Charleston, South Carolina is always a beautiful place to visit, and during the holidays, the Holy City puts on its best face. With a fantastic culinary scene, striking architecture and vibrant history, there are all sorts of reasons to plan a journey over the holidays. Read along for three compelling reasons to visit Charleston in December.
3 Great Reasons to Visit Charleston in December
“Greetings from Nashville” Pop-Up
Libby Callaway is a former fashion editor who is now plying her trade in Nashville as the head of her eponymous boutique marketing agency, The Callaway. She is also an important arbiter and cheerleader of Nashville fashion and culture, and she enjoys sharing the best parts of her adopted hometown with people across the country.
To better accomplish this, she has established a novel pop-up market she calls “Greetings from Nashville.” Last year, she debuted this assemblage of some of her favorite Nashville artisans, musicians and chefs at Brooklyn’s Wythe Hotel, as part of an extended residency, in a boutique space at the trendy property. During the weeks that Libby occupied the shop, she hosted Nashville musicians for intimate performances in the space, along with book readings and a special dinner event featuring notable female chefs from Music City.
For 2019, Libby is taking her traveling roadshow to Charleston, where she’ll set up shop in the downtown hotel, The Dewberry, from today through Friday, December 6. Greetings from Nashville will take over the Fieldshop by Garden & Gun, a collaboration between the hotel and the iconic regional magazine, based in Charleston.
It’s incredible how much style Libby fits into a small pop-up space, but the display will offer amazing gift and couture items from some of Nashville’s most influential makers. Expect jewelry, cosmetics, vintage finds, artwork, clothing and furniture for sale, from Nashville faves including imogene + willie, Little Seed Farm, Alizah Greenberg Jewelry, Holler Design, Relic Home, Liz Hodder Studio, Brothers Design Co. and others. The Country Music Hall of Fame will also be represented, contributing some of their best souvenirs — including their famous guitar-shaped flyswatter.
On November 22 and 23, Savannah Yarborough and her SAVAS bespoke leather shop will set up a pop-up within the pop-up, taking appointments for private fittings for her amazing custom leather jackets. They are crafted, by hand, to fit your frame perfectly. Greetings from Nashville will host two notable Nashville musicians during their run, with Allison Moorer performing an intimate set in The Dewberry’s cozy lobby bar, known as The Living Room, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on November 25. Celebrated country singer-songwriter Mando Saenz will appear on December 2, as part of an evening of cocktails and shopping at Fieldshop.
Libby is reprising her popular special chef’s dinner, this time taking advantage of a fun coincidence. The restaurant at The Dewberry is named Henrietta’s, so it makes all the sense in the world to invite Nashville Chef Julia Sullivan to repeat her appearance from last year to represent her fantastic seafood-centric eatery, Henrietta Red. Michael Semancik of Henrietta will welcome Julia into his kitchen to prepare an epic meal for lucky patrons who purchase tickets for the December 3 dinner.
Learn more about Greetings from Nashville HERE.
Wine Under the Oaks
One of the most popular South Carolina Lowcountry holiday traditions is Wine Under the Oaks, an afternoon of mellow music, food and drink beneath the stately live oaks at Boone Hall Plantation. Boone Hall is one of the oldest continually operating farms in the country, and it has been open to the public since 1956 when the McRae family purchased the property.
Boone Hall Plantation was founded in 1681 by Englishman Major John Boone, who immigrated to Charleston and established a cotton and pecan plantation, along with a stately home, on the banks of Wampacheone Creek. While plantation histories are almost always complicated, Boone was influential in the history of South Carolina for generations. The farm at Boone Hall is still actively producing strawberries, tomatoes, peaches and a variety of other produce items throughout the year, with “U-pick” opportunities during different seasons.
As Wine Under the Oaks returns to the grounds on December 8, you won’t have to pick anything except which oysters to eat and wines to drink. Admission tickets include complimentary sparkling wines to accompany free oysters and desserts, along with food and wine tastings available from local restaurants and wine distributors.
A portable kitchen will host cooking demonstrations from notable local chefs and wine seminars to teach guests a little more about vino. The headlining musical talent is David Sanborn, a renowned alto saxophonist who is famous for a string of smooth jazz instrumental hits during the 1980s. You might recognize Sanborn for his solo work, which has garnered him six Grammy Awards, or for his career as a movie soundtrack composer and artist. The talented musician also played as a sideman on albums by notable musicians including James Brown, David Bowie, James Taylor and The Eagles.
Tickets to the afternoon of entertainment are available for purchase on the Boone Hall Plantation website.
Charleston Parade of Boats
One of the beautiful things about Charlestonians is that they never take themselves too seriously, as is evidenced by another unique local Christmas tradition, the Holiday Parade of Boats. Since 1981, local seafaring citizens have decorated their boats from stem to stern and mast to gunwale with strings of festive twinkling holiday lights and cruised around Charleston Harbor. Thousands of spectators gather along the shore to watch the colorful flotilla pass by, and judges choose the most spectacularly festooned vessels in a fierce competition.
While those lucky enough to own their own boats either participate or watch from the water, there are numerous viewing sites for landlubbers. The route starts near Fort Sumter before proceeding upriver along the Mount Pleasant side of the harbor. It then goes under the Ravenel Bridge and turns around to head down the Charleston side of the harbor, before turning again and heading up the Ashley River.
Spectators are free to view the parade from anywhere along the route, but even more fun is to head to one of the designated viewing sites where, for a small fee, you can gather with other excited guests to share in the fun. The 2019 Parade starts after sunset on Saturday, December 14, so be sure you don’t make your dinner reservations too early that evening!
Learn more about the Charleston Parade of Boats HERE.
Find out more fun things going on in Charleston through the Explore Charleston site, found here.
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