The water starts to darken along a stretch of marsh grasses, just before its surface is slashed apart by the fins of hungry redfish. The redfish trap schools of mullet into a tight corral—and then go into a feeding frenzy. South Carolina fishermen love this scenario. The owners of The Charleston Angler love it, too, which is why they founded their shop back in 2000. The shop's crew of seasoned anglers supply fly, inshore, and offshore fishermen with tackle specific to South Carolina's waters, from the coastal flats that draw trophy tarpon to the inland lakes filled with blue catfish. Along with advising customers on gear from brands such as Shimano, Penn, and St. Croix, the shop hosts classes and seminars. These sessions can cover topics as broad as Orvis fly-fishing, or as specific as catching bass in the cypress-strewn swamps of Francis Marion National Forest.
Beyond tackle and apparel—some of which comes from their own "Redfish" line of t-shirts, trucker hats, ball caps, visors, and jackets—The Charleston Angler offers fly-fishing and light-tackle charters and runs an in-house embroidery boutique. The staff also posts tips, insights, fish haikus, and fishing reports on its Reel Blog and encourages customers to share their fish stories.
The faculty of local artists at Wine and Design in West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant helps students create works of art in a social, supportive setting with lessons designed for people with no artistic experience. After uncorking bottles of wine and kegs of paint, budding artists spend two hours imitating pros stroke for stroke as they transform canvases into paintings of colorful landscapes and vibrant still lifes. Guests of any experience level are welcome and Wine and Design provides all necessary materials, including paint, brushes, and corkscrews.
In addition to regular classes, Wine and Design offers private parties and Art Buzz summer camp for kids at both Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley. In an effort to paint it forward (Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley), they also donate funds to causes, such as Relay For Life and the MUSC Children's Hospital.
When the Charleston Museum was founded in 1773, South Carolina was still a British colony. Today, the museum is itself a historical gem, surviving both the American Revolution and Civil War and acquiring an astounding collection of South Carolinian artifacts along the way. Nine permanent exhibits include the Armory, brimming with antique weaponry, and the Lowcountry History Hall, which chronicles the land's metamorphosis from a tribal society into an agricultural empire, telling the story with early trading goods, slave badges, and pottery. Temporary exhibits change regularly, keeping visitors on their toes in the same way changing cell phone numbers every 24 hours does.
The museum extends its history-preserving mission to two area homes: the 19th-century Joseph Manigault House, once home to a wealthy rice plantation owner, and the Heyward-Washington House, where George Washington once stayed during a weeklong visit to the city. Restored rooms, period pieces, and loudly snoring grandfather clocks await guests during scheduled tours.
Established in 1994, Gullah Gourmet has spent 19 years equipping visitors with tools to transform dull meals into lowcountry classics with Food Network-approved ingredients for crafting soups, sauces, pastries, and breads. The shop's widespread collection of bagged, bottled, and jarred goodies have included creamy Southern Corn Chowdah, Aunt Maggie's Sweet Cornbread, and Gullah Gullah Gumbo––a savory rice and sauce mix. The handmade, screenprinted cloth bags that package select products pay homage to Gullah culture with newspaper prints and vibrant graphics. An assortment of Gullah- and Charleston-inspired knickknacks make unique gifts for birthdays and graduations from PB&J University.