Our First Few Days in Charleston
We arrived and got all set up at our new home for the next week - Oak Plantation Campground just outside of Charleston, SC. This week just happened to be my parent’s Spring Break vacation and they were ready for a road trip! They arrived on Saturday afternoon and we made some tentative plans as to what we wanted to see and do during our stay. Before we got too involved in anything, we tackled the first part of my dad’s dining requests - Southern BBQ. Brisket for the boys & pulled pork sammies for the girls made for a happy group of four at Jim 'N Nick's. After stuffing our tummies, we set off on a walk to get a bit acclimated with the layout of downtown Charleston. We walked along the shops of King Street and ended the evening walking through the Night Market being held at City Market. There were some pretty crafty crafters set up and we admired their impressive handiwork - from sweetgrass baskets to bike spoke art. Cool stuff!
We met up the next morning and headed to Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. My parents had read about the plantation being home to the largest romanic-style garden in America. We also wanted to do the “Slavery to Freedom” cabin tour offered at the plantation. After a brief introductory video of the venue, we started with the cabin tour. Our tour guide took us to the area where five historic structures stand that served as slave dwellings starting in the 1800s. It is certainly a tough topic to learn about, but it is important to acknowledge the vital role the Gullah people and culture play in the history of the area. Our guide gave us some insight into the way the slaves lived and what they did on a daily basis on the grounds that served mainly as a rice plantation. As we toured the cabins, we were able to take some time to reflect on what life was like during this time.
After finishing up the informative tour, we checked our maps and headed out for a walk around the gardens. The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens which were founded in 1676 by the Drayton family is the oldest public gardens in America as it opened its doors to visitors in 1870. We had read that a romantic garden is designed to serve as an escape from everyday life. Knowing this, we still were not exactly sure what to expect. The gardens were much more “woodsy” with plants being mixed in with large trees. It certainly did provide you with the feeling of being “away’ from the normalcy of everyday life. While the eyes may prefer the bright colors & contrast provided by formal gardens were nature is controlled and groomed, the romanic-style gardens at Magnolia provided a setting where nature is allowed to “do it’s thing”! We had heard that the azaleas had been in bloom a few weeks ago, but a frost took its toll. Bummer! We still found plenty of places to enjoy blooms & views! There are many, many different plantations in the Charleston area and I doubt any disappoint.