In what is called the lowcountry are two shining stars, Charleston and Savannah. Halfway between the two is another, Beaufort. Chartered in 1711, it is the second oldest town in South Carolina.
Beaufort claims to have the most still standing antebellum homes in the south. What is interesting is that most were summer homes for plantation owners whose vast holdings were on the islands that make up the area.
To capture cool breezes, water facing homes were built at an angle to the south. Many had floor to ceiling windows that opened like doors to let the air in.
While many of the old homes have been restored, it is not unusual to see work being done on one fallen into disrepair. As you might guess, restoration must conform to the original structure and materials cannot be substituted. I’d say that requires some skilled carpenters!
Where there are brick fences, this pattern is common as it improves air flow. Many of the bricks are thought to have originally been ballast in ships coming from Europe. Once the ship was unloaded the bricks were left behind and used in construction. That strikes me as early recycling!
History taught of Sherman’s march to the sea, and I couldn’t help but wonder why Beaufort’s beautiful homes were not destroyed. The simple answer is they were used as hospitals for injuries of various kinds.
Like many places where history is a draw, Beaufort has its share of horse drawn carriages.
It is home to the old swing bridge that Forrest Gump ran across as well as to well known and popular author Pat Conroy whose memory is shared at a center bearing his name.
Streets are graced with oaks draped with dancing Spanish moss.
Speaking of oaks, it is not uncommon to spot an angel oak with boughs spreading gracefully on the ground.
Beaufort is a draw for visitors yet it is quieter than Charleston and Savannah and life impresses me as simpler. The food is good, and here I’ve found the best ever oyster po’ boy, my second favorite sandwich to a good Maine lobster roll!