Local living like a tourist – Hopsewee Plantation

Hopsewee Plantation is located in Georgetown and is one of the oldest historical preservations open to the public in the U.S. Only five families have owned it although it was built almost 40 years before the Revolutionary War. The current residents are Raejean and Frank Beattie and they have turned it into a beautiful tourist attraction.

Besides the scenic landscape, the family welcomes tourists not only for its historical significance but for the River Oak Cottage Tea Room, which is considered one of the top three tea rooms in South Carolina.  They also offer tours and educational programs about the people who lived here.

On a recent trip to the Hopsewee Plantation with the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, we were treated to an elegantly served lunch. Raejean Beattie, creates her own recipes and oversees all the preparation of the food. On this day we had a full plate of chicken salad, potato salad, bean salad and a cheese biscuit on a plate of tossed salad.

While we ate, we heard about the history of the plantation by our tour guide, Zenobia Harper. She shared that about 180 enslaved people, mostly from the Gullah Geechee heritage, worked on the 240 acres of rice fields. The plantation was named for the word “hopsewee”, which means high point on the water.

“People with many different cultures from Africa that came to American clashed with the Europeans that were already here. The Gullah Geechee language was created from all the cultures coming together,” shared Harper. “We offer programs that focus on the history and offer story telling about the slaves and the contributions that the Gullah Geechee people made.”

After lunch, we had a tour of the property which is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway. The house is still a private residence, but visitors to the Plantation are welcome to tour although some rooms are off limits.  It is a typical low country rice plantation dwelling of the early eighteenth century with four rooms opening into a wide center hall on each floor, a full brick cellar and attic rooms. The house has carved molding in each room and random width heart pine floors are almost one and one half inches thick. It is built of black cypress and has not changed much since the original owners, the Lynches, built it 240 years ago. Thomas Lynch, Jr. was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

The Hopsewee Plantation offers a variety from light lunches to full dinners in the tea room.  You could spend as little as an hour enjoying the meal or make it a full day affair.  We thoroughly enjoyed the day and would recommend it anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the area.

Until next week … enjoy all the Grand Strand has to offer.

Since July 2011, Sherrie has been living in North Myrtle Beach and sharing the best that the Grand Strand has to offer. From people to events, Grand Strand Happening is your source for everything fun from Little River to Murrells Inlet.

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