Charleston Sights

Middleton Place

  • 4300 Ashley River Rd. Map It
  • West Ashley
  • Garden/Arboretum
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 10/16/2017

Fodor's Review

Established around 1742, 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, 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, be sure to allow time for the African American Focus tour. The tour begins at Eliza’s House, a restored 1870s sharecropper’s home. Inside the house, a small exhibit provides details on the lives of the Middleton slaves.

Restored in the 1920s, the breathtakingly beautiful gardens are considered the oldest landscaped gardens in the country, begun in 1741 by Henry Middleton, second president of the First Continental Congress. From camellias to roses, blooms of all seasons form floral allées (alleys) along terraced lawns and around a pair of ornamental lakes that are shaped like butterfly wings.

If all this leaves you feeling peckish, head over to the cozy Middleton Place Restaurant for excellent Lowcountry specialties for lunch and dinner. 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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Sight Information

Address:

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

Map It

Phone:

800-782–3608; 843-556–6020

Sight Details:

  • General admission $28, house tour $15, carriage tours $18; $49 combination ticket includes Edmonston-Alston House

Published 10/16/2017

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