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Meet Our Guides

Guilds Hollowell


A native of South Carolina, Guilds is the fourth generation of Guilds in the Charleston area. Born and raised in Mt. Pleasant, SC, he grew up playing golf and music all over the beautiful Lowcountry. After high school, Guilds left South Carolina to attend college in Maine where he learned about braving snowstorms and falling in love. He met and married his wife. In 2007, after raising four kids on the coast of Maine, they left their empty nest and returned to the Charleston area. 

Guilds is honored to be a part of this endeavor which showcases so much of his heritage. He knows secrets about Charleston that you won’t find in the history books or on other tours!  (You can find some of his engrossing stories about growing up in the Lowcountry in his book Palmettos & Pluff Mud.)

Charley Smith


As a military brat, Charley has multiple answers to the question “where are you from?,” but she has called the Lowcountry home since 2005. With family up the road in Pawley’s Island and her father’s monthly Reserve duty at the Charleston Air Force Base, Charley grew up enjoying frequent visits to the city. When it came time to choose a college, the College of Charleston won out.

Four years later, she finished with a degree in theater and absolutely no interest in pursuing the bright lights of the big city. Instead, she realized Charleston offered everything she found grand in life: fascinating history, thriving theater, untouched nature, friendly folks, and unbelievably good food. If travelers found this to be the “best city in the world”, then how could she possibly leave?

Since that fateful decision, she has earned two more degrees (Psychology and Masters of Education), performed on almost every stage in the city, is currently raising two hilarious children with her equally hilarious partner, and has had the absolute pleasure of touring with Charleston Culinary Tours since December 2012. She loves getting to meet and share her passions with fellow foodie travelers while walking these beautiful streets every day.

Amelia “Mimi” Whaley


Born in Charleston, Mimi grew up on Edisto Island, a sea island close to the city.  After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s degree in English (which she quickly found out only qualified her to read and write), she returned to Charleston and became a licensed tour guide for the city in 1982.  Three years later, to her great surprise, Mimi discovered she was an artist.

Charleston affords her the best of all worlds – and has everything she could possibly desire in order to pursue her passions. She loves being able to meet people from all over the world and to share this city with them. Charleston is definitely an art destination – for artists and art lovers; the Lowcountry landscape, with its beauty and creative energy, provides her with daily artistic inspiration.  Additionally, Charleston has become a major destination for all who truly enjoy great food as our city continues to impress and delight locals and visitors alike with an abundance of excellent cuisine and award-winning chefs and restaurants.

Auntie Mame once said, “Life is a banquet…”  And what better place to experience it all than here in Charleston!

Dana Levine


One of Dana’s earliest childhood memories is visiting a magical and mysterious ‘City by the Sea’: Ocean mist spraying over a sea wall, ships sailing in a harbor, canons perfect for climbing, horses walking along the streets, and a large park full of wonderfully contorted trees.

The memories of this place lingered. Never could she have imagined that one day, in the distant future, she would be guiding people on their own adventure through this same magnificent location.

Dana was born and raised in Florida and received her undergraduate degree in Theatre and K-12 education from James Madison University. After teaching 8th grade for three years (BLESS HER HEART!), she went on to receive a master’s degree in School Counseling from Austin Peay University. She spent 11 years in public education and then decided she was ready for a change.

In 2015, Dana became a Licensed Tour Guide for the City of Charleston. Being a tour guide enables her to combine her passion for education, history, and performing. She loves learning how Charleston’s history has impacted the local cuisine and sharing that knowledge with people from all over the world. She is so grateful for the opportunity to help others fall in love with this city, just as she did so many years ago.

Alice Gordon

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In the 4th grade, Alice fell in love with history and has since made a career from that passion. She loves sharing all things “Southern” with others: the history, the culture, and of course the delicious food. She knew she found home when she first visited Charleston in the early 90s. 20 years later she made it official, simultaneously changing careers from advertising and publishing to tourism and hospitality. Today, there is nothing more that she would rather do than show off this enchanting city to you.

John Mulherin

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An active member of the Charleston Tourism scene, John is a Certified (licensed) Tour Guide, a member of the Charleston Tours Association, and Director of the Palmetto Guild. Prior to his tourism roles, John undertook numerous Hotel/Food and Beverage leadership positions. He has worked in a commercial kitchen, been a GM of several large restaurants, and GM of a large hotel.

As a member of the Charleston Culinary Tours team, John is always very excited to explore the many dynamic, delicious Charleston food and beverage top spots.  Through his local experiences, he has gained a deep appreciation and keen insight into what makes Charleston’s food scene one of the premier “hot spots” in the U.S.  John truly enjoys sharing his knowledge and insights about “Charming Charleston” and doing whatever he can to make your stay in our city a special, memorable experience.

Sommer Pendergraft

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Sommer was born and raised in Tulsa, OK, and moved to Charleston in 2010 to attend the College of Charleston for Historic Preservation. She worked for the Preservation Society from 2017-2021 and participated as a guide with the annual Fall Tours of Homes and Gardens after obtaining her guide license in 2019. Sommer also has 20 years of experience in the restaurant business, working in establishments in New Orleans in the early 2000s as well as in downtown Charleston. She shares knowledge of history, architecture, and food with the guests of her culinary tours.

Martha Herchak

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Martha Herchak is a life-long learner who has had a rewarding career as an educator of preschoolers to adults. Martha was reared in the West Ashley community of Charleston and is grateful to be back in the Lowcountry since 2013. She is an enthusiastic cook and baker and is always interested in trying out the offerings of the local restaurants with family and friends. Martha has a particular interest in the local foodways: the history of food, the people associated with various foods, and how the food gets to the table. She also has a keen interest in gardening. Martha’s favorite pastime, however, is adventuring with her husband, Stephen, whether at the beach or at a travel destination.

Butler Mappus

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Butler was born and raised in Georgetown, SC, a small historic town just up the coast from Charleston. She was named after her maternal grandmother, Edna Butler, who ran a boarding house in Georgetown and was known for her cooking skills. Her parents purchased the house from her grandmother in 1959 for “$5.00 and Love and Affection.” Her grandmother then lived with her family and Butler reaped the benefits of growing up with a true Southern Lady who knew how to cook. Butler’s mother, another true Southern Lady and excellent cook, loved local history and instilled her love of the past in her daughter.

After graduating from the University of SC in Columbia, Butler headed to Hilton Head Island where she worked in hotel sales. She moved to Charleston in 1988 and worked in sales at Kiawah Island Resort. Here she met her future husband and they have two children. Butler became a licensed City of Charleston tour guide in 1997. She thoroughly enjoys sharing her love of the SC Lowcountry and its rich culinary history with visitors from all over the world.

Simon Martineau

Charleston tour guide

Simon arrived in the United States from the United Kingdom in 1987.

He arrived as an accomplished Equestrian / Polo Player, having started his journey in his home County of Norfolk, England, working for HRH Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Racehorse Stud Farm.

He continued to travel the globe playing polo in Australia, Argentina, England, and the US before retiring to Charleston in 2007. He immediately fell in love with the city – A place where the spirit, history, and cuisine nurtured his interests and soul.

In 2019 he became a licensed City of Charleston tour guide giving Ghost and Historical tours. After constant requests from his ghost tour guests about where to eat, he joined Charleston Culinary Tours in 2021.

His love of history and Anthony Bourdain’s show ‘Parts Unknown’ has shaped much of his tour. He strongly believes that the experience of dining is more than just the cuisine. It is the bringing together of strangers who may never meet again, but share a common bond with the love of food and history.

He resides in the heart of Downtown Charleston with his wife of 32 years and his 21-year-old son who is training as a chef!
Live, Love, Eat!

Jeremy Vaughn


Jeremy grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He came to the Southeast with the military, based at Ft. Jackson in the Columbia, SC area.

During a Summer visit to Charleston in 1999, he fell in love with the history of the area and wound up moving to Charleston that August. By the following Spring, he was working in the tour industry and became a licensed tour guide in May 2000.

Jeremy has given walking tours, ghost tours, and carriage tours. With a love for the local legends and macabre, the terrifying history of the Holy City has become one of his favorite topics on tour.

Michael Gardner


Michael Gardner