Plantations used to be everywhere in the south and that included the Charleston area. What is now known as the Charleston Tea Garden used to be known as the Pinehurst Tea Plantation up in Summerville. While the tea from that plantation grew from 1888 until 1915, the death of the owner, Dr. Charles Shepard, led the plants to grow wild for years.
The plants were transplanted to an old potato farm in 1963 and they were used as research for that farm for twenty-four years. Thankfully, that ended in 1987 when William Barclay Hall purchased the farm and turned it into a commercial operation. This is when the name was officially changed to the Charleston Tea Garden and it is now part of the Bigelow Tea Company family.
What to See at the Charleston Tea Garden
As soon as you arrive at this tea garden, you will see acres and acres of tea bushes. There is no admission fee to enter this tea garden and you can participate in a tour of the factory. Inside the tea production building, you will see all the different pieces of equipment that are used to create the tea that they sell.
Best Way to Experience the Charleston Tea Garden
While you can walk around the Charleston Tea Garden and see the factory, there is a better way to experience this destination. The Trolley Tour offers a unique way to see most of the Charleston Tea Garden, but you must pay a fee for that part of your visit.
This tour lasts between thirty-five and forty-five minutes and you will see acres of tea bushes that are further out from the area you arrived at. Your tour guide will share lots of information about the tea garden, as well as the teas that they grow.
One of the best things about the Trolley Tour is the stop you will make at the greenhouse. That greenhouse is where all those new tea bushes are started, and they stay there until they are big enough to plant in the ground.
You must stop in the gift shop before you leave the Charleston Tea Garden. There are hundreds of different items available that relate to tea, as well as the tea itself. If you do not know what type of tea you will love the most, you can always sample a few of them at the Tea Bar.
You will love experiencing the Charleston Tea Garden, especially if you haven’t been in a tea garden before. There is a wealth of information to learn during your visit, but I won’t blame you if you are more interested in the tea you can drink at the end.
To see a sample of what’s possible on a vacation to South Carolina and Georgia click here.