Start a Holiday Tradition at Belmond Charleston Place

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with the streets decked out in holiday finery, homes strung with garland and the magical sound of carriages clip-clopping through the streets of Charleston. If you lean more towards palm trees and sunshine for winter weather, look no further than starting your own holiday tradition at Belmond Charleston Place.

Allow yourself to be transported back in time with tours through the Aiken-Rhett House Museum and Nathaniel Russell House. These homes are rich in history, and widely recognized as icons in Charleston, offering a glimpse into life during the 19th century. Seasonally decorated, these homes exemplify the city’s approach to preserve the beauty of historic landmarks.

Continue your new holiday traditions by exploring picturesque Charleston. Stroll along King Street, feast your eyes on the beautiful and abundant decorations, and continue to Marion Square with a cup of hot chocolate and view the colorful and enchanting lights and decorated trees.

Prior to retiring to your luxurious accommodations, visit the lobby level of Belmond Charleston Place for its most beloved and memorable tradition, the holiday train. Designed and exclusively built in 1999 by Promotional Railroad of Piedmont, S.C., this beautiful G-scale train display features a replica of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE). With a hand-carved eight-foot mountain, hundreds of handcrafted trees, and a small-scale world of shops, inns and hotels, the VSOE holiday train takes visitors on a snow-covered journey through alpine Europe.

Let the elevators whisk you away to your suite, and continue to revel in festive celebrations with your loved ones. Indulge in a private holiday meal, served by a butler and prepared by our award-winning chefs. Allow us to focus on the details, while you focus on your friends and family. With our award-winning food and beverage program, and completely customizable menu, this will be a tradition to continue for years.

With mild winters, beautiful décor and joyous festivities, this season is the perfect time to visit Charleston and start your own holiday traditions. Experience this blissful time at Belmond Charleston Place for a holiday to remember. Book now> 




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Venture onto the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

Located just across the sprawling Ravenel Bridge on the Mt. Pleasant side of the Charleston Harbor is Patriots Point, the home of the USS Yorktown and Naval and Maritime Museum. As you walk down the dock, passing American flags whipping in the wind, you can’t help but feel captivated by the history associated with this maritime giant.
The USS Yorktown can be seen from the shores of the Charleston Peninsula, as it sits 888 feet long weighing in at 30,000 tons. This large aircraft carrier isn’t a model; in fact it has a rich history of its own. The USS Yorktown served heavily in the Pacific Offensive that began in 1943 and ended with the defeat of Japan in 1945. It also received 11 battle stars for service in World War II and 5 more for service in Vietnam. Decommissioned in 1970, the USS Yorktown now serves as a museum ship and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Today, this decorated aircraft carrier houses 23 planes, a National Medal of Honor Museum, and serves as its own notable tour. With the purpose of preserving the history of the nation’s bravest, the USS Yorktown hosts unique educational programs and overnight camping excursions, as well as, serves as an exciting events venue.

When you first step onto the USS Yorktown and into the hanger bay, intricate planes of varying size and scope fill the space. These planes range in historical service from the B-25 Mitchell, used in WWII, to the A-6E Intruder, used during the 1991 Gulf War.

After you’ve finished gazing at the size and history of fighter jets, be sure to pay tribute to those who were awarded for going above and beyond the call of duty in the official Medal of Honor Museum. This museum features interactive exhibits that explain the origin of the Medal of Honor and its distinctions. Read about the brave men and women who are the embodiment of honor, courage and sacrifice as you experience their devotion to this country. The museum also serves as headquarters for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, one of the most exclusive organizations in the United States.

This Memorial Day weekend, take a walk through the rich Naval and Maritime history. Get a close up look at the engineered beasts that took flight in various wars, gaze out at the Charleston Harbor from the flight deck, and pay respects to those who served for our country. The USS Yorktown is also open daily for general admission, to purchase tickets and for more information please visit

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Arts & Culture, Discovery

Charleston Cup and the History of Horse Racing in Charleston

Many Charlestonians are preparing their tailgating displays for the Charleston Cup, a steeplechase race taking place on Sunday, November 11th. While it is exciting to participate in the pageantry of the race, spectators are also taking part in a long Charleston tradition. Charleston has a long history of horse racing, starting all the way back in 1734 and Charleston has ties to Belmont Park, one of the world’s most famous racetracks. Charleston Place’s own Thoroughbred Club was even designed in an equestrian style to reflect the rich history of horse racing in Charleston.

The first horse race in Charleston was held in 1734 and quickly became a favorite pastime of the Charleston elite. That same year a group of South Carolina planters organized the South Carolina Jockey Club – 16 years before the formation of the English Jockey Club. Races were initially held at the York Course in present day North Charleston. Surviving documents and records suggest that there were as many as 10 tracks in the tri-county area with the most prominent being the Washington Race Course, which was established in 1792. It is what we know today as Hampton Park with Mary Murray Drive being the site of the original eight-furlong track.

During the Civil War, the track was used as a prison for Union soldiers. Many valuable racehorses were lost during the war, when they were used as cavalry horses. Racing did not resume until 1875 with races being held until February 1878. After the Civil War and depressed economy of Reconstruction, interest in horse racing and horse breeding declined. The Washington Race Course was leased as farm and pasture land in 1884 and eventually sold to the City of Charleston by the Charleston Library Society who acquired it after the South Carolina Jockey Club disbanded in 1899. In 1901 the grounds were used for the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition. It was there that a wealthy New York banker, August Belmont Jr., noticed the four stone pillars at the entrance to the Washington Race Course. The City of Charleston offered them as a gift and they were shipped to New York to be used at Belmont Park, the location of the Belmont Stakes. Even today, those stone pillars mark the entrance of Belmont Park.

In 1984, the charter of the South Carolina Jockey Club was revived; and, in 1986 developers at Stono Ferry Plantation in Hollywood began the Charleston Cup steeplechase races. The 19th running of the Charleston Cup is scheduled to take place on Sunday, November 11, 2012. Sanctioned by The National Steeplechase Association, the Cup has become one of the premier sporting events in the Carolina Lowcountry. The nation’s top riders, trainers, and owners will be competing for purses totaling $50,000. Spectators will experience an exciting day of steeplechase and flat races.

So we invite you to spend the afternoon tailgating and enjoying the race. Afterwards, stop by Thoroughbred Club to order a “Run For The Roses” drink and some “Suffolk Downs Crab Cakes” and impress your friends with your new knowledge of Charleston’s horse racing history.

Request a table at Thoroughbred Club >>

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