As I’m sure you’ve concluded by now, Steve and I had a very pleasant trip to Charleston for my birthday. We loved staying at the John Rutledge House Inn. We ate at some fabulous restaurants. We shopped on King Street. We took a carriage ride, a harbor tour and a bike taxi. And we explored several side attractions.
Our destination on Thursday afternoon was the Charleston Tea Plantation. Just in the nick of time we learned about the Angel Oak Tree only a mile or so off the beaten path. We followed the clearly-marked signs and spent several minutes admiring this natural phenomenon. It is considered to be between 400 and 500 years old, so try to imagine gazing at one of the oldest living things in the United States. It is located at 3688 Angel Oak Road in John’s Island, SC, and both the parking and the admission to view it are free. Stop and make photos, just don’t climb or lean on it. There are security cameras all around. Tree authorities expect it to live to see its 900th birthday — although none of US will be around to celebrate.
One of our most unexpected delights was what we found and all we learned at the Charleston Tea Plantation. This is the only place IN NORTH AMERICA where tea is grown. It is PROCESSED here and in other locations, but it is only GROWN here. That’s why almost all tea is imported.
A short free video tour (less than 15 minutes) is given in the back of the large gift shop, and tickets are sold for a more extensive trolley tour through the grounds of the plantation. The trolley tour is $10 per person, lasts about 45 minutes, and makes a stop at the large greenhouse on the property to give you a close look at the tea plants being developed at the time of your tour.
I loved the items for sale in the gift shop, but even more, I loved the dozen or more varieties of free tea available to sample — with unlimited refills. Visitors are encouraged to get their tea and find a cool, shady place on the front porch to sip and savor it.
Waddy the Frog, named for Wadmalaw Island where the plantation is located, is the whimsical host for guests to the front porch. The metal sculpture was created by Charles “Frog” Smith who lives on John’s Island. I know there are fairy tales involving a fair maiden who kisses a frog, thus turning him into a prince. I already have my prince, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to just see what happened. Alas, no magic happened. Just this picture.