Articles tagged with: Middleton Place
Sport and Leisure at Middleton Place
Arthur Middleton is shown standing on the far right in Benjamin West’s 1764 painting The Cricketers. The bat-and-ball game cricket traces its roots to 16th century Tudor England, and during the 18th century it became the very fashionable national sport of England.
Image Courtesy The Brook Club.
Which sports were popular in Colonial America? How did gentlemen, ladies, and children amuse themselves in the 18th Century when invited to the Middleton Place on a warm September afternoon?
Mark your calendars now to find out. On Friday and Saturday, September 11-12, Middleton Place will host a new program entitled, Genteel Pursuits and Grand Entertains: Sport and Leisure at Middleton Place.
The interactive programs and demonstrations on both days will offer an incredible range of colonial sports, games, 18th-century country dances, needlework, painting in the gardens, and music.
In addition, the incomparable Signora Bella, an Italian Equilibrist, or slackrope walker, will appear each day to entertain and amaze guests in a most historic fashion.
Tracing her roots to the Italian theatrical style of Commedia Dell'Arte, Signora Bella has stunned the masses with feats of balance and amazed audiences juggling sharp Turkish swords and flaming torches. It would have been a rare treat for common folks and gentlemen alike to witness a performance of circus acts like Signora Bella's! She has performed on the streets of Colonial Williamsburg, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. With great zest, Signora Bella brings to life the tradition of traveling performers of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Sheep shearing demonstrations at Middleton Place May 2nd
Middleton Place will provide visitors with a very wooly experience on Saturday, May 2nd when the resident sheep receive their annual shearing. The flock will be shorn between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and interpreters will demonstrate shearing as it was done in the past using steel bladed hand shears. The event is free with Gardens and Stableyards admission.
For over two-and-a-half centuries, sheep have roamed freely on the Greensward at Middleton Place. The sheep and other livestock in the Plantation Stableyards are documented to have been present at Middleton Place in the 18th and 19th centuries, and today they serve as an integral part of the National Historic Landmark’s educational programming. According to the Agricultural Census of 1850, 300 sheep could be found at Middleton Place.
The Gulf Coast breed, raised at Middleton Place, is believed to have developed from sheep the Spanish brought to what is now the southeastern U.S. in the 1500s. Shaped by natural selection, the Spanish sheep became well-adapted to the heat and humidity of the environment, and for centuries were the only sheep to be found in the Deep South, providing wool and meat for home and commercial production. The breed nearly went extinct in the 20th century because of its smaller size compared to modern varieties. A recent focus on sustainable agriculture and heritage breed husbandry, such as the programs at Middleton Place, caused a resurgence of Gulf Coast sheep and other rare historic breeds.
Visitors invited to help plant Carolina Gold April 24-25
Visitors are invited to take part in the centuries-old tradition of rice cultivation in the Low Country April 24-25, as Middleton Place plants the demonstration rice field. Costumed interpreters will instruct guests in traditional methods of planting, discuss the history of the famed Carolina Gold rice, and explain the African origins of rice and its cultivation in South Carolina in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The interactive program will take place each day from 10:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m. both days. On the 24th, the field will be prepared and planted. Visitors may help with the actual planting of rice in the fields. On the 25th, costumed interpreters will be discussing and demonstrating the methods used in the growing and processing of rice during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Visitors are invited to try their hand at fanning the rice in a sweetgrass basket and pounding the rice with a pestle in a mortar.
While many associate cotton as the dominant crop in the antebellum South, for more than 125 years rice was the supreme cash crop in the Low Country. Rice propelled Charleston to be the richest city in the colonies, creating vast wealth for the Middleton family. The Low Country’s tidal rivers once produced millions of pounds of the golden grain. Rice fields lined both sides of the Ashley River and other tidal rivers on the southeast coast from the Cape Fear River, in North Carolina, to the St. John’s River in northern Florida. Middleton Place was the family seat and headquarters for a network of rice-producing plantations owned by the Middleton Family.
Meet and Greet the Easter Bunny, Egg Hunt and Games During Most Colorful Season
The Easter Eggstravaganza at Middleton Place is a cherished Spring tradition, one that coincides with the start of Azalea season with all of its rich Spring colors. On Saturday, April 4, families are invited to visit Middleton Place and take part in an exciting day of Easter traditions, including the massive Egg Hunt.
All children participating should bring their own Easter basket. Gates open at 9:00 a.m. Easter Eggstravaganza starts at 10:30 a.m. and continues through 1:00 p.m.
After a brief orientation, the Easter Bunny will be on hand to kick off the egg hunts, which are in three age groups to allow each child a good chance at success. They will search for hundreds of un-dyed eggs hidden in secret places around Middleton Place’s Live Oaks and manicured lawns. No plastic eggs here—Middleton Place’s Egg Hunt is ecofriendly, using real, hard-boiled eggs.
Ceramic, hand-painted prize eggs will also be hidden. Prizes will be given to each child who finds one of these special eggs. Another special aspect to the Egg Hunt is that yellow and one blue ceramic egg will be hidden among the others in each age group. The children who find one of these special eggs will receive a prize, and their family will be registered for a drawing to win the Grand Prize: a Middleton Place Foundation annual membership for four (a $250 value).
Indigo dyeing and cashmere demonstrations to be held
The Middleton Place Plantation Stableyards is a living outdoor museum where guests experience the sights, sounds and living history of a Low Country rice plantation daily. Interpreters demonstrate the skills once performed by enslaved Africans, while heritage breed animals live and work as they would have in the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors to the Plantation Stableyards this March may experience two special presentations in addition to daily programming: Indigo Dyeing on March 14 and Cashmere Demonstration on March 20.
Middleton Place's Sidney Frazier, Shares Tips for Caring for Camellias
Last Saturday, February 7, the Camellia Walks Kickoff culminated when Sidney Frazier, Middleton Place’s Vice President for Horticulture, brought his camellia class to the most sacred spot in the Gardens: the place where French botanist Andre Michaux planted America's oldest camellia, the Reine des Fleurs, in 1786.
Frazier brought his class there to demonstrate the “air laying” method that allows him to grow an exact replica of the mother plant, which can then be removed and potted separately, allowing the legacy of the Reine des Fleurs to continue through the new plant. Those gathered watched as Frazier separated the branches of the mother plant, allowing him to bring out the new one.
This walk out to the Reine des Fleurs capped off a day of camellia care and maintenance tips from Frazier, who has been tending and overseeing Middleton Place’s renowned 4,000 camellia trees for now three decades. Some of those tips shared by Frazier with attendees included:
For Camellia planting:
· Dig a hole at least two feet wider than the root ball. Leave soil in the center of the hole undisturbed to prevent settling. Place ball on a column of soil—the top of ball should be slightly above soil level. Fill the hole around the root ball with a mixture of topsoil and organic matter.
Middleton Place Restaurant presents 5th annual Braise & Brew dinner
The Middleton Place Restaurant will celebrate the beers of winter on January 24 with the 5th annual Braise & Brew beer dinner at Middleton Place. Braise & Brew is a feast of braised food prepared by the Middleton Place Restaurant paired with beers crafted by Holy City Brewing. Executive Chef Brandon Buck and his team visited the brewery in December, sitting down with head brewer Chris Brown to sample beers, discuss flavor profiles and plan a spectacular beer dinner. After due consideration, Buck released a menu designed to maximize the harmony of specific dishes with complementary beers.
The evening will begin at 6 p.m. as guests are welcomed to the Middleton Place Pavilion, where a warm fire will be crackling in the fireplace. A welcome course of Tequila-Aged Old Man Helles (5.0% alcohol by volume, or ABV), a helles-style blonde lager and assorted cheeses will be served.
Camellia Walks return to Middleton Place with special programming to kick off the season!
Camellias, a southern landscape favorite, show off a blaze of color throughout the winter months. Middleton family history holds that in the year 1786 French botanist Andrè Michaux gave the Middletons some of the first camellias to be planted in an American garden. Today, Middleton Place has over 4,000 camellias, many over 220 years old, including one of the four original Michaux plants, which is known at Middleton Place as the “Reine des Fleurs” or “Queen of Flowers.”
Blooming during the depths of winter, the fragile beauty of camellias enhance the Middleton Place Gardens with thousands of blossoms, ranging in color from pristine white to all shades of red and pink. Guests may learn about this magnificent plant on a Camellia Walk, held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday beginning February 10 and continuing through March 21. The camellia-focused guided Garden tours will begin at 11 a.m. at the Garden Market & Nursery and last approximately an hour and a half.
The 2015 Camellia season kicks off with a weekend of events highlighting the camellia. Beauty & History: Celebrating Camellias at Middleton Place begins on Saturday, February 7.
Middleton Place presents Grand Illumination: Christmas 1782
Grand Illumination marks the 232nd anniversary of the end of the Revolution in Charleston and the return of Arthur Middleton after his time as a prisoner-of-war. The Gardens and House Museum are illuminated by starlight, torchlight and candlelight. Guests join actors in period costume on a walking tour as they give theatrical accounts of events of the season. The evening concludes with a traditional holiday buffet. The event will be held three nights: Thursday, Dec. 18, Friday, Dec. 19 and Saturday, Dec. 20.
Christmas 1782 would have been a special holiday season for the Middletons at Middleton Place because of two historic events. In late November, Arthur Middleton had returned to Middleton Place after a two-year absence from his home, his wife Mary and their six young children. Also, the much anticipated evacuation of Charleston by the British army finally took place on December 14 of that momentous year. The Middleton family was together again and the War for Independence, at least in the South, was over. And so, Middleton Place is remembering that remarkable Christmas season with a special evening event: Grand Illumination: Christmas 1782.
“Illumination” can be defined as lighting up, brightening or decorating with light. It also means to illustrate, explain or interpret. Grand Illumination at Middleton Place is an event embodying all meanings of the word. Guests can stroll along torch-lit Garden paths, interact with costumed interpreters, visit the House Museum by glowing candlelight, learn more about that exceptional Christmas tide, and enjoy seasonal music and refreshments. The Grand Illumination, with its theatrical approach to the Middleton story, provides the perfect beginning to this holiday season by recalling an extraordinary Christmas of 232 years ago.
Two Spanish Goats enhance educational programming
Two heritage breed Spanish goats, also called Brush or Scrub goats, were delivered to the Plantation Stableyards at Middleton Place on Thursday, October 30. They join the important livestock collection that includes Gulf Coast Native sheep, Cashmere goats, Dominique chickens, Guinea hogs, Jersey cows and Water Buffalo. The collection represents the specific breeds that research and documentation indicates were, or likely were, kept at Middleton Place and other Middleton family plantations for at least 150 years. The livestock helps tell the story of generations of enslaved people who lived and worked at Middleton Place
Spanish goats were brought from Europe by early explorers and they made their way into the American South by the 17th century. Reports from Charles Towne in 1670 stated that “sheep and goats thrive here very well”. Researchers believe this is a reference to Spanish goats and Gulf Coast Native sheep. The goats adapted to the hot and humid conditions in the south and they became valued as a ready source of milk and meat. In addition, their hides were tanned for leather. Spanish goats became an integral part of early subsistence farming― leaving cattle for draft power and export markets.
500 million Beneficial Nematodes released
Sidney Frazier, Vice President Horticulture at Middleton Place, anxiously awaited a special delivery package that will soon work magic in the gardens he manages at Middleton Place National Historic Landmark. The package – 500 million nematodes.
Beneficial Nematodes are live microscopic organisms that occur naturally in soil throughout the world. They are parasitic to insect pests that typically have a developing stage of life in the soil. Though they are harmless to humans, animals, plants, and healthy earthworms, beneficial nematodes aggressively pursue insects. They target-soil dwelling insects such as grubs, Japanese beetles, ticks, queen ant, termites and more, yet have no detrimental effect on ladybugs, earthworms and other helpful beneficial insects.
Introducing the Beneficial Nematodes to the gardens at Middleton Place is part of the ongoing Integrative Pest Management system Frazier implemented to manage the gardens in a more environmentally responsible and historically appropriate manner.
Independent Scholars Day — Tuesday, September 30
On Tuesday, September 30, Middleton Place will dedicate programming to students who receive their education outside of traditional schools. Students and chaperones will have special “Beyond the Fields” tours to investigate the lives & culture of enslaved people and “Meet the Breeds” tours to interact with heritage breed animals that are documented to have been at Middleton Place. Special “hands-on” learning activities in the Plantation Stableyards and demonstration rice field will include rice processing, candle making and colonial games.
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Carolina Gold Rice Walks & Nature Walks highlight September Events Calendar
“Few are they who know of the graceful grain, living, blossoming, and ripening into golden beauty in its native fields. . . .Rice is the most beautiful of the great family of grains.”
- Richards T. Addison, “The Rice Lands of the South,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 19 (November 1859): 721
Although the days in the Low Country are not much cooler in September, there is still something in the air that for decades has signaled a time of change. People tend to linger outside longer and enjoy the hint of a fall breeze in the shade. September is also harvest time as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries.
For over a decade, the interpretive staff at Middleton Place has recreated the experience of planting, tending, harvesting and processing the heritage-breed Carolina Gold Rice in a field along the Ashley River. Carolina Gold, the cash crop of the Low Country until the Civil War, was preferred for its flavor, aroma, texture and cooking qualities. And as Mr. Addison states, “the most beautiful of the great family of grains.”
Experience the formal gardens in a different light and atmosphere
Weekly Wednesday Wine Strolls at Middleton Place began as a way for visitors to experience Middleton Place in a different light and a different atmosphere. Wine Strolls invite patrons to drink in the natural beauty of the 273 year-old plantation — “America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens.” Each week guests sip and stroll in the Gardens while sampling specially selected wines from around the world. The Middleton Place Restaurant began the fall season of Wine Strolls on September 3 and will continue every Wednesday through October 29.
Annual Volunteer Orientation to be held September 15, 16 & 27
Explore and expand an interest in American and African American history, agriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, nature and plantation life at America’s oldest landscaped gardens. Volunteers play a key role in the success of programs and the experience of visitors at Middleton Place and the Edmondston-Alston House. Individuals who are interested in history, preservation, architecture, horticulture and enjoy working with the public are invited to attend volunteer orientation that takes place once a year.
The 2014 Annual Middleton Place Volunteer Orientation will be held in two sessions, a weekday and a weekend option. The weekday sessions will be held September 15 & 16 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., while the weekend session will be held on September 27 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Middleton Place Restaurant offering 3 courses for $40
The Middleton Place Restaurant is renowned for its superior menu, impeccable service, and farm-fresh cuisine. For the next week and a half, locals and visitors alike can savor the restaurant’s fine Low Country cuisine for an exceptional price. Executive Chef Brandon Buck has designed a Restaurant Week menu with options for every palate. Each dish is created from ingredients obtained regionally, with some of the produce sourced at the on-site Middleton Place Organic Farm.
The Middleton Place Restaurant’s offer – three courses for $40 – is available through September 14 during dinner hours (6- 9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday). Reservations are strongly encouraged, and can be made by calling 843-266-7477.
Summer Beer Dinner scheduled for August 10 at Middleton Place
This is a past event.
The dog days are approaching and summer produce is abundant - time again for Middleton Place Restaurant and Holy City Brewing to host the 2nd Annual Hot Nights & Holy City Beer Dinner. In contrast to the January Braise & Brew dinner partnership, with its heavier, braised meat and dark winter beer pairings, Hot Nights & Holy City offers lighter fare with summer seasonal brews. The event is scheduled for Sunday, August 10 from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. in the air-conditioned Middleton Place Pavilion.
Three new programs are coming to the Stableyards this month, beginning with a Food Preservation presentation on Saturday. Later in August, bi-weekly Rice Walks begin August 20 and a Fall Planting in the Herb Garden presentation will be held on August 23. All programs are complementary with admission.
Food Preservation: From Crocking to Canning
Saturday, August 9 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Food preservation is an ancient art, and nearly every kind of foodstuff – grains, legumes, vegetable, fruits, meat, and fish – can have its useful life extended past harvest. Most American colonists needed to provide for sufficient food year round, but they also desired the variety that preservation techniques assured. Colonial Americans employed a variety of effective food preservation techniques, many of them dating back to ancient times.
Both historical and modern preservation practices will be demonstrated by costumed interpreters in the Stableyards. Foods such as okra, cucumbers, peaches, and pork will be preserved using stoneware crocks (which are made in the Stableyards) and glass mason jars. Other preservation techniques, such as drying and fermenting, will be discussed.
Middleton Place again welcomed interns from Barbados and France
Internships are a valuable educational experience for young professionals and this summer the Middleton Place Foundation was pleased to host two enthusiastic interns, Zakiya Doyle of St. Phillip, Barbados and Blandine Resseguier of Clermont Ferand, France.
In partnership with the University of the West Indies and other Barbadian institutions Middleton Place welcomed Zakiya Doyle in an internship program to share the Foundation’s approach to historic preservation and interpretation. “Zak” of St. Phillip, Barbados, holds a Master of Arts in Heritage Studies from UWI, Cave Hill St. Michael, and a teaching certificate from Erdiston Teaching College, St Michael, Barbados.
Experience the formal gardens in a different light and atmosphere
Weekly Wine Strolls at Middleton Place began as a way for visitors to experience Middleton Place in a different light and a different atmosphere. Wine Strolls invite patrons to drink in the natural beauty of the 273 year old plantation — “America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens.” Each week, samples of specially selected wines from around the world are chosen by the Restaurant’s sommelier. The Middleton Place Restaurant will begin the spring season of Wine Strolls on March 12 and continue every Wednesday through June 25.
Regular Wine Strolls will be held each Wednesday, 6-8 p.m. through June 18. Closing out the Stroll season on June 25, the Middleton Place Restaurant will present the Rum Stroll. Similar to the Wine Stroll, the Rum Stroll will introduce visitors to historic Charleston-Barbados connections, including a variety of select light, dark and spiced rums from the island nation, as well as historic-recipe rum punches and Barbados-inspired hors d'oeuvres.
Camellia Walks return to Middleton Place
Blooming during the depths of winter, the fragile beauty of camellias enhance the Middleton Place Gardens with thousands of blossoms, from pristine white to all shades of red and pink. Learn about this magnificent plant and thousands more on a Camellia Walk, held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday beginning February 13 and continuing through March 22. The camellia-focused guided Garden tours will begin at 11 a.m. at the Garden Market & Nursery and last approximately an hour and a half.
Camellias, a southern landscape favorite, show off a blaze of color throughout the winter months. Middleton family history holds that in the year 1786, French botanist Andrè Michaux, gave the Middletons some of the first camellias to be planted in an American garden. Today, Middleton Place has over 3,500 camellias, many over 220 years old, including one of the four original Michaux plants, which is known at Middleton Place as the “Reine des Fleurs” or “Queen of Flowers.”
New interactive programming and a special exhibit for the month of February
In recognition of Black History Month guests of Middleton Place can participate in new interactive programming in the Living History Stableyards and view a special exhibit in the House Museum. The two new programs will be presented by professional interpreters dressed in period costume. Constructing a Slave Garden Plot will be held from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8. Pit-firing Plantation Made Pottery will be held from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Guided tours of Eliza's House, an original 1870 cabin, will explore the dwelling's interiors in depth and interpret the lives of its first residents, the newly freed couple Ned and Chloe, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday in February. The House Museum exhibit will contain an 1823 slave badge that permitted an enslaved servant to be "hired out," a cotton sack embroidered with a poignant story of separation, and brass buttons marked with the Middleton crest and worn by the enslaved liverymen.
Middleton Place welcomes summer interns from Barbados, France
Middleton Place Interns Gloria Sandiford
A longtime student of history, Sandiford holds a Ph.D. from the University of the West Indies, and lives in Christ Church. Working with members of the Middleton Place history department, Sandiford has spent hours learning about historic preservation at both Middleton Place and the Middleton Place Foundation's sister property, the Edmondston-Alston House, downtown. She hopes to take the knowledge she has gained back to Barbados and apply it to the rich historic sites located throughout the island.
Dottie Stone, PhD joins Research and Development team
The Middleton Place Foundation and its personnel are pleased to welcome Dottie Stone, PhD, as Research and Development Associate for the Foundation. As such, Dottie will be engaged in a number of forward-looking projects, including grant writing.
No stranger to the National Historic Landmark, Dottie began her association with Middleton Place in 2010 as a staff member for the House Museum, helping to manage its day-to-day operation and working with its volunteer docents. At the time, the former teacher of American and South Carolina history was a doctoral candidate in Holocaust History, receiving her doctorate later that year from Clark University of Worcester, Massachusetts. At the end of the following year she accepted a position at the Holocaust Documentation and Educational Center in Hollywood, Florida.
With family members settled in the Charleston area, however, Dottie wished to return to the Low Country. MPF was more than pleased to help make that wish come true, and is glad to be able to say, "Welcome back to Middleton Place, Dottie!"
Middleton Place Restaurant Executive Chef Brandon Buck is constantly improving the lunch and dinner menus. The menu changes seasonally to take full advantage of local ingredients. With a nod toward the local growing season, and another to Low Country food traditions, Buck has created lunch and dinner menus fit for the Southern soul.
At lunch (served daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) guests will find new dishes like the Farmer's Salad (watercress, country ham cracklings, S.C. eggs, tomatoes, bleu cheese, and buttermilk dressing) and the Tomato Pie Tart (Ashe County cheddar, marinated tomatoes, basil, yellow onion, parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs). More adventurous eaters might be interested in the Fried Chicken Livers, Country Fried Steak, or Roasted Guinea Hen Breast.
The change of season also marked the birth of the Edna Lewis-inspired Southern Buffet, available daily during lunch. In an effort to provide an exceptional food experience to Middleton Place visitors who might be pressed for time or who want to dine al fresco, the Southern Buffet invites diners to help themselves to an incredible Low Country meal, and dine at their leisure. Famed chef and cookbook author Edna Lewis, who served as chef-in-residence at the Middleton Place Restaurant in the 1980s, helped hone the restaurant's menu, grounding it forever in the principles of Southern home cooking. Her recipes for Southern staples, such as fried chicken, barbecue, collard greens, hoppin' john, and many more, are prepared for the buffet each morning. Diners are invited to make a plate, and step out to the restaurant's courtyard, or one of the many picnic tables available under the shade of Live Oaks.