Purchased by philanthropist Archer Huntington and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, in 1929, the 9,127 acres of forest, swamp, rice fields and beachfront that became Brookgreen Gardens were originally intended to become the couple’s winter home. Instead, they created a nonprofit institution in 1931 that transformed the property into the first sculpture garden in the United States. Brookgreen Gardens now adorns more than 300 acres of gardens and facilities with more than 1,400 works. A National Historic Landmark, Brookgreen Gardens fields a staff that edifies guests on the property’s plantation history and its gardens’ evolution during seasonally shifting programs, exhibitions, and tours. A medieval, seven-circuit Chartres labyrinth lures visitors with its serene quietude, an exhibit chronicles the narrative of the land from Native American occupation through the present, archeological sites unearth information about life on rice plantations, and the museum’s zoo beckons the intellectually curious with its critters.
To get to Black’s Camp, visitors follow a long, winding country road bordered by towering pines. At the end, this idyllic retreat sprawls out across the shores of the Santee Cooper lakes, surrounded by 170,000 acres of wilderness. Though its location is isolated, the camp furnishes hunters, fishers, and nature aficionados with ample amenities.
Hunting and fishing guides lead expeditions into Francis Marion National Forest and across 200,000 acres of water, and charter captains take leisurely voyages to Charleston Harbor. A waterfront restaurant hosts a seafood buffet on Friday and Saturday nights. At day’s end, guests can retreat to lodging at campsites or the camp’s waterfront cabins and motel to rest up or pen love letters to Mother Nature.
Guests who pull up to the Summer Picnic Concert Series might find themselves torn between lounging and dancing. On the one hand, there's the lush, picnic-ready lawn of Cypress Bend Vineyards' pastoral grounds; on the other, there are the shuffling native sounds of Carolina beach music boogying from the stage. The three-piece team of Joyner, Young & Marie seamlessly shifts gears from power ballads such as "Frozen in Time" to twangy, up-tempo numbers such as "Live the Blues." The Sand Band plays up their dance, blues, and classic-rock influences, combining soulful melodies with eminently danceable beats.
What was once a stately building in the Bermuda Triangle has gone topsy-turvy, thanks to an experiment gone awry from Professor Wonder and his team of brilliant scientists, who were using the manse as top-secret laboratory. After WonderWorks crash-landed upside-down in Myrtle Beach, the eccentric researchers accepted their fate and kept their experiments up and running. Today, kids and adults who visit the whimsical discovery center can get their hands on more than 100 interactive exhibits, such as a hurricane shack that tests your ability to withstand Category 1 winds, a bubble lab, and a roller-coaster simulator. Before stopping by the onsite restaurant for lunch, discoverers tackle an indoor ropes course and challenge one another to games of laser tag.
Spread across Lu Mil Vineyard's 58 acres are an antique museum, a handful of cabins for overnight stays, a tasting room, and of course grapevines. Rows upon rows of sweet muscadine grapes are cultivated at the farm, named for its late owners, Lucille and Miller Taylor. In addition to producing a suite of wines, Lu Mil sells a selection of house-made jellies, jams, and NASA-engineered spittoons.
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