I have visited many plantations in my travels across the southern United States, but Middleton Place remains a favourite gem of all the historic sites. Perhaps my inner satisfaction stems from a land that cannot hide her scars, originating from a once majestic gate, where just beyond a mansion once stood. Destroyed during the civil war, now, a brick-lined walkway continues from the top of the front lawn, extending further by a stretch of gravel walkway and offering a generous visual of the Ashley river beyond. The Middleton family must have enjoyed this peaceful view. A view that brought me back to Middleton Place for a second visit.
Arriving from Charleston by car, my husband and I enjoyed a guided wagon tour with other guests from the parking lot to the remaining house museum. One hundred and seventy years ago, prior to the civil war, family and guests often arrived from Charles town (original name) by way of the Ashley river. The waterway is a tidal river, so it ebbs and flows with the tidal increases and decreases of the ocean. Visitors from that time period had to plan their travel accordingly.
The property is stunning and there’s much to ponder and enjoy on the grounds. We began our day by touring the remaining manor house, which the Middleton family rebuilt after the civil war. After, it was time for lunch!
The Middleton Place Restaurant not only has an amazing view of the garden, it’s also a good destination to dine on southern cuisine. I enjoyed southern fried chicken, corn pudding, and collard greens. If you’re a vegetarian, please enquire about the collard greens as most are made with bacon. And when in the south, a lady must savour a thirst quenching Mint Julep. Refreshing on a hot humid day.
After lunch, we walked through the gardens. The last time I visited, the oak tree on the left had lost a branch and the destruction lay on the ground. You can tell, the oak is a very large and beautiful tree.
Ensure you leave enough time in your journey to walk through the gardens, and if you enjoy taking pictures, the lighting in the late afternoon works well for photographs. To learn more about Middleton Place, visit www.middletonplace.org.