Last year we took a family trip to Charleston, South Carolina. I blogged about Fort Sumter at the time, but I put off talking about Magnolia Plantation and Gardens since a lot of the cool things we got to do were for the 4th of July weekend.
Several antebellum farms are scattered around the Charleston area, the most famous being the Boone Plantation, but we don't like crowds, so we opted for a more secluded one on the opposite side of the city. We didn't intend it this way, but as it was July 4th, military members and their families were free for basic admission and tour of the house, so all we had to pay for was the trolley tour around the property including the swamp. As you can imagine for a family of 7, this significantly reduced the financial burden of the trip.
In addition to being able to stroll around the long winding garden pathways (the map doesn't keep you from getting lost, BTW) and see the farm animals, for the holiday they had tents set up for blacksmith demonstrations, brick making, and free sno-cones and popcorn and watermelon. Patrick and Sam made a clay brick, and they gave us good instructions on how to dry it out in the sun for several days, glaze it with honey and water, and then fire it in our own oven, but we unfortunately left it out through a huge rainstorm (or two) and the poor thing never recovered well enough to bake. The blacksmith gave all the kids "Revolutionary War Hero" swords which were basically nails flattened on the pointy end. The legends goes that in a day of fierce fighting the British, the brave soldier wore his grand sword down to a mere nub by the time the sun set.
There are several different tours to choose from- we opted for the one with very little walking and more nature. We passed by the slave cabins but the trolley didn't stop. For that you have to go on the special heritage tour that tells the history of slavery in area and details slave life on the plantation.
It was hot, but the sno-cones sure helped.