I scanned the map as we prepared to leave Charleston and saw a nearby dot for Middleton Place. The skies were threatening and we had a long drive ahead of us that day, but the reviews were thumbs-up for Middleton Place, so off we went.
What a find! I will go so far as to say it is a must-see if you are visting Charleston. Dating back to the seventeenth century, Middleton Place is a quintessential example of an antebellum plantation.
One of the first things you learn upon arriving at Middleton Place is that the Main House was burned by a detachment of the 56th New York Regiment days after the fall of Charleston in 1865. I think the CE was wearing his Yankees cap that day, and I do believe I detected a slight edge in our docent’s honey-sweet Southern accent as she informed us of the destruction and vandalism that befell the estate in those last days of the American Civil War. A gentlemen’s guest quarter house still remains but we didn’t have time to take the House Tour.
We chose to roam the grounds instead, and even though the day was blustery, we felt that we had been transported to an Arcadian idyll. Let me just say that I could be very happy living at Middleton Place in any century!
We wandered only a few of the plantation’s sixty-five acres and we were charmed by everything we saw. Especially once we happened upon the stable yards! We saw a mare frolicking with her foal, a pig so big he could keep you in bacon for a year, water buffalo, cattle and – oh happy day – CHICKENS!
I wish we could have stayed longer. If you go, plan to spend a half-day to savor everything Middleton Place has to offer. Oh, and wear walking shoes!
Next stop: Asheville, North Carolina.