On Saturday I made my first visit to Hobcaw Barony, home of larger-than-life Belle Baruch, Hobcaw House, and Bellefield Plantation. While Hobcaw is only 28 miles from me, it’s on a stretch of Hwy 17 that cars tend to be going 80 miles an hour past there. I have often promised myself to stop on the way back…also going too fast, or it’s too late. Tours are limited to a small bus of about a dozen people. With my personal spur of the moment exploration nature, the tours are usually sold out by the time I make the decision to go, but this time I got lucky.
I’ve only seen Hobcaw from the waters of Winyah Bay, the property is vast. I barely got to scratch the surface, I will have to go back now that hiking season is upon us. Here’s the official description of the Discovering Hobcaw tour I went on:
“This two hour tour requires little walking and includes highlights of Hobcaw Barony’s 16,000 acres of history, ecology and research. A privately owned research reserve, the property represents every environment and century of the lowcountry. The bus stops for a tour inside Bernard Baruch’s c.1930 home that played host to politicians, generals and newspapermen, as well as Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt. In addition to Hobcaw House, tours include a drive by the home and stables of Bellefield Plantation, the home of Mr. Baruch’s oldest daughter Belle Baruch who owned all the property by 1956, as well as a stop in Friendfield Village, the last 19th century slave village on the Waccamaw Neck. Information shared will include coastal ecosystems, native wildlife and endangered species.”
After Hobcaw, I roamed south to the Santee Delta. It’s impossible to pass up chances to visit these favorite locations. The road to St. James Santee was rough after Hurricane Ian, but my off-road Hyundai Elantra made it there and back. I was immediately greeted, and then well-guarded by my good buddy, Ghost Dog.
Hampton Plantation hosted a program on the French Huguenots in the afternoon, so I made my way over there after visiting St. James. There was a pleasant breeze, coupled with a relative lack of mosquito activity (which can be fierce), so I was able to walk the grounds. Hampton is really a lovely, peaceful place.
The displays below were laid out at the Kitchen House (currently a bat sanctuary). The collection was nicely labeled, and representative of what I saw on my hike.