Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00pm. Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, and to confirm the time of the orientation session. 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: Dinner will be at the hotel or at a local restaurant.
Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Take the rest of the evening to settle in, relax, and prepare for the full day ahead.
Activity note: Kayak up to 7 miles.
Breakfast: Breakfast will at the hotel before departing for a day of kayak.
Morning: For the quintessential Charleston experience, you have to see it by water. Between dolphin spotting and bird watching, we'll take in the views of the Holy City by kayak as your guide gives a history lesson that will make you want for more. Stories about Castle Pickney, Fort Sumter, the Charleston waterfront, pirates and other fascinating tales weave together with the natural beauty of this historic harbor. It will leave you with a different perspective of this dynamic city-- and we've heard more than once that this paddle was the highlight of a visit to Charleston.
Lunch: Picnic lunch.
Afternoon: Kayak continues in the afternoon.
Dinner: Dinner will be at the hotel or a local restaurant.
Evening: Presentation: "Salt Marsh Estuary" This presentation will focus on salt marsh estuaries as the "nursery of the sea" and its important role in the fragile balance of the coastal plain ecosystem.
Activity note: Hiking up to 5 miles round trip.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: We will be transported from the hotel to meet at 10:00 am at Sewee Environmental Education Center for a welcome presentation from the staff followed by a trip orientation. After the orientation period we will shuttle a short distance to Garris Landing to board the Bulls island Ferry. After boarding the ferry, we will journey through the salt marsh estuary on our way out to the barrier island chain, destination Bulls Island. This is one of the most super bio-diversified ecosystems on the planet. Although we cannot guarantee seeing dolphins, we have spotted them at some point on all departures to date, and they are certainly not shy. The focus of the trip today is biodiversity and the fragile marine ecosystems. We should expect to see over 30 different avian species en route to Bulls Island. The ecosystems of this barrier islands are almost completely undeveloped and truly feel otherworldly. Today we will explore the pristine Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and our destination is Boneyard Beach. The Bulls Island experience includes maritime forest hiking as we explore the vast stretches of beach and inland trails and ponds (alligator spotting guaranteed). The birding should be excellent as we move through the dynamic edges between ecosystems separating the forest from the sea. Human history and its integral connection to natural history will be our focus today as we explore the original landing spot of the ships that first landed here on their way to settle Charlestowne, and where they were greeted by the Sewee Native American tribe in 1670.
Lunch: Picnic lunch on field trip.
Afternoon: We will continue to immerse ourselves as we explore barrier island geology, focusing on the transgressional migration of the land mass itself towards the main land. While we are hiking the island, we will explore the intimate relationship between island, estuary and ocean. Surrounded by a diverse array of bird life, playful dolphins, allusive alligators and untouched shoreline, it is easy to picture what early life was like in this warm subtropical paradise.
Dinner: Dinner at the hotel or at a local restaurant.
Evening: After dinner, your guide will lead the group in a discussion and will go over the next days activities.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Your historian guide will lead you through the hidden passage ways for unique views of the wrought iron gate works and glimpses of the gardens of the 18th century Charleston homes. There is no better way to develop a more round understanding of Charleston's history...first by water then by land.
Lunch: With all the different lunch spots and choices you have, pick the place that best suits you. Join fellow participants or the group leader for lunch at your own expense. The afternoon is yours to explore all Charleston has to offer.
Afternoon: This is your free time to spend it as you like. You may decide to continue exploring the historic district of Charleston. Bike taxi's are readily available to take you anywhere at a very reasonable cost. It is the transportation of choice for the peninsula and a great way to get from one place to another on the peninsula. We will help you make plans for your free afternoon so you don't waste any time.
Dinner: Dinner will be on your own. You may choose to stay for dinner in downtown historic Charleston after you explore the peninsula of Charleston with your guide or return to your hotel, 3 miles away, and find dinner closer to your hotel. You will be responsible for your transportation if you decide to stay in downtown. By now, you have become close friends with the small group of participants so join others or join the group leader for dinner. This meal has been excluded from your program cost.
Evening: The evening is free to explore the area with friends or own your own.
Activity note: Wambaw River Trip Duration: Up to 6 hours, approximately 7 miles all day.
Breakfast: Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Morning: Francis Marion National Forest ... Wambaw River Francis Marion National Forest is over 250,000 acres of federally protected forest land managed for Long Needle Pine and the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. This National Forest is adjacent to Cape Romain NWR and helps create one of the largest protected wildlife corridors on the East Coast. The prothonotary warbler, barred owl, and swallow tailed kite, are just a few of the highlights of this Cypress, Tupelo deciduous hardwood bottom. The trees here are amazing! We will glide through the black water, colored dark like tea by the tanic nature of the bordering forest, and gaze up at the 1000 year old Cypress trees on the river's edge. This is a unique opportunity to experience this largely inaccessible habitat and also offers the option of visiting one of the last remaining Rice Plantations, Hampton Plantation and visit the camellia gardens and grave site of the poet laureate of South Carolina, Archibald Rutledge.
Lunch: Picnic lunch.
Afternoon: Exploration continues on this scenic river while looking for swallow-tailed kites soaring over towering bald cypress trees. If you are looking for a kayak expedition that takes you places that you wouldn't be able to see otherwise, this is the trip to take. We'll gently paddle down water trails that will maximize your wildlife opportunities, and the quiet rhythm of the kayaking will allow us to really get in sync with the natural world.
Dinner: Relax as we enjoy dinner at a popular restaurant with our fellow Road Scholar participants. You have indulged in nature at her greatest. We will say farewell but I'll bet we see you back again one day.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel. Hotel check-out is by 11 am. There will be no morning program.