South Carolina Coast - Beaufort, Kiawah Island, & Charleston

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by giradman, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. giradman

    giradman
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    Susan & I are on our first major car trip of the year (she needed cataract surgery which occupied much of March, our usually trip to Florida eliminated) - so, we are currently in Beaufort, South Carolina for 3 nights and then Kiawah Island for another 3 nights - we will not be going into Charleston, a place of many visits over the decades, so the discussion for now will relate mainly to the first two places in the heading - I'm surprised in looking back over my travelogues that Kiawah Island & Charleston have not been discussed in depth, so hopefully this beginning posting will correct some of that absence.

    Beaufort, South Carolina is the second oldest city in the state after Charleston (late 1600s vs. 1711 - see quote) - from our home about a 5 hr drive (see first pic below) - the town is located among dozens of sea and barrier islands, located on Port Royal island which also has a town of the same name (second pic) - see description below w/ link above; the historic section of 19th century architecture is large (and occupies much of the aerial view shown); there are many local attractions and great history and seafood (later) - this is probably our 4th visit but all others were 'day trips' - this time we are staying for 3 nights at the Beaufort Inn (also shown) which is just a block from Bay Street, the main street near the water and location of plenty of restaurants and shops, especially those related to art, antiques, etc.

    Much more to follow, so just an amuse-bouche - :) Dave

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  2. scifan57

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    Thanks for another educational travel story.
     
  3. giradman

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    Thanks Scifan.. day was rainy yesterday but we visited a few museums, including the one on Parris Island (a major USA Marine Training Center) - next post tonight - about to take a carriage ride through historic Beaufort and the day is sunny and warmer - hope for some of my own pics! Dave
     
  4. giradman

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    Parris Island, the Marine Corps, and the Museum

    Yesterday, we drove to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, which trains enlisted Marine recruits (males east of the Mississippi River & females from the entire USA) - if interested, check link and first quote below. But Parris Island has a longer history than Beaufort or Charleston - first attempts at settlement occurred in the 16th century by the French and Spanish, the latter settlement was named St. Elena and was the capital of Florida before St. Augustine was established. Eventually, the English dominated and rice, indigo, and Sea Island cotton became the main agricultural products reliant completely on slavery (see 2nd quote - same link).

    In 1891, Marines were first assigned to Parris Island (3rd quote - same link), and at the end of 1915, Parris Island was officially designated a Marine Corps Recruit Depot and training has continued since that time; nearly 20,000 recruits received their training annually. To enter the base, a driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance are needed. The setting is beautiful w/ surrounding sounds, wetlands, and the Atlantic Ocean. The main purpose of our visit was to see the Paris Island Museum and well worth the effort - history of the island is traced from pre-Columbian times, through the many wars, up to the modern times - an excellent film on training of recruits is available along w/ a gift shop - highly recommended. Pics below illustrate many of these comments. Dave :)

    P.S. the correct spelling is 'Parris Island' and not Paris which appears on some maps shown and in at least one of the exhibits in the museum - ;)

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  5. giradman

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    Beaufort History Museum

    After our trip to Parris Island, we returned to Beaufort and visited their History Museum, which is located in the old Arsenal (see pics below), built in 1798 (also includes the Visitor's Center), and just a few blocks from the Beaufort Inn. The early Spanish and French history of the Beaufort area has already been mentioned, but Beaufort's History can be divided into the periods shown below - much of the town's historic houses date from the colonial and antebellum periods, which makes the town unique and beautiful - this was the time of slavery, plantations, and wealthy land owners who had properties on the sea islands growing rice & indigo and houses in the city. This ended with the Civil War and Reconstruction.

    The Beaufort History Museum is small (as noted in the images below) but fairly thorough in discussing these various historic periods - personally, I expected a better and larger presentation but the museum is about to start a renovation and am looking forward to returning to see the results - still worth a visit. Dave :)
    • Colonial Period, 1711-1783 (signing of the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War)
    • Antebellum Period, 1783-1861 (start of the Civil War)
    • Civil War & Reconstruction, 1861-1893 (devastating hurricane + fire in 1907)
    • Decline, 1893-1945 (related to natural disasters and other causes)
    • Recovery, 1945-Present (military investment, resort development, and downtown revitalization)
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  6. giradman

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    Carriage Ride & Old Point Neighborhood

    On a beautiful Tuesday morning, we took a carriage ride - our horse was a 15 y/o 2000 pound animal originally from Asheville, NC - the trip lasted about an hour and toured mainly the Old Point Neighborhood - see quotes below from link w/ an introductory discussion of the Beaufort Historic District and a more specific description of our tour - the homes varied in size w/ many being large; live oaks and Spanish moss were abundant - the oldest extant house in the district dated to 1720.

    Many movies have been made in and around Beaufort, SC and the stars often will rent out one of the houses in this area - examples include Sally Field (Forest Gump) and Nick Nolte (Prince of Tides) - will likely do a post on this topic. Except for the map, all of the pics all mine - include the carriage depot near the Riverfront Park, an old Chevy restored by a retired teacher who explained the car to me (brought back a lot of memories, especially the food tray on the door), and a number of houses seen during the excursion - we enjoyed; would also be a great area to walk and explore - there are many famous houses to see and we just touch the surface. Dave :)

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  7. scifan57

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    A lot of time, it's chance that spares neighbourhoods like this. I'm glad these houses were spared.
     
    #7 scifan57, Apr 25, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  8. giradman

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    Hi Scifan.. - thanks for your interest in this new travelogue - Susan & I will have to return to see more of the historic houses and walk the neighborhoods - also a number are open to the public - we did not visit any, just needed more time. A hurricane in 1893 & a fire in 1907 destroyed a number of buildings in the 'Old Point Neighborhood' - not really noticeable today.

    On a late afternoon walk, I past the 'Secession House' (pics of plaque below and the house) - some other history quoted also - antebellum Beaufort plantation owners were avid secessionists, so the house was a 'hotbed' for discussions and likely heated debates about leaving the Union. Dave :)

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  9. giradman

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    Hunting Island State Park

    On our last afternoon in Beaufort, we drove to Hunting Island (see maps), the most visited State Park in South Carolina - over recent decades, major beach erosion and hurricanes in the last two years have further damaged the park, but has also produced some amazing scenes, such as the water-bound famous blue cabin (see pics); first two quotes below from link above - these recent storms have had a disastrous impact on the loggerhead turtle nests - more HERE.

    A major attraction in the park is the Hunting Island Lighthouse constructed of cast iron plates in order to move the structure if endangered by the sea and beach erosion (see last quote below); the lighthouse was last moved in 1889 and then deactivated in 1933 - public access for a fee is allowed to climb the 167 steps - I decided not to go to the top - did a climb last year on our Outer Banks trip (Currituck Lighthouse), so was not too disappointed - ;)

    Pics below are mostly from the web but a few of my own - the beaches are amazingly beautiful and eerie w/ the trees and their trunks - of course, photographers love the place, as is evident in several of the last images below. Dave :)

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  10. giradman

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    Beaufort Restaurants - Great Seafood!

    Well, we had three excellent dinners, a lunch, and oysters daily! For those who may be traveling around Beaufort, SC, then these three can be recommended (although plenty more were on our list - but these were just a few blocks from the Beaufort Inn and two on the waterfront: Saltus River Grill, Emily's Restaurant & Tapas Bar, and Plums - the first night at the Saltus River Grill - started out w/ local oysters from Lady's Island (see map in first post, if interested), briny and delicious - I had the fresh catch of the day and Susan an excellent shrimp and grits.

    Our second night, tried Emily's, just a block from the Beaufort Inn - I had the fresh catch halibut and Susan three tapas dishes - skipped dessert and went back to the Saltus Grill for another dozen Lady Island oysters on the half shell! After our carriage ride, we had lunch @ Plums and shared a shellfish tower, oysters & shrimp - our final dinner was a return to the Saltus Grill - we again started w/ local oysters, this time from St. Helena Island, which is on the way to Hunting Island - I had sushi which was outstanding!

    SO, if visiting the area a lover of seafood, then will not be disappointed. Dave :)
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