Great Loop Adventure Day 26 thru 28 – Beautiful Beaufort

Beaufort SC has all the charm of a fine southern lady and was a delightful three day stop for the crew on Escapade. We stayed at the Safe Harbor City Marina which was the perfect place to see all of the historical areas and stroll along the pretty waterfront.

The marina itself was adequate as far as facilities, the docks are a bit long in the tooth but the marina has all of the basic amenities such as a fuel dock, pump out, restrooms, showers, laundry area and a ships store. The staff are all great and the location is perfect, so no car is necessary to explore all the historical parts of town. We were also happy to be put on the end of the outer dock… it was a bit windy when we came in but Captain Wally did an excellent job of turning us in to the current and the wind pushed us right onto the dock. We also had the best view in the marina…PERFECT!!!

Escapade sitting on the outer dock

And explore we did… the highlight of our stay was a 2.5 hour walking tour with Janet. One of the friendliest and most knowledgeable guides I have ever toured with! Janet has a witty sense of humor and makes the history of Beaufort so much fun and so interesting. You can’t help but get caught up in her enthusiasm for Beaufort and it was perfect to do her tour on our first full day there. I had no idea what an important role that Beaufort played in the revolutionary and civil wars.

The area had been subject to numerous European explorations and several aborted attempts at colonization. Scottish immigrants founded the short-lived “Stuart Town” in 1684 and the British successfully founded the city of Beaufort in 1711, the second-oldest in South Carolina (behind Charleston). The city initially grew slowly, subject to numerous attacks from Native Americans before flourishing as a regional center for the Lowcountry plantation economy up through the Civil War. The community rebounded in the later half of the 20th century and is today recognized as one of the most livable small towns in the country.

Beaufort has retained much of its historic character through its renowned architecture and historic preservation efforts. We also toured the John Mark Verdier House , walked by the house where the Big Chill was filmed and just enjoyed strolling the oak lined streets and seeing all the beautiful antebellum houses. These beautiful homes are tucked into winding, historic streets framed by natural foliage and centuries-old, moss-draped live oak trees. Beaufort is definitely a low country gem.

Beaufort is home to several beautiful antebellum homes that take you back in time to a different era in our history. Each of the popular spots are as unique as the owners who originally built them, and a few stand out as much as Tidalholm, perhaps Beaufort’s most popular historic home.

Tidalholm was built in 1853 by Edgar Fripp. The Fripp family owned a great deal of property in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Some of the Fripp plantations on St. Helena Island that were mentioned in records during the Civil War included Oliver Fripp’s plantation, Thomas Fripp’s plantation, Hamilton Fripp’s plantation and John Fripp’s plantation that was also named ‘Big House’.

Fripp reportedly built Tidalholm to use as his “summah” home when the heat and mosquitoes made life at his plantation home on St. Helena Island intolerable. Apparently, most notable plantation owners had summer homes in Beaufort. Before the Civil War broke out he sold the house to his brother, James Fripp.

In November 1861, Union Navy and Army troops invaded Port Royal and most of Beaufort County subsequently was occupied by Union forces. Owners and overseers fled area plantations in the wake of the oncoming Union troops, and thousands of slaves were then free. During the war, Tidalholm served as Union Hospital #7 dedicated to the treatment of officers of the occupying Union Army.

According to local lore, when James Fripp returned to Beaufort after the war he arrived just as the house was being sold for unpaid taxes by the U.S. Tax Commission, but Fripp was not able to bid on the house due to his current financial situation. Then, a Frenchman who had been living in the area and who was sympathetic to the plight of the South in the war, purchased the house and is said to have walked over to the former owner, presented him with the deed, kissed him on both of his cheeks and walked away. It’s said that the kind Frenchman returned to France before Mr. Fripp had a chance to repay him.

Over the years, the private residence was used as a summer retreat by Fripp and his family. It was also used as a guest house from the 1930s until 1974 with many artists, authors, professors, and statesmen staying there.

Hollywood came knocking in the late 1970s and Tidalholm went on to become the setting for the films The Big Chill and the Great Santini; which is why many of the locals here in the Beaufort area also refer to Tidalholm as ‘The Big Chill House’.

Beaufort has no shortage of great restaurants and cute shops to pop into. We had a great dinner at Saltus, and delicious lunches at Wren and the Low Country Produce Company.

We spent the evenings on the flybridge of Escapade with our friends Ken and Joyce, sipping wine, enjoying dinner, playing Five Crowns and catching up. We really appreciate our friends who are willing to travel to find us and stay onboard Escapade to share our adventure. I hope we didn’t get to many demerits for the hot water incident!!!

Of course, no stop is complete with out a few boat projects… the hot water heater thermostat went out but Captain Handy aka Wally found the part locally and rode his bike there to get it. Never a dull moment on a boat!

The Beaufort waterfront is beautiful day and night… such a great place to stroll or relax on one of the swinging chairs for awhile.

Next stop Charleston SC.


2 thoughts on “Great Loop Adventure Day 26 thru 28 – Beautiful Beaufort

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s