April 5, 2013

Day 173 - April 4, 2013: Beaufort, SC

This is a rainy day, and we are going to have these on occasion. Despite the weather, we put on our coats, got out the umbrellas and headed out to see the Historic District of Beaufort, SC.

Beaufort was founded in 1711 by the British and is the second oldest city in SC behind Charleston. Located on Port Royal Island, this area is referred to as the "low country," and has one of the deepest water ports along the southeastern coast. This was the site of one of the earliest battles in the civil war (1861), when the Union took Port Royal Sound in a naval vs land battle. The Union declared the slaves here emancipated and took actions to educate and prepare them for full independence.

The Historic District is renowned for its impressive collection of antebellum architecture, that largely reflects the federal styles prevalent at the time. Other homes are more of a West Indies style, with raised first floor, high ceilings and double porches. There are carriage tours, a civil war museum, and many art galleries and shops. This is one of the most beautiful historic districts we have seen.

This area has also been the location for filming many movies, including most notably The Big Chill, The Great Santini, and The Prince of Tides, a seven-Oscar film based on the book by Pat Conroy. We are currently re-reading The Prince of Tides just to get in the spirit of the area.

Tidalholm (1856) used while filming The Big Chill and The Great Santini
The Joseph Johnson house called "The Castle" (1859)

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