Arts & Culture, Discovery

How to Spend Your Holidays in Charleston

Imagine sun-filled days and cozy nights, festive palmetto trees, and a city embellished with decorative lights, magnolia wreaths, and holiday charm. From magnificent holiday displays and lively performances to world-class shopping and family-friendly fun, escape to the Holy City this season and create magical memories with your loved ones.  Belmond Charleston Place Embark on an adventure to Belmond Charleston Place, and take in the magnificent holiday decor. Set between the iconic Georgian open-arm staircase, and beneath the glistening chandelier, you’ll find the awe-inspiring train display. The fully operational replica of the Venice Simplon-Oritent-Express train courses its way through 300 feet of track as it passes by European Alpine homes, churches, and hundreds of handcrafted trees. Throughout the lobby, you’ll also discover nearly 1,000 feet of garland, five Fraiser Fir trees and 100 wreaths. Teddy Bear Tea On Sundays in December, Belmond Charleston Place continues a beloved holiday tradition as children get dolled up for tea time at the Thoroughbred Club. Adults can partake in tea service, while kids enjoy teddy bear-shaped PB & Js, scones and cookies. Marvel at the custom-designed train display and enjoy live music and magic shows. Be sure to snag a keepsake picture from the professional photographer as a treasured souvenir.  Holiday Market at Marion Square The Holiday Market at Marion Square hosts a number of holiday vendors, in addition to favorite local artisans. Enjoy shopping, live entertainment, and activities for children, including photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, December 7-17, as you peruse your way throughout the park. From handcrafted jewelry and candles to local fashion designers and artists, find the perfect gift for your loved one at the Holiday Market.    Tree Lighting at Marion Square On Sunday, December 1 from 4:30-6:30PM, head down historic King Street, just steps from Belmond Charleston Place, and discover holiday cheer. Join the celebration of the lighting of the magnificent 64-foot Holiday Tree of Lights, the official City of Charleston Christmas tree, while enjoying live performances. Holiday Festival of Lights A quick drive off the peninsula will bring you to the magnificent Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park. Known as Charleston’s most cherished holiday tradition, the awe-inspiring spectacle features an estimated two million dazzling lights. As you course your way through the three-mile display of glimmer lights, guests explore holiday attractions, shopping, dining, and more. Open to the public November 15-December 31, be sure to drive through the dazzling display this holiday season.    Dock Street Theatre Spend an evening at the historic Dock Street Theatre, and enjoy family-friendly entertainment with shows like “Elf the Musical” or “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. Known as the first building in America built exclusively for theatrical performances, the theatre has been a part of Charleston history for centuries. The Shops at Belmond Charleston Place Find the perfect gift for your loved ones at The Shops at Belmond Charleston Place. From luxury labels for men and women to children’s stores and accessories for all, you’re sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list.
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Arts & Culture, Discovery

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

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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