And our one and only plantation visit.

Confession Time. I despise guided tours not just because I like to tour at my own pace, but mainly because there is inevitably someone in the group who either 1) asks stupid questions; or 2) tries to show off with their “knowledge.” Often the overlap of these two groups is strong. Adding to this is that all of Charleston’s plantation homes required guided tours. Sigh.

More bothersome were the ticket costs for these grand homes. Not because we are budget travelers (a look at the blog will indicate to the contrary…), but because I don’t place a $32 tour of a plantation home that happens to be “an essential part of the Charleston and American experience” on the same level with Mt. Vernon, the home of The Father of Our Country, which can be toured (with a guide) for a paltry $20. Even Louvre tickets are under a Jackson, and one can spend (as I have) the entire day in the museum.

Moving along. The Magnolia Gardens and Plantation turned out to be the perfect compromise. Tickets purchased, we shooed the “children” and CTF along their own paths while Tony and I explored at our leisure.

So. Much. Spanish. Moss. Spoiler: it is neither Spanish and nor is it Moss.

Quite possibly the most beautiful WC ever. This building was once a stable, as well as a schoolhouse for enslaved children.

Camelias! Star Flowers! More Spanish Moss! Rogue Hydrangeas! And, I think, even some Plum Blossoms!

Walking the extensive trails we found ourselves at one of the ponds. Alligator! I have to write that I was a bit concerned walking along these paths.

Further along we eventually found the plantation home of the Drayton Family (established 1676); and the site of a 1780 British Attack at the riverbend.

Another pond, the Swamp Cypress creating an ethereal setting.

An Anhinga airing its wings.

Another pond. Another gator. I’m guessing turtles and gators all get along.

Cypress-filled swamps. Swoon-worthy and otherworldly.

And on our day went. There followed a stop for seafood somewhere, and then it was back to the beach in search of the elusive intact Sand Dollar.