Monday, July 1, 2013

Atalaya Castle - Part One

Hey All! I couldn't wait to share our latest camping trip with you to Huntington Beach State Park.  It is located on the coast of South Carolina right between Murrell's Inlet and Litchfield Beach and is located right across from Brookgreen Gardens.  Atalaya Castle is located on the oceanfront on the grounds of Huntington State Beach Park.

Atalaya Castle (or Atalaya) built in 1931, was the winter home of a philanthropist, Archer M. Huntington and his wife, sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington.  She is the sculptor of many of the beautiful pieces seen at Brookgreen Gardens.

Arthur built Atlaya with a combination of Moorish Revival and Mediterranean Revival architectural style.

It is located just a short distance from the campground near the visitors beach access of the park.  We rode our bikes over one evening after it was closed to get pictures of the outside and came back for a self guided audio tour a few days later on the inside.  Group tours are available as well as non audio individual tours.   We have been here a few times before and did the audio tour this time because it was not available before and we really enjoyed it!  Because I have so much to show you I am breaking this trip into a few different posts.  I hope you will join me for each.  This post will focus mainly on the grounds of Atalaya outside and inside the courtyards.

Walking around from the entrance we see the side of Atalya castle here.  Her living quarters consisted of 30 rooms total and was built intentionally to be more for residential purposes then for entertaining.  This pictures is looking towards the servants quarters who were a necessary while in residence. 

This is the backside (or front) that faces the ocean.  There is now much foliage and a vast amount of dunes that separate Atalaya from the ocean keeping her safe from storms and erosion.

She has received some damage from the weather and aging through the years.  Atalaya remained a private residence until being leased to the state in 1960.  Only recently has she been adopted by a group who is now sponsoring tours and festivals to preserve and protect this beautiful landmark.

This is the outside of the center sun room that faced the ocean.

It was surrounded by three outdoor seating areas accessed by doors that have been bricked in.

All of the grills are original to the house and were designed by Anna herself and built for protection from the Hurricane winds.

The grills are so very beautiful and span the entire house.  They are everywhere on the outside of the home as well as the inner courtyard.  

Are you ready to go in?

Remember I told you we were going to stay focused on the outdoor areas right?  So with that being said, we are now standing in the enclosed entrance and about to walk through this door towards the courtyards.  They are located on both the right and left of this long narrow walkway.

We have now stepped into the courtyard on the right.  

The courtyard is filled with sabal palms and was where Anna's animals were allowed to roam free.

Atalaya means "Watchtower" in Spanish and was so named accordingly.

Here you are looking at the watch tower which is in the center of the complex.

At the foot of the tower on both sides is a trough for the animals to drink water freely.

The sidewalks are all original to the home and were designed to catch rain water runoff for a watering systems for the grounds.  That is why they have the grooves next to them.

Many of the walls on the inner courtyards are covered with creeping fig vines.

There are also several stairs located on the property leading up to the roof.  They are no longer available for access.  I surely would have loved to have gone up there!

Also closed off to the public was this area downstairs.  I couldn't even begin to tell you what this leads to as we didn't ever find out and it wasn't on our audio tour. Hmm??? A dungeon maybe?  I bet this is included in the Friday night ghost tours!

To say I was fascinated with the beautiful teal blue green grill work is an understantement.  I was positively spell bound!  I am every single time I get to see them.

I especially love the views from the inside looking out!  I can only imagine what a dreamer Mrs. Anna must have been.

And now to show you one of my most favorite parts of this home.

I just adore this long narrow covered walkway through the two courtyards.

I adore the moorish brickwork used in here.  It reminds me of a brick fence we had in the home I grew up in.  I remember climbing my fence so much as a child because I could put my feet in the holes to go over the top to my friends house.  LOL!  Oh, I digress!

Within the center of the walkway the brickwork design becomes even more beautiful!

I was thrilled to see all the beatiful plants in place along the sides here as it was intended to be.  When last we were here before the group, "Friends of Atalya" took on this building it was not filled.  

It is just stunningly gorgeous and they are doing a beautiful job!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the outside grounds of Atalaya as much as I do!
 I also hope you will come back again later when I post the second part of Atalaya to show you the inside.  I hope to also post again on some of the wildlife on the grounds at Huntington Beach.  

If you are ever near the south end beaches close to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina you really should visit Huntington Beach State Park and Brookgreen Gardens.  Both are great day visit destinations.  You will be mesmerized!

Thank you so much for visiting with me today. 
Have a great day everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Mary. I have never heard of this place but it is amazing and such a great tribute to the era it was built. Amazing, isn't it? I love the punch of color on the grids. What a fun place to visit. I would love to tour it- xo Diana


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