Find Your Place with Garden & Gun Land
Beachside oases and Carolina gems to call your own
In Partnership with
At the heart of Garden & Gun Land is an authentic sense of place and an inherent responsibility to the natural world. It is our belief that the best stories begin in the places we hold dear—places where delight unfurls easily and shared experiences become our legacy. From the coastal paradise of Alys Beach, Florida, to the heights of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the marshes of the Lowcountry, it is with great delight that we take you on a tour of three breathtaking communities contributing unparalleled beauty, architectural ingenuity, and deep meaning to Garden & Gun’s South.
A Gulf Coast Treasure
In Alys Beach, Florida, fine coastal living is anything but ordinary
On the edge of the Florida Panhandle lies a pristine, Gulf-skirting community where beauty and simplicity are uniquely alive. In Alys Beach, striking architecture and unfailing attention to detail give way to an otherworldly escape where gleaming structures and a calm cerulean shore preside over all. The 30A beach town transcends its surroundings, seeming worlds away from the large Southeastern cities in driving distance, and even the smallest taste of life here can be intoxicating, inspiring travelers to make a home of their own in this New Urbanist paradise.
Alys Beach is defined by balance—between natural beauty and innovative design, luxury living and simple pursuits. From the lively town center to the serene coast, pedestrian paths crisscross the area, creating a sense of community as friends and neighbors are drawn outdoors. It’s no coincidence, then, that the locale is centered on alfresco experiences, from breezy dining locales to glimmering pools and vast green spaces. Though not a resort, Alys Beach can feel nearly as lavish, a place where locals and guests have access to fine communal amenities. Both physical and spiritual wellness lie at the heart of the community, and residents can care for both at the state-of-the art ZUMA Wellness Center. For a beachfront getaway in their own backyard, homeowners need only check out the multistory Beach Club, an exclusive waterfront gathering place where kicking back is all too easy.
Of course, the beach itself is the community’s crown jewel. Reminiscent of the Caribbean, the Gulf coast is known for endless stretches of soft white sand meeting crystal-clear water that’s never too cold. And there’s no need to worry about claiming a peaceful spot on the sand; access to the Alys Beach shoreline is exclusive to homeowners and guests, meaning quiet, uncrowded days await all year. Despite its calmer nature, the beach is not without excitement—with catamarans and paddleboards available to rent, offshore adventures are found in spades, while a food and drink service will deliver directly to the lounge chair of those preferring dry land.
Throughout the community, ownership opportunities are abundant, be it custom or semicustom builds, existing homes, townhouses, or condominiums. Thanks to a resident construction team and a group of approved builders, a consistent thread of quality and design runs through Alys Beach, creating a harmonious collection of homes and shared spaces. Always a seamless process, becoming a resident can take many forms. In the Somerset program, for example, buyers can work with Alys Beach’s expert sales, construction, and design teams on breathtaking semicustom homes, while move-in ready residences and luxury condominiums such as The Selene & Easterly, currently in development, are perfect for those eager to drop their bags and hit the beach. Wherever new owners land, neighborhoods are designed with connectivity in mind, the community’s entirely walkable layout allowing for friendship between neighbors and easy access to the shore.
Another key aspect of Alys Beach? The carefully curated shops and wide array of restaurants dotting the town center. While each business delivers something unique, a collective delight in quality design and a passion for full, rich living connect the robust community of merchants. From the fresh-cut flowers stocked at the beloved home decor shop Mast to the beach essentials and resort-chic attire at the Alys Shoppe, the town’s retail destinations have everything residents need to settle into life in Alys Beach. And when it comes to dining, fresh, clean cuisine and locally driven ingredients are plentiful, whether you’re snacking on fish tacos via Beach Club service or indulging in delectable coastal fare at the slightly more polished George’s at Alys Beach.
Put simply, Alys Beach is built around effortless pleasures—an airy deck overlooking the water, a walk on the beach against a pastel sunset, a cool cocktail enjoyed in good company. Here you’ll find an oasis like no other, a place where life is lived slowly, joyfully, and full of intention.
The Wild Wonder of Kiawah River
For residents of this burgeoning community, a wide coastal oasis is as close as the backyard
Just a stone’s throw from Charleston, South Carolina, lies Kiawah River, an enchanting waterfront community where the Lowcountry’s simple pleasures meet resort-style amenities. Amid two thousand acres of peaceful Johns Island marshland, the residential oasis skirts twenty miles of shoreline, every inch teeming with verdant flora and undisturbed wildlife. Thoughtfully planned by some of the region’s sharpest architects and conservationists, the budding development is an all-encompassing retreat, harmoniously balancing the natural beauty of the maritime forest with spaces for dining, gathering, and best of all, adventure.
As its structures come to life, new residents are invited to make Kiawah River their own, choosing from custom and semicustom home designs in classic island style, all crafted with outdoor living in mind. Assembled from a select group of the Southeast’s top designers, Kiawah River’s architecture and planning teams have forged a breathtaking array of designs, resulting in what architect Julia Starr Sanford, the visionary behind Alys Beach, Florida, describes as “elegant rusticity meets unpretentious luxury.” Beyond the homes’ breezy porches and patios, some of the region’s best beaches are practically backyard territory, from Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island to the beaches of Charleston at Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, and beyond.
Kiawah River’s lush, diverse ecosystem includes marsh flats, maritime forests, and a quiet shoreline, all connected by twenty miles of carefully laid trails. Acting as community links, the meandering paths wind through oak canopies and groves of trees, opening up to a number of neighborhood parks. While exploring the property’s preserved spaces, expect to spot a winged creature or two. Here, opportunities for birding are plentiful as herons soar overhead, wading birds hunt for fish on spindly legs, and songbirds make a stop on their winter migration. Currently, two bald eagle habitats thrive on Kiawah River’s grounds, while other coastal species such as anhingas, egrets, and roseate spoonbills also make their homes nearby.
For fishermen, access to these bountiful waters is made easier than ever. Coastal South Carolina is a haven for redfish, which flood the shallow marsh flats with each rise and fall of the tide. Meanwhile, spotted sea trout are known to gather near the rich pluff mud banks, often thick with unharvested oyster beds. At the soon-to-come Mullet Hall Base Camp, Kiawah River’s expert staff will offer state-of-the-art gear and casting lessons, preparing families for a day of angling at one of the community’s best fishing spots, the Great Salt Pond. There’s only one true way to experience the wonder of Kiawah River—see it for yourself.
To book a tour of the sea island escape and learn more, visit KiawahRiver.com.
Luxury in the Blue Ridge
In Cashiers, North Carolina, the idyllic mountain lifestyle becomes a reality
As the golden hue of early evening sets in, Cashiers, North Carolina’s Village Green is filled with music. Scattered across the field, attendees spread out blankets, unpacking small bites and bottles of fine wine from their picnic baskets. A cool breeze whispers overhead, mingling with the chatter of neighbors and friends. On the outskirts, folks order cuisine and brews from local vendors while a bluegrass band warms up onstage. The occasion? Cashiers’ outdoor concert series, Groovin’ on the Green, which takes place in the heart of town every Friday night of the summer. The sky above the valley is putting on its own show, turning from pink and gold to silky blue and revealing a dizzying sheet of stars. A weekly tradition is in full swing.
Tucked amid the southern end of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains is the village of Cashiers, an enchanting oasis perched 3,484 feet above sea level that has lured families, couples, and adventurers for some two hundred years. Bordered by the Nantahala National Forest and dotted with lakes, the eclectic small town boasts an easy yet elegant charm, surrounded at every turn by wildflower meadows, dramatic peaks, pastoral valleys, and lush green spaces. When newcomers fall under its spell, McKee Properties is there to greet them.
“Many areas in the southeastern United States can offer a retreat from the pace of everyday life, but Cashiers is unique in that it offers a relaxing escape and easy elegance every season of the year,” Ann McKee Austin says. A community leader and co-owner of McKee Properties, Austin spent her summers living and working in Cashiers Valley. To the McKee family, the area is much more than a collection of stunning homes. The family’s roots in the valley date back to the early 1900s, granting them a unique understanding of the land and its people, not to mention a particular reverence for the magic of this place. “When you consider the unmatched beauty of our mountain plateau, the history of our village, and the fine choices for dining, shopping, and outdoor activities, you realize how truly special Cashiers is,” explains Liz Harris, co-owner/broker of McKee Properties.
Austin’s brother, the late A. William McKee, saw Cashiers’ potential decades ago, and in 1977 founded his real estate business to share the wealth with others seeking an escape. Knowing the quiet mountaintop town would hold a contagious sense of wonder, McKee built the group’s reputation not only by representing the region’s premier properties, but by fostering a genuine sense of belonging for those who visited or moved to the village. The firm has held fast to those values, watching them permeate the community as it bloomed.
A champion of responsible development, William McKee was intentional from the start about preserving what made Cashiers special: its sprawling natural beauty. In time, his work in this space made the McKee name synonymous with innovation and excellence. Golf Digest lists the Wade Hampton Golf Club, a McKee-developed community with a Tom-Fazio–designed course, in its top twenty best golf courses in the country. The residential community’s exceptional golf amenities led Golfweek to name the course number one on its list of residential links. With eleven distinguished courses within a few miles of each other, Cashiers delivers world class golf with a side of fresh mountain air.
“William’s understanding of the land, coupled with his deep desire to nurture Cashiers as a welcoming community, helped this pocket of Western North Carolina grow into a beloved locale,” says Beth Townsend, co-owner/broker of McKee Properties. His robust vision saw Cashiers as a four-season destination with outdoor splendor to be enjoyed year-round. Today, mountain biking enthusiasts are enamored with the rugged trails of Panthertown Valley and beyond, and during spring and summer months, visitors and locals alike take to the waterfall trails. Breathtaking landmarks such as Rainbow Falls, Silver Run Falls, and Cullasaja Falls present majestic cascades, while Lake Glenville’s glassy waters make for a pristine centerpiece.
No matter the season, visitors enter Cashiers via winding, scenic highways, taking in rich foliage, shocks of autumn color, or shimmering banks of snow. Colder months offer ample opportunity to take up winter sports at locales such as the 5,700-acre Sapphire Valley Ski Resort, where slopes await skiers of all skill levels. During warmer months, the Cashiers Farmer’s Market peddles local delicacies and gourmet goods from its home in a quaint log cabin, while neighboring restaurants like Slab Town Pizza and the Ugly Dog Pub offer a warm welcome year-round. All the while, the community’s burgeoning art and music scene is centered on the Village Green, a thirteen-acre park hosting more than eighty outdoor visual arts and music events throughout the year.
With its vast natural beauty and peaceful small-town charm, Cashiers unfurls as a one-of-a-kind retreat bathed in Blue Ridge serenity. At the heart of it all lies the thoughtful guidance of McKee Properties, pairing families with their ideal homes for nearly four decades. Dedicated to living well and celebrating the land, McKee Properties serves as a reminder that a blissful mountain lifestyle isn’t out of reach.
To learn more about lifestyle opportunities in Cashiers, visit McKeeProperties.com or call 828-743-3411
A HISTORIC CHARLESTON RESIDENCE WITH EVERY MODERN LUXURY
Home Has Never Meant More
In the heart of the Holy City, 40 Charlotte Street is an architectural marvel that’s move-in ready
Masterfully preserved, the breath-taking residence at 40 Charlotte Street is just one project by Building Art Hive, a concierge home-hunting service with expertise in custom renovation. With southern-facing piazzas, hand-forged ironwork, and grand, light-flooded interiors, this circa-1831 gem is one of Charleston’s oldest Greek Revival homes, uniquely built on high ground with an airy conservatory and a rare wine cellar suite. With a vast knowledge of Charleston architecture, Building Art Hive marries meticulous design with long-term maintenance to create seamless home ownership at every stage. $3,695,000.
Food & Drink
The Mad Scientist of Pawpaws
Largely the domain of foragers, the Biggest edible fruit in the South has mostly been forgotten. A quietly obsessed Quaker from West Virginia has made it his life’s mission to change that
A Tour of Bermuda’s Wild Side
An Appalachian outdoorswoman lets her feet, mind, and taste buds wander Bermuda, where art and nature promise a sort of redemption
Food & Drink
A Dining Guide to Columbia, South Carolina
When it comes to adventurous dining, the South Carolina capital is full of surprises
Food & Drink
Holidays in the South: 20 Festive Recipes
Celebrate the season with friends, family, and these timeless holiday favorites
Food & Drink
How an Award-Winning Pastry Chef Doctors Up Boxed Cornbread
Even Kelly Fields whips up a box of Jiffy every once in a while. Here’s how she makes the store-bought stuff her own
Leslie Jordan Is Larger Than Life
Everything’s coming up roses for the Tennessee-born funnyman