It’s hard to believe that a little over a week ago we were in South Carolina, wearing summer clothes and complaining about the heat. Well not really complaining. I loved it, except for on Thursday, when the humidity came out and reminded me why straight bangs just don’t work for me on really hot days in the South. Especially hot days in the coastal South, where no matter how good of a hair day I might start out with I just know it will end up looking corny—frizz and ’90s style curly bangs. Sorry in advance.
When we went to Charleston that day we decided to stay outside the city, where it was quieter and where hotels weren’t so insanely expensive. I found a funny modern (or at least modern for the ’80s) hotel and picked it mainly because it was on the grounds of an 18th century plantation called Middleton Place. The hotel was interesting (a mix of good and bad ’80s decor inside, kind of amazing on the outside. There were views of the Ashley River from our window and also bright green tree frogs suctioned to the glass, which I loved). Even if we hadn’t liked the hotel, being able to tour the grounds of Middleton Place would have made our stay worth it. It was so much bigger and better than I’d been expecting. I think I was imagining a pseudo-old plantation house surrounded by gardens and terraces added recently to cater to the Charleston wedding market, but the gardens were old—dating back to the 1700s, supposedly the oldest landscaped gardens in the country.
We checked into the hotel and arrived at Middleton Place too late to tour the house, which I was a little sad about after we got there and I saw that it was actually old too. Well, part of it had been destroyed by an earthquake and by Civil War Yankees in the 1800s. The part left standing was originally the guest house, which goes to show how big the actual house must have been back in the day.
Still, I liked the gardens best. They were huge—surrounded by stone walls and hedges, complete with walking paths and horse trails. Some parts felt like we were at an English manor house, while other parts made us think we were in the jungle, complete with a thousand mosquitos. I joked about alligators until we actually saw one, and I spent the rest of the time scanning every swamp for one. We saw eight of them in all, and when we had to walk a few feet past one I saw my life flash before my eyes.