"the trusted voice of teens who travel"
July 21st, 2011
Learning about the Civil War and slavery in a classroom? BORING. Seeing an actual plantation bursting with flowers in the mid-spring? Much better!
When I first walked on to Magnolia Plantation near Charleston, South Carolina, I didn’t think it was a historical site at all! This was mostly because these days, it is advertised as a massive, carefully planted and groomed garden, spanning acres and acres of gorgeous blossoms.
However, this ex-plantation isn’t all art project; it’s also a history lesson. Seeing the abandoned slaves’ quarters and pictures of their awful conditions gave me a bitter reminder of some of the terrible things that happened in our country, of war, poverty, and human abuse but it also helped me appreciate how lucky we are to live in our world today.
Speaking of the slave houses, I was surprised to find out that one of them was inhabited by a man, his wife, and eight (yes, EIGHT) children up until the seventies. These slaves’ quarters only had two rooms in a house and were falling apart at the seams, mind you. The owner of the plantation also currently lives on the plantation’s property, in a more spacious house, however.
As previously mentioned, the Magnolia plantation is currently known for its various colorful and breathtaking gardens. Some of the most prominent flowers in these gardens during mid- to late- April are camellias and azaleas. There is also an exotic indoor orchid garden and even a swamp trail.
I can read your mind: “What on earth is a swamp trail?” Well, picture a still body of water, more similar in appearance to a green field because it is so covered in duckweed (tiny green plant that grows in water), spotted by trees with roots above the ground dipping their ‘fingers’ into the water, and inhabited by alligators, snowy egrets, snakes, and frogs. Oh, yeah, and you’re walking on a thin wooden path above it all, enjoying the subtle music of frogs croaking, birds singing, and wind rustling through the trees and flowers. THAT, my friends, is a swamp trail!
Between swamps, history, and flowers, Magnolia Plantation is the ideal balance of historical content (which is ACTUALLY interesting) and natural beauty. It’s one of the South’s best-kept secrets!