Charleston & Savannah
Springtime Southern Charm
Revel in the warm hospitality and rich history of America’s Deep South on this tour of two beautiful cities. First visit the coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina. Magnificent homes with stunning architecture are numerous throughout the historic neighborhoods of Charleston, and seeing them first hand blooming with vibrant azaleas, camellias and climbing roses is certain to delight! Visit during the 75th Annual Festival of Houses & Gardens, see the historic parts of the city on a carriage ride, and have plenty of time to explore more on your own. Tour two historic homes and the grand Magnolia Plantation with enormous oaks draped with Spanish moss. Visit the only tea plantation in North America and see how tea leaves are harvested and processed. Take the option to visit Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, before a dinner cruise along beautiful Charleston Harbor.
Shrouded in Spanish live oaks and a veil of mystique, Savannah radiates elegant and romantic charm. Boasting the country’s largest National Historic Landmark area, the city is home to restored mansions clustered amid 22 park-like squares. Explore the old city squares on a narrated tour onboard an open-air trolley and hear the stories of Savannah. Enjoy a private wine and cheese reception at the historic Davenport House. In addition to a sightseeing tour and visits to several attractions, you’ll have time to explore the city on your own. Culminate your time in the city with a culinary class of highest caliber and learn to make all of your favorite low country favorites. Also enjoy a tour of The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. The southern charm exudes from these two delightful cities—let’s go!
Note: This itinerary includes activities where moderate walking is required. Some of the most unique sightseeing can be restrictive to motorcoaches, especially in historic areas.
Sun, March 20: Arrive in Charleston, South Carolina. The first stop will be a welcome lunch for some delicious upscale Lowcountry cuisine. Experience the city by carriage ride and see the historic downtown district and the mansions, gardens, churches, and parks that make her famous. Check in to the Courtyard Marriott Charleston Historic District for three nights. (Meal: Lunch)
Mon, March 21: This morning take a tour of the beautiful grounds and see how tea leaves are harvested and processed at the Charleston Tea Garden, the only tea plantation in North America. View acres of tea plants as far as the eye can see, learn first-hand how tea is made during an informative factory tour, ride a trolley through the tea fields, stop by the greenhouse to learn how tea is grown, and help yourself to all of the samples of iced or hot tea you can drink. Next, tour the Aiken-Rhett House Museum where you’ll learn about the lives of Governor and Mrs. William Aiken, Jr. The house and its surviving furnishings offer a compelling portrait of life in antebellum times. Then tour the nearby Nathaniel Russell House, offering a glimpse into the lives of the mercantile elite who flourished in the late Colonial and early Federal period, the artisans and craftspeople they hired to build and adorn their opulent homes, and the enslaved men and women whose labor made possible their lavish lifestyles. Spend your evening on a Dinner Cruise touring the beautiful Charleston Harbor. (B,L,D)
Tue, March 22: This morning head to Magnolia Plantation. Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, the plantation has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our country from before the American Revolution. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry (opened in 1870) and the oldest un-restored public gardens in America. After exploring the magnificent gardens, tour the Plantation House and learn the history of plantation life and Drayton family ownership; then take a guided tram tour of the plantation’s diverse landscapes, lakes, marshes, and woodlands. Have the option to visit Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum, a unique museum located on the Charleston Harbor with the World War II aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown as its centerpiece. Get a behind the scenes look at the Captain’s Quarters, The Anchor Room and access into a B-25 airplane that has not been available to the public in more than a decade!* Otherwise enjoy an afternoon at your leisure to explore the city. (B)
Wed, March 23: Today check out of your accommodations and move on to Savannah, Georgia. On arrival board an open-air trolley for a narrated tour of historic Savannah. Savannah boasts over 1,700 restored buildings, each with its own story to tell. See the Civil War era Green-Meldrim House, which once served as General Sherman’s headquarters, the infamous Mercer-Williams House, where the controversial events described in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil played out and the Andrew Low House, home to the founder of Girl Scouts USA, Juliette Gordon Low. The tour concludes at City Market. Wrap up your first day in Georgia with a tour of the Davenport House. The stately Federal-style home, built by master carpenter Isaiah Davenport for his household, provides a glimpse into 1820s domestic life in the urban port city. Following your tour enjoy a wine and cheese reception in the garden. Check into the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton Savannah Historic District for two nights. Located steps from River Street and City Market — it is ideally situated for easy independent exploration. (B)
Thu, March 24: Today take an entertaining hands-on culinary class; teaching the flavor and flair of “down home” Low Country cuisine! Sip on some wine and dine on your creations with your fellow travelers. Then have plenty of free time to explore Savannah! Stroll around Forsyth Park, home of popular monuments and the famed Forsyth Park Fountain erected in 1858 and one of the most photographed images in the city. Savannah is the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (the founder of the Girl Scouts), and her home is open for tours. If you’re a maritime buff, don’t miss the extensive collection at The Ships of the Sea Museum. Finally, gather for a special Farewell Dinner to conclude your last night in the city. (B,D)
Fri, March 25: This morning take a private tour of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, which tells the story of American Air Power. Organized in Savannah in 1942 in response to Pearl Harbor, the Mighty Eighth grew to become the premier fighting air group in the world. The Museum features over 90,000 square feet of exhibits, interactive displays, historical artifacts and a magnificent collection of aviation art. Transfer to the airport for your afternoon flight home. (B,L)
*The guided tour included with the optional visit to Patriot’s Point requires climbing of ladders/stairs and is not recommended to those with mobility challenges.
Courtyard Charleston Historic District. Newly renovated and located in the heart of Charleston’s Historic District, the hotel is adjacent to famed Marion Square. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker, refrigerator • complimentary WiFi Internet access • restaurant • bar • outdoor pool • fitness center.
Doubletree Hotel Savannah Historic District. Elegant hotel located in downtown Savannah between iconic River Street and City Market. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary WiFi Internet access • restaurant • outdoor pool • fitness center.
Optional Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum visit and tour: $45 per person (minimum of 10 participants required)
* Prices subject to change due to fuel surcharge.