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“A beautifully preserved piece of history”
Review of Rose Hill Mansion

Rose Hill Mansion
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$25.00*
and up
Rose Hill Mansion Tour in Bluffton SC
Ranked #2 of 23 things to do in Bluffton
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The historic Rose Hill Mansion, known as the most beautiful plantation house in the Low Country, has long held a treasured place in Southern history. Originally built in the late 1850s by planter and physician, Dr. John Kirk and his wife Caroline, the plantation was a wedding present from Caroline's father, James Kirk. Work was halted by the Civil War, and while occupied through the years, the interior was not completed until 1946, when new owners John and Betsy Gould Sturgeon finished it in grand style. In 1980, the Welton family purchased the land and the house was later listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1987, a fire devastated the house & it sat in a state of ruin until purchased and restored by The Middleton White Foundation. After a decade long restoration, the home is now shared with the public each day, via guided history tours. Reservations are required for all tours.
Reviewed March 17, 2017

This is a beautiful mansion that has been lovingly brought back to its original splendour, the architecture is different than most Plantation in the south. The tour is informative and conducted by a lovely guide who has little anecdotes as well as very good history fact and you are treated more like a guest than a paying visitor. You can enjoy food and refreshments at the end of the tour, walk around and take picture and converse with the lovely lady who prepared the food and the gracious lady who owns and lived there.

Date of experience: March 2017
2  Thank Diane R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"current owners"
in 38 reviews
"first floor"
in 23 reviews
"miss pat"
in 21 reviews
"the owner"
in 55 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 33 reviews
"dining room"
in 22 reviews
"plantation home"
in 14 reviews
"gothic style"
in 10 reviews
"beautiful house"
in 9 reviews
"wonderful tour"
in 16 reviews
"main floor"
in 8 reviews
"civil war"
in 32 reviews
"delicious snacks"
in 8 reviews
"true southern hospitality"
in 8 reviews
"tour ended"
in 8 reviews
"home owners"
in 7 reviews
"delightful afternoon"
in 6 reviews
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194 - 198 of 448 reviews

Reviewed March 17, 2017

Tuesday's docent was excellent! She made the history interesting, the family and the house seem warm and inviting, and provided many a chuckle. The privilege of browsing on our own and even folding ourselves I to some of the furniture was much appreciated, as were the samples of southern cooking.

Date of experience: March 2017
Review collected in partnership with this attraction
1  Thank kathleenp521
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2017

The property was unusual as was the tour. The visitors were served wine when arriving and a large variety of snacks before we left. We were even allowed to wander around with our treats. The tour was filled with history and accounts describing the various people involved with the home. The current owners did an incredible job of restoring the mansion after an extensive fire. We even had the pleasure of speaking with Robin who owns the property with her husband.

Date of experience: March 2017
Review collected in partnership with this attraction
1  Thank lawschnu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2017

Excellent tour, great history presented very well. The house is very well done. The tour format is very welcoming with the glass of wine and the taste of southern cooking at the end. The tour is one hour and you are invited to sit on the furniture in each room visited and to spend whatever time you would like after the tour to have a 2nd look and take pictures.

Date of experience: March 2017
Review collected in partnership with this attraction
2  Thank lindagH7695UR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 9, 2017 via mobile

We hoped to see a Southern plantation. The glass of wine when arriving was nice. And the guide was very thorough for what she had to work with. But be aware that the house was not really "authentic." It was not fully completed until long after the civil war. Then it burned in the 1990s and was rebuilt. You can only visit about five rooms on the main floor, where there is about one piece of furniture per room that belonged to the original owners' descendants, but the rest is a collection by the current owners. The upper floors are closed to the public. When we asked where the slave cabins were, the guide wasn't sure.
You learn a lot about the rebuilding of the house, but relatively little about the slavery. Plus, there is a lot for sale, and even a box asking for donations so they could build a "slave cabin." If you're hoping to have a more authentic "plantation" experience, visit the New Orleans area. This feels like a replica where the owners really need to pay for upkeep of the house by inviting tourists in each day. We're giving three stars because we liked the people giving the tour and the snacks at the end of it. But just 1 star for the "plantation" experience.

Date of experience: March 2017
2  Thank LikesTravel22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann S, webmaster at Rose Hill Mansion, responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2017

I'd like to thank “LikesTravel22” for taking the time to post about his recent experience touring Rose Hill Mansion. We appreciate any and all feedback. It's always good to address concerns, and I politely take exception to this review of his tour experience here at Rose Hill Mansion.

First off: “We hoped to see a Southern plantation.”

-----. His assessment of this not being a tour for those looking for an authentic plantation with period furnishings is a bit off base. That's exactly what Rose Hill Mansion is. Built in 1858, burned almost completely in the 1980s, fully restored after 9 years of hard work, Rose Hill Mansion now stands in all her former grandeur. This is a private home, and of course there is personal memorabilia; there are authentic touches in every room ranging from artifacts dug on the property that are over one thousand years old, to Civil War era ammunition, buttons from various military regiments, farming equipment, pottery and much more showcased in shadow boxes in every single room on the tour. Original Kirk furnishings have made their way back to the mansion as well--donated by family members of previous owners.

‘If you're hoping to have a more authentic "plantation" experience, visit the New Orleans area.”

-----. There are many ante-bellum homes open for tour all over the South, and not all of them have the look of Tara of “Gone with the Wind”. Built in 1858, Rose Hill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an exemplary example of Gothic Revival architecture.

“This feels like a replica where the owners really need to pay for upkeep of the house by inviting tourists in each day.”

-----. Why do you think you pay for a tour of ANY historic place, whether it’s a castle in Europe or homes in Natchez, MS, etc? The entry fee and the items for sale do help with the maintenance and upkeep on the home. We try to offer Southern Hospitality for each of our guests, and this is why we allow guest to sit within the home on the furniture and enjoy food and beverage after the tour.

“You can only visit about five rooms on the main floor, where there is about one piece of furniture per room that belonged to the original owners' descendants, but the rest is a collection by the current owners.”

-----. In addition to the six main rooms on the first floor, guests are able to visit the kitchen, Butler’s Pantry and three bathrooms at their leisure after the tour. Rose Hill is a private home and the owners occupy the upper floor, which, of course, is not open to the public. And, yes, many of the furnishing are personal belongings of the people who live in the ENTIRE house when tours are not in progress. All period furniture is authentic to the period and not reproductions.

“You learn a lot about the rebuilding of the house, but relatively little about the slavery.”

-----. There is an in-depth history of the various periods of the house’s existence on our website, including the era during the Civil War. This history includes a complete list of Dr. John Kirk’s personal losses due to war as well as what his family endured during and after the conflict. This is a Plantation House located on what once was a 2000 acre cotton/rice plantation. No one has been able to confirm for us exactly where the slave cabins were located; but with 129 slaves listed in those losses, we can be sure that there were slave cabins on the plantation. For more information on the history of this house, please visit our website at www.rosehillmansion.com.

-----. Finally: “LikesTravel22”’s interpretation is disappointing to say the least. We at Rose Hill Mansion will continue to share our stories and our love of history with all who want to learn and understand. Our’s is a story of survival and needs an honest understanding to truly appreciate it.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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