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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beaufort SC....that is Beautiful Beaufort!

The initial call to the Downtown Beaufort Marina for a reservation said it all! When I said "Bow.fort", I was immediately corrected to pronounce the city as "Bewfort"! Bow...fort is in NC. OK, got it!

Beaufort Municipal Marina Office with courtesy car parked in front. We were allowed to use the courtesy car for 1 hour.
Beaufort is an amazing city by all measures. The Beaufort River is beautiful and is part of the ICW. The Spanish discovered the area in 1514. The City, classified as a marshy estuary, was founded in 1711 by the British. Many antebellum homes line the streets near downtown. These homes were used in the movies: The Big Chill, Prince of Tides and Great Santini.
Antebellum home in downtown Beaufort, SC
This home is for sale for $3,500,000 and is located on the water. Better have plenty of bucks ready to renovate!

The city grew as a result of plantation cotton growers supported by slave labor. Rice and indigo were cash crops as well.

National Cemetery at Beaufort.
St. Helena Episcopal Church was chartered in 1712 and is surrounded by an amazing historic cemetery, going back to 1724. If you think I am obsessed with visiting historic cemeteries, you are correct! There is a lot to learn about a local culture by visiting its cemeteries and reading the tombstones. A National Cemetery is located outside of Beaufort where 9000 Union soldiers and Confederate soldiers are buried. This cemetery was created by Abraham Lincoln for casualties of the south.

St Helena Episcopal Church

Cemetery dates from early 1700's.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our visit in Beaufort with bike rides, visits to West Marine (surprise!), grocery store and enjoyable restaurants. Our friends from Ontario on High Spirits are here as well. We plan to travel to Charleston with them over the next few days. Ruth and Wayne are a delight and we met them originally at the Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park in Alabama.

Magnificent homes line the Bay and the inner streets as well. Many are in impeccable condition, but others need a buyer with a fist full of money. The homes are typically large and two or three stories high.  Since many were built in the 1700's and 1800's, the neighborhoods are rich with history.

View of the Beaufort Marina from the Boardwalk.
The "boardwalk" is an extensive brick walk along the Beaufort River. There is seating and incredible landscaping. The city is focused on tourism . The shops along Bay Street are interesting and full of life. Not the typical retail we see in Michigan, which is reflective of the difficult economy in the region.

Boardwalk adjacent to Marina at Beaufort, SC.

Ruth struggles down the ramp due to the 9 foot tide.

Many restaurants line the boardwalk and we enjoyed our dinner at Panini, located adjacent to the marina.

We traveled with four Looper boats from Isle of Hope (Savannah) and those boats left early this morning for Charleston. They are concerned about their timing for the Rendezvous in Norfolk in the middle of May.  We are not attending the Rendezvous, so we are traveling at our leisure.  Tomorrow we will be traveling with Ruth and Wayne, from High Spirits. We thoroughly enjoy their company and are looking at anchoring tomorrow night in the Steamboat River and then on to the Maritime Center in Charleston.

The tides in Beaufort are extreme. With the recent full moon, we are seeing 9 foot tides here. The ramp to land is at some times flat and at other times extremely steep. When taking Buddy and Boo for a walk this afternoon, I had to stand behind Buddy and assist his movement up the ramp. Pretty steep! As we travel up the coast, we expect the tides will settle in a range of about 2 feet. The current is incredible and you must be mindful at all times when operating the boat in current here at the Marina.

As seen from the Beaufort River on the ICW.
As we left Beaufort, I was able to catch this shot of the house used for The Big Chill, The Great Santini and Prince of Tides.

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