Located within the Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, Atalaya Castle is a historic home and an architectural delight. Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington constructed the castle as a winter residence during the 1930s. Because they used all local craftsmen, the construction brought employment opportunities to an area impacted by the Great Depression. The layout is designed around a courtyard that is surrounded by lush plants native to South Carolina. The Huntingtons were passionate about the arts, and Anna used the castle as a peaceful place to study and sculpt live animals. Atalaya contains 30 rooms, many of them breezy indoor and outdoor studios used for sculpting and enclosures for their many animals, including bears, horses, monkeys, and a leopard. Atalaya also played a role during WWII, acting as a base for the US Air Corps. Today, visitors can tour Atalaya Castle, exploring the historic rooms, courtyards, and surrounding greenery. Art lovers flock yearly to the Atalaya Festival Arts & Crafts Festival, which brings around 200 artisans and their crafts. The festival hosts around 7000 people and features live music played by local bands, a large variety of food vendors, and the opportunity to purchase a one-of-a-kind artistic creation. Admission to the castle is $2 per adult and free for children under five.
Horry County Museum
The Horry County Museum opened its doors in 1981, allowing residents and visitors to learn the history, prehistory, and natural history of Horry County, South Carolina. The museum offers a variety of exhibits, including important photographs and establishing documents, historical artifacts, a natural history exhibition displaying animals native to South Carolina, and a freshwater aquarium that was featured on the Animal Planet show, “Tanked.” Events are also regularly offered to the public, including a month-long quilt gala that features local artisans, weekly lectures from local historians, and weekend children’s activities.If you are interested in learning about farm life, the L.W. Paul Living History Farm, designated to the Horry County Museum in 2006, allows visitors to experience the farm and domestic life in Horry County from 1900-to 1950. This 17-acre working farm offers free tours every Saturday at 10 AM. Admission to the Horry County Museum is free, but donations are encouraged to maintain and enhance their exhibits.
The Hopsewee Plantation, located in Georgetown, South Carolina, is a preserved, 18th-century rice plantation. The home was built in 1735 and served as the birthplace of Thomas Lynch Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house on the grounds has been carefully preserved, including the original brick used in construction. Visitors also can walk downstream alongside the Santee River, following the moss-covered oaks that line it. The grounds also include the River Oak Cottage, which is a functional restaurant, serving lunch and full tea. The menu features Lowcountry delights, such as shrimp and grits, housemade creole and gumbo, and blue cheese and spinach quiche, along with an extraordinary collection of teas. Tickets to tour the grounds are $20 for adults, $17.50 for seniors 65+, $10.50 for students 12-17, and $7.50 for children 6-11.
In 1930, Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington (owners of the Atalaya castle) purchased 9,000 acres of land in Murrells Inlet to be used as a personal retreat for health recovery during the cold winter months of the North. Upon visiting the land, they realized the potential to share the beautiful gardens with the public. In 1932, they opened Brookgreen Gardens as the first public sculpture garden in America. Brookgreen’s mission is to collect, preserve, and exhibit the plants and animals native to the American Southeast. Today, Brookgreen Gardens is a member of the American Public Garden Association and is a fully accredited zoo, featuring over 2,300 plants, over 2,000 sculptures, and 10 species of Lowcountry animals. A visitor favorite is Live Oak Allee, which includes 250-year-old Live Oak trees that were planted in the 1700s when the land was a rice plantation. Brookgreen also offers special events throughout the seasons for guests to view the grounds in magnificent ways. Tickets are priced at $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 65+, $10 for children 4-12, and free for children 3 and under.
South Carolina Hall of Fame
Located in the heart of Myrtle Beach, the Official South Carolina Hall of Fame recognizes and honors contemporary and past citizens who have made significant contributions to South Carolina’s heritage. The hall’s purpose is to provide residents and visitors to South Carolina with a new appreciation for the people who have worked to create the state we love today. The Hall of Fame was dedicated as a nonprofit in 1973 by Governor John C. West; in 2001, Governor Jim Hodges designated it as South Carolina’s official hall of fame. Within the building, visitors will find notable celebrity names such as multi-Platinum recording artist, Darius Rucker, and educational contributors such as artist, educator, and museum director, Dr. Leo Twiggs. Induction of both residents of South Carolina and those who have made substantial contributions to the state occurs annually. Admission is free to the public, and visitors can find the hall on the first floor of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
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