Hampton Plantation State Historic Site – Thanks, George Washington

The other day, my mother and I visited Hampton Plantation which is situated about 35 miles north of Charleston and definitely worth the drive. The incredible grounds are free to the public and offer beautiful hiking trails. I learned the gardens were later added by Archibald Rutledge through cuttings from friends and garden clubs, as well as exploratory “finds” in the woods. Lucky for us, the camellias and azaleas were in full bloom. The pathways are lined with “bootleg bricks” which were collected from abandoned plantations to cut costs. They add a charming handmade appeal to the extensive grounds.
Hampton Plantation was a home originally built in 1735 by Noe Serre, a French Huguenot refugee. In 1757, Daniel Horry purchased the home and made great expansions to it, adding a ballroom on one side and a master bedroom suite on the other side. The home passed to the Pinckney and Rutledge families and was finally sold to the state of South Carolina in 1971.
We took a guided house tour and found it fascinating to glimpse this 2 1/2-story wood-frame Georgian plantation house complete with dormered hip roof, clapboard siding, and a raised brick foundation still standing tall. Though empty, it was still captivating to explore all twelve rooms. My favorite feature of the home is the Adamsesque portico which was added in 1790-91 especially for President George Washington’s visit and is the first of its type in the United States. The temple front includes eight Doric columns (six in front; two on the sides) supporting a lovely Adamsesque frieze and gable. The rocking chairs look like they’re waiting for visitors to arrive! It was during his May 1st, 1791 visit that George Washington “saved” the oak tree in the front yard from an untimely death. Harriott found it troublesome, but George managed to convince her to spare its life.
I tried to imagine Eliza Lucas Pinckney strolling the grounds during the time she lived here with her daughter Harriott Pinckney Horry. Rice and indigo were once grown on the plantation. Eliza’s contributions to the growing of indigo makes her one of the most significant women in Charleston. Just a few years later, George Washington would serve as a pallbearer upon Eliza’s 1793 death.
To learn more about Eliza Lucas Pinckney, book my High Society tour where guests are given a walking tour around Charleston’s Historic downtown then allowed special access inside South Carolina Society Hall where sweet tea and desserts are served whilst listening to an intimate portrayal of Eliza Lucas Pinckney.
To visit Hampton Plantation:
1950 Rutledge Road
McClellanville, SC 29458
Phone:  843.546.9361
Ground hours:  April – October 9:00 am – 6 pm daily
                             November – March 9:00 am – 5 pm daily
Mansion hours:  Guided tours only, Friday, Monday and Tuesday noon, 2 pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am, noon, 2pm
Admission:  Grounds are free
House:  $7.50/adult, $3.75/SC Senior, $3.50/youth 6-15 years old, Free/children 5 years and younger

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