Heidi’s first Christmas with us put me in a little bit of a tizzy when it came time to make our arrangements for visiting family in Charleston, South Carolina. We have been staying at a pretty nice place on the Isle of Palms for the past couple of years, but they don’t accept dogs. So I tried my luck with another place on the other side of Charleston, and hoped it would work out for us all.
A bit tired from the grind of a two-day drive down the eastern seaboard, and still concerned about how Heidi would do away from home, I breathed a sign of relief when my wheels left the pavement for the soothing sensation of a well-kept dirt road.
Following it through the simple gate of white fencing, I entered a hushed world of open fields bounded by communities of ancient oaks dripping Spanish Moss. The field to my left was whirling with the shenanigans of a large herd of goats; ahead of me I could see stables and a riding ring.
I smiled – and relaxed. Just the place for a little Berner-farm girl! We knew then that we would love the Inn at Middleton Place!
The Inn is nestled within the 110 acres of Middleton Place – a colonial era plantation along the Ashley River that has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. It is famous for the restoration of its original gardens – the oldest landscaped gardens in the country.
The house has been restored and is now a museum, complete with a stable yard stocked with the very same breeds of livestock originally owned by the Middletons. Tours interpret life on a Low Country rice plantation – for both owners and slaves. Plus, the restaurant – like so many in Charleston – is fantastic!
Most of all – it’s dog friendly! Not just dog-tolerant.
No problem – it’s their policy to put dog families on the first floor. Relieved to hear it, I thanked the lady. That’s when she handed me a “doggy welcome bag” with a pull-toy, a bag of homemade cookies and plenty of poop-bags. The cookies were a very big hit with Heidi!
Our room, with its floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Ashley River, was big and comfortable for the three of us. Granite flooring ran from the entry way into the bathroom, providing an easy-to-clean area to place her water and food bowls. It really felt like home!
The Magic of Christmas at Middleton
This year, I shared a great deal of it with Heidi. She doesn’t always see well, so she’s not confident in unfamiliar territory. But together, we walked along the Ashley, to the stables, and among the ancient oaks – and the serenity dissolved her insecurities and replaced them with trust that I would not lead her astray.
And that was the best Christmas present, ever!
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