South Carolina/Georgia

Women in the City: The Best of Charleston & Savannah

In the company of women, embrace the southern charms of Charleston and Savannah with plenty of free time and learn about basket weaving, plantations, Civil War forts and local cuisine.
Program No. 23999RJ
8 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Charleston and Savannah — the grand dames of the antebellum South. Discover these elegant old-world cities alongside other women who find great joy in learning! Let history lead the way as you walk the manicured grounds of 18th-century plantations, explore Civil War forts and delight in Southern hospitality while enjoying Lowcountry cuisine. On this special women’s-only program, journey from one waterfront city to the other, marveling at historic districts, cobblestone streets and antique homes spilling over with beauty and charm. Hear tales of centuries past from local experts and learn how the history of these two cities impacts Southern culture today.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to three miles daily on a mix of concrete paths and uneven terrain; stairs at museums, historic houses, restaurants; getting on/off buses and trolley.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Step back in time as you explore an 18th-century plantation that withstood revolution and civil war in Charleston, and hear historic cannons firing at Old Fort Jackson in Savannah.
  • Learn about the intricate art of Sweetgrass basket weaving, as passed down over generations, and gain insight into Gullah culture through a musical performance in Charleston.
  • Break bread with a supportive group of Road Scholar women as you savor the Lowcountry culinary delights of both cities.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Ruth Miller
Ruth Miller, a graduate of Duke University, has lived all over America and journeyed throughout the world. As a Charleston historian and excursion leader, she enjoys tying local history into the American story and worldwide events. Ruth is the author and co-author of numerous books, including “Charleston Charlie — A Family Activity Book for Kids of All Ages,” “Touring the Tombstones,” and “The Angel Oak Story.” She is a member of the South Carolina Historical Society and the National Trust.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Al Miller
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Darryl Stoneworth
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Georgia Murphy
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Katherine Owens
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Tom Murray
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Ruth Miller
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Jamie Keena, Period Music
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Touring the Tombstones
by Ruth Miller
A series of guide books to Charleston's 18th century graveyards.
The Angel Oak Story
by Ruth Miller and Linda Lennon
The Angel Oak is a Southern live oak tree located in Angel Oak Park, in Charleston, South Carolina, on Johns Island, one of South Carolina's Sea Islands. It is estimated to be 300-400 years old, stands 65 ft (20 m) tall, measures 28 ft (8.5 m) in circumference, and shades with its crown an area of 17,000 square feet. This book goes in depth regarding the history of this mighty tree.
Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War
by David Detzer
An original and deeply human portrait of soldiers and civilians caught in the vortex of war. So vividly does Allegiance re-create the events leading to the firing of the first shot of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, that we can feel the fabric of the Union tearing apart. It is a tense and surprising story, filled with indecisive bureaucrats, uninformed leaders, hotheaded politicians, and dedicated and honorable soldiers on both sides. The six-month-long agony that began with Lincoln's election in November sputtered from one crisis to the next until Lincoln's inauguration, and finally exploded as the soldiers at Sumter neared starvation. At the center of this dramatic narrative is the heroic figure of Major Robert Anderson, a soldier whose experience had taught him above all that war is the poorest form of policy. With little help from Washington, D.C., Anderson almost single-handedly forestalled the beginning of the war until he finally had no choice but to fight. David Detzer's decade-long research illuminates the passions that led to the fighting, the sober reflections of the man who restrained its outbreak, and individuals on both sides who changed American history. No other historian has given us a clearer or more intimate picture of the human drama of Fort Sumter.
A Black Woman's Civil War Memories
by Susie King Taylor Weiner
Reissue of a 1902 book by a nurse/teacher/former slave-memoirs of a black woman around the time of the Civil War.
A Witness to History: Charleston's Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
by Ruth Miller and Ann Taylor Andrus
The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the great buildings of Colonial America. Serving as city hall, customs house, post office and prison; as the British Headquarters during the occupation of Charles Towne and then host to a great ball honoring George Washington, the Exchange has been an eyewitness to America’s history. This stoic building-—designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975—-has been described as the best example of the dignity and ornament of the traditional English “exchange-town hall” design of the eighteenth century built in the United States. From within its Great Hall to deep below in the Provost Dungeon, the Exchange has played a vital role in American history. Andrus’ and Miller’s fast-paced and readable survey of the history and significance of the Old Exchange Building will appeal to visitor and serious historian alike.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
by John Berendt
Referred to in Savannah as "The Book"-non-fiction, adult language-account of a local antique dealer, Jim Williams', four (!) trials for the same murder in the 1980's-also a Clint Eastwood movie released in 1997.
A Short History of Charleston
by Robert N. Rosen
A concise small history of Charleston that is easy to read and enjoyable.
The Complete Stories: Flannery O'Conner
by Flannery O'Conner
Native Savannian who won the 1971 National Book Award for Fiction. Thirty-one tales depicting the humorous, of near tragic conditions of life in the Deep South during the fifties.
South of Broad
by Pat Conroy
Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of thirteen, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him. Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors that includes friends Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; hardscrabble mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The ties among them endure for years, surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston's dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for. South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest; a long-awaited work from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.
Civil War Savannah
by Derek Smith
Glimpse into the lives of the men and women who forever will be associated with Savannah through the wartime deeds.

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