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 (4.67)
Program No. 19402RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
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Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC
Coastal Retreat Center

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

Evening: Introductions and Orientation. This session will give you an overview of your week of learning ahead and give you a chance to meet your fellow explorers! After orientation you are invited to watch an optional hour long video about Charleston and the Lowcountry.

Historic Charleston & Plantation, Sweetgrass Baskets
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC
Coastal Retreat Center

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at 8:15 am. Self serve coffee will be available by 7am daily for early risers!

Morning: We'll leave the center and receive a comprehensive overview of historic Charleston by a licensed guide. During this narrated bus trip, you'll learn about the history behind the stately homes found on the downtown peninsula. Group will disembark the bus to explore the Charleston Visitors Ceneter. This excursion will whet your appetite for sights to see during free periods.

Lunch: Enjoy a light picnic lunch when we arrive at the plantation.

Afternoon: Excursion to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, Magnolia Plantation has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry, and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870 to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens. You'll experience the beauty of its gardens along with its rich history with a guided plantation house tour, guided tour of the gardens, slave cabins, and other outlying areas. If time permits, we will venture next door to the historical Drayton Hall, a stark contrast architecturally and a living example of restoration to original form and style of the period.

Dinner: Enjoy a delicious dinner when you return to the retreat center. Participants are given the option of a seafood or non-seafood entrée. Delicious meals are catered by a local restaurant known for their superb seafood selection.

Evening: Mildred Brown and Herbert Loadholt take us into the world of Sweetgrass Baskets, a trade as precious and historical as the Gullah Heritage itself.

Angel Oak, Tea Plantation, Vineyards, Architecture
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC
Coastal Retreat Center

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

Morning: This morning, we will enjoy a 1 hour video introducing the Gullah Culture. The unique language is indigenous to the Coastal areas having developed through slavery from a blend of African tongues combined with the English language. Afterwards, we will depart for a day full of adventure! Our first stop will be the famous Angel Oak Tree, 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. Second, we will explore the Charleston Tea Plantation! This modern day plantation is thriving in the lowcountry and is America’s only tea garden. Plantation tour and tea tasting included.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking a picturesque setting at the Charleston Tea Plantation.

Afternoon: Our last stop of our trip will be the former Irvin House Vineyards, now known as Deep Water Vineyards. This modern day vineyard produces SC Muscadine and Scuppernine Wines, and also Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. Wine and liquor tasting will be available and souvenir wine glass included. A lovely cheese and crackers afternoon snack with some non alcoholic beverages will also be provided.

Dinner: Return to the Coastal Retreat Center for dinner. After an adventurous day, you'll be ready for a tasty meal.

Evening: The delightful Christina Rae Butler shares her stories of preservation and research into the local architecture and city structure.

Nathaniel Russell and Aiken-Rhett Homes, Walking Tour
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!

Breakfast: Start your day out right with a complete breakfast with a variety of offerings at 8:15. Early Bird Coffee is always ready by 7am, and a Keurig is available at all hours.

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 restored to its former beauty and grandeur.

Lunch: Enjoy a light lunch at the Noisy Oyster, featuring local fare and Carolina Red rice.

Afternoon: Enjoy the 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 remodelings. The home of one family from 1825 until the 1970's, the home 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. Afterwards, you are personally invited into the Single House of Dr. Bieman and Janelle Otherson as they share typical Charleston afternoon treats along with tales of working with the Board of Architectural Review of the City Charleston.

Dinner: Return to Coastal Retreat Center and our chef will have your meal prepared!

Evening: After dinner, enjoy hearing from local residence tales of growing up under the Gullah influence, and how it still guides local artistic expression and culture.

Boone Hall, Free Time, Dinner at Sullivan's, and Social
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC
Coastal Retreat Center

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

Morning: Our morning outing takes us 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 tractor tour of the fields where produce is actively cultivated.

Lunch: Experience a picnic lunch together at the Butterfly Cafe of Boone Hall.

Afternoon: After the tour, enjoy some free time on your own. You may relax, walk the beach, or venture on your own to local sites.

Dinner: Tonight's supper will be at the renown Sullivan's Restaurant on Sullivan's Island. Local fare served with low country style and hospitality will be a highlight of the week!

Evening: Our Closing Celebration brings us together for fun and fellowship.

Turtle Team Volunteer Presentation, check out, lunch
Isle of Palms, Charleston County, SC

Breakfast: A full breakfast bar offered up with lots of variety.

Morning: A visit from a volunteer with the South Carolina Turtle Teams shares with you the efforts to preserve the nesting habitats of the Loggerhead Turtle. Next, you will have an hour to pack up your rooms, remove used linens, and gather your belongings for departure.

Lunch: Program concludes after breakfast, and check out and turtle Team Presentation. Safe Travels everyone! Take Out lunch will be provided at 11:30 for anyone interested.

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