Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, SC

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Oh, Charleston.

I have no photos to show for my explorations around this city since I took a majority of them on my iPhone and said phone decided to die which I meant lost everything.

But luckily… I did capture our visit to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens on my SLR which brings us to the postcards I’m sharing with you today from my time there.

img_0592.jpgmagnolia-plantation-and-gardens-setarra^^ My girl, Anna

“Wild and free” are the first two words that come to mind when I think about our self-guided tour through the marsh gardens at Magnolia Plantation. Located right along the Ashley River, Magnolia is truly unique in its harmonic cultivation with nature.

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The beautiful black ponds that reflected everything around them.

The super cute walking bridges.

And let’s not forget the unexpected bamboo forest we stumbled across which added to the already zen-like atmosphere.

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Despite the fact that our visit happened right before peak bloom, we saw a fair amount of flowers everywhere we wandered so I can only imagine what the gardens look like during peak season.

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Anna and I were constantly exclaiming “this is so pretty!” with every corner we turned especially when we stumbled upon the peacock (above) who was free-roaming the grounds.

We (more like me because Anna does not scare easily) also let out a nice loud “Holy Shi-ut!” when we crossed paths with a HUGE rat snake (at least I hope it was a rat snake) lounging along the path we were walking. In reaction to our my screams, it slithered across the path away from us and when our  my heart calmed down, we went about business as usual lol.

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In addition to exploring the gardens, Anna and I spent some time in the history center learning about how Magnolia Plantation was established and the role it played pre and post Civil War.

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It’s a sometimes difficult subject to discuss especially online (Charles and I went back and forth about whether I should really “get into it on the blog”) but I do think it’s important to recognize and acknowledge that at one point in the plantation’s history it housed about 40 slaves. And while yes, they were educated and treated better in comparison to neighboring plantations (as the historical video we watched informed us), they were still slaves.

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It should also be noted that post-Civil War, Magnolia employed the free workers who chose to stay on and continue working on the grounds and gardens… Which made me think that these gardens we were exploring? They were also the fruits of their labor. While walking around, I thought of gardens as being just as much theirs as it is the owners of the plantation and made a mental note of thanks to the spirits of those who toiled these grounds.

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After spending almost 3 hours walking around the property, we eventually made our way to the gift shop where we purchased the best kind of souvenirs = edible souvenirs. Anna got an ah-mazing jalapeno infused peach jam (that we ate with cheese the next day) and I went with the native Charleston Plantation Peach Tea which was so flavorful and aromatic when I finally made a cup of tea later on in the week.

All in all, a life happening day with my girl exploring Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in all its natural glory and history.

Have you ever visited/toured a plantation? If not, would you?

{linking up w/ travel tuesday}

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  • The gardens are so pretty, and it sucks about loosing the photos from your phone! But you good thing you had the camera there!

    • Thanks Diana! Ultimately, the’re just pictures so I got over it but I’m still super glad I took a few photos on my slr camera too. :)

  • I LOVE everything about this, the colours, the refections and that red bridge! So picturesque and calming :) Take me there!!

    • Yes! It really was sooooo picturesque! Hope you have a wonderful weekend Marcella!

  • Ahila Thillainathan

    Beautiful photos of the plantation, Setarra. Would love to visit the place someday. Thanks for sharing this at Travel Tuesday.

  • This place looks and sounds absolutely incredible!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

    • It was even more stunning in person! My photos don’t do it justice. Hope you have a great weekend Kelly!

  • I am really blown away by the beauty of this place! I have to visit (for real). I am making a note since I would love to visit Charleston (have read the food is great in there).

    • Oh yes, the foood was really great and the overall southern hospitality was on point. I hoe you make it to Charleston soon Ruth!

  • wow! this is so gorgeous! i need to get my butt to Charleston!

    • Yes! Get your booty there asap Helene!

  • What a stunning place! I’ve been living down in the south just for about 2 months now and I’ve fallen in love with Live Oak trees. the ones in your pictures are amazing. I’ve never been to Charleston but this is definitely something I’ll want to explore when I do finally make it there :)

    • Yes, the oak trees were such a presence at the gardens! Definitely add Charleston to your travel to-do list Carrie. I think you would have a great visit there! xo

  • Oh noo it’s always so annoying when technology fails you. Glad you got these pictures though, these gardens look so beautiful! I’m a huge fan of anything garden related, so these plantations look like a great day out for me. And not many people around either? Plus a good gift shop and you’re on for a winner.

    I like what you said about acknowledging the role of the slaves in creating this beautiful place. It doesn’t do anyone any favours to forget the more unpleasant aspects of our history, and I like the way you dealt with it.

    • Thanks Rachel! I really appreciate it because I was really torn about whether I should mention it or not but ultimately, decided that keeping it real weighed better on my conscience. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo

  • Rae

    Wow! This place is absolutely gorgeous and with such unique and rich history! And that red bridge is absolutely perfect. Whenever I get around to visiting South Carolina, this place will definitely be on my list! (:

    • Yes, make a trip to Charleston asap Rae!

  • So, funny story. The one time I went to Magnolia Plantation, my husband and I followed a bunch of cars in. A it turns out, those cars were part of a special event (they were the vendors), but we didn’t know. We had never been to the plantation before. We parked, wandered the gardens, and then walked the wrong way through the entrance gate (in other words we exited). When we tried to come back through, we were asked for our tickets which we didn’t have. But our car was parked inside the plantation. There was no way for us to get to our car without being let back through without tickets. Umm… oops. Oh well. We learned our lesson – don’t arrive at the same time as vendors! :)

    Either way, my only regret is that we didn’t bring lunch. I could have stayed at the gardens all day meandering and shooting pictures, but we ended up leaving sooner than we would have liked because we were hungry.

    Your pictures are beautiful and make me want to return. I can’t believe you saw a snake though. Ick! :-/

    • Oh Mandy, I was definitely chuckling while reading this :) I’m sure this is an experience you will never forget lol. We felt the same way about bringing food since it was the reason we decided to leave. The food bar on the grounds seemed a little overpriced.

      And thanks! I hope you make a trip back to Charleston soon! xo

  • rae

    What a beautiful property! I would love to visit the Magnolia Plantation as well – looks like such a lovely way to spend the day. I think it is actually an awesome thing that you chose to acknowledge the messy history of plantations – there is no denying that without the existence of slave labor (which is grossly inhumane and never acceptable) these plantations would not have been what they are today. I guess it is a bit of a strange thing, because at one point we do want to celebrate the history of america and be able to visit historical buildings and enjoy their architecture and gardens, but at the same time, the systematic enslaving and torture of African Americans in the 1600s and 1700s was a part of that system.

    I mean concerning World War II, with concentration camps, these locations are now only museums and places to remember the horrible past, they would never be turned into parks like plantations are. But Plantations also had many other aspects of culture and were not only places of inequality. Difficult though when you think about it – especially historical sites like Mount Vernon – of course you want to visit to experience the home of the first president, but we cannot forget that he kept slaves there.

    I am totally rambling here, but I hope you can kind of get what I mean! Does the Plantation at least have an exhibition that talks about this history? Anyway, I would really love to visit South Carolina again one day!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

    • Thanks Rae! I totally agree with every point you made in your “ramble” :) And yes, the visitor center have an exhibition and ran video that discussed the history of the plantation and slavery. They also have a “slavery to freedom” tour that guides you through the original cabins where the slaves were housed and discusses their role on the plantation.

      I was only in South Carolina for 4 days but time flew and I’m hoping to make a trip back again soon as well! There’s much more I want to see, especially in Charleston!