So, how are you all doing with your 2013 New Year’s resolutions so far? You know: getting in shape, quitting smoking, expanding your knowledge about Archibald Rutledge? Well, I can’t help you with the first two, but I can sure help you with number three! And even if learning about South Carolina's first poet laureate isn’t one of your resolutions, you should still make visiting the Hampton Plantation in eastern South Carolina (between Charleston and Georgetown) one of your things to do in 2013!
Adjacent to the Santee River, this 322-acre property is the site
of a large antebellum rice plantation, and last served as the home of noted writer Archibald Rutledge. The centerpiece is the mansion house, one of the finest examples of 18th century Georgian architecture around. Back in the 1700s, the Hampton Plantation welcomed politicians, patriots, soldiers, artists and today, it welcomes hundreds of visitors each year. (It is on the National Register of Historic Places as well as being a National Historic Landmark.) The interior was purposely left unfurnished so as to highlight the structure's architectural and construction details.
The Plantation also has some beautiful gardens and grounds. I thought the Oak trees covered in Spanish moss were breathtaking! There's
also what they call the "George Washington" tree: it was said that when Washington visited the Hampton, he was asked his opinion on whether the tree should be removed as it blocked the front view from the house. Washington recommended that the tree be left there, and so it remains today (still blocking the front of the home).
January is a great time of the year to go, because in the summer (when I went) the mosquitoes were a bit of a nuisance. If you are able to go this month, and you’re into nature, try to visit on January 19 because from 10:00 – 11:00 AM, a ranger will be leading a fascinating 1.25 mile hike along the nature trail loop, taking you through several ecosystems and explaining many more interesting facts about the area. Of course, you can also do some hiking on your own; the Dogwood and Holly trails offer an easy 2 1/2 mile hiking loop. And besides that, you can also do some angling for catfish and largemouth bass in Wambaw Creek, explore the abundant wildlife ( deer, turkeys, birds, alligators, etc.), have a picnic or just chill out and enjoy the scenery and the grounds.
Admission to the house is $7.50 for adults; $3.75 for seniors; $3.50 for youths (age 6-15); and free for children 5 & younger. There is no charge to explore the grounds, which are open 9:00 to 5:00 daily. Guided tours of the mansion this time of year are Sat.-Tues. at 1, 2 and 3pm.
No matter what your resolution, I’d like to wish you all a year filled with many wonderful traveling adventures!