Map of our Southern Charm tour courtesy of Collette Vacations
Leaving Charleston reluctantly behind, our lumbering bus takes us south to the island town of Beaufort. If you want charm, Beaufort is dripping with it. It is the quintessential genteel southern town: beautifully preserved antebellum homes framed by live oaks trailing Spanish moss like old man’s beards and magnolias the size of dinner plates. I was in heaven. Nothing appeals to me more than gorgeous old homes that whisper of old money and gracious manners. My family may have had a plantation once upon a time, but the last century and a half was spent living like pioneers on the dusty west Texas plains, making Beaufort a place of my dreams.
Before the Civil War, rice and cotton made Beaufort one of the wealthiest towns in America and large summer villas were built up and down gracious tree lined streets reflecting that wealth. I recommend experiencing this lovely town atop a buggy pulled by the slowest horse in South Carolina, one that must stop frequently to let nature do its thing. Clip clopping languidly through the shaded lanes of Beaufort directed to look here and there by an personable guide was wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable. Afterwards, I had plenty of time before lunch to retrace the route on foot by myself and leisurely take all the pictures I wanted.
This home was constructed using "tabby", a concrete made of lime,
sand and oyster shells.
One of the most beautiful on the island, this home was said to have been rented by
Sally Field during the filming of "Forrest Gump".
Former home of Senator Rhett. The wealth of Beaufort was based on the value
and labor of its slaves. In 1850, the Sea Islands
had 1,111 white people and 8,361 slaves occupying 151 plantations.
A leading defender of slavery, Senator Rhett became the "Father of Succession"
leading South Carolina into the Civil War.
Our guide told us that if the roof of the porches were painted black that meant that someone had died there. It made some of us scratch our heads and wonder why anyone would want to advertise that. He didn't seem to know why then some of the porches were painted green or blue, however. Green for organic proponents, maybe? Blue for clean air advocates?
I loved how several of the steps around town were encrusted with vegetation.
The grandest summer villa of them all overlooking the bay.
And outside its driveway, the hanging tree!
Another lovely Beaufort home with its requisite cool verandas. Mint Julep anyone?
Moss and magnolias
Next time: Fabulous Savannah and Mercer House: mystery and murder!
**Click on any picture for a full screen image of all the pictures.