We enjoyed our trips to Hunting Island State Park and Beaufort, but we had much to learn on this adventure, and I hoped to do that at the ACE National Wildlife Refuge.
Not that it helped us in the past...
I wish I could have walked inside the Visitors Center. From preliminary research on the Basin, I learned a South Carolina treasure is hidden in the heart of the refuge, and the pictures didn't prepare me for the sight of a historic plantation house surrounded by enormous moss-laced oak trees.
I love old plantations. Not for the tragic history they often represent, but because of the architectural wonders they usually are, and Grove Plantation House is a beauty. Surrounded by dozens of those majestic oak trees, it's one of those sights you need to see in person to appreciate. European ownership of this area dates back to the days of, or just after, the Lord's Proprietors. The land was originally granted in 1694. However, according to the refuge's website, the house was built in 1828.
I also had to get inside to get my hands on much needed brochures. Detailed information on the refuge is hard to find. It's mentioned in Coastal South Carolina, but I learned little more than wildlife, including numerous endangered species, live within its 11,000 acres.
see website for information, restrictions and any applicable fees). A trail map shows numerous paths suitable for touring the refuge on foot, several of which skirt ponds.
NOTE: Summer and early autumn are NOT the time to go hiking through Lowcountry woods, thanks to ticks and mosquitoes. Without personally checking it out, I can only assume the best times to visit are spring and late fall, and in the winter on a clear day.
The ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge consists of two units, the Edisto Unit, which is located near Adam's Run, and the Combehee Unit, located off River Road near its intersection with Hwy 17A. For more information, including directions, check out the following websites:
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