The best plantation tour in Charleston!
Geo: 32.7812, -79.9316
My very favorite place in Charleston is Drayton Hall. There are many reasons it is my favorite, but the main one is the fact that this is a place of preservation, not restoration. Drayton Hall is the oldest unrestored plantation home in America and has survived the Revolutionary War, Civil War, earthquakes and hurricanes. It has survived modern progress and is just a joy to visit. I recommend arriving early so your house tour is on the smaller side. The first time I went, it was just me. This time there were 12 of us on the tour. I even think the tour guide we had today, Tara, was the same one who was my first guide. The tour begins with information about the beginnings of the home and property. Drayton Hall was the showcase house for John Drayton and his vast holdings of either 47 or 147 (I can't remember which) different plantations! That's one rich dude! As this was the showcase, the features are grand, from the road side portico to the very large windows for the time. Tara did a great job of pointing out all the details used to impress visitors arriving to the home.
Adventure at Charles Towne Landing
A replica of a ship that would have brought the original settlers in 1670
The interior of the home is unfurnished and has no plumbing or electricity. You are able to imagine what the rooms could have looked like during their use and this is all possible because the later generations of the Drayton family were preservationists and left things alone. The paint on the walls is only the 2nd coat the home ever received and that is from the 1800s! Currently, the Friends of Drayton Hall are working to raise money to preserve the sagging portico and to build a small museum to showcase their collection of original furnishings and antiques. I could go on all day about Drayton Hall, and I will if you ask me, but I will hope you will visit it yourself someday and be able to share your opinion about this beautiful home!
I was worried all day about rain as it was in the forecast and I wanted to be able to do more outside activities. Luckily, it was still sunny when I arrived at Charles Towne Landing Site. This is part of the South Carolina State Park system and has an entrance fee of $10 per person. There is a fair amount to do and many exhibits
Avenue of the Oaks
They were setting up for a wedding so the tent blocks the view a little but oak trees are beautiful!
are interactive for kids. The walking paths are all very even surfaces, which makes for a great visit as you can look around you and not down at your feet to watch for roots or cracks in the pavement. One trail leads to the animal forest, where you can see animals that would have been native to the area at the time the settlers first arrived here in 1670. Renee and I walked through here last time and I did not do it this time as I wanted to do the History trail before any rain arrived. The main History trail takes you around the park and has replicas of what the buildings may have looked like in the original settlement. Nothing original remains at the park. You can climb aboard the ship Adventure and see what the bones of a ship from that time would look like. Farther along is an exhibit showing how archeologists determined where the original Palisade Wall ran. The dirt is a different color where the original wooden posts stood due to the decay of the material over time. Very interesting! The trail winds past some beautiful oak trees, gardens and ponds. There weren't any alligators out but I did see a few birds and some turtles! The park also has several picnic areas and restrooms so a great place to eat your lunch and do some walking!
My last stop of the day was one of my other favorite places, the Charleston Tea Plantation. It began raining on my way there and that made the covered front porch with large rocking chairs all the better. A great place to enjoy your free samples of tea while taking a little rest. There is a trolley tour around the property that explains how the tea is grown and harvested. You can also view a presentation on how the tea leaves are then turned into the tea you buy in the store. I love tea so I love the Tea Plantation!
It was really raining by the time I left so it was back in the general direction of the hotel. I was looking for some good BBQ for dinner and stopped at Bessingers, which is apparently one of the best BBQ places around. I thought it was delicious! There is a buffet side and a sandwich side. I got a pork sandwich with a side of rice and hash. Don't ask me what the hash is as I don't know and don't really want to find out because it is delicious! And the pork was smothered with a mustard based BBQ sauce which is also delicious. They do have other varieties of sauce at the condiment station and I did try one that was a red sauce and it was equally good. I may have to eat there again before I leave. That is the problem with the South, everything is good and nothing is good for you!
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