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.

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.

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.

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.

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!: 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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Your Guide to Charleston

Visitors to Charleston often remark on the historic district’s walkability yet many are surprised by the depth and breadth of the area’s offerings. One of the best ways to dive deeper in to the architecture, history and folklore of the region is with the help of a guide. From walking tours to carriage rides to sunset sails, our Concierge team recommends guests who are interested in experiencing the Holy City get up close and personal with the help of our favorite tour guides.

1670 Tours
A walking tour of Charleston’s residential district with 1670 Tours allows you to cover about 10-12 blocks with frequent stops at a casual pace. Tailored exclusively to the group, topics may include history, culture, architecture, wars and disasters. The licensed guides will lead you through private homes, public buildings, churches, gardens and graveyards, experiencing the ambiance of the various neighborhoods along the way. The tour features plenty of photo opportunities as well, and the guides know all the best Instagram-worthy spots.

1670 Tours

Schooner Pride
See Charleston from a different point of view on the Schooner Pride, a classic 84′ three mast wooden tall ship. Tour Charleston Harbor for an exhilarating day sail or set out at sunset for a romantic cruise around the peninsula. More of a leisurely sail than a tour, take in the peaceful waters of the Cooper River as it meets the Atlantic and mingle with dolphins, pelicans and gulls on the relaxing two-hour sail.

Schooner Pride

Carolina Polo and Carriage Company
Family owned and operated by Charlestonians whose families have been here since the 1600s, Carolina Polo and Carriage Company offers an authentic tour experience. The one-hour fully-narrated group carriage tour takes guests through the quaint and charming streets of downtown. The passionate and engaging guides will regale riders with history lessons, pirate’s tales and architectural highlights. Beautiful gardens and parks, stately mansions, historic churches and buildings are all included.

Carolina Polo and Carriage Company

For those hoping to mix learning with leisure on their upcoming Charleston visit, these tour guides offer a thorough glimpse into life in the historic district. Take some extra time to delve into a different view of the Holy City.


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