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Published: April 2nd 2016
RVers Be Careful
Trees deserve the right of way in this quaint historic town which features a magnificent canopy of live oaks over narrow streets.
We woke up in the rain in a parking lot Friday morning. It's payback for an absolutely wonderful day on Thursday when we exited I 95 and coiled our way through picturesque “no man’s land” to beautiful, historic Beaufort, South Carolina. The RV rolled past scenery lush with wisteria competing for dripping rights with Spanish moss, barren salt flats and "low country" backwater bogs alive with rushes and sedges reminiscent of the opening scenes of Pelican Brief.
We started to fret. Would there be sufficient parking for a 34 foot long motor home towing a Honda CRV made even longer by a bike rack jiggling off the stern? BINGO! We spotted a sign for a municipal parking lot with specific extra-long “pull through” spaces (important as backing up is an issue). BONUS! Unlike the regular parking spaces ours was free. TRIPLE BONUS! The lot was skirted by a waterside park, picturesque marina and the ticket window for a horse drawn tour service.
Our timing was perfect, there were two seats left ($21 each on the wagon and Wes got us a Veteran’s discount) and the tour was set to depart in 15 minutes.
Check Out the Risers
Now how does one cultivate ground cover to cling to the risers o! porch stairs? Magnificent!
Jennifer (the driver) and Bob (the Belgium) made quite a team. Jennifer’s spiel was interesting and lively. Bob (who at age 20 was to retire that very day) was steady as a well-rehearsed tight rope walker. Two children, too young to appreciate the tour gave me angst for their safety. It’s not their fault that their parents subject them to activities that aren’t age appropriate. ‘Nuff said!
On with the wonderful tour. Jennifer’s commentary about early European immigration (Spanish explorers, French Huguenots, and more Spanish) was fact filled but spontaneous. Early settlers came to the the Beaufort area because of the natural harbor and the successful cultivation of yellow rice and later cotton which made them splendidly wealthy (as evidenced by the homes that were, in Jen's words "build by cotton". Jen guided Bob through narrow tree canopied streets with tales of prosperous ante bellum times, the civil war, reconstruction, carpet baggers and the people and architecture of each of these periods. The homes and gardens are lovely. The John Mark Verdier House, which served as headquarters for the Union Army during the Civil War is now a museum and is open for public tours.
Porch - Blue Ceiling
Some Beaufort porches have ceilings painted the palest baby blue to keep evil spirits at bay. It is thought that evil cannot pass over or under water and the blue ceilings are said to trick the bad vibes.
Many of the beautiful Federal and Colonial mansions served as respite sites for Civil war wounded. How this deep south town came into Union hands is something I must study further; but I surmmise it wasn't a pretty story. I was probably in a trance from azaleas, live oak, Spanish Moss and gorgeous homes during Jennifer's narration on the subject.
An example of Jen's narration is the he telling of a man, raised a slave, who had been taught to read as a 11 year old. He wound up as an enslaved wheelman on a the Confederate ship "Planter". He had access to the charts and drawings to do with the waters and operating the vessel (the officers assumed he was illiterate). He studied the material prodigiously. One night when all of the officers were ashore, he commandeered the boat with the other slaves and surrendered it to the Union. He was awarded a substantial monetary prize by President Lincoln. The award was sufficiently substantial. After the war he returned to h to purchase the home he had grown up in.
Circumstances of travel dictated a short visit to Beaufort;
and Jennifer's and Bob's tour suited efficiently. I tried to get us a camping reservation at the very popular Hunting Beach State Camp Ground. No luck there! So we ended our day heading back to I 95 and Santee, South Carolina where we parked the rig behind a Cracker Barrel restaurant (ergo the opening sentence about waking up in a parking lot). We occasionally “dry camp” along our route and Cracker Barrel is a secure haven with “pull throughs”. We ate at one of our favorite restaurants along the interstate 95, the Clark Inn. We express our appreciation to Cracker Barrel by dashing in in the morning for breakfast or at least coffee and pastry to go!
I hope we return to Beaufort to enjoy the beach, relish some seafood, marvel at the National Cemetery which has 7,500 Civil War graves, do a house tour and just window shop at the many boutiques and galleries. You might want to look up the artist Jonathan Green, who is from this low country part of the state. His paintings are vivid reflections of the Gullah cultural. BTW there are two Beauforts, both founded by the
In the historic district a property owner can apply for changes to the appearance of a residence through his/her fellow residents. The neighbors said yes to this purple house.
same man. We have been to Beaufort, NC. In South Carolina it's pronounced BEUW-Fort and in North Carolina it's pronounced BOW-Fort!
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