Middleton Place is an 18th Century rice plantation and National Historic Landmark comprising 65 acres of America's oldest ... More
Middleton Place is an 18th Century rice plantation and National Historic Landmark comprising 65 acres of America's oldest landscaped Gardens, the Middleton Place House Museum and the Plantation Stableyards. The Gardens reflect the elegant symmetry of 17th Century European design. Sculpted terraces, parterres, and reflection pools inhabited by swans are highlights of their intricate design. Rare camellias bloom in the winter, while vibrant azaleas blanket the hillside above the Rice Mill Pond in the spring. Tickets for house tours are in addition to general admission rates.
We took the "grounds, house and stable" package at $30 per person and had to struggle to keep ourselves occupied for even 2 hours.
The house tour lasted for 30 minutes, which is far more than is needed. Our guide's presentation was disjointed and uninformative; it appeared that she had memorized a written script without any real familiarity with Middleton's place in history to back it up.
Before the house tour, we strolled around the grounds a bit and covered the high points in about 20 minutes.
Then we moved on to the stable area where we talked with 4 or 5 local craftspeople about blacksmithing, weaving, etc. These conversations were the highlight of our visit, but very limited in number. We also visited the slaves' quarters, which amounted to 1 building and a number of signs to read (no guide there).
Comparing our experiences at other restored historical sights (Genesee Country Museum in NY State, Upper Canada Village, Williamsburg) we got a lot less value for money at Middleton. If they reduced the entry fee to a maximum of $15 per person, improved the quality of the house tour talk, and beefed up the crafts demonstrations, then maybe they would have something that we would have felt better about. I don't know what the other plantation tours around Charleston are like, but if Middleton Place is your only choice save your time and money - it isn't worth it.
Two other points: We used the map on Middleton's brochure to drive out there and wasted over an hour, getting lost and back tracking. Don't rely on those directions!
Middleton has a restaurant on the premises, where we thought we would have lunch. But seeing that the only alternative was a 2 course menu for $15 per person, we decided to grab a sandwich somewhere else.
The grounds at Middleton Place are beautifully maintained and everyone we came in contact with on our walk was pleasant and friendly.
Our kayaking guide brought our attention to the tiniest of details as we made our way along Fiddler Creek. She was also very helpful getting us first time kayakers adjusted!
Middleton Place is a must-see on my Charleston list and my husband and I are always showing off our pictures of the 'gators!
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