It's our fourth edition of Gothamist's travel content, Gothamist Getaways. A few times a year, we'll have a week of posts featuring looks at travel, food, products and tips—near and far—for making your trips more enjoyable. So sit back, dream of your next journey and let us know if you have any hints for us—email

(Rod Pasibe/istockphoto)

"I want to see if somewhere there isn't something left in life of charm and grace," Rhett Butler tells Scarlett O'Hara, just before he dumps her for the last time. Where is that mythical gracious "somewhere"? It's Charleston, of course, the coastal hub of South Carolina that has been a fashionable destination since before (and despite) the Civil War. The photogenic polish of the city's historic homes, quaint shops and storied markets also make it the ideal winter weekend retreat—particularly for New Yorkers who, like Scarlett, are fond of redecorating, or just plain coveting.

Begin your adventure in home-lusting at the annual Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour, which winds through the oldest part of the city, and offers plenty of chances to ogle the palm trees and holly-trimmed antebellum mansions along the Battery, Charleston's harborfront promenade.

Charleston Strolls (Facebook)

The tour ends with refreshments at the Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel, a short walk from the 210-year-old Charleston City Market. Here you can console yourself for the fact that you don't have "pineapple gates" or a piazza of your own with the help of some traditional Old South retail therapy (including, of course, "Charleston Christmas Collectibles").

Charleston City Market (@jmapp)

Prefer to make your own souvenir of the Holy City? Head to the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, a nineteenth-century townhouse offering seasonal craft workshops for families: ornament, card and wreath-making materials will be provided. While the kids are occupied with glitter and glue, make time to visit the kitchen, where an exhibition of slave belongings and tools unearthed during an archeological dig gives tourists a fuller glimpse of life before the Civil War.

For those in need of more antebellum immersion, the nearby Edmondston-Alston House offers "Christmas 1860" tours by candlelight, complete with costumed interpreters.

The contemporary Southern experience, however, may require a trip across the Ashley River to Charles Towne Landing, a state park about six miles from downtown.

Charles Towne Landing (Greg R./Foursquare)

Ready to satisfy your biscuits craving? Hop back across the river to the Hominy Grill, where the "Charleston Nasty Biscuit" (with fried chicken, cheddar, and sausage gravy) and the she-crab soup are worth the (long) brunch lines.

For visitors still looking for Rhett Butler's "charm and grace," award-winning Southern cookbook authors and longtime Charleston residents Matt and Ted Lee argue you can't improve on the Holiday Parade of Boats, an annual display of privately-owned vessels both big and small, all aglow with holiday lights (and more than a few Santa Clauses). The boats sail around Charleston Harbor and the event is capped off with a fireworks display. The parade has been a city tradition and a local favorite for more than thirty years. Frankly, my dear, it's hard to imagine a more delightful way to soak up the Charleston atmosphere. Bring biscuits.

Betsy Bradley was born in Manhattan and raised in Westchester, to her eternal disappointment. She now lives in Brooklyn and writes about New York, headless horsemen and human zoos. You can follow her on Twitter at @knickerbockerny