South Carolina
Charleston’s Plantations and Stately Homes
Immerse yourself in the uniquely American story of Charleston as you learn about plantation life, traditional cuisine, historic architecture and the Civil War.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19402RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
4 p.m. Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC
Coastal Retreat Center

Activity note: Fresh sheets and towels will be in your room. Make up your beds and relax in your home away from home for the week! Hopefully there will be time for a brief beach walk on the beautiful Isle of Palms beach, located just across the street from Coastal Retreat.

Dinner: A delicious supper welcomes you to your new home away from home in the charming South Carolina Lowcountry.

Evening: Introductions and Orientation will start at 7 p.m. in our main gathering room, later moving to the upstairs classroom for a Charleston Visitors Center video introducing you to this charming historical niche of the United States. This session will give you an overview of your week ahead and a chance to meet your fellow explorers! After orientation and the optional hour long video about Charleston and the Lowcountry, come mingle with fellow scholars at a welcome reception, compliments of Coastal Retreat and Executive Director for SCLRC.

Historic Charleston Bus Tour, Plantation, Architecture Intro
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC
Coastal Retreat Center

Activity note: Today's schedule takes us via bus on an overview of the historic Charleston Peninsula, a comprehensive tour of Magnolia Plantation, and an introduction to Architecture with an emphasis upon the Charleston area. This evening, the talented Dr. Gail Goudy shares her knowledge and expertise regarding Architecture and the international influence visible in the structure and style our historical buildings.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served EARLIER today at 8:00 a.m. (8:15 Tues. - Fri.). Self serve coffee will be available by 7 a.m. daily for early risers!

Morning: 8:40 a.m. We leave Coastal Retreat and enjoy the beautiful 25 minute drive across the incredible Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge over the Cooper River. Adventures Sightseeing will provide guests a comprehensive overview of historic Charleston by a licensed guide. During this narrated bus trip, you'll learn about the history behind the CITADEL our Military College of the South, several stately homes, and other sights found on the downtown peninsula. This excursion will whet your appetite for our week ahead of Charleston history and architecture.

Lunch: 11:15 Enjoy lunch with a magnificent view of the Charleston Marina from the Holiday Inn Riverview top floor restaurant.

Afternoon: Our afternoon excursion takes us to either the oldest public gardens of America at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens or Historic Drayton Hall, an outstanding example of Palladian architecture in North America and the only plantation house on the Ashley River to survive intact through both the Revolutionary and Civil wars, it is a National Historic Landmark.

Dinner: Enjoy a delicious supper without the bustle of commercialism when we return to the quiet Coastal Retreat. Toni Scott with Parish House Catering will delight your palate with Lowcountry favorites throughout the week!

Evening: Dr. Gayle Goudy from the College of Charleston joins us at 7 p.m. in the upstairs classroom. Come learn about the diversity of architecture we will encounter as we visit the plantations and stately homes of Charleston, and how the area's rich history influences the style of buildings and renovations even today.

Historic downtown homes, Walking Tour, Gullah Program
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC
Coastal Retreat Center

Activity note: Walking Tour will last about 2 hours over uneven cobblestone streets and sidewalks of Historic Charleston, and house tours have several stair cases to climb. Wear comfy shoes and be ready for exercise as we explore!

Breakfast: Early bird coffee is always ready by 7 a.m., and at 8:15 a.m. guests can choose hot or cold breakfast, along with fresh fruit, juices, hot coffee, tea.

Morning: This morning allows us the opportunity to walk where history was made as we embark on a comprehensive walking tour of downtown Charleston. Next, enjoy the stately Nathaniel Russell House which is being fully restored to its former beauty and grandeur.

Lunch: Enjoy a light lunch at T-Bonz Gil and Grille, featuring local fare and Carolina Red Rice.

Afternoon: Enjoy the historic open air Market of Downtown Charleston on your own, before we all go to Aiken Rhett Home which features its authentic stables and slave quarters right in the heart of the City of Charleston. Begun circa 1818, 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, it is kept in a state of static 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 downtown Charleston. We will return to the Isle of Palms in time for an afternoon beach walk or a quick nap before supper.

Dinner: 6 p.m. Toni Scott and Parish House Catering will have another delicious meal prepared, featuring local cuisine to delight your palate!

Evening: Gullah Presentation with Ann Caldwell. Enjoy tales of growing up Gullah with renowned Jazz vocalist Ann Caldwell. The unique language is indigenous to the Coastal areas, having developed through slavery from a blend of African tongues combined with the English language.

Angel Oak, McLeod Plantation, Private Reception
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC
Coastal Retreat Center

Activity note: We will venture to the Angel Oak Tree plus the historical McLeod Plantation. Not much walking , and instead enjoy the beautiful ride across the peninsula as we enjoy a private reception at a Charleston Single House, the home of Dr. and Mrs. Biemann and Janelle Othersen.

Breakfast: Start your day out right with a complete breakfast with a variety of offerings at 8:15 a.m., including fresh fruit, juices, hot coffee, tea. Early Bird Coffee is always ready by 7 a.m., and a Keurig is available at all hours.

Morning: Today, we will depart for a day full of adventure! At 9:15 a.m., our luxurious Coastal Coach allows us to comfortably enjoy the beauty of the Cooper and Ashley Rivers as we cross the Charleston Peninsula to behold the famous Angel Oak Tree, deemed the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River. The Angel Oak is believed to be over 1,500 years old and stands 65 ft high with a canopy providing 17,000 sq feet of shade. Following the Angel Oak, we will head over to North Americas only Tea Plantation, located moments away on Wadamalaw Island.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch under the gorgeous oaks while overlooking a picturesque setting at McLeod Plantation.

Afternoon: Established in 1851, McLeod Plantation has borne witness to some of the most significant periods of Charleston’s - and our nations - history. Today McLeod Plantation is an important 37-acre Gullah/Geechee heritage site that has been carefully preserved in recognition of its cultural and historical significance. The grounds include a riverside outdoor pavilion, a sweeping oak allée, and the McLeod Oak, which is thought to be more than 600 years old.After a beautiful ride back into downtown, you are personally invited into the Single House of Dr. Biemann and Janelle Othersen as they share typical Charleston afternoon treats along with tales of working with the Board of Architectural Review of the City Charleston. Afterward is an OPTIONAL EVENING ON YOUR OWN: STAY DOWNTOWN FOR DINNER AND "SOUNDS OF CHARLESTON" CONCERT ON YOUR OWN. The 12 passenger van from Coastal Retreat will pick up any folks from the Circular Congregation Church who choose to stay for the optional concert.

Dinner: Scholars who choose to return to Coastal Retreat will have another delicious meal prepared by our in house chef, Toni Scott of Parish House Catering.

Evening: After dinner, all are invited to gather together in the upstairs classroom to view a one hour Gullah video “COLORS… The journey from Africa to America” which features Gullah artists, story tellers, and musicians.

Boone Hall Plantation, Charles Pinkney Home, Social
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC
Coastal Retreat Center

Activity note: Boone Hall will feature a tractor tour of the plantation, Gullah Theater, Authentic Slave Cabins, plus a beautiful plantation home. If available, we will picnic on the grounds of the Charles Pinkney Home and take a peak at what used to be historic Snee Farms. As an alternative, the Isle of Palms County Park picnic area is a beautiful breezy atmosphere popular among locals and visitors alike.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at 8:15 am to get you ready for your day of adventure!

Morning: Our morning outing takes us nearby to the working plantation of Boone Hall, right in Mount Pleasant, SC. The Authentic Slave Cabins and beautiful gardens along with the Gullah Theater add to the splendor of the plantation home and a tractor tour of the fields reveals where produce is actively cultivated and the community comes together for multiple events hosted at the plantation.

Lunch: Experience a picnic lunch together at the Historic Charles Pinkney Home. An 1828 historic Low-country cottage house serves as the park's visitor center. Visitors can enjoy museum exhibits, film options, Jr. Ranger program, and obtain park and local area information.

Afternoon: After the busy morning and a brief stop at the Boone Hall Country Store, enjoy some free time on your own. You may relax, walk the beach, or venture on your own to local sites. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: Make your own sweetgrass basket with Vera Manigault - $35 per person or Harbor Boat Tour - $20 per person.

Dinner: Once again, our final evening meal together will feature local fare served with lowcountry style and hospitality, a highlight of the week! Tea, Coffee and infused water will be available and guests are welcome to bring alternate beverages of their choice.

Evening: At 7:30 p.m. our Closing Celebration brings us together for fun and fellowship with a local folk musician and delicious ice cream!

Turtle Team Volunteer Presentation, 11 a.m. Check Out
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC

Activity note: As we bid farewell today, take with you the memories of the week together, new friendships, and the plight of the loggerhead turtles who utilize the coastal region to overcome near extinction, thanks to the efforts of expert volunteers we celebrate as “The Turtle Team”.

Breakfast: A full breakfast bar offered up with lots of variety. Coffee, Hot Tea, juice and infused water available.

Morning: After a brief session to learn how to share our memories and photographs with each other through TRIP CAST and to reflect upon our time together, A visit from a Certified Volunteer with the South Carolina Turtle Teams shares with you the local efforts to preserve the nesting habitats of the Loggerhead Turtle and other native species. Next, guests will complete personal packing and clear out private rooms. We hope your room was a peaceful and tranquil respite from the busy-ness of commercialized hotels!

Lunch: Program concludes after the presentation by the Island Turtle Rescue Team. Check Out at Coastal Retreat is at 11 a.m. Please leave your sheets and towels just outside of your door and your door propped open so that Housekeeping knows it is okay to begin cleaning your room for the next guests. We hope our Coastal Retreat has surpassed your experiences at other retreat centers! Safe Travels everyone!

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