Two of my all-time favorite historic bed and breakfast inns are both located in an area known as "The Lowcountry," which includes environs of Charleston, SC and located less than a two hour drive from each other. Each of these inns, Mansfield Plantation B&B (also see Mansfield Plantation Mirrors the Majesty of The South) and The Inn at Middleton Place, is located on a once thriving ante-bellum plantation reflecting much of what Old South living was like during those years. The on-the-water settings of these plantations are magnificent and provide an ethereal beauty one never seems satisfied with experiencing just once. At least, that has been my experience--and I have made repeated visits to each.
Established in the early 1700s, Mansfield was a prosperous rice plantation and still has the slave village (middle photo), including the chapel, on the the premises. The Schoolhouse (right photo) provides a stark contrast to the shanties of the slaves. Built circa 1840, it was the building used for schooling the plantation owners' children; it now offers two guest rooms and a front porch with rockers for guests visiting Mansfield. My favorite rooms are The Man (upper left photo) and Woodward rooms. These rooms are located on the ground floor of the North Guest House and open onto a private patio featuring a fire pit.
There is much to explore on the plantation grounds of Mansfield as well as in nearby Georgetown, where fine dining may be enjoyed. Anytime is a good time for visiting Mansfield Plantation, and I consider the rates hard to beat for all that is offered. Sitting in a swing suspended from a moss-draped ancient oak, while watching a sunrise or sunset over the Black River, promises an indelible memory.
I love the exquisite woodworking and handsome furnishings found at Mansfield, but I equally enjoy the less formal setting to be found at Middleton Place. Set in a natural, woodsy setting overlooking the Ashley River, the Inn at Middleton Place offers spacious and tastefully decorated guest quarters in a variety of price ranges. For an over-the-top experience, The Ashley River Room (see two photos below) is more like a grand suite than a "room" with its own private deck overlooking the Ashley River and surroundng marshlands.
There is always a plethora of things to do and see at Middleton Place--from the fall Plantation Days to Ashley River kayaking. Take a look at the amazing offerings noted on their impressive Calendar of Events listing, and you are bound to find something of interest or intrigue. In addition to a delicious breakfast and a wine reception each evening, guests at the inn also receive complimentary passes to the adjacent Middleton Place Gardens, house museum, and stableyards. Wonderful nature tours and a labyrinth provide additional outdoor enjoyment.
Last, but not least, no trip to Middleton Place would be complete without a casual lunch or a more formal dinner at The Restaurant at Middleton Place. Typical of everything found at Middleton Place, the setting is idyllic and quality reigns. There is even a well-lit path, along the river, which leads from the inn to the restaurant.