Fodor's Expert Review Middleton Place

West of the Ashley River Garden/Arboretum Fodor's Choice

Established in the 1730s, Middleton Place was at the center of the Middleton family’s empire of rice plantations, which consisted of 63,000 acres and 3,500 slaves on properties throughout the South Carolina Lowcountry. With its massive three-story brick manor home and prized gardens, begun in 1741 by Henry Middleton, second president of the First Continental Congress, Middleton Place was a grand statement of wealth.

The original manor home was destroyed in the Civil War, but one of its flanking buildings, which served as the gentlemen’s guest quarters, was salvaged and transformed into the family’s postbellum residence. It now serves as a house museum, displaying impressive English silver, furniture, original paintings, and historic documents, including an early silk copy of the Declaration of Independence. In the stable yards, historic interpreters use authentic tools to demonstrate spinning, weaving, blacksmithing, and other skills from the plantation era. Heritage-breed... READ MORE

Established in the 1730s, Middleton Place was at the center of the Middleton family’s empire of rice plantations, which consisted of 63,000 acres and 3,500 slaves on properties throughout the South Carolina Lowcountry. With its massive three-story brick manor home and prized gardens, begun in 1741 by Henry Middleton, second president of the First Continental Congress, Middleton Place was a grand statement of wealth.

The original manor home was destroyed in the Civil War, but one of its flanking buildings, which served as the gentlemen’s guest quarters, was salvaged and transformed into the family’s postbellum residence. It now serves as a house museum, displaying impressive English silver, furniture, original paintings, and historic documents, including an early silk copy of the Declaration of Independence. In the stable yards, historic interpreters use authentic tools to demonstrate spinning, weaving, blacksmithing, and other skills from the plantation era. Heritage-breed farm animals, such as water buffalo and cashmere goats, are housed here, along with peacocks.

To get the complete picture of life on a rice plantation, allow time for the Beyond the Fields tour and film, focused on the lives of African Americans at Middleton. The tour begins at Eliza’s House, a restored 1870s sharecropper’s home.

Restored in the 1920s, the breathtakingly beautiful gardens include camellias, roses, and blooms of all seasons that form floral allées (alleys) along terraced lawns and around a pair of ornamental lakes, which are shaped like butterfly wings. Wear comfortable walking shoes to explore Middleton's gardens, and dress to be outside.

If all this leaves you feeling peckish, head over to the cozy Middleton Place Restaurant for excellent Lowcountry specialties for lunch and dinner. For a peaceful retreat from the city, you can also stay overnight at the contemporary Inn at Middleton Place, where floor-to-ceiling windows splendidly frame the Ashley River.

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Garden/Arboretum House/Mansion/Villa Historic District/Site Historical Romantic Views Fodor's Choice Family Building/Architectural Site Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook Trail/Path Tour–Sight

Quick Facts

4300 Ashley River Rd.
Charleston, South Carolina  29414, USA

800-782–3608

www.middletonplace.org

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: General admission $28, house tour $15, carriage tours $18; $49 combination ticket includes Edmonston-Alston House, General admission $28; house tour $15

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