Monday, July 15, 2013

Lingering One Last Time at the Girl Scout Plantation -- July 12, 2013

Manor House -- "Girl Scout Plantation" (aka Camp Low Country) -- near Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1972 --  photo taken, developed and printed at camp by 11 year-old Cathy Johnson (aka -- today -- Cathy Miller)

            Friday evening, I said my heartfelt goodbyes to the summer camp of my childhood -- a home-away-from-home for one or two very short weeks each summer.  I have known for the last three years that "Camp Low Country" -- we always called it the "Girl Scout Plantation" -- was being sold by the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina .  I was stunned back then when the news first broke of the decision to sell.  With the downturn in the economy, a dropping enrollment and the need to maintain its financial reserves, our local council could no longer afford to maintain the property as needed and continue to fulfill their core mission of "building girls of courage, confidence and character who will make the world a better place."  And it is thus, with great difficulty and heavy hearts that they decided to part with this magnificent property along with 3 others.  Yet, after 3 years of marketing, the plantation did not sell for the asking price.  Hence this past week, I read in this Post and Courier article the Girl Scout Council's announcement to sell the property at absolute auction on July 26, 2013.   In just a few days, the Girl Scout Plantation will exist nowhere else but in our memories.  Again, a pervasive sadness reasserted its place in my heart.  I felt a significant sense of loss, not just for myself, but also for the Girl Scouts who would never experience this camp.  After all,  an absolute auction is indeed the final deal.  I also read, thankfully, that the camp would be open one more time to former campers and volunteers on July 12!  The event, dubbed "Linger at Camp Low Country,"  was my last opportunity to see the place that played such a significant role in my childhood, in my appreciation of nature, and in my growing up.  By visiting the Girl Scout Plantation one more time I would reconnect to those memories of my scouting experiences there and their significance in who I became -- a tree-hugging, conservationist, nature lover -- check; a decent photographer -- check; a confident, independent thinker -- check; and yet another, a compassionate person appreciative of individual differences and culture -- check!  Yes, this place helped to shape me! 

Cathy Johnson -- after 1st Class Girl Scout ceremony -- Charleston, SC -- April 1975 -- Photo by Grace Johnson

Memories of the Girl Scout Plantation

          I could go on and on again about all those life lessons gained at this camp.  Some might say that those are the character-forming experiences that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts deliver through all of their camps and activities.  I will agree with them that such is probably true.  But for me and many hundreds of other Lowcountry women and girls, these life-molding seasons happened HERE, at this place -- the Girl Scout Plantation, where we were nurtured by our troop leaders during weekend camp-outs, by our counselors during summer camp, as well as by each other, and last but not least, by the beautiful, natural and romantic setting of THIS site.  Granted, most of the site's buildings are not all that old.  The only truly old structure, dating back to the 18th century when the Richmond Plantation was originally established by rice grower John Harleston, is the walled graveyard where he and other family members are buried.  The original plantation house had burned in the late 19th century.  In its place, an old English Tudor revival style manor house and surrounding guest houses were built circa 1927 by then owner New York financier George Ellis.  This beautiful old European-style architecture was unlike anything we young girls had seen before!  Certainly, these historic-appearing buildings were enough to inspire the romantic notions of young campers frightening ourselves silly with ghost stories in our night-time visits to the Manor House.  The spooky night sounds -- the wind in the trees, the owls calling, the night critters rustling by -- as well as those  hunting trophies "watching us" from the walls, they all only enhanced our fright of the imagined ghosts.  Finally, the natural beauty of this Lowcountry forest and river landscape evoked a sense of serenity and of belonging to the land in one's very soul.  Myself, I was already a "Pluff Mud" child of nature, living on the coast on a saltwater marsh estuary.  Yet, I must say that my life in THIS place deepened in a unique way my connection to and appreciation of the nature of the South Carolina Lowcountry.
          The memories of what I learned here have flooded back to me in the last few days.   In addition to the life lessons previously mentioned, at THIS place, I also learned some very valuable skills.  First of all, I learned to swim, at a rather late age -- 11 years old.  This was a bit embarrassing for me as a child who lived on a saltwater creek with brothers who swam like fish.  I had received instruction over several years from my parents and from instructors at the YMCA in all the strokes and kicks, but I could not swim for fear of sinking.  It was an instructor at the Girl Scout Plantation that taught me a very basic lesson about floating on my belly.  Psychologically, I was changed from that point forward and I could now SWIM!  I then took 2nd place in a race for beginners at the end of the camp!

          I also learned to ride a horse on a Shetland pony named Nancy.  In my beginner's group, no one wanted old Nancy because no one wanted a pony.  Frankly, she could be a bit cantankerous.  I imagined she was tired of having to submit to inexperienced riders who really did not know what they were doing.  I made it my mission to develop a relationship with her and to attempt to learn from her as well as from my riding instructor.  At the end-of-camp competition, my class was the last to compete.  Night was falling and the horses were weary.  With other riders, Nancy's ears were laid back and she was behaving more and more stubbornly.  She did indeed look tired of it all.   Finally, my group was called to mount.  I spoke gently to my horse to reassure her that she would soon be done with her day.  I was careful with all of my movements.  She had taught me how she liked to be reined and prodded.  Her ears went forward; she picked up her step; she was comfortable with me and it showed.  We took 1st Place!  It was my very First Place prize in anything!  

         Other lessons included identifying poisonous plants and insects and poisonous and non-poisonous snakes.  I also learned how to make a camp fire, cook over it and how to put one out, etc.  Additionally, I received my very first lessons in basic photography with a 35 millimeter film camera.  There were no automatic features on those cameras back in those days.  The intro photo to this blog post resulted from those lessons!  I used a light meter to determine the appropriate shutter speed and aperture, framed my shot, took the picture, developed and printed the photo in the darkroom in the basement of the manor house to the envy of most of my fellow campers.  No one but the photography group was allowed into the basement of the manor house!  Thus began my initiation into serious photography!

        So here I go in my nature blog, indulging in this not-so-much-about-nature post, to remember and honor this Girl Scout Camp for what we scouts learned there throughout its 50 year history.   For those of you who are wondering where are the photos, look below.  Unfortunately, very few photos exist from my time at camp.  I did not take a camera to camp initially.  Eventually, I took pictures at one of my later riding lessons.  My mother had taken a few slides at an Open House visit in 1970 (when I was 9 years old!).  This past Thursday evening before attending the "Linger at Camp Low Country" event, I pulled out all of the slides & photos I could find from my and my mother's collections and then Carl and I scanned them for loading into my tablet so that I could take them with me to share on Friday.

Photos from many years ago: 

Gates and Oak Alley -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1970 -- Photo by Grace Johnson

Back of Manor House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1970 -- Photo by Grace Johnson

Open House Picnic -- Front lawn of Manor House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1970 -- Photo by Grace Johnson

Harleston Family Graveyard od the Richmond Plantation -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1970 -- Photo by Grace Johnson

My father, Jay Johnson, with others (?) in the Harleston Family Graveyard of the Richmond Plantation -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1970 -- Photo by Grace Johnson

View from the side lawn of the Cooper River -- Harleston Family Graveyard od the Richmond Plantation -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1970 -- Photo by Grace Johnson

Lagoon with the Canoe dock --  Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1970 -- Photo by Grace Johnson

Lagoon -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1974

The 'original' riding stable (which burned in 1972?) Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- Summer 1970 -- Photo by Grace Johnson

Riding lesson -- Missy and Rusty -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- 1973

Riding lesson -- Renee and Chico -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- October 1974

          That's it.  Those are all the photos worth showing from my and my mother's collections.  Realizing the paucity in this photo representation of this fabulous place, I became more convinced than before that I truly needed to attend this last Open House -- to photograph ALL of this property --  the wonderful vistas, the tent sites, the manor house, the gardens, the barn, the pasture, the dock, the guest houses, etc.  In order to help me preserve memories,  I did indeed need to linger at Camp Low Country one more time -- with my camera.

          Friday's weather forecast called for 80% chance of rain and my car was STILL in the shop.  No matter, I was determined not to miss this opportunity.  I had rain gear and I would drive the loaner car down Three-Mile Road (the dirt/gravel road leading to camp) if necessary.  As it turns out, I was able to pick up my nicely cleaned, freshly waxed Kia from the dealership in time to drive to camp.  It was nice that they washed and waxed my car.  They were trying to make amends for not having repaired it correctly the first time.  It was indeed bright and shiny  .... until I drove it down Three-Mile Road.  Oh well!  C'est la vie!  The wax job will still last awhile if I hose off some of the dirt.   

          Thankfully, by late afternoon, the rain had stopped and there were small breaks in the clouds by the time I arrived.  I was going to have what my French friend calls "sad light" for my photographs.  So be it -- perhaps a little sad light is suitable for a bittersweet event!  On the other hand, the bright green grass due to the significant rain events seems to have helped brighten many of these photos!  I only had a couple of hours to make the circuit to photograph all my favorite spots.  Thus, I confess that I intentionally missed the closing campfire in my efforts to capture all of it.  However, along my path, I did meet other former campers of different generations and we shared memories of camp as we knew it.  I showed my old photos (above) recorded to the tablet as well as some of the photos (below) just taken.  We laughed about some camp experiences and emotions that never change  -- no matter when you were a camper.  I felt truly bad for the youngest among them -- the girls who began their camp-outs here -- and now who camp at Sandy Ridge outside of Bennettsville, SC.   They confessed that though Sandy Ridge was a nice camp, it simply could not compare to THIS place.  At the same time, I am glad for them that they had been lucky enough to have camped at the Girl Scout Plantation even for a short time.  Cherish those happy memories, girls!

Photos from this former scout's last visit:

        So for all of the the Lowcountry Girl Scouts -- present and former -- as well as for my readers who appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty of our natural Lowcountry landscapes, here's my collection of photos of Richmond Plantation, the soon-to-be former Girl Scout Plantation, from Friday's "Linger at Camp Low Country."

        First, I visited the barn (built to replace the stable that had burned):  The horses are gone, of course, but oh my, you can still smell their warm, sweet  scent!

The Barn -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

        Then, I passed on taking a picture of the Avenue of Live Oaks.  It was going to be too difficult to photoshop out the Port-a-Potty placed halfway down the drive.  Sigh!  Instead I focused on the walled formal garden alongside as I moved down the drive.       

The walled formal garden -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Part of the garden wall where a fountain had once been attached -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Garden pond -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Garden gate -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

         Next, across from the walled garden, I photographed the carriage house.

Carriage House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Weather vane and Dovecote on the Carriage House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Don't you know that as young girls, we just loved the gargoyle-like faces on these buildings?!

       Next, I turned from photographing the Carriage House, to view the back entrance to the Manor House framed by the majestic oaks.  How sweet to watch a former scout (she is under the tree on the right) sitting to reflect on her camp experiences as she admired again the beautiful Tudor-revival architecture!  I wonder what memories she was reliving in that moment of contemplation?

Back entrance to the Manor House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Another view of the back entrance to the Manor House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

I have always loved the picturesque portico on the side wing!

Back view and side wing to Manor House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Side wing to Manor House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Slate roof and Iron "gargoyle" like mask of the side wing -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

       The small guest house across from the side wing served an infirmary when I camped here.  In more recent years, it was called the Brownie Bungalow -- a place for some of our youngest scouts.

Guest house -- Infirmary -- Brownie Bungalow -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

          After this, I moved around to the front side of the Manor House facing the Cooper River.

The front lawn of the Manor House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

The front of the Manor House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

            From here, I descended the bluff to the dock overlooking the East Branch of the Cooper River.

Dike leading to the dock on the East Branch of the Cooper River -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Dock overlooking the East Branch of the Cooper River -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

River view from the dock -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

          Sadly, I was not initiated into birding during my childhood.  But Friday, I certainly was tuned into the birdsong here even though birding was not my mission.  Throughout the late afternoon, I heard and/or saw the usual suspects: Carolina Wrens, Northern Cardinals, American Crows, Laughing Gulls, Carolina Chickadees and Northern Mockingbirds.  I also heard Summer Tanagers, White-Eyed Vireos and a pair of Barred Owls.  I managed to flush a couple of Great Blue Herons, a Little Blue Heron and some Yellow-Crowned Night Herons.  But only one bird gave me a good photo op.  I was delighted to find this Least Tern preening and relaxing on the dock.

Least Tern -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Least Tern -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

         Returning back up the bluff, I headed back to the side lawn to see the swimming pool.  The pool is drained now of course and the high dive is gone.  This not-so-attractive photo nonetheless reminds me of one of my happiest eureka moments ever -- my light switch moment when I realized I could swim!

Junior Olympic-sized swimming pool -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

         Right next to the pool, is the "Dog House" (the kennel? for the previous owner) -- rather nice digs for the pups!  It never looked much like a kennel to me.  I believe that it may have been used as lodging for some of the camp employees when I camped there.  Later, it apparently became the camp infirmary.

The Dog House / The Infirmary -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

             Before continuing beyond this house to the campsites, I turned back to look at the cemetery.

Plantation cemetery -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Plantation cemetery -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC --July 12, 2013

You have to wonder how many girls did their first tombstone rubbings here on Mr. Harleston's grave. 

          Beyond the Dog House, I followed the road to the lagoon where we had our first canoeing lessons.  How much it has changed!

Lagoon -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

         Then I continued past it searching for the nearly hidden path to my favorite tent campsite, Live Oak. 

Live Oak campsite -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013
How I loved the night time campfire -- ah those special times: the cooking and eating, the camaraderie, the singing and story-telling!  It was the perfect way to complete the day at camp!

The typical tent with cots framed for mosquito netting -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Live Oak Shelter with latrine in the background -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

The Live Oak Latrine -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

My husband wondered why I chose to include this photo.  Hey, important memories were formed in ALL parts of the camp.  This could be a site of great and long meditations.  Ah, latrine duty, that was a favorite -- NOT!  Interestingly though, if you like spiders, this was a Grand-daddy long legs haven!  In addition, we always watched our step on the way to this latrine.  The Big Mama Cottonmouth produced a lot of babies close to this latrine one summer.  We never forgot that.

         The campsites have changed some since my camping days.  When I asked some girls which camp was there favorite, they answered with "Lakeview."  That name was new to me.  When I asked why, they said it was their favorite because of the cabins!  Cabins!  Wow!  Apparently, shortly after Hurricane Hugo, the camp constructed the Lakeview cabins site!  I am sorry to say that I did not take pictures of it.  I became a bit turned around in the campground areas trying to figure out which camp was which.  It did not matter though as I had found my favorite, "Live Oak(!)" and I had no problems relocating the dining hall either!

Dining Hall -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

On the way to the dining hall, I passed along the other side of the lagoon with a much more picturesque view.

View of the lagoon on road to the Dining Hall -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

         With less than an hour of visiting time left, I made a bee-line along the power line right-of-way back to the Manor House.  I found a young couple to help me take a picture of myself behind the manor house!  Thank you!

Cathy Miller (the former Cathy Johnson) returns to the Girl Scout Plantation one last time -- 43 years after her first visit -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

I decided that I had enough time to visit the other side of the property and so I trekked behind the Carriage House where I found the Doll House --   which had been moved from its previous location many years ago apparently.

The Doll House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC -- July 12, 2013

Peeking through the window, I saw evidence of some major renovation work as the council works to prepare the property for sale.

Peeking through the window inside the Doll House to see the restoration efforts -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC    July 12, 2013

           A quick walk from there brought me to the Log Cabin, which I believe also housed summer camp staff once upon a time.

Log Cabin -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC    July 12, 2013

Log Cabin -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC    July 12, 2013

         From the Log Cabin, I made my way to the Stono Pavillon, where the final campfire was held.  I met some more former scouts who reminded me to visit the Boat House down the hill.

The Boat House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC    July 12, 2013
         I remember my father being quite enamored of this structure when he saw it at that Open House in 1970. There's a similarity between our old boat house at home that he built and this one.  I wonder in which year did he build our boat house.  Did this one inspire the form of ours?

As I entered this dark abode,  I speculated on many bats might be roosting in the eaves!  I thought of using my flashlight but, if they were there, I did not want to disturb them.  So I refrained.  And yes, this former Girl Scout did take her flashlight to camp this time, too!

Boat House -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC    July 12, 2013

          After the boat house, I walked back up the hill towards the pasture.  I had just about completed my full circuit back towards the barn -- and just in time as visitation was to close at 8 pm.

A final look at the barn -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC    July 12, 2013

Barn and pasture at sunset -- Girl Scout Plantation -- Cordesville, SC    July 12, 2013
         Thus, these are my last photos from camp -- taken to help preserve memories of childhood.  What a marvelous moment -- lingering at Camp Low Country.   As I completed this circumnavigation around the property, my previous sadness had permuted somewhat into a more positive emotion of wistful gratefulness and joy.  I thoroughly relished this time to reconnect with a precious part of my past -- to relive memories made here at this beautiful site where I did some major growing up!  This was both a time of homecoming and a time to say good-by.  I was delighted to meet former and present Girl Scouts of different generations who all felt as I did about this place.  It is for myself and for all of them -- for those who came and for those who could not -- that I took these pictures and wrote this post.  It is indeed hard to let go of the tangible -- this camp.  But it is the intangible -- our beautiful memories, love of nature, our values, our life skills, and character-forming life lessons all gained here -- that lives on in all of us.  We will always have that!

         Now, what happens next to the tangible -- this piece of land?  Its future holds promise in that the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina placed a conservation easement on the property in 2006 through the Lowcountry Open Land Trust to "preserve and protect the conservation values in perpetuity."  I found this information about the easement in the detailed inventory of the property on the website of Carolina Auction Team, Inc., the company hired to prepare the property and to take it to auction:

The primary restrictions and limitations in the Conservation Easement are -- no subdivision of the property is allowed, no structure may be more than 35 ft. tall, residential structures are limited to four (4) main houses, four (4) secondary houses and related outbuildings, the existing dock may be maintained or replaced as necessary, no additional dock, boatlift or super structures will be built, the existing boat house and boat ramp may be maintained or replaced, all existing structures can be maintained or replaced to their present size, no towers shall be on the property, forest cannot be clear cut, the existing dikes and rice fields may continue in use, no industrial uses are permitted on the property...          

With a conservation easement such as this, we can rest reassured that this fabulously beautiful, natural environment will not be developed, destroyed, sub-divided or otherwise marred in the future.  Not only that, it is surrounded on three sides by the state-owned Bonneau Ferry Wildlife Management Area.  The property offers great opportunities in its existing structures for another organization to offer a camp or other such meeting (hopefully educational in nature) site.  We know that the wildlife habitat is protected with an easement such as this.  Finally, we can hope that the future owners will benefit from this land as we did, by being immersed in an undisturbed natural setting and by connecting to nature. 

       So now I say good-bye to my childhood home-away-from-home, ever so thankful for the values this place imbued in me and more confident in its future to be the same kind of place for others.   


  1. I too was a Brownie then a Girl Scout though not in S.C. so did not get to experience this beautiful place. Lucky were the girls who spent time there. Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos & memories. Ginny

  2. Cathy,
    I was not able to make it to say goodbye to Camp Lowcountry so thank you so much for preserving and sharing the sights of its last day with us. This camp holds wonderful memories for me also and I will treasure the photos you have posted. Thank you for your time and efforts to document how much it means to all of us who have enjoyed its splendor! :-)
    Jean Godbold
    Myrtle Beach, SC

  3. Jean,
    Thank you for your comments. It was indeed a moving experience to be there again. It makes me very happy to share this with you and others who treasure in their hearts our times at the Girl Scout Plantation.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful blog. You captured 3 generations of campers in your picture from the barn that night- me, my mother and my daughter. Such a bittersweet night. -Jennifer Allston, Summerville, SC

  5. What a nice walk down memory lane through your photos. I was a girl scout leader for several years, and one of our favorite places to go was to the GS Plantation!!! Many a, "more courageous, stronger, wiser" girl left at the end of our camping trips than arrived.

    That is such a beautiful piece of property.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Joyce Ex, Goose Creek

  6. Great look back. Only shed a few tears this time. You captured it very well.
    Thank you!
    Kathy Smith (Overby), Goose Creek

  7. Thank you for sharing your photos of the Girl Scout Plantation. I spent several summers camping there and have great memories of it all.

  8. I was a camp counselor and waterfront staff at Camp LoCo (later called Camp Lowcountry) at the GS Plantation. It was such a memorable and magical time in my life as I transitioned from childhood to adulthood. It was 1987 and 1988 (some 17 and 18 years after you) and the plantation was so beautiful. The manor house was "off limits" to everyone, but we found our way through it many times! Thank you taking these beautiful photos and blogging them. I now live out west and couldn't make it back to the Linger so in a way you made it possible for me to say goodbye to a very special place to me! Thank you again for all of these photos. I can almost hear the laughter and songs of 100's of girls... I did tear up while I read your blog and viewed these photos, but I am happy I could "see" it once more!

    Denise Newland Mower (aka Munchkin)
    formerly of Sullivan's Island, now living in Utah

    1. OMG! Hi Munchkin Wow that is a flashback!

  9. Thank you for this. I spent most of my summers there as a child, then later as a CIT, and a counselor. My only regret was not going back again to be a counselor for more summers. Your final picture of the sun setting behind the barn about made me lose it. As a counselor, in 1995, I would take my breaks at Stono at sunset and just spend some time in quiet devotion and reflection. That picture was EXACTLY what I saw {well, with horses too} every night that summer. Thank you for the beautiful pictures. ~Jana {aka Louie}

  10. Thank you Cathy for giving us that could not go, a very touching farewell.

  11. Your pictures and comments are wonderful. I began teaching riding there in 1979 in the year-round program and at camp; all of it was a very important time in my life. After moving away for many years, and moving back to the area, I had a chance to visit one last time a week ago. I expected to cry the whole time, but it was exiting and also overwhelming to be there again. That overwhelming part made me forget to take pictures, so I greatly appreciate yours. Yes, especially the sunset with the barn. I lived in the Carriage House and at Stono; such a cool thing to live with so much history.

    1. Donna Limehouse Moran aka "Trotter"May 30, 2016 at 2:25 PM

      I think I may have been a riding instructor under you - either in 80,81 or 82 can't remember the exact year I was a college student at Baptist College at the time. We stayed in the carriage house and had a visitor at on of our windows one night! we left and went to the manor house for the rest of the night! Had a great time that summer working with the girls and horses. Old Maho and Switch were two of my favorites!

  12. Thanks so much for these pictures and your camp stories. I had seen an article about the auction, and immediately recognized the manor house. A quick google search led me to your blog. I had always wondered about this place, and I'm a little sad it's being sold.
    This beautiful camp was a part of my chilhood in the early 80s. I remember so many summers out there, riding horses, swimming, and discussing the "ghost story" associated with the doll house. I also remember my mother sewing a bunch of what we called "old plantation dresses" costumes for us to wear for an event at the plantation. I think I still have one in storage.
    Your pictures brought back a flood of memories, and I thank you for that.
    Carrie (Charleston/Summerville 1980-1985, now Huntsville, Alabama)

  13. Thank You so much for sharing you wonderful memories and photographs. I was a camp counsellor at Camp Low Country in 2006 and it was one of the best experiences of my life and has definitely help shape who I am today. I met so many wonderful people from all over the world and was always so intrigued by the history of the plantation. While looking through your photographs all of my memories of camp have come flooding back, memories I forgot I even had! I am so sad to hear the news that Camp Low Country has been sold and it leaves me with a heavy heart to think that I will never go back to relive my memories. I am so glad to hear that so many people from the past and present have had many happy times at Camp Low Country and I am thankful I managed to spend an amazing summer there.
    Kirsty Lorimer (Piper 2006) Broughty Ferry, Scotland.

  14. Thank you so very much for your post and pictures. I also worked at the barn at the Plantation from 1987 to 1992.I worked summer camp in 1990. I never realized how very much this one place had shaped my life. I loved it out there. I was able to go back on the 12th with my son. It was amazing to see the Plantation through the eyes of my 10 year old son.
    His comment was "Momma, this place is magical and a little scary." I don't think I could have said it better. Thank you again for the pictures. I was the most amazing place I have ever had the pleasure of being. I treasure the memories and hope that you hold yours as close to your heart as I do. Thank you again! Heather Phillips Ganiere (aka Lobo) Ridgeville, South Carolina

  15. Thank you for your pictures. I now live in Virginia and would have loved to see the plantation one last time. I spent many summers at Girl Scout Plantation as a camper and as a counselor. I was a Girl Scout of 1776 (1976) and we lived in the manor house. We made candles and soap, learned French, and danced the minuet. I spent 2 weeks one summer at Aquatics camp. We canoed down the Cooper River and did a water ballet show in the pool. Several of us came down with strep throat but they didn't send us home. We went in town to see the doctor who prescribed penicillin. Miss Audrey (Manceau), our camp nurse, treated us to ice cream and we spent the night in the infirmary. When we were no longer contagious we went back to our tents. One summer it rained every day while we were at camp. We were allowed to dry two items of clothing. I chose socks. I also remember August 1974. All the campers were brought up to the manor house and there was a tiny television in the corner. Richard Nixon announced his resignation.

    You don't know how much you appreciate a place until its gone. Thank you for the pictures and thanks to all the adult leaders who guided us during our stays.

    1. gloria maherg baysingerFebruary 26, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      I was there when Richard Nixon announced his resignation. I also remember Mrs. Manseau. she was my troop leader at Aldersgate UMC in north Charleston. thanks for remembering along with me.

  16. Great Pictures! takes me back more than 50 years when this area was "just before" camping time. Girl Scout troops were being asked to "sponsor" renovations in the manor house. We visited probably just after this plantation was purchased. The avenue of oaks was unbelievable with the manor house framed at the end of the road. the tent platforms were being constructed, the barn and corral, and doll house all brought back sweet memories. And the views! WOW! Thank you for sharing.

  17. Thank you for sharing your pictures and thoughts! :-) I was unable to linger at Camp Low Country one more time on July 12th. As I read your blog, as a former troop leader, I remembered Plantation Pickin's, Halloween events, Home for the Holidays in December in the Manor House with the girls wearing long hostess aprons serving homemade cookies and punch, Spring Fling with hundreds of people there, Junior Jam, and my personal favorite - camping in all the sites including the Manor House more than once. Also just remembered the girls earning the Dance badge in Stono Shelter when it still had a wooden floor. I'm glad that so many girls and adults remember such good times at Camp Low Country!
    Linda Walters, Firefly, Summerville, SC

  18. Thank you for sharing wonderful photos which sparked great memories of my summers there from 192 - 1965 -- still some of the best summers of my life, and I grew up at the beach! (Sullivan's Island). I can vividly remember giving my weather report in the doorway of the Manor House during lunch when I was in Conservation, and being a hopper at meals..toting those great, metal silver pitchers filled with water. I was in International, Arts, and Pioneer. The pool was built over those years while I was there so it was fun to do synchronized swimming! My big scare memory was jumping over a copperhead one night on my way back from the latrines to the cabin!

  19. Cathy: Thank you so much for taking and posting photos of the plantation. I didn't make it out to visit before the auction. I was finished Scouts in 1994, my sister did in 1990. I remember Spring Flings, Thinking days, sleepovers at the Manor House, and riding guided horses. I also remember giving Manor House tours in my Cadette and Senior years: Beam supports from Bulgaria, A gothic castle fireplace with a boar's head over it. The animal heads in the library. And who can forget the sulfur smell of the faucet water? :)

    I have photos that need to be scanned in; if I ever get them online I will post a link. If a bunch of former Scouts pooled in their photos in an online gallery that would be really cool, wouldn't it?

  20. Cathy: Thank you so much for taking and posting photos of the plantation. I didn't make it out to visit before the auction. I was finished Scouts in 1994, my sister did in 1990. I remember Spring Flings, Thinking days, sleepovers at the Manor House, and riding guided horses. I also remember giving Manor House tours in my Cadette and Senior years: Beam supports from Bulgaria, A gothic castle fireplace with a boar's head over it. The animal heads in the library. And who can forget the sulfur smell of the faucet water? :)

    I have photos that need to be scanned in; if I ever get them online I will post a link. If a bunch of former Scouts pooled in their photos in an online gallery that would be really cool, wouldn't it?

  21. Cathy: Thank you so much for taking and posting photos of the plantation. I didn't make it out to visit before the auction. I was finished Scouts in 1994, my sister did in 1990. I remember Spring Flings, Thinking days, sleepovers at the Manor House, and riding guided horses. I also remember giving Manor House tours in my Cadette and Senior years: Beam supports from Bulgaria, A gothic castle fireplace with a boar's head over it. The animal heads in the library. And who can forget the sulfur smell of the faucet water? :)

    I have photos that need to be scanned in; if I ever get them online I will post a link. If a bunch of former Scouts pooled in their photos in an online gallery that would be really cool, wouldn't it?

    November 15, 2013 at 9:22 AM

  22. Cathy, these photos really help take away the sting of not being there one last time. Thank you, thank you! I adored camp and rode throughout the year at Camp LoCo! These experienced shaped the best memories of my childhood, and like you, tied me to the South Carolina Low Country forever. I have to say one of the best memories I have is surviving Hurricane Bob at camp---all of us were sent from our campsites to the Manor House, where we enjoyed a HUGE slumber party with the exciting edge of a little danger due to the storm. Although the surroundings were a major influence, it was the people who brought this beautiful place to life. They (and the horses) will live in my heart forever. ---Christina Bagaglio Slentz, Scout (later leader) Camper '82-'86. Rider '83-88.

  23. Cathy, What a wonderful photo journey through the Plantation. It was truly a special place. I attended summer camp the first year it was open - before the pool and platform tents. We ate all of our meals in the Manor House and stayed in the smaller buildings along with a few mice! I remember going in the back of a pick-up truck to a nearby lake for swimming. The next year the pool and some of the platform tents were built. Lindy Rosmer was one of my counselors who got me involved with synchronized swimming (water ballet at the time) which I still participate in today. Whenever GS Cookie time rolls around, I support it fully as it was cookie money that helped purchase the Plantation so many years ago! Wish I had known it was closing. . .I would have loved to have "lingered a little longer" with everyone.

  24. gloria maherg baysingerFebruary 26, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Cathy, thanks for the wonderful memories. I was at camp every summer from 1964 to 1973, I loved everything, except maybe the spiders and snakes. I was there during a hurricane and the stable burning down. I was there for the Jubilee of Arts. I really enjoyed your pictures. I hate that the scouts had to sell the property, but times are rough everywhere. I also would like to have lingered a little longer. Can remember singing that song at the last night campfire every session every summer.

  25. athy, I can not believe I found your wonderful article. Today while traveling from Myrtle Beach to Charleston (my childhood home) for a VA appointment for my husband,I was telling him about GS Plantation. I have for years wondered if it was still a Girl Scout camp. I spent two weeks at camp in 1964 and a month as a counselor in training in 65. Would you believe my Father made and installed the flag pole on the back side of the manor. Everything he made lasted for a life time. I am sure that I am looking at the same flag pole in the 4th picture. I have only wonderful memories of my days at camp, well except for the snakes. I even loved the sound of the bull alligators at night. The second year I was there the pool was put in, and every morning we scooped snakes and creatures out of the pool.
    Thanks again for posting this, what wonderful memories have flooded back. I am sharing this with my two sons who are Eagle Scouts.
    As we would part after camper was over, we would all sing "UMM I want to linger here, a little longer now UMM a little longer here with you UMM and as the years go by, I will think of you and sigh this is goodnight and not good bye"

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  27. Bonnie Sanders (Marsh)August 23, 2015 at 3:44 PM

    Thank you for sharing this with me. I remember this place very well. It brought tears to my eyes ready the post and seeing your beautiful pictures. I was a girlscut in the 70s and my daughter in the 90s. We both share the memories of the Girl Scout Plantation .my granddaughter will not have that chance but I can show her these picture and she can at least have some experience with us. Thank you.

  28. Thank you so very much for preserving this magical place in pictures! When I saw them, it's like I was suddenly transported back in time to care free summer days walking the live oak lane, sneaking down to the dock to go fishing, and riding horses all over plantation, exploring, making new friends, widening my imagination and developing talents that would last a lifetime! What a privilege it was to have been exposed to such grace and stunning beauty in the landscapes and old buildings that stood there. I had the opportunity to work there as a Junior horseback riding instructor during the summer and drill team member during the winter for several years, and the girl scout plantation became a second home to me. I knew every knook and corner of that place in every season! Sometimes when I can't sleep, I still remember the giant bull frogs that used to keep me awake croaking all night in botany pond behind the carriage house when I stayed there as a counselor. If those old majestic live oaks could talk, what tales they would tell! I am also immensely grateful to the dedicated leaders that so nobely gave of their time and talents and to help lshape my life and so many others in a great many positive ways.
    I don't think it's current owner has any idea of the tremondus regard and love that is held by so many for those hallowed grounds of youth! I had the opportunity to walk those lanes for a couple of hours this past year as a special visitor and so many memories washed over me I was surprised to be overwhelmed with emotion....laughing and crying at the same time, and just remembering! All to quickly it was time to go, but that place, that time, is anchored in my heart like the Hal Preston tune, "the song remembers when".....thank you, thank you for taking these pictures before change could marr the memories!
    Deborah Thomas

  29. Hey Cathy, Thank you for posting the article and pictures about the Girl Scout Plantation. I remember my first camping trip was at Hilltop on Halloween weekend. We had a hurricane type storm come through and we all huddled in the cottage! What a fun weekend. I also remember the 1st Class ceremony with you and Sue and Bonnie. We had a great time at the Governor's Mansion in Columbia. We had many fun times during our years in scouting, but camp was always special. I enjoyed being with you in Troop 488 and Troop 4. Thank you for preserving the Girl Scout Plantation through your article. Renee Graff

  30. Tammy Griffith BrewerMay 27, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Thank you so much for the article. It brought back many pictures and tears.

  31. Thank you for the wonderful walk down memory lane. I spent many summers at the plantation as a camper, CIT and counselor, and stayed in the manor house with my troop during the offseason. I have such fond memories of my time there - even being thrown by Mary during a riding lesson, getting "trapped" by a copperhead in the staff house (Brownie Bungalow) for a time one evening, or the incessant rain that kept us in the barn cleaning tack instead of riding. It's a shame the council wasn't able to keep the place.
    Debra Bueneman (aka Twinkle &Tiger)

  32. Hi, My name is Mary Lou Scsrboroigh Shuhart. I want to sincerely thank you for a "stroll down memory lane" with the photos and recollections of summers spent enjoying and learning from all of the activities that the Low Country Girl Scout Plantation could afford its thousands of campers over the years.
    My precious grandmother, Mattie Lou Dutton, was the very first Dietician for the Girl Scout Plantation when it was purchased. She, along with her staff, were there every summer for about ten years before she could no longer continue going, due to back problems. I promise you, Paula Dean can't hold a candle to my Grannie's cooking! She always "cooked from scratch." I mean everything!!
    I remember, about mid-way through every summer, my sister would take me and my nieces from Charleston out to visit our Grannie in between sessions when most of the campers were gone. We would go exploring while my grandmother was preparing dinner for any of the staff that stayed in-between sessions. One of my favorite places to visit was the "Doll House." My grandmother slept in the Master Bedroom in the Manor House. All I remember about her room was that it was huge. The one thing that I remember vividly, after nearly 56 years, was the size of the cement bathtub in the Master's bathroom. From what I was told the original Master of the Manor was a rather large man, about four hundred pounds. Due to his size, the tub was about four feet deep so that the water wouldn't flow over the side when he got in. He had steps to get in and out of the tub and some sort of "block and tackle" system was used to help get him up and down into the water. I remember trying to envision this jolly, large man and the first "hot tub."
    I dearly loved roaming on the lovely grounds and pretending that I was a child of the Manor House. I am delighted to know that the property can not ever be changed from a place of beauty and history in the Low Country!!

  33. Donna Limehouse Moran aka "Trotter"May 30, 2016 at 1:28 PM

    I was a riding instructor at the "Plantation" in 1981 or 1982. It was while I was in college. We had a blast working with the girl scouts and the horses. A beautiful place. It is a shame the Girl Scouts no longer has this place to go to! Do you know who bought the property?

  34. WOW! What wonderful memories this brings back! I can't believe I stumbled across this! Thank you so much <3