As soon as I stepped onto the beautiful seven-acre property, I instantly felt a sense of peace. I noticed the enchanted entrance to the wooded forest bursting with intrinsic character. As I made my way through the trails, guided by the solar-powered fairy-lit mason jars, I experienced many sensations. I saw cozy glamping options, a fireplace offering an inviting ambiance, and a considerable amount of blessed trees laced with hammocks imploring me to take a seat and be still for a moment. I quickly realized that I was surrounded by a magnitude of space naturally made for learning accompanied by a vibe that cultivates creativity and connectivity.
When I asked the co-owner why they chose this specific property in Loris, South Carolina, she assured me it was because of that same magical feeling she experienced when she visited the land for the first time. Alissa and her fiancé, Seth (and pup, Koda) lived at campgrounds for a few years as they drove their camper all over the grand strand area in search of the perfect plot to create their dream. In August of 2021, that vision began with a grand greenspace, and oh my, how it has grown.
The Fern Getaway’s mission is to help people disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with themselves and nature. “More than ever, we need to remember what is truly important in life and learn to support one another again.” Alissa continued, “Our society needs to feel a sense of community and that’s exactly what we are building here.” Their intention has always been to create a communal living and event space for people to gather and connect with each other and with the earth. The build of everything is simply organic which is an exemplary representation of their purpose.
Respecting and working with the flow of the land was their initial goal. The pedestal bases of the smaller tables are tree trunks still connected to the ground where they grew from. The largest family dinner table I have ever seen is also made with refurbished tree wood. The outdoor shower was constructed between three trees that already existed as a perfectly shaped triangle. They even dug an onsite well to provide clean water. Although there is much to harvest from the land, they tread mindfully and focus on giving back to it as well. They keep up with clearing the forest underbrush and mulching in order to regenerate the soil and bring up new healthy growth.
Once they had created an exceptionally magical destination, they were able to phase into the next exciting step of inviting people to experience that magic. They collaborate with locals on events such as weddings, workshops, drum circles, sound-healing meditations, birthday parties, and private-chef dinner parties. They also offer the “Fern Sessions” where they combine a meal with a show featuring talented local artists. A majority of the décor for the events like the flowers and greenery is directly foraged from what is in season on the land.
The charming glamping options are available to rent on Airbnb and Hipcamp. “Bella” is their first masterpiece and is the biggest bell tent with a classic boho-eclectic style. Their other tent, “Frankie” is mid-century modern with a vibrant-colored Asian twist. “Winnie” is a 70s Winnebago renovated RV brimming with vintage maps, hand-painted art, and a bright, beachy aesthetic. This specific glamp spot was designed by local friends who own Fin First (finfirstmb.com).
When I asked why they named it “The Fern Getaway,” Alissa replied, “I’ve always loved ferns. They are actually one of the oldest groups of plants on Earth dating back to over 300 million years ago. When we arrived, we noticed there were an abundant amount of wild ferns on the land.” And ferns are certainly not the only natural and wild things found here…delicious edibles such as blueberries, blackberries, and onions as well as native animals like playful squirrels, prancing deer, whistling hawks, late-night hooting owls, and other singing birds.
They recently learned that The Fern is also quite fertile ground. Within the same couple of months, a bird hatched seven eggs in their wooden built out-house, a turkey laid a full nest in the tall grass field, a rabbit gave birth to a litter of nine bunnies, and the cat they rescued at only six months old just birthed five kittens safely in the shed. You can imagine their pup, Koda, has made many new friends and is certainly living his best life with his parents out in nature.
“We have both always been outdoorsy. We love camping, hiking, kayaking, and anything that gets us in water,” Alissa continued, “so we thought we were always connected with nature before, but being out here surrounded by it every single day, it’s truly transformational – It’s a whole new world.” As dreamers and creators, these property owners have collected a diverse plethora of ideas from their personal travels to bring to life and they aren’t nearly done evolving their vision.
The couple still currently lives in their RV on the open, grassy side of the land and are hoping to break ground on their own home in the fall. They also look forward to digging a pond so everyone can cool off in the heat and building a pavilion to hang out under during the rain. They have started a garden and want to enhance their outdoor kitchen in hopes of someday having farm-to-table dinners. They also want to construct more glamping ideas such as a treehouse. Their most exciting future project is to open an apothecary (and long-term dream of hosting a healing retreat center) after Alissa earns her holistic healing certificate.
As a Traditional Naturopath, she will be able to use the wisdom of nature as medicine which she has been practicing already from foraging in the forest. She has found plenty of wild medicinal herbs and plants such as mullein, elderberry, garlic, and a variety of mushrooms which all have restorative properties for the whole body. She’s even educated on how to extract medicine from the many maple and pine trees. The sap is used to heal wounds and the bark and pine needles can be made into tea and soda. Her living experience on the land has certainly helped her hone her craft and rekindle her spark of creating.
The simplistic idea of spending time in nature to unplug and unwind (with no distractions) is the foundational knowledge they are trying to spread to the world. While reading the entries in the guest book, they can understand just how important this grounding work truly is for everyone. Alissa explained, “Most people nowadays are missing their sense of peace. We as a collective need healing, and even if you’re not searching for it, spending time out here truly provides that perspective.”
Some of their favorite summer senses experienced on the land is nature’s music created by the swaying trees and the symphony of crickets and frogs from the nearby marsh. Getting caught in rainstorms has been a tranquil yet fun adventure. Once the sun has set, the fireflies light up the night which is a rare occasion for most to be acquainted by. Spending time and working with nature is truly grounding. In today’s world, we may be quicker to look for cell reception – I can assure you that although The Fern Getaway does not have wifi, the forest offers the best and most wholesome connection you’ll ever discover.