A few weeks ago I got to visit Charlotte, North Carolina! I only stayed for thirty-two hours because the flights that weekend were expensive. I think the price had more to do with the fact that my trip was a last minute thing. I won tickets to see Luke Bryan from the Verizon Up program at the PNC Pavilion in North Carolina.
With only a few hours to myself I wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to do when I got there. It was ninety degrees when I landed. Steamy. If someone was standing next to you, you could feel the sweat and the heat rolling off their body. Still, the temperature didn’t stop me from doing what I do when I visit a new place–explore.
After I landed I had a few hours to kill before my concert. I wanted to make sure I did something that would reveal some of Charlotte’s history to me. I didn’t necessarily want to spend time in a museum because even though it was hot it still felt nice to be outside.
So I ended up at The Historic Rosedale Plantation.
A few things to note before visiting:
They only do guided tours. You aren’t free to roam the house by yourself so if you like to go at your own pace you might feel rushed.
The tour is about an hour long.
Photographs are strictly prohibited once you’re inside.
The last part was the real bummer for me but I understand why. It can be annoying when you go to a museum, show or exhibit and someone is blocking the view with their camera. Taking pictures excessively also makes it hard for you to listen and learn about the place you’re actually visiting. I imagine it’s also distracting to the tour guide who lives and breathes a place you’ll see once in your lifetime.
I thought the guide was extremely informative. She told us about the history of the house and who inhabited it. Rosedale was built in 1815 by Archibald Frew, a tax collector. It was later bought by D.T. Caldwell. Caldwell was a doctor, he ran his medical practice in one of the rooms, along with the plantation. I can tell you he wasn’t a fan of smoking–not for health reasons–because he didn’t like the smell. He was often paid by his patients not with money but eggs, milk and other produce.
Caldwell housed the schoolteacher who had his own room in the boys wing of the house. This is important because the girls only had a room. The boys had an entire wing while his daughters had a teeny tiny room to fit all of them. Still, their room was bigger than anything you’d find in New York.
They also happened to take lessons in the attic, also known as the steamiest room in the entire house, while the boys had their wing, schoolteacher and school down the road.
Besides the things you’ll learn about the inhabitants of the house, you’ll also learn about the structure. Something that interested me greatly was the wallpaper! Three rooms in the house still have the original wallpaper.
The other thing I found interesting were the closets. Apparently back in the 1800s the government used to increase your property taxes depending on how many rooms you had in your house. Closets counted too. Anything that had a door to it and you could walk into and stand in was considered a room. So the little closet you have in your house that stores your brooms was considered a room and they’d tax you on that.
So they had one or two closets and then these little half ‘closets’ that were close to the ground where they would store their things in or cabinets. How crazy is that? My closet in my bedroom is probably large enough to fit a twin sized bed and I still can’t hold all of my crap in there! What would I do if more than half of it was gone?!
What can I say? I’m a hoarder.
After the tour you’re free to walk through the gardens on your own. Eight acres of the original 911 acre plantation remain.
The tree pictured above was planted circa 1894 and is a Swamp Chestnut Oak.
Just like the house, the garden is kept in good condition. I looked online and I understand why many people get married here or take their engagement and wedding photos here.
In the summer the garden is absolutely gorgeous when everything is in full bloom. Unfortunately most of the flowers were wilting since they were out of season but the full lush green trees were just as breathtakingly beautiful.
If you ever find yourself in Charlotte, North Carolina I highly recommend stopping by The Historic Rosedale Plantation. In one hour you’ll get to learn about an exquisite architecture, hear stories about the people who inhabited the house and feel like you’ve walked right into the antebellum period in 2018.