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.
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The custom-built Gause Built 26 is an all-water fishing boat, designed to shuttle anglers from foot-deep water to offshore pods of dolphins. Owner and captain Chuck Griffin designed his boat to cater to the varied needs of the fishing community, outfitting it with a tower to spot schools in the distance and allow guests better views. He commands his boat armed with more than 25 years of experience, and he assists guests in snagging an array of fishy specimen such as inshore seatrout, nearshore barracudas, and offshore king mackerel. When not angling or fly-fishing, Captain Chuck glides with guests to the open water in pursuit of frolicking pods of dolphins that may or may not know the secret to holding your breath for a really long time.
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.
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.
After 30 years of owning and operating a construction business, Ken Recine decided it was time for a career change, trading his tool belt for a captain’s hat. He first developed a passion for navigating aquatic avenues in the early ‘80s, when he helped man his family’s 40-foot Pacemaker boat. Now a USCG-licensed charter captain, Ken helms a 40-foot pleasure yacht of his own on saltwater cruises that explore Charleston's historic waterways. His passengers soak in picturesque views and sites—such as Fort Sumter—during jaunts around the harbor and overnight voyages from Mount Pleasant to Beaufort. In addition to standard tours, Ken offers customizable trips to Georgetown, Myrtle Beach, Savannah, or wherever the big black X is on clients’ “tourist” maps.