The Lowcountry coastal region is famous for its unique and historic architecture. There are sprawling plantations, charming civil war-era gems, quaint bed and breakfasts and more. If you’re interested in history and architecture, a visit to the Lowcountry in South Carolina and Georgia provides days of entertainment.
Lowcountry architecture is a product of the region’s unique cultural history and the climate. The region has a unique blend of influences from cultures all over the world, including European, African and Caribbean. Many of the architectural features that are most common, from deep front porches to raised foundations, were designed before the advent of air conditioning to provide relief from the heat. Despite the initial practicality of these features, however, they’ve become closely associated with the charm that is historic Southern architecture.
Whether you live in the Lowcountry or you are planning a vacation here, these are four historical sites that can’t be missed. These homes, inns and museums showcase the best of traditional Southern Lowcountry architecture.
Located in Beaufort, South Carolina, this antebellum mansion was built in 1790 as a private home for a wealthy family. It was captured during the Civil War by Yankee forces and later converted to an inn. Today, the charming bed and breakfast offers guests waterway views and bay breezes. The building has been completely restored to its original grandeur. Located in the heart of Beaufort’s historic district, the Cuthbert House is stops aways from shops, restaurants and galleries.
America’s most photographed plantation, this Mount Pleasant, South Carolina mansion is a must-see for anyone in the Charleston area. Boone Hill Plantation was founded in 1681 on the banks of Wampacheone Creek. Still a working plantation, the farm produces and sells fruits and vegetables. Tours of mansion and the expansive grounds give insight into the day-to-day life of a working plantation. The grounds feature a market, cafe, butcher shop, gift shop and wine alley. Even the drive up to the mansion is spectacular. The mile-long driveway is canopied by moss-draped oak trees that were planted in 1743.
Located on the beautiful island of St. Helena, Penn Center is a historic district that is home to the former Penn School, one of the nation’s first schools for African American children. The school’s 50-acre campus is beautifully preserved, and the grounds are home to the York W. Bailey Museum, which celebrates African American history. Penn Center is considered one of the country’s most significant African American historical sites. In particular, it celebrates the Gullah Geechee people, formerly-enslaved West Africans living in the Sea Islands.
Another bed and breakfast in Beaufort, The Rhett House inspired author Margaret Mitchell’s famous “Gone With the Wind” character Rhett Butler. Built in 1820 by a prominent Southern family, the Rhett House is a 6,000-square-foot Greek revival mansion with a two-story piazza that wraps around the house. It sits a block away from the Beaufort River in the town’s historic district. The home briefly served as hospital recovery building during the Civil War, and a cottage behind the home that houses additional guest rooms that was built in 1846 as a store freed slaves used to buy and sell goods. Renovated in 1996, the home has housed a variety of celebrities, including Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Sandra Bullock and Gwyneth Paltrow, while filming major Hollywood movies.