Explore the Hobcaw Barony Wildlife Refuge

By:Marie McAden

Date:6/11/2012

Back in the day, you probably wouldn’t have been invited to visit Hobca​w Barony, an exclusive hunting retreat on the Wacca​maw Neck peninsula in George​town. Not unless you carried some serious clout.

Owned by Wall Street tycoon Bernard Baruch, the estate played host to an A-list of bigwigs that included Irving Berlin, H.G. Wells, Winston Churchill, presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, General Mark Clark and assorted senators and congressmen.

Guests at Hobcaw Barony hunted duck, deer and quail on the expansive property and enjoyed elegant dinners in the Baruch Mansion overlooking the Waccamaw River. They went for boat rides in Winyah Bay and played on the sandy shores of Hobcaw Beach.

Thanks to Baruch’s daughter, Belle, who bought the 17,500-acre estate from her father in the 1930s, the public now has the opportunity to explore this coastal jewel — one of the few remaining undeveloped tracts on Waccamaw Neck.

Belle Baruch created a foundation to preserve the land and its unique ecology as an outdoor research laboratory for the colleges and universities of South Carolina. Although it remains privately owned, the public has the opportunity to explore the wildlife refuge through tours and programs offered by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation and the universities.

A three-hour van tour offers an inside peek of the mansion and an overview of Hobcaw Barony’s history. Once a colonial land grant or barony, the property was sold and subdivided into a dozen plantations that were part of the great Lowcountry rice empire until the turn of the 20th century. Baruch purchased the land in 1905 after the decline of rice cultivation in the Lowcountry.

During the tour, you’ll also drive by Belle Baruch’s home and stables, walk around a 19th century slave village and travel a portion of the original King’s Highway. Offered Tuesday through Friday year round, the tour costs $20.

Hobcaw Barony’s extensive program schedule also includes guided birding trips, fly fishing, trail rides with your own horse, nature camps, an indigo workshop, a photo safari and a campfire dinner.

For more information on Hobcaw Barony and its programs, click ​here or call (843) 546-4623.

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