Georgetown, South Carolina
Hopsewee Plantation Georgetown Reviews
Captivating Southern Plantation Oct 03, 2011
Although I had lived in the South for over a decade, I never took the time to tour any of the plantation homes in my area. I was determined to correct that oversight during my recent visit to Myrtle Beach. Fortunately I found Hopsewee Plantation. Hopsewee is a well-preserved example of a low country rice plantation. Built around 1740, it’s a National Historic Landmark and has never been altered or renovated beyond adding electricity and indoor plumbing. Amazingly only 5 families have ever owned the property. (A big “thank you” to the current owners for generously opening their home to visitors.)
The house is built of black cypress on a brick foundation covered by scored tabby. Given its high perch on the river bank, it has never flooded. Many of the rooms feature hand-carved molding that looks like small candles (think birthday cake). Furnishings, though not original to the house (those were “lost” during the Civil War), are from the eighteenth and nineteenth century and still very much appropriate to the house. I could have easily taken a seat on the wide porch and enjoyed the view of the Santee River for the rest of the afternoon!
The tour guide was very knowledgeable, and you could tell she really liked her job. Thanks to her I now know that rice plantations are very different from cotton plantations. The grounds also feature two slave cabins open to the public. Framed photos and articles about the plantation and surrounding area were hung on the walls in the cabin farthest from the Tea Room.
Speaking of the Tea Room, my visit also included lunch. For tea drinkers, the Tea Room at the River Oak Cottage is “one of the top-rated tea rooms in South Carolina according to teamap.com” and offers “an elegant Tea in the English tradition with flavorful Southern inspiration.” (If you take the tour, you receive a discount on a selection of their tea services.) I don’t drink tea, so my indulgence was refreshing mint lemonade, a sandwich, and a sampler of the homemade desserts. Try the vinegar pie if you can, and if it’s not available, the key lime cake is an excellent choice as well. Neither of those your style? Ask your server for a recommendation. Ours was the source of the key lime cake recipe used in the Tea Room and knew everything on the menu inside and out.
Other useful info:
Tours of the house happen every hour on the hour.
The Tea Room closes 30 minutes earlier.
Tour tickets are $17.50 for Adults, $7.50 for Children 5-17, and $7.50 for access only to the grounds. I found a coupon for $2 off the adult tour ticket in the CVB's Myrtle Beach Visitors Guide. (http://www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/default.html)
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