BEHIND THE SCENES - BOONE HALL PLANTATION, Things to do in Charleston
First, we need to recognize that long time Boone Hall owner Willie McRae passed away on April 2, 2020. Although he never sought recognition for being so, Willie is a Lowcountry giant. He was an incredible visionary who was always looking for new and innovative ways to present the "magical, mystical" place that Boone Hall Plantation is. His accomplishments are too numerous to mention here, but undoubtedly the crown jewel of those was his implementation of a conservation easement agreement in November of last year.
This action has put in place a legacy that Boone Hall will always be preserved for people today and generations yet to be born. He will be missed more than words can express. But we will seek to honor him by continuing to move forward to make Boone Hall better while keeping in place the values he instilled.
While Boone Hall Plantation has been closed during this healthcare crisis, we still have been busy behind the scenes. We have kept a number of staff working on a variety of projects.
The grounds require constant upkeep to make sure we continue to look our best whenever our guests return. So our grounds and maintenance staff have stayed busy every day. We are also improving some of the signage on site.
Our Boone Hall Farms staff has been busy managing our spring and summer crops. Strawberries are king in the spring at Boone Hall and this year's crop was planted on Long Point Road in the area where peach trees use to be planted. The 150,000 plants on the 11 acres that line Long Point have produced one of our best crops ever and those have been made available for folks several different ways. We were able to have a brief u-pick season before the stay-at-home order came out. We operated a drive thru operation in the parking lot next to where the Lowcountry Strawberry Festival and the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch is presented just off Hwy. 17 in Mount Pleasant. Customers were able to drive up and purchase two quart baskets of our berries using social distancing measures and their credit or debit card. This operation was a huge success and we thank everyone who helped to make that so. Our strawberries have passed their peak and for a limited time, the remainder of this year's crop will be on sale at area Harris Teeter grocery stores. Our other spring and summer crops should begin coming to harvest in the coming days and weeks.
Management staff has kept working on several fronts. Like many, we experienced a number of cancelations for group tours, weddings, and special events. We have been busy trying to get those rescheduled for the fall and next spring. We also are anticipating what the new normal is going to look like and are putting contingency plans in place for a phased re-opening of what will be available for our guests upon our return to tour operations.
Our gardens are at full bloom right now and require daily care and maintenance even though there are no visitors here to see them. Master Gardener Catherine Rasor and her staff have done an outstanding job with this part of the plantation.
On the marketing side, it has been important to keep people who are stuck at home engaged with Boone Hall in a variety of ways. We have used social media to keep people aware of noteworthy occurrences and projects that are taking place. Since the gardens are at full bloom, we have displayed a number of photos on both Facebook and Instagram that have received a strong response to this showcase of color.
Willie was always looking for new ways to share all the Boone Hall is with the world. It was his idea to put a bluebird nest livestream in place on our website so people could see one of the miracles of nature that takes place at the plantation. That outreach has gotten a lot of attention.
We worked with the Birds of Prey Avian Conservation Center and Berkley Electric on re-nesting a baby bald eagle in its nest located at Boone Hall. Robert Smith with the Chart Group came out and documented this event with video and photos.
One of the biggest marketing projects that any business undertakes is the development of a new website. During this downtime, we were able to finish and launch the new Boone Hall Plantation website that we believe does a better job of showing who we are and what we do. We invite everyone to take a look at the new site at www.boonehallplantation.com.
We are proud of what we are able to present at Boone Hall Plantation. But there is something more important...something bigger...than what is presented here.
That something...is you and your safety.
That is everything. THAT is THE ONLY THING.
There are still many unanswered questions about this virus that continue to make it tough to know when it's safe to travel right now...or to be around others.
We just want you to know that when our area opens back up and our visitors are ready to come back...we'll be ready.
And BETTER than ever, this will be a great "Things to do in Charleston" for the family.
Because there is nothing more important at Boone Hall...than YOU.