History, Nature, & Culture

March 4, 2019 (by Angela)

Other than our first happy week in the campground in Myrtle Beach State Park, what did Jim and I do for fun? I’m so glad you asked. There were so many things to enjoy and so little time. While Jim was at work, I enjoyed the beautiful beach and nature in all its forms at Myrtle Beach State Park. I went to the beach each day I was able to do so, and I always tried to spend time out on the pier as I had done during our first few days there. Who doesn’t love live oak trees? The oaks and many other types of trees and shrubs sheltered our campsite and gave me places to explore. At night, I could hear frogs and other nocturnal creatures as they created the evening melody. Jim partook of the beauty of the park as much as he could when home. I am so thankful that Myrtle Beach State Park was one of sixteen built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930s and the first state park in South Carolina, opened in 1936. Without these two things being true, we would not have such a lovely and almost pristine stretch of the “Grand Strand” open to the public for enjoyment.

When planning for our weekends, I had to make hard choices about what we might enjoy doing. Ultimately, I chose a visit to and tour of Hobcaw Barony for our 2nd full weekend in the area. It was a good choice. I’d never heard of the Baruch family, so I certainly had no idea how influential the family was upon world leaders, especially in terms of Bernard Baruch being a friend of and adviser to several U. S. president. This fact was extremely important in particular before and during WWII. The family hosted in their homes the likes of Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In fact, it is quite likely that many of the early plans for D-Day were discussed and made at the Baruch home, Hobcaw Barony Retreat.

Beyond the hundreds of years of history about which one can learn in a visit to Hobcaw, it is also a preserve that affords study in several fields; forestry and marine biology are two of the major areas. The University of South Carolina and Clemson both have long-established research labs in place in this 16,000 acre property managed by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation. During our visit, we witnessed an archaeological dig in process on the property.

Belle was Bernard’s oldest daughter, a very accomplished and interesting figure herself. She eventually purchased the whole property from her father. Upon her death, a trust was put in place, so the property would benefit generations to come. A visit to Hobcaw Barony is amazing for anyone with an interest in any of the things I just listed. We loved it and could have spent more time there.

On our final full weekend in the Myrtle Beach area, I planned a day trip to Brookgreen Gardens. Like Hobcaw, it had once been plantation property. Today, it provides not only the beauty of trees and other plants indigenous to the area, but it also displays the most beautiful collection of sculptures I have seen in the United States. There is a Lowcountry Zoo in which one can see “native animals that live in the woods, swamps, and waters of the Lowcountry . . . in areas maintained as close as possible to their natural habitats as possible.” Check the schedule for a changing list of informational events and activities. Historical tours are available for a small fee that is additional to the entrance fee (tickets are good for a week, which is needed since there is so much to see and do). Restaurants and a gift shop are on the property, too. Brookgreen was beautiful even in the middle of winter. I can’t imagine how lovely it will be once the trees are green and all of the flowers are in bloom.

The pictures shown here do not do justice to any of the places visited. In truth, to really enjoy and appreciate these locations, one must actually go to them and explore and embrace their unique attributes. I strongly encourage you to visit any and all of these sites when you are able to do so.


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