By Vanessa Infanzon
Imagine celebrating the holidays somewhere other than home. The thought has certainly crossed my mind: Break tradition and do something different to mark annual events. Wake up somewhere new, eat from a special menu or get takeout. Change can be good, especially after this year. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, makes a great “home away from home base” for a holiday beach vacation. The town offers accommodations, dining and attractions that meet the needs of couples and families. Here are some ideas:
Pick up gifts at the 21st Annual Mount Pleasant Holiday Market & Craft Show on Saturday, Dec. 12. Catch the fireworks display at the 25th Annual Christmas Light Parade on Sunday, Dec. 13. Enjoy decorated floats, community groups and school marching bands as they parade through the streets of Mount Pleasant.
Add the Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park in Charleston, Nov. 13-Dec. 31, to your evening activities. The highlight of this year’s event will be a three-mile driving tour of over 750 light displays, as well as a drive-through concessions area. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at HolidayFestivalofLights.com.
The Cottages on Charleston Harbor features 10 cottages overlooking the water (Charleston Harbor or a private lagoon). Each cottage is set up like a comfortable home with a kitchen, living area, two bedrooms and a screened-in porch. The Ultimate Holiday Retreat has a four-night stay minimum and is available from Dec. 19-30. The package includes a six-foot live tree decorated with lights. Bring ornaments from home for a tree-trimming party. AAA Members receive a chilled bottle of wine or sparkling cider upon arrival.
Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant celebrates the local art and culture of Mount Pleasant and its surrounding areas. The property opened in July 2018 with locally inspired artwork, a resort-style pool and restaurant. Eliza’s bar + kitchen is named for Antigua-born Eliza Lucas Pinckney. She brought indigo seeds to South Carolina and shared it with other plantations, making it one of the state’s most important cash crops. AAA Members receive 15 percent off the hotel’s best available rate.
Play and Eat
Your AAA Travel Agent can create an itinerary of activities for you: History and military enthusiasts will appreciate Patriots Point and a tour of the, “The Fighting Lady.” Learn the details about how this aircraft carrier was used in the Vietnam War and the Apollo 8 mission. Visit Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island or the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in Mount Pleasant.
Travel through time at Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens. Englishman Major John Boone founded this plantation in 1681. Learn more about Black history and Gullah culture through exhibits, presentations and tours.
Walk along the Mount Pleasant Pier and Memorial Waterfront Park. Take a photo on Pitt Street Bridge, once a trolley bridge to Sullivan’s Island, and shop in the Old Village Historic District. Grab a milkshake and sandwich from the old fashioned soda fountain and counter at Pitt Street Pharmacy.
Nearby Charleston provides day excursions such as a carriage ride with Old South Carriage Co. or a walking tour with Charleston Pirate Tours. Enjoy a tasting or specialty cocktail after a tour at High Wire Distilling Co. Visit the Charleston Tea Garden Plantation to learn how tea is produced or stroll through Magnolia Plantation & Gardens.
Venture out to Mount Pleasant restaurant: For breakfast, check out Vicious Biscuit, Flying Biscuit or eliza’s bar + kitchen. Head to Shem Creek for waterfront seating at Red’s Ice House, Shem Creek Bar & Grill, Tavern & Table or Vickery’s Bar & Grill. Order the award-winning Bloody Mary and shrimp and grits from Page’s Okra Grill. Eat a traditional Southern lunch at The Grit Counter with grit bowls, fried chicken and peach tea. Brunch at Grace & Grit – BLT omelet, Belgium waffle with homemade blueberry jam sauce and maple syrup. Add a cocktail named The Azalea or The Bee’s Knees — you’ll be happy you left home for the holidays.
Come back for the day-long Lowcountry Oyster Festival on Jan. 31, 2021. It’s an all-day celebration with live music, contests, arts and crafts, oysters and other foods from local restaurants and food trucks. Money raised supports local nonprofit organizations.
Please note: Events and hours of operations may be impacted by COVID-19. Call each venue prior to your visit for the latest updates and protocols.
(Go Magazine Nov-Dec 2021)