Discovery

One of a kind experiences in Charleston

The list of reasons travelers rank Charleston as one of the top destinations in the country is quite extensive. Mild year-round weather, Southern hospitality, amazing history, and one of the most dynamic culinary scenes in the country. Just to name a few.

In addition to helping you explore the city’s most popular activities and attractions, our concierge team can arrange one-of-a-kind experiences—ones that guests typically would not find on their own. We asked our team to share a list of their favorite gems that they’ve planned for guests through the years.

1. A private walking tour of Charleston’s exclusive gardens in the historic district, by native author and expert, Louisa Pringle Cameron.

2. A tee time at either the Seabrook Island or Daniel Island Clubs, both which are closed to the public.

3. A private “behind-the-scenes” carriage ride at Middleton Place Plantation (reservations are not normally accepted).

4. A charter of the sailing yacht, The Fate, which is a privately owned 49-foot Beneteau that sleeps up to six people.

5. A private driving tour of “Little Jerusalem” by a member of Temple Beth Elohim, the oldest reform synagogue in the world.

6. An exclusive “behind-the-scenes” tour of the Calhoun Mansion.

7. Private tours of artists’ studios as well as introductions to the artists themselves.

8. A private historic district tour via bicycle with native authority Harlan Green—author of six books on Charleston history.

9. A morning or afternoon of horseback riding along the beach at Seabrook Island.

10. A private flying tour, either by Cessna or helicopter.

11. For a special occasion, a private dinner in a historic home with a famous local chef.

Have you enjoyed any of these hidden gems? What others would you recommend to locals or visitors? We would love to hear your thoughts!

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Discovery

Walkable History: Charleston City Market

There are few cities in the world that have preserved their past quite like Charleston. History abounds on every street corner with beautifully maintained architecture from houses and churches to historic sites and museums. Tucked away gardens and antebellum plantations dot the city like intricate seashells.

Finding a historic attraction is about as easy as finding a courteous local with a penchant for holding doors open. So put away your map, guide book and iPhone, and strike out for the first street you come to. Let a true sense of adventure light your way.

Based in the center of the historic district, Belmond Charleston Place is the perfect location from which to relive Charleston’s rich history. In our “Walkable History” series, we’ll do just that, sharing our favorite spots to see history come alive in Charleston. All within a short stroll from the doors of the hotel.
Charleston City Market
Located directly across from the hotel’s Meeting Street entrance, you’ll find the Charleston City Market—a historically significant landmark dating back to 1788. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney ceded the land where the Market is built to the City of Charleston under the stipulation that the land would forever be used as a public market.Construction was complete in 1807 and the buildings behind the Daughter’s of the Confederacy building were used to house meat, vegetable and fish markets. Butchers paid $2.00 for booth rental because the space was equipped with a marble slab to keep meat cold. Buzzards were nicknamed the “Charleston Eagle” because they were often found outside of the market begging for scraps.

Several years later the building was burned and not rebuilt until 1841. After the rebuilding, the market was used for Market Commissioner’s meetings, social functions and space rental underneath. Since 1970, the space has been used for arts, crafts and gourmet goods. The City Market saw it’s most recent renovation in 2011, enclosing the building and providing central heating and air.

While strolling the market you will find great shopping in booths such as the Charleston Angler, Gallery Chuma and The Historic Charleston Foundation. Restaurants such as Caviar and Bananas and Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit serve up delicious food and provide comfortable tables for weary shoppers. The Charleston City Market is a “must see” when visiting the city.

To learn more about the unique items you’ll find while strolling the Market, click here.

Photo credit: Charleston Museum Archives

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Arts & Culture, Discovery

A Symbol of Southern Hospitality

A leisurely stroll along any of the charming and historic streets of the Charleston peninsula lend the eye and ear many enchanting sights and sounds. Glances to the left and right can reveal hidden gardens filled with sweeping ivy and the gentle sound of bubbling fountains. And there is always the faint clip, clop of horse’s hooves on cobblestone streets. If you look closely enough, you may notice that one symbol in particular seems to pop up quite often, the pineapple. This has become ubiquitous to the Charleston area, but few know what the tiny emblem actually represents.

Sprinkled all over downtown, pineapples can be spotted on doors, atop gates, adorning houses and even on some pieces of jewelry. So what’s the deal with these little fruits, and why are Charlestonians so obsessed with them? It’s because the pineapple has historically served as a symbol of Southern hospitality. According to Levins.com, pineapples were often the main attraction of the large and decadent centerpieces commonly found at extravagant Southern dinner parties. The fruit therefore came to represent the warmth of friendship that was shared at gatherings, as well as the prestige of being in attendance. Some Charlestonians will also tell you that pineapples use to be given as presents on someone’s doorstep, as a sign of friendship. As architects and dignitaries began to pick up on the symbol and what it represented, pineapples were soon incorporated into many of the architectural details in Charleston.

The history of the pineapple explains the popularity of one of the most iconic, photographed spots in town. Visit the Pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park while sightseeing, or after a lovely dinner, as it’s a treat to see any time of day. If you visit the park during daylight hours you can snap a picture of the Charleston harbor behind the fountain, and as soon as the sun sets you can behold the pineapple lit up and glowing against a gorgeous starlight sky. The fountain is a landmark for many visiting the Charleston peninsula, and is a must-see experience.

One of the best ways to understand what the pineapple truly represents is to visit Charleston for yourself. The city is known for making visitors feel right at home with its hospitable charm, and the pineapple is just a token of this feeling. The next time you visit the Holy City, take some extra time to notice the cheery way that locals greet each other. Charlestonians pride themselves on being welcoming to all who visit, and that is one reason why those who have experienced Charleston say that it is unlike any other city. In fact, Charleston has been consistently ranked by Travel + Leisure as one of the friendliest cities in the United States.

Because of the unique history of the pineapple, visitors and locals alike have come to sport jewelry that features this Southern symbol. Whether it’s a commitment to being hospitable to all, or a charming reminder of time spent in the Holy City, people seem to love all that the pineapple represents. If you want to add a piece of pineapple jewelry to your collection, you won’t have to look too hard, just venture down King Street and visit the many boutiques which feature a variety of pineapple-inspired pieces. The charm pictured below can be purchased from Pandora in The Shops at Belmond Charleston Place.

The Palmetto Cafe at Belmond Charleston Place especially prides itself on being welcoming to guests who dine here. As a token of this sentiment, and as a delightful end to your delicious meal, guests are served a candied pineapple slice that has been dipped in milk chocolate. Hoping that each guest feels the warmth and hospitality of Charleston when they visit, this pineapple treat is the perfect end to an exceptional dining experience.

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