The story of The Vault of Horror revolves around the legend of Raymond Hunt III. Bullied by his peers and spurned by his parents, Raymond was a natural outcast early in life, until a violent exchange with his father culminated in a vile act: patricide. Raymond was sent to an insane asylum after the murder, but at the age of 21, he escaped, joined the circus, and put together a live freak show of humanity’s most odd and unsettling creatures. The pariah's eerie parade eventually earned him the title of Ringmaster, and Raymond—it seemed—had finally put his troubled background behind him and found a new, peaceful calling.
Soon afterward, a man came looking every night for his son, whom he'd lost while attending Raymond's show. Giving up hope, the man left one evening, sneaking a final glance at one of the cages and the twisted, snarling creature inside—a boy staring back at him with familiar eyes. The man confronted Raymond, whose repressed trauma reemerged as he killed the father in cold blood—the final spectacle of a tormented son. Raymond escaped from police custody, vanishing into a world in which he didn't belong, and the members of his freak show were never seen again. Until, that is, someone opened The Vault of Horror.
The spine-tingling brainchild of Samhain Production Company, The Vault of Horror immerses brazen guests in a hellish complex filled with blood-splattered fiends and tortured spirits. The Vault eschews familiar scares such as horror-film homages, animatronic ghouls, and undead telemarketers in favor of unique brutes played by a live cast, making the dark venue's bone-chilling scenes more authentic, immersive, and surprising.
For three centuries, members of the Stewart clan have farmed in Laurens County, a tradition that continues today at Stewart Farms, as three generations of family work to operate the bustling farm and nursery. Seasonal events throughout the year bring visitors to the farm to experience its pastoral setting and taste the products of its fertile soil.
Springtime welcomes the arrival of bright, juicy strawberries, to be picked by visitors or purchased in a gallon bucket to make jam, pies, and sacrifices to prevent the wrath of Strawberry Shortcake. Blackberries crowd trellises in the warmer months, and cantaloupe, corn, tomatoes, squash, and watermelon grow in multitudes throughout the summer. At the end of September, the farm’s 5-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch draws jack-o’-lantern carvers out, and its corn Maize tests the navigational skills of explorers young and old. And in the winter, the farm offers a large selection of farm-grown Christmas poinsettias.
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.
Daufuskie Discoveries creates opportunities to explore Daufuskie Island's lush, historic habitat with customized guided or private outings. An enclosed or open-air water taxi quickly shuttles small groups from Hilton Head or Savannah to the island's three-mile stretch of sandy beach in 30 minutes, with captains tossing out facts about Calibogue Sound and Cooper River. Customers disembark and board their conveyance of choice—golf cart, boat, or shoes—before bursting through the tree line into specific isle regions, such as Bloody Point, which houses the Bloody Point Cemetery and Bloody Point Lighthouse & Silver Dew Winery. Three-hour private cruises skirt the coastline as a guide artfully describes the sun dipping beneath marshes as a hot air balloon deflated by a stampeding herd of storks.
Owner Bill Reynolds first experienced the lure of showbiz in 1993, when he visited a relative on the production team for Pulp Fiction. After witnessing some of its iconic scenes firsthand, Bill returned to his home of Beaufort, South Carolina, and discovered major film productions in his own backyard. During each Beaufort Movie Tour, a tour guide escorts guests around town in an air-conditioned van to see the sites where stars once tread. Stops include the tree where Forrest Gump buried his beloved Jenny, the national cemetery that acted as The Great Santini's final resting place, and the vet school Julia Roberts attended in Something to Talk About.
The guides at Free Tours by Foot offer their expertise to visitors on free group tours for a simple reason: they love to share their city's history and quirks with others—and if they get a tip from thoroughly entertained tour-goers, all the better. They've curated a handful of tours for about nine cities, including a roundup of public art in New York City's subway system, a colonial jaunt featuring Revolutionary War sites in Boston, and visits to architectural feats in Chicago's Loop and the hospital where the first Chicago-style hot dog was born. Tour guides can also be commissioned for private, fixed-price tours of the same spots.
Aboard the 45-foot, USCG-certified Palmetto, Captain Bryan Collins whisks up to 49 passengers away on tours that drift past scenic Charleston sites. Upon departing from the Charleston Maritime Center, the Palmetto overlooks silhouetted steeples during sunset cruises and floats over dark waters as guides spin horrific yarns on ghost tours. Elsewhere, a local naturalist joins nature tours to point out snowy egrets soaring overhead. A local historian climbs aboard history tours to explain the significance of the Battery in the Civil War and which history textbooks are the tastiest. Along with scheduled tours, Sandlapper Water Tours accommodates visitors on private sightseeing cruises, couples on wedding-themed charters, and students on educational tours. Guests craving a more intimate seafaring adventure can hop aboard a 27-foot skiff for treks around the harbor or through salt-marsh creeks.
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