There is something magical about pulling up to Kiawah Island, rolling down the windows, and letting a welcome committee of live oaks draped in Spanish moss greet you. That’s how Charlotte, North Carolina, makeup artist and content creator Lindsey Regan Thorne describes the scene that heralded her family’s September arrival to the South Carolina Sea Island. In partnership with Garden & Gun, the Thornes spent one dreamy weekend inhaling the salt air, shopping, and relaxing with one another.
The Andell Inn’s proximity to Freshfields Village’s palmetto-tree-studded shopping and dining destination makes vacationing with children there not just easy but a pleasure. “We were so thankful for La Tela Pizzeria for the perfect late-night snack upon arrival,” Thorne says. “We called from the car, and pizza was waiting for us when we checked in.” The family was able to enjoy an in-house breakfast at the Inn the next morning before discovering the day’s first amusement: Cars & Coffee. Every month, Freshfields invites antique car owners to cruise the Village Green—a welcome bit of entertainment for the family’s children, Henry (age eight) and Olive (age five).
“Once the caffeine kicked in, Mama was ready to shop!” Thorne says. Freshfields Village is home to three dozen boutiques and galleries, offering a full day of retail therapy. High on her must-visit list was SHOWROOM, a multibrand women’s boutique. Nearby, shoppers eager to perk up their interiors can find a vast array of designer furnishings at GDC Home. If the accessory in mind is one of the personal variety, Peyton William Jewelry offers coastal-accented adornments featuring nature-inspired materials. And if you decide you need a new look while on vacation, Luminary is filled with chic designer labels.
But perhaps the best surprise was Thorne’s discovery of Palmetto Scent Studio. “I was thrilled to create my own fragrance. I chose notes of sea salt and sandalwood to create a scent that will always make me think of Spanish moss and Kiawah hospitality.”
Freshfields Village is ideally located to provide all the creature comforts necessary for a perfect weekend by the shore. And the best way to get your toes to the sand, Thorne says, is on two wheels, either your own or via bicycle rentals from SeaCoast Sports.
“One of our favorite things about Kiawah is how bikers always greet each other with a warm ‘Hello! How are y’all?’” she says. A wide cement path leads beachgoers from Freshfields past stunning salt marshes filled with great egrets and wood storks and straight to the Atlantic. After the family’s spin, FortyEight Wine Bar & Kitchen made a calm space to share a bite and favorite memories of the day. With many dining options, Freshfields has something to sate every taste including highend date-night dinners at Hege’s; upscale beach eats, like handmade sandwiches, at the Station; or fabulous gourmet bites from Café Eugenia.
In between meals, Kiawah offers more than just surf and sand. At the Kiawah Beach Club the Thornes took full advantage of three luxurious pools, elevated poolside dining, and comfortable lounge chairs. Visitors also have access to Beachwalker Park, an oceanfront, dog-friendly public beach. And when families have exhausted their sand castle construction energies, a stand-up paddleboard trip or kayak tour through the tidal creeks provides an up-close view of Kiawah’s vibrant ecosystem.
“Needless to say, we lingered to savor the salty air as long as we could before venturing back to Charlotte,” Thorne says. But it was with contentment that the Thornes hit cruise control heading back up I-26. “I know our kids will lovingly look back on this trip to Kiawah’s Freshfields Village.”