‘Plantation Set’ Fete

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The Lowcountry of South Carolinaand the Hunt Country of Virginiaare as about as close an American canget to the great English country housetradition of the landed aristocracy ofEngland, and they pursue all the sameactivities — shooting, fox hunts, horsesand vast estates with beautiful historichomes. It makes sense, since this areawas actually part of England at one time.The thousand-acre plantations that stillring Beaufort today are the result, for themost part, of wealthy Northern families…

buying them up in the 1930’s for huntproperty. Many of those descendants arestill the owners today, along with someSouthern families. This “PlantationSet,” as I like to call them, share manyactivities together, like group huntingtrips to Argentina and England, aswell as countless oyster roasts in thefall and winter. They also share a loveof the open lands and history of theLowcountry and work to preserve itthrough organizations like The OpenLand Trust.In the spring is an annual beautifulbarbecue hosted by Day and JockCowperthwait.She’s an Atlantanative, he from New York. Togetherthey restored the magnificent Bonny Hall Plantation in Yemassee wherethey lived for many years and sold tothe Doubleday family before movinginto Beaufort. This party, or springfete, was in honor of nationally notedLowcountry photographer DavidSoliday who is being sponsored bythe Smithsonian African-AmericanMuseum in Washington to document,with hundreds of his beautiful photographs, the abandoned rice fieldsof the Lowcountry facing possibledestruction along the coastal Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.The rice fields are often considered oneof the largest civil engineering feats ofmankind.The Penn Center believes that Soliday’scollection represents one of the mosttangible examples of the contributionsmade by generations of enslaved AfricanAmericans to American society. “Thephysical monuments of these rice fields are like the Egyptian pyramids, whichsymbolize the physical heritage of anations’s history and are a testament tothe survivability of an enslaved people.”Soliday, a photographer and writerwhose credits include work for NationalGeographic and The Smithsonian, isprinting and selling his photos on canvasand framing them with beautiful goldleaf frames. They have a haunting beautythat blurs the region between paintingand photography. To see more, go towww.davidsoliday.com/rice.