Thursday, December 10, 2009

Do, do do Lookin' out my backdoor...

We stayed for a few days at Huntington Beach State Park. Yes California folks... that is the same Huntington family as the robber baron fellow who hung out with Stanford, Crocker, etc. The same Huntingon family that has the beach / library etc in California... but we are in South Carolina. Folks got around.

So... the son of above mentioned robber baron and his wife... who was a sculptor and is a member of the Hyatt family... bought up 4 adjoining rice plantations back in 1930's and made a retreat and gardens. Now that property is split, one part of it is leased by the state park system and contains Atalaya their winter home. The abandoned house was near out campsite so we rode our bikes over to pay a buck to walk through.

Not to be rude... but we coulda saved a buck. It looked like a jail inside and out.

All brick.. ALL... and I dunno if it was painted or covered with something or what.

They had no written plans apparently (big surprise) and it dark inside.

Apparently they were quite a pair. They married later in life, and traveled all over.... with monkeys, birds, deerhounds etc. There was a bear cage there at Atalaya so she could keep bears as she liked to use live models for her sculptures.

The other remaining portion of their property is Brookgreen Gardens. The brochure said that the gardens displays over 550 sculptures... they include Mrs. Hyatt-Huntingon's as well as several other artists works. There is a low country zoo, a wildlife preserve, and you can see part of one of the plantation's slave quarters historical sites.

This historical site is right next to an old rice field that the swamps are slowly retaking. They estimate over 2000 slaves worked those 4 plantations The slaves in their native countries in Africa had grown rice for ages so when they were brought here they are the ones who had the knowledge on how to farm rice. The plantation owners even started choosing certain regions from where they purchased slaves (many were from Sierra Leone) primarily because of their experience with growing rice. The historical site at Brookgreen walks through the slave quarter area with learning stations, maps, explanations, and diagrams. It was estimated that there was once at least 500 people enslaved on that one plantation alone.

As far as the garden sculptures.... they varied in size, medium, and subject and were set in different sections of the garden. I have to say for me, the oak trees with the spanish moss stole the show.

You would walk around a corner and yes there is a fancy garden and sculpture but many were framed by these massive ethereal oaks. My eyes were continually drawn upwards into the trees.

These oaks not only play host to the moss, they also have ferns growing up in their branches!

That spanish moss is not picky were it grew.. it was in trees, and shrubs alike. Here is it on a Crape Myrtle... I think that is a Crape Myrtle. There was a gorgeous one with moss on it in the gardens I also took a photo of but it did not come out right because I can not find it now. Anyway, as it is winter the leaves and buds etc are all off of this tree but the spanish moss remains.

Here is the moss hanging in a blooming camellia shrub...

Yes.. this camellia is blooming in December.
I heard the wind chill in Sidnaw near the end of this week
was going to drop the temp down to -30.
Yep... pretty camillia.

I liked some of the sculptures that were on display at the gardens...

Some of the others...
well they missed us entirely.

Well.. almost entirely.

Then it was time to pack up and we headed deeper south a couple hours to Edisto Island... on the state beach there. We squeezed in between the palms, found our spot... walked 15-20 feet from our door to the beach... and then rode our bikes out of the park across the street to get fried chicken at the Piggly Wiggly.

Here is what greets us when the sun rises...
it is right out of our front door...

I told David it was just like Gilligan's Island! He just laughed at me.

And now look to the left...

and then to the right.....

Across from Delta is the beach access path where the green ends... the beach begins.


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