Concierge Tips Culture & Style

8 Great Reasons to Visit Charleston S.C. this Fall

Summer officially ends September 21, but vacation season is far from over. If you’re planning a getaway, why not experience the splendor of fall in Charleston? Here is a round-up of fun events and special exhibitions happening in the months ahead.

Discover eight reasons to visit the Lowcountry this Fall!

In October, Come to Charleston to:

1. Tour Exquisite Private Antebellum Mansions // details

2. See a Prized Collection of Modern Masterworks // details

3. View Never-Before-Exhibited Works of Art // details

4. Attend a Masquerade Ball at a Famous Estate // details

In November, C
ome to Charleston for:

5. Charleston’s Beloved Thanksgiving Tradition // details

6. The South’s Best Holiday Shopping // details

In December, Come to Charleston to:

7. Attend the Made in the South Weekend // details

8. Make Wreaths at a Majestic 110-Acre Plantation // details

Keep Reading to Discover All Eight Great Reasons to Visit Charleston this Fall!


Discover the the grandeur of old Charleston.

OCTOBER 6 – 30, 2016

Charleston’s Fall Tour of Homes, History & Architecture

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An invitation to peek inside some of the city’s prized historical dwellings makes the 40th Annual Tour of Homes a must for preservationists, horticulturalists, designers, and visitors who merely want to wander through the grandeur of old Charleston.

Each tour center on a specific downtown neighborhood, allowing guests to meander from one adjacent home to the next at a comfortable pace. Docents share short biographies of each home’s lineage, including a provenance of key furnishings, before guiding guests through stately drawing rooms, detached kitchen houses–turned–guest quarters, hidden cupolas, and more.

Here is a sampling of the tours offered during the 2016 Fall Tour of Homes organized by the Preservation Society of Charleston:

Meeting Street Tour
One of the oldest streets designed in The Grand Modell—a sophisticated urban development plan that established Charleston’s city blocks in an easy-to-navigate grid starting in 1680—Meeting Street formed the boundary of the original walled city. Many of the architecturally significant homes along this street date from the 18th and 19th centuries and represent a broad range of architectural styles. Meeting Street runs north to south and the residential section stretches from the historic Four Corners of Law to White Point Gardens and the Ashley River.

South of Broad Tour
Spanning styles that date from the late 18th and early 19th-century Georgian style to contemporary periods, some of Charleston’s most architecturally significant properties are showcased during this tour. Discover how current owners have applied modern conveniences to centuries-old homes while retaining the charm, character, and historical significance of the original structures.

King Street Tour
Named for King George I of England, King Street was—and still is—considered the main thoroughfare in Charleston. Homes along the southern end of King Street (past Broad Street, hence the term “South of Broad”) are noted for their elegance and charm and include some of the most notable examples of the Charleston Single House.

Legare Street Tour
As Charleston became a prospered, the city’s footprint expanded beyond its original walled delineation. A variety of successful planters, merchants, and mechanics built spectacular homes on Legare Street, named for  Solomon Legare, a prosperous Huguenot silversmith and landowner. This tour explores magnificent Charleston single houses, kitchen, and carriage houses exhibit interiors which reflect modern lifestyles yet respect the character and significance of the city’s historic architecture.

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Ready to discover the grandeur of Charleston’s private historic mansions?
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Solomon R. Guggenheim’s collection of modern art at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston

OCTOBER 22, 2016 – JANUARY 15, 2017

Realm of Spirit: Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection

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In 1936, the Gibbes Museum of Art presented the first formal exhibition of Solomon R. Guggenheim’s collection of modern art, a seminal show that brought international attention to Charleston.

Now, eighty years after the first exhibition, the Gibbes is presenting 36 masterworks from Guggenheim’s collection by artists including Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky, Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Robert Delaunay, Amedeo Modigliani, and Georges Seurat.

This special exhibition helps mark the highly anticipated re-opening of the Gibbes Museum of Art following a two-year $13.5 million renovation. Among the museum’s new facets are a wonderful shop, a café, two art studios, enhanced gallery space, a classical garden, and a state-of-the-art storage facility with a viewing platform that provides visitors an opportunity to see conservators at work.

The museum’s spectacular Beaux Arts building is located a short two-block stroll from Planters Inn. Make plans now to see the Guggenheim collection in Charleston before the exhibition ends in January 2017.

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Want to see 36 masterworks from Guggenheim’s collection?
Book your Planters Inn getaway today.

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Step inside one of Charleston's famed historic mansions.


Alice Ravenel Huger Smith: Sharing Her Legacy

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“Come quickly, have found heaven,” was the message artist Alfred Hutty wired to his wife upon discovering the evocative charms of Charleston in 1919. Hired to establish an art school for the Carolina Art Association, Hutty, a painter, found the city ripe for artistic nurturing. He had arrived on the eve of the Charleston Renaissance, a Beaux Arts era that spanned from 1920 to 1945. With Charleston as their muse, a cadre of talented poets, painters, playwrights, preservationists, and writers articulated the city’s evocative aura with pens, paintbrushes, and etching knives.

A leading member of this artistic movement was Charleston-born Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876 – 1958), a mostly self-taught painter whose watercolor canvases depicting salt marsh and rice fields are a poetic ode to the near-mystical spirit of the Lowcountry’s bucolic scenes.

Although Smith descended from the prominent Middleton family and counted a signer of the Declaration of Independence among her worldly, wealthy, and influential ancestors, she preferred a tranquil existence close to home and close to the land. Her delicate brush strokes exquisitely depict the hazy golden light that can make the landscape look as if it had been painted in watercolor, a case of art imitating life imitating art.

Smith’s work resides in notable permanent collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), Ogden Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans, LA), and de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, among others.

This fall, a collection of Smith’s never-before-exhibited landscapes, family portraits, and sketch books will go on display at the Edmondston-Alston House, which was converted into a museum in 1973 and is managed by the Middleton Place Foundation.

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Want a culture-rich experience?
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The first fully executed example of Palladian architecture in North America.

OCTOBER 28, 2016

Masquerade Ball at Drayton Hall

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The austere grandeur of Drayton Hall, the 18th-century plantation located on the banks of Charleston’s Ashley River, provides an unforgettable setting for the Palladian Circle’s 2nd Annual Masquerade Gala.

The first fully executed example of Palladian architecture in North America, Drayton Hall has passed through seven generations of family ownership and is preserved in its original form, void of electricity or running water. Despite enduring devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, and wars, the main house remains in nearly original condition. Among the estate’s extraordinary architectural details are its iconic double portico and original hand-carved plaster ceilings.

Guests at the ball will enjoy live music, cocktails, delicious hors d’oeuvres, dancing under the stars, and nighttime tours of Drayton Hall. The evening begins at 7:00 p.m. with a shuttle bus service leaving downtown at 6:30 p.m.

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Have a mask for the ball?
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Book Thanksgiving dinner now in South Carolina.

NOVEMBER 24, 2016

Charleston’s Beloved Thanksgiving Tradition

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Take a cue from in-the-know locals who book Thanksgiving Day reservations at Peninsula Grill to ensure a delicious meal and a relaxing holiday.

Treat yourself. Allow the Peninsula Grill culinary team to delight you and your loved ones with a delicious meal on Thanksgiving Day.

Holiday Dinner: At Peninsula Grill… a fine selection of glazes and sauces, such as on his grilled bourbon glazed jumbo shrimp, and gives you the option of sinfully grilled steak and sauce. Take your pick among blue cheese–balsamic glaze, red pepper béarnaise, Foie gras–truffle butter, or brandy-peppercorn sauce. – Travel + Leisure magazine

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Relax. Leave the cooking to us.
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A list of the excellent locally-owned shops located within strolling distance of Planters Inn.

NOVEMBER 26, 2016

Small Business Saturday Shopping in Charleston

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A visit to Charleston is not complete without picking up a few unique souvenirs. And what better way to support a local community than visiting its locally-owned shops during Small Business Saturday! You’ll want to leave room in your luggage for a pair of “cobblestones to cocktails” shoes, some sterling silver oyster shell cuff links, and a handwoven sweetgrass basket!

Here’s a list of the excellent locally-owned shops located within strolling distance of Planters Inn.

SoHo meets Southern Boho on the racks at Hampden Clothing (314 King Street), a fashion-forward boutique stocked with owner Stacy Smallwood’s personal selections from runways in Paris and New York. IBU Movement (183 B King Street) imports colorful hand-loomed luxury items—think dolman sleeve jackets made from cotton saris found in India—from far-flung points around the globe. Pick up the perfect pair of pumps at Bob Ellis (332 King Street), a family-owned show emporium that is a shopping destination unto itself!

Gaze at the treasure trove of heirloom silver, estate jewelry, classic gifts, and eye-popping baubles at Croghan’s Jewel Box (308 King Street), the 100-year-old shopping tradition currently managed by the fourth generation of the shop’s founding family. Be sure to ask about the Goldbug Necklace, designed and sold exclusively at this local institution now run by the third generation of its founding family. And the contents of the gleaming cases are not just for the ladies. The sterling silver oyster shell cuff links, bowties made with pheasant feathers, and sterling silver belt buckles are popular purchases with discerning gentlemen.

At neighboring M. Dumas & Sons (294 King Street), three generations of this family-owned retailer have outfitted the best-dressed Charleston’s best dressed gentlemen in everything from sporting apparel to tuxedoes. 

Candlefish (71 Wentworth Street) is a gorgeous store stocked with an array of specialty candles. Customers may also create bespoke candles by mixing scents from the store’s vast fragrance library.

Swing through Rapport (235 King Street), a high-end women’s clothier offering luxury labels along with high-touch service and creative styling for Charleston’s discerning shoppers.

Stop in Shirtini (192 King Street), the tiny nook of crisply pressed, classically styled blouses.

Meander through esteemed King Street antiques district and be sure to visit George C. Birlant & Co. (191 King Street), maker of the Charleston Battery Bench—the quintessential Lowcountry garden decoration.

The family-owned Ben Silver (149 King Street)is a repository of custom designed bowties, tortoiseshell spectacles, jewelry-quality blazer buttons, and other tasteful accessories. Dapper gents will have a “regimental ball” trying on the luxe goods including authentic historical necktie patterns. An Old Etonian tie, perhaps?

Beneath the blue neon sign emblazoned with “Berlin’s since 1883” is family-owned Berlin’s for Men & Berlin’s for Women (116 King Street) offers classic wardrobe staples for the gents and fashion-forward frocks for the ladies.

A handwoven sweetgrass basket from the Charleston City Market (located adjacent to Planters Inn), one of the oldest public markets in America, is the most iconic Charleston souvenir. The first baskets were woven during the plantation age to separate grains of rice from the chaff after harvest. Not only are the baskets a beautiful example of artistry, but also they represent Charleston’s rich cultural heritage.

The selection of soft, seemingly weightless scarves at the Historic Charleston Foundation Shop inside the Charleston City Market Great Hall means you now have a fabulous travel accessory. Check out the nearby Charleston Shoe Company for fabulous footwear that goes from “cobblestones to cocktails” as seen recently on the TODAY Show!

Happy Shopping!

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Excited to shop in Charleston?
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Garden & Gun magazine's Jubilee celebration of Southern culture

DECEMBER 2 – 4, 2016

Jubilee: Made in the South Weekend

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Tickets are now on sale for Garden & Gun magazine’s 4th annual Jubilee: Made in the South Weekend, a spirited three-day gathering of the products and personalities that fill the pages of the award-winning magazine. Planters Inn is proud to be an official hotel partner for this grand celebration of Southern culture, and a limited number of hotel + ticket packages are now on sale!

Not familiar with Garden & Gun? Not to worry! Here’s a field guide on the glossy lifestyle magazine headquartered in Charleston. Click here.

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Best Places to Visit in Charleston

DECEMBER 10, 2016

Yuletide in the Stableyards

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Take a delightful trip back in time during this festive gathering on the grounds of majestic Middleton Place, an 110-acre plantation located a short drive from downtown Charleston.

One of North America’s best examples of a Colonial garden exists at Middleton Place, where visitors can stroll through the sixty-five acres of parterres and verdant terraces that are home to the nation’s oldest camellia plants.

Fresh greenery, berries, and other natural items gathered from the plantation’s grounds will be provided to make wreaths and other holiday decor during the Yuletide in the Stableyards festivities. Historic artisan shops will be lit by candlelight as lively craftspeople ply their trades and interact with visitors. Seasonal refreshments will be provided.

Be sure to wander behind the stable yard to see breeds of water buffalo, sheep, goats, Guinea hogs, and peacocks that have called Middleton Place home for more than two centuries.

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