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An Insider’s Charleston with John Meffert

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Departure Dates

  • Dec 05, 2017 - Dec 09, 2017


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An Insider’s Charleston with John Meffert

Tailor-Made for the National Trust!
Peeking through the city’s countless wrought-iron gates, views of jasmine-covered walls, and ornate architectural detailing, to the city’s Colonial charm. Charleston’s many-layered, multicultural population, preserved homes, and historical monuments also speak eloquently, and sometimes painfully, of our nation’s history. See Charleston through the eyes of John Meffert, a longtime preservation expert whose insights and camaraderie have captivated countless National Trust travelers.

Study Leader

Frequent study leader and historian, John Meffert is a long-time proponent of preservation. As former director of the National Trust’s Southern Office, John now serves as a consultant on heritage conservation services in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, where he has also served as the director of the Preservation Society of Charleston preserving the historic resources of the city.

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Historic Hotel of America
Named for Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion (the “Swamp Fox”), the Francis Marion became an instant Charleston landmark when it opened in 1924. Rising 12 stories above the Historic District, the hotel offers spectacular views of Charleston’s church steeples, antebellum mansions, and famous harbor, providing easy access to the wealth of Charleston’s historic attractions. An award-winning restoration in 1996 refurbished all of the 234 guestrooms and suites, which now feature plush furnishings and marble baths. Located downtown on Marion Square, the hotel is within walking distance of the magnificent gardens, house museums, antique shops, local boutiques, restaurants, and nightlife that has made Charleston one of the south’s premier cities.

With such on-site amenities as Spa Adagio, the Swamp Fox Restaurant and Bar, Starbucks, and 18,000 square feet of meeting space, no one will fault you if you end up staying inside the Francis Marion Hotel for the duration of your stay.

Francis Marion was nicknamed the “Swamp Fox” for his cunning ability to disappear into Charleston’s swamps and avoid capture by the British.

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Dec. 5
Upon arrival in Charleston, transfer independently to the elegant landmark Francis Marion Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels of America and your home for the next four evenings. Late this afternoon, join architectural historian and longtime Charleston resident John Meffert for an opening lecture and overview of the days to follow. Following his talk, enjoy a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres during a welcome reception. Continue on a casual stroll past several hidden architectural gems taking in the historic charm of South Carolina’s cultural jewel.
Francis Marion Hotel (Rec.)

Dec. 6
Charleston’s Historic Homes
Depart for a full day of touring the best historic homes in Charleston. First, visit the Heyward-Washington House. This brick Georgian-style double house was built in 1772 and houses a magnificent collection of Charleston-made furniture including the priceless Holmes-Edwards bookcase, dating from 1770 to 1775. Next, at the Nathaniel Russell House, enjoy a guided tour of the property and its decorative arts collection. Set amid spacious formal gardens, the Nathaniel Russell House is a National Historic Landmark recognized as one of America’s most important neoclassical dwellings. The graceful interior—restored to its 1808 grandeur with elaborate plaster ornamentation and a grand spiral staircase—is among the most exuberant homes ever created in early America. Following lunch at a popular local restaurant, enjoy a curator-led tour of the Gibbes Museum of Art, home to early American paintings by such renowned American artists as Benjamin West and Thomas Hart Benton, along with contemporary American art and a special exhibition featuring landscapes of the Hudson River School. This evening, depart for Bowen’s Island to experience a local tradition, an authentic Low Country oyster roast with fresh, local oysters cooked over a fire pit and accompanied by other delicious local favorites. Francis Marion Hotel (B, L, D)

Dec. 7
Drayton Hall & Middleton Place
This morning, go behind the scenes at Middleton Place for a closer look at Middleton family collections during a tour of the historic house and spectacular gardens. Relax over a barbecue lunch featuring classic local dishes like ham biscuits, okra gumbo, she-crab soup, collard greens, and Huguenot torte, all while enjoying the spectacular view of the plantation through the glass-paned porch. Continue to Drayton Hall, a National Trust Historic Site and plantation home that survived the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the earthquake of 1886. The main house, in its near-original condition, is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian- Palladian architecture in the United States, and the grounds represent one of the most significant, undisturbed historic landscapes in America. Next, enjoy an in-depth, director-led tour of the stately Edmondston- Alston House, one of the city’s most splendid dwellings and a classic example of Charleston’s changing and sophisticated taste in architecture and decorative arts. The house, which was built in the late Federal style and later updated with Greek Revival elements is a repository of family treasures, including Alston family silver, furniture, books, and paintings that remain in place where they have been for more than a century. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure. Francis Marion Hotel (B, L)

Dec. 8
Private Homes in Charleston
Today, be special guests at two magnificent, historic Charleston homes open exclusively for the National Trust. Enjoy private access on guided strolls through the grounds and interiors while learning about the joys and challenges of maintaining a historic property. After free time for lunch and independent exploration of the city, rejoin your fellow travelers this evening to bid farewell to Charleston during a memorable dinner in an exceptional local restaurant. Francis Marion Hotel (B, D)

Dec. 9
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer independently to the airport for return flights home. (B)

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Pre or Post Tours

No pre and post tours will be offered.

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