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“Fascinating view into history, brought to life by a great guide”

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation
Ranked #1 of 32 things to do in Brunswick
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This beautiful plantation represents the history and culture of Georgia’s rice coast. In the early 1800s, William Brailsford of Charleston carved a rice plantation from marshes along the Altamaha River. The plantation and its inhabitants were part of the genteel low country society that developed during the antebellum period. While many factors made rice cultivation increasingly difficult in the years after the Civil War, the family continued to grow rice until 1913.The enterprising siblings of the fifth generation at Hofwyl-Broadfield resolved to start a dairy rather than sell their family home. The efforts of Gratz, Miriam and Ophelia Dent led to the preservation of their family legacy. Ophelia was the last heir to the rich traditions of her ancestors, and she left the plantation to the state of Georgia in 1973.A museum features silver from the family collection and a model of Hofwyl-Broadfield during its heyday. A brief film on the plantation’s history is shown before visitors walk a short trail to the antebellum home. A guided tour allows visitors to see the home as Ophelia kept it with family heirlooms, 18th and 19th century furniture and Cantonese china. A stop on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, this is an excellent spot to look for herons, egrets, ibis and painted buntings. A nature trail that leads back to the Visitors Center along the edge of the marsh where rice once flourished.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities
Westborough, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
96 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Fascinating view into history, brought to life by a great guide”
Reviewed February 15, 2013 via mobile

This is not "Twelve Oaks", but an actual plantation owner's house that was once the center of a 2500 acre rice plantation with hundreds of slaves, producing the finest rice in the ante-bellum South. It remained in the family until the last daughter died in 1973, who provided for its preservation in her will. The furnishings are all original to the plantation family and span more than 150 years. After rice could no longer be raised profitably, the family turned to dairy cows and provided milk to area homes until 1942, when even that became unprofitable. But they kept the land and buildings in good shape, and we can now see things from each time period side by side--both the original rice planter's home and his later descendants' dairy buildings, both a typical slave quarters building for 2 families and a later "pay shed" from which post-Civil War workers were given their wages, both the unfinished wood floors typical of a seasonal home and 18th c. Duncan Phyfe furniture later brought from the family's Savannah home after the Civil War loss of their fortune. After buying your ticket and watching a brief background film at the Visitors' Center, you approach the house and out-buildings by walking through a grove of live oaks, many of which are hundreds of years old. Rice fields, in neat rectangles separated by earth dikes, can still be see in many places, and the landscape and its buildings are a living memorial to the hundreds of African slaves who re-shaped the landscape for agriculture and lived and died here, the generations of a former slave-holding family who made it their full- time home and worked tirelessly to make the land productive in new ways after the War, and the natural world of live oaks and marshland that survived it all and lends nobility to the site. The key to the experience, though, is the staff who sell tickets, run the orientation film, oversee the gift shop, and guide the house tours. We especially liked "Ranger Andy". He spent an hour with 6-8 of us, taking us into each room and telling us how it was used over the years by the family, pointing out curiosities in the furnishings that we would not have observed--low-backed chairs that allowed a hoop skirt to go over, so a lady so encumbered could sit in a parlor, special fish-shaped dishes to receive fish bones during a formal meal, rattan loungers for keeping cool on a hot day--and explaining why trundle beds were pulled out from the foot of the bed, rather than the side, why people had both day- and night-beds, how people lived without indoor plumbing, and more. He told the story of the house, its people, and Coastal Georgia with a deep respect, affection, and pride, and with such a gentle good humor that we were sorry to leave.

Thank ADGrantley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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465 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
133 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Lots of historical wonder.”
Reviewed February 14, 2013

Lived here a long time and my work took me out here for a little public relations. Never wanted to go here, but I found myself wondering around looking at A LOT of history. Some good, and some bad. Hard to believe it belonged to one little old lady and she passed away and it went to the state. NEAT!

Visited November 2012
Thank joelcody
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Savannah, Georgia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Authentic plantation experience”
Reviewed February 2, 2013

I have enjoyed visiting Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation for years. It was owned by the same family from the King's Grant until the last survivor of the family donated it to the State of Georgia. The visitor's center has a display/museum showing the history of the plantation and the plantation culture in Coastal Georgia. Then you can take a walk through a field, along the marsh and by ancient live oaks to the plantation house which is largely the way it was when the state acquired it. The staff on site are friendly and helpful. A great way to combine history and nature.

Visited February 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coatesville, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Insightful experience”
Reviewed February 1, 2013

The tour and museum give an unvarnished look at rice plantation life. After five generations all the family managed to do was not lose title to the property. It is important to understand the reasons for the decline of rice growing on the coast. A visit here will be a great help. The tour also tells the tale of two strong women.

A substantial additional reason to go there is to see the magnificent live oaks. You may think you have seen large ones, but the Georgia state champion grows there and there are at least a dozen around it which appear equally large.

Not to be missed.

Visited January 2013
Thank Servin5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Learning & Fun”
Reviewed January 29, 2013

This is a great site. Took my two boys 9 & 15 to go see this site. The teenager did not want to go, but after the tour guide finished with him he had to say that he really enjoyed it. Would recommend this tour for all ages and yes even teens. Lets show our kids there is a lot more to life than videos games and this is a good place to do that.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank FernandzFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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