I was so excited to visit Hampton Plantation in McClellanville this week. My only regret was, I didn’t carry JP. That was a definite #MomFail on my part because the history hidden around the grounds was beyond fascinating. It would have made for great homeschool material. Someone pass me the trophy.
But I was selfish. He asked to stay back at the house with our friends and a small part of me wanted time alone in the car (and by small, I mean, 99.9% of me). Off I went.
When I pulled through the gate, I was immediately glad I was in a four-wheel drive! The road is not paved and it’s quite the off-road trek to the Ranger Station. (I’m only being a little dramatic, you will totally be fine in your Honda). But, for a split second, I did feel like I was in an open air JEEP on a safari tour.
Looking through my photos, I’m disappointed I didn’t take one of the Ranger Station. It’s super cozy. You may not care about cozy, but you will care that it doubles as a little souvenir shop and the Ranger is knowledgable, eager to guide you through your experience and answer any questions you may have.
I’m happy to report there are (clean) bathrooms!
I need to introduce you to Sue Alston. A daughter of freed slaves, Sue spent most of her life looking after Hampton grounds and the people who lived there. “In addition to working as a cook, housekeeper, field hand and tour guide, she was also a leader in her family, community and church.” This chimney is the only thing that remains of the Alston family house. Her son, Will, worked for South Carolina State Park Service, sharing the story of his family and generations of Alston’s, enslaved and free.
Tucked in the woods, on your way out of the park, you’ll find a graveyard. I don’t have to tell you how my heart skipped a beat when I saw it (I know I’m weird).
In order to be buried here, you must have been a slave or a descendant of a slave.
Sue Alston was known as the Guardian Angel of Hampton Plantation. Check out the dates on this marker… 110 yeas old?!?!
Can you see the outline of the home on the glass? The design is based on archaeologists research of Hampton. Research shows that a dwelling once stood in this area.
The walk to the actual Plantation house is an easy one. I would suggest you wear tennis shoes, or something with a closed toe. I wore flip flops and was sorry. The “road” is all sand.
(Not pictured: mosquitos the size of my hand)
This building is the last visible reminder of enslaved African Americans who lived and worked at Hampton Plantation. Daphne helped prepare three meals a day from here to carry to the main house.
Before you go:
- Again, wear appropriate shoes. There is a lot of grass and a lot of sand.
- CARRY BUG SPRAY!! I’m writing in all caps because I’m screaming! I can’t emphasize that enough. I had no idea I would need it so I went without. It took less than five seconds for me to be sorry. I was attacked as soon as I stepped out of my car. Mosquitos were so big I could see their eyes – they were glaring at me.
- Be sure to enter the correct address into your GPS. I didn’t feel like there were clear markings as to where you turn off the highway, etc. Suri is your best friend during this trip.
Although you won’t find rivers or a place to hike, Hampton Plantation is one of my favorite spots on this journey.
Remember to visit the South Carolina State Parks website and grab your Park Passport! Tours of the Plantation Home are available and FREE with the blue Park Pass!