Our daily runs seem to be from contrast-to-contrast, as this one was from remote and quiet, cool and clear off-season Edisto Beach to the lively, Christmassy, touristy — and wet-rainy — town of BEW-fərt.South Carolina. Not to be confused with BOW-fərt, North Carolina.
Day 47 – 49, November 30 – December 2
Edisto presented us with yet another lovely morning, a clear and crisp fall day with no wind. The sunrise was breathtaking: such a treat to be up early to enjoy it.
Before heading out with the dogs I sent the drone up for the first time on this trip to grab a few photographs of the beautiful scenery. It offered a fun new perspective on the broad South Edisto River, the adjacent sprawling marshland and Edisto Beach.
The 25-mile run to BEW-fərt (otherwise known as Beaufort) was another day of lazy shallow rivers, man-made cuts and lovely scenery. We proceeded back up the South Edisto River to the ICW and turned left through the narrow and shoaling Fenwick Cut to the Ashepoo River then the Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff to Rock Creek and then the broad and meandering Coosaw River. Whew. It was like taking a lazy ride through remote and rolling countryside and choosing random turns onto random back country roads with no roadsigns and few identifying markers.
It was all very remote with expansive marshes and sporadic creeks and rivers winding meaninglessly everywhere. The Carolina lowcountry. The current would be sometimes with u and sometimes against us from creek to creek, but it was a constantly rising tide which made navigation far less cumbersome than a falling tide would have been. From the Coosaw River we entered Brickyard Creek, and finally, the Beaufort River where civilization began to emerge once again.
BEW-fərt is a well-known and favorite stop for many along the ICW. The lively and pretty town has a significant, sturdy and clean marina along with moorings available for rent. This makes it easy and accommodating. The only drawback is the strong current running through which can make docking challenging at times.
The city has been featured in the New York Times, named “Best Small Southern Town” by Southern Living, a “Top 25 Small City Arts Destination” by American Style, and a “Top 50 Adventure Town” by National Geographic Adventure. No wonder it is a popular destination.
It also has history. Beaufort County was the site of the second landing on the North American continent by Europeans, in 1514. The first landing, by Ponce de Leon at St. Augustine, was only a year earlier. There were numerous failed attempts at colonization until the British founded the city in 1711. Beaufort initially grew slowly and suffered numerous attacks from Native American tribes and the powerful Spanish Empire to the south. It ultimately flourished as a center for shipbuilding and later, when the colony was established as a slave society, as the elite center for Lowcountry planters through the Civil War. A devastating hurricane in 1893 and a major fire in 1907 were setbacks to the city’s growth until tourism emerged in the late 1900s.
BEW-fərt was in full-blown Christmas mode when we arrived. Lights and decorations were enthusiastic, and the shops were overflowing the Christmas-everything. Christmas music was everywhere.
The waterfront has a beautiful and expansive park with a substantial river-walk and playground. We enjoyed wandering some pretty residential streets and I poked into a few shops. The Beaufort Baking Company was a pleasant spot for bread, baked goods and lunch. Bruce sniffed out an excellent bagel shop. Like so many coastal towns there was no grocery store any sort.
Kitty and Kenny arrived a few hours after us aboard their cheerful yellow Krogen Manatee Sabrina. They joined us on Esmeralde for some fresh steamed Edisto shrimp then we all went off for a fun supper.
We didn’t do too well with food in Beaufort, although that doesn’t mean there isn’t good food to be had. We simply didn’t make good choices. We ended up at Panini with Kenny and Kitty, which was OK but not great, and the next night at Griffin Market which had potential, but the whole place was just a little…odd. We had been told by some American Tug-ers at the dock that it was excellent, but it wasn’t. The Italian proprietor was a genuine character, the wine list was extensive, the building was old and dilapidated, the signage was non-existent, and the plants outside were dead. Okee-do-kee. There were several other places in town which had the appearance of being much more polished. Maybe next time.
We had to deal with a lot of rain while we were there, which dampened enthusiasm. Bruce decided to launch our dinghy and give it a good run since it had not been used since Stonington, CT. It fired right up. The replacement heater arrived (oh gawd, that story again) so Bruce got that installed and voila! we had heat. He then spent the afternoon watching Bond movies on board while I put together an 18th birthday letter for his niece Anna Rose. Some good deeds and some well-earned relaxation.
We had planned get under way early the next day, after a two night stay, but a powerful line of thunderstorms with the threat of tornadoes put an end to that idea. Just as we returned to the boat after walking the dogs the heavens opened. Thunder pounded and cloud-to-ground lightning struck all around us. It was dramatic. The dogs were unhappy. We sat in the pilot house watching, wanting to leave but thinking maybe it would be wise to sit it out for a bit.
The delay and the boredom gave Bruce a hankering for bagels so he donned his gear and marched off to the appropriately-named Rain-N-Bagels. After all, what else do you do in a driving thunderstorm while stuck on a boat?
The girls at the shop were great fun and were determined to make sure the bagels made it back to the boat warm and dry. Unlike Bruce, who returned thoroughly soaked. The bagels were great and the whole project soaked up the remainder of the storm.
By the time we finished cleaning up the bagel mess, the storms had moved out.
We were ready to move on. We would be finding sesame seeds all over the boat for the next week.