Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Low Country Treasure

Charleston has quite a few historic plantation houses, but after pouring over the details of the lot, we settled on Drayton Hall on the Ashley River for a visit. Drayton Hall is the house of an old indigo and rice plantation. It is spectacular in its state of preservation. The paint is peeling, the floors creak, and you can still see where the family marked children's heights on the door frame.

This house has been preserved, not restored -- meaning that since it was acquired by the National Trust from the Drayton family in 1974, it has been kept as-is. The wonderful part is that not many changes had been made since the mid-eighteenth century (it was built in 1742). Shutters were added in the nineteenth century, and repairs made with contemporary materials as needed, but on the whole, it's very similar to how it would have been back "in the day".

There is no furniture or artwork inside the house, since there is no air conditioning to protect it. Windows are wide-open as you pass through the rooms. Window views of languid spanish moss and lush grass are the art. The ultra-verdant landscape contrasts sharply with the dull green-gray of the walls with bits of red wood underneath, and striking greek key on the mantels and star motifs on the molded plaster ceiling. This place is a feast for the eyes.

Find out more about Drayton Hall here.