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Countdown to Savannah: A Day Away in Beaufort

Kathy Wood (kaydee)

In early 2007, we started our official Countdown to Savannah. Each Sunday, we posted a different topic about this special city where we met for our first Great Slow Travel Gathering in Spring 2008.

With 63 posts over 14+ months, we learned a lot about the many facets of this historic, hospitable and intriguing American city. Our weekly posts touched on Savannah's history, famous people, architecture, food, culture, surrounding area and much more. We hope this information acquaints you with Savannah, entices you to visit this historic city, and prepares you for a very memorable trip.

An Interesting Day Trip from Savannah

Our Countdown posts have focused mainly on Savannah, but there are several very interesting day trip possibilities within an hour or two. If you have several days in the Low Country, a visit to the historic coastal town of Beaufort, South Carolina is well worth considering.

Beaufort (pronounced BHEW-fort) is the second-oldest town in South Carolina. Located between Savannah and Charleston, it can be reached from Savannah in about an hour on a very scenic route. With a population of about 9500 people, Beaufort provides an interesting contrast to these two larger cities.

The town was founded in 1711, but the area’s history dates to 1520, when it was first discovered by the Spanish. Remains of several Spanish forts from the 16th century have been discovered near Beaufort.

Today, Beaufort is an attractive seaport with many historic homes built in the 1700’s and 1800’s and a business district with a variety of interesting shops and eating places. The Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is a good place to relax and enjoy the scenery. Only one home is open to the public: the John Mark Verdier House Museum, built in the late 1790’s. Beaufort's other beautiful homes can appreciated on a walk around the historic district. Maps are available at the town visitor center or many of the downtown shops.

Just outside Beaufort is Parris Island, an 8000-acre military installation where about 17,000 newly-enlisted Marines are trained each year. The first Marines were stationed at Parris Island beginning in 1891, and several of the oldest buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Like Savannah, Beaufort has been a filming location for many movies. Author Pat Conroy is from this area, and two movies based on his books—The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini—were filmed in and around Beaufort. One of my favorite movies of all times is The Big Chill, which was also filmed in Beaufort. The “Big Chill house” is Tidalholm, a private home in Beaufort that you can see through the trees. And, although the opening scenes of Forrest Gump were filmed in Savannah, much of the movie was made in the area around Beaufort.

For an overnight stay in Beaufort, there are several inns and B&Bs in beautiful historic homes. Some possibilities are The Beaufort Inn, The Rett House Inn and The Cuthbert House Inn.

When we passed through Beaufort for a couple of hours a few years ago, our family had lunch at Plum’s Restaurant , but there are a a variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from in the historic district and the surrounding area.

Learn more about Beaufort, South Carolina:

Beaufort SC
Introduction to Beaufort Architecture
Beaufort Historic Homes
Hollywood in Beaufort
Putting An Old Saw to Work in the South - New York Times article
Beaufort Chamber of Commerce - order a Visitors Guide and watch a short video online
Parris Island slide show

Resources

All About Savannah: Links to many information pages about Savannah (where to eat, where to stay, places of interest, getting around town, and more)

Woods Family Grand Tour of Europe: List of articles and photo albums by Kathy Wood


Kathy is a former Human Resources executive who now works as a consultant and part-time college professor. She and Charley also lead The Luberon Experience (www.luberonexperience.com), a week-long, small-group trip based in Provence.

© Kathy Wood, 2007


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