Now if you know anything about me, you know I love sweet tea. Hands down it is my drink of choice every time. So when we were planning our Charleston trip, we knew we had to make a stop! Today we will be exploring the Charleston Tea Garden, America’s only tea plantation!
The tea plantation is located on Wadmalaw Island, which I promise is as much fun to say as it is to type. Go ahead, say it…. you know you want to…. Wadmalaw. See? Wasn’t it fun? Anyways… This beautiful island is home to America’s only tea plantation! For as much as we southerners love sweet tea, I was very surprised to learn that little fact. Now, of course I was excited to learn all about tea production but not enough can be said about the beauty of this location. Live oak trees cover the roads, the tea leaves are a magnificent bright green, and there are lovely flowers planted all around to add the perfect pop of color!
Once you arrive, I recommend stopping first in the welcome center/gift shop/factory! Complimentary hot and iced tea is found here (I recommend the peach tea) and lots of other tea accessories fill the space.
A video tour starts every 15-minutes and it’s free. You can see the production of tea as you take the tour through the glass windows looking into the factory. Unfortunately we went on a Saturday that they weren’t doing production, but it was still neat to see all the equipment.
Once you’ve taken the inside tour of the factory, I recommend taking the trolley tour to see the grounds. The trolley tour is $15, but it’s the only fee you have for the entire place. Let me start by saying the trolley is absolutely precious, and the driver is just as sweet. He will let you in on all the interesting history of the plantation and a more in-depth process of how tea is made! You’ll also learn some fun facts like the following: Did you know that iced tea was invented at the 1904 World’s Fair in St.Louis? The India Pavilion was offering hot tea, but it was so hot outside that they added ice to the tea. A new drink was born that day.
The Charleston Tea Garden was such a fun experience. It’s always interesting to see how things are made, especially when the location is so beautiful! If you are ever near Charleston, take the 35-minute drive over to Wadmalaw Island and get your fill of some amazing tea! I’ll leave you with a final quote from the tour- “We start every morning very slowly… then taper off the rest of the day.”