South Carolina
Spoleto Festival USA
The Spoleto Festival is a performing arts festival set in Charleston, a city chosen for its similarities to Spoleto, Italy. Come see for yourself as you enjoy art, cuisine and culture.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21257RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 3 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-In, Registration,Orientation, Dinner & Get Acquainted
Charleston, South Carolina
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Walking from hotel to Spoleto venues is can be as close as 2 blocks or as far as 6-8 blocks. The city offers free shuttle service at selected pickup points but is not always reliable on time. Bike taxis are also available for hire at a cost of $4.50 per person per 10 minutes. It takes 5-10 minutes for a bike to go the 6 blocks so this is a very reasonable fee for the convenience. We recommend a bike taxi if you are unable to walk the distance.

Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 4:00 pm. PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to register with the program staff at our desk in the lobby beginning at 4:00 pm. You’ll receive your arrival packet containing the most up-to-date schedule and program information that we’ll review during our orientation session before dinner. If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the hotel front desk. ORIENTATION: Meet your fellow participants and the program staff at 5:00 pm, during a get-acquainted session followed by an informative overview of the program. We will review the schedule and any changes, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and emergency contact numbers, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: A buffet dinner will be at 6:30 pm in the hotel conference room. Beverages included will be coffee, tea or water. Additional beverages available at extra cost.

Evening: The remainder of the evening is yours to begin getting to know one another, walk around the neighborhood, or relax in the hotel as you prepare for tomorrow. You are embarking on a special Road Scholar "FLEX" program that includes expert lectures and attending selected events from the schedules of Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto as well as a significant amount of free time to pursue your own interests with opportunities to dine out on your own. The preparatory materials you receive following enrollment will provided more details about the ticketed events included in your program. We highly recommend checking the Spoleto USA website that explains how the festival is organized and how you can purchase tickets when the time comes for the events you would like to attend on your own. To avoid duplication, DO NOT ORDER TICKETS UNTIL YOU HAVE CHECKED ON roadscholar.org UNDER YOUR PROGRAM WEEK TO SEE WHAT TICKETS ARE INCLUDED IN YOUR PROGRAM. For information on Spoleto go to http://spoletousa.org/home/

Background on Spoleto Festival USA, Spoleto Festivities
Charleston, South Carolina
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Chamber Music is at the Dock Street Theater-six blocks from your hotel. Leader will help you secure a bike taxi at your own expense if you are unable to walk the distance. Cost is approx $5 per person within historic district.

Breakfast: A breakfast buffet will be available with hot and cold menu items such as eggs, bacon or sausage, toast, bagels, waffle's, yogurt, fruit, and juices. Other beverages included are coffee and water.

Morning: PRESENTATION: Exclusively for our group, a member of the Spoleto Board of Directors (or other festival insider depending on availability) will provide an overview of the festival and discuss its history. Please note: One of the advantages of taking this Road Scholar “FLEX” program is having guaranteed seats for performances and events that may otherwise be sold out. SPOLETO PERFORMANCE: We will depart the hotel for a short walk to the Chamber Music event at the Dock Street Theater beginning at 11 am.

Lunch: Lunch will be at a popular restaurant in the Historic District.

Afternoon: We will let you know the schedule of the performances we have selected for your enjoyment as soon as it is available.

Dinner: Dinner will be at a special restaurant near your hotel. We will list it as soon as we know about the Spoleto schedule. This dinner may end up on another evening, depending on the performances in the evening.

Evening: We do not know the offerings at this time but as soon as the schedule comes out and we select the performances, they will be made available on roadscholar.org. That is usually in February.

Carriage Ride, Spirit Line Sunset Cruise
Charleston, South Carolina
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Walk to carriage ride is approximately 20 minutes or 1/2 mile. Transportation is provided to the Spirit Line Cruise

Breakfast: A breakfast buffet will be at the hotel.

Morning: EXCURSION: You are here because of the Spoleto Festival, but your experience would not be complete without a scenic introduction to the charming city of Charleston itself. Aboard horse-drawn carriages that hold up to 16 participants, we will enjoy a pleasant, relaxing, and informative ride through neighborhoods filled with colorful history and picturesque architecture.

Lunch: Lunch is on your own to explore the many different restaurants in the city.

Afternoon: Performances are not available at this time but will be posted as soon as the schedule comes out.

Dinner: Enjoy a three or four course dinner, made to order from local seasonal ingredients. As you dine on a delicious multi-course plated dinner, the Spirit of Carolina will cruise through the beautiful Charleston Harbor, past Fort Sumter, along the Battery and beneath the Ravenel Bridge.

Evening: Sit back and relax as you listen to live music, amazing Charleston harbor sunset views and the service of a full bar.

Spoleto Festivities, Sound of Charleston
Charleston, South Carolina
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Sound of Charleston is at the Circular Church six blocks from your hotel.

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: PRESENTATION: "Conversations With" -- Meet someone from the Charleston Historic Preservation Society to learn more about Spoleto coming to Charleston and about the new and old Charleston.

Lunch: We will have lunch together at a convenient location.

Afternoon: 2:00 pm - Piccolo Performance of The Sound of Charleston: Experience the musical sounds that help define Charleston's history - from gospel to light classics - coming to life in historic Circular Congregational Church. Sound of Charleston presents light classics of the venerable St. Cecelia Society; music of the Civil War sung and played on authentic period instruments; gospel spirituals song by the slaves as they passed through the port of Charleston; music of George Gershwin, who wrote the opera "Porgy & Bess" while on a working vacation in Charleston.

Dinner: Dinner will be at the hotel. The food is fresh and well prepared from recipes that evoke Southern heritage enhanced by culinary innovations.

Evening: Performances and events will be announced in January or February. We will let you know as soon as we know and as soon as we get the Spoleto schedule of events.

Colonial and Antebellum Cemeteries
Charleston, South Carolina
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Walk with expert to cemeteries is 4-5 blocks at a slow pace and over uneven terrain, some dirt paths.

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: PRESENTATION: Co-author of Touring the Tombstones, a series of guide books to Charleston's 18th century graveyards and local historian will lead us on a stroll through ancient graveyards, which she describes as "art galleries harboring stories, literature and legends". Discover this unique portrait of the past found in the old graveyards on a walk through colonial and antebellum cemeteries. Look at some of the finest 18th and 19th century memorials in the country and the fascinating stories surrounding them.

Lunch: We will end up with lunch at a popular restaurant in the historic district and not far from where our field trip concludes. Again, we will post this as soon as arrangements are made.

Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON: By now, you have a strong sense of the festival's uniqueness and have learned how to negotiate both the geography and schedules. Select the afternoon performances you will enjoy most. Flex at its best!

Dinner: Dinner will be at a popular local restaurant within the historic district.

Evening: We will announce the evening performance as soon as the schedule is made available. Your seats are carefully selected to give you a good view of all performances.

Program Concludes, Presentation, Check Out and Departures
Charleston, South Carolina

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: We will finalize our week with a presentation to be announced. We hope you have enjoyed this Road Scholar "Flex" program including presentations, delightful performances, and the opportunity to explore on your own. And we hope you will return for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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