As we crossed the Broad River, my shoulders softened and twice, TWICE, I unconsciously exhaled deeply. This is the effect that Beaufort, SC has on me, and now in the second week of our three week sojourn, I’m more relaxed, happy, and energized than when I arrived.
We first came to Beaufort in 2002 and felt so drawn to this town that we purchased a small home here in 2004. Our funky, fun little cottage waited patiently for us to return every few months over the next 11+ years. When we sold our sweet little “404” we agreed that we could let go of the house but not our friends, the town, and the vibe.
And so we return each year for a few weeks to catch up with friends, discover what’s new, relish whatever has stayed the same, and enjoy moments of Southern charm.
I’ll never tire of the view driving into town on Bay Street. A further “aaaahhhhh” exhales as the Spanish moss sways and the boats in the marina come into view. I allow myself at least one day of walking and shopping on Bay Street, although with now renting just 5-minutes from town, it’s a delight to walk to Common Ground for the occasional morning coffee, Old Bull Tavern for an aperitif and small plate, or an afternoon of sitting on a swing, watching dolphins play in the water.
So what has changed and what has stayed the same? First, some changes:
The Spanish Moss trail is way longer than the last time we rode it, which was actually two years ago. The trail extends past MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station), past the Rt. 21 Drive -In and onward toward Garden’s Corner.
We HEAR another change. . .”The sound of freedom” overhead from MCAS. There’s considerably more overhead activity with jets and fighter planes at all times of the day and night. As I write this the planes are thundering overhead. . . continually. I can only hope they are not practicing for a parade in Washington.
Of course, there are the downtown shops that have closed or moved, restaurants opened or closed, new roadwork and traffic patterns coming into town, demolition of a few eyesores, and evidence of recent storms that have rendered a few gravel roads on St. Helena impassable. More notable changes. . .additional kitchen towels in our rental, the water tower repainted, Best Buy deserted, the purple fringe bushes in bloom earlier than I recall, new tables and umbrellas at Common Ground, new coastal colors on Donna (Telma) and Joe’s house.
And a change we didn’t think about until we arrived at our rental. We rolled up the rug, moved the furniture, and find ourselves practicing tango nearly daily. We discovered a wonderful tango class in Savannah on Sundays, so off we went last week and will go again this week.
What has remained the same since our last visit a year ago? More on that later. . .