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.
Beneath the shade of oak trees bearing Spanish moss, Irvin~House Vineyards' owners Jim and Ann Irvin concoct five award-winning wines from four varieties of muscadine grape grown and harvested on their 48-acre property. Each batch fills bottles adorned with labels crafted by local Charleston artists before visitors sample their muscadine-rich flavors during tastings and tours. In addition to weekly winery sessions, the Irvins enthrall community members and wine connoisseurs alike with varied events, such as bluegrass and grape-stomping festivals, held on land that shelters a renovated party barn, flower and vegetable garden, chicken coop, and outdoor picnic area. The Irvins' acreage also accommodates Firefly Distillery, which supplies tastings of its Firefly vodka and Sea Island rum to curious visitors and marooned pirates bemoaning their empty flasks.
For more than 20 years, the aquatic athletes at Trophy Lakes have set national and world records all the while maintaining a 100-acre water-sports and disc-golf complex that has been admired by WaterSki magazine. Disc golfers launch frisbees from 35 concrete tee pads, sinking their discs into 18 baskets. Along the way, water holes and a host of tee-and-pin locations challenge players' throwing skills. Alternatively, two private lakes boast three watersports cables, as well as a slalom course and ski jump. Knowledgeable staff members rent ropes, gloves, skis, wakeboards, and MasterCraft Boats from their well-stocked pro shop. Additionally, Trophy Lakes hosts disc-golf competitions, wakeboard festivals, water-ski tournaments, and lake-drinking contests each year.
Betty Lilly opened Frame Up in 1977 to preserve the cherished photos and artwork of her clientele. Three years later, she handed over ownership to her daughter Denise Mosimann, who has held the custom-framed reigns of the family business ever since. Today, the framing professional and her staff will meet one-on-one with customers to customize jobs and update already framed items, selecting from the troves of mats and multicolored mouldings housed within the onsite framing facility. The preservation pros take as little as one day (depending on availability) to protect photos, diplomas, and the promo posters of successful home movies behind museum-quality glass. Frame Up also specializes in selling local and wildlife artwork, including prints from John James Audubon's Birds of America.
Cloud 9 Spa Therapy promotes overall wellness with therapies that target skin-deep ailments as well as ingrained stress. The spa’s extensive list of services encompasses exfoliating body treatments, lash and brow tinting, and tension-relieving massages, such as Swedish or deep tissue—all of which are aided by hot stones and towels. They beautify faces with microcurrent technologies or custom facials that utilize Image skincare products; before you scheduling a facial, take advantage of a complimentary phone consultation that is as comforting as a parent who takes the time to attend all of your first dates. When they’re not pampering patrons, the staffers are leading spa education classes. There, they teach patrons how to make soap or body scrubs from salt, sugar, and ground-up Legos.
Joe Lotts and most of his staff graduated from Brevard College with a degree in wilderness leadership and experiential education. At Charleston Outdoor Adventures, they put their schooling to work by educating people about the coastline’s saltwater estuaries. Their classrooms are their kayaks, paddleboards, and 23-foot bay boat, and their coursework combines environmentalism with photo opportunism. For instance, the tour route to Morris Island Lighthouse and Fort Sumter flows past scenic marshland, local birds, and pick-up games of dolphin basketball. If guests prefer to explore alone, Lotts and crew also rent out its paddleboards and kayaks.