It sits untouched by fad or fashion, blithely removed from modernity. Neither running water nor electricity course through the bones of the circa 1738 home, which is widely recognized as one of America’s foremost examples of Georgian architecture. Seven generations of the Drayton family served as stewards of the property prior to 1974, when the gate was officially opened to inquisitive visitors. Today, Drayton Hall exists today as the oldest preserved plantation house open to the public.
Beautifully crafted mahogany wainscot, balusters, handrails, and brackets featuring lotus and squash blossoms were originally stained a bright red-orange vermilion and varnished to a glossy finish. Only vestiges of the original vermilion stain and a fragment of the original hand-formed plaster ceiling remain, but the grandeur of the space is unmistakable. This patina existence is emblematic of Drayton Hall. Each room reveals details that hint at its former burnished glory, with graceful symmetry and richly layered decorative arts evident at every turn.
Drayton Hall is owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, with tours and special events offered year-round. Two days in December are especially memorable because the experience is not replicated anywhere else in the world—definitely worth a trip.
Take a moment and imagine…
Standing in the shadow of Drayton Hall, the meticulously preserved centuries-old plantation house perched on the Ashley River, as candlelight winks at the weatherworn bricks and Gullah spirituals soar through the night air. The melodies are as old as the grove of stately oak trees, and the entire evening is rooted in living history.
Now mark your calendar for December 8 and 9, 2012. Details found here.
George McDaniel, the executive director of Drayton Hall, is an affable gentleman with a distinctive accent, and he was a good sport to lend his voice to TNT this past summer for the voiceover during its opening coverage of the 2012 PGA Championship played at Kiawah Island in Charleston. Check it out here. Thanks again, George!