Family Friendly Fun: Activities and Restaurants

As summer winds down, it is a perfect time for the whole family to get away before the school year begins. The promise of great weather makes Charleston the ideal destination for a family getaway. There are stingrays to touch, otters to watch, pirate ships to climb, fly balls to catch, and lots of tasty food to eat. Check out our guide for suitable ways to fill your Charleston vacation with family-friendly activities and restaurants for kids of all ages.

Activities:

The South Carolina Aquarium

Located right on Charleston Harbor, The South Carolina Aquarium is home to more than 5,000 plants and animals. Its Toddler Cove play area features life-size aquatic structures, perfect for those toddlers who like to jump and climb. The largest exhibit in the Aquarium, the Great Ocean Tank which extends from the first to the third floors of the Aquarium, is the tallest in North America and contains more than 300 animals. The Aquarium’s the Salt-marsh Aviary exhibit features a Touch Tank where guests can touch horseshoe crabs, stingrays and other marine animals.

 

Charles Towne Landing

Charles Towne Landing, a state park that was once the site of the first permanent settlement in the Carolinas, has a natural habitat zoo featuring animals indigenous to the Carolina Lowcountry including bison, bears, and elk. The Otter Exhibit features a viewing area that provides a look at the animal’s movements underwater. Programs are also held regularly on The Adventure, a replica trading ship moored at the park.

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

Take a visit to The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, Charleston’s only hands-on learning environment designed just for children ages three months to 12 years and their families. The museum’s eight interactive exhibits range from a pirate ship to a Medieval Castle to an area just for infants and toddlers. The museum is within walking distance of the Belmond Charleston Place Hotel.

 

Charleston RiverDogs

Bring the entire family to a Charleston RiverDogs baseball game. Games are held every week at Joe Riley Jr. Park located downtown. Each night, the RiverDogs have a variety of family-friendly activities. From face painting to kids running the bases, to kids eat free and fireworks displays, there is entertainment for everyone.

 

Restaurants:

 

Toast

Described by the New York Times as a “must-eat” and locally viewed has one of the breakfast hotspots in Charleston, Toast is a great place for you and your family to enjoy the most important meal of the day. One of the most popular breakfast items on the menu is their twist on a breakfast classic, “The Deluxe French Toast,” stuffed with cinnamon apples or peaches and topped off with apple or peach syrup. If you aren’t in the mood for something sweet, they have an immense menu full of delicious dishes for everyone to enjoy. If you cannot make it in time for breakfast, you can always try again around lunch or dinner time because Toast offers breakfast all day.

 

Fleet Landing

Wondering where to savor lunch with the family? Ideally located on the Charleston Harbor, Fleet Landing is the perfect spot for you and your family to enjoy a great view with even better food. With outside seating, your kids are sure to experience the iconic Charleston scenery complete with dolphins, ships, birds, and the distinguished Arthur Ravenel Bridge. Savor the variety of delicious Southern cuisine with the best seat in town.

 

Home Team BBQ

Mentioned by USA Today and noted for its authentic barbeque, Home Team BBQ is a Holy City must, especially when traveling with the little ones. Known for its savory comfort food and extensive menu of entrée selections, you can’t go wrong with this classic cuisine. And to finalize your decision, Home Team is set with a delicious children’s menu, as well as an outside play area for kids of all ages. Don’t miss out on the best place for you and your family to enjoy Charleston’s most loved barbeque.

 

Magnolias

The perfect place for a date night where the kids can tag along as it offers something for everyone. Magnolias consists of three different dining areas and offers an extensive children’s menu for the kids. A great restaurant for your family vacation or if your sitter bails, without having to sacrifice an elegant meal paired with divine wines. Mom and Dad will be able to enjoy the Southern, romantic atmosphere and the kids will be happy too.

 

The Palmetto Cafe

Located inside the renowned Belmond Charleston Place hotel, the iconic Palmetto Cafe combines the very best of American Lowcountry cuisine with the freshest ingredients. Marvel in the giant glass windows whose immensity welcomes you by bringing the remarkable outside garden-like setting to life inside as well. Grab the little ones and dine al fresco in the lush courtyard, perfect for entertaining while your food is being prepared. Revel in the accommodations of the hotel’s Rooftop Relaxation package where children eat free with a paying adult.

 

Charleston is equipped with multiple family friendly activities to add to your itinerary kids of all ages will love. Parents will appreciate indulging in the scenery and dining the city has to offer. Most restaurants conveniently offer a children’s menu so the kids can always find something they will enjoy too. Come experience family fun the Charleston way.

 

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Your Charleston Summer Reading List

The long, lazy days of summer are the perfect time to kick back and relax with a good book. Whether you plan to visit the Holy City in the coming months or are just missing her soulful beauty, these Lowcountry-centric novels will have you pining for a return trip. Catch up with an old favorite, dive into an easy pool-side read or immerse yourself in the area’s history with our Charleston reading list.

Fiction
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
Considered one of Charleston’s favorite sons, Pat Conroy was a New York Times best-selling author and writer of such well-known novels as The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides. Set mostly in Charleston, South of Broad details the life of Leopold Bloom King and his close group of friends. Conroy’s beautiful prose of the Lowcountry landscape endears his readers to the locations he details.

All Summer Long by Dorthea Benton Frank
The journey of a charming New York couple’s move to the South is captured throughout this novel. Frank creates a magical story about how life is full of unexpected changes, when the couple plans to relocate to Charleston, South Carolina for a more peaceful life. This irresistible read features the iconic Belmond Charleston Place, as well as its award-winning restaurant, Charleston Grill.

Culture
Very Charleston
Very Charleston: A Celebration of History, Culture and Lowcountry Charm by Diana Hollingsworth Gessler
Through many vibrant watercolors and visually detailed sketches, Dinana Gessler conveys Charleston’s unique beauty. The book includes rich detail on almost everything from the art of entertaining to the city’s renowned architectural and garden designs. Very Charleston is a fascinating read that has become an entertaining guide incorporating maps, an index and a handy appendix of sites for visitors and Charlestonians alike.

Charleston Blacksmith: The Work of Philip Simmons by John Michael Vlach
Renowned blacksmith Philip Simmons is the city’s most celebrated ironworker and has fashioned more than five hundred decorated pieces of ornamental wrought iron. The author details the methods, motifs and materials used by Simmons to create some of the city’s most treasured pieces. His mastery of the craft is displayed in the more than one hundred photographs found in his book along with a map to see the ironwork in Charleston.

Cookbooks
The_Lee_Bros_Charleston_Kitchen
The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Written by two brothers who grew up in the very heart of historic downtown Charleston, this book is a reflection of the city’s vibrant food culture. There are 100 recipes, 75 colorful photographs and numerous personal stories that introduce readers to the city’s exciting Southern cuisine. This cookbook is sure to inform readers of some of the best recipes Charleston has to offer.

Cooking the Gullah Way, Morning, Noon, and Night by Sallie Ann Robinson
Born and raised on Daufuskie Island, author Sallie Ann Robinson highlights some of her favorite memories and family recipes from life on the island. Well-known for its Gullah culture, the islanders traditionally ate what they could grow, catch and hunt. The unique food traditions of the Gullah people, containing African, European and Native American influences, can still be found today in Lowcountry cuisine.

Charleston Receipts

Charleston Receipts by The Junior League of Charleston
This well-known Charleston cookbook was first published in 1950, and it is the oldest Junior League cookbook that can still be found i print. The collection contains more than 750 recipes, sketches by Charleston artists and Gullah verses. The renowned cookbook incorporates some of the most unique recipes from the city’s past.

History
The H.L. Hunley: The Secret Hope of the Confederacy by Tom Chaffin
The legend of the H.L. Hunley, a Civil War submarine that sank the Union’s USS Housatonic and then vanished before returning to port in the waters off of Charleston, has intrigued generations. Historian and author Tom Chaffin presents an extremely thorough yet entertaining tale of the submarine’s fate and its subsequent recovery.

Charleston_Charleston

Charleston!! Charleston!: The History of a Southern City by Walter J. Frazier Jr.
This extensive read traces the history of Charleston from its creation in 1670 and ends with the effects of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Author Walter Frazier touches on every facet of the city; its people and institutions; its art and architecture; its recreational, social, and intellectual life; its politics and city government. All shaping the city we know and love today.

We hope that you enjoy the rich detail found in these delightful books. If you find yourself in the Holy City, we recommend visiting these great local bookstores: Belmond Boutique, Preservation Society of Charleston and Blue Bicycle Books. Belmond Boutique is found in The Shops at Belmond Charleston Place. The preservation Society of Charleston is a non-profit dedicated to recognizing and promoting local artists and designers. Blue Bicycle Books is Charleston’s premier locally-owned bookstore selling unique authors and genres.

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Farmboy Fine Arts

Belmond Charleston Place recently completed a $40 million, multi-year renovation project, resulting in new guestrooms and suites, updated public spaces and expanded amenities. New art also graces the hotel’s walls and the guestroom collection, in particular, has been extremely well received. We recently sat down with Farmboy Fine Arts to learn more about the new in-room art collection, what inspired it and why it is resonating with our guests.

Farmboy Fine Arts

From where did you draw your inspiration for the art at Belmond Charleston Place?
At Farmboy Fine Arts (FBFA), we strive to activate spaces through the meaningful incorporation of art. We wanted to develop a thoughtful and relevant artwork collection for Belmond Charleston Place that would give guests a sense of place, reminding them that they are in the vibrant and historic city of Charleston. The artwork is a nod to the city’s rich history, while also providing visitors with a contemporary take on authentic Southern charm.

Tell us about the custom art collection guests will see in the newly redesigned guest rooms. 
Featured throughout the guestrooms, the art collection connects guests to the culture of this unique region, establishing the property as a gathering point for local society. FBFA’s high-level of expertise in the art consulting industry allowed us to curate, source, and develop a dynamic and arresting custom artwork collection influenced by Charleston’s narrative. Belmond Director of Marketing, Eric Monteiro, said it best when he confirmed, “The artwork is the grand finale, the last piece of flourish that brings it all together.”

There are a series of limited edition prints included in the collection. What makes these so special?
FBFA artist Jordan Hilliard created ‘Circle of a Square Paper,’ a sophisticated and original abstracted landscape painting, which we reproduced as a limited-edition fine art print for Belmond Charleston Place. The 150 prints feature hand decaled-edge heavy linen fine-art paper debossed to a depth of 1/8 inch. The traditional medium of painting is balanced by the contemporary circle motif and shadow box frame, elevating the simple composition. The countless guest inquiries regarding this piece, and many others from the collection, further confirm the impact it has on the property and the guest experience.

Can you tell us about your process? How long does it take to curate a commercial collection? What goes into the design and decision-making processes?
FBFA’s objective was to develop a collection that tells the story of the Charleston people and place, delivering on the property’s vision for a relevant, discerning art collection. The collaborative, iterative process of working with the brand gave us an opportunity to source artwork and content from the local arts community – our artist and gallery partners – that is authentic and inspiring. The end result provides guests with a purposeful, engaging art experience that juxtaposes the traditional design and feel of the stately building with the contemporary look of the artwork.

In your opinion, how does art on property impact the guest experience?
A successful art collection enriches the guest experience by stimulating dialogue and interaction between the artwork and a diverse range of individuals. Guests are left with an immersive, memorable experience marked by the artwork; the artwork’s emotional resonance strengthening their connection to the place. At FBFA, our goal is to change lives with art, and we feel that a well-curated, well-rounded collection can do just that for guests, whether they pass through for a minute or stay for a few days.

If a guest wanted to take home a piece of Charleston for their own collection, is that possible?
Although we routinely field requests from Belmond Charleston Place guests wishing to purchase art from the property’s collection, we cannot reproduce the limited-edition prints developed for the hotel. Due to the overwhelming inquiries, FBFA is exploring the options available to us in providing reproductions to interested guests, in hopes that we will be able to do so in the near future.

Ready to get your art meets eye candy fix? Explore Charleston’s vibrant arts scene, located just outside our doors. From the many galleries in the French Quarter to exhibitions by local artists at Redux Contemporary Art Center to permanent Lowcountry collections at area museums, there’s plenty here to delight in. Contact the Concierge for more information and directions.

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