Saturday, April 30, 2011

Come With Me To Charleston ~ part 3

On our second day in Charleston, we decided to head a few miles out of town to Middleton Place, a former rice plantation which is now a National Historic Landmark.

The Middleton family first lived here from around 1705.  The three main houses were terribly burned during the Civil War and then two of the three were reduced to rubble in the Great Earthquake of 1886. 

The plantation sits on the Ashley River, a tidal river that rises and falls six feet each day with the tides.  In the early days, the only way to reach Middleton Place was by riverboat.

Touring the quiet grounds provided many moments for contemplation and rest.

There were swampy areas and we even saw a small crocodile swimming.  We were told they have had one as large as 16 feet long.   We also learned about coots - a bird that is unfriendly to other birds  - thus the saying about being an old coot.

Mr. Mark gave us an informative carriage ride through the bamboo forests and abandoned rice paddies.

I loved the ancient brick fences and the beautiful gardens.  Middleton Place claims to have America's oldest landscaped gardens dating back to 1741.

To the left of the horses is the South Flanker house which was restored in 1869.  We took the house tour and learned that the family had a winter bedroom which included a fireplace and heavy draperies in an attempt to stay warm.  The  summer bedroom had many windows and a mosquito netted bed in the center of the room where the breezes might blow over them during the night. 

The plantation was self-sustaining and had all kinds of animals and craftspeople.

The boys tried their hand at grinding in the mill.

The Middletons had hundreds of slaves, many of whom planted rice by the toe-heel method for ten hours a day, five and a half days a week.  They would poke a hole in the soil with their big toe, drop in a single seed, and smash it down with their heel.

There was not a lot to see of the slaves' lives on the plantation and we all wanted to see more of how they lived.  This link will take you to a book which has more interesting details about their daily lives.

There were open gardens... 

and secret passages.

This marble "Wood Nymph" is one of few statues that survived the Civil War.

The boys were able to run, jump, hide and explore all morning.  It was hot but they loved it.

Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is buried in this tomb.  He died in 1787.

There were many huge oak trees on the plantation but this one is thought to be around 1,000 years old.  Just imagine the stories it could tell...

We ate shrimp and grits, cornbread and other Low Country dishes at the quaint restaurant.  

Seeing this plantation left us with a deeper understanding of the South and its complex history.


I hope you enjoyed touring the sites along with us!  If you want to see the first two installments click here ~

    Come With Me To Charleston ~ part 1  

    Come With Me To Charleston ~ part 2  

Linking to:

Good Life Wednesdays

Imperfect People's Post of the Month ~ April



Friday, April 29, 2011

Come With Me To Charleston ~ part 2

Charleston is loaded with both charm and a sense of mystery.

There were many secret alleyways.  My romantic imagination had fun creating possible scenarios that might have taken place down these quiet corridors.

How many styles of shoes have stepped upon these cobblestones?  
How many full length skirts swished by on their way to the evening's entertainment?

We came upon this church on Sunday evening while strolling down Church Street.  
The wreaths adorning the wrought iron gate caught my eye.  

Upon closer inspection, I was amazed to realize that the flowers were real.

This gorgeous touch was completely foreign to me. 
It was not unheard of to have snow at Easter where I grew up.

The floral cross was also made of fresh, fragrant flowers.  Simply stunning in person.

Behind this church was an old graveyard.  We toured as respectfully as possible while oohing and ahhing at the impossibly old burial dates on the weather-worn headstones.

It was especially moving to hear the steeple bells toll while we were in the cemetery.  If you want to hear them too click here ~ St. Philip's church.

As I stood silently reading the names of these dearly departed souls, I realized that 200 or more years ago, this person's mourning family and friends must have stood exactly where I stood, their tears falling upon this same earth and stone.  

It almost felt like walking upon the set of a Halloween movie scene.

Rather than a ghostly eerieness, there was a prevailing sense of peace and tranquilty here.

Unfortunately, the history of this city is not complete without remembering that slave-based agriculture brought a great deal of wealth to the landowners of the time.

Tomorrow, in part 3, I will take you on a tour of a 65 acre plantation we toured on a particularly steamy southern afternoon in April.  

If you want to see part 1 of my tour through Charleston click here ~ 


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Come With Me To Charleston ~ part 1

We spent our Easter vacation in Charleston, South Carolina this year.  I had never been there before but my husband assured me that I would love it and he was right.  

We stayed in the historic downtown area where one can stroll for blocks and blocks just admiring the overflowing flower boxes and flickering lantern lit secret entryways.

I kept thinking, "People live here?  Everyday?  In this sheer loveliness?"

For someone, this is home.

And this...

And this...

Even this...

For Americans, this is an old city.  It became Charleston in 1783 but began as Charles Towne in 1670 in honor of King Charles II of England.

*Speaking of England, will you be watching the royal wedding?  I will!*

Well, that's it for the tour today.  If you come back tomorrow I'll share the more mysterious aspects of this alluring city in part 2.  In part 3 I'll take you on a tour of a plantation which includes a 1,000 year old oak tree.

Enjoy your day!

P.S.  I am still hosting my new weekly linky party.  
This week's theme is mercy.  
Click here to join or read the links.   
Next week's theme will be Mom  in honor of Mother's Day May 8th.
Thank you! 


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter {Harden Not Your Heart}

Mark 16:11-14

When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her,
they did not believe.
After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country.  
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.
Later, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because
they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.

Today, have the courage to soften your heart and believe a bit more than you did yesterday.  
Happy Easter!

Linking with Elizabeth on courage.


Worldwide Wednesday Linky Party {mercy}

Last week's entries for Easter were so much fun for my very first link-up.  Thank you to all who participated!  I hope you will be able to find an image to share this week that says mercy to you in some way.  You may include words or simply an image in your post.  

Remember to visit the one who linked ahead of you to share an encouraging comment!


Next week's theme will be "Mom"*


Friday, April 22, 2011

Triduum Meditation

In honor of these three sacred days ~ the Triduum ~ I will not be posting anything new.  Instead, I wanted to share a few photos for silent meditation on the historical events being commemorated.  Again I owe all the photos to my sister who visited Jerusalem and took these images at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  

Christ is crucified.  Known as the Latin Calvary.

Christ is taken off the cross.

Christ is anointed and prepared for burial.
Christ is placed in the tomb.
Venerated location of Christ's crucifixion.  People kneel inside the altar to touch the stone below.
The rock believed to be the site of the crucifixion.

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