Gardens and Historic Houses
of Savannah & Charleston
A Pacific Horticulture Society tour
April 4-11, 2016

This tour is Sold Out.
To join our waiting list, please click HERE.

Step back in time to a world of colonial mansions, antebellum homes and peaceful public squares
shaded by ancient live oaks. Our visit is timed (El Nino willing) for bloom of magnolia, daffodil, iris,
camellia, azalea, flowering fruit tree, and much more. We will have exclusive access to gardens not
open to the public in both Charleston and Savannah.

Monday, April 4: Savannah   Make your way to the Planters Inn for a 3-night stay. The Planters Inn
is a small boutique hotel, centrally located on Reynolds Square in the historic district, walking distance
to the Riverfront and Marketplace.  The Planters Inn offers a nightly wine and cheese reception in the
lobby.  Your tour escort will hold an informal gathering in the lobby at 630pm, followed by a very short
walk to our 730pm welcome dinner with wine at the Olde Pink House.  
Reception, Dinner.

Tuesday April 5: Savannah   After breakfast at
the hotel, depart at 930am to enjoy a private,
“Savannah Gates and Gardens” walking tour with a
local guide.  Wander through the residential districts
of the city with glimpses into the gardens that have
made Savannah world famous as an urban forest.
Every spring Savannah becomes a pilgrimage site
for garden lovers, enhanced by the blooming
azaleas and flowers in the 22 major squares and
parks. An introduction to the squares of Savannah
is only the beginning of the tour. Savannah hosts
some of the finest private urban gardens in the
country and your tour includes admission into one of Savannah’s finest private gardens. Savannah
has a significant history as a center of elegant ironwork produced at many of the now defunct
ironworks. The tour also encompasses a look at Savannah’s “iron gardens” leading into Savannah’s
multitude of courtyard gardens seen along many of the streets and squares of downtown Savannah.   
We’ll have lunch at Paula Deen’s Lady & Sons restaurant, located in the newly-restored White
Hardware historic building near City Market, featuring a host of authentic farmhouse southern
classics.  Following lunch, noted landscape designer John McEllen will lead us on a tour by private
motorcoach to several private gardens that he designed.  John’s travels in Italy, Spain, and South
America have influenced his work. He brings water features into play and approaches the outside as a
green room. We’ll return to the hotel late afternoon, with the rest of the day free for shopping, relaxing
in the lovely squares or walking along the riverfront.
Breakfast, Lunch.

Wednesday, April 6: Savannah  Following breakfast, depart the
hotel 9:30 AM for a guided walking tour. We’ll first visit the Owens-
Thomas Historic House Museum, considered the finest example of
English Regency architecture in America by architectural historians.
Inspired by classical antiquity, this style of architecture takes its name
from England's King George IV, who ruled as Prince Regent from
1811 to 1820. The site also includes a beautiful English-inspired
parterre garden and an original carriage house—which contains one
of the earliest intact urban slave quarters in the South.  Our next stop
is the Telfair Mansion, which houses a fine art collection and was
designed by English architect William Jay in the neoclassical Regency
style. Built 1818-1819 for Alexander Telfair, son of the Revolutionary
patriot and Georgia governor Edward Telfair, the mansion was home
to the Telfair family until 1875. The Telfair Museum of Art opened its
new state-of-the-art building to the public in March 2006. Designed
by architect Moshe Safdie, the Jepson Center for the Arts features
two large galleries for major traveling exhibitions; galleries for African
American art, Southern art, photography and works-on-paper; a community gallery; two outdoor
sculpture terraces, café, and store.  The afternoon and evening is at leisure, so feel free to extend
your visit at the Telfair Museum, perhaps lunch at the museum café.  Shopping, restaurants, and
peaceful public squares are all yours to explore.   Balance of the day free to enjoy charming
Savannah, Georgia.  

Thursday, April 7: Savannah-Beaufort-Charleston
Early breakfast and check out to board our private motorcoach,
bound for Beaufort (Bew-furt). Upon arrival, enjoy a guided
walking tour of this lovely village with its beautiful and stately
homes, many of which were built prior to the Civil War as
summer homes by wealthy plantation owners.  Learn about
Beaufort’s interesting history as the sight of several of the
earliest settlements in this area and experience the unique
beauty of its placid marshes and broad alluvial rivers rolling
down to the sea. Complete your tour with a visit to St. Helena's
Church, c. 1724.  With good appetites after our walk, we’ll enjoy luncheon in a historic home, hosted
by the ladies of the Beaufort County Open Land Trust.  A little time to shop and browse along Bay
Street, before we reboard our motorcoach, bound for Charleston.  Arrive late afternoon and check
into the historic Francis Marion Hotel, with the balance of the evening at leisure.  
Breakfast, Lunch.

Friday, April 8: Charleston  Following breakfast at the hotel, depart on a 9am Cobblestones and
Gardens walking tour.  Stroll with your guide down lovely streets and lanes and view the marvelous
architecture of homes built more than a century ago. Peak into the lush private gardens of this quaint
old city and breathe the aroma of tea, olive, and magnolia. During your walk you will learn about the
unique, relaxed culture of this grand old city as you gaze at beautiful historic homes and buildings
which have stood the test of time. A highlight of this tour will be a visit to Mrs. Whaley's Garden, an
exquisite garden created by a native Charlestonian.  We’ll end our walking tour near the Old City
Market for lunch on your own.   At 2pm the Festival of Houses and Gardens tour begins.  We’ll each
be provided entrance tickets and a map for this self-guided, self-paced tour. Enjoy the diversity of this
unique city and its architectural legacy by touring some of Charleston’s beautiful historic houses and
lushly planted gardens. Stroll through her lovely streets and lanes to private homes and gardens
which are rarely open to the public where volunteer docents will welcome you with interesting narrative
about the charming interiors of these marvelous old dwellings.  Balance of the day at leisure.  

Saturday, April 9: Outside of Charleston
After breakfast, depart 9am by private coach to visit two of America's
earliest plantations and gardens: Magnolia Gardens and Middleton
Place. Magnolia Gardens and Plantation founded by the Drayton family
in 1680 is considered one of the most beautiful romantic gardens in
the world.  As you wander the garden paths through a Cypress Swamp
turned into a garden by the Rev. John Drayton prior to the War
Between the States, the beauty of these unique gardens will take your
breath away. After touring the gardens board the Nature Train which
will take you into part of the Audubon Swamp Garden, home to scores
of water loving creatures and traversed by boardwalks, dikes, and
bridges to put the visitor in close contact with its inhabitants. You may
even see an alligator and will have the opportunity to view the
abundant bird population of the low country.  Middleton Place, a
Registered National Historic Landmark and the plantation home of the
Middleton family since 1741, boasts the oldest formal gardens in America and has stable yards where
one is treated to a view of life on an 18th century working plantation. While at Middleton tour the
remaining wing of the Middleton House, furnished with heirlooms from the Middleton family and enjoy
a delicious luncheon in the Middleton Place Pavilion.  Return to Charleston late this afternoon with the
evening on your own.  
Breakfast, Lunch.

Sunday, April 10: Charleston  After breakfast, we’ll
enjoy a morning of private garden visits, with details to be
advised in your final itinerary.  We’ll end around noon,
leaving the afternoon free for unfinished shopping and
sightseeing.   This evening we’ll take a short drive
through historic Charleston to our farewell dinner with
wine at Magnolia’s restaurant, including entertaining
Tales of the South by local storytelling legend Tim Lowry.  
Return to the hotel later this evening.  
Breakfast, Dinner.

Monday, April 11: Farewell Our tour ends following breakfast at the hotel.  Check out and return
home with fond memories of the Low Country, or perhaps continue your exploration of this fascinating

Flights    Please note our tour begins in Savannah, Georgia (SAV) and ends in Charleston, South
Carolina (CHS), flights should be booked accordingly.  Please plan flight arrival into Savannah by 4pm
Monday April 4 in order to make our welcome reception and dinner, otherwise consider coming in a
day early (please ask us about extra hotel night rates before or after the tour).  Departures from
Charleston Sunday April 11 are at your convenience as there are no scheduled events other than
breakfast that day.  Airlines offering service to Savannah and Charleston include Delta, United and
American/US Airways.

Travel Insurance   As your deposit and eventual final payment are both non-refundable, we wish to
make you aware that individual travel insurance is available to protect you against cancellation
penalties as well as provide coverage should an incident occur during the trip.  We will send an email
with your deposit confirmation containing information about how to get a free quote and/or secure
your coverage online or by phone.   We strongly encourage you to purchase insurance at the time of
deposit, as most pre-existing conditions can often be covered. Group travel insurance will not be
offered with this tour.

Tour Land Cost
$2845 per person for members of Pacific Horticulture Society, $2945 for non-members,* based on 2
persons sharing a room.   Supplement for single occupancy is $995.  A deposit of $300 per person is
required to reserve a place on this tour with balance due 60 days before departure.  A minimum of 15
guests is required to operate this tour.  *Membership in PacHort starts at just $28 so why not join
before you register for the tour as you can then receive the member price.  You can join online, just

Cost includes:
•        7 night’s accommodations:  3 nights Savannah, 4 nights Charleston.
•        Hotel taxes and service charges
•        7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners, nightly wine & cheese in Savannah.
•        Ground transportation as specified in itinerary
•        Top local guides
•        All sightseeing and entrances as per the itinerary
•        Tips to local guides and drivers
•        Escorted by Pat Wipf, board member, Pacific Horticulture Society
•        Donation of $150 to Pacific Horticulture Society

Cost does not include:
•        Airfare
•        Travel insurance
•        Airport transfers
•        Items or services not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.

Physical Capabilities - This tour include a GREAT DEAL OF WALKING (see itinerary above for April
5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 to see what we mean), sometimes on uneven or unpaved pathways and/or
cobblestones, and occasional use of stairs. Some of the places we will be visiting can only be seen on
foot with no other access possible.  Guests with limited mobility MUST consult with Sterling prior to
tour registration.

Important Note:  This itinerary is subject to revision because the schedule for several included
events had not been finalized when the itinerary was released.  We do not anticipate major schedule
revisions, but do want all guests to understand that revisions may be possible.   Guests will be notified
should revisions be necessary.

To view or print the terms and conditions and booking form, click
To view or print the itinerary click HERE.

Sterling Tours, Ltd            
2907 Shelter Island Drive Suite #105-262
San Diego, CA 92106      Tel: 619 299-3010     800-976-9497
sterling tours, ltd