If you go

What: Kiawah Island Art and House Tour

When: 1-5 p.m. Friday.

Where: Kiawah Island, a private gated community south of Charleston

Cost: $55, includes the five-house tour, light refreshments throughout the afternoon at one of the homes, and an admission pass to the Gibbes Museum of Art valid through June 29. Purchase tickets at Gibbes Museum Store, 135 Meeting St.; online at www.gibbesmuseum.org/events; at Kiawah Island Real Estate locations at the Kiawah Main Gate, The Sanctuary or Freshfields Village; or by calling 722-2706, ext. 21.

More info: www.gibbes etc.org

It's a rare treat to get behind the private gates of Kiawah Island for an up close and personal look at some of the spectacular homes there. On Friday, five island homes will be open for tours as part of the 14th annual Kiawah Island Art and House Tour.

The event is put on by Gibbes, etc., an auxiliary group of the Gibbes Museum of Art made up of Kiawah Island women dedicated to supporting the museum. The five homes on the tour are equally magnificent, but certainly don't miss these two masterpieces:

Summer Islands Lane: This traditional shingle-style home overlooks Cinder Creek and the ocean beyond. Guests are welcomed into a soaring entrance hall that opens to the second floor. Don't miss the three-story circular staircase carefully situated in a tower. The staircase also has a double-story chandelier. And if you love a great kitchen, you'll be in awe of the all-white, two-story kitchen in this home.

Blue Heron Pond: This house is nestled in the Preserve section of the island and overlooks Blue Heron Pond. In addition to being a beautiful house, visitors will want to take note of the collection of paintings and lithographs. There are originals by Spanish artists Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. There is a needlepoint piece that is based on and carefully copies a painting by the owner's grandmother. Another special piece was bought as a poster at a market in New York and was later determined to be an original by Jean Cocteau.

Holly Fisher