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Published: October 23rd 2016
is an interesting day trip just outside of Myrtle Beach. Set on land that originally housed four different plantations, it now is a rambling art and nature preserve.
Closest to the Welcome Centre are curving pathways with life-sized or larger sculptures, some of Greek mythological creatures, some of common people or animals. The landscaping of the grounds compliments the statuary with seasonal bushes, trees, shrubbery and flowers grouped around and in the background of the sculptures. Fountains and reflecting pools are used to accentuate the artwork as well, and larger marshes and waterways come complete with the all-too-common signs to warm of poisonous snakes and insects, and of course, alligators.
Down the road from the Sculpture Gardens is an interesting area called the Low Country Trail
. We started our explorations with this area, since last time Greg and Colleen were here, they weren’t able to take their time to go through it, so this time they wanted to make sure that they were able to give it the time it needed.
This trail is a winner of the South Carolina Heritage Tourism
award for it’s visual and audio explanation of a slave’s life on
a rice plantation. There are four steel outline-style statues of a Plantation Owner, an Overseer, a male slave and a female slave. The trail crosses a hillside overlooking a restored rice field of the former Brookgreen Plantation. Signs and audio recordings at eleven separate stations tell bits of a story from various slaves’ points of view.
All of the work on the plantation was done by hand. That included the clearing of the land – cutting down the huge live oaks that are native to this land, and hauling away the stumps. People of the Gullah Geechee
people from West Africa were enslaved and brought to work on plantations. These people grew rice in a similar manner in Africa, capturing water to flood the fields from fresh water rivers when the water was high in the spring, and kept in the fields by a series of flood gates. When the rice needed drier conditions to ripen, these same gates were opened and the fields were drained. However, since the gates were made of natural materials like sod and mud and straw, they would get leaks that needed mending, and would be damaged by animals, so one of the slaves
had the job of keeping these gates in working order. The rice fields were worked by slaves, working knee-deep in the flooded marshes that were home to various species of snakes and insects, as well as foxes and rice-birds, that they would flap their clothing and bang pots and pans to try to drive the birds away and keep them from eating up all of their owners’ rice.
The last area is a small zoo; emphasis on the word ‘small’. The grounds are mostly home to animals that were either natural to the area, such as waterfowl, red and grey foxes, turkey vultures and bald eagles, or, domestic animals of the plantation such as cattle and horses. And of course, an alligator. One BIG
So, even though the temperature was a cool 24 degrees C, we had walked as much as our old joints wanted, and we were glad to call it a day. All in all, it was a nice was to spend the better part of a day in South Carolina. Tomorrow already, we have to get up early and start making our way to our winter home of Vero Beach.
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