Exploring Plantation Life

Plantations are an important part of our country's history, so we made sure to visit one while in Charleston. It was completely fascinating and I really got a feel for what it would have been like to live back then. And it was hot. Really, really hot. I feel sticky just thinking about it.

It made me think, why don't we have a TV show about an early-American family living on a plantation? Think Downton Abbey, but Southern style. I would totally watch it!

Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark that features the first formal garden in the United States (before it was even know as the United States). The 65-acre grounds of this former rice plantation are simply stunning. The main house was built in 1755, but it was destroyed when Union forces set all of the plantations on fire as they went down the Ashley River. The only house building still standing was one "flanker," which now houses a museum.

The flanker:

This is what remains of the main house that was burned to the ground during the Civil War:

Here's the view from the main house out to the Ashley River. Can you imagine how grand it would have been to cruise up on your boat back in the late 1700s and see this amazing plantation up on the hill? I'm guessing it would have been pretty impressive.

The gardens were spectacular, of course. I can only imagine if we had visited when all of the roses and camellias were in full bloom. 

One of the slave houses was still standing and was set up just like it might have been back in the day. 

We also got to peek inside the old chapel:

Imagine our surprise–and slight panic– when this baby alligator climbed out of the pond and strolled right in front of us. Good thing it was a baby or there might have been full-fledged screams!

The plantation stable yards were restored and featured costumed actors showing us what it might have been like back when the plantation was in working order. This was the part of the plantation that seemed like a small zoo. We saw alligators, chickens, sheep, cows, horses, rabbits, peacocks and water buffalo. Yep, water buffalo! They had grumpy old men faces and totally cracked me up.

Of course we were completely charmed by the tiny little piglets! Poor momma was exhausted.

If you ever get the chance to tour a plantation, I highly recommend it. I love traveling back in time and glimpsing what it was like to live at the beginning of our country's history. 

* Southern Sweet Tea *

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