Drayton Hall is a Mecca for preservationists. It blows my mind how little has changed over the years in the house, completed in 1742 and located just upriver from Charleston, South Carolina. It’s a wonder the place even survived the Civil War, because it was one of the only plantations along the river to not be burned down by Union soldiers. The rumor is the house flew a flag indicating it was a smallpox hospital and the soldiers wanted no part of that. After the war, the plantation way of life was impossible to upkeep and Drayton Hall served as a family retreat. Because it wasn’t a full-time residence the Drayton family saw no need to add electricity, bathrooms, or a kitchen. Ultimately, it was sold to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1974. The National Trust has done an excellent job with Drayton Hall. Instead of restoring the property and cluttering it with furniture, they’ve kept repairs to a minimum and the interior is relatively empty. But the handcrafted architectural details provide plenty to look at. And some places in the house only have two layers of paint: the original and a second from the late 1800s. I visited in March and I highly recommend it. My tour guide, Kate Ruhf, was extremely informative; you get the impression everyone who works there feels privileged to be part of it. My only complaint was that there’s not enough time to look around at the interior, so I didn’t get as many photos as I would’ve liked. The reason is that they don’t want people wandering around unaccompanied, so it’s understandable.