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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dancer Wedding: Boone Hall Plantation a Walk Through History

Ms. and the future Mr. Dancer had picked out Boone Hall Plantation for their wedding location and although I had seen pictures and some details from the website there isn’t anything like walking through it yourself. I was super excited to see it before the masses came on Sunday for the wedding, before everything was all set up, Ms. Dancer and I had fun just exploring this fantastic historic place.

The land for the plantation was granted in 1681 to Major John Boone of 470 acres. Later his son planted a line of live oaks along the ¾ mile entrance road into the plantation, now called the ‘Avenue of the Oaks’. Planted in 1743 it took about 200 years for the small seeds to grow tall enough to connect in a canopy over the road. The trees draped in Spanish moss create a fanciful feeling. Driving into the plantation it is the first thing you see and it is a majestic beautiful thing.

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We parked and got out of the car. The plantation as well as allowing events like weddings to take place also acts as a historical site which run tours and educates people on how the old south actually ran. A small field of cotton was immediately behind the parking lot and we stopped by for a look. I had never seen a cotton field and was fascinated by how it looked. ‘King Cotton’ became the backbone of the southern America economy and became the leading occupation of slaves. Cotton plantations required a vast labor force to handpick cotton. It wasn’t until the 1950s that reliable harvesting machinery was introduced into the south. Machines slowly replaced labourers and even today cotton remains a major export of the southern United States.

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Rows and rows of waist high branchy plants with fiberous balls of cotton dangling everywhere. The plants were very prickly and as I walked through the rows in the heat of the day I could only imagine what picking this stuff all day would be like. The fluffy cotton ball grows around the seed of the plant which aids the seeds to float to other areas to be planted.

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After the cotton field we walked over to the main house. Built in 1933 the new owner of the plantation wanted a larger more grandiose house. He built a large Colonial Revival plantation house which still stands today in good repair. Permanent outdoor seating with beautiful trellises are positioned outside for lectures and events. Ms. Dancer plans on utilizing the seating for her wedding guests and will be married right in front of the old house.

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Of course Ms. Dancer and I were not just at the plantation to see the location. We also had to measure how long the runner for the wedding needed to be. Another diy project yet to be completed.

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The house is flanked on both sides by gardens with winding paths. With spring in full swing the gardens were bursting with flowers and will make a fantastic backdrop for photos as well as grounds for the guests to stroll while at the wedding.

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At the end of the gardens was a vender selling sweetgrass. Sweetgrass basket making is a historically significant art brought to America by enslaved Africans. Each basket is unique and each artist provides their own unique style. The baskets take a long time to make and can take anywhere from days months and cost anywhere from 50 dollars to thousands.

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After the house and the gardens we walked toward the cotton dock where the reception will be held. To get there we walk down Slave Street.

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Slave street consists of nine original small cabins built in 1790 used at one time to house the plantation slaves.

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Each home was filled with a wealth of information and although we did not have time to visit all of them I did pop into one. The house I entered had a list of all the slave ships coming into Charleston South Carolina from 1711-1858. It was astounding to see how many slaves entered this one small port. What was even more heart breaking was the list of slaves that entered the boat in Africa and the number of slaves that exited. 25% of the people on each boat on average did not survive the voyage.

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Owning slaves in the South before the Civil War was commonplace, in fact the slaves outnumbered whites.

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After the walk down Slave Street we got to the cotton dock. Although the current dock house was built in 1992 it stands in the original location of the old dock, which got destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and patterned after the original design.

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Originally the cotton dock was created as a location to store and bale the cotton picked on the plantation.

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Then once the cotton crop was collected the cotton would be put on the boat from the dock and shipped to Charleston harbor. I loved the weathered look of the wood and the country feel of the cotton dock. As the sun caught the texture of the wood it was breathtaking.

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I would love to live on this plantation, walk down to the cotton dock and rock on a chair as the sun is setting off the river. AHHHH what a life that would be.

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This location is so fantastic. It has a great whimsical romantic feeling which is perfect for Ms. Dancer’s theme for her wedding. I cannot wait for the big day to get here.

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We managed to see quite a bit on the plantation before we had to run to the next adventure of the day; one down seven thousand things to do.

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1 comment:

lilmansworld said...

Oh i would move there in a heart beat too! Time to read another "message in a bottle" author, whos name escapes me at the moment. Also Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is another classic that I would be adamant about reading while vacationing on a plantation, without lilman of course.

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