Beaufort to Charleston, SC

We left Savannah, GA with our sights on Beaufort, SC (not to be confused with the city with the same name but a different pronunciation in NC). With our new tradition of crossing into another state ….

Random facts: South Carolina
  1. South Carolina was the first state to succeed (December 1860).
  2. There are no major sports teams based in South Carolina.
  3. There are more peaches produced in South Carolina than in Georgia (the so-called Peach State). 
Upon arriving in Beaufort we tied up to a mooring ball, jumped in the dingy and headed straight for the small downtown. We had put in 8 or so travel hours and were ready to stretch our legs. We easily walked 6 miles exploring the old cemeteries and homes in the area. Beaufort was founded in 1711 and most of the original structures were spared during the Civil War.

Named “The Castle”, This grand 1861 mansion takes up a city block & was used as a hospital in the Civil War.

The Thomas Wepworth house has long been referred to as the oldest house in Beaufort with a construction date of 1717 cited but evidence suggestions a construction/reconstruction date of 1760.

Established in 1712 as a colonial parish of the Church of England, St. Helenas is one of the oldest churches in America. The original church was built on the present site in 1724.

St. Helena cemetery. Many of the headstones are so old the dates are not legible anymore.

National Cemetery in Beuafort, 33 acres and 19,000 interments representing every major American conflict, including the SpanishAmerican War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War.

As we walked around we kept seeing different jets fly overhead. We assumed it was the nearby naval base practicing until we got back to our boat and saw the classic Blue Angels formation go by. We then spent the next 45 min watching them as they were obviously part of the local air show.

Blue Angels air show from Heartbeat

I hope they have as much fun flying as we did watching them.

No matter how many times you have seen the Blue Angels they are still an entertaining sight.

It was another long travel day from Beaufort up to Charleston. The past few weeks we have seen familiar boats along the AICW, some of them are Looper boats and others are boats that we had seen and/or met down in the Bahamas. One of the fun parts about this trip is that each day is completely new – we see different waterways, different, homes (tiny to ginormous), different landscapes and different river traffic.

A dredge working to keep the waterways clear.

South Carolina School District boat – do you have to swim to school if you miss the boat that goes across the river?

Upon arriving in Charleston we walked up to the Visitor Center. We quickly realized we had not allotted enough time in this historic city so we added a third night to our marina reservation. This gave us two full days to explore and we made the most of them. A few highlights (yes, these are really just the highlights … we saw and learned a lot) –

We took the ferry to Fort Sumter National Park, the sight of where the Civil War began in April 1863. Amazing piece of history and great storytelling from the park rangers and throughout the museum that is inside the fort.

As we were on the first ferry to the fort we were able to watch the flag raising ceremony. The NP ranger had 20 or so volunteers help her unfurl an over sized flag as she hoisted it. It was pretty cool to watch.

Protecting Fort Sumter.

Shrapnel penetrating the fort’s 5′ thick walls.

We took a carriage tour of the city at the recommendation of fellow Loopers John & Gina (Alysana) who had passed through Charleston a few weeks earlier. Gibbs (the horse) took our group through the city where we learned a lot about the city’s past from Gibbs’s driver. As we were told, Gibbs was formally from an Amish farm horse where he worked 14 hr days, now he works 4 hrs a day.

Charleston Single home. This form of home is great for long narrow lots. A door faces the street while the long piazza (porch) runs perpendicular to the street and captures the cool breeze. These are all over the city once you know what you are looking at.

We toured 2 homes that are owned by the Charleston Museum. The first home was the Joseph Manigault House which was built in 1803 and reflected life of a wealthy rice planting family and the slaves who also lived there. The home is furnished by the museum with beautiful historic pieces. Hard to tell in the picture but this is a grand home for it’s time.

The 2nd home we toured was the Heywood – Washington House which was built in 1772. George Washington stayed here during a week-long stay in May 1791. The picture does not give this house justice, beyond the long gardens to the left is the original kitchen and then beyond the kitchen is the back side of the house. The tour guide we had here was wonderful, she crammed our head full of historical stories and enlightened us with the Charleston Museum furnishings on display. It was all quite impressive.
Long time friend and Thistle crew Tanya Haddad was in Charleston for work and we were all able to meet up for dinner one night. Always great to see friends from home.

Southern style food is not something we eat often (hello … bacon fat is added to everything!) but Charleston has an amazing restaurant scene and therefore one should experience the local cuisine (and then add a cup of broccoli to make oneself feel slightly better about doing it).

The Southern indulgence(s) require a large boat salad the following day. Boat salad consists of every veggie on board that is ready to be consumed and it is something we eat often on travel days. Boat salad is never the same salad, it is truly unique each and every time.

We left Charleston at first light with a couple options on where to stop next. But our first order of business was to get through several sections of very shallow water, we needed to time our travel correctly to ensure we had enough water under our keel. Fortunately the lowest we had was 3′ under our keel.

Sunrise as we are leaving Charleston.

Dolphins entertaining us along our journey.

Georgetown was one of our options we had as a stop at but we still had plenty of daylight and decided to press on. We spend the afternoon traveling ~30 miles along the scenic Waccamaw River. The green trees and the overall remoteness was so calming. After spending the past week in the hustle and bustle of Savannah and Charleston it was nice to be among nature.

Back when we were with Dave & Carol (Moxie) they had told us about this great anchorage just off the Waccamaw River named Bull Creek. It was perfect place for the night and we had it all to ourselves.

Next state is no surprise, we will leave South Carolina behind and forge into North Carolina.