Monday, August 4, 2014

Explore Middleton Place

"How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence." ~ Benjamin Disraeli

During our recent trip to Charleston, Joe and I spent a delightful afternoon exploring the grounds of Middleton Place, a seventeenth-century plantation that has remained under the stewardship of the same family for more than 300 years. The Middletons were prominent in early-American history.

Originally gentlemen's guest quarters and now the estate's House Museum, this mansion is the only one of a trio of residential buildings to survive the Civil War. The other two structures were burned by Union soldiers.

Middleton boasts the oldest established formal gardens in the United States.

I enjoyed strolling these paths in search of beautiful vignettes.

Henry Middleton hired an English gardener to plan these exceptional gardens, once considered the finest of all the colonies.

Joe and I took a carriage tour of the property. Our driver taught us so much about the history of the estate.

One memorable fact I learned is that descendants of the plantation -- from both the Middleton family and the enslaved people who labored there -- attend reunions together. Our guide said they have made peace with their shared history and accept one another as family.

Visitors glimpse 18th- and 19th-century plantation life through working stableyards. I found the bucolic setting so charming!

There was something so tranquil and beautiful to me about this simple scene. Here are a few more photos of Middleton Place.

The English-manor feel of Middleton Place completely charmed me, and I hope to stroll these lovely garden paths again soon.

"In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty." ~ Christopher Morley

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