I love the southern United States. Its beautiful landscapes, weeping southern moss, wonderfully bad-for-me shrimp & grits, and super-friendly people. To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, my husband and I headed to a southern state and city that was new to me, but which I heard had tons of southern charm. We visited in the spring, my favorite season. I was very sick for my trip. I ended up being diagnosed with pneumonia on my arrival home, so maybe that is why Charleston didn’t become one of my favorite new southern cities. That love still belongs to New Orleans, LA and Savannah, GA. What I did love was the history and the area outside of the city.
Charleston Tea Plantation
We spent two days road tripping around the area surrounding Charleston and loved this time. I am a tea lover– I drink it daily. So, it was a no-brainer to visit the Charleston Tea Plantation. The plantation offers a trolley tour through the tea fields and a tour through the plant. Both of which were informative and interesting. I love that I now know what tea looks like growing. Do you know the difference between white, green and black teas? I didn’t before this tour. After the tours, we sampled all the wonderful varieties. I loved the tea so much, I have continued to order their peach tea by mail.
A road trip through South Carolina is not complete without a visit to the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River, the Angel Oak. I am a lover of trees (check out my Pinterest board Trees). This tree is majestic and peaceful with its 17,000 square feet of shade cover.
Next we drove to Magnolia Plantation to immerse ourselves in the area’s history. Magnolia Plantation is a pre-Civil War rice plantation settled on the Ashley River. We were drawn to it for its beautiful gardens, rice fields and intact slave houses.
We had planned to kayak the Ashley River, but due to my pneumonia, we decided that seeing the marshes with someone else propelling the boat was a better idea. Magnolia’s Plantation’s Rice Field Boat Tour was perfect. The boat captain was full of information about how rice was grown on the plantation. He was also very knowledgeable about all the wildlife he was able to show us. And maybe it was less scary to see alligators from a couple of feet above the water.
As Americans that we should realize the tragic parts of our nation’s history. I was inspired by my reading to take the From Slavery to Freedom tour that the plantation offered.
Middleton Place was my favorite place in South Carolina. We came at supper time, so the grounds were pretty empty. I was enamored by the formal gardens set among the wild Spanish Moss and the river. The meal was the best I had on my trip. It was served in a beautiful old building with a window view of the swamps. The menu offers fancy low-country southern food without trying too hard.
Our base in the city was the Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District. I chose this hotel because I know I can’t go wrong choosing an Embassy Suites. It is located right next to a large park. The room price included breakfast and had a cute bird in the lobby that we always stopped to say, “hi” to. But best of all is the building- the hotel was the historic Citadel Military College. Super cool!
This was a great US road trip filled with unique scenery and history. Where are your favorite spots in the South?
Literary Inspirations: My historical fiction novel that accompanied this trip was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. It especially piqued my interest to see more of the slavery experience on my trip.