Arts & Culture, Discovery, Featured, Sip & Savor

Holidays in the Holy City

Whether basking in the blissful temperatures or indulging in centuries-old traditions, Charleston is a magical place during the holidays. Garlands adorn Antebellum mansions. Magnolia wreaths flank wrought-iron gates. Twinkling lights wrap the trunks of Palmetto trees. From holiday markets to special menus featuring the finest Lowcountry cuisine, there’s never been a better time to Celebrate in Charleston.  Timeless Traditions A living history museum, Charleston embraces the holiday season with a reverent look towards the past. Tour the festively decorated Edmondston-Alston House by candlelight, warm up in the courtyard with a glass of hot cider as carolers sing, then listen to a local storyteller perform Gullah Christmas stories at Christmas on the Battery. Or set out with a private guide to Magnolia Plantation or Middleton Place. Torch-lit gardens beckon guests to warm up fireside while yuletide traditions and 18-century reenactments celebrate the sights and sounds of the Lowcountry. Holiday Comforts Treasured family recipes are the touchstones of holiday traditions and Charleston’s rich culinary history is on display during the holiday season. Gather friends and family around the table for a delicious feast at one of the city’s best restaurants, Charleston Grill or The Palmetto Cafe, where guests can find special menus for the holidays. Or sip a hot toddy by one of our outdoor fire pits while nibbling on holiday themed cookies. All the Trimmings Home to luxury brands, boutique shops and local favorites, give the gift of Charleston this season. Steps from our guest rooms, explore The Shops at Charleston Place, with gifts for men, women, children and home. Or walk out our doors and onto King Street, considered to be one of the finest shopping districts in the country. Festive Moments Bring your family together for an unforgettable celebration in an unprecedented year. It’s an invitation to come together and reconnect with loved ones, enjoy the salty sea air and create new memories together. From holiday décor in your suite to special family photos with a professional photographer, mark the occasion in grand style. Holiday Headquarters There’s perhaps no better time to escape to Charleston. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with twinkling Christmas trees, grand wreaths and rows upon row of garland in our lobby. Step into our courtyard garden and by wowed by the magnificent 40-foot lighted Christmas tree that towers over the Market Street Circle fountain. Take part in cherished holiday traditions and embrace the spirit of the season in charming Charleston. To learn more about our offerings, click here.
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Arts & Culture, Discovery

Charleston’s Spooky Side

Halloween is approaching frighteningly fast. That means it is time for pumpkin carving, costume parties, candy corn and of course, getting spooked! Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and has been named one of the top ten most haunted so it is the perfect place to get into the Halloween spirit. In this blog post, you will learn about some of the spookiest sites in Charleston. Stop by on your next visit to Charleston…if you dare.

Old City Jail
Located at 21 Magazine Street is the Old City Jail, arguably Charleston’s most haunted location. It was operational from 1802 to 1939 and was featured in an episode of the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures”. Denmark Vesey, famous for leading a slave rebellion, and 19th-century pirates were jailed here before being hanged. The most intriguing tale regarding the Old City Jail involves Lavinia Fisher, the first female serial killer in the United States. She and her husband, John Fisher, operated a hotel called the Six Mile Wayfarer House. After many male travelers were discovered missing after last being seen at the hotel, it was discovered that Lavinia and her husband were robbing and murdering their guests. The couple was sentenced to hang on the gallows behind the Charleston Jail. Before being hanged, John prayed that his soul be saved while Lavinia was anything but repentant. Lavinia requested to wear her wedding dress and yelled “If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me – I’ll carry it” before jumping off the scaffold herself. Today, the Old City Jail is an official “Save America’s Treasures” project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the White House Millennium Council.

Provost Dungeon
The Provost Dungeon is located at 122 East Bay Street beneath the Old Exchange Building which was used as a customs house and post office. Soon after taking control of Charleston in 1780, the British started housing local criminals and insubordinate soldiers beneath the Exchange Building. Pirates and deserters were also housed in the “dungeon”. Some people were only held here for a short time before being transferred to other jails or prison ships but others remained until their death. Today, costumed guides lead you through a piece of history that tells the story of what it once was like to be condemned and confined in terrible conditions.

U.S.S. Yorktown
Now decommissioned and docked at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, the aircraft carrier known as the U.S.S. Yorktown was active during WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. Over the years, there have been a number of reports of unexplainable noise, sightings and activities from visitors, employees and area law enforcement officers. The spirits of those who lost their lives while aboard the ship seem to still be on active duty. The U.S.S. Yorktown was featured on the Syfy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.” Their findings include ghostly figures caught by thermal imaging, unexplained footsteps and voices. The U.S.S. Yorktown is now offering guided ghost tours that detail these findings as well as other accounts.

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Arts & Culture, Discovery

Spring Blooms in Charleston

When the sun begins to cast warm rays on the city’s historic buildings and backyard gardens blossom vibrant splashes of color, you know spring is finally here. Charleston is known for its quiet and charming secret gardens, Palmetto trees and local flowers sprinkled throughout the city. While the Holy City has a long list of reasons for travelers to explore, spring brings a variety of floral delights; the most breathtaking regional flowers including Azaleas, Wisteria, Tea Olive, Magnolia Trees and Camellias.
Wherever you turn in Charleston, you will surely see Azaleas blooming in hues of pronounced pinks, brilliant reds and warm purples, adding sweet, rich pigment to secret gardens and public parks. Azaleas, also called “the royalty of the garden,” are from the rhododendron family and one of the most sought-after shrubs locally, producing brilliant full color.
While its arrival is shortlived, Wisteria, a wispy, willowing vine that climbs and wraps around historic stone buildings and arching iron gates, welcomes visitors with it’s pretty purple color and slightly sweet scent. The curious vines of a wisteria can reach as high as 65 feet above the ground and spread out 32 feet wide.
The fragrant Tea Olive’s dark glossy, green leaves and dense foliage can be discovered all throughout Charleston in the form of well-manicured hedges providing shade and privacy. These sweet shrubs bloom tiny but amazingly fragrant, creamy white flowers which give gardens a crisp and fresh aesthetic.
Jasmine, an evergreen that climbs walls, posts, arbors and more, signals the start of warmer weather ahead. It’s rich, intoxicating scent envelopes the city each spring, a true favorite of locals and visitors alike.
You can also find beautifully strong and tall Saucer Magnolia Trees blooming light pink flowers. Part of the Magnolia family, these can grow as tall as 80 feet at full maturity. Often selected for their joyful robust tulip-looking blooms, the tree also provides cool shade for Charlestonians on warm spring days.
Camellias, another Southern favorite, come in many different shapes and sizes, yielding hues of red with colors ranging from stark white to rich pink ombré. These gorgeous trees, growing up to 65 feet tall, can be seen at Middleton Place, which is home to the oldest Camellias in North America. Charleston Place is currently offering an exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience at Middleton Place, home of the oldest formal gardens in America.

Floral insights were provided by Bloom at Charleston Place. Utilizing local product as much as possible, Bloom provides stunning floral arrangements for weddings and events, creating some of the most breathtaking arrangements inspired by the city of Charleston itself.

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