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The Siege of Charleston, Charleston Architecture, Lowcountry Traditions and Culture

Program Number: 15641RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/18/2013 - 8/23/2013; 9/21/2014 - 9/26/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Price starting at: $579.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Multi-Topic; History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    

Activity Particulars

Minimal walking and standing.

Coordinated by Coastal Retreat Center.

The Siege Of Charleston

Relive the strategies of Union and Confederate commanders as an instructor in period uniform discusses the Confederate defense of Fort Sumter and Battery Wagner. Learn about the CSS Hunley from an expert who assisted in recovering the lost submarine.

Charleston Architecture

Charleston's colonial and antebellum homes are world-class treasures. An architectural historian shares his knowledge in the classroom and on an hour stroll viewing magnificent historic homes near The Battery on the Charleston peninsula.

The Gullah Experience In The Lowcountry

Explore firsthand the history, folklore, and crafts native to coastal South Carolina. Learn the poignant stories of the Gullah people (descendants of enslaved West Africans), whose culture and influence impact South Carolina even today. See a sweet-grass basket-making demonstration.

Charleston (South Carolina)

Founded in 1670, Charleston is an old colonial city brimming with museums and historical attractions. In its early days, it was a cosmopolitan trading center whose wealth is on display today in the well-preserved architecture and cultural institutions. Picturesque tree-lined streets and a lovely coastline make it a tourist Mecca.

Beachside retreat center on Isle of Palms barrier island, several miles outside of Charleston. Participants make own beds upon arrival.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Murrie Johnson

Murrie Alice Johnson is a retired school teacher who taught South Carolina history, American history and social studies in Charleston County and Dorchester County. She received her bachelor’s from Newberry College and her master’s from the College of Charleston. When she’s not sharing her love for South Carolina’s history with eager students, Murrie enjoys growing antique roses and spoiling her grandson.
Meals and Lodgings
   Coastal Retreat Center
  Isle of Palms/Charleston, SC 5 nights
 Coastal Retreat Center
Type: Conference Center
  Description: A two-story retreat center situated about 150 yards from the Atlantic Ocean/beach. The Isle of Palms is a barrier island, residential in nature, about 15 miles north of downtown historic Charleston SC. There is currently no pharmacy or grocery store on the island, but there are major shopping areas about five miles away in Mount Pleasant.
  Contact info: 2101 Palm Blvd
PO Box 224
Isle of Palms, SC 29451 USA
phone: 843-886-4630
  Room amenities: Each room with private shower bath, individual climate controlled heating and air conditioning. There is also a table top mini fridge in each room perfect for storing small snacks and medicines. Bed and bath linens, soap, provided.
  Facility amenities: One television located on each level, with cable access and DVD capabilities. Free long distance telephone and Wireless Internet access available in lounge on the first level.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration begins Sunday at 4PM. Dinner is served at 6PM. You will be staying at Coastal Retreat Center that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends with lunch Friday 11:30am You will be staying at Coastal Retreat Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
On site, at no charge. If you are bringing a large motor home, please phone resident manager at 843-886-4630 to make parking plans.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Isle of Palms/Charleston, SC
  Nearest city or town:  Mount Pleasant and Charleston
  Nearest highway: Highway 517 is the Isle of Palms Connector; Hwy. I- 526, known as the Mark Clark Expressway; and Interstate 26.
  Nearest airport:  Charleston International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Isle of Palms/Charleston, SC
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Charleston Airport to Coastal Retreat Center


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Mount Pleasant Shuttle
phone: 866-223-7226
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Approx $72 for up to 2 people
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


half hour (30 minutes) 




21 miles


This is our recommended taxi/shuttle service to take if you are looking to get your own private shuttle from the airport to the Coastal Retreat Center. Call to reserve prior to your arrival. Mount Pleasant Shuttle service will arrive any time you request. Courteous, prompt, and safe drivers. Cost is approx 72 for up to two people, one way. Additional people will cost extra. Discuss pricing and payment with MPS. There are other taxi services available from airport.

Driving Directions
  Coming from upper SC, I-95 North or South, from I-77 South, via I-26 Eastbound Take I-26 East to Exit 212C. Enter onto I-526 East (Mark Clark Expressway) towards Mt. Pleasant. Continue about twelve miles to Hwy 17 North Exit 29 ramp. At the foot of the ramp is a traffic light. Get into center lane. Go straight across Hwy 17. Follow this road (Hungry Neck Blvd.) as it bends to the left. At the fourth traffic light turn right onto Hwy 517 (Isle of Palms Connector). This connector will cross over a causeway and an Intracoastal Waterway bridge, arriving at the Isle of Palms. At the foot of the bridge take a left at the traffic light. Stay in left lane. You will see a large Methodist Church (painted white) ahead. Follow this road (Palm Blvd.) as it bends to the right then immediately back to the left. (Realize that your next left turn is immediate, into the retreat center parking lot). A brick crosswalk is located immediately before you make a left turn entrance into the retreat center parking lot. Retreat center is adjacent to the Methodist property.
  From Savannah, other areas south of Charleston, using Highway 17 Take Hwy 17 North, crossing peninsula of Charleston, then cross over the new (2005) Arthur Ravenel, Jr., cable-stay bridge. Continue on Highway 17 North until you come to the intersection of Highway 17 North and Highway 517, the Isle of Palms Connector. Connector will take you to the Isle of Palms, crossing over a causeway and Intracoastal Waterway Bridge. At base of bridge, turn left at traffic light. Stay in left lane. You will see a large Methodist Church building (painted white) ahead. Follow this road as it bends to the right then back to the left. A brick crosswalk is located immediately before the left turn entrance into the retreat center parking lot. The retreat center is adjacent to the Methodist property.
  From upper coastal SC, Myrtle Beach/Grand Strand areas, using Highway 17 Take Highway 17 South to the junction of Hwy 17 S and Hwy 517 (Isle of Palms Connector). This is a major intersection with traffic lights. Get into the far left turning lane. Signs for Isle of Palms will be posted at this intersection. Turn left onto Hwy 517 (Isle of Palms Connector) continue through all traffic lights. Cross over a causeway and an Intracoastal Waterway bridge on to the Isle of Palms. At base of bridge is a traffic light. Turn left at the light. Stay in left lane. You will see a large Methodist Church (painted white) ahead. Follow this road (Palm Blvd.) as it bends to the right then back to the left. A brick crosswalk is located immediately before the left turn entrance into the retreat center parking lot. The retreat center is adjacent to the Methodist property.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration and Greetings/Welcome and Orientation
(Sunday, August 18)
 Afternoon: Registration begins in retreat center lobby. Coffee, tea, water, fruit, snacks provided upon arrival.
 Dinner: Start your week of fine dining off with prime rib. Participants may choose from two entrées for evening meals after the first day. Catered meals receive rave reviews, especially the seafood fare. Dietary restrictions accommodated.
 Evening: Road Scholar host and resident manager offer you a warm Southern welcome, along with orientation to the retreat center and program schedule. Enjoy fellowship with other participants.
Accommodations: Coastal Retreat Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Civil War and Architecture/Excursion to Historic Charleston/The Gullah Experience
(Monday, August 19)
 Breakfast: Several copies of the "Post and Courier" and "USA Today" are available each morning. Personal copies of paper may be ordered.
 Morning: Gain new insights from a Civil War historian and re-enactor wearing a different period uniform each day. Architectural historian will help you "see" colonial and antebellum homes with "new eyes."
 Lunch: The lunch menu usually consists of soups, sandwiches, and salads, with fresh fruits always available.
 Afternoon: Receive a comprehensive overview of historic Charleston by a licensed guide. Learn about The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina and the Charleston Visitors Center, with rest stops at each of these sites. Group will also tour historic St. Michael's Episcopal Church at the famous "Four Corners of Law" in downtown Charleston. This excursion will whet your appetite for sights to see during free periods.
 Dinner: Dinner is at 6:00 p.m. All meals are eaten at the Coastal Retreat Center. Our chef knows how to please.
 Evening: Discover the culture and history of the Gullah/Geechee people, former enslaved West Africans who reside in the low country islands. Learn of the fascinating connection between the culture and rituals of West Africans and the Gullah people and how these connections still thrive today. You will also learn about the rice and indigo production in South Carolina and the significant role the slaves played in making SC one of the richest states before the Civil War. Also, you'll hear and discover the Gullah spoken language and how this Creole of English came into being.
Accommodations: Coastal Retreat Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Civil War and Architecture/Free Afternoon/Dining at Sullivan's/Gullah Experience
(Tuesday, August 20)
 Breakfast: "Early Bird" coffee and newspapers available after 6:15 a.m.
 Morning: You will find our Civil War historian passionate and knowledgeable. Next, continue your journey through Charleston Architecture with our humorous and engaging architectural historian.
 Lunch: Our light lunches include soups, salads, sandwiches. Fruit available.
 Afternoon: After lunch, you are free to explore the Charleston area. Take advantage of the many cultural offerings of Charleston, nearby plantations, or the beach across the street from the Retreat Center. The internet site "" will preview many unique places to visit and things to do during your free time. At the visitors bureau on Monday afternoon you will find many brochures and booklets with a huge amount of helpful tourist information. Wireless internet connection is available in our dining and downstairs lounge areas.
 Dinner: Tonight we'll travel to nearby Sullivan's Restaurant on Sullivan's Island for dinner. Sullivan's is known for its exceptional seafood selection!
 Evening: After dinner we usually show the film "God's Gonna Trouble the Water", a documentary by SC Educational Television that tells the story of the Gullah. The enslaved West Africans and their descendants, the Gullah people, inhabit the Sea Islands and the Lowcountry of SC and Georgia. Learn about the work to preserve the music and culture of this unique group of people.
Accommodations: Coastal Retreat Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Civil War and Architecture/Architectural Walking Lecture/Sweetgrass Basket Demonstration/Gullah Culture and Storytelling
(Wednesday, August 21)
 Breakfast: 7:45 a.m. Breakfast. You can choose hot or cold breakfast, along with fresh fruit, juices, hot coffee, tea.
 Morning: Learn of the Civil War battles in South Carolina and their effect in the outcome of this war. Architectural historian discusses historic and cultural influences on architecture in Charleston. This guy is brilliant, and uses appropriate humor, so his topic is not dry but very interesting and enjoyable.
 Lunch: Enjoy seasonal fruits along with delicious "deli" type sandwiches, salads.
 Afternoon: Guided by an expert architectural historian, participants will walk for approximately an hour in the lower peninsula of Charleston viewing exteriors of elegant colonial and antebellum homes that attract visitors world-wide! See a Sweetgrass basket demonstration when you return to the retreat center. This craft came to the SC Lowcountry from the enslaved West Africans who used the baskets as tools for working in the rice fields. Today the baskets are elaborate works of art that have been deemed the SC "state craft". Learn the history of sweetgrass baskets and See a basketmaker demonstrate this unique craft that was handed down from her parents. Baskets will be available for purchase.
 Dinner: The chef has a delicious meal waiting for you.
 Evening: Hear the entertaining folklore of the Gullah/Geechee people from our animated and engaging Gullah Storyteller! You'll hear and participate in the tales passed down through Gullah generations with props and the Gullah Language. This storytelling presentation is sure to be both educational and entertaining!
Accommodations: Coastal Retreat Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Siege and Architecture/Visitation of the CSS Hunley/ "Graduation Celebration" with Entertainment and Ice Cream Bar
(Thursday, August 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast, hot or cold, is always good, especially when prepared by our resident director.
 Morning: Civil War presenter shares the fascinating story of the first successful submarine in history, the CSS Hunley. The Hunley's voyage was successful but the sub and crew never returned. Learn of the men, the mission, and the mission 136 years later to bring the vessel home. Architectural historian continues the story of Charleston's unique architecture.
 Lunch: Enjoy a light lunch. Cookies always available.
 Afternoon: The Confederate Submarine the CSS Hunley was raised August 8, 2000. It is currently being conserved at a Lab in North Charleston. We will be visiting the submarine and all the stories and artifacts that were found inside. Truly an amazing experience!
 Dinner: Leave the cooking to us as we serve you up a delicious dinner!
 Evening: A "Graduation Celebration" brings us together for fun and fellowship. Special entertainment is a highlight, followed by scrumptious ice cream desserts.
Accommodations: Coastal Retreat Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Civil War/Island Turtle Team/Lunch/Program Conclusion
(Friday, August 23)
 Breakfast: The smell of fresh coffee gets most "sleepy heads" into the dining room.
 Morning: Final presentation by Civil War expert. Then check out of rooms between 9:30 and 10:30 AM.. Return room keys and evaluations. All participants check out of rooms by 10:00 AM. For those using public transportation, a secure area is provided for luggage until your departure. The 10:30 AM class is a presentation by the Island Turtle Team who help protect the nests of the endangered loggerhead turtles. The Isle of Palms is one of the barrier islands of the SC Lowcountry. On these barrier islands the Loggerhead Turtles, one of five species of endangered Atlantic Sea Turtles, make their nests. Due to human development of the coastline, nesting areas are becoming more and more dangerous. The Island Turtle Team is a preservation team focused on protecting these endangered and adorable sea turtles. Enjoy this touching presentation and learn about the team's mission and experiences with adult and baby Loggerhead turtles!
 Lunch: You may enjoy lunch in the dining room, or prepare a "To Go" box for your journey. "To Go" boxes not available until 11:30 AM.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Isle of Palms/Charleston, SC Historic Charleston SC
Charleston charms about three million visitors a year, and is one of the top travel destinations in North America. You will have opportunity to pick up brochures, tourist information at Charleston Visitors Bureau when our tour bus stops there on Monday afternoon. Also, tourist brochures available at retreat center. You may check out numerous web sites, but a good one is by SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism agency at For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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