Monday, October 18, 2010

We pay $5 for a $1,000 Experience

Union, South Carolina
October 18, 2010
We are off on another adventure, this time on a Landings Automobile Society trip to the Biltmore, with a stop along the way in Spartanburg, South Carolina, near a BMW Factory which we will tour tomorrow morning.

Spartanburg is about four hours from Savannah, so of course we found a little detour on our way here. We got off the highway just past Newberry, South Carolina and headed for miles and miles through Sumter National Forest (which we later learned was a man-made forest planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps), finally ending up at our destination—Rose Hill Plantation.

The plantation’s claim to fame is that it was the home of secessionist governor William Henry Gist, the last South Carolina governor to govern from his home. The home was built by William’s father in 1812, and was modified by William in the 1850s. The plantation property covered 8,896 acres, much of it now part of the National Forest. We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the lawn, then took a private tour of the home with a park ranger.

Other than a crew of South Carolina Correctional Center inmates and their corrections officers who piled out of their prison transport van to stretch their legs and use the facilities, we were the only visitors that day.

Dick pointed out that we owe the South Carolina tax payers a huge debt of gratitude for subsidizing our visit. Based on all the staff people we saw and the state of the house and grounds, which include formal gardens and quite a few out buildings, Dick estimated that the Plantation must have an annual budget of at least half a million dollars. Our ranger told us that they get about a thousand visitors per year. That works out to a cost of $500 per visitor. We paid five dollars total for our tour, leaving the generous tax payers of South Carolina paying $995 to subsidize our visit—thanks y’all.

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