Feb 25, 2019

Visiting Beaufort County

 I am a fan of a trip within a trip.  If you are driving south why drive all the way without stopping to see some of the great things along the way?  To me it is a waste of time. 

Check out Beaufort County’s historic villages. South Carolina's first European settlement was in Beaufort. In French "beau" means beautiful and beautiful it is. It survived the civil war and so did
the beautiful southern homes. The main street is lined with trendy boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. First visited by the Spanish in 1520, Beaufort was the site of the first fort on the North American continent. A walking tour of Beaufort is a trip through history from St. Helena's Episcopal Church that traces its origin back to 1712 to the oldest house built in 1717 to antebellum mansions. There are other quaint villages waiting to be explored.

Bluffton sits on a bluff overlooking the beautiful May River.
Antebellum homes, historic churches, and unique shops line the tree-shaded streets of the historic district. Once it was the private summering place for plantation owners, today Bluffton attracts scholars, artists, musicians, writers, and tourists looking for a slow-paced ambiance. 

Don’t miss the Penn Center, one of the most significant African-American historical and cultural institutions. The Gullahs are the local African-Americans with their own distinctive culture. It is a place stalled in a quieter time.  Scattered under the massive live oaks dripping with Spanish moss is where the first black school in America was established in 1862. It is a National Historic Landmark that includes the York W. Bailey Museum founded in 1971 to interpret the history of Penn School and to share the cultural legacy of the Sea Islands. 

There is always time for Island Time and there are several islands
to choose from including the famed Hilton Head. The very words conjure up visions of luxury. Everything is built in harmony with nature. No buildings are higher than the trees and there are no billboards assault one’s view. Housing developments are referred to in genteel terms as “plantations.” Even the 12 miles of glistening sand beaches seem designed for those who want to be seen walking the beach but don’t want to get sandy. But there are other islands in the area. 

Fripp Island is no less exclusive but not as costly or busy as Hilton Head. Crossing the bridge to Fripp Island is to enter the sublime world of sun, sand, sea, and golf.  With miles of beaches, award-winning golf courses, plus tennis courts, fishing, and kayaking there is something to please even the most discriminating person.  

Just minutes from exclusive Fripp Island is Hunting Island State
Park, one of the most popular state parks and beach areas in South Carolina. The pristine sandy beach, natural setting, and warm Atlantic Ocean makes it perfect for camping or renting a cabin right on the beach.  With an historic 1859-lighthouse, lagoon, fishing pier, wide sweeping beach, and nature trails it is a “kick-back” place for the whole family.  

Next to Hilton Head the other famous island is Parris Island. Marines were first stationed on Parris Island in 1891 and by 1915 Parris Island was officially designated a Marine Corps Recruit Depot and training center. It has continued and grown. Today about 18,000 recruits are trained at Parris Island each year including 1500 women. A museum and a guided bus tour explains the facility, operation, and the life of the marines stationed at Parris Island.