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Living on the Water | Fay Ranches Southeast

Back in January, I organized a fly fishing trip with my children’s school, to Tailwaters Lodge, where I recently represented the buyer, Bruce Cote. The lodge is just upriver from the Riverview Ranch on the South Holston River, which is a fantastic family compound available on an incredible stretch of water. The fishing trip provided a day float, with a guide for each of the 22 students, split across two days. We put in at the dam on the South Holston and fished down to Riverview Ranch. My son Wills and I fished together on the second day and grabbed the guide who caught the most fish the first day. We had an incredible day of fishing and boated a hundred fish. Wills caught a stunning seven-pound rainbow just upriver from Riverview Ranch. It was a trip to remember in one of the most beautiful places this country has to offer.

The Covid-19 panic hit while we were at the lodge, which was right before spring break was to begin. Word quickly spread that school would be canceled. My wife and daughter had planned to join Wills and me in South Carolina at Tombee Plantation for spring break, and I was also going to show the property to a group from Atlanta. We wanted to provide our children with a unique experience for their break. This grand antebellum home and guest lodge sits on 22± acres of pristine high ground creating a private retreat only 10 minutes from downtown Beaufort, South Carolina. A  true southern recreational paradise where we all would be content and happy. The drive from Riverview Ranch to Tombee was roughly seven hours (370 miles). These are two of the best waterfront properties on the east coast in two completely different, beautiful worlds, bridged in a mere seven-hour drive. Everyone should look into the option of spending the winter in the warm, sunshine-kissed seaside of the Lowcountry islands, and summer in the Appalachian Mountains on the charming tailwaters of the South Holston River.

Spring break came and went over a month ago, and here we are, still at Tombee. On Palm Sunday, we reflected on how thankful we were to be in such a beautiful place, with the ability to survive on our own if we had to. As the world slows down during the pandemic, it is comforting to know the tides still ebb and flow as they always have. The beauty of Mother Nature is still all around us. These old plantations and waterways have been through a lot and survived. Now, with my family here along Station Creek, we can go out and fish, throw the cast net and marvel at the wonders of the ocean. A couple of days ago, while we were fishing, two huge loggerhead sea turtles breached only feet from our canoe. Dolphins often visit us as we fish for speckled trout and redfish and the rest of the sea’s bounty the Lowcountry has to offer. I think experiencing nature is the best education we can provide our children and the best therapy for us all.

Right now, my wife Karen is trying to decide whether to do curbside pickup or delivery from the stores on Lady Island, which is only seven miles away. My daughter is painting while listening to online classes, my son is chasing fish in skinny water, and I’m sitting here thinking about how lucky the new owners of Tombee will be to live in a magical place like this.

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