Hopsewee Plantation

Relive a time when the pace of life was slow and afternoon tea was an elegant affair in this 18th-century mansion.

Prepare to be charmed by the original period features in this grand former residence to South Carolina’s elite. Hopsewee Plantation is open to the public for tours, functions, and elegant morning and afternoon teas.

Hopsewee Plantation was built in the mid-1730s and has been owned by just five families since then. The current owners are keen to stress that the home has not been “restored,’’ but rather preserved — it’s never been allowed to fall into decay.

The architecture is typical of the wealthy 18th-century Southern style, with double-story white columns and large decks. The plantation’s location, across the Santee River from the Francis Marion National Forest, adds to the beauty and charm.

Hopsewee was originally a rice plantation, founded by Thomas Lynch. His son, Thomas Lynch Jr., signed the historic Declaration of Independence. The property remained a rice plantation until the emancipation of the slaves in the mid-19th century.

Today, the gardens are kept perfectly manicured and the interior is full of ornate furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries. The guided tour visits every room of the house, from the cellar to the attic. Tour guides are knowledgeable on the lives of the former residents, as well as the architecture and interior design. There's also a tour of the expansive grounds. Tea and sweet and savory foods are available at the end of the tour in the River Oak Cottage, a modern addition to the home and one of the best-regarded tearooms in South Carolina.

Hopsewee Plantation is a 15-minute drive from central Georgetown and 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Myrtle Beach. It is open Tuesday through Saturday.