Sunday, June 9, 2013

Boone Hall is Mont Royal!

Well I must admit it was me pushing to get us there when the gates opened on this morning.  I truly wanted us to have a chance to get unpopulated photos and we were pretty successful at that.  For us the secret to all our traveling is beat the crowd, beat the heat.

When you first enter the Plantation you see some lovey landscapes like this.  We spent quite a bit of time in this area just breathing it all in and taking some photos.  It was cold and windy which was good.  Other than the leaves rustling in the trees, there was complete serenity all around us.

We meandering around for awhile on the packed 
gravel road and then turned a corner and saw this.  

Can I just say this view pretty much stops you dead in your tracks.  This is so impossible to capture in two dimensions.  You just cannot imagine the majesty and beauty of these trees or their scale compared to a couple of humans.  It is not often I feel I did.  These trees were planted along this almost mile long drive in 1743.  They are a priceless treasure.  If I were prompted to pray for the endurance of any trees in the world it would be these.  It would be beyond heartbreaking if anything were to happen to them. 

This amazing Plantation has THE MOST BEAUTIFUL life oaks on the planet.  I am convinced of that because there could not be any more magnificent than these. This is the world famous

Avenue of The Oaks

The Live Oak is native to the Southeastern United States and Northern parts of South America.  The thing that makes these unique is that they are evergreens.  Oaks have long been one of my favorite trees, but I did not know there are some that are evergreen.  That is something to love about them in itself.  They can grow up to 50 feet tall with wide spreading branches reaching up to 70 feet.  Adding to this stunning vision, they often have huge clusters of Spanish Moss hanging in exactly the right places.  It looks like someone added it like one would with tinsel on a Christmas tree. This is what heaven looks like.  It literally brought tears to my eyes.

The Plantation Home is drawing closer and closer. 
This is where Patrick Swayze would ride his horse 
like the wind to and from the house
The little white dot down the Avenue is the house!
Check out the Spanish Moss below!

We drove along very slowly, 
often stopping to just be there. 
 In the distance we could see the mansion now
 but we were savoring it like a yummy dessert
Not wanting it to be gone too quickly! 

Looking slightly to the right is a large fenced
 area for horses and some out buildings.

A pristine white barn...

And perhaps a caregiver's small home?

This is a couple of the slave houses.

And then the Plantation home...Mont Royal!

We really were there!  Mont Royal! 
(Pinching myself to see if it's real!)

From the Gate looking back on the Avenue of the Oaks

James standing in front of the carriage landing pad! 
 Just jump out and walk in!

We were about to go on the house tour.  No photos are allowed inside but it was very very nice.  Could recognize a lot of the rooms from the mini-series.  They only let you see the downstairs as the current owner lives here upstairs.  Poor thing.  Who gets to live in a place like this?  One lucky lady!

 A side view of the front of the Mansion
both sides of the veranda have steps leading up to the house. 
This antebellum architecture is gorgeous.
Google image

There is a river behind the house.
This view is part of the backyard.

Slave Cabins
Borrowing this photo from their website as it was raining pretty hard when we went to the slave houses. At one time in their history there were 27 out here, today 9 remain.  They are located along The Avenue of the Oaks on the left hand side as you come in.  They are strategically placed back far enough from the road so as not to detract from the beautiful entrance.  These cabins were for the house staff and slaves with a higher than average standing.  The plantation was a cotton plantation and the field workers lived in another area of the plantation in smaller less desirable conditions.  The owner at the time built  them out here for a reason.  He was a builder and he wanted to show off his work.  He also wanted others to know how well he treated his slaves.  Sometimes several families would live in these brick cabins and there was one common one set up like a church for the slaves to meet together in small groups to worship God and sing hymns.

The interior of the meeting cabin

It is sad that their way of life had to bring such sorrowful conditions to the slaves.   It is even sadder that our history is tainted by the buying and selling and abusive behavior towards other human beings.  I am grateful to Abraham Lincoln and the Abolitionists that worked and fought so hard for their freedom.   I understand the economic reasons for slavery but find the principle of using people like that deplorable. 

Each little cabin has displays and historical information
 in them and were decorated to simulate what they
 would have been like back then. 

This was a poignant and sobering experience.

Thank Heavens for this Civil Rights Act of 1866!

Most of the slaves that worked in the South in those days were from Angola, Africa. Today there are 500,000 of their descendants living in the Carolinas and other southern states.  Their ancestors started being captured and brought over here to be auctioned and sold in the 1500s.  For nearly five centuries their lives have been politically and economically tied to the cash crops of the south; rice, cotton, tobacco, and now even tourism.  

They were captured and retained in holding cells and on the west coast of Africa.  The imprisonment brought a lot of Africans under one roof and formed the basis of what would become the Gullah Culture.  These Gullah Salves made, many of the southern plantation owners very very wealthy.  They were so knowledgeable about the farming techniques used that they were the most desired of any slaves. 

One of the descendant of these early slaves does a one woman show there at the Plantation.  Her name is Jackie. The name "Gullah" it is thought has some reference to Angola.  They have these story telling shows every day and if you ever go I hope you get Jackie.  Her story was tender and sweet and told without guile.  I always have that 'guilt by association' thing going on and the way she spoke and sang and related to all of us was just beautiful.

What she said in a nutshell without saying it was...I don't blame you for what happened to my forefathers and mothers.  She would say repeatedly... 

"This is my story (pointing to herself) 
  this is your story (gesturing in our direction)
  this is our story (encircling all us all with her arms)
  this is His story (pointing up to God.) "

I felt that from now on the word  history would be spelled like this in my heart..HisStory.

 That was just so touching to me and made me feel we all just need to have peace about the things we cannot change now and move forward making this a better place to be for all.  I just loved Jackie and so did Jim.  At the end of her presentation we went up and thanked her and hugged her and we felt a sense of communion and peace that went beyond the three of us to include those who had gone before.  It was an experience that will stay with us for a long time.


This old mill is being retrofitted and preserved
 in another area of the Plantation.

It is to be reopened as a restaurant when completed.
Today many events are hosted At Boone Hall and 
Ryan Gosling recently got married here.
He was in "The Notebook" and part 
of that was filmed here as also!

The Plantation offers four things to do:  The Gullah Cultural experience, a House Tour, a Boat Tour and the open air Train Tour.  All are included in the admission price of 20 dollars.  It was worth every penny and more just to see the Oaks.  But all of the other things I have mentioned made it a wonderful day, never to be forgotten.

As we left I felt like I was caught somewhere between the story of Mont Royal and the reality of Boone Hall.  My perspective had changed  and was made different by this day as I was made more aware of how it really was.  The Pollyanna part of me wants to just stay in the movie but the reality of slavery is more poignant than ever to me.

There were so many things to ponder about this day.   I think we may have been unusually quiet on our hour and a half trip down to Savannah.  This type of experience makes things you have always known about, take on a whole new clarity.  It adds dimension to your understanding of the Family of Man in a fresh new way.  I remember having similar feelings when we toured Anne Franks' House in Amsterdam, years ago.  There is something about being there that heightens your sense of humanity and understanding.  This is truly educational.   And that is probably what I love about traveling more than anything else.  That and being with my best friend!


Sister Susie Says said...

What a beautiful picture of the road lined on both sides with those huge trees!

The Spanish moss is really pretty, but if you don't keep it in control, it can kill a tree.

We had some huge oak trees in Enterprise, FL. that had heavy limbs hanging over the road way (some of them split!) But they were so pretty and majestic!

What wonderful grounds around the plantation. I'm glad I don't have to mow the grass, ha! (even on a riding lawn mower!)

It surely looks peaceful there today.

The carriage landing would be just the right height for some of our FL. trucks that have "jacked up" suspensions!

The past slavery of the United States reminds me of the 100's, 1,000's of years that Israel was enslaved. I ponder to think of the very small percentage of the "white" population that had slaves; that mainly being the politicians and plantation owners.
I hate that slavery was ever a part of America's history. Yet, many of them were introduced to the salvation in Christ Jesus that has a history in and of itself (though society today chooses to ignore that aspect.) I just hate that the radicals on both sides keeps issues of the past "inflamed." My best friend and neighbor is African/American (we are going on a two week venture across country in August, in fact another African/American sister in Christ has joined us!) I can hardly wait! I am just so glad those in Christ neither see black or white; male or female, but the glory of GOD abounds! Love to you and yours, Susan