Just when I thought that mom and pop shops, chivalry and old-fashioned Southern manners were a thing of the past, I found Beaufort, South Carolina and left assured that they are all very much alive. You just have to know where to look.
After two months of working 50+ hours a week and a string of uninspiring dates, I needed a break. With Beaufort being only an hour-and-a-half from Charleston, it offered a desirable escape and an enticing laid-back climate. The perfect companion—my sister. Our itinerary—eating and relaxing, in no particular order. Sometimes we achieved both at once.
Capturing the charm of the Old South, Beaufort’s picturesque scenery includes marshes full of lilly pads reminiscent of The Notebook (a majority of the movie was filmed here), quiet beaches perfect for reading and relaxing, a quaint “Main Street” full of one-of-a-kind shops, mouth-watering seafood and large, plantation-style homes that remind you of days gone by. If you need a break from your demanding schedule, life pressures or the hustle and bustle of city life, Beaufort is the ideal getaway for taking that much-needed breath of fresh air.
STAY: The Rhett House Inn. As Margaret Mitchell once graced this quaint bed and breakfast, rumor is that this is how she came up with the name for the legendary character of Rhett Butler. That’s all I needed to know to make my decision on accommodations. Margaret Mitchell had good taste as did all the countless celebrities who have stayed here while shooting films. The pampering began as soon as we arrived with glasses of champagne, and the indulgences continued with late night desserts in the kitchen and a full breakfast served on the Southern-style porch. The standard room we stayed in was large and offered cozy charm for around $200 per night. If you’re in the mood for a splurge, private cottages are also available.
EAT: Wren Bistro, Bar and Market. The modern, industrial feel coupled with romantic chandeliers and dramatic curtains gives the restaurant a hip, sophisticated backdrop. Bring your appetite—you must order the shrimp artichoke dip appetizer—it’s to-die for. I’m still thinking about it.
DO: Walk along “Main Street”—our favorite thing to do was linger in cute bookshops like the Beaufort Bookstore. Take in a Southern Rose carriage tour so that you can “ooh and ahh” at the old homes and imagine Beaufort in its finest hour. Beaufort served as the summer social scene for plantation owners as they would escape to the city during the incredible summer heat and humidity—believe me, it is not for the faint of heart. The homes are majestic, architecturally fascinating and full of history. Or, if you really want to relax, beach it. I’ve had the incredible luck to have lived in both LA and Charleston and can tell you that the Beaufort coastline offers its own unique charm. If you are staying in downtown Beaufort, grab a book and head to a public beach such as the one at Hunting Island State Park. It’s secluded and the drive there is reminiscent of a tropical rainforest.
One thing Yankees and Southerners can agree on—Beaufort puts you in an altered state of mind. But when you do head back to the office, don’t get carried away and tell your boss, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
The Rhett House Inn. 1009 Craven Street. Beaufort, SC. 843.524.9030