This story appears in the Summer 2015 issue of Eidé Magazine. Read it here, or click to read it in the issue below.
Story by MEGHAN JACKSON | Photography by LINDSAY APPEL
"It's like a Third World country out here, without the airfare,” Anne Kennedy says, laughing. It may be a strong analogy, but her and her husband Scott’s canoe locale, Carolina Heritage Outfitters in Canadys, S.C., is located in true backwoods, almost an hour and a half from any metropolitan area. With no running water or electricity, campers are invited to visit the outfitters and explore the Edisto River whilst staying in one of the three tree houses located around 13 miles from the Kennedy’s downstream home.
As a swamp river system, the sides of the river flood when it rains. The tree houses, built in 1994, 2002 and 2006, were constructed to give the avid kayaking and canoeing couple a dry place off the ground to sleep during multi-day trips. And it’s no happenstance that the Kennedys set up shop on the Edisto. After 15 years of serving as the marina manager in charge of outdoor recreation at the Charleston Naval Station as well as president of the American Canoe Association, Scott had explored every river in South Carolina and many others outside of it during kayaking and canoe trips. Anne attributes Scott’s Edisto attraction to its unique features, like the entirely sandy bottom and the length — it’s the longest un- dammed blackwater river in South Carolina (both great conditions for canoeing). “It’s a great swimming river. It’s relatively shallow,” Anne describes. She talks about the river with reverence, referring to it as “our river.” Which seems perfectly acceptable considering she and Scott act as keepers of the river, making it accessible to other adventurous visitors, like photographer Lindsay Appel and Jeffrey Wall, executive chef of the notable Decatur, Ga., restaurant Kimball House.
The Kennedys are more than a quick check-in and checkout to guests; visitors often return. “We’ve had a good time here with Lindsay on several occasions,” Anne remembers. The feeling is clearly mutual. Atlanta-based Appel and Wall have nothing but fond memories of their tree house getaway.
“It’s fun to remember how to do everything. I think both of our families went camping a lot when we were kids,” Appel says, as she and Wall pore through their photos from the trip. The couple took their time getting to camp, basking in the warm weather, stopping to explore over 150 acres of land and forage for mushrooms.
“We were basically considering it a reverse race,” Wall laughs, and Appel agrees. “They call that winning on the river! If you are the people who can reverse race and spend the most time out there.”
They describe packing supplies, finding camp and surviving without power for a night without a hint of inconvenience, a feat that may come across as difficult for most people in a technologically dominated society. A gourmet meal made in a cast-iron skillet over a fire, it’s the obvious understated pleasure that the two of them found in doing things the old-fashioned way — the perfect fit for the type of people with whom the Kennedys are happy to share their rustic paradise.