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Historic Homes and Gardens of the Colonial South

Program Number: 20811RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/13/2014 - 4/24/2014;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Georgia/South Carolina/North Carolina/Virginia
Price starting at: $5,585.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising
Meals: 32; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

Each spring, the American South becomes a lush garden awaiting exploration. Savor the colors, aromas and new life of the season as you voyage to colonial cities and palatial plantations and find historic and hidden treasures.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day, some on uneven terrain. Standing for up to two hours at a time, up to four hours a day. Mobility is essential, as small boats and tenders are sometimes used for disembarkation and re-embarkation. There is no elevator on the ship and stairs are unavoidable.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Savannah, Ga., 1 night; aboard Yorktown, 10 nights.

Days 1-3: Arrival Savannah, Ga. / embark Yorktown:

Expert-led walks in Georgia’s oldest city introduce you to its lovely architecture and 21 open squares brimming with azaleas, palmettos, English yews and giant oaks. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Day 4: Beaufort, S.C.:

Discover the magnificent antebellum homes and gardens of this small Lowcountry city that was once among America’s wealthiest thanks to King Cotton.

Days 5-6: Charleston:

Spend two days experiencing this meticulously preserved colonial seaport. Field trips include the Heyward-Washington House and Middleton Place, boasting 65 acres of blooming rhododendrons, magnolias, and dogwoods.

Day 7: Wilmington, N.C.:

Walk in Wilmington’s historic district, a veritable open-air museum of 19th-century architecture, and step inside the Burgwin-Wright House. Visit Airlie Gardens, known for its collection of more than 100,000 azaleas and camellias.

Day 8: New Bern:

Journey through the Croatan National Forest to Tryon Palace. Explore the mansion and its Victorian-style gardens, where three centuries of gardening history are on display.

Days 9-10: Voyaging the Atlantic / Williamsburg, Va.:

Take part in lively onboard lectures and enjoy the views of the coast. Go ashore to enjoy a day in Colonial Williamsburg, the country’s premiere living museum.

Days 11-12: Richmond / Alexandria / disembark / departure

Venture to Berkeley Plantation, childhood home of President William Henry Harrison. Continue to Shirley Plantation the oldest working plantation in North America. Disembark in Alexandria for departures.


Built and registered in America and staffed by American officers and crew, the Yorktown is the perfect vessel for exploring America’s great coastal waterways. With a draft of only nine feet, it can sail where larger vessels cannot go, and its American registry allows it to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. Passengers enjoy an informal onboard atmosphere and tend to spend much of their time underway enjoying lectures and concerts in the lounge or reading and relaxing on the sun deck.

Meals and Lodgings
   Hyatt Regency Savannah
  Savannah, GA 1 night
  Savannah, GA
Yorktown - At Sea
10 nights
 Hyatt Regency Savannah
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Experience the unmistakable Southern charm of Savannah, Georgia when you choose to stay at the Hyatt Regency Savannah. Uniquely located near the River Front Plaza, this downtown waterfront hotel offers unequalled access to the largest historic district in the United States. Take a leisurely stroll through the fabled neighborhood surrounding the Hyatt Regency Savannah to view stately Georgia homes, landmark architecture, and sights that have made Savannah famous. Board a riverboat or hop on the trolley just outside our front door for a moving tour. Plus, enjoy close proximity to two major interstates, Tybee Island, and Savannah International Airport.
  Contact info: 2 West Bay Street
Savannah, GA 31401 USA
phone: 912-238-1234
  Room amenities: Each room has a television with premium television channels, air conditioning, blackout curtains, telephone, coffee and tea making facilities, hair dryer, iron with ironing board, clock radio, in-room safe, and wireless Internet (for a fee).
  Facility amenities: This hotel has a swimming pool, bar, restaurant, coffee shop, laundry service (for a fee), and wireless Internet access (for a fee).
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A It is possible to book one additional pre-program night through Road Scholar. To book an additional night, please contact the Road Scholar Amherst office at 413-253-9736.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Yorktown is the perfect vessel for relaxed and convivial exploration of America’s great coastal waterways. Built in Florida in 1988 specifically for coastal cruising and certified by the U. S. Coast Guard, the Yorktown flies the American flag and is staffed by friendly and experienced American officers and crew. With a draft of only 9 feet, the Yorktown is able to maneuver in secluded waterways and visit small ports that are inaccessible to larger vessels. And Yorktown’s American registry makes it possible to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. The ship’s cuisine, served in a dining room large enough to accommodate all guests at once, emphasizes American regional culinary traditions. Accommodating only 130 guests in 65 exterior cabins, the Yorktown enjoys an atmosphere of warm and relaxed informality that endears it to repeat and new guests alike.
  Ship Information: Length: 257 feet Beam: 43 feet Draft: 8 feet Cabins: 69 Flag: American
  Contact info: Travel Dynamics International
132 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021 USA
phone: 800-257-5767
  Room amenities: Most cabins have large picture windows, and each is furnished with comfortable beds, a writing desk, ample storage, a clock/radio/CD player, and has a private bathroom. Your cabin is the perfect place for peace and quiet and for private rest and reflection.
  Facility amenities: The ship offers a dining room, spacious observation lounge, large sun deck, library, and swimming platform. Both the lounge and dining room are surrounded by large picture windows that afford unobstructed views of the passing scenery. The water aboard ship is safe to drink, and bottled water will be provided on group excursions. Cash (USD) and credit cards are the preferred forms of payment aboard ship. For telephone communication onboard, you may use the ship's Maritime service satellite system which will be charged to a credit card. Email access on board: Internet-ready laptop computers will be available for use on board from which personal emails can be received and sent by accessing your own web-based email account. A fee will be charged for each 30 minutes of use. There is also wireless Internet access available for a fee. THERE IS NO ELEVATOR ON THE YORKTOWN. Stairs are unavoidable as there is no elevator on the Yorktown. The Lounge and the Dining Room are on separate decks so participants must be able to navigate stairs multiple times per day.
  Smoking allowed: No

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Savannah, Georgia. Welcome Orientation at 5:00 PM with the Group Leader at the hotel. You will be staying at Hyatt Regency Savannah that night.
  End of Program:
Alexandria, Virginia. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Yorktown the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. The TDI Traveler Information Form is required. All participants are required to have a government issued ID (driver's license, passport, etc.) in order to embark the Yorktown.
  Parking availability:
The program starts in Savannah and ends in Alexandria, no parking is available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Savannah, GA
  Nearest airport:  SAV
  From End of Program
  Location:  Yorktown - At Sea
Travel Details

From the Savannah Hilton Head Airport to the Hyatt Regency Savannah


From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $25
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximately 20 minutes 




Approximately 10 miles.


From the Alexandria, VA Dock to the Ronald Reagan Washington Airport


To Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $22
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximately 16 minutes 




Approximately 5 miles

Driving Directions
  To the Hyatt Regency Savannah From Interstate 16, take the Gwinnett Street exit. From the exit, take Boundary Street, turn right at Olgethorpe Ave, turn left at Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, and turn right on Bay Street. The hotel will be on your left.
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: Welcome Orientation
(Sunday, April 13)
 Afternoon: Independent arrivals to Savannah, Georgia and transfer to the hotel. Welcome Orientation at 5:00 PM with the Group Leader at the hotel.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Hyatt Regency Savannah
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Savannah, Georgia / Embarkation
(Monday, April 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: This morning, take in a lecture about Savannah's historic homes and gardens.
 Lunch: Savannah's stately Georgian Mansion facing Reynolds Square has an exciting history; built on land granted from the crown of England, James Habersham, Jr. lived in his mansion from 1771 to 1800. This wealthy planter's home held many secret meetings that helped secure the independence of the 13 colonies from England. Later it was called the Olde Pink House when the soft native brick began to bleed through the plastered walls and mysteriously changed the color of the Habersham House from white to Jamaican pink. Alarming sounds of guns and cannons and Sherman's march to the sea in 1865 opened the Halls of Habersham to the military Generals, after Sherman presented the city of Savannah as a Christmas gift to President Lincoln, General York set up headquarters in the Olde Pink Mansion and the rooms again made history.
 Afternoon: It’s a march through Civil War era Savannah. Hear the strategies of the blue and the gray. See Civil War era Savannah, and the houses and buildings involved in the great war between the states. “...I beg to present to you as a Christmas Gift, the City of Savannah with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition and also about 25,000 bails of cotton...” So reads Union General William T. Sherman's telegram to President Lincoln on Dec. 22, 1864 after the occupation of Savannah, ending his army’s infamous “march to the sea.” For Savannah, the Civil War began in January of 1860 with the seizing of Ft. Pulaski by Georgian troops, preceding the bombardment of Ft. Sumter in Charleston by some three months before the "official" start of the war. We will have the unique opportunity to visit and explore the Green-Meldrin Home, which General Sherman used as his headquarters. It is one of the finest examples of Gothic and Revival architecture and the most expensive 19th century house in Savannah, with its unique crenellated parapet and “oriel” windows that add to the gothic flavor. This walking excursion will take us on a journey through Savannah’s experience in the Civil War and present us with an understanding of the military and social aspects and the historic homes that stood here and played their own part during this time. Transfer to the Yorktown for 4:00 PM embarkation. Welcome and embarkation briefing.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Savannah, Georgia
(Tuesday, April 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: On a guided excursion, explore Georgia’s oldest city, Savannah, was founded by James Oglethorpe in 1733. The fine avenues and open spaces that Oglethorpe planned form the cornerstone of the three-square-mile historic district, which features over 1,000 Federal and Regency buildings and 21 verdant squares brimming with azaleas, gardenias, cabbage palmettos, English yews, giant oaks, and other lush vegetation.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Explore the renowned Historic District, and also enjoy time at leisure to explore the lovely streets and squares, including verdant Forsyth Park and its famed White Fountain.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Beaufort, South Carolina
(Wednesday, April 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: South Carolina’s Lowcountry flourished on the cotton trade, making Beaufort one of the wealthiest cities in the country after Independence. Explore elegant Beaufort, with its magnificent antebellum homes and gardens.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: At sea. Attend an shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Charleston, South Carolina
(Thursday, April 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Charleston has meticulously restored its historic district. Explore Middleton Place Plantation, a carefully preserved 18th century plantation that is a National Historic Landmark. Situated on the Ashley River, the property includes the House Museum, built in 1755 as the gentlemen’s guest quarters, various bird species, and 65 acres of magnificent gardens, with rhododendrons, magnolias, and dogwoods blooming during April.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, study the Heyward- Washington House, an 18th-century structure which features a separate kitchen house and enchanting formal garden.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Spend the evening at leisure to relax on board or explore Charleston. The Yorktown remains overnight in port
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Charleston, South Carolina
(Friday, April 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: This morning see Drayton Hall, a National Historic Landmark and National Trust Historic Site and one of the oldest surviving examples of Georgian Palladian architecture in the United States.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Sail in the afternoon and attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Wilmington, North Carolina
(Saturday, April 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Wilmington flourished on maritime trade, made possible by its deep water port. Explore Wilmington’s historic district, a veritable open air museum of 19th-century architecture. Visit the Georgian Burgwin-Wright House & Gardens. Built in 1770, it was purchased in 1937 by the The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America. The beautifully restored home is adorned with seven unique walled gardens, its architectural structures carefully preserved, and includes a formal or parterre garden, a terraced garden, and an orchard.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Continue to Airlie Gardens which boast 67 acres of formal, woodland gardens, which will be flourishing at the time of our visit. Enjoy a walking excursion to explore its many gardens, including the spring garden, historic structures and sculptures, and a majestic oak. Later, attend a shipboard guest lecture as the ship makes its way to Morehead City, North Carolina.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Morehead City / New Bern, North Carolina
(Sunday, April 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Drive through Croatan National Forest to historic New Bern to visit the jewel among New Bern’s sites, Tryon Palace and Gardens. Completed in 1770, destroyed by fire in 1798, it was restored and reopened in 1959. Explore the palace and its elegant gardens. Designed by landscape architect Morley Jeffers Williams in the 1950s, the gardens represent the style of the Victorian era, and offer three centuries of gardening history. Its spring display includes tulips and azaleas as well as perennials.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: At sea. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: At sea
(Monday, April 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Relax aboard and attend shipboard guest lectures as Yorktown makes its way to Virginia.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Take in the views of the surrounding areas from the large sun deck of the Yorktown. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Yorktown / Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
(Tuesday, April 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Take an excursion to historic Colonial Williamsburg. The capital of the Virginia colony from 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg is the nation’s premier living museum, offering visitors a glimpse of life as it was in the 17th and 18th centuries. A guided excursion leads along the Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg’s main thoroughfare, past the Capitol, the courthouse, the Governor’s Palace, and Bruton Parish Church.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the historic King's Arms Tavern.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, enjoy time at leisure to explore the museums and side streets, which are filled with taverns, bakeries, and the restored houses of wheelwrights, coopers, apothecaries, and other tradesmen.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Yorktown, Virginia
(Wednesday, April 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Visit historic Berkeley Plantation, site of the first official Thanksgiving in 1619. It is also the location where “Taps” was composed by Daniel Butterfield in 1862. Its rooms are furnished with a superb collection of 18th century antiques. The mansion is surrounded by five terraced gardens that were dug prior to the Revolutionary War. Explore the mansion and stroll through the boxwood gardens, surrounded by dogwoods, azaleas, and other flowering plants.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Continue to the Shirley Plantation, founded in 1613 by Edward Hill, it is the oldest working plantation in North America. It is still occupied by the 11th generation of the Hill Family. Explore the Great House and its original furnishings, portraits, and silver.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Disembark in Alexandria, Virginia
(Thursday, April 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard
 Morning: Disembarkation must occur by 9:00 AM. Independent departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast
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.

Suggested Reading List

A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories

Author: Flannery O'Connor

Description: One of the very best voices in the American short story, O'Connor's darkly comic vision of life in the countryside surrounding Savannah is both richly colored and at times deeply unsettling.

A Short History of Charleston

Author: Robert Rosen

Description: A third-generation Charlestonian, Rosen traces the history of Good King Charles's City from its founding to the present with flair.

Charleston Map

Author: Navigator Maps

Description: A clear, easy to use souvenir map of Charleston, featuring the city center and well marked places of interest.

Founding Gardeners

Author: Andrea Wulf

Description: Andrea Wulf artfully examines the interplay of plants and politics in this earthy account, looking both at the role of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Quincy Adam as noble farmers and at the American relationship to nature during the eighteenth century.

Gardens of Historic Charleston

Author: James R. Cothran

Description: A lavishly illustrated photographic tour of Charleston's most treasured gardens, as well as a history of gardening in the city since colonial times.

Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation in 1838-1839

Author: Frances Anne Kemble

Description: The journal of abolitionist Frances Anne Kemble, a leading 19th century British actress who married a wealthy plantation owner and moved to the Sea Islands of Georgia. After divorcing her husband she wrote this memoir recording the inhuman living conditions on her ex-husband’s cotton and rice plantation.

Literary Charleston, A Lowcountry Reader

Author: Curtis Worthington (Editor), Louis D. Rubin, Jr. (Introduction)

Description: A lovingly edited anthology of writing about Charleston, arranged chronologically and including heavyweights such as Henry James and Edgar Allen Poe, as well as less known writers.

Literary Savannah

Author: Patrick Allen (Editor)

Description: An anthology of fiction and non-fiction set in Savannah, portraying the city, its people and culture. With contributions by Henry James, Margaret Mitchell, and Flannery O'Connor.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Author: John Berendt

Description: Part affectionate portrait of Savannah society, part murder mystery, Berendt’s classic account of his stay in the decayed splendor of the southern coastal city is one of those rare instances when a great writer finds himself caught at the center of a real-life crime story.

My Favorite Plant, Writers and Gardeners on the Plants They Love

Author: Jamaica Kincaid (Editor)

Description: An anthology of essays on plants and gardening from contemporary authors as well as luminaries of the past. This handsome, little book features selections by (among many others) D.H. Lawrence and Colette.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southeastern States

Author: Peter Alden (Editor)

Description: A compact photographic guide to the nature of the Southeast States from Mississippi and Georgia to North Carolina, featuring 1,500 photographs, concise descriptions and an overview of the natural history of the area.

Queen of The Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena

Author: Julia Reed

Description: A Mississippian gone New Yorker, Reed offers a unique biregional perspective in this collection of essays on Southern culture, wandering from topics as varied as the Southern affinity for big hair to gun control.

Savannah Map

Author: Navigator Maps

Description: A neat, colorful map of Savannah’s city center, featuring well marked places of interest.

The Charleston, Savannah & Coastal Islands Book, A Complete Guide

Author: Cecily McMillan, Wade Spees (Photographer)

Description: An excellent, locally produced travel guide mixing history, culture and anecdote with a shipload of up-to-date practical information. It does justice to this area's rich traditions and food.

The Civil War, An Illustrated History

Author: Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns

Description: An illustrated, comprehensive social history of the Civil War by the now-famous team of Ward and Burns. With 500 photographs and maps, extensive text and original essays by contributing experts.

The Jekyll Island Club: Southern Haven for America's Millionaires

Author: June Hall McCash, William Barton McCash

Description: A history of the legendary Jekyll Island Club, the group of powerful millionaires (including Vanderbilt, Rockefeller and Pulitzer) who vacationed on the small island off the coast of Georgia.

The National Trust Guide to Savannah

Author: Roulhac Toledano

Description: A guide to the architectural culture and history of Old Savannah. With 200 archival photographs and maps, it includes chapters on historic preservation, famous visitors and a comprehensive tour of architectural styles.

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America

Author: David Sibley

Description: A compact, geographically-specific version of the Sibley Guide with all-new range maps, the same glorious illustrations and expanded, extremely valuable descriptions of each bird with status, habitat, range, voice and identifying marks.

Very Charleston, A Celebration of History, Culture, and Lowcountry Charm

Author: Diana Hollingsworth Gessler

Description: A quirky overview of the city and its attractions, this guide provides an original, entertaining and colorful paean to one of America's most historic and popular destinations.

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