The first two winters we lived in the mountains were so mild I never put on my heavy coat.
|World's largest Fraser Fir|
I don’t have to tell you this year has been different.
You can’t watch the local or national news without seeing the wrath of Mother Nature. I’m sick of snow and ice. And I’m saddened to see how this winter has taken the lives of so many gorgeous trees all across the country.
So in honor of my friend Les Park’s Winter Walk Off, I decided to take you on a short trip (about 10 miles) to a historic property that is home to some of the most magnificent trees in America.
High Hampton Inn and Country
Club in North Carolina is a haven of southern hospitality where afternoon tea
is still served, gentlemen wear coats to dinner and televisions are
non-existent. I first visited High Hampton when I was in high school. Days
spent there with my Dad are some of my most treasured memories.
|High Hampton Honeymoon Cottage|
|Largest Bald Cypress (Fraser Fir is to left)|
The estate was originally a summer retreat for the Hampton family. To escape the mosquitoes and heat of South Carolina’s low country, they traveled by train, then horse and buggy to “nature’s playground” where they enjoyed fishing in the mountain streams, hunting, riding horses and sipping mint juleps on the cottage front porch.
Wade Hampton III purchased the property from the Zachary family and later, along with Modecai Zachary, built the Hampton Hunting Lodge. They also built the Church of the Good Shepard which still exists today, and a school for mountain children.
In 1890, Carolyn Hampton (Wade Hampton’s niece) married Dr. William Halstead of Johns Hopkins, and the couple honeymooned on the mountain property.
|Copper Beach trunk|
Dr. Halstead (who was also an amateur botanist) thought the land to be the most beautiful place on earth. They purchased the estate from Carolyn’s aunt and renamed it High Hampton.
The couple traveled from Baltimore each summer and enhanced the property by adding exotic trees and shrubs that still thrive on the front lawn.
|A Kentucky Coffee Tree behind Halstead Cottage|
Today when you visit High Hampton you can see the world’s largest Fraser Fir, a National Champion Bottlebrush Buckeye, the tallest Bald Cypress in America and several North Carolina State Champs including a Kentucky Coffee Tree and a Black Locust. All were planted over 100 years ago.
I promise to return and take pictures when they are dressed up in their summer greenery, and ablaze with color in the fall.
But my camera will not do them justice.