As many of you know, I am in beautiful South Carolina this week, and I can’t think of a better place for a historical fiction author to relax and write.

I am always looking for new plantations to explore, and was thrilled to find one close by called BrookGreen Gardens – a former rice plantation.

I’ve been to dozens of plantations in the South that were active during the Civil War, but I can honestly say I’ve never seen so many ancient Live Oaks as I saw at BrookGreen. It was simply breathtaking to think that they stood, not only during the Civil War, but the Revolutionary War as well.

Brookgreen Gardens is now a National Historic Landmark and a display garden with the most extensive collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world. It also has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of the Carolinas.

At the zoo, we saw red and gray foxes (the gray foxes were sleeping in the trees); all kinds of birds of prey, including owls and eagles; and two otters that seemed happy to put on a show for us. The alligators were the only ones that didn’t make an appearance.

The 9,200 acres that comprise Brookgreen Gardens is a diverse mix of forested swamps, salt marsh, sandy ridges and fresh tidal swamps. If you’re ever near Mrytle Beach, S.C., I highly recommend this natural treasure.

– Jessica James


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