Designed by U.S. Special Forces and reality-show veterans, The Dirty Hog’s mud runs⎯held throughout the U.S. and Canada⎯promote teamwork and tenacity on untimed 9- to 12-mile treks through mudslicks peppered with obstacle-laden checkpoints. Participants shape their destiny at multiple checkpoint challenges, with each success potentially shortening the trek ahead and each failure earning burdens such as sacks of pig feed or a piglet that must be raised to maturity. As alternatives to the full course, a shortened, 5-kilometer option enables exertion on a smaller scale, and a half-mile piglet run grants children a chance to delve into the mud. The surpassing of tests earns mud navigators colored bracelets that are tradable for beer, hearty pork fare, and other delights at a free after party awash in live music and celebratory grunts from Lola, the event’s mascot boar. Teams cry out victory chants as solo entrants compliment each other on mud stains in the shape of Herbert Hoover’s silhouette.
Since 2005, the award-winning Cypress Bend Vineyards has harnessed the rich flavors and antioxidants found in the muscadine grape. The wonder fruit has resulted in the creation of wine varietals including 13 Muscadine, one Cabernet Franc, and one Malbec. Cypress Bend's winemaker leads tours through the vineyards to detail each step of this process, from grape plucking and fermentation to monitoring each grape's 401K as it ages. The flourishing soil also plays home to live events throughout the year, such as Friday-night jazz or beach music concerts.
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.
Inside South Carolina’s 47 state-registered parks, visitors explore secluded forest trails, sweeping cerulean lakes, roiling saltwater surfs crashing on white beaches, and streams and rivers overgrown with thick canopies of trees. The protected areas, many of which were assembled nearly a century ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps, encompass more than 80,000 acres and span turf from the rambling Blue Ridge Mountains to the sandy Atlantic-coast beaches. Abundant activities for guests include canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and accidentally startling long-forgotten lumberjacks wearing headphones.
Visitors experience colonial history up close at some parks, where registered historic homes, plantations, and landmark buildings stand preserved or in their natural state. These structures grant a glimpse into the lives of European settlers, Native Americans, and African Americans through building tours, archaeological collections, and live history demonstrations. Overnight camping is available at many parks, ranging from primitive campsites to cabins, villas, and tent sites that offer running water. Much like a scientist designing a soda-can-powered robot, park administrators follow a rigorous recycling program to ensure the preservation of the wilderness.