Georgia/South Carolina
On the Road: Historic Homes and Gardens of Georgia and South Carolina
Grand homes in Atlanta, historic plantations in Charleston, cobblestone streets and pristine gardens in Savannah — you’ve got a lot to explore on this learning adventure.
Rating (5)
Program No. 13431RJ
8 days
Starts at
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8 days
7 nights
18 meals
7 B 6 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Atlanta, Georgia
Hyatt Place Buckhead Atlanta

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: 6:00 p.m. In the hotel meeting room, we’ll have a buffet dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase at the hotel bar.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Travel and transfers will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Carter Center, Tullie Smith Farm, Swan House, GWTW
Atlanta, Georgia
Hyatt Place Buckhead Atlanta

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach.Walking between homes and Atlanta History Center approximately 500 yards; paved and unpaved pathways. Walking up to 1/2 mile in Japanese Gardens at Carter Center; paved walkway.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, bagels, breads, pastries, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: At the Carter Center, a member of the staff will provide insights into the Center's commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering in the world. The Carter Center, in partnership with Emory University, is a non-governmental organization working to improve the lives of people in more than 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy and human rights; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. We’ll then have an expert-led exploration of the museum of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. We’ll be able to see photographs and historical memorabilia from the Carter presidency (1976-81), an exact replica of the Oval Office, and gifts received by the Carters. The permanent exhibit of significant events during Jimmy Carter's life and political career includes photographs with interpretative text as well as the Nobel Peace Prize he received in 2002 “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” We will also have time to walk through the Japanese Garden on our own. We’ll then ride to Swan House and the Swan Coach House.

Lunch: At the historic Swan Coach House, we’ll have a plated lunch. Prior to relocating to its current location, members of the Forward Arts Foundation had the building that once served as the carriage house remodeled and enlarged. An art gallery is now an integral element.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll visit the historic Swan House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and an Atlanta landmark. Built in 1928 for Edward and Emily Inman, heirs to a cotton brokerage fortune, the house was designed by well-known and influential Atlanta architect Philip Trammell Shutze. We will also have access to a farm house built in the 1840s by the Robert Smith family. Tullie Smith Farm is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally located east of Atlanta, outside the city limits, the house survived the near-total destruction of Atlanta in 1864. The farm complex was moved to the Atlanta History Center's campus in 1969 and serves as a tangible reminder of the rural past in a metropolitan area where agriculture has essentially disappeared.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: An expert from the Atlanta History Center will join us to discuss one of the most famous books in American history — “Gone With The Wind” — and share information about its author, Margaret Mitchell. We read its expression of what has been called the personification of Southern romanticism differently today. But since its publication in 1936 and the movie version in 1939, GWTW has kept its place in the popular imagination.

City Excursion, Botanical Garden, Transfer To Charleston-SC
Charleston, South Carolina
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach.The drive from Atlanta to Charleston is about 300 miles, approximately 5 hours with a stop along the way. Walking at Atlanta Botanical Gardens approximately 1/4 mile; some uneven, paved terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll start the day with a motorcoach excursion through the city to see some of its highlights, then ride to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Covering more than 30 acres in the heart of the city, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is an island of horticultural delights. In addition to beautifully designed display gardens and woodlands, highlights include a 6,000 square foot orchid center, a conservatory with frequently changing displays, a tropical rotunda, a desert house, an outdoor collection with rose and hydrangea gardens, an edible garden, a children’s garden, a Japanese garden, and much more including water features and sculpture. We’ll have an expert-led exploration followed by independent time to see what you like at your own pace.

Lunch: Enjoy a box lunch on the motorcoach en route to Charleston.

Afternoon: It’s a beautiful drive and we’ll see a movie along the way. Upon arrival, we’ll check in to our hotel.

Dinner: Relax at dinner with a plated meal that includes coffee, tea, or water. Additional beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to take a stroll along the historic streets, enjoy cocktails or simply relax.

Charleston Field Trip, Free Afternoon & Evening
Charleston, South Carolina
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Driving on The Battery approximately 4 miles. Walking up to 5 blocks; paved surfaces, some cobblestones. If you are unable to walk the distance of any of the field trips in Charleston, the group leader will be happy to call a bike taxi to assist you in transportation. Participant is responsible for the bike taxi cost.

Breakfast: In the hotel’s Barbadoes Room, choose what you like from the extensive breakfast buffet that features Lowcountry favorites such as Shrimp and Grits as well as corned beef hash, omelettes and other egg dishes, pancakes, French toast, fresh fruit, potatoes, bacon, sausage, ham, grits, biscuits, coffee, tea, water. Start the morning in grand Southern style.

Morning: Via motorcoach and walking, we’ll take a field trip with a local expert into the Charleston Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. A highlight is the French Huguenot Church, a National Historic Landmark. The first church was built in 1687; what we see today is the third structure on this site, completed in 1845. It was a time when services were scheduled to coincide with the arrival of Huguenot worshippers from surrounding plantations. The architectural style, Gothic Revival, was a specialty of the noted Charleston architect Edward Brickell White, with decorative elements reminiscent of great French cathedrals from the Middle Ages. The history of Charleston is not complete without a visit to the Citadel which was established in 1842 and was originally located on Marion Square right across the street from your hotel. Today the beautiful campus, which was moved in 1922 to the bank of the Ashley River, is home to over 3,400 men and women enrolled in over 20 full and part time graduate and undergraduate programs.

Lunch: At the hotel in a private room for our group, we’ll have a buffet lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You might like to stroll along peek into courtyards and gardens of private homes, visit the City Market, the Charleston Museum, or even Fort Sumter. There are numerous possibilities throughout the Historic District.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. We will have a list of restaurants within walking distance and the Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Continue your personal explorations, attend a performance or other event from current offerings, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, or just relax.

Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation, Local Culture
Charleston, South Carolina
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. The drive to Middleton and Magnolia is about 16 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking at Middleton Place and Magnolia Plantation approximately 1 mile; paved and unpaved, uneven surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our next field trip is to Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark situated on the Ashley River. This carefully preserved 18th-century plantation has survived revolution, Civil War, and earthquake. Our expert will provide commentary aboard the motorcoach and give a presentation during the field trip. We’ll learn that it was the home of four important generations of Middletons, beginning with Henry Middleton, President of the First Continental Congress; Arthur, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Henry, Governor of South Carolina and an American Minister to Russia; and William, a signer of the Ordinance of Secession. We’ll explore the gardens, the plantation stableyards, and see rice fields.

Lunch: In the Middleton Place restaurant, choose what you like from the delicious Lowcountry buffet.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll ride to Magnolia Plantation. Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, it has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public site open to visitors in the Lowcountry, with the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1872 to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens. We’ll learn about Magnolia’s vivid and complex history as we experience the beauty of the house and gardens. While riding through the landscape on a tram, we’ll see sights that evoke the plantation’s past such as a row of slave cabins, 19th century rice ponds, and a Native American ceremonial mound.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: The Gullah people are offspring of the slave trade. Most prized among white rice planters were slaves “imported” from the so-called Rice Coast of what is today Sierra Leone. These were people who knew how to cultivate and harvest rice on Lowcountry plantations along the coast and barrier islands. Due to their relative isolation as well as interactions with other enslaved African people, they retained much of their heritage. The Gullah people developed a distinct dialect, virtually their own language that blends elements of Creole with Lowcountry English, handed down through the generations. We’ll enjoy an informative presentation and selection of songs performed by our expert that will entertain and delight us while providing insights into Gullah culture. Then prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

Transfer to Savannah
Savannah, Georgia
B Historic Savannah

Activity note: Getting on/off a motor coach and a trolley.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and head to Savannah. Upon arrival, we’ll go on an expert led field trip by trolley through the historic district. We’ll learn about history and see many Antebellum and Victorian homes and other structures to appreciate their architecture. We will be getting on and off the trolley to walk the squares and get our bearings in anticipation for more exploration the following day.

Lunch: Take time to explore the many restaurants on your own and pick the one that you like best. This meal has been excluded from your program cost.

Afternoon: After spending some time in the historic district, we'll check in at our hotel and relax before dinner

Dinner: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Relax and unwind after a busy day of learning adventures. There are restaurants and other neat places around the hotel where you might like to gather with fellow Road Scholars for an after dinner beverage and conversation. You are one block off River Street.

Savannah Field Trip, Mansion Lunch, Davenport Home
Savannah, Georgia
B Historic Savannah

Activity note: Getting on/off a trolley. Walking less than 1 mile; paved and cobblestone surfaces.

Breakfast: In the breakfast area of the hotel, the buffet offers choices such as pancakes, eggs, bacon, assorted breads, pastries, fruits, milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Today is a day of exploration and insight into Savannah’s homes, gardens, and landmark squares. Our field trip will be led by a local expert. Of the 24 squares from General Oglethorpe’s original plan, 22 remain, shaded by magnificent live oaks and surrounded by homes, churches, and museums. Each is distinctive with a variety of fountains, memorials, and lovely landscaping. We’ll walk through squares that are essentially gardens themselves, as well as Forsyth Park, the largest in the Historic District. As we walk, we’ll peek into beautiful private gardens.

Lunch: At a favorite local restaurant situated in a mansion from the early 1900s, we’ll order plated meals from a select menu featuring contemporary Southern cuisine, regional specialties, and locally sourced foods. Beverage choices included coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Moving on, we’ll arrive at the Cathedral of St. John The Baptist, where a local historian will lead our exploration. We’ll learn about the history of the parish that grew from immigrants fleeing turmoil in Haiti and France near the end of the 18th century, and the cathedral itself, originally established as a small frame building. A magnificent brick building in French Gothic style was completed in 1876. Nearly destroyed by fire in 1898, it was rebuilt according to the original design and has been restored since to preserve and maintain its architectural and aesthetic integrity. Next, we’ll visit the Isaiah Davenport House, one of the oldest brick structures in the city. The two-and-a-half story urban dwelling contains a total of 6,800 square feet with a basement level (which originally housed the kitchen, storage, work space and possibly a sleeping area for the enslaved servants owned by Isaiah Davenport), the first floor containing the public areas, and the second and third floors which were bedrooms and storage space.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

Transfer To Atlanta, Program Concludes
Atlanta, Georgia

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. The drive back to Atlanta is about 250 miles, approximately 3.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and board our motorcoach for the ride back to Atlanta. Along the way, we’ll watch the movie “Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil” based on the book of the same name by John Berendt, an adopted son of Savannah.

Lunch: En route, we’ll have boxed lunches with a sandwich, chips, cookie, and soda or water.

Afternoon: We expect to arrive in Atlanta by approximately 1:00 -1:30 p.m. We will drop off first at the Atlanta International Airport and then at Hyatt Place. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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