Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Tue March 08 2016

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  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | March 8, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Day Trips From Myrtle Beach: Flora, Fauna, Art and Vino

    Day Trips From Myrtle Beach: Flora, Fauna, Art and Vino

    Photos by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina may be noted for sun, sand and seafood, but this quaint beach town offers a surprising array of more sophisticated activities. If you’re interested in quieter excursions with fewer crowds, head just a few miles away to enjoy adventures in sculpture gardens and a vineyard.

    Covered with palmetto trees, hydrangeas and Lily of the Valley, South Carolina resembles a marshy Garden of Eden. One of the best places to catch a glimpse of the state's natural beauty is at the National Historic Landmark of Brookgreen Gardens. Nestled between Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island, the 9,200-acre outdoor museum boasts swamps, marshes, sculptures, fountains, an aviary and a zoo.

    READ MORE: A Taste of South Carolina’s Gullah Cuisine

    I had no idea how massive the place was until I arrived and was handed back my ticket because it's good for seven consecutive days. You need a day to devote to just one of the half dozen areas, so I chose the sculpture garden and the Lowcountry zoo.

    At the indigenous animal-filled zoo, I saw a red fox snuggled in a tree. Eagles perched on a branch and loons hung out in a cascading fountain.

    The Huntington Sculpture Garden opened as the country's first public sculpture garden in 1931 and continues to display one of the most diverse collections of 1,200 works by 350 sculptors. The garden offers a broad range of figurative pieces, from bronze animals, to Lowcountry icons like a depiction of a plantation worker.

    As you would expect in a Garden of Eden, there's also lots of classical nakedness, like a piece with women draped in all different directions and more traditional Roman-influenced nudes.

    Just 17 miles north of North Myrtle Beach, Grapefull Sisters Vineyard beckons with a sprawling working vineyard, gardens, three-room bed & breakfast and RV campground.  Surrounded by tobacco farmland and accented with a pond as well as roaming ducks and geese, the 28-acre vineyard has been in the Suggs family for nine generations. The wine-producing stars of the vineyard are Muscadine grapes, known as Native American grapes and reputed to be 40 times higher in heart disease-fighting antioxidants than regular grapes.

    In the name of cardiac health, an expansive wine tasting is necessary, and I gladly obliged sisters Sheila and Kim by savoring eight of their most popular wines. Wine tastings are held daily at Grapefull Sisters and are a great way to try the wines before buying a bottle.  The sisters provide handy tasting notes that list the wines with their individual characteristics and a cheeky grading scale that includes W for “wonderful gotta have it!” and F for “fair, didn’t blow my skirt up.”  

     After sipping the mostly sweet and flavorful wines for 30 minutes, I glanced down at my notes and discovered a long list of Ws. I promptly bought a bottle of Sunset Blush, aptly described as “attitude wine, give me a book and leave me alone.”

    READ MORE: Myrtle Beach: More than Just the Best Golf Destination in the South

    Besides wine, the vineyard also sells a variety of jams, including sweet potato, Muscatine and cranberry walnut.

    The bed & breakfast, called Inn D’Vine, showcases three bedrooms with a country cottage theme, handmade quilts and private European style sauna baths with Jacuzzi. Antiques fill the common living area and there are porches for wine sipping. For the more adventurous, the vineyard also provides “glamping” or glamorous camping, complete with a two-bedroom, heated tent, wine basket and strawberry and blueberry-stuffed French toast.


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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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