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Brookgreen Gardens

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Since we didn't do too much for Valentine's Day, Landon and I thought it would be fun to take a little roadtrip sans baby.

We haven't had a day all alone since Britton was born last summer, so we figured it was high time for us to have some time together. After Landon found a Groupon to Brookgreen Gardens, we found a day that would work for us and our babysitters (i.e. my parents). We also wanted a pretty day to explore the Gardens (which are completely outside. Imagine that--an outdoor garden!), so we waited until there was a nice day.

Sunday fit the bill--off we went on our parents-only road trip to Brookgreen Gardens. Brookgreen Gardens is an amazing place. It has the largest collection (private or public) of sculpture by American artists. Before it was complied into the garden and ever-changing art collection by the Huntingtons, the area was four rice plantations.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
We're here!

Before we even got to the visitors' center, we came across a flock of turkeys. Gobble gobble.  The toms were struttin' their stuff since it's find-a-lady-friend season.
Brookgreen Gardens

We were happy with our turkey welcome, so we headed onto the visitors' center, where we watched the overview video and picked up our tickets for the tour we were doing later in the day.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Then, it was off to the gardens!
Brookgreen Gardens

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Live oak trees

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

We wandered around, checked out the Gullah/ Geechee exhibit and the old rice fields, and enjoyed the beautiful 70 degree weather.

Next up, we went to lunch at the Pavilion. I was completely distracted by my rumbling tummy, and I threw my camera by the wayside for the duration of the meal.

After eating, it was off to the zoo and wildlife viewing area.

Wildlife equals SNAKES!


Spoiler alert: we didn't see any snakes. Life is good.

We did see a bunch of other super cool animals:
Brookgreen Gardens
Fox squirrel
Fluffy bird thing

Fluffy bird thing 2.0

Later, gator

Brookgreen Gardens
Owlly awesomeness
Yay, non-snake animals!

By this time in our day-long jaunt, it was time to head over to our tour, "Silent Cities," which took us to three of the cemetaries on the property and discussed funeral and burial practices. It sounds totally depressing and super goth, I know, but the tour was incredibly interesting.

Landon forgot his sunglasses, so I let him borrow a pair of Britton's that I had in my purse. They really fit his face, don't you think?

Our first stop was at the planters' family cemetery. We learned about European burial and mourning practices, as well as information on the original families who lived on the plantations that made up Brookgreen Gardens.

In stark comparison to the planters' cemetery is the slave cemetery, which is wild--on purpose. Whereas the European tradition states that the graves should be placed in a garden-like area and kept pruned and clean, the African slave cemetery is supposed to blend into nature. There's a tradition of keeping everything exactly as you find it, even if something has blown over or fallen apart.

This grave marker was interesting to me because of the last name. "Ohree" is the way that you pronounce the county where Myrtle Beach is located--it's spelled Horry, but you always know when you meet someone that's not from around the area because they murder the pronunciation. On a personal note, I thought it was interesting because I'm a descendant of the Horry family--they were one of the first settlers in Myrtle Beach and my great-grandma times twelve was an Horry. 

I LOVE LOCAL HISTORY! (It helps that, since my family landed in South Carolina and then never left, I'm related by blood or marriage to a ton of people that show up in these tours. On the other side of my family, I'm related to Francis Marion and Blackbeard. Sweet.)

All in all, it was an amazing day. I didn't realize how much I needed some time with Landon. It's so easy to get sucked into a baby-centric life, but I have remember that we were Natalie-and-Landon long before we were Natalie-Landon-and-Britton. I missed my baby SO MUCH, but I am very, very glad that she got to have fun with my parents while I had some non-baby fun!

Have you ever been to Brookgreen Gardens? If you're ever in the Myrtle Beach area, I would strongly suggest making a day out of it.