California isn’t the only state that has a “Hollywood” that draws visitors from around the United States.
Located along the Patuxent River, in historic St. Mary’s County, is the charming city of Hollywood, known for its prominent plantation heritage and outdoor activities.
A much beloved National Historic Landmark, this 1703 Colonial Revival Tidewater style mansion is a jewel like no other.
Originally a two room post-in-ground building, the “Sotterley Plantation” underwent construction at the hands of several of its former owners, with the majority of the work being done by the second owner, George Platter the II.
Platter II married into the Bowles family, who were the original builders of the home. He and James Bowles widow quickly began to convert the two room structure into a 18th century palatial mansion that resembled his ancestral home on Suffolk, England.
It contained all the luxurious appointments that one would expect to find in plantation homes of that period.
Highlights of the mansion house’s architecture include the drawing room that was designed by the renowned Richard Boulton. The drawing room features a distinctive Chinese Chippendale staircase and classic shell alcoves that were much sought after adornments of the period.
In addition to the stunning mansion house there is “Rolling Row”, a line of former slave dwellings. During the plantation’s history circa 1826, it was said to have been one of the largest slave plantations in the southern half of the state.
For those that have ever doubted the ingenuity of the early slaves, all one has to do is examine the construction of the site’s 18×16 hewn and sawn pine slave cabin to confirm otherwise. The slave cabin, unlike any other currently remaining today, shows great architectural skill through its builders’ use of pegs to affix and stabilize earth bound posts to hand crafted plank walls.
Other stand-out features of the “Sotterley Plantation” include a 1925 sun dial, Venetian well, filigreed wrought iron work, a custom’s house, smokehouse, corn crib and privy known at the time as the “necessary.”
As of 2010 guided tours of the “Sotterley Plantation” are $10.00 per adult, $8.00 per senior citizen and $5.00 per child between the ages of6 through 12. Children under 5 are admitted for free. The guided tour also includes admission to the self-guided tour of the plantation’s meticulous and fragrant landscaped gardens and grounds.
Those that wish to take a self-guided tour of the gardens and grounds may do so for a flat fee of $3.00 per person.
“Sotterley Plantation” is open every day except for Mondays and holidays from May 1st until October 31st.
Hours of operation are 10:00 am until 4:00 pm on Tuesday through Saturday with tours leaving at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. On Sundays it is open from Noon until 4:00 pm with tours leaving at Noon, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.
The plantation is host to several wonderful special events throughout the year such as the spooky “Ghosts of Sotterley Tours” and the “Family Plantation Christmas.”
The latest dates for the 2010 ghost tours are October 14th, 15th, and 16th. The first “Ghosts of Sotterley Tour” will be starting promptly at 7:00 pm.
The tour promises to be filled with hair raising accounts of the slaves, former owners, sailors, merchants and Civil War soldiers that once traversed the plantation’s idyllic riverfront landscape.
Some of the plantation’s more spirited ghosts are said to have been captured on video by paranormal groups and posted on YouTube. You can view the evidence and judge it for yourselves.
The “Family Plantation Christmas” is currently scheduled for December 4th from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm and is set to include horse drawn sleigh rides, activities for the children and visits from both Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
44330 Sotterley Lane
Hollywood, MD 20636
Those would-be Hollywood visitors should also take the time to spend a day exploring “Greenwell State Park.” The park is open from dusk until dawn.
Additional information about the region can be gleaned from the state’s tourism website.