Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Have you known that there are more than 2,000 plantations in South Carolina, and many of them are open to visitors? One of America's oldest publicly accessible gardens, Magnolia Plantation, was established in the early 1700s and opened to the public in 1870. They are the last great Romantic-style garden in the United States.
If you've ever wanted to see one of America's most beautiful drives, look no further than the three-quarter-mile Avenue of Oaks at nearby Boone Hall Plantation. Drayton Hall, the oldest unrestored plantation residence in the United States, is open to the public and offers a rare glimpse of 18th-century craftsmanship in its ornamental details.
Overlooking one of the country's oldest landscaped gardens, Middleton Place has been restored to its original splendor. Along with displaying how well the owners and their family members lived, these plantations now include exhibits, tours, and programs about the daily life of the enslaved people that made the plantation lifestyle possible in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
The enslaved and freedmen who worked for the Middletons are also discussed during the tours of Middleton Place. Archaeological excavations at Drayton Hall continue to unearth artifacts that shed light on the lives of previously unknown and undocumented people.
Enslaved people and their role in preserving and conserving Magnolia's magnificent gardens are featured in an educational 45-minute program by Magnolia's Cabin Project, which preserves former slave dwellings. The Gullah culture, established by enslaved Africans, is on display at Boone Hall, in which successors of the Gullah people show the history of this heritage through song and storytelling.