Date of Visit: June 18, 2021
Our visit to Charles Pinckney NHS was the first stop as part of our weekend trip to Hilton Head to celebrate Mom’s 60th birthday. Mik probably would’ve rather chosen to visit Fort Sumter if he could’ve picked, but currently they are doing dock work and it’s more inaccessible than normal. Charles Pinckney NHS site just said that the historic house was closed, so we figured it probably wasn’t accessible anyways and it wouldn’t really affect our experience. Plus, it’s not far from where we live now that we could always go back if we wanted to see more. Turned out it is just in phased reopening with the only thing still closed being the store (would’ve been nice if I could have gotten the National Park Passport stickers as I never got the 2020 set and now also need the 2021 set).
The parking lot is a little rough with it not being paved and the grass has gotten a little wild taking up part of some spots.
By the parking lot there is a covered seating area and bathrooms. Mik was impressed that the bathrooms had buttons to open the doors and that was before we discovered they also had a family bathroom in the visitor center.
The path from here to the visitor center (i.e. the historic house) and around the house are paved.
The visitor center has a lift so that wheelchairs can access it. The lift goes up to the porch and then you can enter through the side door that has you enter through the back of the shop. While the shop is “closed,” the wheelchair can still go through it as really it was only still closed because they have not got the staffing and registers set back up.
The visitor center contains three rooms with exhibits about Charles Pinckney, the history of the farm, and a little on the region. There is also a family accessible bathroom by the room that they show a film in.
Mik wasn’t sure about doing the trail as it was hot and humid. Mom and him almost just stayed in the visitor center where the ranger had offered to put in the other films they had. Ultimately, Mik decided to go because it was a pretty short trail even though we couldn’t do it as a loop and had to it as two short there and back trails as the nature trail between the slave community and boardwalk is through the woods with tree roots and poison ivy to watch for, etc. (Ranger was very good at being able to describe the whole trail and accessibility.)
We did the part of the trail that went past the model rice trunk and to the boardwalk first. This path looks like wood chips, which maybe it is, but it is packed down and was pretty much the same as rolling on the sidewalk/paved paths.
At the end of the boardwalk area, Mik was excited to get a snuggly photo with Mom and I didn’t have to be the one to do it for once.
We then took the part of the trail that goes along the Historic Road Trace, which would have been the way towards Charleston in Pinckney’s time (including when George Washington visited in 1791).
The path from here to the slave community goes through grass. It is wide and we could have easily taken Mik on it, but he choose to just stay back in the shade than go on a bumpy ride.
Overall we enjoyed Charles Pinckney NHS as Mik really did get to experience it all (or at least as much as he wanted and not because it wasn’t accessible).
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