As a young artist, Lynn was working at a gallery in Atlanta where the framer only showed up to work sporadically. “I started going in and cutting the frames myself,” she says. Soon, Lynn’s deft hands and expertise led her to assume leadership of her own gallery, Accent Framing & Gallery, where her painter’s eye matches matting and metal or wood edging with paintings, photographs, and miscellaneous keepsakes. “What inspires me is how someone can bring in something ordinary and we can make it look so much better,” she says, though she’s also up for tackling the out-of-the ordinary: she once framed a deer’s tail, and she has helped conserve a 200-year-old silk painting as well as a sheepskin Latin document dating back to the 1300s. With a combined three decades of experience, Lynn and her assistant are ready to transform nearly anything into an ensemble fit for the guest room all homeowners keep ready in case the Queen of England drops by.
During her years in edging others’ artwork, Lynn hasn’t neglected her own. Her brush gives life to marshes and feathered wings, and she shares her wisdom with students during art classes on painting with oils and acrylics. The gallery also has plans to help photographers learn to manipulate their camera’s shutter speed, light settings, and advanced pancake-making features.
When John Drayton broke ground on Drayton Hall in 1738, he had no idea that his estate would survive the American Revolution, the Civil War, an earthquake, and numerous hurricanes. The stories contained in the building’s walls span seven generations of history tied to the Draytons and the Bowens family, an African American family that lived and worked at Drayton Hall before and after emancipation. Since 1974, when Charles and Frank Drayton sold their ancestral home to the National Trust, visitors have been able to transport themselves into the past with more ease than rubbing the beard at the Lincoln Memorial.
The main house, a sweeping example of Georgian Palladian architecture, is the oldest near-original, unrestored colonial home in the United States. Like a helpful ghost, the grand rooms and original fireplaces whisper history into the ears of all visitors, telling tales of British and colonial soldiers who occupied the house during the American Revolution. Views from the portico are filled with drooping trees, spanish moss, and a grand driveway. Surrounding the estate, an undisturbed historic landscape backs up to the Ashley River, and also encompasses A Sacred Place, the oldest African American cemetery in the country still in use.
For more than 50 years, Spiritline Cruises’ impressive fleet of yachts has transported passengers through the calm and scenic waters that surround Charleston. Vessels sail across Charleston Harbor and past the Battery during harbor cruises, whereas historic Fort Sumter treks explore the place where the Civil War began and the practice of building forts out of pillows ended. Spiritline Cruises also explores the city at night, with visitors enjoying dinnertime meals on the Spirit of Carolina against a backdrop of twinkling city lights. The ships can also be privately chartered for weddings or special events for groups of up to 300.
Captain Howard, the man at the helm of Adventure Harbor Tours, has an inherent attraction to the water. The second he steps out onto his boat he finds less dread, more excitement, and a desire to share this joy with others. As the voices of Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley sing from his boat's onboard stereo, Captain Howard ferries groups of up to 12 out into Charleston Harbor, where Atlantic bottlenose dolphins swim beneath the surface and one lonely scuba diver guards the harbor's flush valve. The captain's expeditions can take the form of private charters, fishing charters, or his most popular trip: a tour of Morris Island.
Untouched by cars or roads, Morris Island welcomes visitors onto secluded beaches filled with shells, sand dollars, and conchs. The 4-mile barrier island allows ample room for visitors to pick these shells, play in the sand, or run alongside their dogs—which Captain Howard welcomes onto his tours.
The knowledgeable guides of Charleston Culinary Tours and Lowcountry Walking Tours acquaint tour-goers with the rich cultural and historical heritage of the largest historic district in the United States through two distinct branches. Lowcountry Walking Tours's guides delve into the histories and mysteries of Charleston, revealing its both dark and romantic origins. Their excursions venture downtown or out to Mount Pleasant, each exploring the events that shaped the region with an emphasis on the areas toured. They often meander the streets of the French Quarter as guides opine on the historic churches, horticulture, and reason why the city had to change its name from Tokyo to Charleston.
Charleston Culinary Tours introduce groups to the area through their taste buds. Each restaurant tour journeys to four acclaimed restaurants, granting a bounty of food tastings alongside a meet-and-greet with restaurant owners and chefs. On the farmer's market tour, groups explore the farm-fresh finds of a market named one of the nation's best by Travel + Leisure, then venture to an area restaurant where they can savor the newly picked produce within a gourmet meal. The farm-to-table theme continues on the mixology tour, where participants sip specialty cocktails infused with fresh herbs and produce as the learn about the secrets to Charleston's craft cocktail scene.
Eric Lavender is one of very few men in the world who can show up for work each day in a pirate costume and expect to keep his job. The licensed guide and professional storyteller, who has been featured on networks such as the Travel Channel and SCETV, also has an unconventional coworker—Captain Bob, a chatty blue and gold macaw who perches on his arm. Sometimes aided by other guides in pirate and colonial garb, he introduces visitors to lesser-known aspects of Charleston's more than 300-year history on walking tours to National Historic Landmark buildings.
During his signature pirate tour, Eric divulges stories of buccaneer revelry and crimes, such as Blackbeard's harbor blockade, or unveils local spooky legends and pieces of Gullah lore on his ghost and pirate tour. Eric also leads custom walking tours and teaches children about pirate lore and city history through his educational programs. And, on pub tours, guides show visitors to some of the city's historic taverns, where they reveal which colonial musicians got their start at open-mic nights.