Beaufort, S. C.


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!
Our cruise to Beaufort took us across sounds (many definitions for that word) and gave us a peek at the ocean.
Passing Parris Island Marine Corps Base.
Safe Harbor Beaufort, so-named because it is a designated safe harbor during storms.
Our very first stop upon arrival? Ice cream!
The sign says it all. Yep, history here.
First stop on the bikes: the national cemetery. There are 155 national cemeteries in the U.S.
Of course I noticed the Union soldier graves from Michigan. They came a long way to get here, too! And faced greater dangers than us.
Jeff’s phone rings pretty often and he always picks it up immediately–even if on a bike.
St.Helena Episcopal Church dates back to 1712. Its graveyard has a really cool, really old energy.
We pop into “dive bars” because you often meet locals and get good stories. This is Hemingway’s, on the waterfront.
I added my dollar to the ceiling of Hemingway’s, writing “Many Moons” on it first. Maybe another Looper will see it?
Jock and Day Cowperthwaite took us to breakfast and drove us on errands. Her full name is Nancy Davilynn –so “southern!” They owned the Bonny Hall Plantation, which dates back to 1731, and now live in Maine but spend time here. Thanks, guys!! Hope to see you in Maine some day!
Jock and Day (such cool names) took us to breakfast at Blackstone’s, a local “destination.” I got shrimp & grits. When in the south…!
Did I mention that Forrest Gump was filmed almost entirely in this county? Thus, the bench.
The Arsenal was built in 1798 for the local volunteer artillery — i.e., militia. (Necessary in the days before the National Guard.) Upstairs, we visited the small museum. Downstairs, I received a sermon of sorts from a Visitor’s Center volunteer who was very enthusiastic about her faith. That’s the 2nd time on this trip I received a theology lesson in a public place. I guess it’s a southern thing!
I don’t know if this fountain at the library works. I didn’t want to interrupt the fun to find out.
I took a one-hour tour by golf cart to learn about the local mansions. The guide is pointing out the blue paint on the porch ceilings, called “Haint Blue” because its roots lie in the assumption that blue deters ghosts–i.e., haunts/haints.
A privately-owned mansion that predates the Civil War.
The low-hanging limbs of live oaks aren’t cut down in this town. I assume it’s part of the ambience? This one is labeled with a sign warning of a 10-foot height limit.
That’s original glass on those 2nd-story windows. Nearly 250 years old! (Notice the parking meter. Takes quarters! I don’t see many of those around Washington D.C.)
We met Bryan and Marcy Holmes of Eleanor Grace near Chicago around Labor Day. We last saw them in the Florida panhandle around Thanksgiving. What a fun reunion we had here! They lived in Grand Harbor, Mich., but sold their home and now live on their boat. (It’s spacious.)
Chester may look scrappy but is well-cared for by the folks at Luther’s on the Beaufort waterfront.
More bench artwork, near our marina.
The waterfront park next to the marina.
Many Moons (on right) is dwarfed, as usual, by larger boats. That’s This Is It! in front of us. We met them in Darien, Ga.
Greg and Tammy of This is It! cast us off this morning.
The weather was changeable during our stay, but the predicted hard rains didn’t materialize.
Many Moons looks a bit travel-worn after 3,800 miles – evidence of miles under her hull! 😉
We saw quite a few sunken sailboats in Florida, but this is our first since leaving that state.
This bridge spans the river and also the marshland.
We anchored at low tide today. See the muddy banks?
Sunset in Church Creek. That’s a Looper boat named Boomerang on the right. They also hail from Lake Superior! We haven’t met, but have been texting.
Jeff took this pic as I was typing. I usually write my posts while sitting in the open stern if it’s not too cold

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!

6 thoughts on “Beaufort, S. C.

  1. The ceiling on my porch is painted blue to keep the spiders and flies away or so I was told by two lovely ladies in the UK while on a garden tour. No ghosts here

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    1. Thanks! I fixed quite a few typos so I hope you saw the updated version! I usually write at night and we have no electricity at anchor so that is my excuse!

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  2. Really enjoying your blog, the great pictures and the history lessons! If you make it up to the northern part of the Chesapeake Bay (Havre de Grace, Charlestown, Chesapeake City, etc.)Let me know and we’ll show you around!

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