Neither Jim nor I had ever been to a plantation before. We had seen plenty of them in movies about the south and were eager for this first hand experience. Everything we read said don't miss Magnolia Plantation, so we didn't. What a paradise and just minutes from downtown Charleston!
This was our first view of it as we approached the Gate. We were the first visitors for the day arriving at 8:00 AM sharp. (Never let it be said that we sleep in on vacations!) These photos are not photoshopped, no need. The green is the greenest of greens! The oxygen was tangible and delicious. And the peace...like a gentle hug!
Thomas Drayton and his wife Ann came here from Barbados to the new English colony of Charlestown and established Magnolia Plantation along the Ashley River in 1679. This Plantation has been passed from generation to generation in the family for 300 years now.
During Colonial times the Plantation and its owners amassed a great deal of wealth through the cultivation of rice. Later in the Plantation's history, 8,000 British troops would occupy the fields here during the Revolutionary War. But they were held off and never captured the land. It is hard to imagine that anything resembling war had ever come near this tranquil place but, it was also threatened severely during the Civil War. Through both wars it survived although the rice crops were no longer a viable way of survival for the family after the South lost the war.
It was at that time decided that they would open the Plantation and Gardens to the public and thus it became the first public garden in the United States. That was five years after the Civil War ended in 1870. To this day the admission prices of this breathtaking tourist attraction have helped maintain this gorgeous plantation. You can read more about the history of the plantation on their website. http://www.magnoliaplantation.com They have some nice animation on the site and even some short videos. Y'all don't miss it, if you come this way!
One of the intriguing things to me has always been the Spanish Moss that hangs from the trees. Seriously, what is a plantation without it? One of the things you will hear on every tour in the south...I'll just tell you now...it is neither Spanish or moss. But it is pretty cool and indigenous to this area in the country. Remember you should not touch it as it is a chiggers carrier. So no stuffing your DIY projects with it, ladies.
One of these trains took us out near the old rice fields, now swamps where we saw some interesting wild life. The scenery was just magnificent. Being early it was just us, the driver and one other couple. Sweet!
This gator, about a 12 footer, was sunning himself (using the term loosely) on this "Gator Chase Lounge." They really call them slant boards but we thought that quite unimaginative. Gators do not do well in the cold weather apparently. This is something I didn't know, nor could I have cared less about until the next moment when we heard this. "Gators actually must get out of the water to warm up and digest their food or they will die." Ah, what??? Did I mention this tiny elevated road is surrounded by water? Yep. They can easily just slither right up the tiny levy upon which we are now touring in a giant golf cart. Now I wished the thing was overflowing with people increasing the items on the menu. Yikes. In fact, we did see one big one just up on the road not far from here. So much for the slant boards. I was counting heavily on the fact they were sunning to digest their food so they must have already had breakfast. Right?
These are some little fledglings of some giant bird parents. They are just a few weeks old and ready to fly out of the nest soon. They are quite large for babies, that is for sure. The nest is pretty huge if you can make it out here. Jim took this with our telephoto lens.
are just so beautiful!
We never did get a full-on photo of the plantation house and you cannot take photos inside so I am borrowing one from their website. The house was not overwhelming but the wrap around porch was to die for. We sat out there for quite awhile and just enjoyed the views.
There is something about a fancy peacock that is just too pretty to be male. They always remind me of an arrogant, cocky man struttin' his stuff. These fellas did not disappoint. They would emerge one by one from their pens and walk out to a certain point just in front of the outdoor tables and fan their tails feathers. As though they were on a fashion runway, they'd then slowly turn and then stop for a photo and then continue on their slow-mo pirouette and hold that pose. I kid you not, it was so hilarious!
You could take photos of these beautiful gardens
it home for our backyard!
They also had a great wet marsh cruise on a pontoon type of boat that we took before lunch. I was happy it was on one of those floating thingies and not too close to the water as the gators are all over that place. The skipper was just thrilled to bring us very close to shore to see these little babies gators only about 24 inches long right now. Jim was eating all this up while I was thinking about us getting eaten up by their mother!
These flowers stretched for a long while
each perfect and beautiful.
People think this just happens...
they do not tend flowers, obviously.
My old knees are not enthusiasts
of very long walks usually
but this one was worth every bit of it.