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dunes properties of Charleston is a real estate, vacation rental and property management company representing the Lowcountry with almost 80 exclusive Charleston beach vacation rental properties, 70 real estate agents and employees, four full-service offices. Nobody knows the Charleston Coast better.

Isle of Palms Office

1400 Palm Boulevard
Isle of Palms, SC 29451
843.886.5600

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Folly Beach Office

31 Center Street
Folly Beach, SC 29439
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The Real Estate Studio

214 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401
843.722.5618

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Kiawah Seabrook Office

1887 Andell Bluff Boulevard
Johns Island, SC 29455
843.768.9800

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Tag: Boone Hall Plantation

Where to Eat Oysters in Charleston this Season

Oysters in Charleston

The temperature is dropping, and you know what that means: oyster season is upon us. It’s time to gather your supplies — shuckers, gloves, towels — and grab your calendar to pencil in a season of oyster roasts. We’re way ahead of you! Can you tell we love oyster season yet? We’ve pinpointed a few spots that have already set a date to dump a steaming pile of delicious shellfish onto tables surrounded by hot sauce-wielding oyster lovers. Here are five spots to get your oyster roast fix this season, from 2017 and into 2018.

McLeod Historic Site
Take in some real history here and get your oyster fix all in one go. The Charleston Horticulture Society started its now-annual oyster roast last year and will return to McLeod Plantation on Sun. Nov. 5 at 3:30 p.m. Proceeds support the society’s educational outreach programs and you can feel good about that as you chow down on chili, hotdogs, and endless oysters, all under the oaks. There will also be live music, games, and kids’ activities.

Oysters in Charleston

Bowen’s Island Photo Courtesy of Instagram User @bowensislandrestaurant

Bowens Island
One of the best places (if not THE best) to get oysters all season long, Bowens Island is holding a roast to benefit The Lowcountry Autism Foundation on Nov 12 complete with live tunes, plenty of bevs, and a silent auction. As with most oyster roasts in town, it’s an all-you-can-eat deal, and plan to stick around, because the relaxed vibe here, aided by the water, sunset, and social aspect of any oyster roast, will make you want to stay a while.

Riverfront Park
Love animals and oysters? Get your ticket for the Charleston Animal Society’s Chili Cook-off and Oyster Roast set for Sun. Nov. 18 at Riverfront Park. Sample the best chili in town from over 100 competitors  that draws a crowd annually of nearly 10,000, around 25 of whom go home with a new furry best friend.

Oysters in Charleston

Photo Courtesy of Instagram User @chucktownfoodie

Boone Hall Plantation
The Lowcountry Oyster Festival is easily the most popular celebration of the beloved Atlantic delicacy — we’re talking 80,000 pounds of the stuff. We’re talking literally the world’s largest oyster festival, named one of the Top 20 events by the Southern Tourism Society. It comes complete with oyster shucking and oyster eating contests plus live music and a children’s area. The next one is set for Jan. 28, 2018. Knives and gloves will be provided.

Visitor Center Bus Shed
Back to this year, head downtown on Nov. 3 for the 13th Annual Oyster Roast and Silent Auction put on by Friends of the Hunley. Not just an oyster extravaganza, they’ll also be serving up barbecue (all you can eat). The silent action, which includes weekend getaways, Lowcountry arts, gift certificates, and more, is always popular, and its proceeds benefit Friends of the Hunley.

What’s your favorite place for shucking oysters?

Plantations Near Charleston, A Stroll Through History

Plantations Near Charleston

The city of Charleston is bursting with culture and history that begs to be explored, but if you venture a little farther outside of Charleston, you’ll unlock an essential piece of Lowcountry history. The plantations near Charleston offer more than lush gardens and stunning architecture. They provide visitors a glimpse into the South’s complicated past, in addition to the old customs and traditions of the Lowcountry.

Whether you’re lucky enough to call Charleston home or you’re merely visiting for a few days, meandering through the Lowcountry’s famous plantations is a must. Take a stroll through the following plantations to experience their undeniable beauty and get a unique look into the intricate history of the South.

Plantations Near Charleston

Magnolia Plantation

As one of the oldest plantations in the South, the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens should not be missed. Founded in 1676 by Thomas and Ann Drayton, this majestic and historical landmark has been occupied by the same family for over 300 years and has witnessed many notable moments in the history of the United States.

However, the plantation’s history isn’t the only thing that draws thousands of tourists to Magnolia each year. The gardens have a rich history of their own, and their luscious beauty makes the Magnolia Plantation one of the top wedding destinations in America.

History of Magnolia Plantation

In 1676, Thomas Drayton and his wife Ann traveled from Barbados to make a life in the new English colony of Charles Towne (later to become Charleston). They built the Magnolia Plantation and a small garden along the banks of the Ashley River, which provided them with immense wealth through the cultivation of rice.

When you take a guided tour of the plantation, you will hear how African Americans brought rice with them to the Lowcountry, transforming the agriculture and economy of Charleston. There are also four slave cabins, where African American slaves lived and worked on the plantation during this time.

The Magnolia Plantation has withstood many difficult times and witnessed prominent events in America’s history. During the Revolutionary War, the Drayton sons would fight as soldiers against the British. Later, the family would undergo hard times when the Civil War broke out and threatened the future of the plantation.

By opening Magnolia Plantation and Gardens to the public in 1870, the Drayton family was able to preserve the plantation and their livelihood.

The Romantic Magnolia Gardens

As the oldest and one of the most famous gardens in America, the Magnolia Gardens are teeming with stunning horticulture. Explore over 100 acres of Romantic-style gardens that offer something special no matter what time of the year you visit.

You can thank Reverend John Grimké Drayton for much of the beauty seen in the Magnolia Gardens today. To make his wife feel more at home after relocating from Philadelphia, he introduced the first azaleas in America and planted the first outdoor variety of camellias as well.

His ministerial career motivated him to recreate the Garden of Eden, and anyone who tours these gardens can see that he did a spectacular job. With its unrivaled beauty and extensive collection of native flora, the gardens are largely what saved the Magnolia Plantation from financial ruin.

Additional Attractions and Tours

After exploring the Drayton house and the gardens, nature-lovers can take a boat or train tour that takes them through the cypress wetland habitat and the location of the old rice fields. On these tours, you’ll get to see plenty of wildlife that call the beautiful Magnolia Plantation home.

In addition to these tours, don’t forget to take the kids to the plantation’s petting zoo and nature center. The zoo contains both domesticated and wild creatures, many of which are native to the state, including the gray fox, beaver and bobcat.

Plantations Near Charleston

Middleton Place

If you’re looking for the perfect combination of natural wildlife and history, Middleton Place should be on your list of places to visit in Charleston. Nestled on the banks of the Ashley River, Middleton Place is home to America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens, abundant wildlife and historic plantation stables.

It’s easy to feel like you’ve been transported back in time at Middleton Place. Costumed craftspeople work on-site, and heritage animal breeds are present in the stable yards. Handcrafted carriages transport visitors around the carefully preserved plantation, providing an authentic experience.

History of Middleton Place

Built in 1705, Henry Middleton came into possession of the house through his marriage to Mary Williams in 1741. Since then, the plantation has remained under the same stewardship for 320 years.

From colonial times to the years following the Civil War, the Middleton family have played significant roles in American history. Many family members were influential political figures, beginning with Henry Middleton, who was the second president of the First Continental Congress. His son Arthur was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Arthur’s son was the governor of South Carolina and the Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia.

William Middleton, an ardent secessionist, signed South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession in 1860. In 1865, the plantation was occupied by Union troops, who burned the main house and northern wing. William lacked the funds for major restorations, and the small restorations that he did manage were upset by the Charleston Earthquake in 1886.

The following generations dedicated themselves to restoring the plantation and gardens to their original splendor. In the 1920s, the family opened the gardens to the public, and the plantation was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It officially became a National Historic Landmark District in the 1970s.

Life at Middleton Place

The House Museum and Eliza’s House should not be missed during your stroll on the plantation. Both places give visitors a special glimpse into the lives of the Middleton family, the freedmen who served them, and the many enslaved people who worked on the plantation.

The House Museum includes fascinating artifacts donated by the Middletons, including paintings, books, furniture and documents that date back to the 1740s. The house itself is a sight to see, as it is the only portion of the plantation that retains its original structure.

Eliza’s House is a freedmen’s dwelling that depicts the stories of over seven generations of slaves who occupied the plantation’s grounds up until the Civil War. Named after its last occupant, Eliza’s House offers tours to discuss the domestic life of slaves and freed people, in addition to their laborious work out in the rice fields.

Touring the Grounds and Gardens

To experience the beauty and functionality of Middleton Place, seeing the grounds and famous gardens are a must. The plantation’s plentiful land gives visitors the chance to imagine how Middleton Place functioned during the 18th and 19th century. In fact, many of the animal breeds you see at the plantation today were the same ones used to work the land centuries ago.

You can also take a self-guided tour through America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens, which contains centuries-old camellias, azaleas, magnolias and other flora that cover the beautiful grounds.

Plantations Near Charleston

Drayton Hall

Situated on the Ashley River about 15 miles south of Charleston, Drayton Hall is the oldest preserved plantation in America, retaining nearly all its original structure and historic landscape.  Built in the 1740s, the stunning George Palladian plantation also features a Memorial Arch that represents one of the oldest documented African American cemeteries in the country.

Drayton Hall also happens to be located just down the road from the Magnolia Plantation, making it easy to visit both in a single day if you are feeling ambitious. Whether you dedicate a full day or a half-day, Drayton Hall is a must for those who want to unlock a major piece of African-American and Lowcountry history.

History of Drayton Hall

As the third son in the family, John Drayton knew that inheriting his birthplace at Magnolia Plantations wasn’t likely. The 37-year-old widower decided to purchase property along the scenic Ashley River in the 1730s, where he constructed an elite mansion during the late 1740s.

This architectural masterpiece was inspired by the Renaissance influences of Andrea Palladio and sits on over 630 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Drayton Hall is the only plantation that wasn’t destroyed during the Revolutionary War, making it a rare gem of the South.

Drayton Hall served as the hub for John Drayton’s enormous plantation empire. He owned over 100 plantations that spanned across South Carolina and Georgia, where thousands of slaves grew rice, cotton and indigo, as well as mining for phosphate.

The profits generated from the phosphate mining largely contributed to the Drayton’s ability to recover from the Civil War. Drayton Hall passed through seven generations of the Drayton family and was acquired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1974. In 1977, it was opened to the public, and many of the Drayton family artifacts can be seen by all.

The African-American Cemetery

In addition to touring the stunning Drayton mansion, the plantation is also home to one of the oldest documented African-American cemeteries in the nation. Dating back to about 1790, the cemetery serves as the final resting place for over 40 people, both freed and enslaved. Some of the graves are named, but most are unknown.

Although touring the cemetery can be a heavy undertaking, it is a necessary stop if you want a true plantation experience. The cemetery grounds have been left in a natural state to comply with the wishes of Richmond Bowens, whose ancestors were enslaved at Drayton Hall. The cemetery and the plantation itself has largely remained unaltered, giving visitors a sense that they have truly stepped back in time.

Plantations Near Charleston

Boone Hall

Venture through the beautiful Spanish-moss-draped live oaks and gorgeous gardens of Boone Hall, and you’ll understand why it’s the most photographed plantation in the country. Located in Mount Pleasant (roughly 10 miles away from Charleston), Boone Hall is also the oldest operating plantation in the Lowcountry and has a thriving modern market.

The enchanting grounds of Boone Hall attract thousands of visitors each year, not only for its spectacular beauty and year-round activities, but also its rich history. Boone Hall’s enthralling exhibits and tours featuring Gullah culture and black history are the best of any American plantation.

History of Boone Hall

Boone Hall Plantation was founded in 1681 when Theophilus Patey was granted 470 acres on Wampacheeoone Creek, otherwise known Boone Hall Creek. It is believed that Patey gave his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Major John Boone about 400 acres as a wedding gift.

John Boone was one of the original settlers of the South Carolina colony and held several prestigious positions, including tax assessor and highway commissioner. The exact date of his death is unknown, but the will he created in 1711 left a third of the estate to his wife and divided the rest divided amongst his five children.

The plantation remained in the Boone family until 1811, when the property was sold to Thomas A. Vardell for $12,000. Boone Hall would have many owners, some of them leaving lasting impressions on the plantation.

When Henry and John Horlbeck came into possession of Boone Hall in 1817, the brothers would begin planting the famous Avenue of Oaks. The brothers were in the brick business, and many buildings in downtown Charleston feature their bricks, including Stephen’s Episcopal Church and St John’s Lutheran Church.

Boone Hall was purchased by Harris and Nancy McRae in 1955 and opened to the public in 1959. Now owned by William McRae, the historic grounds of the plantation can be toured by the public, while the other half of the plantation is used to produce crops such as strawberries, peaches, tomatoes and more.

Gullah Culture and Black History

What sets Boone Hall apart from other plantations is its amazing exhibits and performances featuring Gullah culture and black history.

Their Black History in America exhibit offers visitors the chance to take in educational and entertaining performances that take place in the nine original slave cabins, each built between 1790 and 1810.

Boone Hall is also the only plantation to feature live presentations from contemporary Gullah people who share their unique story and culture with visitors. Taking in a performance at the Gullah Theater is an experience that you won’t soon forget.

Boone Hall Farms Market and U-Pick Operations

Boone Hall has been providing crops and produce for the Lowcountry since the 17th century when John Boone first inherited the land, making it the oldest operating plantation in the nation.  Their continued success has allowed them to establish Boone Hall Farms Market, which officially opened in 2006, and the Boone Hall Farms U-Pick fields.

Boone Hall Farms Market features reasonably priced produce that is always fresh and local. Taking part in the U-Pick fields is a fun activity that you can do with the entire family, and you’ll take home a juicy basket of produce that you harvested in these historic farm.

The plantations surrounding Charleston, SC offer stately, historic homes, lush gardens, and an abundance of learning opportunities about early American life. If you’re planning a trip to Charleston, visit a historic plantation site for a rewarding experience that your whole family will enjoy.

You Don’t Have to Be a Celebrity to Have a Destination Wedding

Charleston (and the entertainment media in general) is still abuzz about the surprise nuptials of Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively over Labor Day weekend.  The couple was married here in Charleston at the cotton dock at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. The event was planned by Martha Stewart’s crew, so you know it had to be one fabulous, well done affair that we’ll unfortunately have to wait until December to sneak a peek at when the event will be featured in Martha Stewart’s Weddings magazine. The couple chose Charleston reportedly because Reynolds has a love for the city and it has become a special getaway for him and Lively.

Now you bride to be may be shying away from the idea of a destination wedding after reading “$3000 cake” or “Carnival hour” and “Martha Stewart’s crew” but a destination wedding is not just for the rich and famous.  If you are planning a wedding, look to Charleston! The weather here is usually gorgeous and even the winters are mild by the standards of most. And if you want a summer destination wedding but the idea of standing outside in the sun isn’t appealing,  the beach is a more breezy option for you, or a yacht during a coastal or harbor cruise.  There are also plenty of air-conditioned, indoor options.

And don’t forget the food. Get kitschy and rent the airstream trailer from Jack’s Cosmic Dog and treat your guests to hot dogs (and veggie dogs) with plenty of different fixins, cookies instead of cake from Charleston Cookie Company, believe or not Piggly Wiggly can make a great cake if you are minding your budget.  Or a catered mix of elegance and southern comfort food (like mac and cheese or shrimp and grits) from the likes of Cru Cafe or Good Food Catering.

Think of the wedding photography; the beach, the gardens, the harbor front, the pineapple fountain in waterfront park (I am proud to admit the pineapple has a special place in my wedding album).  The locale is beautiful, there is something for every taste from eclectic and funky to elegant to whimsical.

And the second to the commitment you are about to make to your partner, the guests! Dunes Properties vacation rental properties are a great option.  Vacation rentals are a perfect, cozier and often more cost efficient alternative.  You can make your own meals, a larger group can gather more comfortably in a living room than a hotel room which makes staying in a welcome pleasure, and the beach could be in walking distance or right outside the back door. And your guests will love that staying with Dunes Properties means a slew of local businesses will offer them discounts – Charleston SUP Safaris eco tours , Flipper Finders kayak tours, high speed boat tours of Charleston harbor with Thriller Charleston, golf at the Links at Stono Ferry, what would make better photo ops for groomsmen or bridesmaids than a day of roller skating at Hot Wheels Skating Center , horse drawn carriage tours of downtown with Palmetto Carriage Company, ghost tours with Bulldog Tours and others.   Charleston Green Taxi offers discounted transportation, and On the Spot Baby Equipment and Rentals has everything you need for little ones away from home at 10% off for guests as well. And if you just want to see where Blake and Ryan tied the knot, Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens offers $2.50 off adult tickets.

What are waiting for? Start planning that Charleston wedding!

 

Historic Plantations In South Carolina

Did you know that South Carolina still has plantations? A plantation by definition is an estate on which crops such as coffee, sugar, and tobacco are cultivated by resident labor, or usually a large farm in tropical or semitropical climates. Plantations were developed and established long before the Civil War and are still around.

In today’s society plantations exist for many different purposes. Most are simply residential, used as family houses, vacation homes, or converted into inns for guests and visitors to reside. A few are open to the public as historic sites, used for tours, event use such as weddings or formal affairs, and in a few rare cases, some have petting zoos.

A handful of these plantations, however, are still functional today producing fruits and vegetables instead of the cotton or tobacco that helped shape their purpose hundreds of years ago. Original slave houses still stand on several plantations and offer a vast amount of history to those willing to learn.

Harriet McLeod, of the Chicago Tribune explains that finding buyers for these “antebellum plantations that one grew the indigo, rice and cotton that made South Carolina rich can prove quite the challenge.” In fact, ten plantations are up for sale in South Carolina according to www.plantationservicesinc.com. Heavy with history from colonial times through the Civil War,these Southern plantations were almost impossible to maintain without slave labor and most have fallen to decay.

As in the past, South Carolina looks to the North for help. ChipHall, real estate broker, claims, “An infusion of ‘Yankee money’ after the Civil War saved and preserved many historic Southern plantation houses and land.” His assumptions about Northern help are correct as most modern buyers do indeed come from the Eastern and Northern areas of the country.

Max “Macky” Hill III, whose family has owned Middleburg Plantation (built in 1697) for more than 30 years supposes that recent plantation buyers are looking for an investment, an area to hunt, or just a family vacation home. “Some are looking for the rarity of a surviving period house as if it were agigantic piece of antique furniture,” he said.

Plantations do cost at least $500,000 a year to maintain and those that are open to the public must charge an entrance fee to help maintain the property. It is normally a reasonable price to pay and well worth the history and experience. Four of the largest functioning plantations open to the public are Boone Hall, Magnolia, Drayton Hall and Middleton Place.

Boone Hall Plantation, located in Charleston County, is open daily for tours, special events, school field trips, and U-Pick season, where visitors can pick their own fruits and vegetables that the plantation produces. Their tour times and prices can be viewed at their website, and tickets purchased ahead of timeonline if desired.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, founded in 1676, is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry and the oldest public gardens in America. This diverse property houses varieties of gardens, the plantation home, a nature train, boat tours, standing slave houses, a petting zoo and hold several weddings and events a season. Admission and tour costs can be found on their website with all children 6 and under free.

Drayton Hall Plantation is a historic home located in Charleston Countypreserved since its building in 1738 by the Drayton family. It is the oldest surviving example of Georgian Palladian architecture in the United States and remains close to its original condition today. Tours include the main house with readings from diary entries and photos of the family, an African American history with a walk through the cemetery on the grounds, and toursof the land and creeks that run through it. Prices are available on the website.

Middleton Place is 65 acres of gardens with something in bloom all year round, a house museum that was built in 1755 that still holds the family’s possessions, and plantation stableyards where costumed interpreters demonstrate life on a Lowcountry rice plantation. Special events are held regularly in the mansionand around the gardens, self-guided tours are available along with general tours and a restaurant is located on the grounds and open to all. Guests are also welcome to stay at the inn in one of the 55 spacious rooms. Tickets and admission information are available at the plantation’s website.

Whether you come to South Carolina to buy, stay in, or simply visit a historic plantation, it will be an experience you will never forget!

- Amanda Graham

Dunes Properties Volunteers at World’s Largest Oyster Roast

This Sunday at Boone Hall Plantation come say hello to many Dunes Properties agents, employees and even our President himself, Randy Walker.  We’ll  be volunteering on behalf of Hollings Cancer Center and serving up buckets of oysters  at the 2010 Lowcountry Oyster Roast.

The Greater Charleston Restaurant Association sponsors the festival and they go through about 65,000 pounds of oysters. This event has been named in the “top 20 events in the southeast” by the Southeastern Tourism Society.  

The festival offers many other food options from local restaurants as well entertainment, contests and activities for kids.  Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House, Hollings Cancer Center, Travel Council and Charleston County Science Materials Resource Center. 

Here’s a few facts about oysters:

  1. There’s no way to tell males from females by their shells and they may change sexes a few times in their lifetime
  2. Oysters can be eaten 12 months a year (not just ones ending in “r”). The “r” myth probably came about when oysters needed to be shipped and there was inadequate refrigeration in the warmer months
  3. Oysters are nutritionally well balanced and recommended for low cholesterol diets

Bring your gloves, shucking knife, and appetite! We hope to see you there.

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