Julie Hayne is a self-professed product of Richland County who has wandered quite far from home. Her education began at Burnside Elementary School and remained within Richland County School District One for the rest of her primary and secondary schooling. She befriended Adams Hayne at Hand Middle School, and the two continued to run in roughly the same circles throughout their time at Dreher High School. As teenagers, they could not have predicted that they would share a last name — or co-own a tropical bed and breakfast — years down the road.
Like Julie, Adams’ roots run deep in the Pee Dee. In fact, the couple has identified several instances in which their families’ lives intersected prior to their union. The first is evidenced by a photo of the Lower Richland High School football team circa 1962, which shows both Paul Abbott, Julie’s father, and Billy Hayne, Adams’ father, sporting jerseys for the Lower Richland Hornets. They also discovered that Adams’ late grandfather, Dr. Isaac Hayne of Hopkins, South Carolina, treated Julie’s father when he came down with the Hong Kong flu. “Adams’ grandfather was the physician who nursed my dad back from death’s door,” Julie says. She chuckles, adding, “I do believe they might have paid him in chickens.”
A few decades later, the next generations of Abbotts and Haynes could be found roaming around many of the same spots their paternal predecessors once frequented. Growing up, Julie had an appetite for a little bit of everything: she sang in church and at weddings, played basketball, competed in beauty pageants, and participated in student council in middle and high school. On the day she turned 15, she waltzed in the door of Cedar Florist, one of the longest running florist shops in southeast Columbia, and promptly secured her first job. Though the shop has since closed, she says that as a whole, “I don’t really feel like the area where I grew up is that different.”
Adams grew up in southeast Columbia as well, just around the corner from Julie’s neck of the woods. He busied himself with a fishing rod and soccer ball and spent a great deal of time with an extensive cohort of cousins. He became comfortable in the kitchen at an early age, acquiring culinary acumen from his mother and grandmother.
Despite the proximity and parallels between the two in their youth, the end of their time as Blue Devils seemed to mark the natural dissipation of their friendship. Julie says, “After we graduated from high school, Adams went into the Marine Corps, and I honestly didn’t think I’d ever see him again.” She went on to attend the state’s rival schools, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University in 1994, then returning to her home turf to earn a master’s in accountancy in 1996 from the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business.
Down in the lower part of the state, Adams enlisted in Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island. From there, he was recruited to the nation’s capital to serve in the Marine Corps Presidential Honor Guard — the same position his father had served in years previously.
While Julie remained in Columbia, studying and shaping her multi-industry career in finance, insurance, and health care, Adams traveled the world aboard a naval ship, collecting culinary sound bites in places like Singapore, Jordan, and Australia. After finishing his career in the Marine Corps, he made his way back to South Carolina and put his GI bill to work. Over the next several years, he earned degrees in food service management and culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University’s Charleston campus, since relocated to Charlotte, N.C.
As the years passed, each sank into their respective rhythms until, as Julie says, “All of the sudden life brought us back together in 2009.” Julie was raising her son as a single mother while working at an insurance company. In the meantime, Adams had returned to Columbia after cementing his culinary career through chef positions at several resorts across the Southeast. However, it was not until he had all but made up his mind to quit his hometown yet again that he and Julie began seeing each other. Their first date was an intimate in-home dinner. “He started doing the whole chef pan flipping thing; that was kind of it.” Two years later, they were married.
However, life for the newlyweds was not the tropical paradise it is for them today, more than a decade later. Their 2016 separation prompted Julie to look inward in search of a less stressed version of herself. “I spent a lot of time meditating, trying to find my purpose,” she says. This introspective quest led her to a leadership development program in Virginia called Stop at Nothing. During one of the sessions, a fellow participant referenced the Camino de Santiago — a well-known and well-traversed pilgrimage through Spain.
The notion immediately piqued Julie’s interest, and before the program was over, she was determined to experience the Camino herself. She “permitted” Adams’ accompaniment, on the condition that they each walk their own walk, both physically and emotionally. Julie says of this point in their relationship, “My journey was the destination while he was journeying to a destination. Somewhere in the middle we found each other again.”
Little did they know when they boarded a plane to Paris, France, on July 1, 2018, that their tenure as full-time residents of Columbia had come to a close, and their journey to reconciliation had just begun. From that point on, they came to rely wholeheartedly upon the type of faith that leads a successful businesswoman to take a sabbatical from her executive position and an executive chef to submit his two weeks’ notice, all under the auspices of adventure and authenticity. For the next two months, their future was in their feet.
“The Camino is different for everyone, even though you’re walking the same path,” says Julie. “It really begins with how you even plan for it. The less you plan, if you can just be present in the moment, everything that happens is amazing.”
In many ways, the couple’s pilgrimage doubled as 600 miles of nature’s therapy. As they walked, they watched wild horses gallop skillfully through the Pyrenees mountain range, listened to an a cappella group from Africa belt out hymns at a Spanish church, and met with three different winemakers — each of whom influenced Julie’s decision to earn her level 2 Wine & Spirit Education Trust certification.
Through these and other experiences along their route, the Haynes gained perspective, clarity, and a better appreciation of the intricate connections that form between even the most unlikely people and places. They also strengthened their own connection and recommitted to their marriage. “We came to appreciate that we can be different without having to be right versus wrong,” Julie says.
In the spirit of spontaneity, the two tacked on an extension to their pilgrimage that consisted of a visit to Portugal followed by an excursion to the Caribbean islands of St. John, St. Thomas, and finally St. Croix. After spending only 36 hours on the last island, they knew they had found not only their new home but a home for their dream entrepreneurial venture: a boutique bed and breakfast.
While this was undoubtedly a major pivot, Julie’s rationale was simple. “I basically spent my entire professional career doing something I was really good at, not something I really loved,” she says. Her foray into the hospitality realm confirmed what she believed at the time was her purpose: to share joy.
Over the next six months, Adams worked expediently to secure employment and a rental residence on the island while Julie returned temporarily to her job in Columbia. Things moved quickly from there. “We found a place, bought it, moved in, and started upfitting it to be a B&B,” Julie says.
After closing on the property in March 2019, the new innkeepers called upon family members and friends to help transform the eclectic building into a boutique bed and breakfast. Less than a year later, Adams and Julie welcomed their first guests to the intimate three-bedroom lodging, complete with seaside views, a private chef service — courtesy of Adams — and daily mimosa specials, crafted by Julie. With that, Coral’s Edge Bed & Breakfast was established … and later featured on HGTV’s “Caribbean Life.”
While Julie and Adams enjoy countless characteristics of their profession, one highlight is the relationships they have been able to form with their guests. In the mornings while Adams prepares breakfast, Julie “holds court” — conversing with guests about the day ahead and offering up a few recommendations for recreation and exploration around the island. She says of these treasured morning interactions, “Helping people plan an amazing day is so much fun; I get to revisit why I love this island so much.”
Amid the busyness of business, the Haynes have continued to honor the lessons instilled in them along the Camino de Santiago. Although owning and operating Coral’s Edge has been a demanding endeavor — Julie says she could not have anticipated the amount of laundry she would be folding on a daily basis — they have learned the necessity of prioritizing time for themselves. It only took one three-month stint with no days off to remind them of the sacred nature of self-care. Now, Julie says, “We block time off, realizing you can’t take the best care of guests like that.”
Lately, many of their days off have been spent on the water. “We’ve always been boating people, and now we’re into sailing,” Julie says. She and Adams, both her husband and co-captain, are in the final stages of earning their certification to sail a 50-foot catamaran, which they anticipate will open up a new avenue for their love of adventure and hospitality. “One day, instead of a B&B we might have a boat and breakfast,” she says. For now, though, the pair will keep plugging away at Coral’s Edge, where their entrepreneurial journey began.