Travel

Day Trips: Fine art, fine beach for fine summer weekend

This is great weekend to visit Brookgreen Gardens, on U.S. 17 between the S.C. coastal towns of Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island: It’s their annual Art Festival.
This is great weekend to visit Brookgreen Gardens, on U.S. 17 between the S.C. coastal towns of Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island: It’s their annual Art Festival. brookgreen.org

A trip to the beach. A day in a nationally lauded garden. Maybe a piece of art for pleasure, investment – or for that June wedding that’s coming up.

This is a great weekend to cross all those activities off your summer bucket list – this Saturday or Sunday at the Art Festival at Brookgreen Gardens, on U.S. 17 between the S.C. coastal towns of Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island.

It’s difficult to imagine a better venue for an arts fest this time of year than Brookgreen Gardens, minutes south of Myrtle Beach.

In 1929, Archer Huntington and his wife fell in love with the plantation country between Myrtle Beach and Charleston. Huntington was a northern tycoon looking for a place to winter; wife Anna Hyatt Huntington was one of the foremost sculptors in the country. They purchased and combined four plantations.

He died in 1955; she died in 1973. Their considerable estate was split along U.S. 17. Brookgreen Gardens, widely considered one of the foremost outdoor sculpture gardens in America, occupies the Huntington lands west of U.S. 17. The 2,500 acres between the highway and the sea became Huntington Beach State Park.

Sprawling Brookgreen showcases Anna Hyatt Huntington’s love of American sculpture. It has one of the largest and top-rated outdoor sculpture gardens in the country. The 551-acre Sculpture Garden alone holds close to 1,500 pieces of art.

Being a garden, the grounds are festooned with immaculate flower beds and Lowcountry natural areas.

That will be the backdrop this weekend for Brookgreen’s art festival, which will feature a juried show of more than 50 local and national artists who will exhibit and sell their works. Festival hours: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. both days.

You’ll have the opportunity to meet artists whose works are sold in Brookgreen’s Keepsakes gift shop and at fine galleries across the country. Their media include wood, ceramics, metal, jewelry, photography, fiber, painting, cloth and mixed media. There will be items for your garden as well as your home.

Besides meeting the artists, you can watch demonstrations of pottery throwing, glass blowing, hand-loom weaving and painting.

Because the art event is included in Brookgreen admission, you can stroll the Scuplture Garden, visit its other gardens, visit the Brookgreen zoo, get a feel for this tidewater area at the Lowcountry Center and walk the award-winning Lowcountry Trail.

Brookgreen admission is good for seven consecutive days. If one day of art and gardens will suffice, remember that the other part of the Huntington legacy – Huntington Beach State Park – has a boat ramp, beach swimming, biking, bird watching and hiking and interpretive trails.

Admission to the park – which national beach-ranker Stephen (“Dr. Beach”) Leatherman this spring ranked among the 10 amazing beaches of the Carolinas – is just $5; $3 for ages 6-15.

Bordsen is the Observer’s travel editor.

Art at the beach

Brookgreen Gardens is at 1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet, S.C. Admission (includes June 6-7 Art Festival): $15; $13 for 65 and older; $7 for ages 4-12. Details: www.brookgreen.org.

Details on Huntington Beach State Park: www.southcarolinaparks.com (click “Park Finder” and scroll to and click “Huntington Beach State Park”).

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