Whenever I ponder the exact moment I fell in love with Charleston, it would be cruising down the cinematically swoon-inducing driveway of Boone Hall Plantation. I’ll never forget the vision of Spanish Moss draping the thick canopy of live oaks, swaying gently with the nearly imperceptible breeze from nearby the Atlantic coast. Daniel aimed to surprise me that day by giving me a “The Notebook” tour (the film was created in several spots throughout Charleston, including Boone Hall), but in true annoying habit, I guessed every surprise of the day. I was more impressed by the historical feast over Gosling’s old haunts. Nonetheless, this historical gem epitomizes southern romance. We’ve returned a handful of times since, and are now planning our wedding reception here for our American family, and our European one in Italy.
Founded by Englishman general John Boone in 1681, Boone Hall Plantation is one of America’s oldest working farms; it’s particularly celebrated for it’s pecan and cotton harvests. Walking the evergreen grounds of this farm is a living juxtaposition of southern opulence and echoes of African American plights; and if anything, it’s honest. We are a country rooted in both glory and faults. We are a quilt of mistakes and wars for the better. There are endless layers to the moral makeup of this country, but we do have one truth: light always triumphs dark, and historical accountability and celebration of diversity is our strength.
The south was an important stage to my own history this summer. I went into 2018 having a very strict 12-month plan of what would unfold (a routine that’s worked since college), but life had its own lessons to teach me — mainly, that character and success isn’t defined by plans fulfilled or prompt deliverance of heart’s desires, but rather how you navigate adversity with grit and grace to fight for them. There were moments where I felt I was drowning in changes both personally and professionally, but one thing I know for sure…life doesn’t give you trials or tribulations without reason. They come as preparation for something much bigger than yourself, and often act as a imperceptible breeze pushing you toward your destiny. Much like how the wind swept through the Spanish Moss on the Live Oaks the first day we visited Boone Hall, unaware to what exactly I was surrendering to.