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Spoleto Festival USA

Program Number: 21257RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/25/2014 - 5/30/2014; 5/27/2016 - 6/1/2016; 6/1/2016 - 6/6/2016; 6/6/2016 - 6/11/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Price starting at: $1,749.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Music Festivals; Music Appreciation
Meals: 10; 5 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Experience the magnificent Spoleto Festival and its complementary event, Piccolo Spoleto. These international multi-arts celebrations are America's premier international performing-arts festivals, filling lovely Charleston's historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by world-renowned artists and emerging performers in opera, theater, dance, chamber, symphonic, choral, bluegrass and jazz. Attend four Spoleto performances with reserved tickets and seating and as many Piccolo Spoleto events as you can fit in around the Spoleto, and hear from Spoleto staff. Make use of a significant amount of free time to pursue your own interests with opportunities to dine out on your own.


• Be thrilled by symphonies and operas, exhilarated by jazz and bluegrass, electrified by dance and acrobatics and delighted by theater.
• A horse-drawn carriage ride reveals more than 300 years of history, including antebellum mansions, churches and gardens.
• You will be pleased and relieved to have reserved seating for performances that will be announced as soon as the schedule is available in 2015.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to six blocks to Spoleto venues; some uneven terrain.

Program includes tickets to four Spoleto events and one Piccolo Spoleto events, as well as free time for exploring other events, for which participants may reserve tickets in advance.

Coordinated by Center for Educational Adventure.

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.

Luxury hotel located in the heart of Charleston's historic district. Blending opulent accommodations, historic ambiance and modern convenience, this hotel treats you to true southern hospitality and is the only hotel included in the city's prestigious Museum Mile.
Meals and Lodgings
   The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
  Charleston, South Carolina 5 nights
 The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel is a gem among historic Charleston hotels. Blending opulent accommodations, historic ambiance and modern convenience, our luxury Charleston hotel treats you to true southern hospitality, the same hospitality we showed our first guest over 150 years ago. With our recent multi-million dollar restoration, our historic Charleston hotel has recaptured its original splendor, and we're eager to share it with you. Located in the heart of Charleston, The Mills House is the only hotel included in the city's prestigious Museum Mile, and there's no shortage of lively Charleston attractions nearby: Dock Street Theatre (0.0 mile) King Street Antique District (0.0 mile) The Market Place (0.0 mile) Waterfront Park (0.0 mile) College of Charleston (0.5 mile) South Carolina Aquarium (0.5 mile) The Battery/Historic District (0.5 mile) After a day amidst the storied sights of downtown, return to the Mills House where we stand apart from other Charleston, SC luxury hotels by combining a lush, Victorian atmosphere with modern appeal. From our thoughtfully-appointed Charleston, SC accommodations to state-of-the-art meeting space and exquisite service, we continue to exceed our legendary reputation. History and luxury await! Join us at The Mills House Hotel, a Conde' Nast Traveler Gold List Hotel, and stroll the halls once walked by General Robert E. Lee and President Theodore Roosevelt.
  Contact info: 115 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401 USA
phone: 843-577-2400
  Room amenities: 2 phones with voicemail Bathtub Cable/Satellite color TV Coffee and tea makers Connecting rooms Crib upon request Free morning newspaper delivered to room Hair dryers High-speed Internet access In-room pay-per-view movies Iron/board Nightly turndown service Private bathroom Rollaway bed/cot Work desk with lamp
  Facility amenities: Housekeeping & Laundry Services Daily Housekeeping Dry Cleaning Pickup/Laundry Same Day Dry Cleaning Concierge Desk to help w/tour plans Entertainment & Recreation Outdoor Pool Hotel Shops Newsstand Gift Shop Business Services Copying E-mail & Internet Facsimile PC available Printer High Speed Internet Access Public Space Data Services Wireless Data Connection Miscellaneous Concierge Services Ice Machine Safety Deposit Box available at Front Desk A/C Public Areas Dedicated Lounge (or 24 Hour Lounge) Porter/Bellman Fitness Center Outdoor Pool Parking Daily Self Parking Fee: $20.00 (USD) Valet Parking Available: $22.00 (USD) County operated garage adjacent to the hotel self parking $20.00 per night There is a 6 feet 7 inch vehicle height limitation in all garages
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: call hotel for rate Group rates are not available during times outside of the Road Scholar program week. For early arrival or late stayovers, call the hotel directly.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: call hotel for rate Group rates are not available during times outside of the Road Scholar program week. For early arrival or late stayovers, call the hotel directly.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in begins at 3:00 pm. Orientation is at 5:00 pm followed by dinner at 6:30 pm. You will be staying at The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel Check-Out is 11 am. Road Scholar program ends after breakfast. You will be staying at The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking fee at the hotel is $20 - $22 per day. It is city owned but connects to the hotel. It is the only place close to the hotel to park a car for a week long program. Parking is not included as part of your program package.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Charleston, South Carolina
  Nearest city or town:  Mt. Pleasant and Beaufort, SC
  Nearest highway: I-26
  Nearest airport:  Charleston, SC
  From End of Program
  Location: Charleston, South Carolina
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Charleston, SC


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Taxi/Shuttle Service - Charleston International Airport
phone: 843-767-7007


Per Person/One Way:


Approximate rate from airport to hotel is $30 for two people
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




12 miles


Option 1: The meter fare for taxi departure from the Airport is $2.15 per loaded mile with no additional charge for the first two passengers. For each passenger in excess of two, a fee of $12.00 per passenger per trip will be charged. Option 2:The shuttle rate for Downtown Charleston is $12.00 per passenger and departs within 15 minutes. The shuttle is a shared ride and makes multiple stops. Option 3: Fixed rate for Airport vicinity is $9.00/passenger, not to exceed $27.00 per trip.




From Train Station




Public Transportation
phone: 800-872-7245
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call Amtrak for pricing
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximately 20 minutes 




10 miles

Driving Directions
  Charleston: Interstate 26 to Mills House Hotel Travel on Interstate 26 until you reach the Meeting Street Exit, 221 B. Continue on Meeting Street for 2 miles until you reach the corner of Meeting Street and Queen Street. The Mills House will be on your right.
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: Arrival & Check-In, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation & Get Acquainted
(Sunday, May 25)

Note: Walking from hotel to Spoleto venues is approximately 6-8 blocks. The city offers free shuttle service at selected pickup points. Bike taxis are also available for hire at a cost of $4.50 per person per 10 minutes. It takes 5-10 minutes for a bike to go the 6 blocks so this is a very reasonable fee for the convenience.

 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 3:00 pm.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to register with the program staff at our desk in the lobby beginning at 4:00 pm. You'll receive your arrival packet containing the most up-to-date schedule and program information that we'll review during our orientation session before dinner. If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the hotel front desk.

ORIENTATION: Meet your fellow participants and the program staff during a get-acquainted session followed by an informative overview of the program. We will review the schedule and any changes, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and emergency contact numbers, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

 Dinner: Dinner will be at 6:30 pm at the hotel.
 Evening: The remainder of the evening is yours to begin getting to know one another, walk around the neighborhood, or relax in the hotel as you prepare for tomorrow. You are embarking on a special Road Scholar "FLEX" program that includes expert lectures and attending selected events from the schedules of Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto as well as a significant amount of free time to pursue your own interests with opportunities to dine out on your own. The preparatory materials you receive following enrollment will provide more details about the ticketed events included in your program. We highly recommend checking the Spoleto USA website that explains how the festival is organized and how you can purchase tickets when the time comes for the events you would like to attend on your own. We have your Road Scholar Spoleto tickets in hand. See
Accommodations: The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Background on Spoleto Festival USA, Spoleto Performances Include Chamber Music, A Simple Space, My Cousin Rachel
(Monday, May 26)

Note: Spoleto Performances today include: Chamber Music II at 11 am at The Dock Street Theater, 135 Church Street (one block from hotel). A Simple Space at 2 pm at the Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston (6 block walk from hotel) and My Cousin Rachel at 8 pm (Dock Street Theatre one block from hotel.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in the Barbadoes Room features South Carolina's famous Low country breakfast. Menu items include choices such as Low Country Shrimp and Grits, Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, and other selections including bacon and sausage, eggs cooked many different ways plus yummy omelettes, and fresh fruit daily. Start the day in grand Southern style!
 Morning: PRESENTATION: Exclusively for our group, a member of the Spoleto Board of Directors (or other festival insider depending on availability) will provide an overview of the festival and discuss its history. For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston's historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera; theater; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music.

"Big" Spoleto – Spoleto Festival USA – was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, Christopher Keene, and others who sought to create an American counterpart to their annual Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. It has become internationally recognized as America's premier performing arts festival.

"Piccolo" (Little) Spoleto was designed and launched in 1979 by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs to complement the international scope of the parent festival. Piccolo Spoleto focuses primarily on artists of the Southeast region, presenting some 700 events. See

Our program will include both Spoleto festivals. Please note: One of the advantages of taking this Road Scholar "FLEX" program is having guaranteed seats for performances and events that may otherwise be sold out.

Performance: Depart the hotel to walk to the Spoleto Chamber Music II at 11 am.

 Lunch: Lunch will be at a popular restaurant in the Historic District.
 Afternoon: Enjoy this afternoon performance of A Simple Space beginning at 2 pm. This Australian Acrobatic ensemble pushes the boundaries of human physicality. This performance is part of Spoleto Physical Theater.
 Dinner: Dinner this evening is on your own to explore the restaurants and cuisine of your choice. You are welcome to accompany the Group Leader (at your own cost). Restaurants near your hotel are: 82 Queens, Poogan's Porch, Husk, Peninsula Grille, Jestine's Kitchen, Hyman's Seafood Company. The restaurants listed are only a few of the many places to eat near your hotel. At this special time in Charleston, it is a good idea to make a reservation ahead of time. Plan your dinner time so that you will not be rushed for your evening performance that begins at 8 pm and is a block from your hotel.
 Evening: We will regroup after dinner to attend the evening performances, My Cousin Rachel. The incomparable Gate Theatre returns to Charleston with Daphne du Maurier's spellbinding thriller, My Cousin Rachel. The performance begins at 8 pm at the Dock Street Theatre located a block from your hotel.
Accommodations: The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Charleston Historic District Carriage Ride, Piccolo Spoleto, Free Afternoon & Evening To Explore On Your Own
(Tuesday, May 27)

Note: Walk to carriage ride is 4 blocks from hotel.

 Breakfast: Enjoy the scrumptious Low country breakfast in the Barbadoes Room.
 Morning: EXCURSION: You are here because of the Spoleto Festival, but your experience would not be complete without a scenic introduction to the charming city of Charleston itself. Aboard horse-drawn carriages that hold up to 16 participants, we will enjoy a pleasant, relaxing, and informative ride through neighborhoods filled with colorful history and picturesque architecture. We will walk 4 blocks to meet the horse drawn carriage at the City Market Place.
 Lunch: Your big block of free time begins with lunch on your own to explore the restaurants and cuisine of your choice.
 Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON: This is your opportunity to select the performances and events most pleasing to you, either individually or with new friends. In addition to posting every performance and event, the Spoleto websites also provide a map to show at a glance where each venue is located.
 Dinner: Continue your personal independent exploration with dinner on your own -- no need to rush back to the hotel unless you choose. There are so many options for having a delicious dinner out in Charleston, though if you have something special in mind, we advise making reservations in advance because the city is so crowded during the festival.
 Evening: FREE EVENING: Choose your preferred performances or events. You can review everything available for this evening and purchase tickets online.
Accommodations: The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Performance by The Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters, The Sound Of Charleston, Historic Circular Church, Spoleto Music Concerto for Orchestra College of Charleston
(Wednesday, May 28)

Note: The Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters will perform at the Circular Church about a half block from hotel. Spoleto musical performance is Concerto for Orchestra at the College of Charleston Sottile Theatre on George Street about 6 blocks from your hotel.

 Breakfast: Enjoy the scrumptious Low country breakfast in the Barbadoes Room.
 Morning: PERFORMANCE: Welcome The Ring Shouters whose performance will include the lyrical Gullah language, spiritual songs, games, and redemptive shouts passed down from the slaves on Georgia's southeastern coast. The Ring Shouters participated in the Obama Presidential Parade in January, 2013.
 Lunch: We will have lunch together at the hotel. The Sound of Charleston will be at Circular Church located across the street from the hotel.
 Afternoon: PERFORMANCE: "The Sound of Charleston." At the historic Circular Congregational Church, experience some of the sounds that define Charleston's musical history and heritage from the Civil War era through gospel and Gershwin. (Inspired by the novel "Porgy" about the lives of African-Americans in Charleston, Gershwin traveled here in 1933 and 1934 to begin work on his greatest masterpiece, the opera "Porgy and Bess.") The varied musical program will be performed by professional artists. The church itself is one of the oldest congregations in America, founded around 1681 in the heart of what is today the Historic District. The present building is the fourth structure on the site, built from the bricks of "Old Circular" and completed in 1892.
 Dinner: Dinner will be at the hotel.
 Evening: Music - Concerto for Orchestra – 8 pm. College of Charleston - 6 blocks. Rising star Joana Carneiro leads the Festival Orchestra in a showcase of orchestral splendor with works by Barber, Adams, and Bartók
Accommodations: The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Graveyard Art Galleries, Field Trip, Spoleto Westminster Choir Performance
(Thursday, May 29)

Note: Spoleto performance is the music of the Westminster Choir at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul at 5 pm. Transportation for this event will be included.

 Breakfast: Enjoy the scrumptious Low country breakfast in the Barbadoes Room.
 Morning: PRESENTATION: A guest speaker will give you information on local graveyards which are art galleries harboring stories, literature and legends. After 30 minutes in the classroom, join the group on a stroll through colonial and antebellum cemeteries. FIELD TRIP: Discover this unique portrait of the past found in the old graveyards. This is an intriguing look at some of the finest 18th and 19th century memorials in the country and the fascinating stories surrounding them.
 Lunch: Lunch is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. You can find numerous websites promoting "the best" lunch in Charleston. What that is will depend on your personal taste, of course. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
 Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON: By now, you have a strong sense of the festival's uniqueness and have learned how to negotiate both the geography and schedules. Select the afternoon performances you will enjoy most. Flex at its best!
 Dinner: Dinner will be at the popular Eli's Table Restaurant, a local favorite nestled in the Charleston Peninsula. Savor some of Charleston's distinctive coastal cuisine. Dinner will be at 7:30 pm, after the Westminster Choir performance.
 Evening: Westminster Choir Performance at 5 pm. The pristine acoustics in the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul carry Westminster Choir's "shimmering sonic alchemy" (The Post and Courier) to their audience's ears, enabling a truly incredible experience of musical bliss. Under the baton of Spoleto Festival USA's new Director of Choral Activities Joe Miller, this sublime choral ensemble offers two performances of dazzling repertoire including Daniel Elder's ethereal and soaring Elegy; Latvian composer Eriks Ešenvalds's Legend of the Walled-up Woman; Johannes Brahms's lamenting Nänie; and Maurice Duruflé's celestial Ubi Caritas.
Accommodations: The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Program Concludes With Presentation By The Charleston Preservation Society, Check Out and Departures
(Friday, May 30)
 Breakfast: Enjoy the scrumptious Low country breakfast in the Barbadoes Room.
 Morning: We will finalize our week with a guest speaker from the Charleston Preservation Society who will speak on the impact of Spoleto on Charleston and the future of Charleston. Hotel check-out is by 11:00 am. We hope you have enjoyed this Road Scholar "Flex" program including presentations, delightful performances, and the opportunity to explore on your own. And we hope you will return for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!
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

Lady Baltimore

Author: Owen Wister

Description: This novel is set in Charleston just after the Civil War, when the traditional values of the Old South were in great conflict with those of the victorious northerners. First published in 1906, it's a classic southern portrait. (USS22, $10.95)

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. (USS312, $5.95)

Staging Charleston: The Spoleto Festival U.S.A. . Paperback

Author: by Colleen K Reilly

Description: The Spoleto Festival U.S.A. is a seventeen day international arts festival held annually in Charleston, South Carolina. While the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. perpetuates many of the cultural practices of the hegemonic community of Charleston, it also participates in negotiations of culture on the contemporary global stage. The Festival and the City rely on one another to constitute an identity that is consumable for a tourist and/or festival audience, and this relationship became even more urgent after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Hurricane Hugo serves as a peripeteia of the self-fashioning and self-reflexive narrative shaped by the Charleston elite since the 18 th century, and the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. serves as the agent of its denouement. This function of the festival impulse in the contemporary urban setting of Charleston, South Carolina will be the focus of this dissertation, which will examine the relationship between the "placedness" of the historical city and the "placelessness" of the festival atmosphere. This study will identify the features of the festival impulse that engage history, memory, and community and negotiate the territory between "place" and "space". It will compare the historical imaginary of the city with its contemporary identity as an international tourist destination and identify the strategies employed by the festival to destabilize homogenous worldviews and remap the geography of memory in Charleston's past and present.

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

Author: Diana Hollingsworth Gessler

Description: Cobblestone streets leading to perfectly preserved historic homes. Intricate wrought-iron gates opening to lush, fragrant gardens. A skyline of steeples and a river harbor bustling with schooners and sailboats. Charleston is one of America's most charming cities.In vibrant watercolors and detailed sketches, artist Diana Gessler captures the beauty and riches that make Charleston so unique: White Point Gardens, the Spoleto Festival, Rainbow Row, Waterfront Park, Fort Moultrie, the beaches of Sullivan's Island, sumptuous Lowcountry cuisine, and handmade sweetgrass baskets. Full of fascinating details--on everything from the art of early entertaining, the city's inspired architectural and garden designs, and George Washington's Southern tour to famous Charlestonians and the flags of Sumter--Very Charleston celebrates the city, the Lowcountry, the people, and our history. Hand-lettered and full color throughout, Very Charleston includes maps, an index, and a handy appendix of sites. With her cheerful illustrations and love for discovering little-known facts, Diana Gessler has created both an entertaining guide and an irresistible keepsake for visitors and Charlestonians alike.

A Short History of Charleston

Author: Robert N. Rosen

Description: A concise small history of Charleston that is easy to read and enjoyable.

A Witness to History: Charleston's Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Author: Ruth Miller and Ann Taylor Andrus

Description: The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the great buildings of Colonial America. Serving as city hall, customs house, post office and prison; as the British Headquarters during the occupation of Charles Towne and then host to a great ball honoring George Washington, the Exchange has been an eyewitness to America's history. This stoic building-–designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975–-has been described as the best example of the dignity and ornament of the traditional English "exchange-town hall" design of the eighteenth century built in the United States. From within its Great Hall to deep below in the Provost Dungeon, the Exchange has played a vital role in American history. Andrus' and Miller's fast-paced and readable survey of the history and significance of the Old Exchange Building will appeal to visitor and serious historian alike.

Explorer's Guide Charleston, Savannah & Coastal Islands: A Great Destination (Seventh Edition) (Explorer's Great Destinations) [Paperback]

Author: Cecily McMillan

Description: Veteran author and 25+-year-resident Cecily McMillan explores the unique intrigue of the Carolina Lowcountry region, examining its history, culture, and people, and provides authoritative recommendations for accommodations, dining, sight-seeing, and recreational activities. Whether you're visiting for a long weekend or renting a cottage on the coast for a week, anyone visiting this magical region will be able to experience the pleasures and pastimes and all new amenities and comforts the region has to offer.

The Secret Gardens of Charleston

Author: Louisa Cameron

Description: A stunning tour with the owners of many of historic Charleston's most beautiful, but rarely seen, private gardens. Charleston gardeners--some working with noted designers, others relying on their own skills and creativity--are masters of fashioning intricate designs and plant selections to match the architectural beauty of this legendary city. This is a valuable resource for inner-city gardeners and an important tool for those involved in the restoration of older houses and gardens.

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