Charleston to Yemassee 87 miles
"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."
Three times we woke to the sound of driving rain this morning, yet by the time we finished loading up and zipped away, the rains had abated.
We decided to visit the Middleton Plantation before heading south. The Middleton Place boasted of the oldest gardens in America, commenced in 1741. The domiciles were originally three building residences, but the Union burned the main house and North flanker, with the South flanker somehow surviving the war-and later an earthquake-unlike its two brethren. While a rather nice house, the gardens and plantation were incredible, with butterfly ponds, reflecting pools and giant myrtle and oak trees looming, with Spanish moss hanging off the trees like biker beards. Trivia time; Spanish moss isn't Spanish nor moss, yet is edible. We watched a sheep demonstrate.
The old plantation looked marvelous and, of course, we learned about growing rice, a huge crop in the day. I thought rice needed paddies to grow. Yes, rice needs lots of water-a good soaking, yet other times the field must be drained. And rice was a labor intensive crop, hence the slaves.
The Middleton family contained many famous folks. Henry Middleton served in the First Continental Army, his son Arthur signed the Declaration of Independence, and Williams Middleton signed the Articles of Secession.
Henry Middleton owned nineteen plantations. No wonder they voted to secede from the Union. And these people were committed to their beliefs. He poured all of his money into the war effort and when the war ended, was broke. Then he went home to the charred remains of his houses, to rebuild his plantation using free help.
The grounds featured working stables, blacksmith and wood worker's (coopers) shops. The cooper worked today, making small barrels that they sell in the gift shop. Yes, thank The Lord, they had a gift shop. I was a bit worried.
We headed out (over a half mile of muddy road, yow!) and turned south on 17. However, we weren't on 17 that went to Walterboro, but the 17 that went to Yemassee. That was a bit further and colder, as the sun disappeared behind clouds and the wind picked up. And Yemassee is a bit...not quite to the standards of Walterboro. And being a longer ride, I spent a few miles watching the gas gauge drifting toward 'E' and hoping of a service station. Fortunately, we found one with a half gallon to go, no sweat.
Off we went to Denny's (told you it was a bit more sketchy) for dinner; turkey dinner for me and chicken fried steak for Quilter Girl. Not bad at all.
And now, speaking of Quilter Girl, here she is thawed and ready!
This plantation was owned by the same family that owned the house we toured in town. The gardens were very nice even in winter and there were a great number of camellias in bloom. There were two secret gardens, an octagonal garden and pathways all over. It is so foreign to us, but the Ashley River was the highway of the time. Guests would arrive by river and walk the lower path through the gardens to the house. The house was very different from my expectations; it wasn't the white pillared colonial that I thought it would be. Must not be the right part of the South. They had a bedroom set up the way it would be in the winter with wool drapes and bedding and another set up for summer. There is a special Charleston rice bed that was traditional for the area with carvings of rice plants on the headboard. One of the special features is a headboard that detaches so that the bed can be moved to the middle of the room to catch the summer breezes. The summer bedroom had lighter fabrics and mosquito netting around the bed.
I was so cold, mainly because I was lazy and didn't put on my Gerbing pants, so we are in a Knights Inn, which isn't the Ritz, but is warm and clean. We will see about the shower! It is a great place to lay around for a day before we head south to Treasure Island, Florida.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Church Surch, the Week in Pictures, and, of course, the Stupid Driver of the Week. Oh, and today we are eight months into the Adventure. Yeehaw! (That's southern Carolina talk for yippee.)