Charleston (South Carolina)
A Cultural Christmas Feast in Historic Charleston
You’ll catch the holiday spirit in Charleston as you attend a Christmas show, see the James Island Festival of Lights and learn about historic homes decked out in their holiday finest.
Rating (5)
Program No. 14327RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation, Social
Isle of Palms/Charleston
Coastal Retreat Center, Isle of Palms/Charleston

Afternoon: Registration begins at 4 p.m. in lobby. Coffee, tea, water, fruit, and snacks are provided upon your arrival at the Coastal Retreat Center. As is the custom with non-profit retreat centers, you are asked to make up your bed upon arrival. If you would enjoy wine or spirits during your stay, please feel free to bring them with you.

Dinner: Participants may choose from two entrees after the first day. Our catered meals receive rave reviews. Seafood is a specialty. Kindly let us know of dietary restrictions at time of your registration.

Evening: A warm Southern welcome awaits you at 7 pm. when we will have orientation to our facility, the program schedule. Then join us in the dining room for a wine and cheese (and other holiday treats!) social. Non alcoholic beverages will also be available. Enjoy fellowship with other travelers!.

Morning Classes, Charleston Excursion, Holiday Lights
Isle of Palms/Charleston
Coastal Retreat Center, Isle of Palms/Charleston

Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. Breakfast.

Morning: Two morning classes. At 8:30 a.m. Presentation on Charleston Architecture with an engaging architectural historian. At 10:30 a.m. we begin our program of History of Christmas Carols with a husband and wife duo providing an educational look at music as well as live performances! Half an hour break between classes.

Lunch: The lunch menu usually consists of soup, sandwiches, and salads, with fresh fruit always available.

Afternoon: A professional bus tour of the historic Charleston area departs at 1 p.m. from our center. There are stops at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, Charleston's oldest church building St. Michael's Epsicopal Church, and the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau. Rest stops are included at these two locations. Enroute, licensed tour guides will give a comprehensive overview of historic Charleston and surrounding areas. This tour will whet your appetite for sights to see during free periods.

Dinner: All meals are eaten in the dining room of the Coastal Retreat Center.

Evening: Find the holiday magic in the millions of sparkling lights and hundreds of displays at the Holiday Festival of Lights on James Island. The Festival includes an enchanted 3-mile driving tour, and there are exciting opportunities available including marshmallow roasts, two dazzling gift shops, carols, lakeside lights, walking trails, carousel rides, gingerbread houses, life-size greeting card display, and more! We will be departing from the retreat center for the Festival of Lights promptly following dinner. with a relaxing glass of wine.

Architecture, Music, Free Time, “Praise House”
Isle of Palms/Charleston
Coastal Retreat Center, Isle of Palms/Charleston

Breakfast: Hot or cold breakfasts available, with fresh fruits, juices, hot coffee, tea, available.

Morning: 8:30 a.m. Historic Charleston Architecture, a preservation gem. 10:30 a.m. History of Christmas Carols, with professional musicians. Half hour break between classes.

Lunch: A light lunch is served.

Afternoon: After lunch, you are free to explore the Charleston area from 1-6 p.m. Take advantage of the many cultural offerings of Charleston, nearby plantations, or the beach across the street from the Retreat Center. The internet site "www.charlestoncvb.com" 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: Dinner is early tonight at 5:30

Evening: Tonight we will experience a low country Praise House! Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers is an a capella group that performs spirituals, Gullah poetry and stories indigenous to the Lowcountry. The group is in its eighth season of performing at Circular Congregational Church in downtown Charleston. We will board our bus at 6:30 pm

Architecture, Music, Historic Homes, Basket Demo
Isle of Palms/Charleston
Coastal Retreat Center, Isle of Palms/Charleston

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at 8:00 a.m.

Morning: 8:30 a.m. Continue your journey through Charleston Architecture with this morning presentation. At 10:30 a.m., musicians delight with their skill and knowledge of Christmas music through the ages.

Lunch: Lunch is served at 12 noon.

Afternoon: Guided by an expert architectural historian, participants will walk for approximately an hour in the lower peninsula of Charleston viewing the exteriors of elegant colonial and antebellum homes that draw visitors from around the world.

Dinner: Tonight we will travel to "Sullivan's" resturant on the neighboring island, Sullivan's Island. Here you will enjoy a variety of fresh seafood, poultry, steak, and lowcountry favorites.

Evening: Sweetgrass baskets are a major part of the history of the lowcountry. 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". See a demonstration and narrative about these baskets. Baskets will be available for purchase.

Architecture, Music, Architectural Walk, Theater
Isle of Palms/Charleston
Coastal Retreat Center, Isle of Palms/Charleston

Breakfast: Breakfast begins at 8:00 a.m.

Morning: Learn more about the unique aspects of Charleston architecture. Then our musicians will move us through the ages as we experience the evolution of holiday music.

Lunch: 12 Noon lunch is served.

Afternoon: Leave at 12:45 pm a for holiday tour of the Manigault and Aiken-Rhett Houses. The Aiken-Rhett House was begun circa 1818, however this house reflects the changing tastes of the mid-nineteenth century through a series of spectacular remodelings. The home of one family from 1825 until the 1970's, the house is kept in a state of preservation with many of its original furnishings in place. With its dependencies, slave quarters and stables intact, the house offers a unique view of life in Charleston. After the tour, enjoy some free time in downtown Charleston. We'll drop you off near the market area in the heart of the historic district.

Dinner: Dinner is early today, at 5:30 p.m.

Evening: We will attend a 'Charleston Stage production' in a downtown Charleston theatre. Exact performance schedules are to be announced. Participants will be notified by mail about the title and content of the Theatrical production.

Presentation & Closing Concert, Program Concludes
Isle of Palms/Charleston

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at 8:00 a.m.

Morning: 8:30 a.m. Morning presentations including an hour long Closing Music Concert by your Christmas Music instructors. You'll be sure to leave this program with a song in your heart! Check out of rooms per instructions of resident director.

Lunch: Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. in the dining room. "To Go" boxes available after 11:30 a.m.