Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tour of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens!

After another flax pancake breakfast, Ken and I were on our way to Magnolia Plantation about 35 minutes from the CG.  According to the internet, there are numerous plantations in the area, but this is the one that is most recommended and has the best reviews.  The most spectacular part of it is the gardens.

We decided to start by just paying for a tour of the gardens and decide later if we wanted to tour the house, the swamp, etc.  Magnolia Plantation has been the original ancestral home of the Drayton family since 1676.  Today the plantation is home to the eleventh generation of Draytons.  It was originally a rice plantation with extensive earth works of dams and dikes built in fields along the river for irrigating land for rice cultivation.  African slaves from rice growing regions created the "works". 

This is one of the swamp areas where they grew the rice.
Can you imagine going in there to get the rice???  There were
loads of mesquitos, poisonous snakes, and alligators.  Wow!
They also introduced the 1st azaleas to America. The plantation was burned by the Union during the Civil War and the current home was rebuilt right after the Civil War.  It is the oldest public gardens in American opening its doors to visitors in 1870 to help them financially rebuilt the property, including the house and gardens after the Civil War.  The slaves who worked on the property were treated well compared to those on other plantations.  Rev. John Drayton was the owner before and after the Civil War and because of his religious beliefs he went against the laws of that time and actually had a school on his property for teaching the slaves and their families the "3 R's".  

We began the tour by watching a 20 minute film about the history of the property from before the Civil War till current day.  It was narrated by a young man who was an 11th generation descendant.  There is so much history in this area.

Our next stop was to check out the slave living quarters.  

Not very large and this housed 2 families!

This is a 2 sited fireplace that separates the "duplex"!

We toured numerous garden areas (there were 24) with beautiful flowers, garden statues, bridges, and many varieties of trees including cypress, live oaks, etc.

So well maintained and manicured!

 One of my favorite areas was the conservatory with many beautiful flowers and amazing orchids -

Walking through the conservatory!

Orchids were hanging everywhere!

So many colors and designs!

The flowers on the property were lovely too -

Loved the dainty foxgloves!

More color!

The magnolias were just starting to bloom.  I think it
will be gorgeous a little later in the season!
This is the original bridge that is used for a lot of their advertising.  It is unusual!

We decided not to tour the actual home.  Hard to imagine that it was built soon after the Civil War, but it really wasn't quite the image I had of a southern plantation home.  What do you think??

This is a view of the front....

....and the back!
Before we left, we checked out the petting zoo and enjoyed the peacocks roaming freely.  We did enjoy our time at the plantation, but I was probably a bit disappointed with the gardens.  I expected them to "knock my socks off".  I do believe there are times of the year that it is spectacular.  I sort of think we were between "seasons".  When the azaleas and magnolias are blooming it would be amazing!

On the way back to the CG we decided to stop for lunch at an authentic Mexican Restaurant and it was delicious and the bonus - we could eat outside.  It was mostly cloudy today but in the 80's, a perfect day to eat outdoors.

When we were back at Waldo the work began to get ready for tomorrow's departure.  Ken did all the work outside while I did 2 loads of laundry and got the inside ready for "blast off".  Ken prepped for dinner while I finished the wash.  

We have had a wonderful time in the Charleston area and James Island County Park.  I would highly recommend this CG when in the area.

Just a few photos of the lake when you enter the park and then our campsite!

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