A sunny day for a visit to one of South Carolina's eminent plantations that dates back to pre Revolutionary War days. Spring is the ideal time to visit for flowers, emerging greenery and plentiful wildlife.
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The most-photographed plantation in Dixie
The folks at Boone Hall claim it’s the most-photographed plantation in the country, and it’s easy to see why. Hulking oak trees draped with Spanish moss march up both sides of the long driveway that leads right to the wrought-iron gate . . . that opens onto the spectacular formal garden . . . that welcomes you to the 1743 mansion.
It’s hard not to get goosebumps when you think about all the generations – white and black – who added to the estate’s grandeur. The place is still a working farm after more than 320 years, but the once-thriving cotton fields and pecan orchards have now made way for strawberries, tomatoes, pumpkins and other goodies. You can fill up your own baskets in season (or, if you’re lazy, out at the plantation’s main market on Highway 17).
Give yourself enough time to tour the main house, the dock out to the marshy river that once carried crops to the coast, and the row of low-slung brick houses where slaves lived. In one of them, a basket weaver (with handiwork at the Smithsonian) will show you how she makes baskets styled after the ones her Gullah ancestors have made for centuries in the Low Country and islands off Georgia and South Carolina.
Another slave house reveals clues that the slaves probably ate better than their masters. Researchers found buried animal bones, suggesting the slaves sneaked out at night to hunt.
One word of warning: Watch out for tiny ants on your way back to the grassy parking lot. Unless you like to dance.