Words from a Reader

The “Writing Life Stories” e-mails I receive are such treasures. As soon as I see there is one in my inbox, I read it immediately. I look forward to them and never know how they will touch me. They can be interesting, informative, humorous, and/or touching.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Charleston, SC , Middleton Place, Angel Tree and the Battery

Gay, Stu and I spent a few days in Charleston, SC. I had such a great time and my hosts encouraged me to do just what I wanted. 

These pictures were taken at Middleton Place, a plantation created in the 17 hundreds and is now a National Historic Landmark. Here are the oldest landscaped gardens in America. It is a huge place and we saw most of it, but did not see all of the gardens.
Gay is standing in front of the Middleton Oak, over a thousand years old. It has a circumference of 37 feet. This picture reminds me of one where she was standing in front of a giant redwood in California.

The limbs of this oak are massive and the lower ones eventually reach the ground, but you can see that a couple of very large ones had to be cut. 

Behind the tree is a lake and in the background are rice fields. Learning about growing rice was one of the most interesting parts of this place. The rice fields have to be drained several times during the growing season and refilled. This plantation had many slaves before the war and I can see why the laborers were necessary. The rice was planted and harvested by hand, then shipped down the Ashley River to Charleston Harbor where the barrels were then loaded on large ships and sent overseas.

Middleton Place has a fabulous restaurant if you like southern food, which I do. Where would you find collards and cornbread, mac and cheese, fried chicken, ham and sweet potatoes in a setting like this? 
The service was outstanding as well.

One of my favorite parts of the plantation was the stable yard. In the paddock were six Percheron, very large work horses, used to pull the carriages for tours on the grounds. Others were inside the stable. 
As you can see, I used an electric mobile cart that I rented for a couple of days. It can be used inside and outside. I really put it to the test. We did not know a wheelchair map was available, so in some places my companions had to push my scooter up hill and help with steps. They are good guys who made this trip very special for me. In fact, the vacation was a birthday present for me.

Various 19th and early 20th century horse-drawn conveyances are used or kept on the premises. In summer these horses are working all the time, but at this time of year, the crowds are gone and that made it easy for us to see all the animals and talk with the people who work there.

The sheep ran loose and are in and out of the pens. They are a rare kind of sheep you don't find in this country now, but were the original breed on this plantation when it was created. Two pregnant goats were penned up. Guineas, ducks and chickens fed throughout the stable yard.  

The blacksmith works with the same simple tools he would have used in the 1800s. He worked a bellows by hand. He said the blacksmith on the plantation was the second most important laborer, but the cooper was the most important because he made the barrels that were used to ship the rice out to market.

A potter was also working the day we were there. Her pottery is sold in the gift shop near the entrance to Middleton Place. 


This is the Angel Oak (300-400 years old) outside Charleston. The limbs grow long. The largest is 89 feet in length and the area of shade is 17,000 square feet. The trunk of the tree has a circumference of 25.5 feet. As you see, many of the limbs are actually on the ground.  A big fight to save this tree was won and now it is a tourist attraction.

Often I read in historical novels that people walked on the Battery in Charleston and often wondered, what is the Battery?  I learned it is a wall built for defense against enemies who would come by sea. Such a nice place to walk and look out over the water. Markers explained what we could see from our location. Fort Sumter and other historical sites were described. I picked up a book, Charleston, The Brief History of A Remarkable City,Charleston, The Brief History of A Remarkable City, by Skip Johnson and it tells the history of a city that was one of England's richest cities in the New World before 1776. It was then Charles Towne. 

We had a pleasant walk and the weather was beautiful! We didn't visit the forts and military exhibits such as the Naval Museum. Maybe on another trip. I liked riding around the city and seeing the architecture. The old buildings looked like they had just been painted. We wondered if they had been spruced up after the hurricane hit there earlier this year. 

Stu and Gay. I wanted to get the flowers in the photo.
I think the clouds are pretty.

Had I been a better photographer you would have seen more photos, but, alas, when I looked for them in my phone, they were not there. Gay's pictures of the sheep, the Angel Oak and the Middleton Oak are much appreciated.

Have any of you, my readers, been to Charleston area and did you like it? I'd like to go back sometime.


Elephant's Child said...

What a wonderful gift - memories to treasure.

DJan said...

I loved the pictures of those magnificent horses, and the trees as well. I'm so glad you had such a fun trip. Thanks for sharing these memories with me. :-)

Abbie Taylor said...

I've never been to Charleston or anywhere in the south except Florida. This sounds like a great vacation.

Glenda Beall said...

Abbie, I hope you can visit more places in the south as I wish I could visit more places in the west. South Carolina and North Carolina are both very historic as they were settled far earlier than was Florida, although I am enjoying learning more about Florida now.
Thanks for stopping by.

Glenda Beall said...

DJan and EC, I am glad you enjoyed my trip with me. I love horses so much I could have spent more time with these big guys. I was a bit concerned that the largest horse's hooves seemed to need attention. Gay mentioned it to a man who worked there, but he sloughed her off and walked away. Maybe they work on their hooves in the winter when the horses are not working. Also, I would like to know where the horses come from. Do they find them for sale and buy them or are they rescued horses they get for free?
Because they are all geldings, they don't all get along too well, we were told. So they have to keep some of them separated.