Ten generations of the Drayton family have lived here continuously since the 1670s. They haven't had much luck keeping a roof over their heads; the first mansion burned just after the Revolution, and the second was set afire by General Sherman. But you can't call the replacement modern. A simple pre-Revolutionary house was barged down from Summerville and set on the basement foundations of its unfortunate predecessors.
The house is filled with museum-quality Early American furniture, appraised to exceed $500,000 in value. An art gallery has been added to the house as well.
The flowery gardens of camellias and azaleas -- among the most beautiful in America -- reach their peak bloom in March and April but are colorful year-round. You can tour the house, the gardens (including an herb garden, horticultural maze, topiary garden, and biblical garden), a petting zoo, and a waterfowl refuge, or walk or bike through wildlife trails.
Other sights include an antebellum cabin that was restored and furnished, a plantation rice barge on display beside the Ashley River, and a Nature Train that carries guests on a 45-minute ride around the plantation's perimeter.
Low Country wildlife is visible in marsh, woodland, and swamp settings. The Audubon Swamp Garden, also on the grounds, is an independently operated 60-acre cypress swamp that offers a close look at other wildlife, such as egrets, alligators, wood ducks, otters, turtles, and herons.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Very Highly Recommended 2010