Tag: "spring break"

Travel Plan Idea – Spring Break Destination with more than parties – Charleston, South Carolina

Spring Break is just around the corner, and you are probably thinking of going some place warm, affordable, and not far from home. Charleston is not a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea or a resort on the Mexican coast, but it is a great place to visit. With a mild climate, good beaches, beautiful gardens, and interesting historical attractions dating back to Revolutionary and Civil War days, Spring Break in Charleston can be inexpensive and fun.

Day One – Arrive at Charleston International after noon and take the shuttle bus 10 miles to 26 Vendue Range Street (19 Vendue under renovation). Located in the French Quarter on a waterfront park, the Vendue is within walking distance of dining, shopping, and many attractions. Junior and king suites are tastefully done with antique furnishings and artwork. Some guestrooms feature themes based on a specific person or event in Charleston history. The 4-star Vendue Inn offers continental breakfast, afternoon wine and cheese, and evening cookies and milk. Highly recommended for excellent location and friendly staff. Free bicycle rental.
Rates: From $150-$214/dbl. Romance, City & Beach, & Spa Packages available.

Spend the afternoon exploring the 3-story Old Slave and Provost Dungeon nearby. Relive stories of colonists and pirates, traders and slaves, and the Revolutionary War on a narrated tour through this National Historic landmark. Hours: 9-5pm. Last tour 3:30pm. Admission: Adults – $9, Children (ages 7-12) & College Students – $5.

Dinner and live jazz music at the High Cotton, rated 5 stars for outstanding food, wine, and cocktails. Menu features traditional Southern Low Country, fresh seafood, steak, and a few exotic selections. Prices: $20-$40. Hours: Mon-Fri, 5:30-11pm. Sat, 12Noon-11pm. Sun, 9:30am-10pm.

Day Two – Tours & History

The weather is perfect for a carriage ride and harbor tour on your first full day in Charleston. Bring your camera and join the tour at the Old South Carriage Company on Anson Street at 9am. Narrated by a guide in Confederate uniform, the one-hour tour covers 30 blocks of old, pre-Civil War mansions, churches, and gardens.
Hours: Daily, every 20 minutes, no reservations.

After the carriage tour, you can meet the Spirit Line Harbor Tour leaving at 11am from Aquarium Wharf (use the Market/Waterfront downtown shuttle service). This relaxing, educational tour is skillfully narrated and includes Ft Sumter, Battery Point, Castle Pinckney, and the Cooper River Bridge. Snack bar & beer. Not handicap accessible.
Carriage Tour: Adults – $22, Children (4-11) – $15
Carriage Tour & Harbor Cruise: Adults – $35, Children – $24.

Casual lunch at the Brown Dog Deli on Broad Street. Menu of salads, subs, and hotdogs, all under $10. Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11-6pm. Fri&Sat, 11-8pm. Sun, 11-4pm.

This afternoon, visit the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, a carefully restored National Historic landmark built in the prewar architectural style of the Old South. The 3-story “flying staircase,” fine furniture, paintings, and elegant interior of the grand Russell House are definitely worth seeing. Admission: $10
Hours: Mon-Sat, 10-5pm. Sun, 2-5pm. 30-minute tours, last tour 3:30pm.

Enjoy the atmosphere, fun, and music at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub tonight. Go Irish for dinner with corned beef or shepherd’s pie along with a Tommy Creation of Guinness and Bass beer. Family oriented, indoor or outdoor dining. Prices: $10-$25. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 11am-1am. Dinner till 10pm. Fri&Sat, 11am-2am, Dinner till 11pm.

Day Three – Plantations & Gardens

What to do today? You could go to the beach on Sullivan’s Island or the Isle of Palms, but the beaches during Spring Break will be very crowded (especially Folly’s). Why not visit a historic plantation instead. The fascinating history of the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island began in the 1700’s and it remains as America’s only tea garden/farm today. Enjoy the 6-hour Island Sip & See Tour on a trolley ride though the beautiful acres of more than 300 varieties of tea with stops at the Irvin House Vineyard and Firefly Distillery. Gift shop. Hours: Tues & Thurs, 9:30am (from the Visitor’s Center)
Tour Price: $52. Includes catered outdoor lunch, tea, and complimentary glasses.

Return to hotel, relax, and refresh before going to A.W. Shuck’s in the City Market for an informal dinner and cold pitcher of beer. Oyster bar, Low Country shrimp boil, or steamed snow crab legs are popular choices. Try peach bourbon bread pudding, a southern favorite, for dessert. Prices: $15-$30. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 11-10pm. Fri & Sat, 11-11pm.

Day Four – Shopping Spree

Begin a busy walking day with breakfast at Toast, highly recommended by visitors to Charleston. Open – 6am. Prices: $10-$15. Head on over to King Street for upscale shopping at the Copper Penny for ladies apparel & jewelry, Berlin’s for sportswear, and Ben Silver’s for men. Stop by the Charleston Crafts Gallery for wonderful handmade items, and go to Christophe’s Artisan Chocolatier-Patisserie for lunch and unique gifts of French chocolate. You’ll find designer and estate jewelry at Croghan’s Jewel Box, and for a glimpse of Gullah (Low Country) culture, go by Gallery Chuma on Meeting Street. Stroll through the open-air City Market for bargain shopping including baskets, candles, candy, and souvenirs.

Return to the hotel with your purchases and enjoy afternoon wine and cheese. For something different to do tonight, have an early dinner at Bocci’s Italian before the 7:30 comedy show at the Dock Street Theater. Bocci’s features seafood, lasagna, chicken, and veal. Hours: Dinner – 4-10pm, 4-11 (Fri&Sat). Lunch – 11am-4pm. Prices: $10-$25.

The famous old Dock Street Theater, destroyed by the Great Fire of 1740, was eventually rebuilt within the Planter’s Hotel and reopened in 1937 with performances year round. Renovated and updated in 2010, the Theater is currently presenting the award-winning comedy “The Foreigner” by Larry Shue. Tickets: Adults – $34.50-$53.50. Seniors – $2 less. Students & active duty military – $10 less.

Day Five – More historical beauty

After breakfast, consider spending the day on a tour through another great, historic plantation, the Middleton Place. You’ll see America’s oldest landscaped gardens, visit the museum housing Middleton family memorabilia from 1740-1880s, and watch craftsmen in the stableyards recreate the activities of an 18th century rice plantation. The Middleton Place gardens are absolutely beautiful with rare plants, flowers, and trees. In addition, there’s a rice mill pond, butterfly lakes, and Arthur Middleton’s tomb, a signer of the Declaration of Independence who lived on the property. Visit the Garden Market & Nursery, have a light lunch, or dine on typical plantation food at the onsite restaurant.
Hours: Noon-3pm. Prices: Avg $15

Spend-a-Day Package (all inclusive): Adults – $55, Students – $44, Children (6-13) – $39
(Note: Other tours available on website.)

Enjoy the ambiance and gourmet cuisine at McCrady’s near the hotel on your last evening in Charleston. Elegant & expensive. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 5-9:30pm. Fri&Sat, 5-10:30pm. Prices: $65 – 4-course meal. A-la-carte also available. Variety of wine and cocktails.

Day Six – Leaving Charleston and its history behind, Spring Break has gone by much too quickly. With lots more to see and do, you are probably thinking about a return visit to this captivating city.

Getting there: Some travelers may prefer to drive to Charleston and avoid the airline hassle, but if time or distance is a problem, most major airlines fly into Charleston International Airport.
(Note: Tours are probably the best option to see Charleston. Information and tickets available at the Visitor’s Center, 375 Meeting Street, 8:30-5pm Daily.)

Sharon L Slayton

Travel Plan Idea – Spring Break in Savannah, Georgia

It’s springtime in the South and time to get away from the daily grind of going to work in the miserable winter weather which many of us have experienced this year. What better place for fun and relaxation than Savannah in the Spring? We often think of Spring Break as something only the younger crowd enjoys, but in Savannah it can be much more than a wild party scene. You will have a wonderful mini vacation in a milder climate with exciting things to do, numerous good hotels and restaurants, interesting old mansions, and a lot of history.

Day One – Arrive Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport early afternoon and take the courtesy shuttle to the Mansion on Forsyth Park, an exceptional, luxurious boutique hotel in the historic district. The district itself is laid out in multiple squares named after famous people or events in keeping with the original plan made by British General Oglethorpe in 1733. If you’re a pet owner, as are many visitors to Savannah, the Mansion does allow dogs up to 40 lbs ($150 non refundable cleaning fee). Located a short distance from various attractions in the historic district, the interior decor of Italian marble and Venetian columns adds charm and appeal to the Mansion. The hotel offers concierge service and numerous amenities in elegant guestrooms, as well as the Poseidon Spa/fitness center, a rooftop lounge with live entertainment, a wonderful art collection, and the excellent Drayton Restaurant onsite. Restaurant Hours: 7-10am, 11-2pm, 5-10pm. Room Rates: Avg $295/dbl.
Spend the afternoon strolling through the beautiful gardens beneath the hanging Spanish moss on live oaks in Forsyth Park. From the famous cast iron fountain at one end and the Fragrant Garden for the Blind to the various monuments and neighboring Victorian mansions, the Park is one of Savannah’s main attractions. Magnolia Hall/Inn is of particular historical interest as the birthplace of poet laureate Conrad Aiken and temporary residence of author John Berendt, while writing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Have dinner tonight at Sam Snead’s Oak Grill & Tavern, highly recommended by other travelers. Enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine in the casual, comfortable atmosphere, visit the various rooms featuring Sam’s golf memorabilia, and choose from a varied selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts on the menu.
Prices: $20-$30. Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-11pm, Sat, 5-11pm, Sun, 11-9:30pm.
Mon-Fri Happy Hour – 4:30-6:30pm.

Day Two – Places to Go

After breakfast, join the Old Savannah Tours minibus for a nonstop 3-hour tour through the Victorian District, Thomas Square, the Beech Institute, and Victory Drive. Lunch at Johnny Harris’ restaurant is included in the tour (recommend BBQ and mud pie for dessert).
Prices: Adult – $41, Child – $26. Hours: Mon-Sat, 9-2pm.

Reservations for dinner tonight at Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons’ restaurant, a landmark and tradition in Savannah offering the best in Southern cooking. Stop in at her store next door to find cookware, cookbooks, and other Paula items while waiting for dinner. Menu includes fresh seafood, chicken, and steak pot pies. Try fried green tomatoes or grits with your meal and don’t forget sweet tea. Enjoy a delicious dessert such as banana pudding, peach cobbler, or pecan pie.
Prices: $20-$30/entrees. Lady’s Southern Buffet (all you can eat): $17.99.
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-9pm, Sun-11am-5pm.

Day Three – More to Do (see Concierge for map & directions)

Begin a leisurely day with a visit to the Savannah History Museum inside the Visitor’s Center to view artifacts and exhibits from 1733 to the present. The museum houses memorabilia from Native American cultures, the Revolutionary War, Johnny Mercer, and Forrest Gump. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30-5pm. Sat-Sun, 9-5pm. Admission: Adults – $5, Children Under 6 Free.

Next stop, the historic Davenport House on Columbia Square built in 1833 and carefully restored for a public museum. The museum houses archaeological artifacts and a collection of ceramics, books, textiles, and household items portraying domestic life in Savannah in the early 1800’s.
Daily Tours. Hours: Mon-Sat, 10-4pm. Sun, 1-4pm. Admission: Adults – $9, Children, 6-17 – $5.

Lunch at the SoHo South Cafe, recommended for nice atmosphere and good, inexpensive food.

Splurge on dinner tonight at The Olde Pink House, next door to the Planter’s Inn on Reynolds Square, an 18th century mansion with outdoor dining and live entertainment in beautiful surroundings. Gourmet menu includes sushi, oysters on the half shell, and lobster, duck, pork, and steak entrees.
Hours: Mon-Sun, 5-10:30pm. (Lunch – Tues-Sat, 11-2:30pm) Prices: $31-$50.

Day Four – Tybee Island

Plan a day in the sun on Tybee Island (weather permitting). Stroll down to the south end pavilion to see the dolphins, visit the Marine Science Center (open 7 days, 10am-5pm), and look for gifts and souvenirs at Seaside Sisters. Fannie’s on the beach is a fun place for lunch.
Shuttle service to/from Tybee Island – $3/pp, one-way. Hours: 7 days,10am, 12 Noon, 2, & 5pm. Last return service – 7pm, Fri & Sat.

Return to the Mansion to rest and dine in tonight with gourmet cuisine at the Drayton.

Day Five – Spend Money

Start the day by going to Narobia’s Grits & Gravy for a hearty Southern style platter of anything you like from French toast, eggs, and grits to sausage, biscuits, and gravy. Inexpensive. Open 7:30am. After a great meal, it’s time to shop. Savannah has the usual malls and large department stores, but it’s more fun to shop for collectibles and unique items at the smaller shops and boutiques in the historic district and the Riverstreet Market Place. One Fish Two Fish has everything from painted furniture and home accessories to apparel, jewelry, and gifts. Look for handmade crafts and original artwork at the Village Craftsman, and visit Paris Market & Brocante on Broughton Street for French items. ShopSCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) for paintings, photographs, handmade jewelry, and pottery. Go to Iona’s Gallery and Great Finds on Abercorn and Congress for paintings, home decor, and jewelry.

Lunch at Huey’s on the riverfront – have a shrimp or oyster po boy or fried green tomato muffuletta with a slice of praline cheesecake for dessert .
Prices: Sandwiches – $8-$12, Dinner – $14-$30.
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 7am-10pm. Fri-7am-11pm. Sat-8am-11pm & Sun-8am-10pm.

Return to the hotel, put away shopping bags, and relax at the Poseidon Spa before dinner tonight at the popular Pirate House on Broad Street. Highly recommended for excellent food and service, the Pirate House is one of the oldest historic spots in Savannah. The extensive menu includes a variety of appetizers and features large platters of shrimp, oysters, crab, and other seafood, prepared Creole or Southern style. Order a rum cocktail and enjoy the ambiance of the Pirate House.
Prices: $30 or less
Hours: Dinner, 4:30-9:30pm. Lunch, 11am-4pm.

Day Six – Leaving Savannah today, you’ll remember Spring Break this year as a pleasurable fun-filled week (or longer) of experiencing real Southern hospitality and reliving some of the history in one of our nation’s most fascinating cities.

Getting there – Most major airlines fly into Savannah/Hilton Head International, about 7 miles from downtown. Cheap and reasonable airfares available. Driving to Savannah, or renting a car at the airport is another option.

Sharon L Slayton