Arts & Culture, Discovery

Tennis’s Aces Hit Charleston

Some of tennis’s brightest female stars will descend upon Charleston starting this weekend. The 41st annual Family Circle Cup gets underway March 30th and lasts through April 7th at the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island.  The nine-day event, which has become a Lowcountry favorite, welcomes defending champion Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Samantha Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki, among others.

Established in 1973, the Family Circle Cup was held on Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Island until 2000 (with the exception of 1975 and 1976 when it was played on Amelia Island, Florida). The tournament moved to Charleston in 2001 and has grown every year since. It is now classified as a premier tournament on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour. Over the years, the Family Circle Cup has hosted some of the best and brightest in the sport, including Steffi Graff, Billie Jean King, Jennifer Capriati and Martina Navártilová.

Nestled along the banks of the Wando River, the Family Circle Magazine Stadium’s state-of the-art facilities highlight the natural beauty of the Lowcountry landscape. The Tennis Center combines 17 championship-level courts within the 32-acre park that surrounds the 10,200-seat Family Circle Magazine Stadium. See our concierge for directions.

If you are planning on attending some of this year’s matches, we’ve put together a list of our favorite events and some tips to make it through the week!

Concierge Tip: Be sure to wear sunscreen and a hat. The weather should warm up by next week.

Family Weekend kicks off tomorrow with two fun-filled days of balloon artists, craft stations, jump castles and ends with an Easter egg hunt on the Grand Lawn on Sunday afternoon.

Concierge Tip: Wear pink on April 4th and $1 will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Lowcountry chapter.

Plan to make a day out of it. Food options are plentiful including a nightly happy hour with live music by local favorites, including our own Calvin Taylor, who regularly plays in the Thoroughbred Club. Local vendors will also be selling wares along with Family Circle Cup merchandise.

Concierge Tip: Saturday’s semifinal schedule has been altered due to the Bride Run. The first semifinal match will start later, at 1pm, and there will be no Saturday night exhibition games this year.

The street party is sure to be a blast! Join thousands of runners and fans for the official Bridge Run after party on Saturday, April 6th from 10am to 1pm. Enjoy an afternoon of live music, food, drinks and fun.

Concierge Tip: Get your tickets early! The finals usually sell out.

Did you know? The United States Tennis Association (USTA) named Charleston “America’s Best Tennis Town.” See you on the courts!

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Arts & Culture

Spring Blooms in Charleston

When the sun begins to cast warm rays on the city’s historic buildings and backyard gardens blossom vibrant splashes of color, you know spring is finally here. Charleston is known for its quiet and charming secret gardens, Palmetto trees and local flowers sprinkled throughout the city. While Charleston has a long list of reasons for travelers to explore the city, the blooming flowers of spring are among the highlights. Spring in Charleston brings a variety of floral delights; the most breathtaking regional flowers consist of Azaleas, Wisteria, Tea Olive, Tulip Trees and Camellias.

Wherever you turn in Charleston you will surely see Azaleas blooming in hues of pronounced pinks, brilliant reds and warm purples, adding sweet, rich pigment. Azaleas, also called “the royalty of the garden”, are from the rhododendron family and one of the most sought-after shrubs, producing brilliant full color.

Spring in Charleston most certainly brings Wisteria, a wispy, willowing plant that climbs and wraps around historic stone buildings and arching iron gates, welcoming guests as they arrive. The curious vines of a wisteria can reach as high as 65 feet above the ground and spread out 32 feet wide.
The fragrant Tea Olive’s dark glossy, green leaves and dense foliage can be discovered all throughout Charleston in the form of well-manicured hedges providing shade and privacy. These sweet shrubs bloom tiny but amazingly fragrant, creamy white flowers which give gardens a crisp and fresh aesthetic.

You can also find beautifully strong and tall Tulip Trees blooming light pink flowers. The Tulip Tree, which is part of the Magnolia family, can grow as tall as 80 feet at full maturity. Often selected for their joyful robust tulips, the tree also provides cool shade for Charlestonians on warm spring days.

Camellias, another Southern favorite come, in many different shapes and sizes, yielding hues of red with colors ranging from starch white to rich pink ombré. These gorgeous trees, growing up to 65 feet tall, can be seen February 14th – March 23rd at Middleton Place Camellia Walks, where visitors can admire hundreds of varieties of Camellias dating back to the 1950’s.

The Festival of Houses and Gardens held in Charleston March 21st – April 20th celebrates historic downtown residences dating back to the 18th century, providing outsiders a rare opportunity to experience some of Charleston’s most beautiful, private gardens.

Floral insights were provided by Bloom at Charleston Place. Utilizing local product as much as possible, Bloom provides stunning floral arrangements for weddings and events, creating some of the most breathtaking arrangements inspired by the city of Charleston itself.

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