Thursday, April 03, 2014

Charleston: Day 2, Part 1

I have decided to split day 2 of our trip into two posts because of the sheer volume of photos I/we took. On our second day, we went to two plantations just north of downtown for the main part of the day and ended up back in Charleston in the late afternoon. But first, we had our first breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Breakfast was included in our stay, which was so nice. The restaurant is called Circa 1886. What a lovely entrance.

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Looking back at the hotel from the entrance to the restaurant, this is the view of the back of the mansion. The weather was looking pretty good...especially compared to the cold, rainy day before.

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The first order of business at breakfast was tea (and coffee for mom). Circa 1886 immediately gained points from me when they brought me a box of Harney & Sons tea from which to make my selection.

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The first course of breakfast (there were three) was a fruit plate. Every day the fruit was fresh, colorful, and delicious. I am a big fan of fruit at breakfast time.

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The second course was the breads. A perfectly flaky and soft croissant, obviously baked that morning. And two cinnamon rolls/sticky buns. One had a traditional glaze and the other had a caramel pecan topping. Both were fresh and delicious. I am also a fan of sweets at breakfast time (or any time, really).

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Each day the restaurant offered a breakfast special in addition to their regular menu. I can't remember what it was on this first morning, but I opted for the rice flour pancakes, which are a regular menu item. These absolutely melted in my mouth. I ordered them on another morning because they were SO good.

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After breakfast we took the opportunity to get a better look at our mansion bed and breakfast. Here's the majestic front of the Wentworth Mansion.

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We used the back entrance most of the time because that's where the parking lot is located, but the front is very grand, yet welcoming.

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We walked back around to the back side and I snapped this photo of the private entrance to our room.

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Then we hit the road headed north to visit a couple of plantations. The first one we went to was Middleton Place. I feel certain that these grounds would be beautiful on any sort of day, but with the gorgeous weather we had that day, they were magnificent.

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I quickly realized that it would be impossible for my camera to capture the way the trees looked with the moss draping down, the fern-type plants growing on the bark, and the sunlight shining through the leaves. Impossible, yet I tried...

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I just love the name for Magnolia trees...Magnolia grandiflora. Very fitting, I think. However, the magnolias were not blooming while we were there. It was too early in the season for them.

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But there were swans. Yes, swans. And sheep. It pretty much could not get more quaint than that. Except there were also horses and carriage tours.

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And charming gates with brick fences. And that moss...I could not get over the moss. It was on all those majestic trees making them look even more romantic and spectacular than they already did.

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And I'll tell you what...we absolutely soaked in the sun. We froze our toes off the day before and you better believe we were loving that sunshine.

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On our way through the grounds, one of the volunteers at the plantation stopped us and started telling us all about Camellias. They were blooming while we were there. Oh, yes. They definitely were.
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She sat this basket full of them down on the ground and insisted that we take a photo. We found out that she actually does their famous "camellia walks" and she had gathered these for the folks that were taking that tour. Aren't they gorgeous? And what a perfect basket for them.

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When we arrived at the plantation, we had about 25 minutes to walk just a little way to the house for our scheduled tour...but it took us almost the whole 25 minutes to get there because we could not stop taking photos. It was all so beautiful.

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Here's mom with the blooming Camellias and moss draping down.

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This was the house that we toured. It is actually the only surviving dwelling structure to survive the Civil War of the original three. And it was one of the flanker houses, meaning it was on the left side (and much smaller) than the main house. It was originally just the plantation office. All that remains of the main house is a small pile of bricks. It was burned to the ground by the Union soldiers during the war.

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Again, we were not allowed to take photographs of the inside of the house, but it was one of my top two favorites from our entire trip. The foundation that runs the place has done a wonderful job of selecting the pieces that would furnish the house as well as displaying the artifacts and art work in the house. They have a signed pass for the lady of the house to go through union lines to her wounded husband's side...and Abraham Lincoln was the signer.

After the tour, we set out exploring the grounds some more.

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Right in front of the house are the two "butterfly" ponds and then beyond that is the Ashley river. At one point, the plantation was only accessible by boat on the river. This would have been the view from the main house if it were still standing today.

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See the moss again? I love it!

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This is the front of the flanker house...the only remaining dwelling. It was not too shabby so it made me wonder what the original main house would have looked like.

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Here's one of those beautiful blooms.

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Pretty in pink...

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We snaked our way through the gardens, down paths, and into clearings.

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We kind of made a big circle and started heading back where we had started that morning.

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Those trees! Even in the harsh mid-day light they make a gorgeous backdrop.

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I spotted this flower on our way out. It was absolutely perfect.

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What an amazing first half to our day. Stay tuned for the second part...coming soon!

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1 comment:

Nancy said...

Thank you for posting about your trip. All of your photos are spectacular!