Gullahs - the slaves from there being more valued than from other places because of their knowledge of rice cultivation)culture. The presenter was Jackie, and she was brilliant. Even if the plantation had nothing else to offer, Jackie's presentation was more than worth the price of admission.

After about 3 hours at Boone Hall we headed out to the Tea Plantation, about a 45 minute drive. This is the only Tea Plantation in North America although the growing conditions for tea are ideal in SC. Admission is free, but it costs $12 per person if you want to take the tour - we did and it was well worthwhile - I recommend it. If you do not want to spring for the 12 bucks you can still see the fields as you drive in, the processing plant with explanatory signs on the equipment and see a recorded presentation. And of course there is the gift shop that sells their product and tea related items. We learned a lot about tea there such as the differences between the flushes (times of picking of the leaves)the first flush that occurs after the plant has started to grow again after its winter dormancy and is the most flavorful, in least supply, and thus the most expensive. For trivia buffs we learned that most tea in the US is imported from Argentina (who knew?)and is primarily used for iced tea - that makes up for 85% of tea consumption in the good old USofA. They have free samples of their various tea types - first flush, other flushes, green, green mint, and peach and rasberry flavored. No artificial flavors are used. We tried them before we took the tour and knew what first flush meant and we both remarked how delicious the first flush tea was. We certainly would not waste it making iced tea though. We brought lots of tea home - it was that good. The Tea is branded "American Classic" and is available locally and through the plantation's website.
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