If you visited this blog in the spring, you may know that I've already been to the Beaufort, SC area for a few days this year. However, on this visit, I did get to tour the famous Penn School for a few hours where I learned plenty about the Gullah Culture that is fighting to remain intact on St. Helena Island. My greeter was an 88-year old former student who was a wealth of information. For one, historically, it was common for plantation owners to leave during "fever season" (April - November), so the Gullah people lived largely on their own. This factor, along with the isolation of the area, is why their strong African cultural influences remained intact for so many centuries.
Besides the need for a little more tourist time, I also wanted to check out the town of Beaufort as a possible living spot. During my first few days, it was 85+ degrees with 97% humidity, and I was shaking my head at the thought that it was October and I was melting. This has since decreased significantly, but not without leaving me with the realization that while there is water, water everywhere, there is very little ocean access. The reality is that the one ocean spot, Hunting Island State Park, has been closed on and off for a year due to hurricane damage, and it is the only Atlantic Ocean beach within a 20-mile radius of Beaufort. If I chose to be on the water, this would be a wonderful location, but it's not an option for me as a shore walker, sea floater, lover of the sandy ocean beachfront.
The quite extensive Beaufort historic district is just delightful and well worth a few afternoon walks. Yet, after 4-5 days in Beaufort on foot and by bike, I'm still not sure I know where the "regular people" live. This is a wonderful, scenic area that is not yet overdeveloped, and has an abundance of history, some well-preserved cultural aspects, friendly locals, scenic bike routes, and great food. I want to love it enough to move here, but it just hasn't clicked!
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover