Thursday, November 8, 2012

Magnolia ~ Magnolias

It didn't start out that way. There was no such plan. But it happened anyway. We did plan to visit the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens today. When we got there we decided to purchase the All-Inclusive Pass which meant we were there for the day...and we are so happy about that this evening. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was established by Thomas and Ann Drayton in 1676 with 3,000 acres along the Ashley River and remains in the Drayton family to this day, although less than 500 acres remain.

We took a tram ride through the Plantation where we saw several alligators; we toured the house; had lunch; toured the slave quarters; and took a pontoon boat ride through the former rice fields where we saw several alligators. I have so many alligator photos! It's getting late and I took over 300 photos today but do want to share some highlights.

Driveway into the plantation

Live Oak tree over the Ashley River

An alligator and a turtle share a sunning platform, one of many that have been placed in the marshes for the animals to sun themselves.

Here is a closer look at that alligator and turtle.

Great White Egret

Red Shouldered Hawk

Young alligator

The family fortune was lost except for the land, of which more than 2,500 acres was sold. The manor house was burned down during the Civil War, a hunting cabin was later built on the site, then expanded into its current size in the 1900s. This is actually the rear of the home.

This is the front porch, which faces the Ashley River since boats were the only means of access to the plantation for many years. And, of course, MOAO!

We took a lunch break near these swings...I LOVE SWINGS!

There are many massive Live Oaks on the property and throughout the deep south. Don't miss Rich; he's standing next to the trunk.

There are four remaining slave cabins, each has been restored to reflect different periods in the long life of this plantation. Johnny Leach raised 13 children on the plantation, many of those years in an expanded and somewhat updated cabin right here on "the street" of former slave cabins. At 90 he still works at Magnolia Plantation, as do one of his sons and a grandson.

After touring the former slave cabins, we strolled back past the house and down to the river landing for our pontoon boat tour. We saw several Great Blue Herons throughout the day.
In this next photo, the Great Blue Heron pictured above had flown across the marsh and was landing on this stump.

This was the first of several alligators we saw from the boat.

Yet another Great Blue Heron, this one in flight!

A few remaining fall colors.

Another alligator...this one is pretty good size, about six feet long the guide estimated. The biggest alligator on the plantation, Willie, was hidden among the cattails. We could barely see him but I could not get a clear shot.

We saw ospreys fishing. They don't nest in this marsh but do come here to catch fish. I have zoomed in as close as I can but it's difficult to see the fish in his talons as he takes it away to eat.

This, of course, is a Palmetto tree...the state tree of South Carolina.

The gardens are truly amazing and include 2,000 species of camelias along with a multitude of plants and other flowers. This time of year, there are not a lot of flowers in bloom but here are a few of the ones we saw today.

That ended our day at the plantation, we were hungry, and I suggested we eat at...can you guess? YES! We drove into Charleston to have dinner at Magnolias, my favorite restaurant...anywhere!

I liked the ice and the light and the casual arrangement of these glasses, from my perspective, just the way our server had set them on the table, so I took this shot. Another waiter came over and asked if I has just taken a picture of the glasses and could he see it...he loved it! I do too!

The table across from ours.

Rich ordered the same dish as I always have there...Spicy Shrimp & Sausage, which are served over grits with a tasso gravy. It did not photograph well but those flavors together...oh my!

We even splurged on desserts, unusual for us. When we got home, I visited for a while with our neighbors, who are from Ontario, but not for long because I was excited to upload the 322 photos taken today. I was not disappointed...not by anything today.

Lovin' Life ~~ On a Day of Magnolias

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