Arts & Culture, Discovery, Featured

Charleston’s Best Beaches

No Lowcountry vacation is complete without a trip to one of Charleston’s beautiful nearby beaches. Each beach has its own distinct charm, but all are guaranteed to make a great day trip and memory. Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, and Folly Beach are all barrier islands located about 15 minutes from the downtown area. The popular summer days and even the months surrounding it offer perfect temperatures for swimming.  Even in the winter, you can find people sun bathing and combing the sand. The waters are known for being fairly mild with extremely gradual slopes.  Water coverage does, without a doubt, vary on the low and high tide times so check your charts.  If you fear little space to move and high-rise hotels, then you can breathe a sigh of relief; all three beaches, like the rest of downtown, pride themselves on staying laid back and local.

Sullivan’s Island is the smallest and most natural of the surrounding beaches. Located at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, the island is a mix between ultimate relaxation, natural landscapes, vibrant restaurants and shopping scene, and a touch of history. The views of Fort Sumter, Morris Island Lighthouse, and the Battery are unparalleled, and the occasional meandering cruise line is always a spectacle.

Concierge Tip: Visit Fort Moultrie on the eastern end of Sullivan’s Island for an unforgettable American history lesson.

Folly Beach is a great example of the classic beach town. The surfer-esque style is home to some of the best riding in the area, and great for those who enjoy some lively company. The beach stretches six miles, and has plenty of space to find a more secluded spot. While your heading north away from the crowd, you will arrive at what is called the Washout, named for the damage struck to the area from Hurricane Hugo in the late 80’s.  If you brought your surfboard, then this is the place to use it.  The area is most consistent in producing solid waves for more experienced riders.  Just outside of Folly Beach the area is dotted with fun restaurants and bars, perfect for post beach drinks and appetizers.

Concierge Tip: Visit the Folly Beach County Park at the west end of Folly Beach.  It features dressing areas, outdoor showers, and a swimming area with lifeguards on duty.  Perfect for kids!

Isle of Palms, also known as IOP, boasts beautiful white sand beaches and luxurious waterfront homes.  The beach area is about the same size as Folly, and has great places to rent kayaks, boats, stand up paddleboards and even charters. One major convenience of IOP are the public bathrooms, rinsing areas, and parking. After a day at the beach, visit some of the local restaurants, bars, and shops.

Concierge Tip: Keep up with the Isle of Palms Turtle Team for updates on where to search for nests and tracks. Take a look at the photo gallery as well to see the most recent turtle hatchings.

All three beaches are sure to please any visitor, with their laid back Southern attitude, and beautiful Charleston sun.  Just remember to leave the alcohol at home and be mindful of your pets, and you are sure to have a great time. While the beaches are a quick drive from the hotel, transportation to and from can be arranged by our masterful concierge team.

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Arts & Culture, Discovery, Featured

Explore Charleston with These Six Spring Events

Although wintertime in Charleston is undeniably breathtaking, Charleston thrives in the springtime. It is no surprise that with the warm weather comes a multitude of seasonal events for everyone to enjoy. From sporting events and arts to historic architecture and gardens, there is so much to explore. As the magnolias begin to bloom once more, here are just six of the many events to discover in the Holy City. Festival of Houses and Gardens (March 13-April 18) The Charleston Festival of Houses and Gardens captures the beauty of historical landmarks in this culture-filled city. The event allows you to explore some of Charleston’s most famous houses, on some of the most coveted streets, where you’ll learn about the intricate architecture, history, and culture. Along with the home tours, there are also various garden exhibitions around Charleston to discover. From the foliage and flora of Charleston’s gardens tour with Clemson Extension Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener, Sara Davis, to Container Gardening: Charleston’s over the top pots, there is a plethora of events to attend during the festival. Cooper River Bridge Run (April 6) Now in its 42nd year, the Cooper River Bridge run is a spring staple in Charleston. Don’t worry, however, if you are not the fastest in the pack. The 10K is open to anyone from casual walkers to competitive runners, and everyone in between. The race starts in Mount Pleasant, travels over the iconic Ravenel Bridge, and into bustling downtown. After the race, participants are encouraged to stay for the finisher’s festival and the ‘Taste of the Bridge’ party to indulge with friends and family. This will be by far one of the most fun and scenic races. To ensure a relaxing experience before and after the race, check out our special offer at the hotel including complimentary breakfast and a healthy welcome amenity. Colour of Music Festival (March 27-30) This cultural festival showcases the best African American composers and performers from around the world. What once began in honor of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an African-French composer, the event highlights the impact and historical significance of black classical composers and performers throughout the world. Now in its sixth year, there are several talented musicians such as virtuoso violinist Anyango Yarbo-Davenport, and many other exciting guest composers. Volvo Car Open (March 30 – April 7) Over the course of two weekends, more than 100 world-class women tennis players and nearly 90,000 spectators come together for an action-packed tennis tournament. Those who attend the matches also have access to merchandise from renowned retailers as well as a competitive culinary scene. Don’t miss your chance to watch some of the best female tennis athletes in the world compete for the title. 74th Annual US Women’s Open Golf Championship (May 30 – June 2) South Carolina is recognized for having America’s first golf club founded in 1786, and with such traverse landscape and beautiful scenery, it has stayed wildly popular ever since. The Lowcountry is home to some of the top golf courses in the world, which includes the premier course at Charleston Country Club. As the hosts of the 74th Annual US Women’s Open Golf Championship, golf connoisseurs from around the world will gather to watch the top female athletes compete. Located merely 10 minutes from the course, a stay at Belmond Charleston Place is the perfect retreat after a day of excitement. Spoleto Festival USA (May 24 – June 9) Those who love the arts unite over the course of this 17-day festival day for world-class performances. Started in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti and other influential creators, Spoleto took America by storm by uniting multiple artist, composers, and performers from around the globe in hopes to share their talents to the United States, and to Charleston. Approaching its 43rd season, Spoleto Festival USA is internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival. From every genre of art such as musical and physical theater to visual arts and opera, there is certainly an event tailored to every taste. As we swing into spring, Charleston comes to life as locals and visitors gather together to attend these world-renowned events. Plan a trip to the Lowcountry this season, and let us be your home away from home. Located in the historic heart of downtown, all the action is easily accessible from our irresistible hideaway.
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Arts & Culture, Discovery

Antiquing with the Expert – Mitchell Owens

The Annual Charleston Antiques Show is famed for its showcase of fine art, delicate furniture, and elegant vintage decor all inspired by the historical heritage of Charleston and its unique Southern charm. This year, we are eager to embrace both the new and returning collectors and enthusiasts hungry for discovery. Belmond Charleston Place is especially looking forward to welcoming aesthetic aficionado Mitchell Owens, Decorative Arts Editor for Architectural Digest. Owens will be leading a tour of the Charleston Antiques Show on March 16th. We are thrilled he agreed to let us interview him in anticipation of his visit. You have written about generational shifts in attitudes toward antiques. As you look to the future, what trends do you expect to see in regards to baby boomers and millennials and their interest in antiques? Truly, one hopes that ‘younger’ shoppers will be able to shake off their apparent fear of the word ‘collector’ (too serious? too granny? too pretentious?) and instead simply allow themselves to appreciate beauty in all its forms—and then buy it. To open their eyes and realize that antiques of all kinds (many of them priced shockingly modestly, given the vagaries of the market) can coexist, beautifully, happily, and distinctively, with newer furnishings and art. Owens believes that the key to attracting younger shoppers is to reveal galvanizing examples of how living with what’s old has value to them. He commends the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, when only 30 years of age, was still “an unquestioned avatar of all things feverishly mod, set his Saarinen tulip table with château-worthy silver flatware, and antique blue-and-white porcelain plates. His dining room was bright, white, sunny, and fresh, yet its contemporary snap—its totally ‘with it’ character—gained depth and individuality through a young man’s balanced embrace of the then and the now.” Owning old things does not mean one must live in a museum. Using old things, on a daily basis, in of-the-moment surroundings, brings them back to life. Once they are alive again, they can’t be dismissed as old-fashioned, can they? Anyway, many of the very best things that we call antique actually were hip when they were brand new. Don’t forget that. I also believe that in February 2020, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art reopens its long-staid British Galleries—which are being reconceived by the electrifying AD100 Roman & Williams design firm—there will be a kick-in-the-pants reappraisal of ‘brown furniture’ et cetera for many people. In addition to leading the Expert Tours during the Antiques Show, you are also a part of the Distinguished Speaker Series with Drayton Hall. Can you tell our readers what they can expect during your lecture, Connoisseur with a Crown: George IV—Collector, Tastemaker, Spendthrift? I don’t want to give much away, but I will expound the English style and collections of George IV in terms of sex, scandal, ambition, pretty things, and parliamentary outrage. How does the interest and conversation about antiques and antique shows vary in Charleston compared to other cities? What makes Charleston unique? A premier destination for embracing “old things”  is none other than Charleston. This aspect is what makes its antique show unique. In comparison to other cities, in Charleston, style traditions still passionately fuel public and private discourse. Thus, antiques remain an integral part of the landscape. The past remains present in Charleston—and powerfully so. It’s why nearly five million people from around the world visit the city every year, to step into history. Though it could also be the pimento cheese. How would you describe the aesthetic of Belmond Charleston Place? What details are your favorite? What about Charleston, in general? Spanish moss, side porches, historic houses painted in marzipan colors, and stiff drinks—what’s not to like about Charleston? As for Belmond Charleston Place, there is so much to admire, but, for me, it’s all about Charleston Grill’s crabcakes. Tell Chef Michelle Weaver to stock up on the lump crabmeat! Thank you so much to Mitchell Owens for bringing his unique perspective on antiques and collecting to Hidden Charleston. Don’t miss your chance to hear Mitchell speak in person while he’s in town, both during the Antiques Show and as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. For Tickets: 2019 Charleston Antiques Show: https://www.historiccharleston.org/blog/event/2019-charleston-antiques-show-general-admission/ Drayton Hall Distinguished Speaker Series: http://www.draytonhall.org/event/march-13-2019-distinguished-speaker-series-mitch-owens-of-architectural-digest-on-connoisseur-with-a-crown-george-vi-collector-tastemaker-spendthrift/
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