on July 10, 2001
Drayton Hall was much more than we expected, and all of it a treat! We wandered along the path from the parking area, not sure what to expect. We first came across the gift shop – a small wooden cabin surrounded by a picnic area. We realized that the girls had forgotten their cameras, and the store had one-time use cameras at a reasonable price. We then ran into a young lady who was getting ready for a presentation about the slaves lives on the plantation. She was fascinating to talk with, so well informed and comfortable with her topic.
We walked around the front of the house, along the road, toward the Marsh walk . We had received a map of the grounds, with the walks detailed, when we paid for our house tour tickets. The walk is really a path thru the underbrush – but this is not your sanitized nature trail. We honestly didn’t go very far – for after seeing some of the biggest spider webs I have ever seen – even on the nature channel! They were really beautiful, but the spiders that made them were just a huge, and plentiful, with a scary habit of dropping down out of nowhere. We gulped back a few screams (suburban wimps we are!) and went a bit deeper, but between the resulting paranoia about the spiders, the big rustling we kept hearing in the bushes and the biting bugs we gave up and swiftly headed back the way we came. It you are not a wimp, as we were, it is a wonderful, well laid trail that really gives you a feel of the swamp land these plantations were built upon.
Once we caught our breath, having exited the marsh quickly, we headed down towards the River walk. This was a lovely, relaxing walk. This walk really gives a feel of the gracious side of the plantation. As we strolled along the walk we could visualize ladies and gentlemen strolling down to meet the boats. We became so relaxed and distracted that we missed the first of the introduction for the house tour.
The introduction for the house tour is given under the trees on the side of the house. Here is where we first learned the difference between preservation and restoration. Drayton Hall is preserved, not restored. That was a bit of a disappointment for the girls, until we started touring the house. At first glance it is very drab compared to the restored homes, but the history is fascinating, and even the younger children were interested in the different stages that the rooms were in.
Do be sure to put this high on your list! It is a visit you won’t forget! The can be viewed as part of the Heritage Passport , that you can even order on line, or purchase at the visitor center
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