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 in the lobby 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: At the hotel in our meeting/conference room, we’ll have a buffet with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
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. We are about to embark on a wonderful new learning adventure that will involve savoring the culinary history, heritage, and delectable flavors of Charleston and the Lowcountry. We will discover how a unique cuisine has evolved over the past 300+ years while sampling delicious specialties from local eateries, markets, bakeries, restaurants, and culinary landmarks. As we dine out, keep mental notes and then jot down your "review" of the experience. Each participant will have an opportunity to share a review of a favorite culinary experience in the closing session. Continuing getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 1/2 mile; some uneven terrain.
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: We’ll be joined by a local historian — the co-author of “A Witness to History: Charleston's Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon” — who will provide an introduction to the city and the Carolina Lowcountry. This introductory presentation will set the stage for our field trips, including our first this afternoon through historic downtown Charleston.
Lunch: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Part of what makes this program special is experiencing some of Charleston's characteristic eateries. The kitchen here is renowned for its use of ingredients native to the South, the chef’s reinterpretation of classic dishes, and the creation of new dishes featuring what’s fresh that day.
Afternoon: We’ll set out with a local expert on a walking field trip into the Charleston Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. We’ll get an overview of the interior city as we begin our exploration. 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. Returning to the hotel, you might like to work out in the fitness center, have a cocktail around the pool or in the garden courtyard, or simply relax in this historic city with an ambience that developed over centuries.
Dinner: At one of Charleston's lively restaurants, we’ll have a plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Inspired by the style of classic French brasseries, the menu incorporates classic French recipes with contemporary fare.
Evening: At leisure. Linger over dinner or go out to see more of Charleston. We are in the heart of the Historic District where walking is a great way to see the neighborhood. Or, simply relax.
Activity note: Walking up to 1/2 mile; some uneven terrain.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: At the hotel, we’ll be joined by a local expert who will tell us the history of sweet grass baskets. We’ll also observe a demonstration and see finished baskets. Next, we’ll set out walking on a culinary field trip to visit several different restaurants and taste samples at each one. We’ll also see renovated buildings that have been transformed into popular restaurants. When we finish, we will have had our lunch! This is a great way to experience several of the city’s top restaurants.
Lunch: The culmination of tastings at restaurants during our morning field trip.
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 visit the City Market, another historic home, or explore the Charleston Museum. There are numerous possibilities throughout the Historic District.
Dinner: At a restaurant chosen especially for this culinary program, we’ll have a plated dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. We’ll savor delectable Southern cuisine with innovative variations on traditional dishes.
Evening: Returning to the hotel, we’ll have a presentation on Gullah culture by an expert local historian. 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 — and a tradition of handicrafts handed down through the generations. We’ll also hear songs from George Gershwin’s famous opera “Porgy and Bess” — set in Charleston — that drew on the lives of Gullah descendants. Since its debut in 1935, “Porgy and Bess” has become the most popular and successful American opera of the 20th century.
Activity note: Walking up to 2 mile; some uneven terrain.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: In a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen of an Historic District hotel, we’ll learn about and observe the artistry of Lowcountry cooking from expert chefs in an informative and entertaining presentation. Get the secrets of good taste while enjoying generous tastings of regionally-based recipes and sipping a glass of wine. Afterwards, we'll enjoy the food that has been prepared just for us.
Lunch: At the cooking school where we’ve observed the morning demonstration.
Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. We will have suggestions for restaurants within walking distance of the hotel and elsewhere. If you have something special in mind, we advise making reservations in advance.
Evening: At leisure. Explore on your own or just relax and enjoy the moment.
Activity note: Walking over uneven, unpaved terrain.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: Our next field trip is to Wadmalaw Island just south of the city, one of Charleston’s most unspoiled islands. We’ll visit the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only one in the U.S. The island provides an ideal environment for growing the Camellia Sinensis tea plant with more than 320 varieties cultivated on 127 acres. The signature tea is American Classic, the only one made entirely from leaves grown in America. We will hear from one of the experts and explore the factory and tea plantation.
Lunch: At a popular, family-owned and operated café featuring organic produce grown on the family farm, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. We’ll also have time to explore the adjacent market displaying fresh vegetables, fruits, and products made on the farm.
Afternoon: Next, we’ll visit a notable vineyard that grows its own muscadine grapes — native to the Southeastern U.S. — and makes and bottles its own wines from several different varieties. There is also a distillery producing unique flavors of spirits correlated with the vineyard’s grapes and the tea plantation’s signature product. We’ll learn from a staff member about the vineyard, the distillery, and what they produce. We’ll also have a tasting. En route back to the city, we’ll stop on Johns Island at Angel Oak, the oldest living live oak tree ever recorded. Estimates range from 400-1,500 years old! The tree is more than 66 feet tall — approximately the height of a six-story building — and about 28 feet in circumference. Its branches shade an area of approximately 17,000 square feet. Angel Oak has survived countless earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and centuries of human activity.
Dinner: At a Lowcountry bistro, our farewell dinner will be a plated meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends as we enjoy Southern cooking featuring locally sourced farm-to-table ingredients in favorite traditional and classic dishes.
Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure following our closing session in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: We’ll be joined by a member of Charleston's Preservation Society to hear about the city’s restoration, preservation, and plans for the future. 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!