Some of the finest art in the South Carolina Lowcountry will be on display, and available for purchase, this weekend at the Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

Just north of Pawleys Island, Atalaya, the ocean front castle, located in Huntington Beach State Park is the former home of the world renowned sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. In honor of Mrs. Huntington’s contributions to the art world, this festival welcomes over one hundred local and national artisans to display their eclectic work including sculpture, hand blown glass,  paintings, pottery, textiles and jewelry. The festival takes place Friday – Sunday, September 28-30, 2012. I’ll be there stocking up on wedding presents and Christmas gifts!  In the mean time, here’s a little history for you on the Huntington’s and their former ocean estate.

Oceanfront Luxury on the South Carolina Coast

The Huntington Estate

In 1930, New York residents Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington purchased a vast stretch of real estate on the South Carolina coast just north of Pawleys Island – land that once operated as four Colonial plantations. The following year, they began construction of a home they called Atalaya, (pronounced at-a-LIE-ya) a Spanish word for “watchtower,” on the oceanfront side of their property.

Archer, adored his wife, the renowned twentieth century sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington. Anna began sculpting in her teens and became one of the most talented and well-known figurative sculptors of the 1900s. A philanthropist, scholar and visionary, Archer’s passion was Hispanic culture. He traveled to Spain and Mexico as a young man and fell in love with the people, their languages, art and architecture. This is one of the reasons he built his winter home, Atalaya to resemble a Moorish fortress. He began Brookgreen Gardens, across the highway from Huntington Beach State Park, to exhibit his wife’s sculpture. For Anna, Atalaya included indoor and outdoor studios. At about 40,000 square feet, the home covers almost an entire acre. This includes a large interior courtyard, bear pens, dog kennels, a library and an oyster shucking room. Interestingly, as large as the house is, the Huntingtons did not entertain here. The home served as a retreat where Archer and Anna could work on their pursuits uninterrupted during the winter months. Atalaya was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992, and is the only home/studio of an artist in the SC State Park System. Atalaya is open year round for self-guided tours so that everyone can enjoy this oceanfront “castle.”  When visiting the Pawleys Island area, make sure you visit Atalaya, and Brookgreen Gardens.

Image Credits: Jon Holloway.