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written by
Hailey Wist

Island Hop

photographs by
Hailey Wist

Volume: 31

Eat, Drink, Play | Forty-Eight hours in the Lowcountry

9:00 am | Depart from Teterboro

In collaboration with the Kiawah Island Club, NetJets ownership program provides access to the largest private jet fleet in the world. If you’re coming from the Northeast, flights from Teterboro Airport to Charleston Executive Airport take less than two hours. The experience is seamless—drive to the tarmac and board your flight in minutes. Enjoy in-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi, fine dining, and curated snacks. And NetJets welcomes pets aboard! 

NetJets owners can book a flight with as little as four hours’ notice and will even arrange ground transportation on arrival. Flights can be scheduled from four thousand airports worldwide. NetJets offers various membership options—visit NetJets.com to learn more.

10:30 am | Arrive  to Johns Island

You’ve arrived at Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island, only twenty minutes to the main gate at Kiawah. Notice the stunning alley of live oaks as you drive south on River Road.

11:30 am | Bike to the Clubhouse

Call ahead and have bikes delivered to your accommodation. Rent on the Island at Night Heron Park or from Alligator Bikes on Johns Island. Kiawah Island boasts an endless network of bike trails and one of the best hard-packed sand beaches in the state. There’s nothing like biking on the beach. Get a little wind in your hair and shake off the week! 

If you feel like a swim and the weather is fair, Marsh House is the ideal first stop. Take a dip in the pool and then enjoy light fare from the grill. Remember, Marsh House is closed from December to March.

If you’re closer to the River Course, bike over for lunch at The River Room. Executive Chef Paul Tinsley makes a mean flounder sandwich. On a nice day, there’s nothing better than lunching on the deep porch of the Clubhouse, overlooking the 18th green and the Kiawah River. 

2:00 pm | Tee Time

Play a round of world-class golf. The Tom Watson, links-inspired course at Cassique offers 6,960 yards of astounding views of the Kiawah River and the Atlantic Ocean. The River Course, in contrast, meanders through the maritime forest and along an expanse of marsh. Perhaps a bit less forgiving for the higher handicapped player, the 7,039 yards of he River Course plays fast and competitive. Remember to look out for Big Al—the course’s resident alligator—on holes five and six! 

The Island also boasts five additional public courses if you are looking for a new challenge, including The Ocean Course, the PGA’s pick for the 2021 Championship.

Not a golfer? Grab a partner for a tennis match at the Sports Pavilion or the River Course Clubhouse. Both boast classic clay courts and a nearby snack bar for when hunger strikes mid-match! 

7:30 pm | Dinner at Voyseys

Voysey’s is the brainchild of James Beard Award winner and Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio and local virtuoso Doug Blair. The family-style menu is truly a farm-to-table experience. Blair takes great care sourcing fare from local farms and fisheries. The jumbo lump crab cakes are a must! Situated on the top floor of the Cassique Clubhouse, with views of the course and the marsh beyond, Voysey’s is truly an exquisite dining experience. Reservations are available Wednesday through Monday. 

If you’d like something a bit more casual, small plates and craft cocktails are available downstairs at Tom’s. Catch a game on TV or sit outside on the patio. Warm up by the fire pits in colder weather, and enjoy lawn games on the green on a nice night. Play a round of bocce or cornhole before dinner! 

9:00 am | Kayak the Kiawah River

Call ahead to the Sports Pavilion to rent a kayak. The Cassique Boathouse is down Lemoyne Lane from the Clubhouse and is situated in a tidal creek that wraps around the 17th green. If the tide is high, turn north from the put-in and paddle under the bridge towards Eagle Island. Meander around the marshy hummocks, where you might spot a white heron or bald eagle. 

If the tide is going out, turn south and paddle towards the Kiawah River. From this vantage you’ll see wild dunes, marshland, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Once you reach the main channel, look out for dolphins. They are notoriously friendly and sociable and sometimes strand feed on the banks of the Kiawah River!

2:00 pm | Boat Cruise to Charleston

The Kiawah Island Club offers private charters to downtown Charleston. Sip rosé as you meander northeast from the Kiawah River, into the Stono River, up Wappoo Creek, and finally into the Ashley River, where you can cruise the Charleston Battery. Captain Elliot Hillock is a knowledgeable guide—don’t miss Bird Key and keep an eye out for the Kiawah River dolphin pod! 

3:30 pm | White Point Gardens

Disembark at Charleston Harbor and take a rickshaw south toward the Battery to the tip of the Charleston Peninsula. Disembark at the west end of White Point Garden, a public park laid out in the 1830s atop earlier fortifications and reclaimed land. There are several monuments and a cannon in the park commemorating past wars. Massive live oaks create a dense canopy over its lawns and pathways. 

Walk east through the park to the seawall and look back for a spectacular view of the antebellum mansions. Looking out into the harbor, you’ll see Fort Sumter in the distance, and the Sea Islands encircling the Charleston Harbor. The current seawall dates from 1818 and keeps the Cooper River out of this reclaimed part of the city.  

4:00 pm | Stroll South of Broad

Voted Best Small U.S. City by Condé Nast Traveler, Charleston is postcard perfect. Cobblestone alleyways, elegant mansions, and the deep, breezy verandahs of a bygone era—the streets South of Broad are rich with history and color. 

Walk north on Meeting Street. Pay special attention to 17 Meeting Street. The antebellum mansion features cypress siding that was hand carved to look like rusticated stone. Across the street is Calhoun Mansion, the largest residence in town at 24,000 square feet.

Next notable stop: 34 Meeting Street. This was the home of Lord William Campbell, the last British Governor of South Carolina. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, Lord Campbell grew so fearful of changing public opinion and angry patriots that he fled the city in a row boat. 

Continue north and turn right on Water Street. This charming lane marks the southern boundary wall of colonial Charleston and was once a shallow tidal creek where residents kept personal boats and from which the aforementioned Lord escaped by cover of night. 

5:30 pm | Walk to Ansonborough

Turn left off of Water Street and onto Church Street and continue the walk north. Between Longitude Lane and Tradd Street, pause at Catfish Row, the famous setting in Porgy and Bess. Continue down Church Street and turn left on Chalmers. The stones that pave this time-worn street were the ballast of sailing ships from England! Pop into the Circular Congregational Churchyard, which has a headstone from 1695, the oldest in town. If you’re thirsty, take a quick detour down Queen Street to the Bar at Husk for a cocktail. 

7:00 pm | Dinner in Charleston

Continue north and cross over Market Street, the east end of which was built on a filled-in creek in 1807, so be wary of high-tide rain storms! This section of the city was originally a public market and still acts as a bustling center of commerce for visitors to Charleston. 

There is no shortage of amazing restaurants in Charleston. Take a short walk to FIG, or hop in a rickshaw and head north to The Ordinary, James Beard Award winning chef Mike Lata’s newest restaurant. The oyster sliders are a must! Shuttles back to the Island can be arranged through the Club!

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