Thursday, February 9, 2012

Being A Tourist in Beaufort, SC

Wednesday was forecast to be sunny and warm, so we decided to totally bag anything remotely resembling work and be tourists.  We'd walked most of historic Beaufort but didn't know what we were looking at, other than beautiful homes, stately Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss, and pretty gardens. So we decided to take a horse drawn carriage tour. 

The downtown marina is adjacent to the town's waterfront park, which is also where the carriage tours start.

We bought our  tickets and while waiting for the tour to begin saw a film crew drive slowly past.  Maybe Drift Away will be on TV.

Our carriage passed by and stopped, and Pam introduced herself to Merlin, a Percheron.

Pam and I and a dozen other people piled into the carriage.  Merlin had a full load, but these horses were bred to pull stuff.  They love it.   Bud, our tour guide, was very good, and was soon telling us stories of historic Beaufort.   One thing that Pam and I like about Beaufort is that it's very small with a population of only 12,000.  We're both from small towns and feel comfortable here.

This Baptist Church was built by black members of the the Beaufort Baptist Church after all the white members left town during the federal occupation of the Civil War.

Likewise, this arsenal was built in anticipation of an attack by federal troops.  It was never attacked.  Since everyone left town except for the town drunk, federal troops just sashayed in and took it over.

The homes in the "Old Point" section of Beaufort are beautiful.  And expensive.  The shacks sell for $350,000 and up, and the nice places sell in the millions.

We really love the Live Oaks draped in Spanish Moss.  Massive trees like this one are 250 to 350 years old.  These are nothing like the oak trees we have in upstate New York.  These have their leaves all year long, and drop one set and replace them with another twice a year.  Their acorns are long and skinny.  The Spanish Moss is neither Spanish nor moss, but rather an air plant that lives on humidity.

It's my understanding that there's plenty of humidity here, especially in the summer time, which officially runs from February 23rd to December 18th. Fall is December 19th to January 17th, winter is January 18th, and spring is January 19th to February 22nd.

While Merlin walked his route, Bud narrated our tour.  Note the low clearance sign nailed to an overhanging branch of a Live Oak that we're about to pass under.

 Merlin stopped at stop signs and took a right or a left all on his own while Bud regaled us with stories of Beaufort.  The mansion below was a Union hospital during the war.

Our tour lasted about an hour, and then it was back to the boat to soak in some South Carolina sunshine.  Gertie was on the hunt and wanted to soak in some South Carolina Cormorant.

This was hysterical.   She was creeping up to the piling, inch by inch, like a lion stalking a gazelle.  I don't know how she thought she'd climb the concrete piling, nor what she'd do if she could.  Did she really think she could pounce on that cormorant?  It would fly away, with Gertie clinging to its back.  Thankfully, the cormorant grew tired of the little cat and flew away.

Pam and I enjoyed cocktails on the aft deck, enjoying each other's company and that of a loon.  Now you see him...

now you don't.

We were rewarded for our good behavior with a gorgeous sunset  (hey Godspeed, that's you on the right)...

followed by a gorgeous moon rise.

I don't mean to gloat... no, I take that back, yes I do...  I love this cruising life.  I don't care that our old trawler needs paint and that the dogs and cat take up 93%  the living space, or that I really need to get after fixing up the interior of this water damaged old boat...  this is the way to live. 


  1. Really enjoy your blog. My wife and I plan to do some traveling on our boat within the next year or so, and we have two cats we plan to take along. How do you keep Gertie from wandering off? My concern is that one of ours will jump to the dock when I'm not watching and disappear.

    1. Hi Two,

      Pretty much. We try to get Gertie on board at night so that she's not a stowaway on someone else's boat the next morning. Last night, she was nowhere to be found. We called her, we shook her can of treats, and nothing. The current was ripping through here and we feared the worst, but luckily we found her halfway down the marina.

      I guess you just have to be philosophical about it. What happens, happens. We put a collar on her with her name and our cell phone number on it. I wouldn't be surprised if we get a phone call someday saying "This is Bob on Wanderlust. We were at Beaufort a few days ago and now we're in Key West. We found a cat on board...".

    2. We rescued a small dog swimming for all she was worth in a canal. She couldn't reach anything once she jumped in the water and was exhausted from the swim. Thank goodness she had a collar with a tag and we called her parents. We were just glad that there were no teethy things swimming in the water with her.

  2. Keep Gloating (if that's a word?)) You both provide me wiht an enjoyable break every day!!!! Thanks! kevin