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: Beginning at 7pm, your 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.

Music, Downtown Bus Tour, Sweetgrass Basket Presentation
Isle of Palms/Charleston
Coastal Retreat Center, Isle of Palms/Charleston

Breakfast: 8:15 a.m. Breakfast.

Morning: At 9:00 a.m. We begin our program of Christmas Music Through The Ages providing an educational look at music as well as live performances!

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 sites such as 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: Supper will be enjoyed together. Local cuisine will be featured with SCHOLARS making selections ahead of time.

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.

Music, Boone Hall or Harbor Tour, Stage Production
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: 9:00 am. Together we will enjoy more of Christmas Music Through The Ages, with professional musicians. Afterward, we will depart for a tour of Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. With authentic slave cabins and the Gullah Theater presentation, this working plantation is not to be missed!

Lunch: A light lunch will be served at the Boone Hall Plantation Butterfly Cafe.

Afternoon: An Alternate to the late morning Boone Hall Plantation Outing may instead be a Harbor Tour, which will allow us to enjoy one of the areas favorite past times, BOATING! Behold the view of the Charleston Battery from the waters of the Charleston Harbor, and learn of the fascinating history which took place on this historical waterway.

Dinner: Dinner is early tonight at 5:30, allowing plenty of time to head downtown to the historical DOCK STREET THEATER.

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.

Music, Downtown Walking Tour, Holiday Lights
Isle of Palms/Charleston
Coastal Retreat Center, Isle of Palms/Charleston

Activity note: The Downtown Walking Tour lasts up to 2 hours, with walking over uneven sidewalks and cobblestones in Downtown Charleston. Comfortable shoes and lots of energy will be required in order to fully enjoy this program.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at 8:15 a.m.

Morning: 9:00 a.m. Continue your journey through Christmas Music Through The Ages.

Lunch: Lunch is served at 12 noon.

Afternoon: Guided by Brian Simms of CHARLESTON SOLE, participants will walk for approximately two hours in the lower peninsula of Charleston viewing the exteriors of elegant colonial and antebellum homes that draw visitors from around the world. Afterward, enjoy a little free time at the famous Charleston Market Place, an open air market that features local crafts and fare.

Dinner: We will meet for a light supper downtown at a restaurant in the Market Area.

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!

Music, Historical Homes Tours, Sounds of Charleston
Isle of Palms/Charleston
Coastal Retreat Center, Isle of Palms/Charleston

Breakfast: Breakfast begins at 8:15 am with coffee available for early birds by 7am.

Morning: Our expert musician historian will move us through the ages as we experience more Christmas Music Through the Ages.

Lunch: 12 Noon lunch is served.

Afternoon: We will depart of a for holiday tour of the Edmondston-Alston and Aiken-Rhett Houses. Of Charleston's many fine house museums, only the Edmondston-Alston House (constructed in 1825 and enhanced in 1838) commands a magnificent view of Charleston Harbor. From its piazza, General P. T. Beauregard watched the fierce bombardment of Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861, signaling the start of the Civil War. And on December 11 of the same year, the house gave refuge to General Robert E. Lee the night a wide-spreading fire threatened his safety in a Charleston hotel. 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 remodeling. 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 with ideas and suggestions to enjoy in the heart of the historic district.

Dinner: Dinner is early today, at 5:30 p.m. most likely in the downtown area.

Evening: THE SOUNDS OF CHARLESTON offers an exciting Musical Presentation featuring the history of Charleston as told through song, and is featured at the historic Circular Congregation Church in downtown Charleston. As a potential alternative, Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers will provide delightful evening performances.

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

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at 8:15 a.m.

Morning: 9:00 a.m. Morning presentations including an hour long Closing 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.

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