By Lilly McKinney
Once exams are over, consider taking a few trips across the state in the week before May Experience begins or while participating in a May Experience program. South Carolina is home to many former plantations whose structures are full of history and beautiful architecture.
Ashtabula is located in Pendleton, S.C., and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972. It is a Lowcountry style plantation home built in the early 1800s. In 1845, the plantation set the “world’s record for rice production.” The brick building currently attached to the house was once a traveler’s tavern before the house was built. Tours are available Monday through Saturday for $6 apiece.
Kensington Mansion is located in Eastover, S.C., and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Built in 1854, the home is one of the best examples of Italianate Revival structures in the southeast. Jacob Stroyer, a former slave on the plantation, wrote about his experiences in a memoir, “My Life in the South.” Tours are available four times per day on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for $7.
Walnut Grove Plantation House in Spartanburg, S.C., dates back to the late 1700s. The land includes a main house and many remaining outbuildings which lend a good sense of life in the 19th century. These outbuildings include a kitchen, barn, blacksmithy, doctor’s office, school, and a wellhouse. There is a mysterious stain on the floor of the upper level of the house which was for a long time believed to be the blood of a patriot. Research done has indicated that this stain is not of human origin, but the mystery shrouding it still makes it worth seeing and guessing what event really took place there. Tours are available Tuesday through Sunday for $6.
Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, S.C., was built in 1681. Parts of the land continue to be farmed, but the home and outbuildings are open for tours. In addition to the main house, there are nine original slave cabins, a smokehouse, a cotton gin building, stables, and a variety of other guest houses. The gardens are also well-maintained, including an area of antique roses which are more than 100 years old. There is also a butterfly pavillion, only open during the summer months, where one can witness the life cycle of butterflies in their natural habitat. Boone Hall is open daily with tours available for $20.
Enjoy a brief respite from coursework and take time to visit these historic locations. As you travel, you may pass a farm stand selling local produce, drive through picturesque small southern towns, and see other beautiful sights along the way. Don’t miss out on all the history that one of the original colonies, South Carolina, has to offer.