Monday, March 18, 2013

Brookgreen Gardens
























"In 1931, Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, founded Brookgreen Gardens, a non-profit garden museum, to preserve the native flora and fauna and to display objects of art within that natural setting. Today, Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historic Landmark with the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world and has the only accredited zoo on the coast of the Carolinas."

On Friday, Reece and I had the privilege and honour of visiting this incredible place. From the moment I turned into the driveway of this estate I was in awe. Majestic oak trees, world renowned sculpture, beautiful gardens and a zoo of both native and domestic animals.

We decided to wonder the zoo first and we were not disappointed. The Cypress Aviary, which is the only known aviary built over an existing cypress swamp, is a lovely stroll on an elevated boardwalk. We saw black-crowned night herons, egrets, great blue herons, hooded merganser and ibises feeding and flying in their natural setting. No words can describe how I felt standing in this aviary, it was pretty amazing. We traveled along the path to see the otters, the foxes, bald eagles, owls, red tailed hawks, deer, cows, horses, sheep and goats. And on our second trip around the zoo we saw the alligator.

Lunch was enjoyed at a lovely cafe and then we were off to explore the sculptures in the gardens. It is really hard to describe how beautiful the gardens and the sculptures are. There were many "take my breath away" moments as we walked.

We visited the lovely children's garden filled with sculptures for the kid in all of us. Reece wondered the woodland setting, following the paths, walking under archways, admiring the sculptures and taking it all in. He didn't want to leave.

The highlight of my day was Live Oak Allée. Standing here are oak trees planted in the early 1700s when Brookgreen Gardens was a thriving rice plantation. These trees are over 300 years old. It was magical to be standing among them. Their strength, their beauty and their power was overwhelming. I felt insignificant in their presence. I felt so much gratitude for them, for Mother Nature, for this earth and for the people who donated the wonderful land in which these trees grow so that I could experience this breathtaking moment.

Hand in hand, Reece and I finished our journey at the gift store before heading back to the hotel. I was in a special place driving home, filled with such gratitude, happiness and love for our experience at Brookgreen Gardens.

The brochure for Brookgreen Gardens says "it is a place to restore your soul and renew your spirit." I couldn't agree more.

26 comments:

  1. We have been several times when we lived in Charleston. I am so happy you were able to visit. It is one of my favorite places and I always feel so restored once I have visited.

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    1. It is now one of my favourite places, just beautiful. We also visited Huntington Beach State Park and toured their summer home and enjoyed some of the nature trails, it was also amazing.

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  2. Beautiful. Thanks for this post! We are planning a trip to Myrtle Beach next winter (my parents usually go there for 2 months each year) during my maternity leave. I will have to add Brookgreen Gardens on our list of 'things to do'.

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    1. Thanks Carrie. We are here visiting my parents they come down for two months as well. We have had a great time!

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Kim. It all looks so lovely! I also love the quote from the Little Prince - a very good reminder. So glad you both feel restored and renewed :)

    Enjoy your week :)

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  4. What a lovely place to spend a day! You caught some really great moments in the photos. Glad you are having a fun time on your vacation :)

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    1. Thanks, it was! We are having a great time and are sad to see it come to an end this week.

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  5. I am always amazed at how other worldly the trees in the south look. What beautiful place to visit! And so many animals too. I would love to see those owls and that fox!

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    1. It is pretty amazing. They just seem to have such a presence to them. It really was a beautiful place to visit.

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  6. what a beautiful place! i can only imagine how restored you felt after spending time there.

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  7. Following you along on your trip is just beautiful! Wishing you many more happy days like today!!! ~ Love, Halina

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    1. Awe, thank you. I have enjoyed sharing it.

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  8. Beautiful, Kim! What a fabulous field trip this must have been. Thanks for sharing! What a great place to know about :)

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    1. Thanks Kristen. It was a great find, so happy we were able to enjoy a day here.

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  9. That place looks like such a treasure.

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  10. I'm so glad you had a wonderful visit! I love that place.

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    1. We did and if we ever come back we be visiting again :)

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  11. I grew up close by and was there days before you were in March 2013. You wonderfully captured the beauty and magic of a lovely spot as seen by both a child and an adult visiting Brookgreen!

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    1. Wow, how cool is that! Thank you, it was a very special visit for both of us. We are lucky to be heading back there in a few weeks, can't wait!

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