20644
South Carolina/Georgia
Charleston to St. Augustine: A Southern Coastal Journey
From the plantations of Charleston to the cuisine of Savannah, and from the glamour of Jekyll Island to the history of St. Augustine, come learn the story of these southern cities.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20644RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
2,899
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12 days
11 nights
24 meals
11 B 4 L 9 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Charleston, South Carolina
D
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table 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, 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 a lovely private room for our group, enjoy a plated meal that also includes coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Program travel and transfers will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. This is a Road Scholar FLEX program. In contrast to our traditional programs, it offers extensive time for personal independent exploration and meals on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. You are about to embark on a very special learning adventure, seeing first hand how history lives on in the present, from stately homes in historic Charleston to extraordinary Lowcountry plantations. Charleston has always been a place of spectacular contradictions. Known as the “Holy City” because of its many houses of worship, this was one of the few places in colonial America to protect religious diversity. Yet it was also part of an ante-bellum society that benefited from slavery and became wealthy as a result. You’ll have opportunities to ponder these contradictions as we explore and learn about magnificent dwellings, often adorned with graceful gardens, and the lives of the people who lived and worked there.

DAY
2
Charleston History, Historic District Field Trip
Charleston, South Carolina
B,D
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles daily over uneven paths and cobblestone streets. Dirt paths at plantations. The city offers free shuttle service at selected pickup points. Bike taxis are also available for hire.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll start our day off right with a hearty and nutritious breakfast that will include a wide range of freshly baked goods, organic whole-grain cereals, fresh fruit, creamy yogurts, freshly squeezed juices, fresh eggs and bacon or sausage. Coffee, tea, and water are also included. omelettes, bacon and sausage, fresh fruit, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

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 Charleston and the Carolina Lowcountry. This introductory history of Charleston will set the stage for field trips with our historian.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There are numerous restaurants that surround the hotel.

Afternoon: Charleston Historic District. Get an orientation to the interior city of Charleston as we begin our exploration of great houses and gardens. This motor coach field trip involves getting on and off and walking up to 3 blocks along the battery. Our field trip will also include a visit to the Citadel.

Dinner: We’ll walk from the hotel to a nearby popular restaurant on the Charleston Peninsula for a plated and served dinner to savor some of Charleston’s distinctive coastal cuisine; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Middleton & Magnolia Plantations, Sweetgrass Baskets
Charleston, South Carolina
B,L,D
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile at Middleton Place and Magnolia Plantation on dirt paths; some paved as well as unpaved, uneven surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our local expert will provide commentary en route to and at the plantations. Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark situated on the Ashley River, a carefully preserved 18th-century plantation that has survived revolution, Civil War, and earthquake. During our field trip, we’ll learn that it was the home of four important generations of Middletons, beginning with Henry Middleton, President of the First Continental Congress; Arthur, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Henry, Governor of South Carolina and an American Minister to Russia; and William, a signer of the Ordinance of Secession. We’ll explore the gardens, and the plantation stableyards, as well as seeing rice fields.

Lunch: In the Middleton Place restaurant, choose what you like from the delicious Lowcountry buffet.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll ride to Magnolia Plantation. Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, it has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public site open to visitors in the Lowcountry, with the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1872 to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens. We’ll learn about Magnolia’s vivid and complex history as we experience the beauty of the house and gardens. While riding through the landscape on a tram, we’ll see sights that evoke the plantation’s past such as a row of slave cabins, 19th century rice ponds, and a Native American ceremonial mound.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: With a local expert, we’ll learn about Charleston’s the history of Gullah sweetgrass baskets, the materials used to make these works of art, and how they are made. Brought to the area by slaves who came from the west coast of Africa, basket making is an ancient African art form in this country, which has been passed on from generation to generation. Skilled craftsmanship and long hours are involved in making these baskets. Even for the most experienced basket maker, a simple design can take as long as 12 hours. A larger more complex design can take as long as two to three months.

DAY
4
Free Time, Aiken Rhett and Joseph Manigault Homes
Charleston, South Carolina
B,D
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile to historic homes within the Marion Square area on mostly even terrain. The homes are within .7 of a mile distance from the hotel. The Sound of Charleston held at the Circular Church is a 7 block walk. Bike taxi's are available at your own expense. Group leader will be happy to assist in calling.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Participants will be given vouchers for entry to the Aiken - Rhett and the Joseph Manigault homes. You may go anytime during the day and at your own pace. The Aiken-Rhett House Museum, 48 Elizabeth Street, c. 1820, remained in the hands of family descendents for 142 years until it was sold to The Charleston Museum and opened as a museum house in 1975. The back lot of the Aiken-Rhett House is where the slaves worked and lived, and they probably took their meals communally in the kitchen. https://www.historiccharleston.org/Visit/Museums/Aiken-Rhett-House-Museum.aspx The Joseph Manigault home is one of Charleston's most exquisite antebellum structures. Built in 1803, the Manigault home reflects the urban lifestyle of a wealthy, rice-planting family and the enslaved African Americans who lived there. http://www.charlestonmuseum.org/historic-houses/joseph-manigault-house/ Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Remember that the city offers free shuttle service at selected pickup points and bike taxis are available for hire.

Dinner: Dinner on your own.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Beaufort By Carriage, Arrive Savannah
Savannah, Georgia
B,D
Holiday Inn Express Savannah-Historic District

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and depart Charleston for Beaufort, SC. Upon arrival, we’ll go on an expert led field trip by carriages through the historic town. We’ll learn about history from the early 1500s to today, see many Antebellum and Victorian homes and other structures to appreciate their architecture, and hear about Beaufort folklore. Chartered in 1711, Beaufort is South Carolina’s second-oldest city after Charleston. It grew as a result of shipbuilding and then, with slavery, became a prosperous community of planters whose wealth derived from cotton, indigo, and rice plantations. Many of the lovely dwellings date from that era. After a series of devastating natural disasters that brought destruction and bad economic times, Beaufort made a comeback in the 20th century as a destination for vacationers. The entire downtown area is a designated National Historic Landmark.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There are numerous options for the renowned coastal cuisine.

Afternoon: We’ll have a short amount of free time after lunch. Stroll through this village beside the Intracoastal Waterway or sit and watch ships that come and go. We’ll then continue our journey to Savannah with expected mid-afternoon arrival at our hotel. We’ll check in and have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. The evening is yours to unwind from the day of activities and look forward to your first day in Savannah. We are in the heart of Savannah within easy walking distance of its many lovely squares.

DAY
6
Savannah By Trolley, Andrew Low Home, Forsyth Park
Savannah, Georgia
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Express Savannah-Historic District

Activity note: Getting on/off a trolley. Walking less than a mile, paved and cobblestone surfaces.

Breakfast: In the breakfast area of the hotel, the buffet offers choices such as pancakes, eggs, bacon, assorted breads, pastries, fruits, milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Boarding a trolley, we’ll depart on an expert led field trip to see some of Savannah’s highlights. We’ll see and hear about aspects of its fascinating history, getting on and off the trolley for close up looks and entrances into historic sites.

Lunch: At a highly rated restaurant situated in an historic mansion, circa 1900, we’ll have a plated and served lunch including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. The simple elegance of the surroundings creates the atmosphere for a delicious Lowcountry take on classic dishes.

Afternoon: Enhanced by its original mid-nineteenth century garden, the Andrew Low home was built on a trust lot facing Lafayette Square. The house preserves one of the finest collections of period furnishings relating to the history of Savannah and the Low family. It includes examples of works by some of America’s most prestigious furniture makers After our visit to the Low home, we’ll arrive at the Cathedral of St. John The Baptist, where an expert will lead our exploration. We’ll learn about the history of the parish that grew from immigrants fleeing turmoil in Haiti and France near the end of the 18th century, and the cathedral itself, originally established as a small frame building. A magnificent brick building in French Gothic style was completed in 1876. Nearly destroyed by fire in 1898, it was rebuilt according to the original design and has been restored since to preserve and maintain its architectural and aesthetic integrity. We’ll conclude the afternoon at 30-acre Forsyth Park. With a local expert, we’ll stroll through this picture postcard setting of classic Savannah where huge, moss-draped live oak trees form a tunnel that frames the park’s 1858 fountain, patterned after that in the Place de la Concord in Paris.

Dinner: At a popular seafood restaurant located in a restored 18th century cotton warehouse on River Street, we’ll have a plated and served dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Watch ships pass by as we dine.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Old Fort Jackson, Free Time
Savannah, Georgia
B
Holiday Inn Express Savannah-Historic District

Activity note: Walking at Old Fort Jackson; uneven surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our field trip this morning takes us to historic Fort Jackson. It protected Savannah during the War of 1812 and served as the headquarters for the Savannah River defenses during the Civil War. It finally fell to Union forces in December 1864 when General William Tecumseh Sherman ended his famous “March to the Sea” in Savannah. A soldier reenactor will address the fort’s history. With a firing of the cannon, we’ll salute and pay honor to the memory of those who served here.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. We will have a list of restaurants to pick from.

Afternoon: Free Time. Our hotel is conveniently located for exploring Historic River Street, City Market, Savannah Civic Center, Savannah College of Art and Design and the Savannah History Museum.

Dinner: On your own or with a group of new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
To Jekyll Island, Jekyll Island Club Hotel & Village
Jekyll Island, Georgia
B,L
Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Activity note: The drive to Jekyll Island is about 70 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking through Jekyll Island Club Hotel property; paved and unpaved surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll head to Jekyll Island, Georgia, with commentary en route. The drive will take us along marshes and estuaries that are a big part of Lowcountry ecology. Relax and enjoy the beauty of these surroundings.

Lunch: At the historic Crane Cottage restaurant on Jekyll Island, we’ll have a plated and served lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. This was the largest private residence built by Jekyll Island Club members. Richard Crane, its owner, founded the Crane Company that built fluid control equipment and plumbing fixtures. It was the first to make colored bathroom fixtures. The “cottage” has 18 bathrooms, practically unheard of in the early 1900s!

Afternoon: Led by the hotel’s concierge, we’ll set out on a field trip to learn about the Jekyll Island Club’s of rich history or more than a century and hear stories passed down over time. Tycoons, politicians, and socialites once flocked to Jekyll Island to revel in luxury made possible by America’s burgeoning wealth. Their exclusive club was described in the February 1904 issue of Munsey’s Magazine as “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world.” Its members included luminaries such as J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Vincent Astor, Joseph Pulitzer, William K. Vanderbilt. We are staying in what was their exclusive club house, converted into a hotel.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own to enjoy with new found friends. Restaurants available in the hotel or nearby restaurants.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Jekyll Island Museum and Millionaire Village, Performance
Jekyll Island, Georgia
B,D
Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a tram. Walking through museums and homes on the Jekyll Island Club Hotel property.

Breakfast: At the hotel, choose what you like from the Grand Dining Room’s freshly prepared buffet; milk, juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: We’ll depart on a field trip to the Jekyll Island Museum where an expert will introduce exhibits that take us back to a bygone era. After watching an informative film and seeing photos of this time period, we’ll meet our historian who will provide background on the so-called “Millionaire’s Village.” Fifty-three prominent Jekyll Island Club members created an exclusive Gilded Age island retreat for family and friends on Georgia’s coast. These empire builders helped to shape our nation’s future. In 1910, a small group of financiers and powerful politicians gathered here to plan the Federal Reserve system. We’ll then hop aboard the tram that will take us through parts of this 240-acre historic district with entry into two of the homes. As we step into the past and into a world of wealth and exclusivity, learn all about Jekyll Island history from our historian.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free Time. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: A plated dinner at the fabulous Jekyll Island Club Hotel is served with coffee, tea or water. Additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Performance. We’ll be joined by the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters, an extraordinary group whose performances feature the lyrical Gullah language, spiritual songs, stories, and redemptive shouts. It’s thought that the “ring shout” originated with African dance, passed down from slaves on Georgia’s southeastern coast. The Ring Shouters participated in the Obama Presidential Parade in January, 2013. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. Enjoy our final evening on Jekyll Island, and prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
10
To St. Augustine, Cathedral Basilica, Trolley Field Trip
St. Augustine, FL
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites St. Augustine Historic District

Activity note: The drive to St. Augustine is about 77 miles, approximately 2 hours. Walking less than a mile, places to sit. Trolley is open air with pull down shades in case of rain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and depart for St. Augustine, Florida, with an informative video en route. Upon arrival, we’ll meet a local expert who will provide background on some of the most significant historical sites including the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, the oldest parish of a permanent European settlement in North America. Fights between rival colonial powers resulted in several fires that devastated early St. Augustine. After the Florida territory returned to Spanish hands in 1784, the King of Spain ordered a new Roman Catholic parish church. The cornerstone was laid in 1793. That church was designated as the cathedral in 1870, though the building was eventually destroyed by another fire. It was rebuilt on a grander scale and renovated in honor of St. Augustine’s 400th anniversary.

Lunch: At an historic restaurant — Florida’s oldest — in the heart of old St. Augustine, we’ll have a plated and served lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. The cuisine is based on traditional Hispanic favorites with a local flair. The Columbia Restaurant was founded in 1905 by a Cuban immigrant, and has been operated by the same family ever since. During lunch, we’ll be joined by a local expert who will give a presentation on Menorcan history and culture. Menorca (or Minorca) is one of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. During the 1760s, some influential Europeans believed Florida’s climate would be suitable for crops such as grapes, olives, and oranges. They began recruiting colonists from among those they felt would be suited to both the climate and the crops, primarily Greeks and Italians. More than 1,400 people including Corsicans, French, and Menorcans, left the Mediterranean in 1768 and sailed for Florida. We’ll hear their story.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll go for a field trip by trolley with expert commentary to see and learn more about America’s oldest continually inhabited European settlement. From the original Native Americans to Spanish, British, and Americans, millionaire developers such as Henry Flagler, and on to foot soldiers of the Civil Rights movement, St. Augustine has a complex and colorful history. Remnants of each era are preserved in the city’s historical sites. We’ll then check in to our hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At a restaurant in a restored Victorian era house, we’ll have a plated and served dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. The century-old Victorian building is one of the last survivors of a period of development that began in this part of St. Augustine. A visual highlight is a replica of the yacht that brought its owners across the Atlantic Ocean to the U.S. in 1979.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Lightner Museum
St. Augustine, FL
B,D
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites St. Augustine Historic District

Activity note: At Castillo de San Marcos, walking less than a mile; uneven terrain; paved, crushed stone, and sand walkways; lower levels accessible, Gun Deck reached by stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll set out with our Road Scholar local expert on a field trip to Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S., situated on the shore of Matanzas Bay. As the National Park Service website states, “The fortress itself is both a product of and evidence to the multitude of forces both political and technological that created the competition for empire during the colonial era. But above all the Castillo is an enduring legacy of the craftsmanship and skill of the engineers, artisans and laborers who built it.” At the end of our field trip, the motorcoach will drop us off in the downtown area near restaurants.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We’ll regroup at a designated downtown location the Group Leader will announce. We’ll then walk to the Lightner Museum for a self directed exploration. The museum is situated in what was once Henry Flagler’s 1888 Alcazar Hotel. The collection features 19th century fine and decorative arts as well as rarities and oddities.

Dinner: At a restaurant in the oldest part of the city, we’ll have a plated and served farewell dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages availale for purchase. The façade of this Spanish Colonial Revival structure is coquina stone that likely came from the original city wall. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends at our farewell dinner together.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and departure in the morning.

DAY
12
Program Concludes, Transfers to Jacksonville Airport
St. Augustine, FL
B

Activity note: Transfers to Jacksonville International Airport by 9:00 a.m., expected arrival in Jacksonville approximately 10:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. 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! At the end of the program, motor coach transfers will be available to take participants to the Jacksonville International Airport. If you require transportation to the Jacksonville International Airport, the cost is $50.00 per person payable to group leader on departure date. Payment for this service can be made with cash or check. This cost is not included in your program cost. The trip to Jacksonville is 51 miles long. It is approximately one hour from St. Augustine to Jacksonville and we will leave St. Augustine around 9 am.






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