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Beautiful plantations, historic homes and scenic church properties will soon be open to the public for a two-day event near Pawleys Island.

The 76th annual Tours of Historic Plantations & Homes, organized by the Women of Prince George Winyah Church of Georgetown, will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1. In addition to the tours, the event includes an Afternoon Tea from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Winyah Indigo Society Hall; and a Bazaar & Bake Sale from 9 to 5 p.m. both days in the parish hall.

Mary Boyd, a member of the event committee, said that she is excited about the Plantation and Home Tours in 2023.

“The plantations on the tour are premier examples of Colonial and 19th-century architecture, as well as good examples of the culture of the day,” Boyd said.

Lisa Collins, another member of the committee, said the annual Plantation and Home Tour is a wonderful event for Prince George church, the community and people who travel to the Hammock Coast. Participants will travel throughout Georgetown and up to the Pawleys Island area to tour homes and properties.

Chicora Woods Plantation will be one of the stops during the 76th Annual Tours of Historic Plantations and Homes (Photo courtesy of the Women of Prince George Winyah Church in Georgetown.

“I urge everyone to come to Georgetown County for a beautiful weekend of history, fellowship and beautiful sights,” Collins said.

Tickets for the event, which are $60 per person for one day and $105 per person for two days, will be on sale the day of the event. All money raised by the Tour is allocated to community outreach and the preservation of the historic Price George Winyah Church buildings.

“The success of the Tour has made a difference in the lives of the poor, the friendless, and the needy in our community, which continues to be our prayerful aim in this endeavor,” Boyd said.

Prince George Winyah Church is a historic Anglican church in Georgetown. It is one of the oldest continuous congregations in South Carolina, and the church building is one of the oldest churches in continuous service in South Carolina. In 2021, it celebrated its 300th anniversary.

Founded in 1729, Georgetown is the third oldest city in South Carolina after Charleston and Beaufort. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the region became home to many rice planters, who once exported so much rice that Georgetown County was once the wealthiest county in the United States. Though rice is no longer a major export for the region, many of the plantations, town houses, and gardens left by the planters remain and have been preserved by Georgetown’s present-day residents.

Boyd said in addition to historic properties, this year’s tour will focus on the contributions of enslaved Africans for rice cultivation. She said many people may not know that Africans were brought to the area because of their knowledge and expertise about rice production, from creating rice fields to building equipment like rice trunks for flooding the fields regularly and more.

“When people on the tour see rice trunks and hand-carved moldings in the interior of these beautiful homes, all designed by enslaved Africans, they should remember the unsung heroes of that time period,” Boyd said.

Prince George Winyah Church will be open for tours. (Photo by the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Tour sites

Each spring, the Prince George Winyah Church Women hosts the Tour of Historic Plantations and Homes. Visitors have a unique opportunity to tour many of the historic plantations, town houses, and gardens that are not publicly accessible at any other times. Tour sites for the 2023 Tour are listed below. Because organizers rely on the generosity of private homeowners, tour sites are subject to change without notice. Sites with an asterisk (*) only allow tourgoers on the grounds and not inside the home.

Friday, March 31

Saturday, April 1

​People who participate in the tours can also take part in the other events planned during the weekend.

Oyster Roast & Pig Pickin’

March 31

$40 per person | 6 p.m.

Celebrate Lowcountry culture by adding a delicious Lowcountry feast to your tour package. The Men’s Ministry at Prince George will be serving roasted oysters and pulled pork for guests at Freeman Field, 307 Screven Street. The event is scheduled for Friday, March 25, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person and must be purchased in advance. A cash bar will be available. To purchase tickets, visit the Ticket Info page.

Afternoon Tea

March 31 and April 1 | 3:30-5 p.m.

Included with purchase of day’s tour ticket

Each afternoon during the Tour, the Prince George Winyah Church Women hosts an afternoon tea at the historic Winyah Indigo Society Hall located at 509 Prince St. in historic Georgetown. The women will serve homemade refreshments to our tour guests. The Tea is complimentary with the purchase of the day’s tour ticket.

Tour Bazaar & Bake Sale

March 31 and April 1 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

During the Tour,  the public can stop by the Prince George Parish Hall, located at the corner of Highmarket and Screven streets to browse the art, baked goods, and other donated items for sale. All items are donated and proceeds support outreach missions and the preservation of our church buildings.

Organizers ask people to allow a full day for the tour. They recommend wearing attire and shoes suitable for standing for long periods and for walking in natural Lowcountry terrain. Out of respect for the homeowners, do not wear shoes with heels, as the heels can damage floors and rugs. Buses are not permitted. While the tour will proceed rain or shine, individual tour sites may close if the road quality is affected. In the event of inclement weather, please check in at the Prince George Parish Hall.

After the tours conclude, the public is invited to join the Prince George Winyah congregation for Sunday worship in the Anglican tradition. The church offers three Sunday services at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 11 a.m. For more information about each service, visit the church website.

For more information about the Tours of Historic Plantations and Homes, click here.

By Clayton Stairs / tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®