How to Experience the Best of Boone Hall Plantation

How to Experience the Best of Boone Hall Plantation

Image above copyrighted by Boone Hall Plantation and taken from the Boone Hall Plantation website.

 

Located in Mount Pleasant, about 10 miles from downtown Charleston, you will find Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is situated on the Wampacheeoone Creek. The grounds include a large Colonial Revival plantation house, a number of original slave cabins, a smoke house, the cotton gin house, stables, a dock house, Seabrook cottages, the commissary building, as well as some very beautiful gardens. The historic grounds are open to the public, as another part of the plantation is used for continued farming.

There is a long history of owners and occupants of Boone Hall Plantation, dating back to 1681, the first known date of its existence. In the earlier years, it was passed down through generations of the Boone Family, and after that on through the Horlbeck Family. In the later years, Boone Hall Plantation changed hands more frequently. Presently, the plantation is owned by William H. McRae, and was first opened to public tours in 1959 by the McRae family. The McRae’s have made tremendous efforts to preserve the original structures and gardens of the plantation.

Of course, you are always welcome to stroll through the grounds on your own, but if you would like to learn more about the mansion, slave cabins, gardens, etc., there are several different guided tours available to the public through a well-informed, knowledgeable staff, complete in historical dress! All of the sights, tours, and exhibits of the plantation (highlighted in bold below) are included in your admission price. Note, some are seasonal and others may be weather permitting. For more details on admission prices, and special events that are frequently presented (and can sometimes also affect the tours on the plantation), refer to the Boone Hall Plantation website at: www.boonehallplantation.com. Parking is free.

Image above copyrighted by Boone Hall Plantation and taken from the Boone Hall Plantation website.

 

IMPORTANT SIDENOTE:

As two of Charleston’s most respected tour attractions, Boone Hall Plantation also participates with Charleston Harbor Tours. If you would like to visit the plantation, as well as enjoy a cruise on historic Charleston harbor, you can learn more about this option, as well as purchasing a discounted combo-ticket, by going to the Charleston Harbor Tours website at: www.charlestonharbortours.com. This combo-ticket allows you to enjoy a relaxing cruise while taking in the historic sites of the beautiful harbor and provides you with a voucher for admission to Boone Hall Plantation, as well. This voucher can be used for any date and time of operation. A fabulous way to get “the best of both worlds!”

AVENUE OF OAKS: When you first enter the grounds of Boone Hall Plantation, you will be immediately struck with the overwhelming sense of a “time gone by,” bringing you back to a period of romance, beauty, and grand living in the pre-Civil War era. Magnificent, towering oak trees, draped with clusters of Spanish moss, line each side of the road, and stretch for nearly one mile from the entrance of Boone Hall Plantation to the main house. This is the world’s largest and (considered by many to be) the most beautiful, oak-lined avenue in the world! Still controversial as to when these oaks were planted (some believe they were planted by the Boone family in 1743), most research indicates that it was the Horlbeck’s that started planting the Avenue in 1843. (In total, there are about 88 trees.)

MANSION: The house tour is approximately 30 minutes long. It begins on the front porch and continues through the main floor. Your guide will give you a history of the previous owners of the plantation and how Boone Hall evolved over the years. This tour is offered year round.

SLAVE HOUSES: It was the slaves who did the majority of the backbreaking labor that involved the enormous amount of work necessary to maintain a plantation, as a profitable business for the owners. This tour, starting at the tip of Slave Street, located in the front of the mansion, explores the lifestyles of slaves, through their historic quarters and relics, in the eight original structures that are still standing. This tour is offered seasonally.

Image above copyrighted by Boone Hall Plantation and taken from the Boone Hall Plantation website.

 

COACH TOUR: A visitor favorite at Boone Hall is the Plantation Coach Tour. This is a 40-minute, open-air, motorized coach tour that begins at the Butterfly Pavilion and is offered year round (weather permitting). Covering one end of the plantation to the other, you will see how Boone Hall is still a working plantation and currently produces crops such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, corn, watermelon, squash, cucumbers, and much more. As you move along, your guide will provide you with stories and information regarding the different aspects of Boone Hall Plantation history.

EXPLORING THE GULLAH CUISINE: A wonderful and informative exhibit is, “Exploring the Gullah Cuisine.” This performance takes place in the Gullah Theater, located at the end of Slave Street. See a live presentation of the unique culture adapted by the African slaves (and still alive today in parts of the South).

Image above copyrighted by Boone Hall Plantation and taken from the Boone Hall Plantation website.

 

BLACK HISTORY IN AMERICA: Boone Hall Plantation is very proud of their new, culturally rich exhibit, “Black History In America,” which is located in each of the eight slave cabins on Slave Street. Each cabin has a specific theme where you will learn about the lives of the slaves, how they worked, and the struggles they faced. (Self-guided.)

BUTTERFLY PAVILION: At the other end of the spectrum, is the “Butterfly Pavilion.” Learn about the different stages of development and lifecycles of the butterfly, and view the many species on display. As well as being fun for all ages, the Butterfly Pavilion offers an array of beautiful butterflies that fly freely in the garden and give you the opportunity to experience them in their own habitat. (Self-guided.)

Having been closed three times in the past for filming of North and South (TV mini-series), Queen (sequel to Roots), and The Notebook, see for yourself what makes Boone Hall, “America’s Most Photographed Plantation.” Touted by NBC daytime television as “a must-see stop” when visiting historic Charleston, Boone Hall is full of history and beauty! This “still working,” antebellum plantation reflects Southern heritage spanning 300 years.

Charleston Harbor Tours allows you to combine your Boone Hall Plantation tour with a 90-minute historic Charleston harbor tour to soak in the rich history of Charleston by land and sea. Click here to purchase your discounted combination ticket.

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