Middleton Place plantation was built in the early 1700's, and has been the home to four generations of the Middleton family. It runs along the banks of the Ashley River and is home to one of the oldest landscaped gardens in America.
Built in the colonial era, the 200-acre plantation was acquired by the Middleton family in 1741 when Henry Middleton married his wife Mary. Soon after, construction began on the gardens. This was said to have taken 10 years to complete by over 100 slaves working seasonally, and in 1755 the property was improved by adding two dependencies on each side of the three-story house.
The house has survived revolution, civil war, fire and earthquakes, and lives to tell the tale. Since being opened to the public in 1975 the plantation has welcomed thousands of visitors, and is now a National Historical Landmark. The Middleton Place House Museum is now owned and operated by the Middleton Place Foundation who keeps the house open to the public so they can enjoy all the history it has to offer.
The gardens are spectacular, and showcase some of the finest landscaping of their time. They're famed for their beautiful geometry and symmetry, and was the most ornate and unique gardens to be seen in the 18th century. 65 acres of landscaping now await the visitor, who can walk the same paths as the Middleton's did all those centuries ago.
The House Museum is the only one of three residences remaining, and was one of the portions built by Henry Middleton in 1975. It was originally constructed to be a gentleman's guest quarters, and today contains one of the finest collections of family artifacts and heirlooms around. Visitors can take in the furniture, paintings, books and documents that belonged to the Middleton family, and guided tours given on the half hour offer all the extra information you need.
After visitors have taken in the life of the upper classes of the time, they can check out what life was like for plantation workers by heading to the Middleton Place Plantation Stable yards. The stables are where slaves tended to the animals, took care of plantation crops and built all the tools, pottery and clothing necessary for the rice plantation to function. Today visitors can see how they really worked, with a weaver, carpenter and blacksmith (among others) being on hand to demonstrate the skills necessary and fill you in on the history. Check out the Equestrian Centre and Outdoor Centre as well for a variety of activities.
Middleton Place is open daily from 9am, and if you fancy a longer stay why not book a relaxing break at the Inn at Middleton Place? Right next to the plantation it offers fantastic accommodation along with stunning views of the gardens, and the restaurant is a great place to relax and enjoy a fantastic meal after a day of exploring. The plantation is also a perfect backdrop for any special occasion, and any event, wedding or reception can always be catered for.
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