Wednesday, December 18, 2013
As the countdown to Christmas draws near, lost in the excitement and merriment of the season are those of us stressed in our hunt for the perfect gift. This year let’s look outside the box and not only keep our shopping local, but find something that will enrich our lives year round. With a host of historic, cultural and natural offerings available the hardest part will be choosing where to start. From Georgetown to Murrells Inlet — experiences perfect for gifting await!
Historic Georgetown offers tours aplenty — what better way to experience history than with a Swamp Fox Tour or a Shelling and Lighthouse Cruise on the Carolina Rover? Kaminski House Museum has a great year of gifts for their “friends” who can purchase an individual membership for just $20. Newly elected president of the South Carolina Maritime Museum, Johnny Weaver says that “Memberships make a great Christmas gift. One size fits all!”
Richard Camlin knows the perfect gift for nature lovers. Just north of Georgetown, “between the waters” lies Hobcaw Barony. “We offer birding trips each month, and visitors can enjoy seeing something new each time they go out,” said Camlin. A group who ventured out in November counted 56 different species on their tour. Individuals can become a “friend” and receive benefits of membership for just $50. Year round programs are offered that showcase the beauty of the property through birding classes, trail rides, beach walks and much more. Everything offered reflects the mission of the Belle W. Baruch Foundation to “conserve Hobcaw Barony’s unique natural and cultural resources for research and education.” Hobcaw Barony is not just a South Carolina treasure — they’re a national treasure and listed on The National Register of Historic Places who coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources. Visitors to Hobcaw Barony will find a welcoming and informative visitor center, a lovely gift shop with nature inspired gifts, a staff who are friendly and eager to help, and year-round educational experiences — perfect for gift giving. Camlin encourages gift certificates and promises that no two experiences will be the same at Hobcaw Barony.
In Pawleys Island Braden Grafe will find an artist in each of us at her studio Palette to Palate. “My biggest joy is having people who first walk in and start off by telling me that ‘they can’t paint a straight line, they’re not creative’ and then seeing their relief that they can do it.” Braden takes photos of the group at the end of each session holding their artwork — all proudly smiling — a testament to overcoming their fears and their joy at having conquered them! “My firm belief is that we are all artists” said Grafe. Themes change each week, with inspiration coming from the changing season and the natural beauty of the coast. “People around here love sea life — anything coastal,” said Grafe, and with her studio walls lined with everything from blue crabs and beach umbrellas to tarpon and whimsical fishing lures she promises to have something for everyone to enjoy — including budding artists. “Our Children’s Monday Studio provides a space for children to come and be encouraged to do their own thing. We encourage them and give them freedom to explore their creativity,” said Grafe. Registration is week to week and themes/fees are announced on Facebook at Palette to Palate. Gift certificates are available for both studio sessions.
Students in the sculpture classes at Brookgreen Gardens don’t have to look far for inspiration and now that Brookgreen has extended its educational reach with nationally known artists leading the courses, this is a great time to revisit Brookgreen and gift an experience. Sculpture and drawing workshops run February through October with different mediums and skill levels. Individual memberships to Brookgreen Gardens start at $60 and include a host of benefits to be enjoyed year round.
Gifting outside the box offers a year of embracing our community through adventure, exploration, education and fun — and best of all no lines or wrapping paper required.