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Charleston chefs and restaurants aren’t the only ones who get in on the culinary action that surrounds the annual Charleston Wine and Food Festival. Many of the hotels and boutique inns participate as well, providing a variety of packages with festival tickets. In 2013, the historic Elliott House Inn’s Sip and Savor offer included accommodations for Friday and Saturday, two tickets for the Vineyard Voyage aboard SpiritLine Cruises on Saturday, and the Lowcountry Jazz Brunch on Sunday, plus a wine and cheese reception. The Inn recently completed a two-year renovation and is located in the heart of the Historic District.
You can’t get much closer to the festival than the Francis Marion Hotel — it’s across from the main tent’s entrance. Guests who booked the hotel’s two-night Food and Wine Lover’s package in 2013 were able to choose two tickets (per night) to some of the festival's most popular events, including the Grand Tasting Tents, the Jailhouse Shake-Up party, Every Day with Rachael Ray + Manchester Farms Quail Present At Home with Celebrity Tastemakers, and the SieMatic Presents Passport to Pairings at the historic Thomas Bennett House downtown.
If you love history as much as food, consider staying at the John Rutledge House Inn. Guests who booked stays for the 2013 festival were offered the Food + Wine Gastronome package. The historic inn is just one of 15 surviving homes once owned by a signer of the U.S. Constitution, and the only one that welcomes overnight guests. Built in 1763, the John Rutledge House Inn is a few blocks from Francis Marion Square. Guests who booked the Food + Wine Gastronome package enjoyed two nights at the Inn, plus tickets to the SieMatic Presents Passport to Pairings event, Every Day with Rachael Ray + Manchester Farms Quail Present At Home with Celebrity Tastemakers, Saturday morning at the Culinary Village and Grand Tasting Tents, and the Lowcountry Jazz Brunch on Sunday.
But the most exclusive package in 2013 was probably the Wentworth Mansion’s Food + Wine Gourmand — it included three nights in a mansion suite at the historic Wentworth Mansion. The fully restored inn was built in 1886 as a private residence and is in downtown Charleston’s Historic District. Tickets to the festival included Thursday night’s Opening Night Party: Salute to Charleston Chefs at the South Carolina Aquarium; access to the Culinary Village and Grand Tasting Tents on Friday afternoon; and seats at Wentworth Mansion’s Circa 1886 restaurant’s Perfectly Paired Dinner prepared by executive chef Marc Collins and New York’s Jesse Schenker from Recette Restaurant. Wentworth Manion guests who booked this package also received tickets to Saturday’s Vineyard Voyage and Republic Reign’s Cocktail Dinner, as well as the Sunday morning Jazz Brunch at Lowndes Grove Plantation.
Be sure to inquire about special packages when planning your trip to the 2014 festival, as hotels across Charleston are always eager to welcome traveling foodies with exclusive offers and packages.