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No trip to Charleston would be complete without a visit to Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens. One of the finest examples of the antebellum South, this beautiful plantation gives us a glimpse into what everyday life was like for the hundreds of people who lived and worked here over the last 300 years. Today, it still functions as a working plantation, and visitors can take a variety of tours through the many different areas of the property. It’s a place of great cultural and historical significance in South Carolina.
The Early Days
In 1681, Major John Boone came to Charleston and settled on the banks of the Wampacheone Creek. The land on which the plantation is situated was gifted to Boone and his wife upon their marriage. The plantation has seen many different owners over the years and today is owned and run by the McRae family. It was here that cotton and pecans were grown and harvested, with much of the work done by slaves before slavery was abolished. The Colonial Revivalist style home, the grand main house, was constructed in 1935 by former owner Thomas Stone.
Touring the Mansion
The main house tour takes about 30 minutes, and visitors are able to see the first floor of mansion. A knowledgeable guide dressed in period clothing takes tour groups from the front porch through the home. Furnishings and antiques are used to paint a picture of what the home would have looked like around the turn of the century. Tours are given all year-long, so even if you come on a cold or rainy day, you can still explore the history of the plantation.
Nine original brick cabins, home to hundreds of slaves over the years, sit intact on the property to this day. Known as Slave Street, these cabins are now the home of a powerful and moving exhibit called Black History in America. Through recorded narratives, life-sized figures, photos, and other detailed information, visitors can learn more about what life was like for the enslaved men, women, and children who lived and worked on the plantation. It’s an important part of the history of Boone Hall Plantation and the American South and certainly should not be missed by visitors.
Avenue of the Oaks
The avenue of oak trees, draped in Spanish moss, was planted back in 1743 by John Boone’s son. As the trees have grown over the centuries, they have become an iconic image of the American South. Their perfect arrangement in two neat rows, leading the way to the main house, has been seen in numerous TV and film productions. You may recognize it from the miniseries North and South, the soap opera Days of Our Lives, or most recently, The Notebook.
A day trip to Boone Hall Plantation is easy if you’re in the Charleston area. Admission is just $20 for adults, and it includes the Avenue of the Oaks, a tour of the plantation house, Slave Street, the garden tour, and a coach tour. There are many different special events happening throughout the year, so be sure to check out the official website in advance of your visit.