By Brian M. Howle
No use trying to deny it any longer, folks – around these parts (and a good portion of the nation), winter is listed as M.I.A. and it looks as if we can shelve the sweaters and blankies until next year – because we have slipped right past the ol’ Vernal Equinox (that’s First Day of Spring, Vern) and there is no shortage of things to do around the Palmetto state.
And while there is a veritable plethora of activities for you to enjoy, I must admit blatant prejudice in advising you to make one annual spring event that “Must See” item on your agenda, and the bestest part of my choice is that it can be enjoyed by every member of your family – and if you choose the one that allows it, even Fido can join the family outing!
I’m speaking of what I personally find to be one of South Carolina’s most stellar attractions, which features the perfect union of the ingenuity and stewardship of humans with the breathtaking beauty of nature in all of her majestic glory – the ring of Gardens that encircle Historic Charleston and the immediate vicinity.
You can peruse the brochures, look online and get pertinent info … but there is NOTHING to compare with being there and taking in the stunning beauty that prevails and permeates every molecule of your being.
Oh, and if you have a pooch, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is the ONLY garden in the state that allows doggies. Be responsible and have them on a leash, but trust me, they will have a field day – and so will you.
Cypress Gardens • 3030 Cypress Gardens Road (Off of Hwy. 52 W.) • Moncks Corner, SC 29461 • 843-553-0515 • http://www.cypressgardens.info
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens • 3550 Ashley River Road (Hwy. 61 N.) • Charleston, SC 29414 • (800) 367-3517 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Middleton Place • 4300 Ashley River Road (Hwy. 61 N.) • Charleston, SC 29414 • (843) 556-6020 • (800) 782-3608 • http://www.middletonplace.org/
And, honestly, in a category all its own – and season or time of year not that important, although always gorgeous with luscious, green leaves amongst massive, winding limbs that are draped with different forms of moss, from moist, wet green velvet to the arid, gray lifeless appearance of Spanish Moss hanging like a spirit that lingers on earth with a passionate urgency:
The Angel Oak Tree • 3688 Angel Oak Road (Off of Hwy. 17 S. [Savannah Highway] and east on Main Road) • Johns Island, SC 29455 • (843) 559-3496 http://www.charlestoncity.info/dept/content.aspx?nid=1740
Angel Oak Tree Park is located on Johns Island with no admission charge. The park also has a gift shop and picnic area. On Johns Island stands the majestic Angel Oak. Estimated to be between 300-400 years old; the tree towers 65 feet high and has a circumference of 25.5 feet. Its area of shade is 17,000 square feet and its largest limb has a circumference of 11.5 feet, and a length of 89 feet.
Live oaks are not particularly tall trees, but have wide-spreading canopies. Only in the very old specimens do you find massive limbs resting on the ground, as you do the limbs of the Angel Oak. The City of Charleston acquired the Angel Oak Park in1991.
Hours of Operation: Monday – Saturday: 9am-5pm
No Admission Charge
This article also appeared in Alternatives NewsMagazine, April 2012.