Arriving at a familiar, woodsy spot felt great for oh-so-many reasons -- the freedom of living outdoors again, the ease of getting about, and the relief that yes, my bruised auto and I made it 400 miles, safely. St. Helena Island, just east of Beaufort, South Carolina, is a historic place I've visited quite a few times these nomadic years, both camping and visiting friends. With Florida in a state of heavy political madness, I arrived this time pondering Beaufort as a future winter location.
This visit had a two-sided nature (if not more). Nearly two weeks were spent at Tuck in the Woods, thoroughly enjoying a peaceful space and feeling like part of the community. This campground now has a combination of residents, part-timers, short-timers and weekenders, and is well-cared for by new owners. Once I was around for a few days, there was always a wave, and neighbors offered coffee and BBQ, stopped to chat on daily walks, and traded books. It was a very cordial setting barely disturbed by the hurried Friday arrivals.
Between well-timed cycling, outdoor socializing, and pondering by the sea, I actually checked out a housing/work exchange possibility for winter on nearby Cat Island, and a few well-situated townhouses for under $150k. Neither will come to fruition for different reasons, but Beaufort is off the list as continued growth is evident; none of which includes a bike culture. To quote a fellow camper: "they don't get cycling here".
It was then time to dig through the bags to prep for a return to civilization for 48 hours with friends on nearby Dataw Island. It was a quick visit that included my first group social since late 2019 with a 10-person book club that felt very much like a cocktail party. It was a warm welcome, and in the final hour I found myself answering questions about this (now) 8-year journey. The best moment -- being told, "you're a hippie," by a great gal from Mississippi! The next day I witnessed three dolphins 'stranding" along the creek for at least a half-hour and yes, I regret not capturing it on video. Honestly, like nothing I've ever seen before.
Much to my surprise, the last night in my tent was stormy with 4 hours of thunderstorms and a "holy shit point" of feeling the ground shake. While I awoke to a sprinkle, I was ready to hit the road again toward the NW corner of North Carolina. Yes, I'm inching north as summer continues to heat up.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover