A week ago, Scott and I took a quick trip to Charleston and stayed at the Inn of Middleton Place. It is an interesting inn. I wouldn’t say it was the best room we have ever had, but the extras well made up for it. Plus, the location. Right on the Ashley River.
First there was a nice, evening reception at which we were served wine, beer and a few snacks. We did have to make conversation with a couple that we did not know because there were no tables for two left. But we stepped out of our comfort zone and had a nice conversation with them. Later, we walked to dinner on the other side of the property. No snakes!
The view on the way to dinner.
Dinner was awe-mazing. All the vegetables were grown on the property. We tried baba ghanoush for the first time. Fantastic. I didn’t know what it was, but I was in a daring mood from the wine at the reception, the view on the way over, and the relief from not seeing a snake.
The next day, we headed over to the property to look around before other tourists started showing up.
Alligators! We saw so many alligators.
See that little guy there? He was the smallest of the group, and didn’t seem bothered by our presence. Later, we nearly ran over him, but he just moved out of the way and into the water. We did see a big one, but he was down the bank away from us. I am not complaining about that.
This is what is left of the original Middleton house. It was burned in the Civil War. Then, what was left standing fell in the earthquake of 1886.
A live oak. I wish I knew how old it was.
A view of the chapel on the property. It was built for the slaves of the plantation. I have to say, there was an undercurrent of justification of slavery that I didn’t care for. During the house tour, the docent told us that the Middletons were good to their slaves. They even built them a chapel. You know, I just can’t get behind that “they were good to their slaves” talking point. They still held people against their will. They still made them work in the fields for nothing. Every day. With the alligators and the snakes and the heat. They built vast amounts of wealth because of slavery. But they allowed them to worship and even to marry. They didn’t sell their children off either. Which is, I suppose, more than others can say. However, you still won’t find me calling it good.
Anyway, the history is incredible, and it is our history in all of its ugliness. I am impressed that they have managed to hold on to their property for all these years. And it is nice that I can pay a little sum to walk around their beautiful gardens.
And they are beautiful. I would recommend a visit if you are ever in the Charleston area. It is worth it. I had a wonderful time with Scott. It was something that I didn’t even realize that I needed until we were on our way home. Things always feel a little better after a day under the trees.