Immerse yourself in history during 75th annual Tours of Historic Plantations & Homes

4 Feb

Immerse yourself in history during 75th annual Tours of Historic Plantations & Homes

Twelve beautiful plantations, eight historic homes, three scenic church properties, and more will soon be open to the public for a two-day event along South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®.

The Women of Prince George Winyah Church of Georgetown has announced the 30 tour sites for the 75th annual Tours of Historic Plantations & Homes, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 25, and Saturday, March 26. In addition to the tours, the event includes three other smaller events: an Oyster Roast & Pig Pickin’, which requires a separate ticket; an Afternoon Tea; and a Bazaar & Bake Sale.

Chicora Wood Plantation house is one of the properties that will be open to the public during the 75th annual Tours of Historic Plantations and Homes. (Photo courtesy of Women of Prince George Winyah Church)

Mary Boyd, a member of the event committee, said that she is thrilled that the group will be able to hold the Plantation and Home Tours in spring 2022, after two years off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Thank goodness we can host the tours this year,” Boyd said. “The plantations on the tour are premier examples of Colonial and 19th-century architecture, as well as good examples of the culture of the day.”

Lisa Collins, another member of the committee, agreed.

“Everyone is ready to get back to normal activities and enjoy a taste of our Lowcountry,” she said.

Collins said the annual Plantation and Home Tour is a wonderful event for Prince George church, the community and people who travel to the Hammock Coast. Participants will travel throughout Georgetown and up to the Pawleys Island area to tour homes and properties.

“I urge everyone to come to Georgetown for a beautiful weekend of history, fellowship and beautiful sights,” Collins said.

Tickets for the event, which are $50 each for one day and $90 each for two days, are now on sale and are required. Organizers suggest purchasing them in advance. All money raised by the Tour is allocated to community outreach and the preservation of the historic Price George Winyah Church buildings.

“The success of the Tour has made a difference in the lives of the poor, the friendless, and the needy in our community, which continues to be our prayerful aim in this endeavor,” Boyd said.

Prince George Winyah Church is hosting its 75th annual Tour of Historic Plantations and Homes. (Photo by the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Prince George Winyah Church is a historic Anglican church in Georgetown. It is one of the oldest continuous congregations in South Carolina, and the church building is one of the oldest churches in continuous service in South Carolina. In 2021, it celebrated its 300th anniversary.

Founded in 1729, Georgetown is the third oldest city in South Carolina after Charleston and Beaufort. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the region became home to many rice planters, who once exported so much rice that Georgetown County was once the wealthiest county in the United States. Though rice is no longer a major export for the region, many of the plantations, town houses, and gardens left by the planters remain and have been preserved by Georgetown’s present-day residents.

Boyd said in addition to historic properties, this year’s tour will focus on the contributions of enslaved Africans for rice cultivation. She said many people may not know that Africans were brought to the area because of their knowledge and expertise about rice production, from creating rice fields to building equipment like rice trunks for flooding the fields regularly and more.

“When people on the tour see rice trunks and hand-carved moldings in the interior of these beautiful homes, all designed by enslaved Africans, they should remember the unsung heroes of that time period,” Boyd said.

Tour sites

Each spring, the Prince George Winyah Church Women hosts the Tour of Historic Plantations and Homes. Visitors have a unique opportunity to tour many of the historic plantations, town houses, and gardens that are not publicly accessible at any other times. Tour sites for the 2022 Tour are listed below. Because organizers rely on the generosity of private homeowners, tour sites are subject to change without notice. Sites with an asterisk (*) only allow tourgoers on the grounds and not inside the home.

The Black River House is on this year’s tour. (Photo provided)

Friday, March 25

  • ​Prince George Winyah Church
  • The Oaks Plantation
  • Rice Hope Plantation
  • Estherville Plantation
  • Belle Isle Plantation
  • Rosemont Plantation
  • George R. Congdon Jr. House
  • Jane Scott House
  • Henry Cuttino House
  • Samuel Marsh House
  • Sampson-Sawyer House
  • Charlotte Kaminski Kindergarten
  • Joseph Kaminski House
  • Savage-Smith House
  • Winyah Indigo Society Hall

The East Bay House in downtown Georgetown is a tour favorite. (Photo provided)

Saturday, March 26

  • ​Prince George Winyah Church
  • Prince Frederick Summer Chapel
  • Chicora Wood Plantation*
  • Arundel Plantation*
  • Black River House*
  • Mansfield Plantation*
  • Arcadia Plantation*
  • All Saints Parish, Waccamaw Churchyard in Pawleys Island*
  • Exchange Plantation
  • Barrow House
  • Litchfield Plantation in Pawleys Island
  • Greenwich Plantation Kitchen
  • East Bay House
  • Crafton-Kerwon House
  • Thomas Hutchinson House
  • Winyah Indigo Society Hall

​People who participate in the tours can also take part in the other events planned during the weekend.

Oyster Roast & Pig Pickin’

March 25

$40 per person | 6 p.m.

Celebrate Lowcountry culture by adding a delicious Lowcountry feast to your tour package. The Men’s Ministry at Prince George will be serving roasted oysters and pulled pork for guests. The event is scheduled for Friday, March 25, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person and must be purchased in advance. A cash bar will be available. To purchase tickets, visit the Ticket Info page.

An Afternoon Tea will be offered at Winyah Indigo Society Hall in Georgetown. (Photo by the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Afternoon Tea

March 25-26 | 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Included with purchase of day’s tour ticket

Each afternoon during the Tour, the Prince George Winyah Church Women hosts an afternoon tea at the historic Winyah Indigo Society Hall located at 509 Prince St. in historic Georgetown. The women will serve homemade refreshments to our tour guests. The Tea is complimentary with the purchase of the day’s tour ticket.

Tour Bazaar & Bake Sale

March 25 and 26

During the Tour,  the public can stop by the Prince George Parish Hall, located at the corner of Highmarket and Screven streets to browse the art, baked goods, and other donated items for sale. All items are donated and proceeds support outreach missions and the preservation of our church buildings.

Organizers ask people to allow a full day for the tour. They recommend wearing attire and shoes suitable for standing for long periods and for walking in natural Lowcountry terrain. Out of respect for the homeowners, do not wear shoes with heels, as the heels can damage floors and rugs. Buses are not permitted. While the tour will proceed rain or shine, individual tour sites may close if the road quality is affected. In the event of inclement weather, please check in at the Prince George Parish Hall.

When purchasing your tickets, guests have the option of purchasing bagged lunches made by the Prince George Winyah Church Women. Bagged lunches are $5 each per day and must be purchased in advance. Each bagged lunch includes a sandwich (Friday: turkey salad; Saturday: pimiento cheese), chips, apple, dessert, and a prayer. Pre-purchased bagged lunches will be available for pick-up the day of the tour in the Prince George Parish Halls. (A vegetarian option is not available.)

After the tours conclude, the public is invited to join the Prince George Winyah congregation for Sunday worship in the Anglican tradition. The church offers three Sunday services at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 11 a.m. For more information about each service, visit the church website.

For more information about the Tours of Historic Plantations and Homes, and to order tickets, click here.

By Clayton Stairs / tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®

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