If you’re from the South, no doubt you have an “eccentric” in your family. Maybe it’s your crazy old Granddaddy telling tall tales on the front porch or your favorite great Aunt with her funny hats and odd antiquities collection. Whoever it is, every Southern family seems to have one and it turns out if you don’t, you can adopt one for the weekend at Rice Hope Plantation in Moncks Corners, SC.
Located 45 minutes outside of Charleston, Rice Hope Plantation and the surrounding area offer visitors a glimpse into plantation society when rice was king and the birth of South Carolina pride took root in the land. When you stay at Rice Hope you’re treated like family entering a world firmly rooted in the past. Cell phones and internet barely exist here, the Southern accent is slow and meandering like the Cooper River and storytelling is an art form much less a Southern tradition.
Ms. Lou Edens and her family run this little piece of history and will make sure you feel right at home during your stay. She is salt-of-the-earth, gracious, cooks your breakfast Southern style, and will tell you stories of when Berkley County was the crown jewel of South Carolina high society. Like most who live in Moncks Corner, she is related to or knows (knew) most of the plantation descendants in the area. It’s all about family here including the grandchildren who scamper about the property and Ms. Lou’s own children who help tend the grounds and manage the 40 room mansion. Just as it was in the days of old, plantation living is still a family affair.
When you arrive, Ms. Lou greets you at the door with a hardy, “Welcome! How y’all doin’?” in her delightful low-country drawl. Instantly you are put at ease and know that this BnB is just a bit different than those you’ve visited in the past. She then takes you into the house for a short tour and brief history of the plantation before she whisks you upstairs to your room. The 5 guest rooms are homey and comfortable reminiscent of that favorite old Aunt’s house complete with antiques, 4 poster beds, portraits of the long gone, a doily or two, and a resident ghost, Mistress Chicken (listed as an amenity). But the real treasure of this plantation is Ms. Lou, her stories and the history behind the house she lovingly hosts her guests in nightly. Many guests have said they simply spent time visiting with Ms. Lou in the parlor listening to her stories and asking questions. For those guests seeking an experience rather than a place to lay their head at night, Rice Hope and it’s colorful proprietor offer more than just a warm bed and a hot meal. For “well-behaved” and dare say imaginative children, Rice Hope is giant natural playground with trees to climb, wide open spaces to run, and lizards and other critters to chase. And of course, there is Ms. Lou with all her eccentricities talking about the birds she loves including the peacocks she once raised and the ostrich eggs she paints as ornaments that absolutely charms children.
Rice Hope may not be the 5 star hotel in Charleston but it offers so much more in charm, history, and that feeling of coming home to family. Fresh air, a rambling river, tales of days gone by and even the ghost of little Mistress Chicken can all be found here wrapped up in low country living and southern hospitality. The house is old and in need of some repair but if you can look past the water stains on the ceiling and creaking staircase and floors, you will be captivated by a world that has been nearly lost to time. This truly is a place to step away from the modern world, slow down and take it all in.
Established in 1696 by Daniel Huger, Rice Hope (or Luckins as it was known) is one of the oldest plantation homes in the county. While the original home burned in 1840, most of 1795 formal gardens were restored and the property is filled with live oaks and 200 year old camellias. The present structure was renovated in 1929 by Senator John S. Frelinghugsen of New Jersey and was used as his hunting lodge as were so many abandoned plantations at the time.
Rice Hope Plantation
206 Rice Hope Drive
Moncks Corner, SC 29461
For reservations or information call 843-849-9000