So much history. Such a walkable waterfront. And such fun socializing! Two nights wasn’t quite enough, but we continue moving northward through the Lowcountry in order to meet my April commitment in Washington D.C. I write this while sitting at a marshy anchorage in Church Creek, less than 20 miles from Charleston (where more history awaits), as dolphins cavort nearby and a full moon rises. It’s so peaceful, I don’t even mind the chill.
I have so much to say about this last stop, but will use bullets to keep myself in check.
A couple who once owned a plantation near here (and found us through this blog) hosted us for a half-day, reminding me that “the kindness of strangers” is alive and well. So ignore those nay-sayers! 🙂
A fun reunion with some favorite Loopers we haven’t seen in months, and a growing friendship with some we met just a week ago, reminds me that camaraderie is one of The Best Things about doing The Loop.
Beaufort brings home the impact of the Civil War on real people–slaves and owners alike. I acknowledge that the institution of slavery has a very old history and is not unique to the white race or this country. Still, it’s a troubling part of our nation’s creation... a nation that is considered a beacon of freedom for the world. So I absorb new context whenever I can. I got some here! More about this, for those interested, at the bottom below the photos.
Movie-making is big business here. Forrest Gump…The Big Chill…etc. etc.
We filled up the tanks here: $5.20/gallon (diesel), about $1.50 more than the last stop some eight days ago. But it won’t stop us.
We are now less than 500 miles from Norfolk. After 3,800 miles, that feels almost close! We travel from 20 to 70 miles a day, taking anywhere from three to eight hours. We stop for special places and enjoy occasional long evenings at anchor. Know when to go and when to stay…
Moving water is such a living thing, and it can mess with you. As we docked in Beaufort, it pushed us vigorously away from the dock. Today, it pushed us sideways at the confluence of rivers and made foam along the riverbank. Who needs the prop-wash of river barges? Not in the Atlantic Intracoastal! We get our excitement naturally!
More on the Civil War and Beaufort: This town owns a unique chapter in Civil War history because Union forces occupied it during the first year of the war (thanks to the Navy), resulting in “The Great Skeedaddle” of townspeople and plantation owners. This “freed” (though not yet literally) at least 10,000 of their slaves, the first of the Civil War, long before the war ended. Imagine the upheaval! One can spare some sympathy for “ordinary townspeople” who got swept up in it because of where they lived and lost everything. (So did the 15 families who controlled most of the area and were some of the richest in America at the time. ) The early occupation also sped up The Reconstruction Era here, which is a key part of the town’s educational offerings. (A National Park Service brochure explains Reconstruction as the time when “the nation grappled with the question of how to integrate millions of newly-freed African Americans into its social, political, economic and labor systems.” It seems to me we are still grappling with it, a few generations later. I say “a few generations” because my own grandfather was alive during the Civil War.) And since the town was occupied so early in the war, it was spared the burning that occurred in other southern cities. That’s why so many beautiful pre-Civil War homes still exist here. A last note for history buffs: look up the story of Robert Smalls, considered Beaufort’s most famous person – or so one tour guide said. What a fascinating story, with twists and turns … the Civil War and its aftermath through one person’s life!