Arts & Culture, Discovery, Featured

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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Arts & Culture, Discovery, Featured, Sip & Savor

Staff Picks: Why We Love Living in Charleston

As you meander throughout the Holy City, each turn promises to be an awe-inspiring discovery. Whether it’s our historic homes, gardens and antebellum charm or our glistening waterways and easy way of living, there is something to be loved by every local and visitor. And, who could forget our show-stopping culinary scene that captures the heart of even the most refined foodies? Consistently named the No. 1 City in the United States and Canada by the readers of Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler year after year, read on to discover why our staff adores the place they call home. “I love Charleston for its geographic beauty; imagine 12 months of something in bloom, and a constant breeze carrying those scents across the peninsula. Also, anywhere you turn you’re greeted by water whether it’s a beach, river, estuary, or marshland. And if Charleston’s beauty isn’t special enough, the people who live here genuinely envelope and exude a gentle sweetness that is Southern hospitality.”-Shelley, Operations Manager at The Spa at Charleston Place “Food and history, hands down. Our restaurant scene is unlike anywhere else in the US—we have some of the best restaurants in America right at our fingertips, and our Lowcountry cuisine is as rich in flavor as it is in tradition. You can’t get that anywhere else. In addition, we have 350 years of history right in our very own backyard. I love visiting iconic sites and landmarks, plantations, and more.”-Steven, Executive Chef at The Palmetto Cafe “My two favorite seasons in Charleston are the spring and fall. The moderate temperatures, beautiful blooming flowers, and exciting festivals make it impossible to stay indoors. Also, I welcome the slower pace of the South, where it encourages one to take time to enjoy life rather than rush through each day.”-Catherine, Digital Marketing Manager “We live in the perfect size town where it’s big enough to take part in different events and festivals around town, but small enough to feel like you’re a part of a family and can support local businesses. One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is to visit our local farmers market—they always have an abundance of South Carolina-sourced produce and handcrafted goods from local artisans.” Megan, Charleston Place Event Manager Our culture and history, mouthwatering cuisine, preserved traditions, beautiful blooms and beaches are just a few of the many reasons why our city is beloved by so many. This year, we invite you to experience the Holy City for yourself. Located at the very heart of downtown Charleston, in the historic district and within walking distance of all the major attractions, Charleston Place, A Belmond Hotel is the perfect base for your adventure.
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Arts & Culture, Discovery, Featured, Sip & Savor

Your Essential Charleston Itinerary

As beautiful now as she was 350 years ago, Charleston is a perfect juxtaposition of centuries old charm and cultured sophistication. Shaped by the city’s two rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper, Charleston bristles with an energy and vibrancy reserved for only the finest cities in the world. Glorious weather shines down, while locals and visitors alike amble down narrow cobblestone streets in search of reluctant artists, boutique shops and the country’s best restaurants. Whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, it’s easy to be seduced by Charleston’s charm. Crowned the Number 1 City in the United States for the last ten years, read on for our essential Charleston guide. The perfect trip to Charleston starts with cocktails al fresco. Rooftop bars are plentiful and the Clocktower Terrace is one of the few in town that offers a perch overlooking historic King Street. Sip a Belmond Breeze while you admire views of the city skyline. Then, set out in search of local delicacies. Oysters are a crowd-favorite and can be found on menus throughout the city. Two of our favorite spots for fresh seafood? The Ordinary and The Darling Oyster Bar, both located a few shorts blocks from Charleston Place, A Belmond Hotel.  The next morning, set out at first light with a private trainer for a run over the Ravenel Bridge. See if you can spot Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, and the Sullivans Island lighthouse in the distance. After working up an appetite, head to Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, for a true taste of the South. Located in the historic City Market, afterwards, peruse the sweetgrass baskets which have been made by hand according to Gullah Geeche traditions for years. Then, plan to wander away the morning exploring historic Charleston. Stop by Waterfront Park to see its famous Pineapple Fountain, walk past the candy-colored homes of Rainbow Row and then onto the Battery, where Antebellum mansions overlook Charleston harbor. Allow us to pack you a picnic lunch and sit a spell under the enormous oaks of White Point Gardens. Continue your downtown adventure by spending the afternoon on one of the country’s most famous streets – King Street. Peppered with national labels, boutique shops, art galleries and antique stores also dot the shopping district. Peacock proud locals delight in showing their wares and sharing the unique stories behind their products with curious travelers. After shopping, take a rickshaw ride to upper King Street, where lively restaurants and bars await. One of our favorite ways to try all of Charleston’s mouthwatering cuisine? Create your own dine around experience. Start with drinks at the speak-easy like Cocktail Club, move on to appetizers at the farm-to-table eatery Macintosh and then sample the sophisticated pizzas and pastas from Indaco. If you aren’t ready to say goodnight, a nightcap at Halls Chophouse is in order. Their Sunday gospel brunch is also a Charleston classic, beloved by locals and visitors.   A city surrounded by water, rise with the tide the next morning as dawn breaks over the Atlantic. Embrace the Lowcountry lifestyle, take a walk on the wild side, and uncover secret sea islands with Coastal Expeditions. Admire the sculpture-like branches of Boneyard Beach. Stroll along the maritime forest, gathering shells and spotting alligators and bottlenose dolphins. After a full day of exploration, relaxation is in order. Laze away the afternoon at our horizon-edge mineral pool or indulge in a signature spa treatment. No trip to Charleston is complete without a cosmopolitan night on the town. Start with a cocktail and live music at the clubby Thoroughbred Club before indulging in some of the city’s finest fare at Charleston Grill. Perfectly paired wines complement the global cuisine while live jazz sets the tone for a vibrant night. After dinner, head to the Gin Joint, for a cozy cocktail in their 1920s-inspired setting. Then, wander hand in hand down cobblestone streets as gas lanterns flicker in the evening light. Then, end your Charleston adventure as the sunset casts pink and orange hues over the Ashley River. You may just spot a bottlenose dolphin while a local jazz artist serenades the setting sun on his trumpet. These are the precious moments through which memories are shaped, endearing Charleston to locals and visitors alike.
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