Probably my most favorite part of our trip to Charleston was our visit to Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, SC. If I remember correctly, sometime in the late 1600s, the land was given as a grant by King Charles of England to John Boone. Once a 1,000+ acre plantation, the property was booming with cotton and indigo fields, along with pecan trees, and a brickyard, all of which provided income for the owners over the years. The land was passed down through several generations of Boones, and then later sold to the Horlbeck brothers. They established a brickyard on the plantation, and built several homes and businesses in the downtown Charleston area using bricks produced from their plantation. Fast forward to 1950s, the McRae family bought the land and in the late 1950s, opened the property up for public tours. Over the past 300+ years, the property grew from 600acres to nearly 1,500 acres. Today, most of the property has been sold off and developed, but the McRae daughter (now in her late 70s) still lives in the home for part of the year, and her brother (who co-owns the property) lives in downtown Charleston. The only portion of the house that is open to the public is the main level dining room, library, foyer, and “man cave.” Yep, not sure what that “man cave” would have originally been called, but it’s a tiny brick room off the back of the house with a wine cellar beneath. I just remember the tour guide calling it a modern day man cave.
Ok, enough talking, let’s see pictures!! This place is GORGEOUS! 48 live oak trees line the drive leading to the house. They were planted in the 1840s.
The plantation ran smoothly with the help of hundreds of slaves over the years. Even after the Civil War when slavery was abolished, most of the slaves stayed working on the plantation as it was a secure place to work and ensured a roof over their heads.
And there are still several acres of crops that are grown on the property every year. They still have a small cotton field, and fields of tomatoes, grapes, corn, cabbage, eggplant, peach trees, and pecan trees. The pecan trees were planted by John Boone as another large source of income. There used to be hundreds of them on the property, but pecan trees do not stand well in hurricanes, and so many of them have been wiped out over the years.
And the best part (to me at least), is the movie The Notebook was filmed at this plantation! The house Ally lives in is this house (or from the outside, at least). And the river that Noah jumps in when they are hanging out in the canoe, runs behind the home.
The picture above is the old cotton gin. They were trying to renovate it, and it nearly collapsed, so now the wooden support beams hold it up. And below is the dock house on the property, and the location where actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively were married just a few weeks ago. (and when we were there, catering companies were setting up for another wedding).