We took a trip to Beaufort, South Carolina, which is about an hour north of Savannah. This small coastal town makes an ideal excursion, but as I realized after receiving a number of puzzled looks, it’s pronounced “Beww-furt” and not “Bow-fort.”
On arriving, we had made a beeline for the Old Point, which boasts incredible mansions overlooking the Beaufort River. A brochure from the Tourist Office points out all the historic homes, and there were plenty. On Laurens Street, we passed a huge brick estate built in 1852; its two stories and facade supported by four massive pillars. In the yard, an older gentleman was playing with a boxer. I asked if he owned the house, and his response was classic. “No, actually, the house owns me.”
And I don’t think he was just being clever. This is an area where the houses have more character and history than people could ever hope to attain. Even if you living in one of them, you must almost feel like a guest. The entire historic district of Beaufort was declared a National Historic Landmark, in 1973, for its gorgeous Antebellum architecture.
Although the Point was our favorite area of town, with its stunning old mansions, the city center also has a lot to offer, including some great restaurants along Bay Street. We had lunch at a stylish downtown joint called The Wren, where we wolfed down creative sandwiches stuffed with Southern specialties like fried green tomatoes.
Once we’d had our fill of food and architecture, we decided to round out our day trip to Beaufort with a hike in the Hunting Island State Park. It was a great day. And although I can’t imagine anyone would ever run out of things to do in Savannah, Beaufort makes for a great excursion, just in case.