We wanted to visit at least one Plantation during our time in the South. According to a few online review sites, Magnolia is the nicest. It was established in 1676 and is still owned by the same family. That in itself is fairly amazing. There are Oak trees on the Property that are 500 years old. The Plantation used to grow Rice, not Cotton as we originally thought. Some time around the late 1800’s they gave up on the rice fields. Partly due to a massive hurricane wiping out most of the dykes, and destroying the fields and slavery being abolished in 1865. (written into law, not very effective in the south for many more years) Working in the Rice fields was extreme manual labour in stifling heat, war like mosquitos and muddy fields. Each Slave was required to do a certain amount of work per day, if they failed to meet their Owner’s quota, they would be punished. So sad. The Plantation is also very famous for its gardens. Apparently they have 1 Million (that is not a typo) azaleas’ planted on the property, and lots of other exotic sounding flowers we cannot remember. North American plants bloom in the spring, the Plantation has plants from all over the world, so there are always some in bloom. And… the highlight of the day, we saw lots of Alligators, one about 4 feet away from us.
They also have an Animal rehabilitation / Zoo area on the property. Highlight here was a Bobcat up close. Too bad the Armadillo would not come out of his house. We have seen so many dead armadillos on the side of the road, it would have been nice to see one alive.